Category Archives: Saki – Zenkoku-hen

Saki – Zenkoku – hen 13

And that’s all the Saki we’re getting for like, another three years! GREAT!

In any event, this episode was tying all the loose ends up with Achiga and catching us up to the present with Kiyosumi. For a wrap up episode, I probably enjoyed this way more than I should have. Not only that, but the path has been paved for our next contenders in the following round. Whoever Kiyosumi ends up against, I sincerely doubt it will ever be as challenging as Shiraitodai, Senriyama, and Shindouji, who our Achiga girls had to face in their final round.

I loved it when Nadoka and Miho watched on as Subara played against Teru in what I believe to be the best match of the series. I could write a whole entire article on that match alone but I’m surprised there were no earthquakes or casualties or BLOOD. Seriously, greatest match in Saki history. What an intense struggle.

Nadoka also mets the Achiga’s and caught up as we saw at the end of Achiga-hen. We also got to hear other things we knew about Nadoka like her relationship with the Achiga’s in the form of an interview. It was all very nice until I realized this was the last I’d see of these characters for another three years because Ritz writes slow as shit.

What am I looking forward to next season? Other than the obvious, I’m looking forward to Hisa slamming the shit out of Hinematsu’s braggart-ass captain. I want her to drown her in her own tears. I know it will happen.

Then we draw closer to the finals in what will be Kiyosumi vs Shiraitodai vs Achiga vs mystery school? Honestly, I hope it isn’t Hinematsu, I really don’t even like them. Especially since Senriyama and Shiraitodai were way better schools and they didn’t advance at all.

Saki – Zenkoku – hen 12

And another season of Saki “unofficially” draws to a close, with Kyosumi and Hinematsu the victors that proceed to the next round.

Wait, what.

Hine-fucking-matsu, really?! Uh. You mean the weakest school in the rotation of the four of them? They somehow beat Miyamori and Eisui, with their far better players and overall broken-ass abilities?

Well, I’m a little upset over that (in case you couldn’t tell!) That, uh, that sucks. See, because in my opinion, not only is Hinematsu the weakest school but they’re also the least interesting; I can’t even recall anything about them other than the purple haired girl and their arrogant captain who is, admittedly, a great mahjong player and certainly fearsome. But they didn’t deserve it over Miyamori or Eisui, with their far better cast and much more interesting players. Seriously, I love almost everyone on Miyamori. I love Eisui and their god-descending game breaking bullshit.

Kyouko’s entire victory was essentially orchestrated by Saki anyway, and I doubt she would have made it through if she didn’t throw her that Baiman tsumo to achieve +/- 0. In any event, that’s how it went down.

I will greatly miss Miyamori and their antics, especially their coach, who seems to be as disappointed as I am that they are not moving on. Poor Toyone; it’s hard to remember how vulnerable she actually is because she seems like a creepy doll when playing the others in mahjong.

Hisa notices that Saki never took her socks off during the “battle”, so it’s unlikely she really felt that threatened. Saki pretty much held full control and dominated the flow of the match; as I mentioned in my previous entry, it was a sight to behold to see Saki unrestrained at full power. What happens now? Apparently a beach episode, which I am okay with.

Saki – Zenkoku – hen 11

Advising people to not bully our titular (no pun intended, I swear) heroine Saki is not typically a move that is well advised; reason being that she is in fact the second scariest person in the show when at full power.

Saki demonstrates her mahjong prowess quite well this episode, coming out with her trademark Rinshan Kaihou’s. I’ve noted last episode that Saki has kept her composure better than ever and as a result, she comes off as the amazingly talented, brutal, and very deadly 5th player of Kiyosumi that she really is. After all, she defeated Amai Koromo, considered to be one of the highest ranking demon players.

Eisui’s Kasumi comes into her own (if her “ara ara” demeanor before didn’t tip you off, I’m not sure what did) this episode as she ceases playing defensively after coming to the realization that they will never go into second or first place this way. To make matters worse, Kasumi is possessed by a god; always something you need to factor for when playing against Eisui (somehow!) Kasumi is an extremely strong player and possibly the strongest player in all of Eisui. She certainly gave the powerful Toyone a run for her money. Between these three mahjong giants is little Kyouko from Hinematsu. All she wanted was a “normal game of mahjong.” As many have said already, she is in the wrong ass neighborhood.

Saki rips the entire table a new one and pulls Kiyosumi into first. This is Saki playing to her full potential in a way we’ve previously only seen in bits and pieces. This is Saki, uninhibited, not nervous and making mistakes she shouldn’t. This is Saki at 100% potential, the way she needs to play against her sister in the individuals.

But who cares about powerlevels bullshit lolol am i rite.

Saki – Zenkoku – hen 10

I’m certainly not unhappy with the fact that Toyone is the “last boss” of zenkoku hen. With her ominous presence and the way it has been subtly built up,  it’s pretty damn exciting to see our little Miyanaga friend finally squaring off against her.

Looks and foreshadowing aren’t all she has either. Toyone has shown herself to be more than a formidable opponent with her riichi chasing that has kept Kyouko, our weakest player of the race, pinned down and feeling helpless. I’m also pleasantly surprised to see that Saki has kept her composure and isn’t getting frazzled as she usually does (Despite being the best player, I feel that Saki has a tendency to get upset and nervous very easily compared to say, Hisa or Nadoka).

To further cement Toyone’s strength, she gets a back story in the middle of the episode showing that even the show’s narrative is on her side.  Toyone was originally prospected from a far off part of Japan where her sole entertainment in life was watching mahjong on TV. She didn’t have a lot of modern conveniences. Thanks to this, Toyone has a great understanding of the game but relatively little experience playing others. This doesn’t stop her from being extremely deadly as she roasts her teammates in her first exhibition match against them. She cries, proclaiming she wishes she could go to the same school as the rest of them. The old woman exclaims that arrangements have already been made (Seriously, what a gambit! What if she didn’t end up going?) and Toyone attends their school and joins their mahjong club.

Circle back to the present and the pace has slowed considerably. Saki hasn’t taken her socks off yet but she’s still holding her own. We’ll see what happens next!

Saki – Zenkoku – Hen 9

The madness from the previous episode continues as Hatsumi proves herself to be the “main antagonist” this round. And it seems that Nadoka is not as in the dark as Sae would leave us to believe; I expect better from her than to assume Kiyosumi, especially Nadoka would ever be so foolish. Shows a clear demonstration in the difference in their abilities.

Throughout the match, Nadoka continues to keep her composure and continues to declare riichi and feed into Hatsumi’s hands. Nadoka’s losses are minimal and, in fact, she ends the game with slightly more points than she started with. Keeping a cool head prevailed and, despite Sae’s pretty wicked play that round, she came up short and ended the round with Miyamori in last place. Even Kinue gets a few good hands off but it’s clear she’s the weakest player in the room. Eisui has made a considerable point comeback this round, despite Hatsumi’s getting seriously ganked.

The next match starts up right away as we get to see the long awaited, extremely intimidating and very unsettling Toyone from Miyamori takes the stage, along with Eisui’s Kasumi Iwato and Himematsu’s Kyouko Suehara. Kyouko appears to be the weak link this time around (but is clearly a competent player) because as soon as the match begins, she gets some wins off before ferociously being targeted by Toyone, who is likened to one who “Chokes” her opponent by her teammates. Not good for anyone at that table.

Saki’s debut in the nationals begins, but how will she fare? If this episode is any indication, Saki has stepped up her game and is concentrating even more than usual (typically she flubs up in the first hand or first half of the game). It was nice to see Koromo cheering for her as she struck her hand from the dead wall with her trademark Rinshan Kaihou! This is the final match of this season!

Saki – Zenkoku – Hen 8

The touted Hatsumi from the previous episode begins her reign of terror!….

Uh, attempts to begin her reign of terror. Our well informed monocle girl, Sae, apparently has the ability to shut down anyone’s ability to create a hand. By focusing her power on Hatsumi, she effectively cockblocks who could be the most powerful contestant in this round by preventing her from putting together a decent hand. Nadoka is certainly grateful for this (although I doubt she would admit it and I’m sure she could hold her own) as she continues her usual game.

I must applaud Sae’s decision on who to target as it’s no doubt that Hatsumi is the greatest danger in this round (And especially one of the most unknown dangers as well).

Sae comes under great stress as her power is difficult to use on one who is as powerful as Hatsumi; much like our friend from Senriyama, Toki Onjouji, she begins to be physically worn for such extensive use of her power. Sae also bemoans Nadoka who is seemingly unaware of what is going on (and appears to be feeding Hatsumi). I sincerely doubt she is unaware; more likely than not Nadoka already has a plan and is playing far ahead of Sae, who was annoying insulting towards Nadoka.

Kinue, easily the weak link in the room, plays a modest game and gets a few surprise rons in the first half of the game. I’m waiting for Nadoka’s big gambit to be revealed next episode. You’ll see, Sae.

So Nadoka, any chance of coming over to the supernatural side? You could be better than shoe-less Saki!

Saki – Zenkoku – hen 7

This episode handles the end of the the 3rd round. Hisa ends it all with a nice tsumo, putting Hiroe in her place as she seems to have the funny idea she’s a better player than Hisa (Who in the fuck actually looks down on Hisa? Do you look down on God too?) Not even players better than Hisa (Saki) look down on Hisa. In any event, Hisa ends the match pretty much right back to where it started; at roughly 100,000. Given that Hisa, Nadoka, and Saki all take up the rear battles, I’m not too worried.

Next up is Nadoka. Squaring up against her is Himematsu’s Kinue Atago, Miyamori’s Sae Usuzawa, and Eisui’s Hatsumi Usuzumi. Hatsumi seems to be the star of this show (Eisui seems to have a lot of powerful players on their hands) as many await her entrance to the arena. With her very tribal-esque mask, she actually simply teleports to the arena, and yes, I’m very serious. Hey whatever though! Maybe she ought to call on one of those shrine maiden gods to lift up her shirt a bit more because she is perpetually falling out of it, and it’s not like she has much to show off. Her shoulders look as though they would crack if I pushed down on them with one finger. She seems cute and harmless enough…at least on the outside. On the tables is a different story.

Nadoka shows off her touted mahjong prowess as the best non-supernatural player by playing logical hardball and moving like a machine, which is noted by other players. Nadoka successfully grills the other players in a way that makes all of them, save Hatsumi, very uncomfortable. However, towards the end of the match, it seems a god is descending on Hatsumi as she “powers up”…Here we go!

I don’t doubt that Nadoka can hold her own as she’s the 2nd or 3rd best player in Kiyosumi’s rotation. The question is how she will respond to this new change in playstyle. My money’s on it catching her offguard for a hand or two before she catches on. She always does, doesn’t she? Ok, most of the time, anyway….

Saki – Zenkoku – hen 6

Hisa is up to bat!

…And she plays uncharacteristically poor, but it’s not her fault; the poor girl has let her nerves get the best of her. And that’s pretty rare considering that we never see Hisa in a vulnerable state, or associate her with anxiety or anything like that. That’s why this episode felt so weird. It’s just not Hisa if she doesn’t have a perpetual “sasuga” expression on her face or plays knowing exactly what her foes were aiming for. Given that Hisa is pretty broken as far as mahjong goes and Kiyosumi was doing way too well, I figure they felt as though they needed a way to bring Kiyosumi down to even.

And bring them a little lower than that they did! They introduced anxiety to a character who is a stranger to such odd, vulnerable emotions. The other players can consider themselves very lucky; Hisa at the top of her game would have smoked even Hiroe Atago, who is a strong player I’d level at about Egutchi Sera’s skill level (which is pretty damn strong). But let’s face it, she isn’t at Hisa/Mihoko level, who are only trumped by the mahjong demons and Toki.

Back to the match rather than theory mahjong-ing. The match features Eisui’s Haru Takimi, Miyamori’s Kurumi Kakura, and Himematsu’s Hiroe Atago. Haru and Kurumi are largely irrelevant throughout the match as even weakened Hisa and Hiroe steal the show as the stronger players. Hiroe, barring Komaki, is easily the strongest opponent we’ve seen thus far in the nationals; she’s proven her ferociousness and I’d venture she’s definitely Himematsu’s strongest player.

Here’s to hoping..er, excuse me, knowing that Hisa is going to make a comeback in the second half. I know she will. She can kick their asses easy, just please Hisa, concentrate this time!

Saki – Zenkoku – hen 5

“Mahjong is tanoshii” ~ Some Miyanaga bitch

So Yuuki’s match finishes with minimal casualties (Thank GOD) through some miracle. Shiromi and Komaki somehow didn’t kill her to all high heaven and the match ends up with Kiyosumi having roughly as many points as they started with; not bad at all. Good job Yuuki!

Focus is all on Mako for this episode as it’s her time to shine against Aislinn Wishart, who is clearly a foreigner because she has blonde hair and blue eyes and we all know what that means in anime! Haha right I know so original. Doesn’t matter, she’s still cute and I still love this show.

The match begins with Mako standing up against Miyamori’s Aislinn Wishart, Eisui’s Tomoe Karijuku, and Himematsu’s Yuuko Mase. Aislinn is clearly the strongest non-Mako player here and Mako plays accordingly; goes for cheap wins to break up the way Aislinn is playing. All in all, this is clearly a round of defense as Mako confesses that if she played the way she normally does, she would have gotten severely iced. Smart playing Mako!

Karijuku and Yuuko are also fairly competent players but in my opinion this match’s competition isn’t quite as fierce as the match before featuring Shiromi and Komaki, who could probably wreck these guys. Mako plays defensively and comes out with minimal losses and small gains, which is still quite good.

Everything is in place for Hisa to do what she normally does and beat the ever loving shit out of everyone, which she has done without fail. We have never seen Hisa in a moment of vulnerability and even when she knew she would lose a hand, she knew it ahead of time (Against Saki in the individuals). Using her trademark cutthroat abilities and wild, crazy bad waits I’m sure she’ll further cement Kiyosumi’s dominance.

…Or will she? Honestly, Kiyosumi’s two weakest players have played already and have done fairly well. The stage is set for someone to mess up badly at this point. Hisa is also acting strangely, choosing to go to the stage earlier than normal. Is it her nerves? I hope not. Does she even have nerves? I’ve never seen them if she does. Round 3 is ready to begin!

Saki – Zenkoku – hen 4

The first match begins. We have Suzu from Himematsu, Shiromi from Miyamori, Komaki from Eisui, and Yuuki from Kiyosumi. Between Suzu, Yuuki, Shiromi, and Komaki it’s easy to tell who the elephants in the room are. It seems clear to me that Suzu and Yuuki are the weakest while I find Shiromi to be very intimidating and calculating and Komaki…I’m not sure what the hell is up with her. Her “Battle aura” leads me to believe she is a demon level mahjong player which, if that is the case, the rest of them are all very screwed.

As we all know, Yuuki is always strongest during the East Wind so she does well as expected during the beginning of the round. Yuuki attempts to address her weakness by optimistically proclaiming that she will “Never let it be anything but the east hand”. Given that Shiromi and Komaki are there, I am not so certain that is going to be the case.

Apparently Suzu has prior knowledge of both Tacos and Shiromi’s abilities. All I can say is that when I saw Shiromi stop to think for a minute, I thought everyone was fucked. Towards the latter half of the match she has proven to be ferocious. Komaki, despite having the machinations to be a demon, gets stomped for pretty much the whole match before revealing she was “Asleep”. Uh oh. HERE WE GO AGAIN GUYS.

I’m thinking that Miyamori is going to be the school that ends up advancing with Kiyosumi to go against Shiraitodai and Achiga. Jesus, that first match is going to be of the scale to cause a national emergency between Shiromi, Yuuki, Kuro, and Teru. RIP Yuuki and Kuro is all I’ve got to say.

Yuuki is certainly holding her own even against Shiromi, but now that Komaki has awakened, hopefully she can hold off long enough for the games to get to the Kiyosumi golden 3; Hisa, Nadoka, and Saki.