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!