Synonyms: Saki: Nationals
You can watch this series here: http://www.crunchyroll.com/saki
The opening segment was good I thought, but it didn’t really convey anything noteworthy. It was Nodoka’s flashback scene from the time she entered middle school and how she adapted to playing online only when just a short time before she was playing with her friends from Side-A. For some reason Shizuno stopped interacting with Nodoka around this time.
In her second year Nodaka transferred and found a new friend in Yuuki. Yuuki was like Shizuno so it was easy for Nodoka to become her friend. Yuuki took Nodoka to the Mahjong Club when she learned Nodoka loved to play and that’s where she met Hanada Kirame and Maho. Hanada we saw is a skilled player also in the tournament; her school was knocked out playing against Shiraitodai and Achiga, but her unique skill is that she never drops below zero in points.
Maho idealizes Nodoka for her skilled and calm playstyle. Maho has been playing for a year now, but she still acts like a total beginner sometimes. She pulls off really amazing plays like Rinshan Kaihou against Saki which is her trademark move, and she acts like Nodocchi’s version of Nodoka. Maho absorbs playstyles of people around her with near perfection.
When she pulled off a Rinshan Kaihou against Saki, Saki looked like she was starting to get red in the face from anger. She might have walked out on the match if Maho could pull it off twice, but she can’t. Maho can only do other people’s tricks once per day per move. So she can do Yuuki’s quick start, then go with Nodoka’s online style, following up with Koromo’s yakuman, and then surprising everyone with a Rinshan Kaihou. But somewhere along the way she will inevitably make a mistake which will cost her the match.
After playing against Maho, Saki could be seen glowering in the corner like a wild, untamed beast too scared to run away so it stays in a corner and bares its teeth. It was actually quite cute to look at. Maho had a double purpose to be at the training camp. Hisa wanted to bring her along so that Mako could learn more about beginners, since Mako remembers every game she sees. Tsuruga’s beginner is not enough, Hisa decided when she took in Maho.
Hisa still didn’t have a specific training method for Nodoka and Yuuki yet, but she knows they’re both players that only get better by player better people. They aren’t like Saki who is born with a gift to bulldoze her way through her opponents. Meeting Maho was the best thing for Saki in the end. Hisa took the best players from Tsuruga, Kazekoshi, and Ryuumonbuchi for her personal training. She actually wanted Touka in her cold state, but is satisfied with Koromo.
The next day was the training camp’s final day and the day everyone went home. You could really see the bonds the girls made over the past few days here. We have members from Kazekoshi and Tsuruga exchanging pro playing cards like best friends, and Hisa gained a new strategist from Tsuruga and a new wife from Kazekoshi. I think it would have been nice if Fujita Pro did more than play in one match, which she lost anyways. I know she was there looking for a certain player for another tournament, but she could have made it less obvious.
We then teleport back to the present with Himematsu winning to advance to the second round with a direct hit yakuman on another team. I love Himematsu’s team because they’re so laidback and fun to watch. They watch TV (the shrine maiden team is also watching) Kiyosumi’s match and are shocked to see that Hisa ended her match by taking out an opponent by herself. The rumors that Nagano is a weak prefecture is losing ground after this new side from Kiyosumi.
More days go by and Shiraitodai played their first game of the tournament and they easily won, advancing to the third round where they’ll play against Achiga (and lose). Saki refused point blank to watch her sister play. And then on the sixth day, Kiyosumi played their match.
At the end of the episode, there was a reporter interviewing the players as they walked by and he was about to ask Yuuki about the match, but another reporter said the only interesting one from Kiyosumi is Nodoka and that Nagano is a weak prefecture now. She felt like they’re making fun of some of her best friends and vowed a vow to show them that Nagano is strong.
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