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Saki: Achiga-hen episode of Side-A – 04 »« Saki: Achiga-hen episode of Side-A – 02

Saki: Achiga-hen episode of Side-A – 03

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「接触」 (Sesshoku)
“Contact”

Wow, the pace of this show has been blistering. In three episodes Achiga is where it took Kiyosumi 25 episodes to get. Hell, in this one episode alone they whooped Bansei at the prefecturals, met (and beat) six of the seven runner ups from the other prefectural tournaments (including Ryuumonbochi, their one loss), and arrived at Nationals. Phew! I feel like we just sprinted a mile. I’m worn out!

Let’s start with the prefectural tournament. After the warning last episode, when they were set up against Bansei from the get-go I was expecting a good fight. I didn’t think for a second that Bansei had any monsters on their team which would give Achiga a real challenge, but neither did I expect them to go down so quickly! From the moment Kuro sat down they were completely screwed, and the other girls made sure they never had a chance to stand back up. In a way it was disappointing, but in another way it was really great. Seeing Bansei’s winning streak crushed in the first match was satisfying for reasons I should probably worry about, heh >:D

At that point I was wondering what the reason for the fast pacing was, and then Akado-sensei revealed that they were going to be playing practice matches against the 2nd place schools. “Ohhh,” I thought. “They were blazing past Bansei because they wanted to get to a far better school – Ryuumonbochi!” I was expecting some proper mahjong here…but once again, no. Something very important did happen, though. With Shizu going up against Koromo – and fated to play Saki eventually – I was wondering whether she would break under Koromo’s onslaught. Turns out? Nope. This is why I like honest idiots like Shizu. Where before Akado-sensei broke, Shizu is too much of a baka to be properly frightened of the monster in front of her. We may have missed out on the proper mahjong fun, but I enjoyed the warm fuzzies I got from that.

Then was the training camp, where–oh, no, that passed quickly too. This pacing…well, it’s obvious that this is a spin-off, as they’re sprinting to get Achiga to nationals so they get them near the true main characters of the Saki universe. Kiyosumi is still clearly the main focus of the tournament, as they’re not giving us enough time with Achiga for anyone to seriously root for them over Kiyosumi. That begs the question…what’s the point of this side story?

If I had to guess – and this is conjecture, as I haven’t read either the Saki or the Saki Achiga mangas – they’re doing this because Achiga will be in the opposite side of the national’s bracket from Kiyosumi. That means the point of this spin-off is to use Achiga to explore the schools that Kiyosumi never faces (side note: if this was obvious from the get-go, my apologies…I guess I’m a little slow this time). If that’s the case, it makes sense why we were introduced to fourth seed Senriyama this episode, as they’re liable to be one of the prime antagonists in Achiga’s side of the bracket. In that case, Achiga isn’t being fleshed out enough because they’re not meant to seriously contest the tournament – they just need to get to the finals and play against Kiyosumi for them to have “won.”

This begs the question – which side of the bracket will Miyanaga Teru’s Shiraitodai team be in? If Kiyosumi wants to win, and Achiga wants to play Kiyosumi, then they’d both need to get to the final game, but whoever faces Shiraitodai earlier could get stymied…and call me crazy, but I can’t imagine Kiyosumi playing Shiraitodai until the final match. Though of course, there needs to be four teams for that match, so I guess…AHHHH!! I want next episode to get here already so we’ll know!!

Huh. Well, they might be blazing along so fast that we can’t stop and smell the mahjong tiles, but I still truly enjoyed this episode, and I really want the next one to get here quickly. That sounds like a job well done in my book! Next episode – the crazy mahjong starts in earnest, huzzah!

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – The pace has been blistering, but we’re finally at our destination – Nationals. Old friends & new enemies, here we come! #Saki_Achiga

Random thoughts:

  • Achiga beat six of the seven prefectural runner ups. Not good. Why is that not good, you ask? Because that means all of the monsters, save for Koromo and this girl, made it into nationals. Wuh oh!
  • Kuro may be amazing, but her onee-chan is still the best. HNNNG!!
  • Saki, with an antagonist-like aura? Do not want. I was hoping she would start out menacing, and then morph into her cute and lost form…and then possibly trip. I miss cute dojikko Saki.

Full-size images: 01, 17, 23, 25, 26, 27, 30

ED video will be added whenever I learn how to suck at encoding less. In the meantime, have a sleeping onee-chan, HNNNG!!

 

ED2 Sequence

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ED2: 「Futuristic Player」 by 橋本みゆき (Hashimoto Miyuki)
Watch the 2nd ED!: Streaming ▼

Preview

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End Card

Saki Achiga hen episode of Side A   03   End Card
April 22, 2012 at 5:24 pm
53 comments »
  • April 22, 2012 at 5:33 pmbk201my

    Saki’s skirt is too long in this version.

  • April 22, 2012 at 5:33 pmCroos

    I still don’t understand why Saki is wearing long skirt. Does that mean shes being clumsy again for picking up someones clothing again or is she reserving her lucky power?
    Oh can’t wait for the next episode.

    • April 22, 2012 at 10:03 pmKamiyaCheap

      It’s because she Show Spoiler ▼

      Spoiler Alert!

  • April 22, 2012 at 5:40 pmdranon

    To me this seems more like season 2 but seen from another perspective.

    • April 22, 2012 at 6:08 pmCroos

      same

  • April 22, 2012 at 5:49 pmSteven Den Beste

    Because each game is four teams, resulting in one winner going to the next level, there are FOUR “sides” to the bracket. Achiga will be one. Kiyosumi will be another. And Teru’s team will be a third. Who the fourth is remains to be seen.

    • April 22, 2012 at 6:12 pmStilts

      Yeah, that makes sense. Of course, that means Achiga’s entry isn’t enough to show us all the fun teams, but at least we’ll get to see more of them!

    • April 22, 2012 at 6:25 pmSteelman

      Wrong. As you will see from the tournament brackets next week, in the quaterfinal and semifinal matches, the best two out of four schools move forward. So there are twelve preliminary matches + four seeds (52 schools total), which feed into four quaterfinal matches (best 16), followed by two semifinals (best 8).

      Stilts, that should answer your question – while neither manga is up to the final, I think we can all figure out how it is going to play out :). I mean the OP even parallels Saki’s first one, with Teru being on top of the pedestal instead of Koromo…

    • April 22, 2012 at 6:35 pmSteelman

      And by the way, if you take a closer look at the Nara tournament bracket in this episode, you can realize that it is set up in a similar way – here there are 32 schools, with 8 preliminary matches feeding into two semifinals – and the best two schools from each semifinal advancing to the final. I guess you did not notice because the anime (as well as the manga) completely skips over the matches :).

      • April 22, 2012 at 6:47 pmKJacket

        Yeah, at first in the manga I was confused by the double-lines and then I realized that they need 4 teams, not the usual two for a game. Meaning top two scoring teams advance.

  • April 22, 2012 at 5:54 pmultimatemegax

    The reason why Saki’s wearing a longer skirt is somewhat of a manga spoiler, but not really. Show Spoiler ▼

    Yes, that’s all there is to the magically longer skirt.

  • April 22, 2012 at 6:12 pmQwerty1

    An anime where the hot spring/bathing “episode” is a 10 second pan through two still images?

    What blasphemy is this?

    • April 22, 2012 at 7:14 pmskylion

      I know, both Shinzu and Arata deserve better. Furo and Cake for the win!

  • April 22, 2012 at 6:32 pmxephx

    Saki may look menacing, but shes probably just lost.
    She does look awesome though.

    • April 22, 2012 at 6:39 pmKJacket

      Saki definitely looked like Teru in that shot.

    • April 22, 2012 at 8:05 pmdene323

      She was just looking for the washroom.

  • April 22, 2012 at 6:38 pmsetsuke

    Saki just wanna fight her sister, and since her sister is playing as vanguard (which is the first player) it’s likely they won’t fight each other in team but in the individual. I won’t be surprised if they even made it like a Saki manga and episode A crossover in the finals for Koyosumi and Achiga battle.

  • April 22, 2012 at 6:51 pmFencedude

    Just as a note, there are way more than 7 prefectural runner ups, they just only had time to play 7, and beat 6 of them.

  • April 22, 2012 at 7:17 pmskylion

    http://randomc.net/image/Saki%20Achiga-hen%20episode%20of%20Side-A/Saki%20Achiga-hen%20episode%20of%20Side-A%20-%2003%20-%20Large%2012.jpg

    Shinzu is a disciple of Cthugga, it would seem. That would make Nadoka her Nyaruko-chan?!

    http://randomc.net/image/Saki%20Achiga-hen%20episode%20of%20Side-A/Saki%20Achiga-hen%20episode%20of%20Side-A%20-%2003%20-%2025.jpg

    Still frames? Still frames? When you have such nice textures, still frames are a total cheat.

  • April 22, 2012 at 7:17 pmbk201my

    I hope the 2nd season of Saki will use the same production team as this one.

  • April 22, 2012 at 7:43 pmCroos

    Now I see how the skirt get into saki.

  • April 22, 2012 at 7:48 pmAn

    For the story progression part, the staff are way too faithful to the manga. They could have extend the mahjong playing against Bansei and Ryuumonbuchi, Heck I don’t mind a whole episode to see more of Ryuumonbuchi domination and Koromo’s slaughter again.

    And Yuu getting mobbed was certainly HNNGH worthy. :D

  • April 22, 2012 at 9:02 pmFiShar

    Ha…Shizu raped face and what powers does she have?
    Are those foot stomping scene somewhat a hint? TITAN!?
    I can already see Achiga losing at the end, as “their?” goal was just to play with Nodoka.

    >> Kuro may be amazing, but her onee-chan is still the best. HNNNG!!
    YES! One of the reason I even watch this.

  • April 22, 2012 at 10:12 pmKamiyaCheap

    The Saki we and the Achiga right there is actually in reality is ! XD

  • April 22, 2012 at 10:46 pmJin

    Ah for Saki’s first appearance, I was expecting ditziness but dark aura is good too. I really can’t see how Shizu could possibly win against Saki. I’d much rather see Kuro against Saki while Shizu plays against her friend Nodoka.
    Also, what was the point of that confrontation with Bansei in the previous ep when all their matches would just go by within a minute? lol Well I don’t mind I guess since I’m really looking forward to the Nationals.

    And glad to see Koromo is still evil cute but I really couldn’t help but smile every time Yuu appeared on screen. ^_^

  • April 23, 2012 at 12:29 amAngelus

    I love the idea that our cute little Saki appears here as a big, scary monster. As Burns put it, “O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us / To see oursels as ithers see us!”

  • April 23, 2012 at 1:43 amBenigmatica

    Oh fuck, did Saki just become more menacing than ever?

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Damn, I think we need a Season 2 of Saki after Achiga-hen!

  • April 23, 2012 at 1:47 amDynellen

    Teru’s team is on the same side of the bracket as Achiga, I think it was mentioned in first season of Saki that they’d have to get to the finals to face Teru since they were on opposite sides of the bracket.

    Which is why Teru has had a couple of foreshadowing appearances already.

  • April 23, 2012 at 3:34 amunderMebius

    I was like “wtf” when they mentioned that they managed to get to the finals in just about 10 seconds.

    That “girl” whom they couldn’t beat is one of the “monsters” of Saki! She was featured at the ending of the last episode.

    Oh god. I really hope that Achiga met Kiyosumi’s team. I really want to see our lovable Kiyosumi turn into antagonists.

  • April 23, 2012 at 6:00 amPeanutbutter003

    • April 23, 2012 at 9:25 pmJin

      Most likely several other blankets. Hehe

    • April 23, 2012 at 10:30 pmFiShar

      Whose the partner!?

  • April 23, 2012 at 10:27 amRyC

    THE BIG CLARIFICATION POST

    Apparently, Saki really did get lost, as shown on this page of the manga (Hisa mentions it):

    http://mangafox.me/manga/saki/v08/c066/6.html

    right after which comes this page:

    http://mangafox.me/manga/saki/v08/c066/7.html

    in which she mentions taking Mako’s skirt by accident.

    ————————————————————————–

    As for the confusion over the national tournament brackets, here’s a picture:

    http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x469/mrryancheng/danime_rg_saki_6666_02-03.jpg

    I’ve annotated Shiraitodai, Achiga and Kiyosumi for those of us who can’t read kanji.
    Make of what you will of it.

    • April 23, 2012 at 12:10 pmStilts

      The bracket, YAY! Commenting so more people might notice this. Thank you for your work : )

      • April 23, 2012 at 1:13 pmRyC

        No problem :) Feel free to use it anyway you like in the future.

    • April 24, 2012 at 12:33 amMarina2

      Actually, I have made the one with everything translated.
      Color
      http://i.imgur.com/iUhmt.jpg

      Black/White
      http://i.imgur.com/3XZgm.jpg

      ~Feel free to use as well~

      • April 24, 2012 at 8:46 amRyC

        Oh good. Tis much clearer than my mspaint attempt :)

  • April 23, 2012 at 1:39 pmkumakaori

    Saki? Alone? Clearly Lost.

    That Antagonist Aura? You’re mistaking it for “Scared Stiff” … Ok, it happens to be the same thing for our Miyanaga flower, but the girls from Achiga aren’t going to know that XD! Hehehehe. I’m kinda disappointed they didn’t introduce themselves and ask to see Nodoka T^T. It’d probably help poor Saki get un-lost too orz;;.

  • April 23, 2012 at 1:39 pmZaku Fan

    Looks like Achiga will be crushed by Teru and Nodoka swears to win in the name of the power of friendship.

    I wonder if they’ll spin off another series for the last member of that bracket for the semi finals.

    Feeling Saki’s aura of annihilation is the first test to see who’s strong enough. Seems like only 2 passed (and one of them is the teacher)

    • April 23, 2012 at 7:20 pmAn

      Nah, a player who can feel other player’s aura means they’re either sensory-type or has supernatural ability as opposed to logic player like Ako. It’s not a measure of strength

      • April 23, 2012 at 11:05 pmStilts

        What An said. Nodoka is a strong player, but I don’t think she ever sensed that kind of thing (though don’t quote me on that…I’ve gotten a lot of stuff wrong so far this season >_<). Only good players seem to have that sense, but you don’t have to have it to be good. Crucial difference.

      • April 25, 2012 at 2:08 amZaku Fan

        The Ryumonbuchi glasses girl was a sensory type/supernatural? Because i remember all the Ryumonbuchi players were affected. Also among the Achiga girls there are already supernatural types, unless the way they trashed Bansei is due to normal logic style play.

      • April 25, 2012 at 12:15 pmCytrus

        ^Achiga have at least one supernatural in Kuro the Dora Attractor. And that Kuro opened with a 24,000pts baiman. In the final hand shown, Achiga has close to a 23000pts lead, which means that the other Achiga girls played just well enough to maintain the initial lead. So we have no hints of any more monsters other than Kuro in the Achiga team so far.

        Well, I do hope that some ‘unusual playing styles’ do appear soon enough. That’s one of the points of the show for me…

      • April 25, 2012 at 8:08 pmAn

        Can’t be too sure whether Ryuumonbuchi’s Tomoki carries any power since she’s not explored much, but I think she deduced that Saki is a strong player from her ‘looks’. The author also didn’t help to define a clear line by start imbuing logic players with powers too. ~_~

        With the exception of Kuro, at this point of the (anime’s) story we know nothing about other Achiga girls style, unless you’ve read the manga of course.

  • April 24, 2012 at 12:16 amAnimesetsuna

    After reading some people comment ^^^^^^ I feel like I wanna read those manga so badly. :3

  • April 24, 2012 at 1:00 amDark-Croos

    I just noticed something that some characters aren’t quality drawn right.

  • April 24, 2012 at 8:54 amGhostalker

    I haven’t watch “Saki” and I don’t know Mahjong, but yeah! This series is blazing fast! I’m already at odds with the rapid pace premier episode, but this? I can’t believe they are just training last episode and now they are in the nationals! Just wow!

  • April 24, 2012 at 11:48 amYes!@

    I have to agree on the speed issue. If this series was a back to back to Saki it will make sense to go this fast. However Saki was a couple of years ago so the blazing speed is bugging me. I’ll like to flavor the growth of the characters and their play style (which we know almost nothing). At this speed when any of the players makes a “monster” move, it won’t be that much fun as when Saki and her crew were smashing their opponets. With luck it should slow down so we can actually enjoy the character and each individual play style.

    Saki with long skirt? like they say: WHO ARE YOU!!!! Nopan for life burn those evil long skirts.

  • April 24, 2012 at 3:36 pmDusk

  • April 24, 2012 at 10:36 pmPtolemaios00

    I was waiting for Saki to trip too.

  • April 29, 2012 at 1:45 pmdranon

    SAKI fans: this is SEASON 2!!!!!!

  • April 29, 2012 at 6:28 pmtendo

    only Kuro and Akado could feel Saki shakra since they are the magic type. They others were impressed by the physical aspected since they are the normal type.
    for a moment i though Saki was going to use haki on them.