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Saki: Achiga-hen episode of Side-A – 06 »« Saki: Achiga-hen episode of Side-A – 04

Saki: Achiga-hen episode of Side-A – 05

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「郷軍」 (Satogun)
“Veteran”

“Thus it is said that one who knows the enemy and knows himself will not be endangerd in a hundred engagements. One who does not know the enemy but knows himself will sometimes be victorious, sometimes meet with defeat. One who knows neither the enemy nor himself will invariably be defeated in every engagement.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Before I go on, yes, I’m the kind of nerd who reads books like The Art of War. You caught me! Now, this episode reminded me of that quote because one of the teams understands the lesson behind it, while the other does not. In the first match, Kuro certainly understood herself. She knows that she gets all the dora, and that if she ever discards a dora, they will abandon her for the next few games. The problem is that while Senriyama’s Toki also knew herself, she understood Kuro as well. That’s the reason for Kuro’s defeat – when your enemy knows exactly what you are going to do, your advantage becomes a weakness. Yes, in a truly military sense there is a certain level of power against which no tactics can overcome – no matter how well its defenders fought, the Alamo still fell, and Pyrrhus was defeated by Rome even though he kept winning – but this is not the case in mahjong. Without a plan to thwart Toki, Kuro was doomed to defeat from the start, because Toki certainly knew how to thwart her.

I must admit, this show is doing weird things to my loyalties. I still like the Achiga girls and hope they win (at least until they face Kiyosumi), but I really like how Senriyama operates. Instead of depending on their special abilities and charging in blind, they’re doing research, using statistics, and developing strategies to bolster their already impressive skills. I have a soft spot for honest idiots like Shizu, but at the end of the day I most love those who use their brains to triumph over life’s challenges. Fortunately, I don’t have to pick just one to root for quite yet – two teams can advance from this round, so go Achiga and Senriyama! If nothing else, Kuro definitely deserves a chance to learn from this defeat and come back swinging, though what she can do against Toki’s limited prescience, I have no idea.

Next up is Yuu-oneechan’s match. Once again, it looks like Senriyama’s megane-chan has done the number crunching and figured out what Yuu-oneechan’s special ability is. It may have been harder to see, but the numbers do not lie, and now that Senriyama’s Nijou Izumi (Matsunaga Maho) knows what to expect, Yuu-oneechan is just as vulnerable as her imouto was. The only thing that remains to be seen is whether she knows Izumi and the others well enough to thwart them in return…or whether she can bring so much force to bear that their tactics won’t matter. You guys wanted crazy mahjong? Here it is! Bring on the next episode!!

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Know thyself & know thy enemy, or a sickly girl voiced by #OguraYui is going to hand you your ass on a platter. Politely, though #SakiAchiga

Random thoughts:

  • Ryuuka asked Toki to go to the finals with her. That’s the ultimate Saki yuri flag! Ohandbytheway, check out Ishihara Kaori’s myanimelist profile. One of her favorites is Ogura Yui. *dramatically puts on yuri goggles* Ohoho!
  • Toki’s sickliness is going to be a problem later on. It looked like she was seriously flagging towards the end of that match, so put her into a tougher one and her body might not be able to handle it.
  • Why didn’t Akado tell Kuro about her weakness? She had to have known, or she’s not nearly as good as people make her out to be.
  • I like how Achiga’s monster are actually turning out to be liabilities. This just means that if Yuu-oneechan can’t get their points back, it’s going to be up the normal players to finish the job – unless they turn out to not be so normal after all. I hope they’re completely normal. It’s more fun to see Batman sucker punch Cthulu than it is to see Superman do the same, if you know what I mean.

Full-size images: 01, 16, 31

 

Preview

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End Card

Saki Achiga hen episode of Side A   05   End Card
May 6, 2012 at 3:35 pm
26 comments »
  • May 6, 2012 at 3:48 pmKinni

    Stilts, are you the same one from the Yalla Scans? And judging from the preview, it seems that Yuu will surprise them.

    • May 6, 2012 at 4:43 pmStilts

      I am not. Is there another Stilts out there? THAT IMPOSTER! Probably a witch, we should burn them immediately!!

      *grabs his pitchfork and begins to riot*

  • May 6, 2012 at 4:04 pmAnnyms

    Ahh, I was dreading this episode because I knew what would happen to Kuro from the manga. Poor Kuro-chan. Can’t wait for the next ep though. It’ll be great! Welcome back crazy mahjong of Saki fame!

  • May 6, 2012 at 4:30 pmSteelman

    MMh I must say I do not fully agree with your strategic assessment Stilts. To me, the main strategic blunder here is the playing position – simply put, Kuro is not suitable to play as Vanguard.

    Let me explain. Since in Mahjong it is much easier to make small hands compared to big hands, most teams put their best players first – that way they try to get ahead in points in the Vanguard match and then run away with cheap, fast hands. Of course there are exceptions, like Koromo playing last and Yuuki playing first because of their respective powers.

    Now, at its basic level winning in Mahjong is about three things:
    A. Make big hands
    B. Win a lot of hands
    C. Avoid giving away points (i.e., let opponents ron off you).

    In Saki, mahjong players can be divided between those that have hax powers and those that are normal people. Each hax power tends to be specific and variabily helps in the A-B-C category. For example, Kuro’s power helps her with A (lots of dora = big hand), does essentially nothing in B, and actually hurts her in C (she can’t discard dora). On the other hand, Toki’s hax power helps her in all areas (A: ippatsu riichi for big points – B: knows what to discard to win next turn – C: knows which discards to avoid).

    When Kuro is playing normal opponents like last episode, she is going to lose some, but the few hands she wins are big enough to rack in the points. However, when faced with a monster opponent with a well-rounded hax power, she is simply not going to win any hand and end up hugely in the red.

    Summary: Kuro is an offensive player. She either wins big or lose big. She should be put in the middle of the roster to maximize the chance of playing against normal opponents, not as Vanguard where she is likely to face better balanced and stronger hax players. Since Achiga has no well-rounded/defensive hax player, they should just put an intelligent, normal player in the Vanguard spot (like Shiori or Ako) to play a defensive game and reduce the damage.

    Damn, I should become a mahjong coach. Oh wait, in real life people can not affect probability or look at hidden information…

    • May 6, 2012 at 7:37 pmStilts

      Interesting. So I guess if there were no special mahjong powers, Kuro would be in the right place? Assuming she was still good at big hand wins even without her dora power. If so, I guess the problem is they’re building out their team like they’re in our world, instead of the world of hax mahjong powers they’re actually in. Insufficient genre savvy!!

    • May 6, 2012 at 8:29 pmsammy

      kuro is in good position to play vanguard against kiyosumi since the first two players are their weakest players. I also feel Akado may be good player but not good coach until the current manga chapter, I didn’t see her do any real coaching.

      • May 6, 2012 at 8:50 pmFencedude

        Kuro would easily annihilate Yuuki. Of course, Kuro and Yuuki won’t be the only ones at that table, will they?

      • May 6, 2012 at 9:28 pmAnnyms

        I think you guys are underestimating Yuuki a bit. She’s actually insane in the East Wind and is tough to beat. She does seem to get psyched out by the presence of strong opponents, but she can hold her own if she keeps her resolve together. This is coming from the Yuuki seen in the latest manga chapters though so I don’t know if you’ve read the manga up to the current point in the story.

      • May 6, 2012 at 11:29 pmStilts

        Even not having read the recent manga chapters, I agree about Yuuki. Even if she is outshone by Nodoka and Saki, she deserves to be on that team. Kuro might be better, but I don’t think she would totally destroy Yuuki by any means. And I still rate that a “might,” by the way.

      • May 6, 2012 at 11:40 pmZaku Fan

        With Yuuki, what will happen is that she will finish the game before Kuro can finish collecting her dora to complete her tiles. She will do this for a number of rounds before she runs out of juice then Kuro will start to win back a few rounds. The end result is that Yuuki will win or lose by a small amount.

      • May 7, 2012 at 12:30 amFencedude

        Of course, they are both going to get crushed by Teru, so its not like it really matters.

      • May 7, 2012 at 12:50 amAn

        Yuuki looks amazing in that match because 2 of her opponents is normal people and err… a Jindai Komaki? lol

        If Yuuki is pitted against Kuro, I think Yuuki will win considering Kuro’s limitation. If Yuuki reads how Kuro plays, Yuuki will definitely win. If Yuuki didn’t reads Kuro but she reads Yuuki the result would be a close one.

        Achiga is simply not on the level of Kiyosumi. Even their monster’s power is only average when compared to other school’s monsters, which makes them the real underdog (and forces my inner soul to automatically root for them).

      • May 7, 2012 at 11:13 ampanzerfan

        Yuuki is really a bona-fide national class monster, and with the training camp that came inbetween the National and the Prefectural, she is not to be joked about. Recall that she did 14/20 rounds victory in prefectural individual with East only…

        From reading the manga, it’s clear that Kuro hasn’t the time to digest from her falling as she received her rude awakening in the midst of battle, whereas Yuuki had the luxury of being torn apart by Inoue Jun and had the time to reflect and practice with the said player. This means that Kuro, as she is, cannot capitalize on the ability to pull dora to cut her enemies off early, whereas Yuuki, now even more collected from the her recent national rounds, might hold her shit together against Teru-tier monster and win a few hands here and there…

    • May 7, 2012 at 11:36 amYakuman

      Very nice analization though I don’t completely agree on everyone putting their best players as the vanguard. Rather like there are two types of teams. There’s one who puts their best as the vanguard (like Kazekoshi, Eisui or Shiraitodai), and there’s one who goes by ordering their players by strength (like Kiyosumi, Ryuumonbuchi, Tsuruga or Miyamori). Achiga belongs to the first type, it’s a different matter that Kuro is a very weak monster in the world of Saki and is not fit to play as a vanguard due to the reasons you’ve mentioned.

  • May 6, 2012 at 6:14 pmShuin_Zwei

    Random note:

    Toki’s Seiyuu is same as Alice in Kamisama no Memochou

    I didt a few research when I heard Toki’s voice was like Alice and i’m not wrong :3

    • May 7, 2012 at 3:04 amAnimesetsuna

      Yeap. Yui Ogura you mean. :3

  • May 6, 2012 at 6:26 pmAn

    Kuroooooooo… T_T

    I eagerly expecting to see Yuu-nee’s mahjongasm next ep, but seeing it in the preview makes me grinning ear to ear.
    And those chibis are HNNNGGGGHHHHH……

    I think Achiga’s player position is good enough. Kuro’s power allows her to win big early while others keep it, evident from previous matches before Senriyama.
    IMO, Kuro’s power is actually a good one if done right, her mistake is not playing quick-win style with fewer doras and instead goes high-score style by waiting until every dora in the table comes.
    Playing against someone fast with cheap score is normal, but playing against someone fast with medium score is hell I tell you.
    She also lacks courage to sacrifice those doras for maneuverability while people still can win without dora. All are of course subjects to plot factor. :)

    • May 6, 2012 at 9:20 pmAn

      Oh crap, I rewrote the same comments again below T_T please del them.
      Hmm… I don’t recall a comment requires a moderation approval before, was there a condition for a comment to applies into this feature?

  • May 6, 2012 at 8:19 pmFencedude

    Toki’s sickliness is going to be a problem later on. It looked like she was seriously flagging towards the end of that match, so put her into a tougher one and her body might not be able to handle it.

    This will almost certainly be a problem in the Semis when she’ll have to face Kuro again, and more importantly, Miyanaga Teru.

    Toki and Ryuuka are easily on the same level of “confirmed couple” as Yumi and Momo.

    …I kinda want Toki to meet Momo. I feel like they’d get along well.

  • May 6, 2012 at 9:48 pmLightnDark

    Eh..Actually Toki has a future diary from Deus, that’s why she knows exactly when to declare Riichi

    XX:XX I drew X tile! I should have declared Riichi earlier.. ->
    XX:XX I drew X tile and won with an ippatsu again! :D

    As for the yuri affair, Div showed a video of the duo dancing KissxSis OP IRL so..I mean they do perform together, what that means is open to interpretation :)

    • May 6, 2012 at 9:55 pm†Croos†

      Mahjong Nikki.

      Lol. They were call tiles like crazy just to avoid her yet, WTF, she still got it. Only people who can see the future will understand this. orz

  • May 6, 2012 at 10:10 pmKamiyaCheap

    Toki is a National class Monster! Her ability is one of the strongest, how bad ass it is that u can actually read the future of one flow in Mahjong!

  • May 6, 2012 at 11:02 pmGing

    I love Kuro and definitely Yuu-nee (serious Yuu for the win) but I’m starting to like Senriyama more and more. If I had to choose who I really want to see face off in the finals, it’d be Teru and Toki (on the A side). I’d really like to see them duke it out since I don’t think they’ve faced off yet.

  • May 7, 2012 at 3:05 amAnimesetsuna

    Kuro lose. But Yuu-nee will win for sure in the next episode.

  • May 7, 2012 at 4:46 pmKirin

    Why didn’t Akado tell Kuro about her weakness? She had to have known, or she’s not nearly as good as people make her out to be.

    Kuro already knows. She just refuses to do anything about it. As the episode pointed out, the dora are sort of like a memento from her deceased mother. To her, discarding a dora means much more than just dropping a risky tile. It could be compared to her severing her connection with her mother. Like she said, she values the dora more than winning when she plays.

    Unfortunately for her, this turns her greatest strength into an exploitable weakness.

  • May 10, 2012 at 3:55 amYalvyn

    This’s the first ep. that give me the real saki vibe.
    Gotta love this.