Saki: Achiga-hen episode of Side-A – 09
This is it, this is why I’m watching this show. Finally some proper Saki-style mahjong! Oh man, Stilts is excited. Where to start, where to start. Well, let’s take each character who is playing this round in turn.
Teru is terufying. (Props/blame go to Moomba for that teruable pun) Not that this is surprising – everything we’ve heard about Teru has built her up to be this ridiculous monster of a player, but now that we finally see her…well, she does not disappoint. Let’s take stock:
- Teru rarely wins the first hand. Instead, she uses it to gauge her opponent’s abilities. By that, I don’t mean she looks for stuff she could have gotten from reading their stats. I mean a crazy magical mirror appears behind her opponents and reveals their true selves to her. Their whole play style will be Teru’s to know after one measly hand.
- Teru snowballs. She starts small, but if you let her keep winning, the value of her hands will climb until she’s winning tens of thousands of points per hand.
But what really makes Teru so fearsome is the combination of these two. Her snowball ability has devastating potential, but abilities that you have to chain are always a pain to use (see: any fighting game ever), since breaking the combo will set her back to square one. Or rather, this would be a problem, if not for the fact that Teru can see into your very soul and get intimate knowledge of your play style after only one hand. That, plus the crazy hurricane thing she’s got going on when she starts to combo (it pulls in the tiles she needs, perhaps?) all add together to mean that she really does deserve every bit of her fearsome reputation.
Subara is marvelous. Okay, her name isn’t actually Subara (it’s Hanada Kirame of Shindouji Girls’ High School), but I’m calling her Subara because DAT SUBARA!! *coughs* So yeah, I’m pretty fond of Subara already, and not just because of her fun little catch phrase. Subara is strong. I don’t mean as a player, though to have gotten this far she’s probably that as well. I mean she’s strong as a person. To have played against the demon Teru a couple of days ago and still come out for this game all chipper and ready to go shows some serious willpower. What’s more, she even managed to do the
impossible difficult and cut off Teru’s winning streak! (With a little help from Toki) I anticipate great things in Subara’s future.
Kuro is irrelevant. This is a really odd show sometimes. Here we have one of the main protagonists playing in what will be the last match of his series, and she did nothing the entire episode. Not only that, she wasn’t even the focus! All she did was sit around and quake in fear while Teru, Toki, and Subara duked it out.
Another thing on Kuro: she continues to lack conviction. You would think hanging out with Shizu would give her above average willpower (willpower gets transferred like radiation, right? Or is it more like an STD?), but she still gets shaken too easily. That and she’s too desperate! Desperation isn’t a attractive trait, Kuro-chan. Still, I can’t help but partially blame Akado for all of this. If Hisa was coaching Achiga, she would have found some clever way to help Kuro keep her cool. C’mon coach, you should probably start doing some coaching.
Toki is the true protagonist. Looking back, 90% of this episode was from Toki’s point of view as she tried to stop Teru’s onslaught. Not that there’s anything wrong with other characters taking center stage for a while – there were a number of episodes in the original series that were from other points of view – but that usually happens because these other characters rose up and became threats to Kiyosumi. In contrast, our designated protagonist here is sitting around uselessly while Toki focuses on Teru.
Not that there’s anything wrong with a Toki-centric episode either, mind you. The story of how she acquired her Limited Prescience ability was pretty ridiculous, and for once I don’t say this in an admiring way. She teetered between life and death, and for that ordeal she got the power to…see one turn ahead in mahjong. You got jipped! But that aside, Senriyama is full of very likeable characters, and Ryuuka x Toki are giving us our only legitimate yuri shipping of the show. Honestly, I can’t help but wonder if this whole side story thing would have been better with Senriyama as the protagonists. The whole point of this series was to get to this one match, right? Seems to me we didn’t need to waste 8 episodes getting here when it could have been done with Senriyama inside of two.
Anyway, a good episode! Now, my predictions for next week. It seems to me that Toki & co would be wise to do what Hisa once did to Saki – keep winning with cheap, gutter hands in order to keep Teru from bitch-slapping them with the big ones. Of course, Hisa did that to stop Saki’s kan, whereas here it would be to stop Teru from comboing, but the basic tactic is the same – seal Teru’s snowball and get out of this round as quickly as possible, and then leave it up to the other players to make up the deficit. It’s not a proud way to go out, but with Shiraitodai already 50K points ahead, going for wins against Teru seems futile. It’s ostensibly possible to pull points out of a monster’s mouth, but it’s far more likely that you’ll get eaten. Player beware.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Teru is terufying, Subara is marvelous, Kuro is irrelevant, & Toki is the true hero. The crazy mahjong, IT HAS ARRIVED!! #SakiAchiga
- I continue to love those camera angles. Swiftly approved!
- I don’t know how, but Teru can apparently thwart Toki’s prescience and pull in the tile she needs anyway. Rule #1 of Teru mahjong: Teru decides who wins. Rule #2: it’s always Teru.
- It was mentioned that Shiraitodai played in a different order during the Spring Tournament, which is why Toki hasn’t played Teru before. Does that mean it’s possible for them to switch it up again so that Teru can face Saki, or do they have to stick with the same order for the whole tournament? That’s a serious question by the way. Anybody know? Because if not, Yuuki will have to play Teru. Teh horror…
- It looks like Ryuuka is proposing to Toki. You don’t even need yuri goggles with these two, it’s just right out there. Get a room already, you two! And maybe take Sera with you. She looks excited.
- How can a kind, purple-haired, zettai ryouiki-wearing, HanaKana-voiced protagonist be my least favorite character at the table? Madness!
- Luckiest. Penguin. Evar. Anyone remember how the King of the Night (korezon) wanted to be a penguin in his next life? Ten bucks say he picked Etopen. I know I would.