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Saki: Achiga-hen episode of Side-A – 09

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「最強」 (Saikyou)
“Best”

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

Random thoughts:

  • 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.

Full-length images: 10, 36.

 

Preview

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End Card

Saki Achiga hen episode of Side A   09   End Card
June 10, 2012 at 5:58 pm
43 comments »
  • June 10, 2012 at 6:21 pmPeanutbutter

    The Teru train had started. This match will be devastating and perhaps hard to watch later on.

    It’s like Gohan/Piccolo/Krillin before final form Freeza. Only this time, there will be no Goku appearing.

    Props for the BGM. It’s obvious the budget was not much but they managed to create a good atmosphere with the music.

  • June 10, 2012 at 6:28 pmP Ko

    Boooooing! is all I have to say about Nodoka.

    Why doesn’t this site have a forum? I’ve always wondered that.

  • June 10, 2012 at 6:42 pm†Croos†

    • June 10, 2012 at 11:03 pmCybersteel

      I thought you meant Terru plays mahjoing -_-

      • June 10, 2012 at 11:10 pmCroos

        there are 2 images.

  • June 10, 2012 at 7:17 pmdanyami

    • June 10, 2012 at 7:52 pmStilts

      Yes. Exactly like that.

      O.O

  • June 10, 2012 at 7:40 pmThe Green One

    You think it’s bad for the Kuro and the others now? Just wait…this is just Teru’s loving foreplay…..the true hell is still yet to come….

  • June 10, 2012 at 8:04 pmAn

    Stilts : 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?

    The tournament rules prohibit changes in player’s order in a team. So yeah Teru can’t face Saki directly.

    It’s sad to see Zettai-Ryouiki-Hanakana character end up like this. Kurooo Faitooo (| ̄|Д| ̄|)/

    • June 10, 2012 at 8:19 pmStilts

      Thank ya very much. I assumed as much, but thought I would check. This could be the best way for the Saki manga / season 2 (I hope!) to go anyway. I mean, that way Teru will be able to give her full attention to watching Saki wins back her love :3

      • June 10, 2012 at 11:30 pmelior1

        @stilts there is 15 episodes in saki achiga hen which will end the semi finals they was add 3 more episodes not long ago

      • June 11, 2012 at 12:23 amFencedude

        Saki and Teru will presumably face off in the Individuals.

        I’m personally pulling for a Saki-Teru-Mihoko-Kei final table.

      • June 11, 2012 at 6:56 amStilts

        @ elior1

        I know. I’m just already looking ahead to Saki Season 2, lol

        @ Fencedude

        You’re probably right, but I do believe the individual tournament arc was anime only…in the manga, I think Kiyosumi did the same thing that Achiga did and only wanted to compete in the team tournament (which fit Hisa’s point of view a little better, but hey). That means that unless they change up what happens in a hypothetical Saki A’s (or whatever it gets called) a whole lot, and heart-to-heart between Saki and Teru should happen during the team tournament.

  • June 10, 2012 at 8:20 pmThe Green One

    I wonder when it will occur to Kuro that if Achiga somehow survives the round and advances, she’s going to have to do this again in the finals….. Poor thing, curbstomped in every single round but the first.

  • June 10, 2012 at 8:22 pmPtolemaios00

    Kuro’s Dora/Dragon play style is like Saki’s Rinshan style; if it hits, it’s huge. However for most of the match, they are usually just quivering at other superpowers (ie. Koromo).

    • June 11, 2012 at 5:19 amZaku Fan

      If i remember correctly, Saki was not quivering in fear vs Koromo but because she did not go to the toilet.

      Saki’s rinshan move is very different from Kuro’s. Kuro’s only has a few possibilities on how she can complete her tiles because a number of her tiles are fixed to be the bonus tiles, while a kan can happen to any tile type that is not already discarded.

      Also though Kuro will always win big if she finishes score because of all the dora counting into her score but Saki’s result depends on what her full tileset is as her rinshan only adds +1 to her score. This was shown once in the original IIRC when she rinshan for very little

    • June 11, 2012 at 6:01 amtylon

      Not really…
      Mahjong is a game whereby who finish his or her hand first.

      A player can game on their very first draw. Thus, Kuro or Saki can game off as long as they have a (bloody) good draw…

  • June 10, 2012 at 8:23 pmAnnyms

    I wonder how they’re gonna play the final episode out. The next episode will cover the current manga chapter and the side-chapter that came a couple weeks ago. With only one more chapter coming before episode 11, it looks like we’ll see anime original content in the final episode. I’m starting to question the purpose of animating this side-story if they’re just gonna end the season in the middle of the semifinal match, barring some crazy stuff going on in the next chapter of side-a.

  • June 10, 2012 at 8:28 pmThe Green One

    I’ve seen announcements from reliable sources that Achiga’s episode count has been confirmed to be extended to 15.

  • June 10, 2012 at 9:49 pmJ-Luke

  • June 10, 2012 at 10:01 pmSilivious

    Dat Pengy…
    I’d like to be him. ._.

  • June 10, 2012 at 10:15 pmWatt

    This is starting to seem like a 2 vs 1 ; with Toki and “Subara” vs Teru – Kuro’s ability to draw in all the dora seems like it’s only helping the others have a better read of the tiles.
    *sigh* Besides Yuu, I’m starting to like Toki and co. more than our other protagonists. I might actually prefer Senriyama moving onto the finals since Achiga would just seem out of place there.

    And I really liked the music that played during the match. Reminds me of the theme songs you hear when you fight a final boss in an RPG :3

  • June 10, 2012 at 11:05 pmKamiyaCheap

    Toki was never in the regular in the past 2 year in her High School. After obtaining that ability than she became a regular. That’s why she never face Teru before, plus Teru was on “Taishou” position during her Second year.

  • June 10, 2012 at 11:15 pmCroos

    At least we have 3 more sakiA episode added. :)
    Go kuro. show as more expressions.

    • June 11, 2012 at 12:29 amJ-Luke

      I guess “Go Kuro” is not to be confused with “gokurousan” here…

      • June 11, 2012 at 6:59 amStilts

        Not until after Teru is done whooping her, at least! D:

  • June 11, 2012 at 4:06 amtylon

    I had an urge to shout “天照大神” after watching this episode… lol, play too much game… :)

  • June 11, 2012 at 5:30 amZaku Fan

    Teru really shows how a god level monster should be like. Other than Saki herself (and perhaps one of her opponents in the manga), i don’t see anyone else really reaching this level of absolute destruction. Koromo could reach this level if she put in the effort to learn the game but as of now, she is basically just like a talented athelete who refuses to train to reach her potential. These 3 are like rulers over the tiles. They want a tile, the tile shows up, probability be damned.

    Nodoka, Mihoko, Yumi and the rest are at best youkai level. They do what they can with what they have but unlike the god level monsters, the tiles don’t obey them and their abilities are limited or easily broken

    If Kuro and/or Yuu develop their abilities so that the tiles that come are not fixed or in a different manner, then they could have a run with the 3. The other 3 achiga girls still have too little known about them but so far they don’t look at all strong

    • June 11, 2012 at 7:02 amStilts

      If Yumi is youkai level, it isn’t because of any special ability. To borrow a Medaka Box comparison, she would be Zenkichi – a normal who only stands with the abnormals because she plays the game how it was intended to be played at a high level. Which is probably why she’s one of my favorites ^^

      • June 11, 2012 at 7:55 amZaku Fan

        Absolutely on Yumi. She has not shown supernatural abilities but remain calm and unruffled. I really liked how the final set in Koromo’s match showed that she was close (2 tiles off IIRC) to kokushi-musou. Its little wonder she’s the main player for her school

    • June 11, 2012 at 8:20 amAn

      I don’t think absolute destruction is Koromo’s forte. If I were to compare them as in a fighting game, I’d says Teru’s style deliver nice combo to make sure you can’t even get up while she keeps pounding you. While Koromo is like tying you up, then peels out your skin, then meat, slowly, sloooooooowly.
      Ho crap! What kind of fighting game was that?! lol

  • June 11, 2012 at 7:01 am†Croos†

    Stilts, I think the hurricane or typhoon are a perfect representation for Teru. The faster and bigger its spins, the deadlier it can be.

    But damn Kuro. Why didn’t you just played in Toki’s hand. It might shatter Teru’s see through play.

    • June 11, 2012 at 7:17 am†Croos†

      I don’t know how, but Teru can apparently thwart Toki’s prescience and pull in the tile she needs anyway

      Stilts remember that the Toki can only see the future but Teru can see everything in every player. I think Teru would know what Toki is thinking just by seeing through her habit, style, discard, emotion and soul(?). Maybe also her mind. D:

      This mahjong play is already absurd but hey that what makes this Saki story interesting. (≦ω・)

      • June 11, 2012 at 1:23 pmStilts

        Ahhh, good point. In that case, it’s not that she thwarts it – Toki’s prescience does derail the plan she’s going for. The only thing is that Teru has Plan B, C, and probably D, E, & F lined up in case such a thing happens. Then all she needs to do is discard in such a way as to bring about that situation…

        Not fool-proof, of course, but if you are beloved by the tiles and know exactly how everyone will react in any given situation, all you need is good situational awareness and a fast mind to dominate. Frightening Terufying!

      • June 11, 2012 at 1:57 pmMaximilian

        The thing with thwarting Toki is that Teru learns she has this ability in the first round. So when you know that someone will win in the first turn after declaring riichi, you would call a tile so as to change the order.

        As for the episodes, I also wonder how they will go on after reaching the manga. In the original anime, I believe the author provided the individuals’ beforehand so there is that but…. yeah.

  • June 11, 2012 at 1:41 pmMDK

    http://randomc.net/image/Saki%20Achiga-hen%20episode%20of%20Side-A/Saki%20Achiga-hen%20episode%20of%20Side-A%20-%2009%20-%20Large%2016.jpg

    WTF was that man. I thought this was fucking game of mahjong. You just used some sort of like fucking super power.

    wahaha shoutouts to the sf flash collab

    God Teru is so cool

  • June 11, 2012 at 2:19 pmMoomba

    The long wait to see Teru play was definitely worth it <3

  • June 11, 2012 at 10:08 pmahelo

    If I’m not mistaken, they already showed Teru facing off Yuuki in the finals in that preview of the second season when the original Saki ended.

  • June 14, 2012 at 12:05 amtendo

    I just wish Teru would have orgasms like Saki does when playing high level mahjong.

  • June 14, 2012 at 3:08 amCroos

    I somehow feel that the aftermath will be – Teru nearly depleting all the players points and Kuro will finish the game making Toki or Kirame’s point to negative

  • June 16, 2012 at 5:39 pmPeteL

    I think there is going to be a Savior Star Dragon and Dark Magician moment in Kuro’s match. Teru is like the Egyptian God Cards, overly haxed to the extreme.

  • June 17, 2012 at 3:46 pmPeteL

    After reading the latest Saki manga, I’ve come to the conclusion that…

    Teru is like Exodia the Forbidden One.
    Saki is like Winged Dragon of Ra.
    Anatei Toyone is like Oberlisk the Tormentor.
    Onjouji Toki is like Slifer the Sky Dragon.

    And those four just happen to be my favorite characters. xD

  • August 8, 2012 at 10:05 pmJONY13

    Subara-desuno………………………………………………………