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
- 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.
ED video will be added whenever I learn how to suck at encoding less. In the meantime, have a sleeping onee-chan, HNNNG!!
ED2: 「Futuristic Player」 by 橋本みゆき (Hashimoto Miyuki)
Watch the 2nd ED!: Streaming ▼