What They Say:
After Senriyama’s domination of the first round, Achiga is left in last place. Yuu promises to get the lost points back in her game. And Ako’s speed play disrupts the pace of the other players.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The flashback into the younger lives of the Matsumi sisters is a welcome thing, providing some characterization to what have so far been little more than one-dimensional representations of characters. We learn that in the past it has been Kuro who has always saved Yuu, but now in the present, Yuu promises to reverse the situation. She will need to overcome her propensity to play in a certain style.
And she does it, partially because the profile Senriyama developed of her play is wrong. It was not a matter of red dragons and character tiles, but red tiles overall. It appears that the Matsumi sisters have an odd relationship to tiles with the color red on them. At the end of the round, however, little has changed. Yuu managed to close the gap slightly, but Achiga is still in last place. Back at the ready room, the girls gather and rev themselves up for a comeback. Sadly, this is it for Yuu. We move on to Ako’s turn.
In the Senriyama room, we see their third player, Sera, prepare for the match. She’s the one who dresses like a boy, though for playing in the tournament, they force her to wear a proper girl’s uniform which embarrasses her greatly (even though it does suit her better).
Off to the match. Ako gets off to a fast start, winning the first two hands and pulling Achiga out of last place. It’s not all smooth sailing however, as Senriyama’s Sera is quite capable and manages to increase their lead over the other schools by the end of the round. So, it will be up to Arata to try to hold onto to second place and perhaps advance further.
It’s a little disappointing how little time they gave to Yuu, after all of the build up at the end of the last episode. I would have thought that an entire episode could have been used on her round, much as happened in the original series. But that is not to be. Yuu’s moment in the warmth of the spotlight is all too short. We learn a little more about her, but I can’t help feeling like she continues to be left dangling before us with little more depth than a fridge magnet. So, it’s swiftly off to Ako, who gets very little depth added to her as well. We learn that she’s probably the best player on Achiga’s team and that she can play very quickly and decisively. As to her personality and background, we get nothing more. So, Ako remains a cipher.
I can’t help but continue to feel a little disappointed by this show. It’s entertaining enough, but what I really wanted, I see now, was Saki Season 2. Instead, we’re being given Diet Saki or Saki Lite. It’s a Saki-flavored show more than a side story or sequel. We’re being shown hardly more than snippets of mahjong, and there is little being done to round out the lead characters’ personalities. They make brief forays into doing so, but never really follow through. Yes, I think I understand Yuu and Kuro slightly better now, but as for Ako, she remains largely a mystery. And even then, the level depth is still more like the kiddie pool than the olympic platform diving area.
Yuu Matsumi does not recover all that her younger sister lost, but she did accomplish the first step in recovery: when you’re in a deep hole, stop digging. This was important, as it gave Ako, Achiga’s strongest player, the chance to rectify the situation by pulling Achiga up to second place. It’s going to be a long climb to reach Senriyama, if they want to do that, and it may be a tough struggle just to keep second place as the other two schools will be desperate to grab points from anyone they can. Now, it will be up to Arata to carry Achiga forward.
Streamed by: Crunchyroll
Apple iMac with 4GB RAM, Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard