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Saki Episode #21 Anime Review

3 min read
Saki Episode 21

It’s time for the individual competitions, to see who else will get to go to Tokyo.

What They Say
Hand 21 – Recollection
Prefectural Representative Selection Ceremony for the individual competition has begun! Few turn out for the presentation, as preparation is the number one priority. As the names of the competitors are placed on the board, Kiyosumi Mahjong Club vows to give it their all and focus on their training for the competition ahead. Meanwhile, a figure lurks in the shadows…

The Review!
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
So, on to the individual competitions. The top three in the competition will represent the prefecture in the National Tournament. The preliminary matches are now only half as long as they were in the team tournament, with only the East Wind round being played (everyone gets to be dealer once). This is especially helpful to Yuuki, since she jumps out to a very quick lead early in matches, but tires when the match goes on for too long. Thus, the shortened matches help her greatly and it’s no surprise that she does very well on the first day of the two-day event.

The audience about now…

Kiyosumi’s members do fairly well overall and we see some appearances from the other schools who appeared in the finals for the team tournament. Touka Ryuumonbuchi gets an extended focus, though it’s partially to show her discomfort when confronted with the “newbie” girl, Kaori Senou from Tsuruga Academy, who gave everyone a hard time in the team tournament. More time, however, is given later to the “reunion” of sorts between Mihoko Fukuji, the captain of Kazekoshi, and Hisa Takei, the president of the Kiyosumi club. Hisa plays her standard “hell wait” style, deliberately opting for difficult hands to win. Mihoko eventually is pressed into using her closed eye again to get the best of Hisa and with the blue eye now showing, Hisa finally remembers that she had played against Mihoko before back in the middle school tournament.

While there are some amusing moments, this can’t help but feel like the filler that it is compared to the grand drama that was the team competition. The rest of the season is shaping up to be the viewing equivalent of treading some water. It’s in cases like this where you have to wonder if it wouldn’t be better if they just ended the run of the series and came up with a short-run (4-5 episode) show to fill out the season. But…that’s not how it works.

Wait, wait, wait a minute here? Did they go through a wormhole and gender-flip us? (Nah…it’s just Kyoutarou getting his butt kicked in the boys’ competition)

In Summary:
With the major story over for the moment, what we get can’t help but feel more like a side story than part of the main plot. The mahjong competition is fast and furious, with so many matches taking place all at the same time. We get a little bit of humor, mainly coming from Yuuki and Kyoutaro again, as well as Touka’s over the top outbursts and a little bit of sappiness from Mihoko. After the thrilling main event earlier, the individual tournament does not really feel like it has the same level of drama and intensity. Certainly, for the future appearance of certain characters, this tournament is all or nothing, but since the members of Kiyosumi, our central focus, are already guaranteed to get to Tokyo, it does not quite feel as if so much is riding on the line.

Grade: B

Streamed by: Crunchyroll

Review Equipment:
Apple iMac with 12GB RAM, Mac OS 10.11 El Capitan.