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Saki Episode #22 Anime Review

4 min read
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Saki Episode 22

The individual tournament continues. What surprises lurk in store?

What They Say
Hand 22 – Promises
The second day of the individual competition has begun. Team competition results have demonstrated that these players deserve the top rankings, however the individual competition is a different field…Before long, the morning competition comes to an ending, and upon checking the ranking, Nodoka can’t believe what she sees.

The Review!
Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Sensing that the audience might be getting a bit bored, the episode opens with fanservice (Nodoka and Mihoko in bikinis—it’s a dream Kyoutarou has while sleeping on the train ride to Nagano). It’s mean to provide a bit of comic relief (as his dream turns into a nightmare as he gets left behind) before we get to the action of the episode. It’s just too bad there isn’t much action to speak of.

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Kazue Nanpo

About the only “surprise” of sorts on offer here is the reveal of the Mystery Girl who has been teased before, Kazue Nanpo, the South Wind expert. She seems to have an unnatural ability to control events during the South Wind round of play, the second half of a normal match. Yuuki has the misfortune of going against her in the first match of the second day. This is especially bad for Yuuki, since she is traditionally weak in the south wind round of play. That’s the only real piece of newish material here (remember, this is all filler at this point). And then there is Saki, who apparently has slipped back into old habits, playing ±0 mahjong. Nodoka, when she sees this on the scoreboard, goes off in a huff to confront her, as Nodoka doesn’t appreciate anyone holding back while playing. One could say the writing here is playing it very safe, just rehashing old parts of their personalities. Granted, as filler they cannot “create” anything, but it might have been more interesting if they had been more inventive within the constraints they must deal with.

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Stealth Momo activate!

The focus then shifts to one particular match: Hisa and Saki wind up in the same group, playing against Ryuumonbuchi’s Tomoki Sawamura (the glasses-wearing girl) and Momoko Touyoko of Tsuruga (aka Stealth Momo). In the beginning, Hisa hatches a little plot to ward off Saki’s ability to make kongs and the other two players go along with it. Things change however, as time passes and Stealth Momo completes the activation of her “invisible mode” against the other players. She succeeds once against Sawamura, though Hisa and Saki both notice it. But that doesn’t mean they are entirely immune from the stealth effect either. And that is where we leave things in this match. Will Saki and Hisa be able to escape the Stealth Zone? Or will Momoko manage to evade her opponents for the rest of the match and walk away with the victory? We’ll find out next time.

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In Summary:
We get the emergence of a new “monster” player, Kazue Nanpo, who did not take part in the team tournament since she attends a small school with not enough players to form a team. She appears to have the ability to dominate the South Wind round of a match, the polar opposite to Yuuki’s ability to dominate the East Wind rounds. And it is Yuuki who has the misfortune to face her in her opening match of the second day. Later in the day, an intense four-way match between Hisa, Saki, Sawamura of Ryuumonbuchi, and Tsuruga’s “Stealth” Momo provides an opportunity for Hisa to use her cunning in order to try to seal Saki’s abilities with the tiles. But will someone else be the ultimate beneficiary of that strategy? At least this episode felt less like an exercise in killing time than the previous installment and had a little more drama and tension to it, even if it is firmly constrained within the bounds of “canon.” I would hardly call it action packed and exciting. I’d rather we move ahead to the National Tournament, but that will be for another season.

Grade: B

Streamed by: Crunchyroll

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

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