Saki Episode 23

Posted by DiGiKerot in Saki at September 13, 2009 on 8:15 pm

And the individual preliminaries have concluded in me being a little on the disappointed side.

Remember how I mentioned last week that the show was being a little on the inconsistent side in so much as Nodoka’s ‘net-Mah Jong developed resistance to Stealth Mo-mo-mode didn’t extend to Touka nor the glasses-wearing girl who was playing with Saki and Hisa in that match? Well, it turns out that online Mah Jong was the key after all, as Saki is apparently so amazing that her incredibly brief spell playing online Mah Jong taught her enough to able to clearly read the whole board by paying attention only to the tiles, and not the players behind them. This means she could see Momoko’s silly discard for long enough to win the game off it.

After which, the episode turns into a bit of a mess – an understandable one, admittedly, given they’ve only got an episode or so left. They play three games of massive importance at the same time, all in less than half an episode. It wouldn’t be so bad, but it does mean the Saki versus Nanpo match they’ve been building to gets absolutely none of the screentime or gravitas that you’d want from it. Even more criminally, though, is the fact that they set up a match between Hisa, Touka, Mihoko and Yumi, something that’d promise to be an epic affair good enough to span several episodes, only to spend about as little time on that as they did on the Saki game.

The final disappoint is the predictability of those going through to the Nationals, though. Mihoko, that’s fine. Both Nodoka and Saki going through, though, is rather less interesting. I understand that the intention is presumably to lead up until a dramatic Saki versus Nodoka battle during the nationals, perhaps even as the conclusion to the entire series, but in the short-term at least there’s no drama or interest in it. And, frankly, Nodoka and Saki are just about the least interesting and entertaining characters in the entire series. Sure, Saki promises to be interesting once she finally meets up with her sister and mother, given Saki’s tendency to display character traits that suggest a major history of abuse, but that’s a ways off yet. For now, neither really has anything beyond lesbianism or huge b00bs going for them.

Honestly, I was hoping right up until the last minute that Touka was going to knock someone out of the top three, particularly when Saki just edged her way into that third spot whilst the other games were still ongoing. I guess that really isn’t going to happen when your show’s called Saki, though. In any case, it’s been noticed by others that Saki and Teru play extreme different positions in team games – Teru starts off for her team, whilst Saki closes out for hers. Unless one of the teams had a major re-think, they’d have to be playing in the singles tournament for them to be able to meet (and, really, Saki has to play last for Kiyosumi for purely dramatic reasons). I just wish it was someone other than Nodoka who was going through in that last slot.

Really, though, I think I’m less disappointed in the result than I am in the complete lack of theatrics that went along with it. The players went through here without having been shown to do anything to actually deserve to do so. The cliffhanger from the previous episode went nowhere, then they payed little more than lip-service to these final games. It’s all a terribly anti-climatic way to end such a story long arc, particularly the way that they simply end up discarding Nanpo after they’d spent the last few episodes building her up to be a credible threat. It all just feels rather pointless.

Oh, well, that’s enough venting from me. It really wasn’t that bad, to be honest, and I’m sure that Touka at least will find some excuse to turn up at the Nationals in some capacity anyway. I mean, she’s rich, so it’s not as if actually playing in the Nationals is the only way she could justify going to Tokyo. That, and it’s not as if Gonzo is going to be around long enough to produce a second season anyway – every week that they aren’t animating Strike Witches Series 2 is a week in which they edge ever closer to death.

Next week, Yuuki gets an F, presumably in Maths. Really, though, it’s likely to largely be consumed by the fallout from this week. Come to think of it, is next week the last episode, or is there another one scheduled for after that?

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