With Hisa's game over, episode thirteen means that it's finally time for Nodoka to step up to the plate in the fourth round of Kiyosumi's qualifying game, where she finds herself pitted against an arch-rival (despite being decidedly unaware of that fact herself).
However, despite the high-profile billing of this particular round, it ends up largely proving itself to be a war of attrition, with nobody able to gain a definitive upper hand and plenty of exchaustive draws witnesses as nothing goes the way of any one player. Having said that though, it's Nodoka who slowly, surely and efficiently ekes out a lead for herself, proving to be the only player to win any hands outright once she gets into "the zone". The game isn't quite over as this episode finishes however, meaning that there's still room for Touka Ryuumonbuchi to get her much yearned for moment in the spotlight. Meanwhile, Koromo talks as though she's swallowed a copy of Lord of the Rings on occasion, as she waits for her own game against Saki and the final round of this qualifier.
If this episode has demonstrated one thing to me, it's that I still haven't got a clue about the game of Mahjong and how it works - You'd have thought I might have picked up a thing or two by now, wouldn't you? That aside, the actual playing of set game is still pretty compelling, lost as I am with its nuances, and it seems that no amount of stupid flashes, explosions and fan service fantasies can really detract too much from the core tenet of the series, which remains oddly exciting to me. I'm starting to wonder just how much can be fitted into a twenty-five episode series though, given that we're still not at the end of the qualifying tournament for the national finals - Are Gonzo angling for a second series of this show?