Episode seventeen of Saki takes us to the half-way point of the qualifying match's final round, but there's only one person at the table walking away for the break with a smile on their face, with Koromo having had a field day with her opponents, leaving them all looking decidedly depressed.
With that break underway, all three of Koromo's opponents find themselves being consoled by their team-mates, with Saki in particular getting some words of motivation from Nodoka as she finds herself lost on the way to the bathroom.
However, words can only do so much, and as we rejoin the action for the second half of this round things certainly don't get any better - Indeed, Koromo seems to be on a even more of a vicious run of form, targeting Kazekoshi relentlessly until she brings them to their knees with a total of zero points. Could this be Koromo's first major mistake however? Her choice to take Kazekoshi to zero points was at the expense of winning the game outright, and in the very next hand the situation is saved by some cunning play by Saki to bring the fourth-placed team back into the points; of course, as we already know from early in the series Saki is a dab-hand at losing points as well as winning them. Finally, Saki seems to have found something to enjoy in her game, which could spell trouble for the other prodigy at the table as the match continues next episode...
So, once again I've found myself getting caught up well and truly in the Mahjong side of this series, after some decidedly nondescript words of encouragement in that half-way break time. It was almost starting to get a bit dull watching Koromo wipe the floor with all and sundry (especially when coupled with her "moon power" or whatever which gave nobody else any chance of winning a hand effectively), but things have certainly taken an interesting turn right at the end to renew my excitement somewhat - Things could be about to get mighty competitive in the next episode.