As we reached the end of the seventeenth episode of Saki, things finally started to get interesting.... Very interesting. Have the tables really turned against the demonic Koromo and her terrifying style of play?
Despite that victorious hand from Saki herself last episode, it's the turn of some of her other opponents to take a bit of the limelight for a while, with Kana Ikeda in particular gaining confidence aplenty from her brush with elimination, putting together some decidedly dangerous hands while Koromo finds her concerns almost entirely obsessed with Saki.
Meanwhile, Saki finds herself unable to really hit her stride - Something still simply isn't quite right for her to unleash her full powers, but what could it be? Why, socks of course. No, I'm not kidding - It's shoes and socks that have constrained Saki's play in this game. With socks removed, Saki finally begins to pull off victory after victory, but all of these hands are cheap wins that do little to close the point gap against Kiyosumi's opponents, and indeed only serve to edge Ryuumonbuchi closer to qualification. The number of hands may be running out, but Saki seems unconcerned... Is she simply warming up for her final push?
For a while there, I thought that this episode would elongate matters without giving us a chance to enjoy any more of Saki's comeback as the focus shifted away from her, but come the second half of this episode the excitement grew as the socks came off, leaving me once again cheering at my monitor and egging on Saki to strut herself. Damn, this Mahjong anime stuff really is getting addictive... Where is all my surplus adrenaline and excitement going to go once this series is over? It's hard enough having to wait a week between episodes as the tension (and with it my enthusiasm for the series) ramps up.