We've made it there in rather a hurry, but Episode of Side-A has at last brought us to its national mahjong tournament, and the girls of Achiga High School have already glimpsed a taste, however slight, of the power that resides within Saki Miyanaga.
That brief taste is all they'll have to sate themselves with for now however, as the draw for the tournament sees Achiga and Kiyosumi places on entirely opposite sides of the draw, meaning that the only way for our group of young hopefuls to achieve their dream of playing against Nodoka will be to make it all the way to the final.
After a day of watching videos of their first round opponents in action, we finally get to see a bit of Achiga's team going through their mahjong paces - more specifically, we get to see Kuro Matsumi's strange, unique and decidedly harsh way of playing the game applied perfectly as she does her beat for the team as their opening player. Sadly, that's all we get as we dart away from the action again only to return after Achiga has already won their first match. If that all seemed a little easy however, the next round gives them a far more dangerous opponent to play against, with Achiga pitted against the ultra-powerful Senriyama High School together with some other newcomers to the tournament. Can they prevail against this well-established team?
I hate to sound like a broken record, but once again Episode of Side-A is leaving me frustrated by giving little more than lip service to the drama and tension that is this show's game of choice - by far the best part of an otherwise slightly dull episode was getting to see Kuro in action, while the rest of her team-mates had their own games skipped over entirely in favour of chit-chat and focusing on other teams. While I'm not advocating that the whole series should have wall-to-wall mahjong, I still don't feel like I know or care enough about any of Achiga High School's characters, and not seeing them in action isn't exactly helping with that. I seem to be ending each entry for this series with something along the lines of "it looks like we'll get to the real action next week", but it's fast reaching the point where I simply don't think it's going to happen any more.