This week's instalment of Saki - Episode of Side-A begins with Nodoka dreaming of her former friends Shizuno, Ako and Kuro - could this be a sign?!
Not if the current goings-on at the mahjong table are anything to go by, no. Despite managing to interrupt her winning streak as dealer in the first half of their opening semi-final game, Teru Miyanaga shows no signs of letting up following that solitary lost hand, and when Teur is drawn to be the last dealer for the second half of the game things certainly don't bode well for her opponents.
Lo and behold, Teru continues to win hand after hand, with any attempts to stop her only becoming more desperate as she gets hold of the dealer's position and looks all set to embark upon a run to obliterate all before her. With close to a 100,000 point lead already opening up over the second-placed school in this match, can anybody stop Miyanaga? Although Kuro and the Achiga girls now understand a little more about Teru and the way she plays (which is similar in a certain sense to Kuro's own style), actually doing something to block her progress seems to be beyond her, which leaves us once again looking towards Toki Onjouji for inspiration. Can she extend her ability to look one turn into the future to take in a second turn? Despite the risks, she seems willing to give it a try in this desperate situation.
Although its pace has slowed down a little (partly because of the importance of this semi-final, but partly because of the additional episodes now afforded the series I would wager), Episode of Side-A continues to be pretty compelling stuff now it's focus is firmly planted on the nitty-gritty of its mahjong tournament - sure, it's as utterly ridiculous as ever in terms of the "mahjong super-powers" of its girls, but somehow that doesn't make it any less exciting to watch, while the introduction of more interesting characters like Teru Miyanaga and Toki Onjouji have breathed new life into a series that has suffered on account of featuring some pretty dull main characters prior to this point. With a cruel, and crucial, cliffhanger in place to close out this week's episode, I'm once again left hanging for my next weekly dose of mahjong catnip.