Sunday, 24 June 2012

Saki - Episode of Side-A - Episode 11

While it increasingly feels like this series should be subtitled The Rampage of Teru Miyanaga, someone is going to have to do something quickly to halt the run of victories building up for Shiratodai's ace, and it's Toki Onjouji who seems to have the best opportunity of doing this as she pushes her ability to the limit.

After failing to gain an advantage from looking two turns into the future, Toki feels compelled to do it again despite the risk that it poses to her body - even then, she can do nothing but watch on powerlessly as Teru continues to rack up the points.  In the meantime, we take a look into the back story of Shindouji's Hanada - a girl placed as the first player for her school's team as a "sacrifice" to allow the other members to do their thing, and also an individual who is more than happy to play such a role, making her aim to minimise losses and avoid going "bust" and nothing else.

Not that this is proving to be an easy task with Teru Miyanaga set across the table from her, and eventually it comes down to Onjouji playing against type that finally puts an end to the tyranny of Miyanaga (whose sister is trying to avoid watching her play at all costs).  Even this still only serves as a temporary respite, as Teru has one final shot at playing as the dealer left - lo and behold, that means another round of ever-increasing victories for this terrifying player.  As Toki all-but passes out in a blaze of memories of the actions of her friends which allowed her to be at the tournament, are those thoughts enough to give her a second wind and a further upgrade to her powers to allow her to turn the tide in this one-sided game?

Although I should probably be bored of all the focus on Onjouji by now... I'm honestly not.  After spending so much time with the largely uninteresting Achiga girls, it continues to be a breath of fresh air to take in the show's more interesting characters and their circumstances in a little more depth.  This is complemented nicely by the ever-increasing sense of dread as the seemingly unassailable Mahjong Terminator that is Teru Miyanaga continues her rampage, which also continues to be fascinating to watch no matter how one-sided.  This is certainly a far, far cry from those stilted early instalments of Episode of Side-A, and the show is almost infinitely better for it.

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