The first match-up of the game at hand in the National Tournament is about to come to a close - but is the game about to explode into life?
Certainly, the team-mates of Suzu Ueshige are expecting just such an explosion out of her thanks to their knowledge of her abilities which are, for the most part, well hidden. However, Yuuki has no intention of giving up Kiyosumi's hard-earned lead thanks to her earlier exertions, and she looks to finish the round with a final push by declaring Riichi one last time... an ill-advised move it seems, as this once again awakens (or rather, sends to sleep) the demon that is Jindai Komaki, as she throws in an impressive win to push Kiyosumi off the top spot; a place taken by Miyamori Girls' School in their stead.
Thus, we move immediately on to the second round of players, with Kiyosumi's Mako leading the way with a promise to avenge Yuuki to assuage her tears. By all accounts, it seems as if her fiercest rival at the table might by Miyamori's New Zealander Aislinn Wishart, who seems to have the ability to see the table in a very different way to Mako. This isn't enough to stop the compiled experience of Someya however, who slowly ekes out small victories over her opponents to carefully edge Kiyosumi's way back up the leaderboard. As the game comes to a close, the glasses are off as Mako lands a potent blow to put them in the driving seat with three players left to play.
Following that slow start, this was the episode where I finally started to get "that Saki feeling" - as the game at hand progresses and the stakes are raised, so things start to get more interesting. Although it's a shame that Mako's game felt a little like a footnote in its brevity, the speed with which it was related perhaps helped to pep up the excitement, and The Nationals finally feels like it's really headed in the right direction as we look set to see some big hitters stepping up to the plate and... wait, using baseball allegories for mahjong just sounds weird, doesn't it?