Sunday, 30 March 2014

Saki - The Nationals - Episode 12

Last week's episode of The Nationals saw Kiyosumi finally pulling into the lead as our titular character's own monstrous power came to the fore - but is that lead going to stay in place as we reach the final hands of the match?

Of all people, it's the supposedly ordinary Suehara who finally brings Saki's winning run to an end, shifting them into second place.  With Kiyosumi now effectively guaranteed top spot unless they play directly into someone else's hand, all eyes turn to Iwato and Toyone as the onus shifts to them to pull out a sufficiently substantial win to lift them into second place.  Unfortunately, that focus neglects to understand Saki's own modus operandi, and it's her who wins the final hand, leaving Kiyosumi and Himematsu as qualifiers for the next round as winner and runner-up respectively.

With the match over, it's time to tidy things up (literally and figuratively) and move forward, with Eisui's girls bemoaning their choice of gods to unleash for this match having saved some of their trump cards for later rounds that they'll now never see (individual tournament notwithstanding) before deciding not to worry about it and hit the beach - a decision which eventually sees Miyamori's group agreeing to join them for some much-needed relaxation.  For the other two teams there's less time to goof off, with their next match approaching fast and both teams with some important lessons to learn and improvements to make.  That, no doubt, will be a story for Saki's next season though.

Having finally hit its stride in last week's episode, it's decidedly unfortunate that everything was over in short order this week, with no further stunning moments or revelations as Kiyosumi ease to a win before we wind down towards what will doubtless be a frivolous season finale.  This further reinforces my feeling that there simply isn't enough "good stuff" in The Nationals, and it really needs to fix its pacing if it wants to bring back the old Saki magic - an impossible request most likely given the equally slow pace of its source material.

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