Since I don’t really have much to say about the technicalities in Saki: Achiga-hen that I haven’t already talked about in the past two episodes, let’s talk about pacing and dramatic tension.
What Achiga-hen does, is blast through the regionals with the speed, excitement and subtlety of a rampaging bull. The good thing about this is that we don’t have to sit through exposition for a relatively unimportant part of the series. It also manages to shroud the abilities of the girls in a convenient, but annoying fog. So far, all we (By we, I mean only you guys. AHAHAHA) know is that Kuro is a dora-magnet, and the rest of them seem pretty normal.
This is where the problem is. As much as I praise the show for getting over the regionals so fast, others who may not be as tolerant of this method won’t be very happy with the pace this show is going. It’s rushed, and it has no excuses for being so. Bansei was supposed to be a pretty strong team, yet Achiga destroyed them without much of a fight. Mostly off-screen. I could explain the mahjong that we did see, but I’ll refrain from that for now.
Of course, I’m put off by this to a certain degree. I mean, as a mahjong player myself, I want to see mahjong in mahjong anime. For the last three episodes, there has been minimal mahjong in favor of introducing even more characters. Ryuumonbuchi is back, and we (don’t) get to see how much of a monster Koromo is. Now this is where I get extremely partial. For fans of the original Saki series such as myself, seeing any of the characters from the original Saki is like crack. I have seen how much these characters could dish out when they play, so I didn’t need any demonstration of Koromo’s skill.
We also have that final moment in the episode, where Achiga meets the infamous Rinshan Kaihou monster, Saki. Good buildup for tension if there ever was one. It instills anxiety in the Achiga players, and excitement in the audience, especially those who have seen how impossible Saki’s plays are.
Overall, good episode… I think.