Continuing their rise through the nationals, the Achiga girls move out of the spotlight as the competing teams fill up screen time. From sickly to sorrowful, you can’t say Saki:Achiga-hen Episode of Side-A has a limited character set. I’m honestly having a harder time rooting for Shizuno and friends knowing the backstories of all these teams. Watching all the research and player types, it’s vaguely reminiscent of a certain anime that revolved around a children’s card game…hearing them talk about Kuro’s weak defense, reading moves, and getting points back is what jogged my memory.
Moving through the quarter finals, Kuro’s dragon start is derailed as the other schools see through her strategy and act aggressively against it. Despondent, now it’s up big sis Yuu to put Achiga back on top. Luckily, Achiga only needs to come in 2nd this round to move onto the final goal of reuniting with Nadoka in the finals. Unless Yuu-neechan has a miraculous hand, I foresee this match coming down to Nadoka and Saki cleaning the round, pulling out a win for Achiga at the last minute. It’s predictable, but also very dramatic to leave the round up for grabs until the last hand. And because the two top teams from the round move on, it’s highly probable that they’ll barely scrape 2nd place, as this seems to be their first real challenger in the national circuit.
The matches are being more drawn out as the character backstories begin to play in more, as expected and it’s making the episodes much more suspenseful. It’s also a little unnerving to see all these other players seriously breaking down the playing strategies of our Achiga girls. They even seem to have a pattern to Yuu’s playing style, which may prove worrisome to her as she tries to retake her sister’s points. Harue was right, the nationals sure are bringing out all the monster players.