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Old 2013-05-31, 23:53   Link #3521
tjalorak
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I've recently been rereading Saki and rewatching the original Saki anime with a friend new to the series. Thinking on it... to me, Saki is a growing up story. It's couched in a sports anime type, but the story itself was originally seinen, Achiga's shounen notwithstanding.

Saki's powers, OP or not, aren't a concern. It's going to be a tense battle either way because everyone at the final will be pretty competent in their own right with their own crazy powers and of course, Saki's confidence will probably be at a low during a good portion of it.

I think Saki's made some fairly impressive strides. We know that at the start of high school, she's only tried to visit Teru once during what must have been at least a good 2-3 years but probably more. And then... she just gives up just as she tries to do after the initial meeting with Fujita. She doesn't try again once she encounters difficulties. She has desires, but not goals.

I'd wager that Saki's mindset was that if her presence bothers Teru so much, she should remove herself from the situation so as to stop causing Teru pain. This fits in with her willingness to sacrifice her own happiness and 'gains' for others, i.e. she'd rather other people have fun than win herself (see: giving up a kokushi musou to feed points to Yuuki). Unsurprisingly, this is probably the exact worst response in Teru's eyes. She told Saki to bloom with all her might, but Saki is pretty much disregarding that in her personal life (and in mahjong by not playing anymore and when playing, not putting her all).

In a way, Nodoka's presence for Saki is almost a more friendly version of what Teru should have been. Teru's too close to the situation to see what her little sister's issue is and blinded by her own anger - and in a way, her own mahjong competence and pride. Nodoka, though, is the one who forces Saki out of her shell and gives her guidance as Saki's character develops.

She's there when Saki begins to understand the joy of winning. Teru's competence and aura is such that Saki would not feel comfortable giving her all and trying to win - this lackluster effort would piss off Teru, of course - and if by some miracle, she did win, Teru's anger would make it a bitter win, another failure in Saki's eyes. By contrast, while Nodoka is angry, it's ... a quieter anger if that makes sense. More importantly though, Nodoka explains her anger, what she is angry about and why. Specifically: losing to someone who doesn't care about winning the game and then the idea that person not giving her all is NOT fun for her.

Scarily, given Saki's answers and bewildered response, apparently none of her family has ever bothered to teach her or explain these reasons, only that they were mad about her winning or losing. Saki, who only has this idea to go on, changes her play to accommodate her family. I'm starting to think that family is full of dysfunctional mahjong savants. Nodoka is the first to basically tell Saki that she'd rather lose than win because Saki doesn't give it her all.

The second major thing Nodoka has done, of course, has been to support Saki with her own confidence in herself and Saki. When Fujita crushes Saki and Nodoka, Nodoka is the one to give her the kick in the butt for motivation. Same in the match with Koromo. Everyone leans on others to a certain extent, and Saki hasn't had a friend before who believes in her.

(Kyou is nominally a friend, but his constant put downs on Saki's ability as of the beginning of Saki - that she's not very good, that she's silly or stupid - is not particularly helpful in that regard. I mean, I don't want to belittle the fact that he's probably Saki's first friend ever, just he is a teenage boy and he's not all that great of a friend. But perhaps after the trauma with Teru, Saki needed someone who didn't expect so much out of her and who wouldn't pry into her past.)

Saki backslides, of course, most notably in the Koromo match. Changing your character is pretty hard, esp. after you spend a good portion of your life dodging challenges! After Fujita, that's her first big challenge to her self-confidence. She needs some help and support from Nodoka, but she does meet it when she eventually realizes that if she wants to continue having fun with her teammates and especially, herself, she needs to give it her all for them and for herself.

I think that one of the problems in the nationals that Saki needs to overcome is the idea that she needs to play for her sister or more accurately, a chance to talk to her. That's not to say it can't be one of the motivations or benefits of going to the finals, but it shouldn't be the only reason. I'm not so sure that's what Teru is looking for out of her.

My hope is that Saki will realize that at the end of the day, she should be playing mahjong and trying to win because she thinks it's fun, that she should be playing for her teammates and for herself. It's okay to give it your all in a competition in pursuit of your chosen goal. It's okay to win. Corny perhaps, but the theme that I'd like to see is that: it's okay to want something for yourself - and Saki, you have the power within yourself to achieve your goals and dreams if only you believe in yourself.

I generally like shounen characters, and I generally rp somewhat like them. For me, though, Shizu's journey is basically done. If anything, while her arc has been acquiring mahjong skill and experience, her character development has been pretty static. I have to say, this is somewhat of a strange feeling for me... but I can accept and even prefer such a character journey of wallflower to person with agency for Saki if she does this. In such a framework, I would imagine that with the prefectural finals and national finals as bars to overcome in her personal journey, that the individuals is the confirmation of such transition to us the audience, to Teru, and to Saki herself such that when she meets Teru, she can stand tall and proud, blooming on that mountain for all to see.
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Old 2013-06-01, 02:32   Link #3522
night_sentinel
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I can't believe that I almost missed this post.
+1 for tjalorak

I also believe that Saki's lack of agency or goals is one of the core plot point of the manga, Its practically embodied in her +/- zero playstyle wherein she doesn't want to win or lose ever. Its a playstyle that basically nix any sort of confrontation. And from what we know of Saki's past, this was a justifiable and in-character response. It also makes me want to scream wth?! at the Miyanaga family, bit by bit, we are seeing that they are not a normal family at all. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if the whole family happens to be as tjalorak predicted, mahjong savants that absolutely suck at relationship.


Anyway, back to the +/- zero. It is obvious in our first reading of the manga but more rereads shows that it is a symptom of deeper issues. That Saki doesn't have any goals that she wished to accomplish for herself. That and she dislikes any sort of confrontation.

But, I don't think that its all gloom and doom. Saki having no goals is the major reason why she does better on the team tournament than the individual and why I think Saki makes the perfect captain player than any other position. Team tournaments afford Saki to share goals with her teammate. If we look now, Saki doesn't really get this winning thing and giving it your all thing that Nodoka talked about. Even now, she's mostly winning so that it won't hurt her teammates feelings or her opponents and uphold her promise to Nodoka.

But that makes Team tournaments great for Saki. For even if Saki doesn't really get this competition thing, she is really self-sacrificial when it comes to her loved ones - not letting them down is something she can easily get. Thus, Saki will naturally be more motivated when it comes to team matches.

Besides, Captain is a good fit. Because, Saki has practically no ego problems to speak of which is the side benefit of having no goals. She'll do anything to make your team win. Saki has basically nothing to prove. She will be quite okay if she got second. She will not make any insane risks to grandstand needlessly. Basically, since she has no "I" she'll put the team first in any situation. This is evidenced by the fact that when you look deeper, beyond the flashy rinshan kaihou, Saki is scarily pragmatic in all her team matches that we've seen.

Of course, it will be better if Saki character develops beyond her +/- zero. Even with the unexpected benefit, it is still a chain holding her in bay. Her current playstyle really restricts her in many ways and makes her more passive and reactive in all her matches.

Last edited by night_sentinel; 2013-06-01 at 02:57.
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Old 2013-06-01, 02:34   Link #3523
Om Nerabdator
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im disapointed that saki is still only getting 16 pages a mth i thought it would at least double after achiga finished
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Old 2013-06-01, 02:37   Link #3524
night_sentinel
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Originally Posted by Om Nerabdator View Post
im disapointed that saki is still only getting 16 pages a mth i thought it would at least double after achiga finished
Yes. Me too. But at least we are getting regular updates. Sigh...
Here have some Shindouji biyori while you wait for the next issue.
http://yuriproject.net/saki-biyori-bg-ch18/

Thanks once again for yuriproject for translating this.
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Old 2013-06-01, 13:13   Link #3525
The Green One
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I think that the main problem with the size of chapters is the restricted allotment of pages granted to the series in the magazine it's published in. So the chapter length may not be completely by the author's choice.
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Old 2013-06-02, 07:36   Link #3526
teja208
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Originally Posted by The Green One View Post
I think that the main problem with the size of chapters is the restricted allotment of pages granted to the series in the magazine it's published in. So the chapter length may not be completely by the author's choice.
True, but it still sucks.

I would like to give two cents before the nexr chapter comes out.

After the lest chapter, I'm starting to doubt whether Satoha is really a badass normal. The sword isn't a good sign if anything. Hope I was wrong, but I won't be as surprise as some others who claim that she's a world-class majhong batman.

I may feel a little disappointed though.
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Old 2013-06-02, 09:15   Link #3527
The Green One
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I took the sword as more of a visual metaphor of what she was doing then an indication of her having a power.
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Old 2013-06-02, 11:13   Link #3528
teja208
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You're right, that's one way to look at it, but don't say I didn't warn you.
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Old 2013-06-06, 23:13   Link #3529
tjalorak
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BATMAN. AND A SWORD.

Hahaha. I think Suzu's even more destined to be a butt monkey than Yuuki in vanguard rounds.

Well, to be fair, Yuuki's already taken her lumps. And she's got another monster coming up next round.
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Old 2013-06-06, 23:14   Link #3530
orangejuicetang
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Showing off that world class level
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Old 2013-06-07, 00:19   Link #3531
The Green One
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But wait...there's more...

Spoiler for More preview:
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Old 2013-06-07, 09:04   Link #3532
Farplaner
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Spoiler for More preview:
Either this is fake, or Ritz is being ridiculously lazy (this is the exact same page in Chapter 111 page 2 just with different score)?
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Old 2013-06-07, 09:23   Link #3533
The Green One
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If I accidentally repeated a picture from a previous chapter then that's just my carelessness.
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Old 2013-06-07, 10:39   Link #3534
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It Could have something to do with that hospital trip a while back? Copy sent out in error perhaps?
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Old 2013-06-07, 12:45   Link #3535
Requiem-x
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Originally Posted by tjalorak View Post
BATMAN. AND A SWORD.

Hahaha. I think Suzu's even more destined to be a butt monkey than Yuuki in vanguard rounds.

Well, to be fair, Yuuki's already taken her lumps. And she's got another monster coming up next round.
"Monster" doesn't even begin to describe that one... Oh, Yuuki, I'll miss your smile.

Also, all hail the goddamn lesbian batman Looks like a great chapter.
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Old 2013-06-07, 14:22   Link #3536
teja208
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjalorak View Post
BATMAN. AND A SWORD.

Hahaha. I think Suzu's even more destined to be a butt monkey than Yuuki in vanguard rounds.

Well, to be fair, Yuuki's already taken her lumps. And she's got another monster coming up next round.
Spoiler for Latest chp.:

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Green One View Post
But wait...there's more...

Spoiler for More preview:
Spoiler for Latest chp.:


Satoha is truly worthy of the title World Class Mahjong Batman!
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Old 2013-06-07, 14:51   Link #3537
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Originally Posted by tjalorak View Post
BATMAN. AND A SWORD.

Hahaha. I think Suzu's even more destined to be a butt monkey than Yuuki in vanguard rounds.

Well, to be fair, Yuuki's already taken her lumps. And she's got another monster coming up next round.
Yuuki has been pretty awesome the past two vanguard rounds, especially this one. I have little hope for the finals though.
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Old 2013-06-07, 16:19   Link #3538
Used Can
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Shit.... Satoha really is a Yakuza.

The vanguard match in the finals will pretty much be Satoha vs Teru, while Tacos and Kuro watch in horror.
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Old 2013-06-07, 18:18   Link #3539
The Green One
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If Yukki is ever intended to show her "final" growth as a character and a player it will be against Teru. Where better to show how much you've improved then against the invincible death machine.
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Old 2013-06-07, 21:41   Link #3540
tjalorak
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Originally Posted by King-Slayer View Post
Yuuki has been pretty awesome the past two vanguard rounds, especially this one. I have little hope for the finals though.
That's true. Her growth has been pretty amazing. I was remembering she got hit by Jindai, but IIRC, she did end up at -100. So... Not a lead for her team, but to only get -100 while facing Jindai - granted, a Jindai with a weak god - and the rest is a vast improvement over the Jun and Mihoko match.

And wow, after seeing how Satoha is going after Suzu, I'm even more impressed with how Yuuki fended off Satoha in the east round.

(Poor Suzu. She finally gets her 'explosion' to go off and here comes an Ace to stifle it!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Used Can View Post
Shit.... Satoha really is a Yakuza.

The vanguard match in the finals will pretty much be Satoha vs Teru, while Tacos and Kuro watch in horror.
Satoha is pretty awesome. I really hope Rinkai gets through if only because I want to see Satoha vs. Teru. That being said, Satoha is pretty good at helping others (unknowingly) aim at someone so I imagine she'd use Tacos and Kuro as unwitting tools against Teru.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Green One View Post
If Yukki is ever intended to show her "final" growth as a character and a player it will be against Teru. Where better to show how much you've improved then against the invincible death machine.
Yep. You know, given the comments on Yuuki, I'm starting to think that Kiyosumi got really lucky with all three 1st years and their potentials. Now that Yuuki's shored up her defense and is starting to be able to adapt her play in response to others' play styles (with Hisa pointing out how atm)... She could be a really scary player.
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