I feel like Ryuuka, along with Ako, Yuu, and Awai, is now endowed with large endowments compared to her time in Achiga-hen, if you know what I mean. Typical Ritz cover with Ryuuka and Toki, so lots of wonderful detail for the background is to be expected. It’s just a shame that most of the chapter is not inked. Ritz must be struggling.
The chapter opens with Ryuuka being greeted by some of her clubmates. One girl asks about Toki’s whereabouts. Ryuuka responds that Toki is in a meeting with the manager and coach (since she was hospitalized for overexerting her powers). Ryuuka then turns to the girl who asked about Toki and asks if she can forgive them. The girl muses that Toki also asked for her forgiveness. It turns out that this girl, Nakamuta Kotone, was the substitute player for Senriyama. Kotone would have been subbed in since Toki collapsed, but Toki announced that she felt well enough to participate in the battle for fifth place (in Saki 158). Kotone is a real hero and says that even though this was her only chance to play in the high school mahjong circuit, Toki would be a better influence on their younger club members, anyways.
Kotone is handling it pretty well, considering.
The scene then jumps to Ryuuka and Toki taking a bath together. Of course Ritz inked this page (it’s slightly risque so I won’t show it here). Ryuuka tells Toki what Kotone said. Toki ponders on this and then says she isn’t allowed to lose, then. Ryuuka smiles and says that Toki’s been a bit selfish lately. Oh, Ryuuka, we all know you like Toki to be a little bossy and selfish.
Also, this whole scene brings Achiga-hen episode 4 to mind.
Sera really gets along with both FunaQ and Hiroe, doesn’t she?
The manga then jumps to Nodoka fiddling around on her phone. Yuuki walks in and asks what she’s up to. Turns out the elderly people who taught Nodoka how to play mahjong e-mailed her. Yuuki exclaims that Nodoka has tons of people cheering for her. Then someone calls Nodoka. Who could it be?
The most plucky senpai, reporting in.
They make small talk, and then Hanada wistfully brings up how she wished they could have played together in a team tournament back in middle school. Cue flashback.
Then Himeko comes into Hanada’s room and asks her what’s taking her so long. Hanada speaks to her casually, to the joy of both Yuuki and Nodoka. It really makes me happy to see that Hanada is not an outcast. That seemed to have been the case back in Achiga-hen, but maybe everyone was just stressed over the Inter-high. In any case, this friendship was probably hinted at back in Saki Biyori. Friends don’t mind a little physical contact and friends would have each other’s phone numbers, right?
Shindouji then has a strategy meeting with their coach and manager. I think this is the first time we’ve seen them in the series proper! Hanada expresses doubt over her ability and says that their substitute player, Tomokiyo Akari, should be their vanguard instead. Akari, the coach, and the manager all disagree and claim Hanada is the best vanguard for Shindouji. Akari also says that it’ll be up to Hanada and Himeko to lead the club next year, so the senpai duo have to show her how cool they are. Personally, I think Shindouji will be in a bad position next year since the wi-fi combo will be dead with Mairu’s graduation, but maybe they’ll scout an amazing freshman. OP first-years are all the rage these days. Just look at the captain match for the inter-high finals this year.
I think they make a nice pair, though they won’t be winning tournaments.
The chapter ends with Takami walking in on Teru and Awai playing mahjong in the dark. Takami asks why are they playing by themselves (heh) with the lights off. Awai replies that you see the stars better in the dark. Recall that Awai is nicknamed Supernova and that whenever she used her abilities during the semi-finals captain match, constellation imagery would appear. Perhaps she’s coming up with strategies to handle Shizu and Saki?
16 pages. 3 inked. Could be worse, could be much better. Next one should be out sometime in June.