Takakamo Shizuno – The Lovable, Cheerful, and Headstrong Mahjong Terror

30-Day Anime Challenge
Day 4: Your Favorite Female Anime Character Ever

Some may call her a monkey. Others may consider her a lucky idiot. To me, however, she’s my favorite female anime character. I’m talking about Takakamo Shizuno, folks!

13dd4ba6adThe face of a mahjong ace

Since Saki Achiga-hen: Episode of Side A is a series based on Saki, this puts Shizuno in the unfavorable position of being the main protagonist of a spin-off. As such, people will inevitably juxtapose Shizuno with Miyanaga Saki. This type of comparison, I find, tends to favor the original main character. Probably because the first protagonist has had more time to build a fanbase, if I had to wager a guess.

Personally, I find Shizuno to be a refreshing change to Saki (here I go with comparisons). Achiga’s ace is a lady of action, one who is energetic and prone to just running around in circles. For better or for worse, Shizuno rushes forward without letting indecision or rationality slow her down. To be fair, this is a complete 180° from Miyanaga Saki. Upbeat gals aren’t always my jam, but I guess I just find Shizuno’s optimistic mindset to be charming. Plus she has a ponytail OMG

I also find it interesting to note that Shizuno is unfailingly polite to everyone she meets. She only addresses two individuals without honorifics. Hilariously, one of her childhood friends is not one of the special two. Perhaps Shizuno is respecting the one year age difference between her and Matsumi Kuro.

crying monkey.pngPlease don’t bully Shizuno

However, I do understand how some people dislike Shizuno. She gained a random power-up during the semifinals with minimal foreshadowing. I didn’t like this, either, to be honest. I think the author could have handled that better. It wouldn’t have even taken 10 seconds to give something for the fans to chew on before the actual power-up occurred. Like, when Achiga went over to practice against Ryuumonbuchi, Koromo could have thought to herself that something blocked her favorite winning method or something. The manga was similarly abrupt in presentation when it came to Shizu’s power, so we can’t really fault the anime for that. There’s also the fact that Shizuno basically stomped on a fan favorite, Oohoshi Awai, so there’s that.

What do you all think of Takakamo Shizuno?

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7 thoughts on “Takakamo Shizuno – The Lovable, Cheerful, and Headstrong Mahjong Terror

  1. I adore Shizuno – such a great character! If Kuro is the team’s heart, as you said in another post, then Shizu is the team’s engine, the one with the drive and determination to keep pushing them forward. When they start feeling down or discouraged, she’s always the one to pick their spirits back up again and get them re-focused on tackling the next obstacle. My favorite Shizu scene might be the last hand of her second round nationals match, where her winning tiles keep getting taken and she has to change her wait like three times (very hard to do in the middle of a hand), but she just keeps working at it and refusing to fold. That’s her character in a nutshell, and I’m really excited to see her go head-to-head with Saki whenever Ritz finally gets there in the manga (probably like five years from now at the pace it’s going).

    I also think a big part of why I’m so attached to that character is the way Aoi Yuuki plays her. The voice that she came up with is pitch-perfect for Shizuno, and while my ability to judge her actual performance is limited since I speak no Japanese, I can at least say that out of the dozen or so roles I’ve heard her play, this is the one that I enjoyed listening to the most.

    BTW, I only found your blog in the last couple of days (by way of Irina’s blog), but I’m looking forward to reading more – it looks like we like a lot of the same shows! I’ll try not to necro too many old posts, but I couldn’t resist commenting on this one.

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    1. Yay, another Shizuno fan! That’s a wonderful description of Achiga’s ace. Whenever her team is feeling discouraged, Shizuno’s ability to change the mood for the better (a power that’s not restricted to the mahjong table!) is sure to pop and raise her friends’ spirits.
      I also really love that scene. Being open-minded enough to account for how your hand can dynamically change while keeping track of the available tiles left is very hard like you said!
      And just like you, I’m really looking forward to the showdown between her and Saki. It’s interesting to note that both girls have playstyles that don’t necessarily rely on their abilities – Shizuno lacked her Lord of the Mountain Depths for most of the story in Achiga-hen and Saki was encouraged by Hisa to try online mahjong. Will Saki be able to adapt to Shizuno’s ability? Will Shizuno manage to turn several rounds of the final final into something resembling an online match in Tenhou?
      Ritz really is taking her sweet time, though. I do apprecciate that the runner-ups are duking it out, however. She’s really aiming to make the climatic match between Saki, Shizuno, Nelly, and Awai to be atmospheric – the game will inevitably happen late at night due to how the final four teams will start playing against each other after the runner-ups finish scrambling for fifth place. The night sky is the essentially the domain of the supernova, Awai. I know Kodomo I mean Koromo asked Saki if the flower can bloom on the mountain top (as in can she triumph against Shizuno), but I’m left wondering if the flower can flourish at night or against the ocean. Then again, Awai’s overconfidence and playstyle guarantees that she has a very weak defense so that might be possible. I can’t conceive of a way for Nelly to be stopped, though, so I’m looking forward to that.
      Ahhh I do like how Ritz has shown that skilled play can match latent occult abilities but in the end, there’s four mahjong monsters in the final final round who are all freshmen and who all embody nature in some way.

      Sorry, I got super carried away there…
      I LOVE AOI YUUKI’S VOICE FOR SHIZUNO. She absolutely nailed it. I’m in the same boat as you, but I’ll bat for her performance as Shizuno any day of the week.

      Oh, yay. I’m flattered you’re looking through my older posts and I’m happy to hear that we enjoy the same shows! Our mutual affection for Shizuno just had to be expressed (necro as you like)!

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      1. Ah, I’m not that far along yet. I only discovered the series earlier this year, and I’ve been catching up with Yen Press’ English digital releases of the manga. I’m up to volume 10 at this point, so I haven’t really met Nelly properly. I already knew which teams made the finals and that the current arc is in the middle of the 5th place match, so you didn’t spoil anything, but I still don’t know the details of how it got there.

        I actually think Awai might be in some trouble. Koromo said she couldn’t get any Haitei Raoyue on the second day she played Shizuno, which suggests her anti-magic effect is cumulative the more hands you play against her. If that’s the case, then Awai’s going to be at a major disadvantage from playing Shizu in the semis, because her magic is already going to be weakened right from the start of the match, while Nelly and Saki will be able to play at full power through probably at least the first hanchan. Not that Awai isn’t still dangerous, but if her safety zone and double riichi aren’t working then she’ll have to switch her style to something she’s probably not used to playing.

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        1. Ohh, I see. I’m sorry that I came close to spoiling things! It’s an interesting ride, though, and I’m glad you can still experience it firsthand.

          Mmm good point about Shizuno’s ability. I do remember that its effects were noted to be getting stronger and stronger as the game progressed as if the girls were getting deeper and deeper into the mountain.
          I’m not sure if Awai’s ability will be hampered because she played Shizuno in the semi-finals, however. That would make playing against Shizuno truly unfair! I’m of the opinion that it resets at the beginning of every match, but I’m only grasping at straws here.
          Saki might be able to play well since Hisa has probably come up with some sort of countermeasures for Achiga and the other two teams. I can’t really say anything about Nelly without spoiling things, but I agree that she’s really dangerous. Probably the most dangerous on the table!
          I do agree with you on how Awai might need to switch to a different playstyle which might affect her play. Then again, Shirouzu Mairu had to switch to a more aggressive playstyle during the semifinals due to the difference in points and she did amazingly, so having to change styles might not affect Awai that much, either.

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