The official 2nd season came and went. It was nearly 5 years of waiting for the return of Kiyosumi to the squared circle of the bloodsport known as “super powered lesbian mahjong wrestling”. Was this OBVIOUS first half of the second season worth the long wait? Let’s find out as we take a look at Saki: Zenkoku-hen.
It is HIGHLY recommended to have seen Saki before picking up Zenkoku-hen. Watching Achiga-hen is optional but since they’ll be appearing again sooner or later you can check it out as well. In case viewers need more convincing whether the Saki series is worth watching or not, check out both my reviews of the first season and midquel.
Alternate title: Saki – The Nationals
Themes: Sports, Mahjong, School
Number of episodes: 13
Plot Summary: Kiyosumi begins their journey competing in the National Mahjong Tournament.
Not much I can say about the animation and music. Apart from some new tunes, the overall feel of the soundtrack remains the same. “Attouteki na Chikara wo Mokuzen Toshite” remains my all time favorite tune in the Saki series and I always get chills hearing it during combat.
As far as content goes Zenkoku-hen is identical to season 1 and Achiga-hen. The series’ main attractions are still there.
- The blood pumping, spine tingling, bone cracking superpowered mahjong wrestling goodness.
- The character developing flashbacks.
- The yuri.
It’s all here. However, like Achiga-hen, Zenkoku-hen felt a little bit lacking. Perhaps it was due to it only being 13 episodes long. Something had to be sacrificed in order to compensate for the short time span. In Achiga-hen it was a lack of good wrestling (Until the 4 bonus OVAs rectified the issue). In Zenkoku-hen once the quarterfinals began, the character developing flashbacks and yuri moments somewhat took a backseat to the wrestling. Depending on the viewer this could either be seen as a good or bad thing. Even then some viewers didn’t think the wrestling in season 2 wasn’t good until the last two rounds. I personally thought all the matches were pretty good.
While I did say the flashbacks and yuri were lacking, I was referring to the new teams that competed. See, during the training camp many of the fan favorite veterans were there and all the established yuri couples were as strong as ever. It was the three new teams that didn’t get enough time to show the world which girl was dating or wanted to make love with which other girl. We did get some yuri harem Iono-sama pupils but established couples…not really. Granted the flashbacks for the new teams were still there but were not up to par with either S1 or Achiga. They at least got the job done so viewers will get to “squee” or feel for the newcomers.
These are the three teams Team Kiyosumi will have to contend with in the quarterfinals. If I had to pick a favorite it would be The Toyone Family because they stood out most and were most interesting team.
My breakout wrestler is unquestionably the 10 foot tall, 270 pound colossus Sister Toyone. While many wrestling fans compare her to Classic Undertaker and they are right for doing so, her fighting style makes her more akin to Bray Wyatt. I guess she’s a hybrid of both wrestlers.
Overall I’d say Zenkoku-hen is a good start for what’s to come in the ongoing Kiyosumi journey through the Nationals. I only hope the continuation won’t take another 5 years to get green lit. Despite the flashbacks and yuri content not being as plentiful as past seasons it’s still adequate and the wrestling’s as awesome as always. Highly recommended to all Saki fans.