Thursday, August 16, 2012

Akagi Chapters 148 & 149

All right, I tweeted that we might be releasing Akagi yesterday, so to make up for the lack of Akagi yesterday, have 2 chapters today! And let me just say, these two are chapters that you will not want to miss!! I will be starting my 3-day drive up to Oregon for college tomorrow, so releases may be a bit slower, though I'll still have some time to translate in the hotels and whatnot. I've translated quite a bit ahead in Akagi anyway, so they might not slow down at all until the end of the volume.

Thanks to Crump for the excellent cleans, and to Kazuhiko for the amazing typesetting. Mahjong Day may or may not be at 22:00 GMT tomorrow, since I won't be there, but feel free to show up and play without me. Mahjongkrazy released another chapter of Tetsuya, go check it out at the top of the page.

"It is my fault that Demon still lives!!"

After seeing through Akagi's bluff and being shocked at how the heavens were giving him every way to win that they could against Akagi, Washizu turns around 180 degrees and begins to revel in the fact that he now knows he has not only the momentum, but the backing of the very heavens themselves, which he relates to reducing all that surrounds him to nothing.

I always love it when Washizu brings up the supernatural and divine forces. It's like he has his own mishmash of various religions (Monotheistic God + Shinigami?) to aid him in his battle. It is not of course to say that Washizu's religion is right, even in the Akagi universe, but Washizu certainly believes that there are divine forces pushing him forwards to defeat the evil incarnation that is Akagi. The battle itself seems to be less of Good vs Evil, and more Theist vs Atheist. Akagi certainly does believe in "flow", but that could be attributed to a certain way the tiles are shuffled that tends to favor those who have already put hands together, or any number of explanations that don't have to involve the supernatural. Maybe Washizu just believes that the flow is being manipulated by divine forces when in reality he just has a subconscious understanding of how the game's randomness works, or on the contrary maybe Washizu's religion is correct in this universe and that's how he can pull off amazing feats like Yakumans and San Kan Tsu. It would seem to be up to the reader to decide.

"For I am the very incarnation of that kind of power!! A being teeming with heat energy!!"

And here we are, folks, the moment you've all been waiting for: the meat of the 6th Hanchan, where everything begins to slow down and become more focused on metaphors and the intricacies of gameplay. I think the mistake a lot of people make when talking about this hanchan is thinking "OH MY GOD, 9 VOLUMES FOR ONE HANCHAN, IT MUST BE SO SPREAD OUT", when in reality there's still quite a lot of content in each individual chapter. It goes slow to build tension and make you feel what the characters are feeling. In this chapter, for example, all that Washizu did was draw his hand two tiles at a time, but if you immerse yourself in the content rather than focusing on the gameplay, you might hardly even notice it. I know a lot of people are going to dislike this part because of how it drags on and on and on, but I feel like it's executed in just the right way, for the most part.

Now that that's out of the way, holy shit, did Washizu just get a starting hand that's 5 tiles away from a Yakuman?! Yes he did, but this hand can easily take the cheap (er) way out and go for Hon Rou Tou (all Terminals and Honors), which would still be Haneman at the absolute worst. Considering that all Washizu needs to get Akagi's remaining 500 ccs is a Dealer Haneman Tsumo, this is unquestionably the single most dangerous spot that Akagi has ever been in; he might not be able to do anything to stop Washizu from getting a Haneman Tsumo. And if Washizu decides to take the monster route and go for Tsuu Ii Sou (All Honors, Yakuman), he could win off Suzuki and have a lead that would be damn near insurmountable, and could just get quick hands for the rest of the Hanchan to take Akagi's blood at the end of the session. I'd call this a more dangerous position to be in than even the Dora 12 Yakuman hand back in the 3rd Session, though certainly not by much.

And of course, the two metaphors in this chapter, of Washizu as a blazing sun so powerful that everything on earth is burnt to a crisp, and of Akagi being a master martial artist directly below a nuclear bomb being dropped. The first metaphor doesn't translate into English so well, but basically the way that luck is usually represented in Gambling is as "Heat", which I almost always translate as "Momentum", since it's the same basic concept. As you get luckier and luckier, your momentum gets higher and higher, producing heat from the friction, is the basic idea behind the whole "heat" thing. So this metaphor probably seems silly in English, but it makes perfect sense in Japanese, where the idea is that Washizu's "Heat" or "Momentum" is so extremely high that he has become the very incarnation of heat itself: a sun.

The second metaphor is just as silly in Japanese as it is in English, and might tickle some people's funny bones. Akagi just so happens to be standing immediately under a nuclear bomb, the strongest weapon on earth, and for some reason is mentioned to be a master martial artist. That part seems kinda random, but I guess it's to show how "earthly" his mahjong skill is compared to the "godliness" of the nuke.  I get it, and it's appropriate, but it's just a little ridiculous.


  1. I laughed at Akagi's smile in the nuke metaphor.

  2. sonna occult arimasen

  3. Wow. I was actually expecting that Washizu is bound to have a potential Yakuman again sometime soon. That is the headwind which Akagi may have no way of dodging.

    I don't mind the hanchan being so spread out, because you read through these chapters like a breeze. Once the Washizu arc is finished, it will be awesome to read through it.

    Thanks for the double release^^