Shion no Ō – Episode 17

It’s episode 17 of Shion no Ō. Shion and Satoru start their rematch, and Satoru continues his mental assault on Shion. However, this time it causes Shion to remember back 8 years to around the time of the murder. Is she starting to remember what happened that terrible night 8 years ago? Meanwhile, what connection is there between Satoru’s old lover and Shion’s parents?

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The highlights of this episode:

  • The episode starts with the first semifinal match of the tournament ending with Hani-meijin beating Hisatani thanks to his “weak defense.” Hisatani starts to cry (perhaps because he was oh-so-close?) and Hani-meijin tells him that if he has time to cry, to go ahead and advance from the 3-dan league and become a pro, especially if Hisatani wants to face him again.
  • Meanwhile, back at the police station, the junior detective hypothesizes that the murder’s goal wasn’t to kill Shion’s parents per se, but to leave Shion alone. The head detective asks him why the murderer would want to do that, but the junior detective hasn’t thought that out yet. They then get a call that Satoru’s lover, Kazumi Seto, worked for Shion’s parents at the time.
  • That evening, Shinji tells Shion that Satoru requested that the association make the winner of the tournament, if a female pro or amateur, a 4-dan ranked player, automatically making them a professional player. That means if Shion wins the tournament, she would no longer be a “female professional” but a full professional player.
  • The next day, Satoru “just happens to” run into Shion while she’s walking towards the association. He asks her how she’s still able to smile despite the fact that he keeps “messing with her,” but Shion just writes that she’s able to smile because she’s not afraid to cry.
  • Meanwhile, the detectives visit the business that Shion’s parents use to run. There they learn that Kazumi was learning how to play shogi from Shinji.
  • Watching online, Hani-meijin and Ayumi see that Satoru will go first. Ayumi says he thinks Shion will win, but Hani-meijin tells him that, while loyalty is a good trait in a boy, one shouldn’t love anything so much that it distracts from their shogi.
  • During the match, Satoru tells Shion that he read her interview where she couldn’t really answer why she plays shogi. He tells Shion that he plays shogi “for a certain someone” who used to visit Shion’s parents when Shion was younger, but Satoru notes that Shion probably doesn’t remember her. Shion remembers back to when she got her shogi board for Christmas and remembers a “kind and beautiful woman” there along with her parents and her foster-parents. Shion starts to lightly cry remembering the scene, and Satoru wonders to himself if Shion remembers her, and silently begs Shion to remember her memories from 8 years ago.
  • During the game, Shion grasps her necklace charm like she often does, and Satoru tells her that he has his own charm as well, and takes out his necklace – one exactly the same as Shion’s. However, despite these distractions, Shion seems to start to take control of the game. However, just before the lunch break, Satoru makes a move that takes her by surprise so that she can think over it during lunch.
  • Just as he’s leaving for lunch, Satoru asks Shion about the night of the murder: apparently she was clutching shogi pieces until the next morning, and didn’t go for help despite being able to. What was she doing during that time? She remembers someone telling her to “listen to the voice of the pieces” and realizes that it wasn’t Shinji and remembers that she played shogi with the murderer right after the murder. She then realizes that her shogi isn’t her bond with Shinji, but her bond with her parent’s murderer…

I believe this is our first mid-match cliffhanger as we end the episode in the middle of Shion’s and Satoru’s match (eliciting a horrified “nooooooo!!!!” from me upon watching it). This was also a rather “mess with your head” episode as Satoru continues to mentally harass Shion, though this time around it may ultimately be towards the positive end of identifying the murderer, since Satoru clearly seem to think that the murderer of Shion’s parents is connected to the death of Kazumi.

Shion is also remembering more about her murder night, though she can’t remember who the murderer is yet. However, I have a feeling that this phrase of listening to the voice of the shogi pieces will end up being a trigger that causes Shion to realize who the murderer is.

Meanwhile, Hani-meijin continues his “shogi is more important than anything” trend with his telling Ayumi to not get connected to anything enough to cause him to lose focus on his shogi. Well isn’t that nice.

We also finally establish a link between Kazumi and Shion’s parents, as it’s clear that Kazumi both visited Shion’s parents, and practiced shogi with Shinji. I’d expect the investigators to question Shinji about Kazumi pretty soon given what they’ve learned. I’m also interested in the junior detective’s theory that the goal of the murderer was to leave Shion alone for some reason, though for what purpose we don’t know yet.

This series is really starting to get interesting and I’m starting to like it more and more.

Just one more note: apparently they decided to start throwing more money at this series as they definitely spent more on the animation in this episode. I actually don’t think it makes it look a lot better. There is just something about it that I didn’t necessarily like. Maybe everyone was too “shiny,” but I wonder if this will end up being the case through the rest of the series.