It’s episode 18 of Shion no Ō. Shion and Satoru finish their match, but who will win? And will Satoru finally be able to get past all the troubles in his past?
The highlights of this episode:
- Satoru gets enraged at Hani-Meijin for helping out Ayumi at shogi, but leaving him behind. However, Hani-Meijin just tells Satoru that he’s still living in the past, and all Hani-Meijin wants is to find “true strength.”
- Ayumi visits Shion while she’s looking over the board during lunch, shocking Shion, as she hasn’t seen Ayumi with his cut hair yet. Ayumi tells Shion that, even though he’ll be entering the boy’s training league, he hopes to be able to play Shion in shogi sometime again.
- Ayumi then joins Hani-Meijin in the observation lounge, who introduces Ayumi to everyone as his apprentice. However, neither Furuta nor Hisatani seem to realize who he is (as Hani-Meijin introduced him as Saito).
- Shion and Satoru resume their match after the lunch break. Satoru starts spending more and more time on his moves as he finds himself increasingly pressed by Shion. As Satoru increasingly gets put in a hole, he starts getting angry, feeling that if he’s still stuck in the past, then Shion should be too, and that if he can’t improve because of that, then she shouldn’t be able to either.
- Satoru finally seems to battle his way back and nearly surrounds Shion’s king while also nearly running her out of time. However, Shion is able to use the large number of pieces she’s captured to create a new solid defense around her king while still attacking Satoru. This catches Satoru off guard and causes him to use up the rest of his time thinking.
- As his time runs out and he finally concedes, Satoru wonders when “time stopped for him,” and realizes it stopped during all of his tough moments – when his father died, when his mother died, when Hani left him behind, and when he lost Kazumi – and that the difference between Shion and himself is that Shion has gotten stronger from her loss while he hasn’t.
- After the game, Shion shows Satoru her necklace – the same one he has – telling him that it’s a momento of her real mother. This surprises Satoru as he apparently didn’t realize that she had the same necklace as he did. Satoru also remarks that he thinks Shion’s shogi is a lot like his brother’s. As he leaves the room, Satoru tells Shion that he might be able to help her find her parent’s murderer.
- That evening, the detectives show up to take Hani Satoru’s fingerprints off of the shogi pieces as part of their investigation. Meanwhile, a man watches a video of one of Shion’s early birthday parties, and then when done, throws the tape into the trash…
And that’s the end of that match, setting up a match between Shion and Hani-Meijin in the final, which I’m guessing will be the concluding match of the series as we only have 4 episodes left to go, and still have to resolve the matter of who the murderer of Shion’s parents is.
In any case, I was kind of surprised that Shion ended up winning. Everything was building up towards a battle between Hani-Meijin and Satoru, but that didn’t come to be. Though, if my theory about Hani-Meijin being the murderer (despite how much the detectives may be suspecting Satoru), him playing Shion would make sense. Add on top of this Shion wondering if her shogi is based more on her game with her parent’s murderer than anything else and Satoru’s comment at the end of their match that he thinks that Shion’s shogi is similar to Hani-Meijin’s.
In the past couple of episodes, Satoru seems to have grown quite a bit and figured out what some of his issues are. I’ll be really interested to see how he ends up helping Shion, as he certainly has the resources to help investigate who might be Shion’s parent’s murderer. I guess the only question is how do we ultimately figure out who the murderer is and, of course, who the murderer really is.
This series has gotten increasingly interesting and I’m really interested to see how things wrap up. My guess is that Shion wins her match against Hani-Meijin somehow. I just had a radical thought when writing this though: If Hani-Meijin is the murderer and Shion beats him, will he reveal himself as the murderer (for some reason?) or will Shion realize it as she’s playing him. Well, I guess we’ll eventually find out.