Final impression of this series noted in the end. =)
Episode 22: “Towards Tomorrow” (series finale)
Summary: The police is busy extracting fingerprints, analyzing and stringing up the recent developments of the Ishiwatri’s murder case from 8 years ago. The final shougi match between Shion and Hani-meijin continues. Kamizono and Satoru arrive at the Association to watch the match. Everyone in the watch room who is keeping track of the match notes that Shion is putting up a really good fight, using new tactics as she plays against the Meijin.
In the match room, Hani-meijin tells Shion that he even injured his hand in trying to make her stronger and wonders why she’s hesitating. He tells Shion that if she keeps doing that, he will kill Ayumi too. This surprises Shion, even the game moderators heard it, who asks that the Meijin should refrain from talking too much as the game continues. With a fierce look in her eyes, Shion responds through her sketchbook: “I will kill your king.” She then delivers a brilliant shougi move. Hisatani, Saori, Ayumi, Furuta-san and company are a bit confused on who’s making which move because the match is moving more quickly than usual.
Kamizono asks Satoru to take him to the match room so he could take a closer look at the players. As he peeks through the door, he notices that Hani-meijin’s eyes has absolute concentration on the game. As he looks at Shion, she catches his gaze and gives him a warm smile. This takes Kamizono by surprise. He tells Satoru that Shion smiled at him despite the circumstance that she is in. Kamizono says he thinks that Shion might just win this match. Back in the game, Shion makes another excellent move which even Hani-meijin compliments. Meanwhile, the police is able to analyze the fingerprints from the shougi pieces which Detective Yokoyama obtained last episode, it turns out to be a match of the fingerprints found in the crime scene 8 years ago. They also found some fingerprints in the fragments of nail polish that they found in the bag for the shougi pieces, which also matches Hani-meijin’s fingerprints. They’ve got a solid evidence against him now. At the Yasuoka’s place, Shinji tells Sachiko that he’ll be going to the Association since he can’t bear to just watch Shion’s match online. Back in the game, Hani-meijin thinks to himself that he never expected Shion to become such a strong kishi. He observes that Shion’s strength lies in her ability to adapt herself to her opponent’s level. He asks the moderators how much time is left for him and Shion. The moderator says he has 1 hour and 20 minutes left while Shion has 30 minutes. He then tells Shion, “I’ll show you the limits of your strength.” They continue the playing intense shougi, trying to analyze and predict each other’s moves. Shion is feeling overwhelmed by Hani-meijin’s attacks. She remembers Shinji telling her his observation that as soon as she starts to fear being raided by her opponent, she starts playing badly. Shion thinks to herself that all she can do now is fight this person who isn’t the Meijin or anyone else, he’s just her enemy.
Saori and company notes that Shion keeps attacking Hani-meijin’s defense but it seems he is still leading the game. As Shinji arrives at the watch room, Shion manages to check Hani-meijin and later makes a threatmate. Hani-meijin is pissed off because it appears that he’s losing and says that he didn’t expect her to chase him this far. Since she is performing amazingly in this game, he’ll tell her why he murdered her parents. Hani-meijin says that it started with Yamamura telling him about little Shion’s potential of becoming a great female kishi. He says he wanted to use Yamamura as his springboard to greater heights in the shougi world but Yamamura died, so he figured that he’ll use Shion instead. After hearing this, Shion thinks that Hani-meijin is a sad person because he can’t think of anyone but himself. With a crazy look in his eyes, Hani-meijin insists that he “raised” Shion and she’s his masterpiece, which Shion angrily denies in her thoughts. Hani-meijin adds that it’s all because he left her alone just like him after losing his parents and abandoning Satoru. He insists that she’s become this strong as a result of killing her parents. Shion prays that her mom and dad are watching her from heaven as she makes her move. In the watch room, Ayumi and Saori observes that with that Shion created a perfect defense with her pieces with the move she just made while Hani-meijin doesn’t have enough pieces now so it’s impossible for him to checkmate Shion’s king. Kamizono notes that Hani-meijin killed his own king with his own weapon, to which Shinji agrees. Ayumi and Saori concede that Shion has surpassed them with her shougi skills now.
Hani-meijin realizes that he’s lost this match. Shion writes in her sketchbook “Thank you for the game.” She then collapses out of exhaustion. Satoru tells Hani-meijin that the police are waiting for him. As his bigh brother moves towards the stairs, Satoru asks him if he killed Kazumi. Hani-meijin blatantly tells him that he was planning to, but she had a heart attack before he could kill her. This earns him an angry punch from Satoru. Satoru notes that time stopped not only for him (referring to episode 18), it also stopped for Hani-meijin when he started to desire becoming the Meijin. Satoru says his life was happier because he loved Kazumi. Shinji, Sachiko, Shion, Saori and Ayumi are standing at the doorway of the Association as Hani-meijin is escorted out by the police. Hani-meijin tells Shion to never forget that he raised her. This prompts Shion to finally speak, uttering a loud “No!” She adds that she was able to become strong because of the people who love and care for her, and that she’s not like him. She’ll aim higher than him. Hani-meijin responds with a smirk, “We shall see if you’re really different from me or not.” Shion looks on with disdain.
The Ishiwatari’s murder case is now closed. Detectives Yokoyama and Tachikawa pay a visit to the grave of Shion’s real parents. Det. Tachikawa says that it’s mostly thanks to Satoru that the culprit was apprehended. Ayumi is now Shinji’s apprentice along with Shion and Hisatani, and he finally makes it as a pro male kishi after beating Hisatani in a match. Saori resigns from being a pro female kishi and announces that she’ll be entering the training league to hone her skills. Shion continues playing shougi and is now a 5-dan pro female kishi, and doesn’t need the sketchbook anymore because she is no longer afraid to speak.
~ THE END
Impression: Oh man, this was an awesome final episode! I was really at the edge of my seat from beginning to end. The BGM that was playing throughout the game was just great. The music very much complemented the mood of the match between Hani-meijin and Shion that I could totally feel the intensity of the game and the situation despite not knowing a single thing about shougi, and that was just barely halfway through episode!
Hani-meijin is obviously obsessed with reaching greater heights in the shougi world. I mean, he even went as far as killing Shion’s parents for this goal and he had this crazy look in his eyes. It’s even more sad that he doesn’t even seem to feel any remorse for what he did. I’m just glad Satoru wasn’t disturbingly obsessed like him. I forgive Satoru for being a jerk towards Shion in the earlier episodes since he did that on purpose to fish out some information regarding her parents’ murder. He was the key in this case because he pursued the clues that led to the realization that Hani-meijin was the killer. Who would’ve suspected him, really? I didn’t even think of suspecting him until it was pointed out to me and after I saw episode 17. Orz. Everything fell into place in this finale, even the police did their part well.
Shion finally managing to speak again was also awesome! I initially thought she would start speaking during the match when Hani-meijin revealed why he murdered her parents. Way back in episode 2, we learned that Shion stopped speaking after the murder incident because the culprit threatened her to forget how to speak if she wants to stay alive. Now that the culprit is known to Shion and everyone else, she finally got over her fear and told off Hani-meijin, saying she won’t be like him because she is surrounded by the people she loves. Oh and I was right in guessing that Satoru would throw a punch in Hani-meijin’s face. Haha. He totally deserved that after everything he did. Contrary to my predictions, Ayumi’s secret wasn’t dealt with. I was actually expecting that Hisatani and company will realize that Ayumi posed as a girl beforehand, but I guess there wasn’t enough time for that part. Well anyway, I suppose it was pretty much implied in the final clips as the credits rolled in that his situation was dealt with accordingly. With regard to Ayumi becoming Shinji’s apprentice, I saw that coming since Shinji offered Ayumi to join his study sessions way back in episode 12.
Despite a few questions, I feel that they’ve answered majority of the questions that I had and resolved the main plot, which was the murder of Shion’s parents. I thought that this was a fitting ending for this series. Oh, and Ayumi x Shion FTW! ^_^
FINAL IMPRESSION: Wow. I must say, I didn’t expect this series to be this good! It was just awesome! It had a good OP and ED theme that are now regularly played in my music playlist. Although the drawing isn’t anything special and the animation seems a bit off in some episodes while better in some, I thought the overall animation quality was pretty good enough. I was a little apprehensive of following this series at first since it’s about shougi and all I knew about shougi is that it’s a Japanese board game that’s sort of like chess. Surprisingly, though, I learned that you didn’t need to know anything about shougi to completely understand the matches.
Despite my utter lack of shougi knowledge, there’s enough mystery going on around the characters and enough to keep me interested so I kept on watching, which turned out to be a good decision on my part. Each episode just kept me glued. I couldn’t wait for the next episode every single time. The questions you ask eventually gets resolved as the story goes along, so I liked the fact that it doesn’t keep you in the dark for too long. Each character has a pretty intriguing story as well, each with their own reasons of playing shougi. It started with an intense introduction and ended with a pretty intense episode. I’m a fan of mysteries, crime dramas and such, so I guess it’s sort of a given that I enjoyed this series. But it’s not just that, I think the story had a good pace and it was done quite well, otherwise I wouldn’t have stuck with this one. I really think it’s worth a shot to watch.
I believe this is the first anime series that I’ve been able to complete writing episode summaries of from the first to the last episode. Personally, I can surely say that this has got to be my favorite Fall 2007 series! I really enjoyed watching this.
Now, would I recommend you to watch Shion no Ou? Yes. ^_^
Thanks for reading my summaries for this series! It’s been fun to share it with you. =)
You might also want to check out my other related posts:
- Shion no Ou ep 21
- Crash Course: SHOGI
- Year-End Babble: 2007 Anime Notables
- Shion no Ou – series overview
- Other Shion no Ou entries