Amanda Liu October 14, 2007
Okay. I admit I’m biased. I read the manga for Shion no Ou shortly after doing the preview and I fell in love with it. From then on, Shion no Ou became my most anticipated series of the fall that kept me through the onslaught of bland series. Okay I’m being melodramatic but I love the manga and this adaptation does not disappoint. Well at least not yet. Anyways, here I go with the summary.
This episode starts out with a black-and-white flashback of a man murdering a young couple as shougi pieces fall. Their young child, who was smiling at first, realizes something’s wrong when all the blood spills. The murder approaches the child and gags her mouth as she starts to cry. Flashforward to seven year laters. The girl, Shion, runs to the Shougi Association to get to her match as two men narrates about her and how her parents were murdered seven years ago and how it caused her to lose her voice.
As it turns out, Shion is good at shougi and is undefeated in her league. If she wins two matches on that day, she will become a pro shougi player at the tender age of eleven. Shion easily wins the first match startling her opponent. After this, she meets another league player named Saori who is a high school student that loves to glomp Shion. Saori also introduces Shion to her next opponent and rival, Ayumi Saitou. They also meet up with this one guy who I believe helps Shion train. However, when Saori starts blabbing on how Shion better pick a man with excellent hands and holds up this guy’s hand to Shion’s face, she’s reminded of the murderer. Soon the match begins between Shion and Ayumi.
Both of them are excellent shougi players and their match isn’t an easy one. Shion notices in the middle that she has a strange sensation in herself and she realizes that for the first time she really wants to win. With this newfound determination, Shion places a good move which forces a battle with the opponent (I strongly recommend all of you who don’t know what about Shougi to research this on Wikipedia). However, Ayumi was able to place an even better move and Shion has to forfeit.
After the match, it seems as if Shion happily accepts her defeat as Saori chats to her and Ayumi walks off without saying much. However, as Saori leaves, it’s revealed that there’s man who’s watching them and smirking. When Saori is in the car, she asks the driver if her parents are going to be home (in which they aren’t) and to research about Ayumi and Shion. Meanwhile, Ayumi reflects her first meeting with her shougi teacher. In the flashback, it shows that while Ayumi was good the shougi teacher was easily able to beat her. Afterwards, the shougi teacher rips off Ayumi’s shirt which reveals that Ayumi is a TRAP (guy). Basically, Ayumi wants to play shougi to get money because his mom is in the hospital and his dad can’t work. Ayumi disguises himself as a girl so that he can play in the female leagues which are easier to win. The shougi teacher agrees to teach Ayumi only if Ayumi plays solely for money because once Ayumi plays for fun, things will turn ugly.
Meanwhile, Shion is at home with her foster parents. They eat dinner and just when it seems as if everything’s alright, Shion starts crying. She’s quickly put to bed where she starts having nightmares of her parents’ murder. The next day, we see a man in a dark room cutting out the newspaper clipping of Shion’s match against Ayumi so that it’s just Shion. He looks up at his board which is FULL of pictures of Shion’s everyday moments. The man follows Shion as she’s walking home from school. Meanwhile, Ayumi (dressed as a guy) is randomly tracing shougi pieces onto the dirt. Ayumi sees Shion as she’s walking and the stalker behind her that takes a picture of Shion on his cameraphone. The episode ends with the stalker running up to Shion and gagging her mouth once again.
Wow. Just wow. The whole creepy stalker aspect was much more played in the anime. Actually, that’s the biggest change from the manga. That’s right, the stalker only took one photo of Shion on his cameraphone, smirked in the car, and was never even able to touch Shion in the manga. The manga focused more on Shion’s sweet charm and courage. Not to say Shion wasn’t charming or courageous in the anime but the whole stalker aspects…Wow.
Besides that, things pretty much went as the manga did which was a good thing. This episode disappointed me animation-wise considering the manga artwork is extremely beautiful. However, music wise the BGM is pretty good and appropriately dramatic at the right times (i.e. the creepy stalker parts). The seiyuus aren’t bad and Shion’s seiyuu is pretty good despite the fact that she had like 3 lines(remember the girl is mute).
I love Shion no Ou more than ever after watching the first episode. While I agree the shougi terminology and gameply may make heads spin, I just suggest a quick reading of shougi on Wikipedia and you should be fine because it’s less about the shougi and more about the dorama (and creepy stalker). The main worry I have with this is the fansubbing because this series is difficult to sub and without subs I’m hopeless. At the moment I’m fine with my craptastic Japanese and manga knowledge, but once we get past chapter 9…I need my subs. Anyways, I highly suggest you check out this anime regardless of your tastes and see if you like it. Hopefully, this will be able to pull you out of the fall season slump. Now I’m off to bed -_-.
Tags: Shion no Ou
Category: Episode Synopsis
I believe myself~