This week, Kawada has planted the seeds for pure mayhem to ensue in the September Tournament, and boy is it satisfying to see. Chapter 227 immediately answers the suspenseful question of who won the match between Akihira and Shido, and to even his own surprise, Akihira has managed to come out the victor. Shido was the wall that Akihira has to overcome to truly embrace his sumo career, and now that he has finally defeated him, he is ready to aim for the top of the sumo world. Akihira had been set up as one of the biggest threats in the tournament, and now that he’s become confident, the scale of his ambition is becoming evident. From the outset, Akihira planned to join Jin’o’s stable to benefit his own strength and become even stronger than Jin’o himself, and he’s finally in a position to make this goal a reality. Beyond its personal gain, Akihira’s victory has had shaking ramifications for the championship contenders. Shido has seemingly injured himself during his bout, and Jin’o is now frustrated that he won’t be able to fight his most formidable opponent at their full strength. With all the drama that ensues, it’s nearly forgotten that there is still one more match on day 7 of the tournament: Jin’o vs Saenoyama. While Jin’o is still fuming with rage, Saenoyama is completely composed and ready to face off against the undefeated Yokozuna. The chapter ends with the match starting, with the text mentioning that later on, Saenoyama would say “I knew that I’d won” as we see him push back a shocked Jin’o.
As usual, Kawada’s artwork is a treat to behold, and matches the intensity that Hinomaru Sumo continues to deliver to the table. Jin’o’s expression of rage at Akihira is captured wonderfully, conveying the intimidating presence and fear that the Yokozuna holds. That being said, Saenoyama’s initial push against Jin’o as their match starts is the highlight of this chapter, and the crisp detail in Saenoyama’s movement in combination with Jin’o’s instant reaction of shock deliver the significance of this fierce clash to the reader. Overall, sumo continues to look like the most intense sport ever.
With everything that happens in this chapter, it’s hard to notice that Kawada has opted to skip over Hinomaru’s match against Otegine. While it’s a bit strange to brush over a match against one of the Three Spears, Hinomaru has already proven his strength in this tournament by defeating two Ozekis, which makes it safe to assume that Hinomaru had little trouble dealing with his opponent. It’s worth nothing though that Otegine helped out Saenoyama with his training, so it’s completely possible that we’ll quickly see Hinomaru’s bout with him through a flashback within this current match. In any case, with the unexpected victory reveal in this chapter, and the possibility of another upset on the horizon, Hinomaru Sumo is keeping the tension rising. All the key players are aiming to win the tournament, and with the conditions and strength of the wrestlers changing with every match, this really is anyone’s game.