Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Apr 6, 2009 to Sep 28, 2009
24 min. per episode
PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.611 (scored by 19998 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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SynopsisSaki Miyanaga is a high school freshman who doesn't like mahjong. Ever since she was a child, she would lose her New Year's gift money during her family mahjong game. If she won, her parents would be upset, and if she lost, well, she lost. As a result, she's learned to play in such a way that her score differential always remains ±0: not good enough to win, but not bad enough to lose. When we meet her, she's being dragged to her school's mahjong club by an old friend. How will a girl who hates mahjong, yet has become adept at the game as a result of her upbringing, survive in this environment?
(Sources: ANN and AniDB)
Related AnimeAdaptation: Saki
Side story: Saki Picture Drama, Saki Achiga-hen: Episode of Side-A, Saki Biyori
Sequel: Saki Zenkoku-hen
Characters & Voice Actors
What do you get when you take mahjong, you shoot massive amounts ridiculous special effects, you add a huge cast of high school girls, you give them POWERLEVELS, and then you make them 90% lesbian? Does it sound ridiculous yet? Regardless of how you feel about what I just described, Saki somehow managed to take all the above points, mush them up together, and regurgitate one of the most fun and entertaining show I've seen in a while.
+ Simple and straight through story
+ Easy to swallow and get into
+ The mahjong games are SO MUCH FUN to watch and the show has PLENTY of them
- It tries to create drama that just doesn't fit in sometimes
- It can get really corny when it comes to character development
- Game time gets interrupted right in the middle in favour of "development" time from time to time.
+ Cute character designs
+ Bright and very nice colour palette
+ Special effects used on mahjong games are very cool to watch and greatly increase enjoyment
- Animation quality can get poor at times (but not very often)
+ An all star cast of seiyuus makes the show very fun to listen to
+ The background songs used for the mahjong games are upbeat and GREATLY increases the enjoyment of the matches
- I wasn't a fan of the OP and ED songs but they are not bad
+ Large cast of characters and all with different personalities. You are bound to find someone you will like.
+ Every character is likeable and they are all unique in skills (mahjong POWERLEVELS)
+ When a series is able to match up 2 or more characters in a game and make you go "OH SHI- THIS MATCH IS GOING TO BE EPIC" every time you know the show has succeeded in creating their characters
- If you are not into yuri moments, you might feel ackward watching this because girl on girl moments happen.....A LOT!
- Although the show succeeds in giving most of their characters reasons to move forward and continue playing. Sometimes some of those reasons can get a little corny (but its not a big issue)
THIS SHOW WAS SO MUCH FUN TO WATCH, every time a game was going on the show suddently became so entertaining that the episode would end and you wouldnt feel like u had just watched 24 minutes of Saki. Even though the show could have some improvements I cannot complain about the work GONZO and Picture Magic has produced here.
Overall: Saki is not a masterpiece, it does not have amazing production values, nor does it have a compelling story....however what it manages to produce is a level of entertainment that just leaves you wanting to have more. The ability of taking a generally quiet game like mahjong and turn it completely over the top and extreme and yet still keep it from becoming chaotic is 1 of the reasons why Saki is a show that everyone should give a try at one point, it will surely entertain you. read more
I have to admit I went into my viewing of Saki with next to zero knowledge about the game of Mahjong, its terminology, or its rules. Besides a short wiki article and just the visual similarities to some domino games I have played before, most of it still is quite vague and mysterious. I was drawn to Saki by the cute character designs, a hint of yuri romance, and my own curiosity over the game of Mahjong.
Despite my curiosity, the idea of a 25 episode anime revolving around a table game doesn’t sound all that exciting. Most likely that is going to be the reaction of quite a few people who just give Saki a casual glance. However they would be wrong. Saki manages to take something that doesn’t have any real action or makes for an interesting spectator sport and injects energy and excitement into it. While it’s decidedly over the top and completely implausible, it nonetheless works brilliantly.
The basic premise of the story revolves around Saki Miyanaga, a high school freshman who finds herself participating in the schools Mahjong club even though she hates the game. Though she is a very skillful player, bad memories of playing with her family has left a bad taste for the game with her. However she finds playing with people other than her family to be fun and her love of the game begins to be rekindled. Soon Saki and her new friends set their sights on making the national Mahjong tournament, and it’s this goal which dominates the plot.
As I mentioned, Saki does an excellent job of creating drama and action from something that isn’t in reality exciting. Characters are animated making special "finishing moves" when completing important hands and also some have special powers to intimidate or confuse their opponents. So don’t be expecting a lot of realism, both in terms of game play or the players themselves. Besides the game action, there is a fair amount of character building and touches of yuri themed romance. Saki overall is quite fun to watch and entertaining.
However it’s not all positive. While the actual plot revolving the Mahjong tournament is exciting and compelling the story does manage to derail itself quite a few times. The most glaring being the open ending. While it seems extremely likely that a second season is probable, I really wonder if it was even necessary. There were too many filler and service episodes and way too much story time devoted to developing unimportant and often nauseatingly annoying characters. I would have much more preferred the story spend its time developing the relationship between Saki and Nodoka. While the yuri aspects of the story are quite obviously present they are also unsatisfying. Beyond the wistful stares and blushing glances there is nothing of substance.
My opinions of the characters are decidedly mixed. Saki and Nodoka, as well as their friends in the Mahjong club are very enjoyable and interesting characters. Particularly in the case of Yuuki who steals the show a bit, adding comedic moments and also just being a funny character. Saki and Nodoka have a lot of chemistry together and make for a cute pair, though an unfulfilling couple. We get some background on both of them but really considering how important they are to the story it really is quite small. All of these subplots are left unresolved by the ending, so it will take a new season for them to be satisfactorily completed.
What really drags Saki's story and characters down is an enormous amount of dead weight in the supporting cast. There is absolutely no need to have this many "named" characters. The middle portions of the series give way to much screen time to developing the rival schools and players characters. This is not to say it shouldn’t have been done at all, but there was no need to have this done with basically everyone! It doesn’t help that I was completely uninterested in the majority of them and downright hated a few others. Annoying cat girl Kana? Please go eat a bowl of cat food laced with arsenic. Disappearing girl Momoko? Please get run over by a speeding city bus. There are a few memorable supporting characters but most are just various standard stereotypes we see in every other anime made.
The voice cast turns in a solid performance. Saki's enormous cast is brought out well by a bit of a dream team of seiyuu performers. However despite their talent the very fact that there are so many of them means that there just wasn’t enough screen time for many of them to make much of an impact. Additionally I found the music to be pretty plain and uninspired with a few exceptions. Some of the songs were catchy and they were cute many of them sounded like the singer was off-key. Others like the second OP theme I just didn’t like.
Artistically, Saki is very good. The character designs are typical of what you would expect in a Gonzo production. Saki reminds me of another series protagonist from this studio, Miyafugi from Strike Witches who is almost identical in both looks and personality. Also typical of Gonzo, they enjoy mixing in a lot of CGI effects with mixed results. The Mahjong automated tables looked pretty good but the "Nodocci" vs. Touka battle animation looked silly and out of place when compared to the rest of the series artwork. The visuals did a good job though into bringing in excitement and action into the games.
While I would classify my viewing experience of Saki to be very enjoyable, the overload of unnecessary characters and the lack of a proper ending or any substance in yuri relationships bring its score down. Hopefully a sequel will be coming soon that will address all of the plot issues and relationships that were left unresolved. I would say my own lack of knowledge of the game also hampered my enjoyment, though I did watch a sub version with notes that explained most of the terminology, it was still pretty confusing. It’s still overall, a fun and light hearted comedy that I recommend.
There once was a woman named Saki
Who used to think Mahjong was yucky
But her friends got the chills
When she showed off her skills
She was so unbelievably lucky
Then the Mahjong club was reinstated
In a manner that made it seem fated
And Saki fell in love
With a woman part of
The same club and she wished that they dated
So with that comes the start of our story
As they all began playing for glory
When the hour was nigh
They held their heads up high
And they joined the prefectural tourney
Then the girls started showing their powers
And they played like in god mode for hours
There was also in store
Yuri service galore
They were clearly no innocent flowers
But even with a blushing red face
They still played at ridiculous pace
While maintaining their grace
With the skills of an ace
They accepted no less than first place
When the story was finally done
And the champion eventually won
I leaned back in my chair
And asked the open air:
'Who knew Mahjong could be so much fun?'
Yup, that's basically Saki for you ^^
If you thought moe shows couldn't be intense and action-packed, you were wrong. Saki is basically an anime about moe girls playing mahjong... with super powers. The girls all have their own (incredibly far-fetched) abilities which affect the flow of the game, their luck or even their own physical capabilities directly. However the bottom line is that the exaggerated theme of the show makes it SO much fun to watch. The mahjong games (or moejong as I like to call it here) in this show leaves most sports/game anime in the dust as far as intensity and addictiveness goes. Of course if you've never played mahjong before then it might be a bit difficult to properly understand what's going on a lot of the time, but I know countless people who have loved the show to death even despite that fact.
There isn't really much of a story beyond the fact that everyone's playing in various mahjong tournaments for their own reasons, but the sole focal point of Saki lies in the gameplay itself, and that's where it absolutely shines. This is one of my all-time favorite moe shows and definitely the most addictive one. You can easily marathon the entire anime in one sitting if you have the time to spare. It's very hard to stop watching it once you've started.
Oh, and as the cherry on top the entire show is also softcore Yuri... just to give it that little extra nosebleed-inducing flavor. Can never say no to that~ read more
Want serious Mahjong? Try Akagi instead. Saki plays it fun and easy, preferring thunderous entertainment over logic, plausibility, and critical thinking. This FUNtastic underground gem needs more love. MAL already has plenty of lengthy reviews for Saki, so I'll keep this one to the point:
Pleasant Surprise #1:
For such a seemingly low-budget title, it's voiced by an all-star cast of seiyuu.
Pleasant Surprise #2:
Rather than play out as gagworthy as I expected, the hints of yuri actually spiced things up. Nothing is ever explicitly stated, everything is implied, and the light yuri factor whimsically floats in that fun stage before relationships get all dramatic and serious.
Pleasant Surprise #3:
The sheer number of characters with depth. Even some opponents come fleshed out with backstories, allowing us to understand, care for, and maybe even side with the opposition for a match or two.
Pleasant Surprise #4:
I entered Saki not knowing jack about Mahjong. I left Saki not knowing jack about Mahjong (except how one must exclaim a string of unrelated but awesome-sounding words as if spewing obscenities when revealing a good hand). Yet it still somehow managed to hold my interest so dearly!
Pleasant Surprise #5:
Again, for such a seemingly low-budget title, the visuals are bright, lively, and all-around surprisingly well done.
Pleasant Surprise #6:
The insane addiction. I don't really get addicted to anime very easily, but from the time I started to the time I finished, I simply could not get this show out of my mind. Mmmhh, one more episode...
Pleasant Surprise #7:
Yuuki. I usually hate watching characters that follow this silly and hyperactive archetype, but she actually synced well with the characters here. The only character I had a problem with was the only male in the main group, Kyoutarou, for being so uselessly flat and static. Everyone else: swell.
You know you love an anime when you get to the last episode dejected from having to leave that world, rather than feeling relieved from it. read more
Some of the main characters look, feel, and act similar. Also, in both shows, the main girl leads the team with her great skill. She also feels inferior to her mother and sister who lives separate from her. Her sister is very well known, and at the end of both series, the main character finally has the courage to face her sister. Also, both clubs are being resurrected by upperclassmen, and there are other members that are extremely talented as well.
If you like GuP, you'll adore Saki! And if you liked saki, you will appreciate, and probably love GuP as well :)
Both protagonists are drawn back into an activity she had come to dislike while growing up, finding new friends and a renewed interest. Both look up to their older sisters but do not have a good relationship with them.
1. FMC (Saki, Miho) is genius at said activities, but refused to do it first due to dramatic past that has something to do with water.
2. Their girl friend (Nodoka, Yukari) is a fan of said club activities.
3. Both have 'estranged' older sister (Teru, Maho).
4. There were similarty between Saki's chars and GuP chars.
Both leads in these two animes hated their 'respective roles in which they had alot of potential for, they had exceptional skill yet they refuse to take on that role because they both went through traumatic events of it in their past(s).
Both are battle anime featuring groups of girls competing to be the best in the nation.
Tanks with Girls und Panzer and Mahjong with Saki.
The main protagonist's rival is her own older sister who is more experienced in the craft. A member of the group is obsessed with tanks/mahjong. I'm sure there are other parallels but basically Girls und Panzer is Saki with tanks.
Tanks not your thing? Saki is Girls und Panzer's mahjong equivalent. Not only is style and execution similar, they mirror each other in both plot and character.
Both series features a young group of girls together in an activity that they embrace and are skilled at.
Both series has a school life setting where there is comedy, drama, and competitions. These competitions puts the girls' skills at test against other competitors.
Friendship and strategies are involved in both series that allows the characters to stay one step ahead of their opponents.
Both series also features some nice soundtrack.
Similar premise. Main characters have same backstory.
Both MC a reluctant to play in something they're good at because of something that happened in the past. Saki- Mahjong, GuP- Panzers
Both the girls also have a somewhat strained relationship with their older sisters.
In both series, the club tries to reach nationals
Both are entertaining to watch with all the action, so have fun!
both protagonists are child protegees of their games. both have sisters that they look up to that are relatively famous for the games, but do not have a good relationship with because of an incident. both do not like the game at first because of their childhood, but are pulled into it and realize how fun it can be. both are a team aiming for the nationals to face their sisters. both are about how the team works together and their motivation. both have some yuri. only difference is that saki is mahjong and girls und panzer is panzer (tank martial arts)
- main characters really good at the sport they're playing
- have sister who are at the level of pros, and are on bad terms with them
- aim for national tourney with friends
- main characters are pretty much all girls
-Both are enjoyable to watch
Mahjong Club/Kendo Club.
Both are aiming for the nationals.
Both have way more female members.
Both anime have group of girls aiming to be the best in the country. Overall show feels the same.
even though kendo and mahjong are completely different things,the story is kinda the same in my opinion..
-a group of girls
-the rest of the club are unwanted boy/s xD
-has a really skilled girl and probably the only one you're expecting to go far..
-some of the people who they go up against will eventually be surprised when they try to make a move to defeat them..
if u try and watch them, its really funny and you'll enjoy it! ^^
Both have moe characters. Both have comedy in it, though Bamboo Blade has a lot more funny scenes than Saki. Both anime also revolve around a school club with just a few members in it (5 girls with a guy). So far, Bamboo Blade has better plot and has some conflicts in the story. However, Saki is just a new released anime so the second season might come out next year? But I think there is a high chance of Saki second season. Animation of both anime's done pretty well too.
-Both animes are about getting better at their games aiming to keep on winning and continue to move onto bigger tournaments
-Both have really potential leads
Both are about school clubs that start off with a few people, but eventually get just enough people to compete in tournaments. Also both are based around the girls and the guys seem to be not that important. Reminds people that winning isn't everything, and to have fun.
A school based anime centered around a primarily female cast trying to do their best where their opponents are equally well developed characters as the main cast. These shows feel VERY similar, if you enjoyed one, you would probably enjoy the other.
Both anime involves 5 girls joining a club (kendo~bamboo blade; mahjong~saki) who all aim to win or become the top.
Both series follows a club (made of mainly girls) who practice a sport that they enjoy in. They have a great time together and also has a slice of life feeling.
Both series takes place at a school life setting that is lighthearted yet contains a competitive atmosphere among students. Thus, the mood of both series are quite alike.
Both series' games contains a set of rules that the players must follow in order to win. That brings out some of the comedy, drama, and intensity of both series in various episodes.
Bamboo Blade and Saki feature a high school girls sports club that aims to win the national tournament. Despite focusing on different subjects, kendo and mahjong, there is development of the characters as they face numerous opponents and interact with each other through their daily lives. Special skills, talents and abilities also characterize the contenders in each title.
School kids work to find enough members in order play in competitions. Even though it is there first time in show, they are quickly noted as the team to beat.
In both of the animes, they play games (Mahjong in Saki & Karuta in Chihayafuru) to win the nationals. Themes such as friendship, dreams, teamwork are elaborated. However, Saki is more on the side of comedy (despite the serious moments), whereas Chihayafuru represents "slice of life" anime genre presenting a better character development, story & drawings.
- Both stories/plot focuses on their clubs related to their sport/game.
- The group aspires to improve and aim higher and go on training camps for that purpose.
Both are anime on competitive games. Although the art styles are different, the heat of the competition is the same. The main character starts out shaky, but she becomes amazingly good at the game.
Both have are sports and both main characters have the skills and passion for the game that which they play.
Rival schools all fight for the spot at nationals, friends who get together and fight their way to the top while getting stronger from outside sources. Friends becoming rivals, rivals becoming friends. Intense sport action in the form of a board / card game.
both take off beat sports and competition on small/underdog teams that have great potential and strive to compete on higher levels. Though one is based on cards and poetry and the other is based on tiles, both feature main characters displaying uncanny game sense and growth in these games
hikaru no go is about a boy named hikaru who plays a game called go, in saki it is about a girl named saki who plays a game called mahjong, if u liked hikaru no go, this should be interesting also.
divine game playing skills!
Both series are identical in that they revolve around a strategy, board game. The main idea is the same, the main characters will fight to prove him/herself in their own sport, all the while appearing to be gifted by the gods.
Their plots both revolve around table games. The protagonists show a god-like mastery of their games, though they show no interest in the game at first. The protagonists' rivals spur them on to become better at the game in similar ways. The supporting casts, for the minimal amount of screentime they get comparatively, are both very distinctive and memorable.
The characters in Saki are all skilled female players with few skilled males, while it is the opposite case in Hikaru no Go.
Both animes are about table games with characters who are aiming for the very top.
Both table games, they make the games look very intense, trying to go pro
shion no ou = shougi
saki = mahjong
both complicated games(to me atleast) and fun to watch and maybe learn.
Both anime are about japanese board games that is complicated and you might not understand their rules.. but they can make you feel exited while watching it.
Both are about playing games. Though saki is about being in a club and shion no Ou is about pros. The main characters in both are young females who are very good at their seperate games.
Both of these anime involve a quiet type of activitiy (mahjong/shougi.) If you enjoyed one i'm sure you'll enjoy the other.
Saki is the light-hearted version of shion
although saki is a game of mahjong
saki also has younger characters
both anime lead to a tournament and the main characters go and face interesting players
In some aspects, these shows are pretty similar in that they both talk about Japanese games. Shion no Ou is about shougi and Saki is mahjong. Shion no Ou is probably a bit more serious though because it has a mystery element to it. Saki is more comedic.
Opening Theme#1: "Glossy:MMM" by Miyuki Hashimoto (eps 2-14)
#2: "bloooomin'" by Little Non (eps 15-25)
Ending Theme#1: "Glossy:MMM" by Miyuki Hashimoto (eps 1, 25)
#2: "Netsuretsu Kangei Wonderland (熱烈歓迎わんだーらんど)" by Kana Ueda, Ami Koshimizu, Rie Kugimiya, Ryoko Shiraishi, and Shizuka Itou (eps 2-6, 8-9, 11-14)
#3: "Zankoku na Negai no Naka de (残酷な願いの中で)" by Kana Ueda and Ami Koshimizu (eps 7, 10, 16, 18, 22)
#4: "Shikakui Uchuu de Matteru yo (四角い宇宙で待ってるよ)" by Kana Ueda, Ami Koshimizu, Rie Kugimiya, Ryoko Shiraishi, and Shizuka Itou (eps 15, 17, 19-21, 23-24 )
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