25 of 25 episodes seen
If you're familiar with a mahjong but don't know the Japanese variant, I'd recommend skimming over the basics of the scoring system on Wikipedia. Specifically, you should learn how riichi and dora work, and how payouts are handled. Knowing some of the rare yaku and yakuman hands can also help since they'll crop up a lot in the series.
Character-wise, there isn't really anything special in Saki. There are quite a few characters (roughly five for each of the four main schools, plus several unaffiliated characters), most of whom are girls. The majority of these girls each have a special mahjong trait such as doing well in the east round, or winning with bad waits. Relationships between the girls can usually be boiled down to friends or rivals. There are quite a few scenes that hint at possible yuri relationships, but this never goes beyond massive blushing. Overall, the personalities of these characters are generally pretty flat.
The story is also not particularly unique. It can basically be summed up as "we want to win the national mahjong tournament". Saki's reason for wanting to win is a little more fleshed out than that, but it too is nothing I haven't seen before. Well, since Saki could be considered a sports anime, I guess this is pretty much par for the course.
To me, where Saki really shines is in the mahjong. Of particular note are the strategies employed by the players. If we accept that some players have ungodly luck (which is true in Saki), all sorts of interesting situations crop up. For instance, if your opponent can consistently make kan and currently has an open pon, why not try to win by chankan? The supernatural play used in Saki opens up a lot of possibilities like this, and most of them are pretty cleverly done. The effects used in the mahjong scenes are fairly well done, and do a lot to make the games more exciting and dramatic.
In short, Saki is a show with mahjong and a light smattering of yuri, but not much else. I'm a pretty big fan of mahjong, and the games were pretty well thought out, so I liked it. On the other hand, if you're not too interested in mahjong, I'd recommend that you pass on this series. read more