Saki Haramura Nodoka Miyanaga Saki yuri

I started watching Saki a few days ago, and soon finished this intense, captivating anime about mahjong.

Saki Nodoka yuri ecchi

Saki follows Miyanaga Saki and her Mahjong club members as they aim for the national mahjong tournament. Saki is a first year high school student who dislikes playing mahjong, despite her astonishing skills. This soon changed, however, after she meets Haramura Nodoka, another top level player. They quickly became yuri lovers best friends. Together, they play against interesting and tough opponents along the journey to nationals.

Saki strip mahjong ecchi scan

From what I have read before about Saki, I has expected a fan servicing anime featuring lots of yuri and lots of strip mahjong teases. However, Saki is a keen and impassioned series, and embodies the essence of any great sports anime. I grew up playing mahjong with my family, and the intensity, the anxiety, and the excitement of Saki really resonate with me. Although usually I have no idea what is actually going on, I still love watching the characters wait for that big hand (none of which I have ever seen achieved in real life). When that impossibility comes, it is simply an amazing feeling.

Saki mahjong scan

Further, I think Saki really does portray another aspect of mahjong quite well. In its core, mahjong is a game of skill and luck, and inevitably, the culture of mahjong involves much superstition and belief in a supernatural aspect of the game. Minor things like losing and winning streaks, tile draws, or even certain spoken words are all believed to be heavily influential to winning a round. Therefore, I love that Saki stays true to this mahjong culture. The series does not treat mahjong as a purely probabilistic game of chance and skill, but rather incorporate elements of the “flow”.

Saki chibi characters Amae Koromo

Perhaps the best part about Saki is its characters. Saki manages to present a dozen lovely characters from four schools in relatively few episodes. More importantly, Saki makes me care about these characters. Most of them are memorable, cute, and well developed. This is really quite a remarkable series in this aspect.

Saki Momoko Kajiki yuri
I love Momo and Yumi-chin.

Finally, Saki has its strong yuri hints and moments, and that pretty much makes it sooooooo much more enjoyable for me. In fact, Saki and Nodoka, Momoko and Kajiki, Kana and Mihoko, and some other pairs are perhaps more than mere insinuations.

Saki Nodoka yuri schoolgirl
Nodoka x Saki is canon.

Anyway, it has been a while since I wrote a series review…

More anime and manga reviews.

This entry was posted in Anime/ Manga, Review, Saki, Yuri Anime and Manga and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to Saki

  1. Pingback: Twitter Trackbacks for Saki « Listless Ink [] on

  2. Baka-Raptor says:

    Oh, so this anime has a story. I’ve never heard anyone else talk about it.

  3. Guy says:

    Fanservice level over the moon!

    You know, I play in a Facebook game called “MouseHunt”, which is 100% probability-dependant. And people are so superstitious there it’s ridiculous.

    We have have a MH-myth-buster that makes me want to shoot people, because he doesn’t really understand statistics, so when approaching myth-or-fact things with an approach involving using statistical pools he doesn’t understand, I want to go “ARGGGGH!

    Regardless, I feel the floodgates Hikaru no Go and perhaps Prince of Tennis had opened? Totally ridiculous result. I mean, come on. You should at least see the over-the-top and not taking itself too seriously cooking heavenly kung-fu art in the Chinese Weapons of the Gods, which had been translated to English.

  4. Ningyo says:

    hmm, your feed was lying to me about your newest post >.>…
    I hate feeds. about as up to date as my grandparents.

    mm, positive reviews ftw. I never watched Saki, but isn’t that the series that vehemently rejected panchira?
    that aside, imo it’s good to be able to connect with a series (THAT HAS A POINT) like so. It’s good to see a series that has a main point besides its fondling of bewbies and yuri moments.

    Not that I can complain tooo much about those things. I think people will start questioning me if I say any more >.>

  5. kluxorious says:

    I saw the first episode and for reason that I’ve forgotten, put this on my on-hold list. Good to know that it has a story instead of absolute fanservice.

  6. Reltair says:

    The mahjong got pretty ridculous. Stealth momo is all I have to say.

    But it had story and was an entertaining watch every week. ^^;

  7. Fujii_Itsuki says:

    Hehe, I have read 1 or 2 chapters of the manga before but have not follow up with it because the scanlations were so SLOW at that time… So I was glad when the anime came out. At first, I wasn’t that optimistic with it because all I hear were talks about the fanservice aspects…But I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed the series and the characters as it progresses. And yeah, it’s nice to see so many canon and potential yuri pairings in 1 show~ =3 I like that they spent time to develop the other side characters and gave them a nice background story. They might be the enemy but we end up caring about them anyway.

    The mahjong part, like any other of its genre, became more and more unbelievable and over-the-top with each episode but it still kept me hooked. Part of the reason why people watch/read ‘sports’ anime/manga is to live vicariously through it characters and experience the ‘impossible’. So it’s always entertaining to watch how the so-called underdog slowly overcomes the obstacles and rise above expectations. ^^

    Lastly, yay for the fanservice~ ;D

    P/S: For me, the best ‘sports’ anime with yuri subtext is still Kaleido Star. Check it out if you have time. =)

  8. Snark says:

    I enjoyed Saki for the over the top mahjong, but Saki/Nodoka annoyed the living fuck out of me by the end of the series; just sex each other and get back to the damn mahjong already!! Whats with all this shy, blushing bullshit!? You want her rug, she wants yours; START MUNCHING ALREADY!

  9. Yi says:

    @Baka-Raptor: Most people don’t give Saki enough credit, which is a shame. The plot can be distracted by the cheesiness and the mild fan service though.

    @Guy: The fan service in Saki is actually tolerable, especially compared to stuff like Kanokon or Queen’s Blade. I just chose more sensationalized pictures. The plays might be statistically near impossible, but I love watching over the top hands. Will check out that cooking thing.

    @Ningyo: My feed has delays… Twitter acts more like my feed now. Anyway, can you believe it? An actually positive review for Saki! Seriously, underneath all that is some nice stuff. Glad you like fondling of breasts and yuri. ^ ^

    @kluxorious: Maybe I’m conditioned to fan service, but I actually didn’t think it was too excessive, particularly by today’s standards.

    @Reltair: I love stealth Momo. I fantasize what she can do to Kajiri sempai when she goes stealth mode. Anyway, it certainly was entertaining.

    @Fujii_Itsuki: Yep yep. All those are reasons that I enjoy Saki. I tried not to focus to much in this post on the fan service and yuri, because it has been blogged about ad nauseum; I really wanted to review it for its entertaining aspects (not to say that yuri and fan service is not entertaining though). Will definitely check out Kaleido Star.

    @Snark: Haha. “You want her rug, she wants yours; START MUNCHING ALREADY!” That made me chuckle.

  10. blur says:

    Hmm.. I didn’t even know it had strong yuri and fanservice. -.-”
    I too thought it was M.M.M. (mindless mahjong moe)

    But knowing that now, I have the urge to watch this soon. Lol!

  11. 2DT says:

    Don’t worry, I read this review and enjoyed what you had to say, even though I dropped Saki after the first episode and only watched its popularity as a third-party observer… But the real reason I’m commenting is because I’ve only just now noticed that those cute drawings on the side of your blog are contact links. It’s fabulous, I love it.

  12. Fujii_Itsuki says:

    Lol, I just noticed it too. Very cute. ❤

    The fanservice level in this is acceptable I think. Most of it was focused on how well endowed Nodoka is…and other stuff that makes good doujin material~ One thing I'm glad is that the male side character remains a side character. Nodoka/Saki's love bubble is too strong to penetrate. Hehe. And after further examination on the Saki pics…the see through Mahjong table is genius! x3 But swim suits?? Wouldn't it be over pretty fast…? Saki's 1 piece suit might be a handicap? Hehehe. I bet Nodoka lost because she couldn't concentrate…

    Yes, you should definitely check out Kaleido Star. I adore the characters and the storyline is highly entertaining and touching. The 'sport' in this anime is a exciting mix of theater+circus which makes the heroine's zero to hero journey even more fascinating. Of course, this kind of anime would not be complete without a rival and the love-hate relationship in Kaleido Star is awesome~ The things they say to each other… <3<3

  13. kluxorious says:

    Kaleido Star is gay!! for REALLY good sport anime, try Ookiko Furikabutte if you haven’t already. Or Bamboo Blade. Like Snark used to say, they are made of massive tits!! 😛

  14. Fujii_Itsuki says:

    Kaleido Star still wins in term of epic-ness. I thought Ookiko Furikabutte is the ghey one? Hehehe. Haven’t seen it though I’ve heard good things about it. Bamboo Blade was a really good one. I enjoyed it and am still hoping for a second season. The kendo part of it was just average to be a TRUE sports-centric anime imho but the characters and their relationship were the core of the series. Seriously, Tamaki makes me wanna strangle a mountain ox! Too adorable~ =D

  15. Yi says:

    @blur: It does not really have strong fan service actually… It has some, but not excessive. Anyway, I like Saki so definitely give it a chance.

    @2DT: Thanks. I love the chibi buttons too. ^ ^

    @Fujii_Itsuki: Haha yea. Strip mahjong does not happen in the anime though.

    @kluxorious and Fujii_Itsuki: Will definitely look into both Kaledio Star, Ookiko Furikabatte, and Bamboo Blade.

  16. Guy says:

    Bamboo Blade is great, and is as much slice of life masquerading as “Sports anime” as it’s a sports anime.

    Kaleido Star was pretty lame, if it’s what I’m thinking of… but maybe I’m too old to take the “Whoa! She can flip-flop her sandals so well! But she has no soul in her performance! All must learn from the newbie with the soul!” seriously.

    It was pretty boring, with forced excitement.

  17. I hope the show will have a second season next year…I am a big Hisa x Mihoko fan *.*
    I don’t like Nodoka and Saki that much, I know that they are the fave from 85% of people who watch Saki, but they don’t call my attention, I like all the other couples (Momo & Yumi, Touka x Hajime) more than then…

  18. Yi says:

    @Guy: I’ll be sure to check both out. ^ ^

    @Yuri Downloads: Yea, Hisa and Mihoko seems more canon than Kana x Mihoko. I like Kana x Mihoko though. Like most other people, I really like Nodoka x Saki too, but my favorite is Momo x Yumi. Anyway, I’m really hoping for a second season two.

  19. shijima says:

    I still don’t know how to keep score in mahjong. :p
    Thanks for the great pics.
    I haven’t seen Saki, but there do seem to be quite a few yuri doujin floating around. =)

  20. Yi says:

    @shijima: I don’t know how to keep score either. Further, most play groups have slightly differing score systems, so that makes it even harder. Usually I just let the other people count my scores…
    I’ve seen a bunch of Saki yuri doujins floating around as well, particularly recently on Yamibo. Some of them are quite nice.

  21. Yuki says:

    Hahaha I agree. Saki x Nodoka is like NanoFate in the making (just look at those eye colooorrsss and the Saki-san and Nodoka-chan near the end thing) Hahahah! I’m so looking forward for season 2. XDDD

  22. Yuki says:

    and P.S. I just recently learned how to play the game. Kind of hard, and you need to memorize a lot of things like hand scores etc. But it’s pretty fun =D

  23. Yi says:

    @Yuki: Now that you mentioned it, Saki x Nodoka is really similar to Nanofate. The ending is the best part and simply undeniable yuri. This series really demands a second season.
    I don’t really bother memorizing hand scores except for the major ones. Some of the minor ones vary in scoring between play groups, so yea. Still, mahjong is a really complicated game.

  24. razrig says:

    havent watch it but.. i heard it got some repeated scene~~~+ lotta fanservice~~+ yuri… (i didnt know that mahjong game anime would had so much yuri in it~~~)

    maybe wont be on my watch list~~~~

  25. Yi says:

    @razrig: There were not that many repeated scenes. As for fan service, I guess it depends on what you think is a lot. There are definitely lots and lots of yuri though.

  26. Yuki says:

    @Yi: Yeah! Saki x Nodoka IS Canon. <333 Well of course Yumi x Momo is as well. XDDD I just wonder with Mihoko, Hisa, Kana and Mako though XDDD.

    And yes, hand scores are fine, you can memorize them by creating a table. The hands and their scores aren't so bad too. Maybe analyzing is a bit hard though. XD The discards of the other players I mean. XD

  27. phossil says:

    I started watching Saki because of Nodoka. Thats the real reason. Lol.

  28. Yi says:

    @Yuki: Hisa x Mihoko seems what the authors were pushing for the most, but I like Kana.

    @phossil: Haha, she’s totally worth it.

  29. Shin says:

    The gayness pretty much killed the show for me, and by the end of it, I still wasn’t remotely interested in mahjong. But I enjoyed it thoroughly. Shoot me.

  30. Yuki says:

    @Yi: Haha yeah I also feel like they’ve been pushing Hisa x Miho for a while. I like Kana too. Cat girl ❤ XD

  31. Yi says:

    @Shin: You don’t like yuri? The yuri is what made it for me.

    @Yuki: ^ ^

  32. And I thought I’d seen it all! Anime strip poker Mahjong?! hehe
    That girl on the right in the first pic is crying because she don’t have large ti… as the other girl (笑)
    btw, I LOVE Mahjong! I could play 32圈 straight!

  33. Yi says:

    @Squire Starsquid: The anime actually does not have any stripping component. I thought it did at first as well…
    Anyway, I’m sure that’s why Saki is crying, for her flat chest compared to Nodoka. ^ ^

    Me too. I love playing Mahjong too. I only play with family though.

  34. EmperorG says:

    There are reasons why I elected this anime as my #1 favorite of 2009 and you pretty much covered most of the reasons. I need not say anymore. Well done Yi-san.

    Oh anime shrine of greatness, please bless me with a 2nd season. My poor heart would be crushed if I’m unable to continue my Mahjong Wrestling Federation commentary. I never had so much typing episode commentary than while while watching Saki episodes.

    • Yi says:

      If there is one thing I didn’t like about Saki, it is a lack of a second season (at least for now). I loved everything else about it, and I would so love to see them go on to the next tournament.

      • EmperorG says:

        EXACTLY! It would be a great injustice to the otaku nation that they deny us the privilege of viewing the continuation of this majestic series.

  35. MyHatsOffToYou says:

    “I has expected a fan servicing anime featuring lots of yuri and lots of strip mahjong teases”

    Haha, and you still watch it dispite expecting such stuff, and lots of them too!!

    Yi no ecchi, hentai!!! : D

  36. Have you heard? A new TV series of Saki was announced! XD

    • Yi says:

      I heard about it some time ago. Totally excited!! Saki always felt so unfinished without seeing Saki go on to nationals and meeting her sister.

  37. IKR! How could put this off for so long??

    Finally more epic mahjong matches! More characters! More yuri! XD

    You know, I didn’t really like mahjong. I’ve seen people play before, but it was so boring it was like watching paint dry. I blame my not knowing what’s going on for that.

    But after watching Saki, I was totally hooked! They make it look so epic! Not to mention all of the yuri i get from watching this. If only real mahjong was as epic as Saki… Sigh…

    Still at least I know now how awesome mahjong is. 🙂

    • Yi says:

      I played some Mahjong with my family. It’s pretty fun, I think, if you’re playing it and understand it; very very intricate game that requires a lot of skills.

      Saki does a pretty good job portraying both the skill and the luck parts. Yea, Saki’s pretty awesome in so many ways!

  38. I hope so too. So for now, I’ll be waiting for Saki to come out for more awesomeness. ^-^

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