Name:  咲 -Saki-
    Episodes: 25
    Airtime: 06-04-2009 till 28-9-2009
    Producer: GONZO

I’ve been a little bit inactive but it has its reasons. It’s holiday here at the moment, and I have a lot of events I’m attending to. So I had no time to write for some days. After some relaxation and learning how to play mahjong, I think I can review this anime, which is 100% about mahjong. For most Europeans who do not know, it’s NOT Shanghai Mahjong we’re speaking of, but we’re speaking of mahjong, the Japanese way. Shanghai mahjong is where you have to remove pairs of the same tile which aren’t blocked on both sides(remember those pyramids), but normal mahjong plays like Gin Rummy. There’s enough to explain, so I’ll put both a bit explanation about how the game works, and how the anime goes in this post. I’ve watched Saki with Underwater subs.


Well as I haven’t seen any mahjong animes before, I don’t know how such animes will end up. Mostly in fantasy and luck you’ve never seen before. That’s also the case in Saki. The main character, obviously called Saki, has the miracle to always end up ±0 after every game. This means that after the game end, the total score + bonuses gives her 0 points. This is fairly near impossible to do in real life, if you want to achieve ±0 more than 3 times in a row. Apparently her mind goes like that because of a tragic background story.

With a little bit of tweaking, she becomes a high-skilled mahjong player, and the school club is aiming to win the nationals. There’s a lot of characterized characters in this anime, which deserves a thumbs up. Every school has 4 different characters with own personalities. I wonder how it’s going to end up in the future. I’ve only watched 3 episodes so far.
The anime does have a bit of it’s shoujo-ai(Girls Love) scenes here and there. Blush blush when Saki and Nodoka look at each other’s gaze…Yeah you know what I mean. Too bad the opening and the ending aren’t with karaoke by all the subbers I’ve seen so far, so that’s a pity. The chars are varied nicely. You have Nodoka whose proportions don’t really fit…And there’s this taco-loving girl you see below….and yes, she’s voiced by the famous voice actor, Kugimiya Rie. And if you don’t know who she is, I suggest you go check the animes Shakugan no Shana, Hayate no Gotoku, Zero no Tsukaima and Toradora and listen to the main female character.

Yes, I’m talking about you, Yuuki.

Learning mahjong is pretty hard, unlike people think. Especially when you need to count the points, what I don’t even know how to. Luckily, on the Internet it’s automatically counted. I’ll come back to that later. If people know rummikub or gin rummy, they know the basics a little bit. These are the tiles:
People don’t always play with akadora. The way of drawing tiles at the start is too difficult to explain in a few lines, so I’ll skip that.  You get 13 tiles, and the 14th is dealt to the east seat, where the game starts. Discard and draw a tile, and so on. Anyway, the main purpose is to get 4 sets of 3, with an extra pair. The 3 can be a triplet(1-1-1), or a sequence(1-2-3). Without this, you can’t finish a winning hand. So far so good. Then there’s the difference between concealed and open hand. When you declare a triplet(‘pon’) or sequence(‘chi’) because of a discard from another player, your hand is ‘open’. When you don’t declare anything and keep the hand for yourself, your hand is ‘closed’.

When your hand is closed, and you’re ‘ready'(riichi), you wait until someone discards the winning tile, or you draw it yourself. This is worth 1 multiplier. You can’t declare riichi when your hand is open, so you need specific combinations in order to get a counting winning hand(I hope you understand, but just having random sets isn’t worth a multiplier, so x0 would end up in nothing). You can see the combinations on the wiki here:
Japanese Mahjong yaku

See how Saki uses magic to change her tile(@sarcasm).

I hope people can keep there mind alive by now. If you start with a good hand and think you can get a nice combination, go for closed hands, because they’re more worth and some combinations are only available for closed hands. You can’t go for discards from the others though. That’s why you have to strategically discard the right tiles. The more multipliers, the more the worth. I think this is enough for the basics, you should check on google for guides.

Or you can ask Yuuki for help, but…

Well then, assuming people need real experience before they can realize how this game goes, I assume you go on the Internet to play mahjong. Because there aren’t too much sites around with this game, I suggest you go to the same site as me: ,Tenhou, and click on this sentence:サーバに接続(appears after a while, have patience). After selecting a name and if you’re male/female(男/女) and pressing OK, you’re in the lobby. You see a lot of tabs and buttons. I’m not really going to explain everything, but I think it’s best you press the first 4 buttons in the 2 columns. That’s 8 buttons total, and you wait until a game is set up(again, patience). You’re good to go afterwards!

I guess you’re enough informed about mahjong right now. Perhaps you can search for extra videos on the internet.  I suggest you learn all the winning hands(yaku) if you want to play this game seriously, but that’s for later. Maybe you want to take a rest for now and read a book, like Saki does. If you’re interested to read the same book as hers, here’s what it looks like:


1 Response to “Saki(+Mahjong)”

  1. 1 Faith
    29-04-2009 at 20:59

    Sounds fun! Still need to play the game itself to grasp it properly though. Thanks for all info and rofl @ The Rord of The Rings.

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