Saki (咲-Saki-?) is an ongoing Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Ritz Kobayashi. The story revolves around a first-year high school girl named Saki Miyanaga who is brought into the competitive world of mahjong by another first-year, Nodoka Haramura. The manga has been serialized in Square Enix's Young Gangan since June 2006 and has been collected into seven bound volumes in Japan as of April 2010. A 25-episode anime adaptation by Gonzo aired between April and September 2009 on TV Tokyo.
Saki Miyanaga, a high school first-year student, hates mahjong because her family would always force her to play it and punish her regardless of the outcome of the game. Due to this, she learned how to keep her score at zero, neither winning nor losing, a skill said to be more difficult than actually consistently winning. However, her friend Kyōtarō from middle school, completely unaware of such circumstances, convinces her to visit the school's small mahjong club upon entering into high school. After the club discovers her ability, they recruit her permanently and convince her to win instead of breaking even. She easily does so with her skill and discovers a new love for mahjong. This leads the team to enter the prefecture's high school mahjong tournament with the goal of reaching the national high school competition.
- Saki Miyanaga (宮永 咲 Miyanaga Saki?)
- Voiced by: Kana Ueda
- Saki Miyanaga is a first-year student and is the titular character of the story. Her family has broken apart, Saki lives alone with her father while her sister and mother live together in Tokyo, and she initially joins the mahjong club so she can reach the Nationals to see her sister again, a top-ranked mahjong player in high school tournaments. She is notorious for her ability to score zero points every round, a skill she developed from playing mahjong with her family to prevent her from either winning or losing since she would be punished for either result. She is also skilled in her ability to read her opponents and the flow of the game. A mahjong move she favors most is rinshan kaihō and she is at her best when playing barefooted. At the mahjong tournament, she is assigned the captain of the team.
- Nodoka Haramura (原村 和 Haramura Nodoka?)
- Voiced by: Ami Koshimizu
- Nodoka Haramura is a first-year student who attends the same school as Saki and is a member of the mahjong club. She was the previous year's National Middle School Individual Champion. Nodoka carries her penguin doll, affectionately named Etopen, to give her a sense of calmness when playing mahjong. Her skill in mahjong comes from extensive practices in online mahjong. When playing real mahjong, she tends to views the game as if it is digital mahjong; this tendency allows her to ignore other players' presences in the game, giving her an edge against players who rely on the ability to manipulate their presence. At the mahjong tournament, she is the vice-captain of the team. Her nickname is "Nodotchi" (のどっち?) (which is the same as her screen name in online mahjong) after her play style, quickly and efficiently racking up points as fast as possible. At first she berates Saki for not even trying but afterwards when she does try her hardest, she warms up to her and they become close. She is left-handed.
- Yūki Kataoka (片岡 優希 Kataoka Yūki?)
- Voiced by: Rie Kugimiya
- Yūki is Nodoka Haramura's friend from middle school who is also a member of the mahjong club. She is highly skilled during east wind match, though she has short attention span and makes more mistakes as the game progresses. Due to her poor calculation ability, Yuki is assigned the vanguard of her team in the mahjong tournament. She is very fond of tacos and is often seen eating one, which is also her main energy source when playing mahjong. Additionally, food with names similar to tacos, like takoyaki can increase her skill partially as well.
- Hisa Takei (竹井 久 Takei Hisa?)
- Voiced by: Shizuka Itō
- Hisa is the leader of the mahjong club and the President of the school's Student Congress. She is highly skilled in mahjong and is good at reading people's hand and mind. She is also skillful at baiting her opponents into traps. Hisa has a tendency to choose hands with a high risk of completion, and the more pressure she is under, the more likely she is to do so. Nodoka disapproves of this, finding it illogical; however Hisa found herself to be more likely to win through hands with high risk in stressful games. She is formerly known as Hisa Ueno and once played with Mihoko in a middle school tournament.
- Mako Someya (染谷 まこ Someya Mako?)
- Voiced by: Ryōko Shiraishi
- Mako is Hisa's friend, and is also a member of the mahjong club. She grew up in a family-owned mahjong parlor, and when she takes her glasses off while playing, she can remember past games she's witnessed similar to the current game and use this knowledge to help her win. She faces difficulties when playing against beginner players like Kaori, where their discarded tiles show little to no pattern at all.
Written and drawn by Ritz Kobayashi, the Saki manga series is serialized in Square Enix's biweekly seinen manga magazine, Young Gangan. Serialization began in June 2006 and is still ongoing, with a new chapter in every issue. Square Enix is also collecting the chapters in bound volumes. The first volume was released on December 25, 2006, and as of April 24, 2010, seven volumes have been released.
An anime adaptation of Saki was announced in the 24th issue of Young Gangan. The series is adapted by Gonzo, directed by Manabu Ono, and written by Tatsuhiko Urahata. From episode fifteen onwards, animation production is done by Picture Magic. On January 31, 2009, a 105-second promotional video began streaming on the anime's official website. The series began airing on April 6, 2009 on TV Tokyo and its affiliate stations. It is also streamed with English subtitles on Crunchyroll.
The series has five pieces of theme music; two opening themes and three ending themes. The first opening theme is "Glossy:MMM" by Miyuki Hashimoto used between episodes 2 and 14; this was also used as the ending theme in episodes 1 and 25. The second opening theme is Bloooomin'" by Little Non used between episodes 15 and 25. The first ending theme is "Netsuretsu Kangei Wonderland" (熱烈歓迎わんだーらんど?) by Kana Ueda, Ami Koshimizu, Rie Kugimiya, Ryōko Shiraishi, and Shizuka Itō used in episodes 2-6, 8-9, and 11-14. The second ending theme is "Zankoku na Negai no Naka de" (残酷な願いの中で?) by Ueda and Koshimizu used in episodes 7, 10, 16, 18 and 22. The third ending theme is "Shikakui Uchū de Matteru yo" (四角い宇宙で待ってるよ?) by Ueda, Koshimizu, Kugimiya, Shiraishi and Itō used in episodes 15, 17, 19-21, 23-24.
A mahjong video game was unveiled at the 2009 Tokyo International Anime Fair. Gonzo will collaborate with Sega in developing an arcade mahjong video game based on the series, and will be based on the MJ4 Ver.C network mahjong game. The game will include a Saki Single Mode, where the player can play with Saki characters instead of matching-up with opponents online. Another mahjong video game was developed by Alchemist for the PlayStation Portable, and was released in March 2010 in Japan under the name Saki Portable.
- Kobayashi, Ritz (2006). "Round 2". Saki, Volume 1. Square Enix. ISBN 978-4-7575-1782-0.
- Kobayashi, Ritz (2006). "Chapter 1". Saki, Volume 1. Square Enix. ISBN 978-4-7575-1782-0.
- Kobayashi, Ritz (2006). "Round 6". Saki, Volume 1. Square Enix. ISBN 978-4-7575-1782-0.
- Kobayashi, Ritz (2007). "Round 8". Saki, Volume 2. Square Enix. ISBN 978-4-7575-2019-6.
- Kobayashi, Ritz (2006). "Round 1". Saki, Volume 1. Square Enix. ISBN 978-4-7575-1782-0.
- Kobayashi, Ritz (2007). "Round 10". Saki, Volume 2. Square Enix. ISBN 978-4-7575-2019-6.
- Kobayashi, Ritz (2006). "Chapter 2". Saki, Volume 1. Square Enix. ISBN 978-4-7575-1782-0.
- Kobayashi, Ritz (2007). "Round 14". Saki, Volume 2. Square Enix. ISBN 978-4-7575-2019-6.
- Kobayashi, Ritz (2007). "Round 13". Saki, Volume 2. Square Enix. ISBN 978-4-7575-2019-6.
- "Saki manga official website" (in Japanese). Square Enix. Retrieved 2009-03-11.
- "Goods section at Saki's anime official website" (in Japanese). Gonzo. Retrieved 2009-05-02.
- "Saki Mahjong Manga to Get TV Anime from Gonzo in 2009 (Update 2)". Anime News Network. 2008-12-04. Retrieved 2009-03-11.
- "Staff and cast at Saki's anime official website" (in Japanese). Gonzo. Retrieved 2009-05-02.
- "Saki High School Mahjong Anime's Promo Video Streamed". Anime News Network. 2009-01-31. Retrieved 2009-03-11.
- "TV Anime Saki Broadcast Information Unveiled! And Also New Character Information!!" (in Japanese). Dengeki Online. 2009-03-06. Retrieved 2009-03-11.
- "CD goods section at Saki's anime official website" (in Japanese). Gonzo. Retrieved 2009-05-02.
- "TAF 2009: Bishojo Mahjong Anime Saki is to come out as a Mahjong Game". Gigazine. 2009-03-18. Retrieved 2009-03-19.
- "MJ4 Ver.C's Exhibit at Tokyo International Anime Fair 2009" (in Japanese). Sega. 2009-03-19. Retrieved 2009-03-19.
- "人気アニメ『咲-Saki-』がPSPのゲームに! 夏コミ・アルケ祭2009 ぷちで発表" [Popular Anime Saki Gets a PSP Game! Summer Comiket / Arukesai 2009 Small Announcement] (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. 2009-08-17. Retrieved 2009-08-17.
- Manga official website (Japanese)
- Anime official website (Japanese)
- Saki anime at TV Tokyo (Japanese)
- Saki (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia