New Anime Season Spring 2009: Saki

April 15th, 2009

Saki is not at all what I expected. After watching some of the dreck that has preceeded it this spring season, I was all ready to really hate yet another moe fakey Yuri thing.

Well, okay, Saki is fakey-Yuri, but it’s pretty easy on the brain and not vexatious to the soul like Queen’s Blade. And we can rest assured that while it make be fake Yuri, it will not at least, be Flesbian.

We begin the anime series with two distinctions, Ueda Kana is Saki’s voice and Saki’s gaze is more typical of the male audience, rather than the female. She notices Nodoka, an attractive girl who is wearing the same school uniform as she. Having noticed her, it would be unreasonable to think that the girl is “just” a passerby. Indeed Nodoka turns out to be a champion junior Mahjong player and a member of the school’s Mahjong club.

Saki’s friend invites her to join them for a game, but she says she does not like Mahjong very much. In reality, there is something else entirely going on.

Saki is a fairly typical sports/hobby idiot-savant type character. Having grown up in a ridiculously competitive Mahjong playing household, Saki has learned to play with the utmost skill and discretion. In fact, regardless of the conditions, she plays to a plus-minus zero every hand. She’s so good at this, that she approaches the level of genius.

Nodoka is the first one to recognize Saki’s genius, and her interest in Saki becomes palpable. Light skinship apparently catapults this series into “Yuri” territory for some fans.

I don’t know if Nodoka and Saki’s friendship/rivalry will make it into my personal definition of “Yuri” but my brain didn’t hurt at all after watching the first episode of this series. So…despite the fact that I know nothing about Mahjong, except that my mother has played it every Wednesday since I was a small child and I can still remember the sounds of the tiles and her friend’s voices, I’ll probably watch this because it’s entertaining and not taxing.


Art – 7
Story – 6
Characters: 7
Yuri – 2
Service – 2

Overall – 7

Unless it does something very unpredictable, this series is like every other series of its kind. Watch one, you’ve watched them all.

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10 Responses

  1. Katherine says:

    Interesting take on the Yuri in this show. I just recently did a Japanese lit paper analyzing the male gaze in The Tale of Genji, so seeing it used through Saki, I was like “Ack…” But it really wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

  2. moritheil says:

    Ah, damnation by faint praise. Queen’s Blade has set an all-new bar for lowness, and other anime can’t help but be above it.

    I’ve really heard a lot of mixed things about Saki; interest in mahjong seems to be pretty well correlated with how highly a reviewer rates it.

  3. ajshepherd says:

    I was kind of put off by the whole mahjong thing which I don’t understand at all, however the totally OTT melodramatic way they show the game, with Saki playing her moves like Light Yagami writing names, is so ridiculously overblown it’s entertaining.

  4. I was a bit skeptical about this one to start with – probably because of the whole mahjong idea. BUT I was also blown away by the sheer exaggeration in how the game was played! I found it quite entertaining!! Also, how could I not watch such a seiyuu cast?!? Haha

  5. Anonymous says:

    when they play hajong is so fun cuz they are all crazy XD soo fun, and i like it ^^ that game is entertaining, and the Yuri hints between saki and nodoka is good too

  6. Anonymous says:

    a question, it has nothing to do with saki but, erica i want to know if you are gonna make a review for marimite S4 ?? cuz a lot people thing that it was awesome (like me) anf others that is only decent(i cant uderstand why)..i want to know what you think

  7. @Anonymous – I did a review on the 4th season a few weeks ago. Check the right-hand side bar for the Maria-sama category, or look further down the right hand sidebar for the archive for the link.

  8. HentaiM says:

    As for me i like Yuri anime!!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    ohhh, sorry T_T my bad, im gonna check it right now, thanks for the response ^^

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