Saki, a new reason to play mahjong

January 31, 2011 at 2:03 am | Posted in Anime Reviews, Anime TV Series Reviews | Leave a comment
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Rain+Uniform=Fanbase

I’m going to try a different way of reviewing Saki.

Saki is about having as many female characters as possible while including what could be construed as yuri or yuri-ish every now and then just to keep you on your toes… It’s about learning to love Mahjong and stealing glances at Nodoka’s serious face while she thinks. Saki has plenty of arch-types and plenty of fanservice. There’s only one regular male who shows up and he’s only there as the butt of jokes and not much else. Saki starts off with teaching Mahjong and then quickly becomes a cut-scene type affair where they constantly show insanely absurd representations of laying a tile. The anime slowly builds up to the big finale, when I say big, I mean long and dbz-like endings. Yet, despite all the overdone sequences and formulaic characters, I found myself enjoying Saki, being absorbed and easily hooked. Maybe it was my fascination with Nodoka and her knockers. Maybe it was the hilariously absurd tile laying sequences of super power visualizations of the titular female.

Buttslam is super effective!

I had copious amounts of fun watching Saki. With all its supposed downfalls, it was simply an addicting watch.

There are characters who are enigmatic and those who are entirely predictable. Yet, they weave a fun story which intertwines into what feels like a long climax, the tournament. The tournament is so long that I actually wondered how a single match could take up three whole episodes and still feel like I’d only watched one. Saki feels suspenseful enough so that you’ll keep watching and watching, maybe because you like Nodoka, I don’t know. But my god, after you finish Saki you’ll feel like trying to learn Mahjong and then giving up because there’s way too many instructions to read through. Then you’ll remember scenes from Saki…yes, those cut scenes. They somehow felt natural in the series because they started it out slow and slowly built up to the bigger, grander and crazier cut scenes with angels and all that jazz. As you remember, you realize how much Saki relies on these cut scenes to pull you along, excite you and basically use up a lot of time so that they could end the episode on a cliff hanger.

Saki definitely drew inspiration from Hikaru no Go. There’s nothing wrong with this because Hikaru no Go is one of my favorite anime and manga of all time. This could be one of the other reasons I enjoyed Saki so much. I’ve been yearning for something like Hikaru no Go for so long that even something so formulaic could hook me so badly. I had to rewatch and reread Hikaru no Go over and over again every other year just because of how amazing Hikaru no Go is. When I feel like I’ve forgotten half the story, that’s usually a sign for me to reread/rewatch Hikaru no Go. Alright, this review was about Saki, right? Forgive me for my tangent…or don’t. I’d also like to mention that if you’ve watched/read Hikaru no Go and loved it but you feel Saki isn’t your cup of tea, you could try Shion no Ou. Something I’ll review at a later date, if I remember.

Prepare....for a tile smack!

Alright so I’ve covered almost nothing yet managed to write a couple walls of text. I think I’ve accomplished my job here, except, there’s just a bit more to write about. The fanservice and the Yuri undertones. I’m a fan of fanservice and a fan of Nodoka, so I didn’t mind. If you didn’t notice already, Saki is targeted towards a male audience. There are plenty of females and they hug alot. Plenty of scenes where the girls would be talking and the camera would give you a shot of their skirt or their chest. If you dislike fanservice I recommend you still give this anime a try. Why? The fanservice isn’t over the top and sometimes they actually try to fit it into what’s happening. There is a lot of Yuri type reactions or situations but this is simply my opinion. Yet, there’s so much blushing and just enough clues for me to say that this feels like a yuri-fest, something I don’t mind, of course. I’m no homophobe but I thought I’d point this out to anyone who isn’t into Yuri.

I would definitely recommend this anime to anyone who likes females, likes mahjong, likes gripping and hilarious story lines, likes females who like other females and anyone who is even slightly interested should at least give Saki a chance. Just watch a couple episodes before you make up your mind. Saki isn’t too complex nor is it deep but Saki satisfies my lust for gripping board games and pretty girls…

The obligatory pool scene in all anime

Overall: 9

Fun, light and rarely boring. Keeps you entertained with a dash of drama, suspense and pretty heroines.

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