A list of characters appearing in the anime series Saki.WARNING: Multiple unmarked spoilers abound!
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Kiyosumi High School (The Main Characters)
The mahjong club of Kiyosumi, an otherwise nondescript school from Nagano Prefecture, was restarted by Hisa Takei two years ago and was its lone member until Mako Someya joined the following year. After an influx of freshmen, the club enters its first mahjong tournament.As of the current chapter, Team Kiyosumi is playing at the National semifinals Side B, against Himematsu (from their quarterfinals bracket), Rinkai and Usuzan, while Saki and Nodoka, 3rd- and 2nd-placers at the Nagano individuals, respectively, are slated to play at the National individuals.
Saki is a shy, bookish freshman who claims to hate mahjong in spite of her near-supernatural luck which allows her to consistently end matches with ±0 (which is harder than winning). After Nodoka helps her confront her personal demons — that is, a bad impression of her own sport because her family used to be sore losers and arrogant winners — she decides to join Kiyosumi's mahjong team, hoping to one day reach the National Inter-High School Tournament and see again her estranged older sister Teru, the current national champion, whom she hadn't seen since their parents separated.Aside from her uncanny ±0 play style, she has affinity to get a rare yaku Rinshan Kaihou off the dead wall. After the Nagano quarterfinals, it is revealed Saki still uses her old ±0 style, except that instead of settling down with that score, she actually manipulates everyone else's scores in her favor.
Adorkable: Would you believe that one of the most dangerous girls in mahjong is also a shy bookworm who tends to get lost in competition venues and frequently trips on thin air?
Character Title: Of every title in the series, even the ones she has no direct involvement in, such as Achiga-hen and Shinohayu.
Character Development: Used to dislike mahjong with a passion due to several bad memories of playing it, but as the first season rolled she learns to gradually love her sport, as she openly tells Koromo.
The Chessmaster: Everybody who has played against her deeply fears her ability to manipulate scores and still go around smiling like it's nobody's business. During the Nagano semifinals, she helped Kana get past ±0, but because she formed a basic yaku, she couldn't just win with ron, so the only way for her to score is to draw a 6-dotted tile, to which Saki called pon, meaning there's only one of the 6 dots left. While Kana panicked over the last one, Saki knew it's on the dead wall which was untouched unless by kan, and drew said 6-pin for her. She then declared kan, so Kana could steal it with a chankan — except earlier Saki opened her point sticks drawer before Kana can declare ron, in the process opening more kan dora that helped raised Kana's point by 3 han and earn 16,900 points. Which was more like a Hope Spot, because Saki's quick play ruined Kana's chances. And during the Nagano finals Koromo was forced to discard the i-pin tile she drew to keep her yaku, knowing this will play right into Saki's hand. Another example is during the National quarterfinals, breaking Kasumi's streak by discarding 8-sou for Kyouko's call. She also declared kan simply to shift drawing order to her favor; whether or not Kyouko's win of that hand is orchestrated, Saki quickly wrapped that match up with a cheap hand to take the lead.
Cloudcuckoolander: A minor case, but Saki's thought processes don't usually match that of a normal player. She often comes to conclusions at odds with what observers to her matches can really see, and ends up with a 1/5 in her Analysis statistic. To wit...
During the Nagano finals, she started to worry that Yumi can stop her Rinshan all the time, even as the latter muses that she has most likely used up her luck for the year in that single move.
Another case is the National quarterfinals, where she panics and sees Kyouko, the only normal player in the match, to be the biggest threat on the table (and the last person she wants to continue to the semifinals), and not the goddess-possessed Kasumi. Even as everyone else on the table starts to fear Saki as though she was the Devil incarnate, complete with intimidating Battle Aura and supernatural manifestations (in this case, a localized earthquake).
Cute Bookworm: Outside the mahjong table Saki likes nothing more than to read.
Cute Clumsy Girl: She manages to trip over nothing near the end of Season 1 Episode 6 after unwittingly intimidating Team Ryuumonbuchi with her Battle Aura, and again in Episode 23.
Dismotivation: Saki's default state at the beginning of the series. As mentioned by Hisa, she doesn't even think about winning for a second. She's moved on since then. Mostly.
The Dreaded: Never mind that outside the mahjong board Saki is just like your average cute dorky schoolgirl. Everybody else who played her (or at least watched intently) deeply fear her ability to control the points in her favor.
Expy: Of Min Yuri, the deuteragonist of Ritz' previous manga, Fatalizer, being a timid girl with a fearsome power.
Finishing Move: A yaku rinshan kaihou off the dead wall, which she can frequently use.
Foil: To Nodoka, in that she stopped enjoying mahjong due to bad experiences playing it with her family, in contrast to Nodoka, who made friends with that game.
Heroic BSOD: After hearing that Teru has disowned her. She's not entirely surprised, but begins to doubt whether even facing and winning against Teru in mahjong will be enough to make up with her.
Hyper Awareness: According to Hisa, Saki is very good with hands-on mahjong because of this. In many occasions it's implied she could sense the presence of tile, or even see it before she draws it. Showcased wonderfully when she played online for the first time, where she complains that she cannot intuitively sense the flow of the game.
Impossible Task: Her ±0 style. As said in Season 1 Episode 1, even a pro's winning percentage is 30% on average, and breaking even like Saki did is even harder when done on purpose. Not to mention, it's implied that Saki started playing with this style when she was around six.
Let's Get Dangerous: Whenever she plays seriously. Just try to pull off what she does all the time even once. One extreme case is finishing her second game in the club with four concealed triplets, on a draw after a tsumo, and thinking that would make her score ±0. Come the Nagano finals, Koromo plays into three consecutive kan, and by the tournament rules, had to pay for all the points Saki would've earned, thus ending in Saki's comeback victory.Note
For those who want the exact combo, it was "An all-circles all pons/kans three concealed pons/kans three kans 1 red dora tsumo after a kan" worth 32,000 points. Don't forget about that rule, either...
Meaningful Name: "Saki" means "to bloom." Saki's signature move, Rinshan Kaihou, means "the flower that blooms atop the mountain." Lampshaded in a flashback.
Saki: "Bloom? It's the same! As my name!" Teru: "That's right, Saki. On a tall mountain beyond the forest, that's where the flower blooms. You are just like that flower... strong..."
Metaphorically True: Due to Heroic Self-Deprecation and Cloudcuckoolander tendencies, many of her statements result to this. In the beginning of the manga, Saki said she always lost against her family, causing her dislike of mahjong. From the words alone, it would lead us to believe that she's not good. Further context reveals, however, that she can score ±0 at will, causing her to always lose, but it also shows her ridiculous luck and skill.
No Sense of Direction: During both the Nagano and National tournaments, she often gets lost in the venues.
No Social Skills: Initially Saki had no understanding of a mahjong player's honor. This is best shown in her first game with Kiyosumi, when she unwittingly hurt Nodoka's pride as Inter-Middle High Champion by winning four times with a ±0 and once with a yakuman, then proceeded to revert to ±0 as a grace for Yuuki (who was lamenting her lack of points) after winning a match several points ahead of Nodoka. This is lampshaded at one point by Koromo (who has her own difficulties with making friends), in which, after saying that she decided not to follow Nodoka into the building where Achiga was having its semis match...
Koromo: "Saki, you're bad at socializing as usual."
Open Secret: While it's never blatantly kept secret, neither Teru nor Saki, or anyone who knew, reveal their (strained) relationship to public, Teru having only denied having a sister twice in the anime to Sumire and Junko. However, it didn't stop players with good analysis skills like Mihoko and Funakubo to guess that there is a connection. And in Achiga-hen, all three players Teru faced looked really shocked at her declaring kan, having expected a Rinshan Kaihou.
Overshadowed by Awesome: Saki is this to media as they care more about Nodoka, last year's Inter-Middle High Champion. They didn't even mention Saki in the introductions to the second Nagano semifinals. This is in contrast to many of Saki's rivals, who seem more interested in her than Nodoka. Lampshaded in Achiga-hen by Hiroko and Izumi, when they discussed a certain first-year who can beat even the most seasoned third-years.
Hiroko: "And there's also that first year player from Kiyosumi." Izumi: "Do you mean Haramura?" Hiroko: "No, it's Saki Miyanaga."
Parental Abandonment: Saki's parents are separated, and her mother and Teru seem to be living in a different prefecture. She lives with her father, who only appears on screen a handful of times.
Solomon Divorce: Saki's parent's haven't legally divorced yet, but the sisters each living with different parents still fits.
Power Limiter: Saki plays better when she is without socks because it helps remind her of the first time she played mahjong and considered it fun.
Power Walk: Depicted in Season 1 Episode 6, when she walked past Team Ryuumonbuchi, only to trip on her own feet five steps later, and again in Achiga-hen, while passing by Team Achiga, complete with Battle Aura, intimidating Kuro, Harue and Shizuno even as it turns out that Saki is just trying to find her way.
Red Eyes, Take Warning: She's normally a good girl even with red eyes, but if you're playing against her it's a valuable warning.
Samaritan Syndrome: Has a tendency to help her opponents. Whether her help will be good or bad varies on the occasion.
Selective Obliviousness: Nodoka's crush on her is quite noticeable to others, but Saki herself seems unaware of it.
Shower of Angst: Takes one after being unable to bring herself to come see her sister's team in the National semifinals Side A.
Shrinking Violet: When not wrecking players like it's nobody's business, Saki would rather retreat into a book or into a chat with Nodoka.
Spirited Competitor: Come the Nagano tournament, she is quite excited by the prospect of being able to play against so many other strong players.
Super Mode: "Awakened" Saki, which manifests during her National quarterfinals match against Kasumi, Toyone and Kyouko, causing a minor earthquake to shake the venue. Except this was actually the manifestation of her fear over the otherwise completely normal Kyouko, causing her to revert to her ±0 style... even as the latter begins to discover Saki is a "mahjong monster". Whether this is a true Super Mode or actually her default state prior to her parents' breakup is still under debate.
Sweet and Sour Grapes: Despite her stated dislike of mahjong early in the series, she's good enough to break even, which is more difficult than winning, much to Nodoka's frustration. It's indicated, however, that her ability to manage this feat is in part because she doesn't feel the pressure of winning. Once she enters the tournament, she commits herself to winning.
Take a Third Option: Saki's prominent ±0 playstyle. Back then, she doesn't want to win because everyone will get angry at her, and of course she doesn't want to lose her New Year money or candy. Faced with bad choices, she then decided to make it so she doesn't win or lose.
Talking through Technique: Her plan for reconciling with Teru, as the last time she saw Teru, she was unwilling to speak with her at all. This may be part of the reason why, even after getting to Tokyo, Saki is hesitant to go over to see Teru.
"Well Done, Sis" Girl: She desperately wants to reconcile with Teru and get her approval, no matter how distant Teru seems. In the anime, she even has a dream about a younger Teru congratulating her younger self.
Wide-Eyed Idealist: Saki's idea that she can reunite her family by playing Mahjong sure is a stretch, although she does acknowledge its near-impossibility.
Willfully Weak: Before she decides to play seriously, she would instead aim for ±0, which is like ending a game of poker with the same amount of chips you started with.
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Given her vow before the Nationals begin in the manga (Along with a few other moments), she can be considered this, as a girl with a broken family and a possibly very dark past incident who is nevertheless a fearsome Mahjong opponent.
One of the newer members of Team Kiyosumi, Nodoka was last year's Inter-Middle High Champion, and is considered a genius at the sport. In spite of her calm, mature appearance (and a big shelf), she has a somewhat childish side — she cannot sleep comfortably without her penguin plushie Etopen. After losing six straight games to Saki (with a ±0, even), she initially disliked her, but upon learning of her emotional baggage, becomes her best friend and confidante.Nodoka plays in a careful, analytical way, and is quick to discount any aspect of the game that is not "logical". This helped negate occult abilities Momoko’s Stealth Mode, but is also harmful, as shown in the National quarterfinals, when she didn’t believe Hatsumi’s ability and put a halt on Sae and Kinue’s attempt to seal Hatsumi.Besides being a team player, she also plays online mahjong under the username "Nodocchi", where her style of deciding the best probability of getting a winning hand with quick draws and discards, thus disrupting her opponent’s pace, makes her one of online mahjong's best players. In addition, at Hisa's recommendation, she carries Etopen to help settle her down while playing in tournaments helping her reach her heightened state — "Nodocchi Mode", in which she appears as her online avatar, dressed in white with a halo and white wings, under which state she gains quick hand-building abilities.
Agent Scully: Because she doesn't believe in superstition, she simply doesn't notice when something weird is up. Showcased wonderfully in her match against Eisui's Hatsumi, where by just playing normally she derails the plans of Sae and Kinue, who did notice Hatsumi's ability and were trying to stop it from triggering.
Anti-Magic: Because her style is logic-based, she is immune to any debuffing abilities other players can throw at her. She is still susceptible to players using self buff type abilities however, although her absolute efficiency control will usually keep her even with such opponents.
Badass Adorable: Not quite to the extent of Saki and Koromo, but she still counts.
Badass Normal: In a series chock-full of high-impossible powers and sheer luck, her strength lies in calculating odds, and is probably the closest the series has to this trope.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Nodoka is both mature and serious, as well as pretty childish, evidenced whenever she hugs Etopen while playing.
Butt Monkey: She (and her huge breasts) is typically the subject of many of her friends' jokes. It also doesn't help that she always tries to put up a serious facade.
Cannot Spit It Out: She doesn't openly tell Saki how she feels about her. In Season 1 Episode 25, after praying at a shrine, Nodoka tells Saki that she wishes to to stay by her side forever.
D-Cup Distress: Of all the busty girls in the series, Nodoka is the most sensitive about her size, particularly when people tease her or express fascination with her pair.
Defeat Means Friendship: Subverted — if anything, her pride was getting a beating when Saki outplayed her with ease the in the first five games they had, and she is upset by the realization that Saki, with her ability, could have won, but chose not to. She befriended Saki not because she was defeated but because Saki has a legitimate reason to keep playing mahjong and join their club.
Education Papa: Her father disapproves of her choosing to forgo going to a prep school in Tokyo to stay at Kiyosumi, and has contempt for mahjong and the town she lives in.
Everyone Has Standards: Despite her refusal to believe in the occult, she can't bring herself to express her opinion on that matter to Kuro after hearing about her dora ability's relation to her Missing Mom.
Everything's Better with Penguins: Etopen, her penguin plushie. It later becomes a plot point, when Hisa suggests that she hold it while playing to improve her confidence.
Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Her father doesn't think much of Mahjong, saying that it's purely a game of luck, that training camps are a waste of time and that the friends Nodoka makes through it won't be of any use in a "hick town" like where she lives. He seems to tolerate her playing mahjong to the extent that it doesn't interfere with anything more important, and reluctantly decides to "consider" letting her stay where she is if she wins the Nationals, though.
Foil: To Saki. Her disapproving father aside, Nodoka actually enjoyed the sport and has made lots of friends with it, in stark contrast to Saki, whose bad experiences playing it with her family gave her a negative impression of mahjong.
Gag Boobs: They're prone to minor Gainaxing, and are the subject of several jokes throughout the series.
I Need to Go Iron My Dog: Calls Saki to the restroom after Yuuki's match in the Prefectural Finals despite her initial reluctance. Once inside, Nodoka tells Saki that this was so that Yuuki could cry over her loss beyond her peers' earshot.
Invisible Parents: Her mother, whose job is apparently why she had to move away from Achiga, is never seen.
New Transfer Student: During Achiga-hen. She transfers schools quite a bit, and unfortunately, has difficulty settling down with a group of friends. Her goal in the series is to convince her father to let her stay at Kiyosumi by winning the tournament.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: While Nodoka's logic usually helps her most of the time, in a world where everyone can summon goddesses and cause localized earthquakes, it is still bound to fail her at some point. During the National quarterfinals, she kept foiling Kinue and Sae's plan to stop Hatsumi's power because it's just a coincidence to her. And even after she saw Hatsumi's open hand she chalked it up as a big coincidence. Sae is so annoyed she let Hatsumi complete her yakuman in Nodoka's dealer turn as revenge. The sad thing is that Nodoka is unperturbed and chalked it up again as another coincidence, much to Sae's and Kinue's shock.
Overshadowed by Awesome: She is the only player in Team Kiyousumi the media cares about because of her prestigious ranking, so she overshadowed everyone else in her team, including Saki. However it's the other way around to fellow players.
Sweet and Sour Grapes: She's initially upset that Saki, who claims she doesn't like mahjong, could beat her without so much as batting an eye. However, when Saki dedicates herself to winning the tournament so that she can reconcile with Teru, Nodoka befriends her.
Vapor Wear: A shot of her backside in Season 1 Episode 1 more or less confirms that she's not wearing anything underneath her uniform.
What the Hell, Hero?: Saki and Nodoka's relationship got off to a rough start, as Nodoka expresses frustration with Saki's ±0 style, claiming she felt insulted. With Saki resolving to go to the nationals and face her sister, Nodoka drops her attitude and becomes Saki's confidante.
Zettai Ryouiki: Wears a pair of white ones as part of her school getup.
Yuuki is Nodoka's good friend since their days at Takatobara Junior High School and her diminutive, energetic antithesis, having enrolled at Kiyosumi solely because its cafeteria sells tacos.Yuuki specializes in rapid point-farming at the East round, giving her a greater chance of starting as the first dealer, leading Hisa to place her as Team Kiyosumi's starter, though she tends to lose steam come South round, causing her to lose points she earned in the East round.
Badass Cape: Wears one throughout the Nationals, as if to send a message that Team Kiyosumi is no pushover.
Big Eater: Kid really loves to eat. Especially if tacos are involved.
Bird Run: Occasionally does this in Season 1 to further emphasize her childish demeanor.
Bi the Way: While she seems to want Kyoutaro to "check her out", Yuuki's really quite fond of Nodoka's bosom, much to the latter's discomfort.
Book Dumb: A genius at mahjong, but her brain completely burns out after filling in an arithmetic training book with (mostly wrong) answers.
Crippling Overspecialization: She blows the field at East Wind... and can do not much else come the other rounds. Come the National semifinals, Hisa remedies this by having her change her priorities from big hands to cheap but quick ones with the intention of getting a parenchan.
Defeat Means Friendship: Considers her rivals from other schools in the Nagano tourney her friends, even the likes of Mihoko, who badly defeated her during their finals match. As such, she hates it when some reporters deride Nagano players as second-rate, since they're not just insulting her and her teammates, but also everybody else from that region.
Overshadowed by Awesome: Many consider her a weakling despite her ability to farm points in East Wind. And she would've gotten away with a strong lead during the National quarterfinals, too, had Komaki not fallen asleep and got a direct sanbaiman hit on Yuuki.
Power-Up Food: Tacos, or anything that rhymes with it (To a lesser extent), such as takoyaki.
Took a Level in Badass: Happens before her first major match in the Nationals, where she comes into the venue sporting a cape and vows to show everyone that Kiyosumi isn't a weak team. Prior to the National semifinals, at Hisa's recommendation she also began learning how to deal with big hands, in the event that she faces off against Teru come the finals.
Hisa is the Student Council President (or "Student Congress President", as she'd rather have it) of Kiyosumi High School, as well as club leader of its mahjong team, now in her final playing year. Having once went by the surname "Ueno", back in middle-school she shared a rivalry with Mihoko Fukuji, currently of Team Kazekoshi, but mysteriously withdrew from individual competition.Her style revolves around "hell waits," meaning she'd be on standby for anyone with either one tile left in play or requiring one tile to win, disorienting her opponents and allowing her to trick them into playing right into her hand. She also tends to choose the route with the lowest win rate. Despite her strength, she prefers being a team player, which she became come third year.
Agent Mulder: In contrast to reality-focused Nodoka, Hisa is always prepared to take the supernatural elements of mahjong into account to plan for her strategy.
Enemy Mine: During the National semifinals Side B, she realizes that if Team Usuzan falls under 0, both they and Team Kiyosumi will be eliminated. She then decides to prevent that from happening while trying to gain points against Rinkai and Himematsu. However, she's also aware that Team Usuzan will need to win off anyone, including Hisa, so the latter decides that she'd promptly rid herself of Team Usuzan once Team Kiyosumi hits at least second-place.
Friendly Rival: With Mihoko, which has actually toned down from their junior-high days.
Genre Savvy: She is well aware that some rather unlikely things tend to happen around a lot of players, including herself winning with really bad waits.
Guile Heroine: Skilled at manipulating other players' thoughts to her advantage.
Heroic BSOD: Prior to the National quarterfinals, she becomes stricken with fear and convinces herself that her opponents are too strong, and ends up screwing up the early portion of her match and falls to last place, before she regains her composure and help Team Kiyosumi claw its way back to second place.
OOC Is Serious Business: During the National quarterfinals, Saki is worried that Hisa is not playing like her usual self, but Nodoka believes it's a good thing that she isn't doing her "hell waits" style like usual, and Mako notices the abrupt change and restored confidence in herself, wondering if she's really alright.
Slasher Smile: Tends to sport one whenever she thinks she has the upper hand.
Spot of Tea: Occasionally seen sipping a cup of tea together with Mako.
Troll: Has some shades of this, as her initial idea for having Nodoka play with Etopen at her side was for "joke material," and she, possibly deliberately, gives some misleading double entendres about what happened between her and Yumi at Momoko's presence.
Vitriolic Best Buds: Seems to be getting onto this with Hiroe, whose taunting her to get her out of her Heroic BSOD in the quarterfinals has given way to good-natured banter in the semifinals.
Willfully Weak: In the Nagano individuals, she didn't play seriously until she heard the argument between Saki and Nodoka.
"That view that the president said she wants to see... I will also show it to Grandpa!"
Mako is the sole eleventh-grader in Team Kiyosumi, as well as Hisa's best friend and confidante. Her peculiar manner of speech appears to be a result of being raised by her grandfather — she uses the pronoun "washi", which is usually used only by old men. Her family owns a mahjong parlor (maid cafe in the anime).Mako plays with her photographic memory, which she calls “Spindle Territory”. During matches, she takes of her glasses and compares the game to others she has seen in the past.
Awesomeness by Analysis: Having watched thousands of mahjong matches early in life, she uses memories of them to develop her own strategies to get around her opponents' plays.
I Don't Know Mortal Kombat: She often loses to raw or inexperienced players because they play in a method outside of the scope of her ability. This was apparently remedied via studying Maho's style at training camp.
Japanese Pronouns: Mako uses the pronoun "washi", which is normally the domain of older men. She was raised by her grandfather, so she apparently picked up his speech habits; in a flashback in Chapter 117, another member of Mako's family tells her that even if she likes her grandfather, she shouldn't mimic his speech patterns..
During the Nagano finals, when Kaori gets a Yakuman on her during Mako's dealer turn, which Kaori, in her inexperience, had claimed was a cheaper hand.
When she realized that Hao is playing Chinese mahjong, something with which Mako has no familiarity.
Photographic Memory: Mako has memorized nearly every match she's seen played at her grandpa's mahjong parlor. In practice, though, this tends to yield mixed results — it failed her against Kaori, a total newcomer with an unpredictable playstyle, as well as Hao, who plays a completely foreign form of the sport, but helped her win against the more orthodox-minded Aislinn.
Scary Shiny Glasses: Gets them at times, such as when challenging Kaori to a rematch with the other two players from their Sergeant match, who also sport them. Kaori wins again.
The One Guy of Team Kiyosumi, who mostly serves as comic relief and errand boy, as well as Saki's long-time classmate since middle school. Between his mediocre skills, his unrequited crush on Nodoka (and later Mihoko), and being delegated with heavy work by Hisa, Kyoutaro generally has a hard time. His relative lack of familiarity with mahjong allows him to act as The Watson, giving Hisa and Yuuki the opportunity to explain things for the benefit of the audience. During the tournament, he becomes their errand boy and is currently serving as Yuuki’s... taco delivery boy.
Butt Monkey: He spends most of his time running errands for the club, and isn't very good at mahjong.
Heroic BSOD: Played for Laughs after the Nagano individuals, where he loses badly and is eliminated by lunch time (albeit partly because the men's tournament had more participants and an earlier elimination).
My Friends... and Zoidberg: He gets this at times. For example, in the anime, Hisa said she locked the three first-years out of the mahjong club so Yuuki can focus on studying for the exam she has to retake. Mako then reminds Hisa that there are four first-years, and it shows Kyoutarou out doing errands as usual.
The One Guy: The sole male in the mahjong club, and one of the few recurring male characters in the series.
The original incarnation of Team Ryuumonbuchi was not considered a strong contender in the Nagano tournament. Then came Touka, who ascended her way by defeating her future teammates, before leading them to a prominent place during last year's Nationals.Team Ryuumonbuchi ultimately placed second at the Nagano tournament, barring it from qualifying for the Nationals.
Club leader of Team Ryuumonbuchi and scion of the namesake owners of her own alma mater (specifically, the daughter of the current principal, and in turn great-granddaughter of her alma mater's founder). Haughty and craving for attention, she nevertheless shows concern for her teammates in her own way, and is reputed to have went to great lengths to assemble an all-star team.Her playing style is similar to Team Kiyosumi's Nodoka, whom she treats as her rival, but in an unnecessarily flashy way. When she gets serious, she enters "Cold" state, where she suddenly becomes an emotionless board-clearer.
Touka: "Was that a dream?" Hajime: "If you're talking about your consecutive victories against Koromo, Kiyosumi (Saki), and the professional Mahjong player [Fujita]..." Tomoki: "That was not a dream."
Determinator: When she tries to do something seriously, she really means it, such as when scouting Tomoki — wanting to personally test her skills, Touka actually played the RTS of which Tomoki was a high-ranking player for six straight days to reach the higher rankings and challenge her.
Don't Call Me Sir: She insists that Hajime not call her "-sama" when her father is not present.
Foil: To Momo, a Shrinking Violet who only wants to be acknowledged by the person she cares for the most.
I Just Want to Be Special: This is half her reason for playing mahjong. She doesn't even care when a teammate messes up, because it gives her a chance to go the "Big Damn Heroes" way. Although she lacks the special abilities of a Saki or Koromo, or even Momoko, she's said to be a formidable player, which does suggest she's managed to build herself into a Badass Normal.
Informed Ability/The Worf Effect: As a former winner of the prefectural tournament, she seems to lose rather badly during both the team and individual events. Partially had something to do with how she never entered Cold state mode during those events.
Large Ham: Not a second where she's around passes without her speaking in bombastic tones.
Loophole Abuse: Attempts this in Saki Biyori. In response to being told that she can only use the club room for club activities while she and her teammates are relaxing in it, she considers changing the name of the club for the day.
Lovable Alpha Bitch: Haughty and boastful of her own abilities, but nevertheless has a soft spot both for Koromo and the rest of Team Ryuumonbuchi.
Pet the Dog: Her interactions with Koromo, for whose sake she scouted an invincible team for the prefectural and national tournaments so she can make new friends. Earlier on, she also sets aside her one-sided rivalry with Nodoka by having Hagiyoshi fix Etopen.
Promotion to Parent: Even without Hajime's interpretation of how Ryuumonbuchi is one big family, Touka essentially acts as Koromo's mother.
Tsundere: A straight Type-A to everyone, with Hajime being the only one who can summon her deredere.
Unknown Rival: Nodoka is entirely oblivious to Touka's obsession with defeating her, to the point that she actually forgets her name during the training camp at the end of Season 1.
Verbal Tic: Fitting her ojou nature, Touka finishes game-oriented declarations with "desu wa". In Saki Biyori, while writing a birthday song for Koromo, she even puts "desu wa" at the end of each verse.
"I feel like we'd move apart if I let go of these chains, Touka..."
Back in grade-school, Hajime cheated using sleight-of-hand, a skill she learned from her stage magician father, which ultimately destroyed several friendships she had, causing her to bind her hands with manacles as atonement in order to make it harder for her to cheat. Nevertheless, Touka still sees some potential in her, and recruited her both as teammate and personal maid, and Hajime in turn grew affectionate of Touka.
The Atoner: For cheating in a mahjong game years ago, she chains her hands to limit her range and thus make it harder for her to cheat.
Koromo is Touka's cousin and the ace of Team Ryuumonbuchi. Despite her childlike stature, she is the oldest member of the team, as well as one of the most feared players in Japan, having brought an end to Team Kazekoshi's six-year domination of the Nagano tournament last year.Amae lost both parents at a younger age, and despite being taken in by Touka, she mainly kept to herself. Touka tried to use mahjong to help her make friends, but because of her playing style — preventing opponents from reaching tenpai and scoring via Haitei Raoyue — she winds up being feared by many people, including her own teammates. As a result she only sees mahjong as a mere game for her to crush her opponent.
Hypocritical Humor: She's had difficulty making friends for much of her life, to the point at which she doesn't initially recognize Touka and her teammates from Ryuumonbuchi as such. When Saki says that she decided not to join Nodoka in watching the semifinals, Koromo responds as following:
Older than They Look/Token Mini-Moe: She is in fact the oldest member of Team Ryuumonbuchi (a few days older than Touka, who is a few days older than Jun, whose birthday is right before Hajime's), but like Team Kiyosumi's Yuuki, she certainly doesn't look or act the part.
A fairly masculine girl, who nevertheless tends to get annoyed when people mistake her as a boy. Her style revolves around sensing the flow of the game and calling tiles that disrupt her opponents' hands and ruin their chances of winning.
Berserk Button: Being mistaken for a boy, which isn't being helped by her rather butch appearance.
"I'm a girl, dammit!"
Bifauxnen: She looks almost exactly like the stereotype of a male teenage delinquent.
The Gadfly: Loves to tease Koromo's childlike stature, to which others respond by calling her out on her masculine appearance, though in a friendly way.
Meido: Not in-series, but it's shown in Otona no Maki that, like Hajime, she works as a maid at Touka's house.
Ore-onna: She uses "ore" as her personal pronoun, despite it almost exclusively being used by males.
Promotion to Parent: According to Hajime, Jun falls into Ryuumonbuchi's family structure as the father, much to her embarrassment.
Terrible Artist: In Saki Biyori, she draws a portrait of Tomoki for a class. Partly as a result of Jun's lack of skill, and partly as a result of Tomoki removing her glasses and putting on Hajime's ribbon, Tomoki is mistaken for Hajime.
Tomoki is one of Touka's first recruits into Team Ryuumonbuchi to become both Koromo's friend and a member of Touka's dream team. She used to be a hardcore RTS player prior to her enrollment into Ryuumonbuchi, and Touka herself went through unique lengths to get her to even consider her offer. She's very serious except when she's being snarky.
Creepy Monotone: Tomoki always speaks in a low and even register, even when she's snarking at Touka's foul-ups.
Gamer Chick: As revealed in the picture drama about how Touka recruited her.
Meido: Revealed in Saki Biyori — Otona no Maki to moonlight as maid at Touka's family mansion outside the mahjong table. She's also briefly seen in a maid outfit after the prefecturals.
Canon Immigrant: Ayumu is an anime-original character, but she (or a maid who has the same hairstyle) appears in a flashback in Round 49 of the manga.
Demoted to Extra: Initially making a handful of appearances as a comic-relief character amongst Team Ryuumonbuchi, Ayumu's appearances and lines in both the anime and manga have now dwindled down to almost nothing. (Then again, she was an extra to begin with — literally, due to being the alternate player in case Koromo didn't show up — so...)
Meido: Just like Jun and Tomoki, though it's implied that she's more or less full-time.
Put on a Bus: Hasn't been seen at the Training Camp or the Nationals.
Kazekoshi Girls' School
Kazekoshi is a known as a mahjong powerhouse in Nagano Prefecture, boasting a membership of over 80 girls. Team Kazekoshi's six-year winning streak in the Nagano tournament was snapped last year by Team Ryuumonbuchi and Koromo, and the two schools have since developed a fierce rivalry.Team Kazekoshi landed at fourth place at the Nagano finals, while Mihoko, champion of the Nagano individuals, qualified for the National individuals.
'"Maybe she'll tell me my right eye is pretty once again."
Mihoko is the club captain of Team Kazekoshi as well as its ace in the hole. She has had a past history of rivalry with Hisa Takei, a girl of her age and currently of Team Kiyosumi, back in their middle-school years, though both have since engaged in a far friendlier rivalry come high school. Besides this, she is also known to be incredibly affectionate and caring towards her teammates, never minding her habit of keeping her right eye closed at all times due to her self-consciousness with her heterochromia (it's bright blue, in contrast to her more naturally Japanese-looking reddish-brown left eye).When playing, she only opens her right eye when she gets serious, allowing her to calculate the game's progression and predict her opponents' hands with extreme accuracy, as well as an intimidating aura.
Badass Boast: After hearing about the other three schools that advanced to the Nagano finals (soon after Kubo berated her and Kana), Mihoko says she's glad Team Ryuumonbuchi made it, since they can now avenge last year's loss.
"To our coach, to Ryuumonbuchi, let's show them all, that we are still the strongest."
Beware the Nice Ones: She gives Yuuki a lunch box after Jun eats her taco, and later helps Yuuki win off Jun. Yuuki is horrified when Mihoko starts winning, and realizes that she's not on her side.
Cloudcuckoolander: Verges on this with her ignorance about technology, particularly in failing to understand how computers are used in making T-shirts (such as thinking that the shirts come out of the computer).
Establishing Character Moment: She catches Kubo by the wrist before she can slap Kana, then proceeds to tell her that Kana is a strong player and that if she made a mistake, she will take responsibility for her. After Kubo leaves, Mihoko gives Kana a hug as she breaks down crying.
Even the Girls Want Her: Every other member of the Kazekoshi club seems to have a crush on her, and she has some suggestive moments with Hisa.
Friendless Background: As popular as she is among her teammates, she implies that back in middle school, she was thought of as "annoying".
The Last Dance: Like Hisa, this is her last chance to win the tournament, as she tells Bundou when explaining her reasons for doing the chores.
Last Name Basis: Calls most of her teammates besides Kana by their last names and "-san", and interestingly enough, tends to call Hisa by her old last name, "Ueno-san", until when it's recently indicated that she's started calling her "Hisa".
Nice Girl: Her teammates are concerned that she is too selfless.
OOC Is Serious Business: She recalls that Hisa surprised her so much in their match three years ago that she forgot to keep her right eye closed out of surprise. She also opens her eyes after Kazekoshi's defeat in the prefectural team finals, and when she thinks Kubo is about to hit Kana for losing.
Considered the second-best player of Team Kazekoshi, Kana is Mihoko's best friend and protectorate, with a bit of a Cat Girl theme going on with her. Despite being only the second-best, Mihoko entrusted her the position as Captain so she can personally take revenge on Koromo after last year's loss.
Blush Sticker: Occasionally wears them, highlighting her innocent nature.
First Name Basis: In a flashback, asks Mihoko to call her by her first name. In the second picture drama, she vocally insists that Miharu do the same with her.
Hot-Blooded: Puts up a show of bravade before Koromo during the Nagano finals.
Miles Gloriosus: She's by no means a bad player, but she's out of her depth against Koromo, as much as she'd like to think otherwise.
Plucky Girl: Despite being taken down to 0 points, and having next to no chance to come back, she perseveres.
Promotion to Parent: Her parents are often away, and she ends up taking care of her younger sisters fairly often, especially in Saki Biyori.
Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: With Mihoko. She's one of the few people to whom Mihoko has confessed her insecurities, and the only teammate Mihoko calls by her first name.
They Call Me Mister Tibbs: She takes mild offense at being called "Ikeda" by Yuuki, and when her sisters copy her by calling Bundou by her last name without honorifics, she insists that they call her "Seika-onee-chan".
"Even if one day we become teammates, you will always be a superstar to me, Kana-chan."
Kana's best friend and fellow player in Team Kazekoshi.
A-Cup Angst: Played straight during the pre-Nationals training camp hosted by Team Kiyosumi, where she finds herself quite inadequate in the bare company of Mako, Tomoki and Kaori.
Boring, but Practical: The PSP game implies she has an ability to determine which tiles will to subjected to a ron, helping her avoid playing into others' hands. It's possibly why she was able to get through her match during the Nagano finals while losing very few points (1,200), even after Kaori's yakuman.
Meganekko: It's indicated in a picture drama that Miharu was initially ranked very low in the club (at 75th), until Mihoko and Kana noticed that her vision wasn't very good and got her glasses.
Nice Girl: Seen as one of Kana's friendliest companions in Team Kazekoshi.
Stating the Simple Solution: In Saki Biyori, when the Kazekoshi girls have to do book reports, they go to the library and find all the books have been checked out. When Kana proposes two different methods for faking the report, Miharu cheerfully but decisively says...
"Read a book."
"We're definitely going next year!"
Year: 1st Position: Lieutenant Voiced by: Ai Matayoshi
Seika is a newcomer to Team Kazekoshi, who managed to climb her way into its frontlines in a mere two months. She also collects Pro Mahjong cards.
Badass Boast: From the manga, during a call from Kubo (see above).
Eyes Always Shut: Most of the time. When they open, however, her skills go up a notch.
Hidden Depths: Seika is an avid collector of Mahjong player trading cards. When she finds out that Mutsuki does the same, they become fast friends.
Right Behind Me: She complains about not needing Fujita's card at training camp, only for Fujita to appear behind her, slightly annoyed at what she said, although she clarifies that she already has multiple copies of the card.
Took a Level in Badass: She was once ranked dead last within Team Kazekoshi, but after Mihoko praises her for doing chores to help her teammates concentrate, she worked her way up to fifth-place, thus earning a spot for their A-Team.
A second-year student who is very quiet and does not talk much outside her match.
The Big Girl: Perhaps the largest female shown in the series, not counting the absurdly tall Toyone.
The Caretaker: Assigns herself as one for Kana's little sisters while Kana is away at the Nationals.
The Voiceless: She rarely speaks at all, and even then only during matches.
Voiced by: Miho Yamada
The notoriously stern coach of Team Kazekoshi.
Drill Sergeant Nasty: She's quite harsh with the players, using physical discipline for even minor mistakes. How much of this is her typical approach to teaching and how much is this just her still being shellshocked over Team Kazekoshi's loss to Ryuumonbuchi last year is unclear.
Kick the Dog: In Season 1 Episode 7, she slaps Mihoko for what she calls subpar performance, and is just barely prevented from slapping Kana as well. Particularly egregious considering that the team still won by an overwhelming margin.
Pet the Dog: After Team Kazekoshi loses in the Nagano finals, just as she's set up and expected to beat the living hell out of Kana... she just wears a smile of resignation and tells her to go kick ass next time.
Say My Name: See her quote, after the team's defeat at the end of the Nagano finals.
Slow Clap: After Mihoko's victory in the first round.
Tsundere: Implied to be one in Saki Biyori, as seen in this text message to the team.
"Kubo here. I know it's on short notice, but there will be no club activities today. Get yourself a nice relaxing day off. ^_^"
Hailing from one of the wealthiest schools in Nagano Prefecture, with access to state-of-the-art technology, Tsuruga's mahjong team exploits their logistical advantage by having their members train using online mahjong on laptops.Team Tsuruga ended at third place at the Nagano finals, and has no representation for the National individuals.
"I still have a long way to go, but I want to feel the tiles on this level. Whatever the situation may be, I want to continue playing on this level."
Originally a bottom-feeder in Team Tsuruga, Yumi worked her way to join the frontliners by reading a mahjong book after losing to Kanbara back in her freshman year. Both her hard-earned mahjong and leadership skills (which make many mistake her for club president instead of laidback Kanbara) helped lead Tsuruga to its very first prefecturals appearance. She is also responsible for bringing her close friend Momoko into the club.While she doesn't have a special ability, Yumi can recognize players' abilities, against which she will take up defensive measures, as evidenced by her match in the prefectural finals. She was able to perfectly target Saki despite going against the "logical" style of playing and she was able to hold her own against Koromo.
Awesome by Analysis: Yumi's penchant for researching the skills of her possible opponents was glossed upon in the first series, but the actual results of all that research is showcased beautifully in Achiga-hen, where the foreknowledge she got allowed her to play around the abilities of the Matsumi sisters.
Badass Normal: One of the poster-girls of this for the franchise, having fought Saki and Koromo on an even footing despite not having an ability of her own. Shown again in Achiga-hen, when she is pitted against the Matsumi sisters in a friendly practice match.
"Sorry to disappoint, but I don't have a weird ability like Onjouji."
Genre Savvy: She relies on strategy and research about her opponents' likely hands to plan her game accordingly.
Graceful Loser: After losing to Team Kiyosumi in the Nagano finals (and thus barred from the Nationals), she provides them with extensive research about the styles of their likely opponents, all of which she spent months collecting. This gesture even impresses Hisa.
Hypercompetent Sidekick/The Lancer: Her skill, recruitment tactics, and no-nonsense maturity make her the logical boss, right? Instead, she's the compliment to laidback Satomi.
Ice Queen: Satomi's first impression of her. She's actually...
Sugar and Ice Personality: ...serious and no-nonsense at first glance, but often shows a softer side, especially around Momoko.
Last Name Basis: Tends to address most of her teammates besides Momo by their last names, which is part of the reason why Momo becomes jealous when she calls Hisa by her first name.
Running Gag: People mistaking her for Tsuruga's Club President. Interestingly enough, Hisa doesn't do the same in Saki Biyori when Yumi comes to represent Tsuruga at the meeting of the club presidents regarding the training camp.
Hisa: "You came instead after all, Kajiki-san."
So Proud of You: Says this to Momoko after pointing out that during the National finals' vice-captains' match, she had the largest net point gain, which was an impressive feat considering her competition.
Momoko is a freshman whose poor sense of social presence made her constantly ignored throughout her childhood, until an online mahjong match catches Yumi's attention, and she "appears" when Yumi calls her out during a class break to acknowledge her skills. Both girls became very close friends, so much so she gets jealous of others Yumi shows interest in, as well as becoming very anxious of what will happen after Yumi graduates. Her speech includes an accent which often adds the ending "su" and "s" any to her sentences.Her lack of presence actually translated into the mahjong power of invisibility — the stronger her opponents, the more she becomes invisible, at which point her discards disappear and her voice will not be heard by anyone, allowing her to throw out risky tiles with abandon, causing much disorientation.
Clingy Jealous Girl: Her reactions whenever Hisa becomes too friendly with her beloved Yumi for comfort are priceless.
Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Her skin is significantly paler than most other characters, although this most often is shown in the anime.
The Faceless: Up until Season 1 Episode 14, every scene containing her is shot in such a way that her face is obscured.
Hidden Depths: As the joint training camp in the manga reveals, Mutsuki is apparently an avid collector of Mahjong player cards. This makes her fast friends with Kazekoshi's Seika, and gives both excuses to visit their respective schools to exchange rare or otherwise uncommon cards.
Only Sane Man: She lacks the quirks that the other members of the Tsuruga mahjong club (even Yumi) have.
Satomi's friend, who joined Team Tsuruga so they could enter the five-girl tournament. Otherwise Kaori barely knows anything about mahjong before she's thrust into a major tournament.She plays with an unbelievable amount of beginner’s luck, and she had the most amount of yakuman scored by the players in the series. Because of this, she is forbidden from practicing and playing mahjong before the tournament.
Adorkable: Her character select screen in the PSP game even says...
"Somehow the sight of this timid second-year student fidgeting away is just too captivating."
Beginner's Luck: Yumi even forbids her from playing mahjong between the team competition and the individuals to keep her luck.
Childhood Friends: With Satomi, a large part of the reason why she was recruited to the club despite her relative inexperience.
Confusion Fu: Accidentally. Being a complete beginner, her discards are impossible to read, since she has no idea what's she doing.
Failed a Spot Check: Normally, this trope wouldn't be anything unusual as far as Momoko is concerned, but Kaori only met Momo around the time the tournament started, despite her being in the club room at the same time, and once actually being in Satomi's van with her (in the latter case, Kaori even heard Momo's voice at a few points).
Hard Work Hardly Works: A variation of this trope is in effect, as Yumi's reasons for not letting her practice before the individual tournament is that she cannot possibly improve enough in that time to compensate for the loss of her Beginner's Luck. Unfortunately for her, she doesn't make it far in the individuals.
Meganekko: Wears a pair of glasses both inside and outside the table.
Mundane Utility: In Saki Biyori, she uses her incredible luck to win a mahjong table for the club, albeit while collecting the bottles needed to enter the contest from her schoolmates at Tsuruga.
Spanner in the Works: Gloriously threw a monkey wrench against Mako's pattern-based play (and to a lesser extent affects Touka and Tomoki's plays as well).
Strategy Schmategy: Kaori proves to be extremely effective against players who rely on patterns and established strategies to calculate their opponent's next move, because they can't really predict what she's going to do next.
Club president of Team Tsuruga and Kaori's good friend, known for her unusual laugh. Naturally laidback, she is always seen with a wide smile, causing many to dismiss her as an idiot with an empty-headed grin — often at thier own risk. In reality, she doesn't let anything get to her and has a lot of trust in her team members. Her personality is also reflected in her driving style (she's 18, thus she's eligible), which is a bit on the reckless side. She is one of the few who can detect Momo, though only when she is upwind of her.
Book Dumb: She's not necessarily stupid, but she's implied to not be very good at school; Yumi says that she's confident that she'll pass her exams, but there's a reasonable chance Satomi will fail. Saki Biyori often shows her trying to study, but not very able to stay focused or retain what she's learned.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Despite appearing laid-back and not thinking about things too deeply, she's more competent than she lets on, even if she doesn't do all that well against Hisa and Hajime.
Cloudcuckoolander: From her weird laugh to her irresponsible driving style, she definitely fits this archetype.
Club President: She's officially in this role, at least until she passes the torch to Mutsuki, although people sometimes mistake Yumi for the leader.
Drives Like Crazy: Achiga-hen shows just how crazy Satomi drives that van of hers. It's also showcased in a picture drama, in which her driving has various reactions on her teammates — Mutsuki is nauseated, Kaori is horrified, Yumi desperately yells for Satomi to slow down, and Momo actually enjoys it because it gives her a chance to glomp Yumi.
Farm Girl: Granted, Team Tsuruga is from a semi-rural region, but she is definitely from a rural area.
Shiraitodai is known as an exception to West Tokyo's reputation for producing second-rate players, primarily due to its sudden ascent after then-freshman Teru Miyanaga led it to become national champion at the 69th Inter-High School Mahjong Championships, as well as its successful title defense the next year (all the while Teru is also a two-time defending individuals champion). Should Team Shiraitodai, currently seeded at first, wins again this year, Teru will become the first national champion throughout her high-school tenure.Team Shiraitodai, together with Team Achiga, qualified for the National finals, though it was knocked to second-place due to its players failing to sustain the massive lead Teru gave them back in the Vanguards' semifinals match.
Saki's estranged older sister and leader of Team Shiraitodai. Teru is a mahjong superstar, placed as #1 on the national rankings, and is leading a two-time defending Nationals champion team. Since her parent's separation, she has lived with her mother in Tokyo. She and Sumire makes up the ToraHime combination.This year, she plays Vanguard due to her winning streak, allowing her to lower her opponents' scores below 0. Her ability has a giant snow-balling effect — specifically, she spends the first hand analyzing her opponent's abilities. Afterwards, she is capable of going on long streaks with the value of each successful hand worth more than the last. This manifests itself in a tornado on her right arm.
The Ace: One of the best high-school level mahjong players in the series.
Aloof Big Sister: Saki says that the last time she visited Teru and their mother, Teru was unwilling to speak with her at all.
Blow You Away: Her power manifests as a whirlwind covering her right arm.
Cain and Abel: The Cain to Saki's Abel. The latter is well aware of Teru's enmity toward her, but is quite shocked to hear that Teru refuses to admit to having a sister.
The Chessmaster: This is proof that she and Saki are more alike than the former would admit. During the National semifinals, against Toki's ippatsu tsumo, Teru purposely discarded a 3-dotted tile. At this point everyone is careful as whenever Toki declares riichi it means either someone will play to her hand or she will draw the winning tile. Kirame had no safe tile, so she followed Teru's lead of three dots. Teru called the tile and shifted the drawing order, and Toki's winning tile was taken by Kuro, who knew by (a traumatic) experience. Later in the match Teru declared kan, freaking out her opponents who expected a rinshan kaihou. Their relief that over Teru still being one tile away from completion (even with a tile off the dead wall) was short-lived, however, when they realized Teru opened more kan dora, which wrecked Kuro's hand a big time and forced her to play Teru's game.
Climax Boss: In Achiga-hen, is the most difficult opponent the Achiga girls face in their quest to reach and play against Nodoka.
Cloudcuckoolander: Not in the main manga or Achiga-hen, but Teru in Saki Biyori is... special, to say the least.
Draco in Leather Pants: In-Universe — Saki's flashbacks to Teru are highly idealized (from appearance to voice), and even when it's clear that Teru publicly disowned her, she still holds out hope that she can change her sister's mind through mahjong even after words have failed. In Achiga-hen, she also has a lot of fangirls cheering for her everytime she scores, her ruthless playing style be damned. Her underclassmen are especially smitten by her, almost to an Onee-sama degree. Only Sumire seems to be aware of the severe family-related issues Teru hides behind her stoic facade.
The Dreaded: If there is anyone the contestants of the tournament do not want to face, it is Teru. Even Kei, last year's National individuals runner-up, likened her to a force of nature than a human being.
Evil Sounds Deep: In the first anime only, where her voice in the present is notably deeper than in Saki's flashbacks.
Vocal Evolution: Come Achiga-hen, the deep alto voice Mai Nakahara used was replaced instead with a much lighter tone. Especially evident during the extra episodes, which feature what happens after the Vanguard match, where Teru is just sitting around in Shiraitodai's waiting room eating sweets with the rest of her team.
Foil: To Hiroe. While Teru is cold and aloof, even to her teammates and especially to her sister, she can project a cheerful facade if needed. In contrast, while Hiroe loves to taunt her opponents, she's actually a good teammate and sister, and that her taunts are actually her way of encouraging her opponents to give her a decent challenge.
Hidden Depths: Despite her utterly ruthless style, the TV finale of Achiga-hen hints that Teru might not be as uncaring as she outwardly presents, when her stoic mask breaks (for just a second) and she shows concern after Toki collapses after their match. This is even more pronounced in the manga chapter showing the same event, where we're treated to a frame showing Teru looking outright shocked at what happened, and later wondering about Toki's condition. She also appears briefly worried about Sumire, the closest person she has to a friend, after realizing that she has a tell, but they're not yet able to identify what it is.
Despite being Played for Laughs, Saki Biyori reveals that Teru can be a bit of a goofball when paired with Awai, and has a humongous Sweet Tooth.
Hidden Eyes: Fairly common in flashbacks, and the photo of her in a magazine that is occasionally shown.
I Have No Sister: As far as we know, she hasn't said it directly to Saki, but when asked, she refuses to admit that Saki is her sister.
Kick the Dog: Inadvertently, but the reaction Saki has to her saying that she doesn't have a sister is quite... Well, troubling, even if Teru most likely never expected that Saki would hear of it.
Light Is Not Good: The Teru the public knows is definitely not the Teru her team is familiar with, as Sumire points out after seeing Teru give fake smiles to the press. And while more reserved than nasty — see her private concern for Toki after her collapse and hospitalization — she seems to reserve a special kind of loathing for her own sister.
Meaningful Name: Like Saki, her name is relevant to her ability. Her name means 'to illuminate' which refer to her 'Shoumakyou' a magical mirror that illuminate/reveal her opponent's nature to her.
Not so Above It All: Saki Biyori reveals that it's Teru that usually goes along with Awai's crazy suggestions.
Say My Name: In The Stinger for Zenkoku-hen, Teru turns to the camera and whispers "Saki...", implying that deep down at least she's still aware that she does have a sister.
Signature Move: Achiga-hen finally reveals the truth of the matter, and boy it's a doozy. She sees through her opponents' cores after a single hand, letting her counter their styles and abilities. She then goes on winning streaks where each hand is more valuable than the last. Her drawbacks are that the point-farming gets reset if someone manages to interrupt her streak (such as Kuro's ability to collect doras), and that her over-reliance on what she observes limits her options. This would make Saki's ±0 style even more impressive, as even National players working together have trouble interrupting her streaks, while all Saki needs to win back lost points are a few massive hands, in contrast to Teru relying on long streaks — a move Saki could use over and over if she wants. Saki was also known to be the only player to have beaten Teru on her own... and she's been using her talent to throw every match.
Slasher Smile: On the cover of the eighth DVD of Season 1. This was lampooned mercilessly a few years later in one of the Achiga-hen extras, where an embarrassed Teru admits (to Awai and Sumire) that her expression on the cover was not one of her brightest moments, especially when Awai considers doing the same.
Stepford Smiler: She displays politeness to the press, but behind the door, she's pretty damn condescending. Probably explains why the press don't double check it when she denies any connection with Saki.
Sumire: "As always... your salesman smile is absolutely cruel." Teru: "Oh...? You know, there's quite a few people I'm actually grateful to. I wasn't lying..." Sumire: "Right, but it's just too different from your normal self. "
The Stoic: Even when her team is nearly eliminated, she was shown unconcerned and busy eating sweets.
Not So Stoic: Mentioning Saki is the surest way for anyone to get a reaction out of her. Then there's Toki fainting after her match.
Sweet Tooth: Has a massive one, which is further flanderized in her appearances in Saki Biyori.
Used to Be a Sweet Kid: In Saki's flashbacks, she's shown as being relatively cheerful and caring for her younger sister.
Walking Spoiler: To an extent, as the scene in which she denied her relationship with Saki and revealed that she had grown colder and more distant over the years came off as a surprise.
Villain with Good Publicity: Teru is featured in mahjong magazines, depicted with a smile and a generic ambitious quote. The effects of this are felt in the first part of the nationals, when a reporter tells another that Nodoka is the only Kiyosumi player worth noting, meaning that people seem to have bought into Teru's lie that she didn't have a sister. While Teru indeed disowned Saki, it never really made it to the news in the main series. Saki only hears about being disowned when Mihoko mentions asking Nishida about Teru and Saki's relationship during Mihoko's own interview.
Wham Line: The first indication of how severe her estrangement from Saki is.
Sumire: "Don't you have a sister?" Teru: "No, I don't."
Sumire is the only person known to Teru who seems to have had prior knowledge of Saki's existence. She and Teru makes up the ToraHime combination.As Sergeant, she helps further wither down her opponent’s already low score. While Teru prefers to win via tsumo, Sumire's style is called "Piercing Arrow", which involves getting a direct hit on her target by changing her hand to target her a certain discard. Before she does that, she needs to aim first and adjust her hand, which takes a lot of time.
Archer Archetype: Her playing style evoke themes of kyuudou (Japanese archery), complete with her alternate appearance wearing the appropriate uniform.
Attack Its Weak Point: Her playstyle revolves around adjusting her hand to target the discards of her targetted player. This trope is also her greatest weakness: when aiming, her hand twitches and she goes into a hypnotized state for a second while looking at her target. Yuu exploited this to avoid her arrows, irritating Sumire. Sumire also cannot play a fast game due to a lot of time needed for her hands to adjust to Yoshiko, who also exploited her weakness by playing low-scoring but fast hands.
Deadpan Snarker: In her first appearance, Sumire speaks to Teru in a very cold and chiding manner. She doesn't seem to buy Teru's excuse for not smiling, asking Teru about having a sister.
Hime Cut: To emphasize her princess-like attitude.
Meaningful Name: Shiraitodai is referred to as Team ToraHime, and speculation suggested that this involves Teru and Sumire.
Oh Crap: Her reaction when she saw Yoshiko's strategy for defeating her.
Only Sane Man: Biyori characterizes Sumire as this, compared to the rest of Shiraitodai.
The Red Baron: "The Sharpshooter of Shiraitodai", on account of her archery-inspired playing style.
The Stoic: She's typically fairly calm and no-nonsense.
"The planted seeds had grown into fully blossomed trees."
A quiet and reserved girl who always looks grim, always carrying a cup of tea. This is her first time in the nationals, being a recent addition to Team Shiraitodai for this year's nationals together with Seiko.Takami's special ability is "Harvest Time", where she apparently receives the first tile dealt in every match up to the last match. Depending on what tiles are dealt during the course of the turns leading up to hers, this means Takami can come up with shockingly high-point hands, but it takes a lot of setup to pay off, which can be exploited by savvier opponents.Of the five Yakuman hands that were executed in the nationals before the semifinals, Takami is known to have executed two of them.
Awesome, but Impractical: Her Harvest Time ability. While it can guarantee a high point hand, it takes a long time to set up properly. Not only that, but it also requires an opponent to be careless during their dealer turns and keep on winning dealer repeats so Takami can get the tiles she needs.
Battle Aura: When it's time for her to "harvest" the tiles, a forest full of grapes becomes the background.
From Nobody to Nightmare: She plays quite normally and loses a lot of points before her ability activates. Like Teru, if she becomes the last dealer, Takami becomes a very dangerous player able to spam yakuman hands with the tiles she managed to harvest.
Spot of Tea: She's shown almost constantly drinking tea outside of her matches.
Stoic Spectacles: Wears a pair of them to emphasize her cool-headed nature and playstyle.
A tomboyish girl and first-timer in the Nationals together with Takami.She's known as the "Fisherman of Shiraitodai", whose style involves "fishing" desired tiles from the table and increasing her chances to win during the next five hands should she manage to get three calls. However, her ability forces her to depend on opponents' discarded tiles, keeping her from doing riichi and winning close-handed. Also, all her calls must be pons, and even if she can use chi, it must come from the opponent to her left, further limiting her plays.
Butch Lesbian: Out of all the characters, Seiko probably best fits this trope.
Last Name Basis: Seems to be on this with the rest of Team Shiraitodai, which otherwise tends to use first names on each other.
Loophole Abuse: During an individuals game, she prevents Awai from using her ability, which is based around corners, by arranging all the tiles in a circle.
Motif: A fisherman, which is reflected in her playing style.
Non-Uniform Uniform: She wears bicycle shorts instead of the white skirt the rest of her teammates wear.
The Red Baron: "The Fisherman of Shiraitodai", as many of her moves evoke the image of a fisherman.
The Worf Effect: She was as hyped as one of the best in Team Shiraitodai due to being part of the current champions. Her actual performance on the table however is extremely lacking. This is somewhat lampshaded and Played for Laughs in this exchange after her semifinals match.
Seiko: "I beat Oohoshi's Double Riichi too." Takami: "Eh? Did you really beat Awai-chan?" Seiko: "Yeah. Hey... you don't have much confidence in me."
A newcomer considered one of the most dangerous freshmen in Japan, aside from Saki. Awai is considerably confident, cocky and arrogant, but is shown to be the most cheerful out of her Shiraitodai teammates. She succeeded Teru as Team Shiraitodai's Captain.Much like many "monster"-level participants, Awai features several special abilities, of which the most obvious comes into play at the beginning of every hand — and this involves intimidating opponents into yielding very poor starters, with a low probability of completion (by way of projecting a vision of darkness), after which their hands are reset, forcing them to declare chi, pon or kan to advance. The drawback is that this is very difficult to pull off and can be worked around by savvy opponents. Her other abilities are relatively low-key, but possess a certain energy that makes her a terror to the unprepared: a double riichi explosion (where she's guaranteed a tenpai after declaring riichi on the discard of her first tile), a guaranteed kan from the dead wall (where said kan tile can always be drawn from around the first corner) which almost always precedes a winning hand; said kan allows her to turn around the dora marker. The guaranteed win from her riichi then allows her to turn the ura dora marker, which will then allow Awai to get the tile she kans as a dora.
Combo: Awai's abilities are basically this, where triggering one ability leads to the others.
Combo Breaker: ...But those savvy to the sequence of her skill activation can quickly put a stop to things, as demonstrated by Seiko preventing her guaranteed-kan skill (drawn from the dead wall corner) by arranging all the tiles in a circle (which removes the corner). Shizuno's ability, which depending on the dice roll also affects where the dead wall is cut, thus also affecting where Awai normally gets the tile she uses to declare a kan, also stops her ability combo cold.
Dramatic Thunder: A manifestation of Awai deciding to stop messing around, literally.
Glass Cannon: Awaii is all offense, zero defense. Backfires spectacularly during her time on the table against both Himeko and Shizuno.
Gravity Master: Figuratively. It makes opponents' starting hands terrible. When she uses this power, the opponents see a vision of the infinite darkness of the outer space. Fortunately for them, this power is not foolproof — it can be trumped by other powers that say "a certain tile composition must happen" (e.g. Himeko's keyblade or Takami's Harvest Time).
Hero-Worshipper: A mild example to Teru, as she comments that she wouldn't mind losing to her, which says a great deal considering her arrogance and confidence in her own abilities.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: While Team Shiraitodai was already at a bad spot after an early lead courtesy of Teru, her arrogance and bravado nearly became their undoing.
Oh Crap: Her reaction after realizing that this time, she will have to claw her way to second-place, and again after she tried to declare the score from her hand, only for Shizuno to tell her to look at the ura dora. She does, and is shocked to find out that her play is invalidated.
Sweet Tooth: A huge one, though not exactly unique among the Shiraitodai players barring Sumire.
The Worf Effect: Years prior to Achiga-hen, Ritz hyped up Awai as a formidable opponent. Come Achiga-hen... well, let's just say that Awai's actual performance during the Captains' match pretty much dispelled that notion. While her abilities would theoretically make her a menace to any normal player, her propensity to go all-out rendered her largely ineffective. This is exacerbated by the fact that, due to her massive ego, she doesn't even bother putting up a defense, which makes for easy pickings by savvier opponents.
Rinkai All-Girls' High School
Team Rinkai has been East Tokyo's representative for the past fifteen years and is currently at fourth-seed. Its roster is primarily composed of overseas students studying in Japan on scholarship, though new rules implemented last year now force them to field at least one Japanese player (i.e., Satoha) as Vanguard.As of the current chapters, Team Rinkai is playing at the National semifinals Side B, against Kiyosumi, Himematsu and Usuzan.
A Georgian transferee and one of the three newcomers to Team Rinkai, as well as a former Junior World Champion.
Expy: Of Nellie, a Russian character from Fatalizer. As that manga revolves around super-powered foreigners in Japan, Team Rinkai is pretty much a homage to that manga, and it shows.
Anime Accent Absence: A strange example, as she seemingly gains a stereotypical thick American accent at the end of Zenkoku-hen, whereas she showed none of this (she instead spoke in a halting, but perfectly normally-accented Japanese) during one of the earlier episodes (the Training Camp flashback).
Must Make Amends: As she confides to Satoha, she terribly regrets having ran away from Cold Touka, and wants a second crack at facing her. Unfortunately for her, since she's in her final year of high school, and with Team Ryuumonbuchi out of the Nationals, that chance will likely never come.
The oldest and sole Japanese member of Team Rinkai, as well as last year's third-placer in the individuals, behind Kei and Teru. As per tournament rules, she is required to play as Vanguard (a natural fit for an ace player like her).
Badass Normal: Able to keep up with the best in Japan, alongside playing monsters like Teru and Kei — and all she has are sheer skill and experience.
Coat Cape: Wears one to emphasize her "gangster" image.
Deadpan Snarker: Satoha doesn't beat around the bush when she mentions that Megan had ran away from her match a year earlier. Megan, however, doesn't deny this, and Satoha lays a comforting hand on Megan's shoulder after she expresses her regret for how things turned out.
Early-Bird Cameo: To those with good eyes, she makes an appearance on the first opening of the anime's first season.
Meganekko: Subverted, as she doesn't apparently need them, but wears them as part of her public persona.
Sarashi: Under her uniform during her semifinal, as revealed afterward. This is presumably part of her Yakuza motif as well.
Hidden Buxom: Canny readers will notice her cup size seems to increase after she takes said sarashi off.
Token Minority: Inverted — she's the sole Japanese player in a Multinational Team, as per tournament rules at least one local player is required for a team to become eligible for national competition (and a Vanguard, at that).
Worthy Opponent: Apparently considers Kei to be this, after their match in last year's individual finals. Whether it is mutual remains to be seen.
Year: 2nd Position: Lieutenant
Another newcomer to Team Rinkai, of French-Korean stock. Prior to her arrival in Japan she was a top-ranking player in the European leagues.As her nickname "Venter" suggests, Choe's ability centers on the gathering of cardinal wind tiles to her hand, being able to gather the same type of Wind tile as her seating position (meaning if she's seated East, she gets East tiles as well, and so on). She also seems to be able to gather Wind tiles depending on the round (East during the East Wind round), but only when she's a dealer.
Disappeared Dad: Her father, possibly her French parent, died before the series started.
Exotic Eye Designs: She has a transparent "arch" in the middle of her eyes, a trait she shares with Team Usuzan's Yuan.
Fish out of Water: In Round 124, Choe notes that she still feels unused to Japanese culture.
Good Parents: Her mother, Prof. Choe, seems to be one by all indications, coming down to see her daughter play. Myeng-hwa hopes to become independent as soon as she can so she wouldn't be a burden to her mother.
"I can teach you the rules, but are you sure? No one can beat me at that, you know."
Year: 1st Position: Sergeant
Hailing from Hong Kong, Hao is one of the three newcomers to Team Rinkai, as well as a champion in Chinese mahjong back in her grade-school days and silver medalist in last year's Incheon tournament. She also played in the Asian tournament, but due to differences in rule she has had a hard time playing it, much less winning in it, and so she accepts Rinkai's scholarship offer so she can prepare for another crack at the Asian tournament, as Japanese riichi-style mahjong is close enough to the rules used in that competition.Despite her stay in Rinkai, Hao still isn't comfortable playing riichi mahjong, as she has difficulty getting the tiles she needs to complete her hands. In order to adapt, she comes up with a style that keeps the essence of Chinese mahjong, but still adhering to the rules of riichi mahjong. This is the reason why, to date, she's never called riichi in any of her games.
Badass Boast: Her quote, regarding chinese mahjong, when Satoha asked about it.
Eisui All-Girls' High School
Team Eisui, considered to be the strongest in Kyushu, is representing Kagoshima Prefecture for the third year in a row, and is currently seeded at third. Its members bear a miko theme, and stay in solemn rooms during competitions. For this year's competition, all the branch families have come together so that Komaki Jindai doesn't have to carry the team by herself.Team Eisui, together with Miyamori, has been eliminated at the National quarterfinals, chalking in a third-place finish.
Ace player of Team Eisui and scion of the main family of the branches which make up the team. Last year, as an individual player she achieved fame as a "mahjong monster", but pushed herself too hard, and now has her teammates watching out for her. Kyouko claims that part of Eisui's strategy is to let Komaki go for the big hands and that she will play multiple styles, but is a little shaky sometimes. Her teammates call her "Princess".Her powers seem to stem from being a vessel of seven goddesses (out of eight — the other is handled by her cousin Kasumi), and becomes a dangerous board-clear when asleep. The drawback is that she doesn’t know the sequence of her deities' appearance.
Badass Princess: Referred to as "Princess" by her teammates, and is one of the most feared mahjong players in the Inter-High.
Daydream Surprise: After the National quarterfinals, when Kasumi proposes going to the beach together before the individuals, it cuts to Team Eisui at the beach. In the next page, it's revealed that Komaki fell asleep.
How Do I Shot Web?: Komaki is still in training, and can't control which "god" goes into her and unfortunately for her, gets a relatively weak god in the National quarterfinals.
Informed Ability: Komaki is supposed to play with wildly different styles based on which divine spirit is possessing her at the moment. She's also said to deliberately target second-placers with the Nine Lanterns yakuman, but again this never happens during her turn on the table.
Komaki's cousin and finisher of Team Eisui. Kasumi prefers to play defensively, refusing to deal into someone's hand, and is also a good analyst, as shown during the quarterfinals, as she had held on to the tiles that Saki would have used a kan on. She was also the first to notice Toyone’s ability and the one to tell Hatsumi to take note of Sae.Kasumi's abilities stem from her close relationship with Komaki — since she couldn't be the vessel for all eight of her goddesses, Kasumi serves as the vessel for the odd one out, using its powers to collect honor tiles and one random suit per hand. However, she can't switch back to her usual defensive style until she is purified.Her ability is slightly modified in the anime — rather than simply taking possession of the "extra" god among those her cousin is supposed to hold, she instead captures the negative, non-divine spirits that might try to possess Komaki (represented by a staring eye).
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Saki, Kyouko and Toyone realized that she's the most dangerous player in Team Eisui... and she's on the team with Komaki, herself one of the most dangerous individuals players.
First Name Basis: Tends to be somewhat more familiar with Komaki than her teammates, often calling her "Komaki-chan" rather than "Princess."
Gag Boobs: It beats any of the Saki girls by a landslide. Kyouko even refers to her as the "booby monster of Eisui". In the second Zenkoku-hen ending credits, her large breasts stop Kinue's soccer ball and Kasumi doesn't even seem to notice the ball coming to rest in her cleavage.
Gainaxing: When she leaps into the air in the ending sequence for Zenkoku-hen, as well as when Saki enters her Awakened state.
Lap Pillow: Does this for Komaki in one cover page.
Willing Channeler: Her ability seems to work like this, where she "channels" one of the spirits "possesing" Jindai. This means that any team facing Eisui is technically facing Jindai twice.
A senior who looks too young for her age, sporting a swimsuit tanline and very loose clothing, as well as a ceremonial headdress during gameplay.Like Team Kiyosumi's Yuuki, Hatsumi's game is extremely powerful when she is seated on the North. Her ability, called "Gates of Evil" by Kumakura, makes it easy for her to gather north and east tiles, and to a lesser extent, south and west tiles as well. Attracting this tiles will guarantee a ‘Big Four Winds’ Yakuman if not stopped. She doesn’t believe that Sae had the power to block her and would go through great lengths just to keep her North position, which makes for easy pickings by Sae.
Awesome, but Impractical: The "Gates of Evil." When they work, they earn her a lot of points. When they don't, she ends up losing quite often.
Bird Run: She's seen doing this at a few points, which is yet another similarity between her and Yuuki.
Cry Cute: When things are going badly for her after her attempts to summon the Gates of Evil are repeatedly blocked by Sae and Kinue's efforts, tears come to her eyes, and she spends the break crying into her Mask of Power.
Girlish Pigtails: Wears a pair to emphasize her childish appearance (and personality).
A stoic newcomer whose emotions only come out when talking about the demon world and her favorite food, snacks coated with muscovado (a nutritious brown sugar).Although her playstyle isn't elaborated upon in the manga, the anime expands upon it, and it is shown that she prefers to end the round via quick hands whenever she feels that a particular opponent is gathering a big-scoring hand.
Big Eater: Particularly where muscovado chips are concerned.
Joshikousei: Of the girls in Team Eisui, only she prefers her school uniform over the miko garb, which she only wears during matches.
Servile Snarker: Has some indications of this, such as when they're discussing how their friends might not be able to come until they finish their homework.
Komaki: "Should be fine, it's not like we finished our homework either." Tomoe: "Speak for yourself, Princess."
Himematsu High School
Himematsu, representing South Osaka, is one of the top schools in Kansai, alongside their cross-town rivals from Team Senriyama (whose coach Masae is mother to their own Hiroe and Kinue), and was a highly-seeded team until the emergence of Team Eisui and Komaki, relegating them to fifth-place. Team Himematsu has a tradition of putting their ace as Lieutenant. Notable for being one of the few schools in the Nationals that seems to be composed entirely of normal, if skilled, players.Currently Team Himematsu, which placed second at the quarterfinals bracket, plays for the National semifinals (against bracket-mate Kiyosumi, as well as Rinkai and Usuzan).
"I set a trap, then attack mercilessly...I am the infamous 'Hiroe the Trap Master'!"
Elder daughter of Masae, professional player and coach of Team Senriyama, older sister to teammate Kinue, and ace of Team Himematsu. Hiroe is very loud and blunt about her opinions — she knows she's good, and will not give a second thought about shoving it in everyone's faces, whether they like it or not. Her style revolves around bluffs and trash talks, with distracts her opponents into playing right into her hand.
Badass Normal: According to Hisa, in a team of normals that is ranked fifth in a competition stuffed to the rafters with mahjong monsters, she could epitomize this trope. This is even more proven to the fact that Hisa's hell waits doesn't work on her.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Hiroe minces no words, whether she's gloating, taunting or calling names. And she's also a very kind teammate. In fact, Hisa interprets her taunts as her way of goading her opponents into playing better. During the National semifinals she also deliberately messes up her words so the normally quiet Choe would have a chance to speak.
Strong Family Resemblance: Achiga-hen introduces her mother, Masae, and aside from hair color and stature, Hiroe is the mirror-image of her, down to the shape of their frowns.
Vitriolic Best Buds: Becomes one with Team Kiyosumi's Hisa during the National semifinals, with the latter beginning to make her own snide remarks in response to Hiroe's (increasingly friendlier) banter.
Kyouko first joined Team Himematsu fifteen months prior to the current story, and is responsible for Suzu's entry and getting Kinue to try for the regular team. While Hiroe comes to the table expecting to win, Kyouko always comes to the table worried that she'd lose, and so she takes up the role of Captain to test her mettle against all the "monster" players.
Badass Normal: Says so herself in Round 79. She's challenges herself to see whether or not she can go far against her "monster" opponents which includes Saki, Kasumi and Toyone. Saki even mentions she considers her the biggest threat of the semi-finalists.
Determinator: Despite being in a table full of mahjong monsters, she found a chance when Kasumi's suit magnet activated and as well Saki's Rishan Kaihou, where she noted that the table is now much much easier to read. Even as Saki was scared of her persistence in the Captains' match, fearing she wouldn't be able to win next time.
Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Tends to happen whenever her opponents start to manifest unnatural draws or abilities, which just happens to be all the other players during her turn at the table.
Hiroe: "You see, while I have never started a mahjong game even considering the possibility of losing, Kyouko constantly thinks about losing, even to weaker opponents. She derives her strength from that carefulness. That's Kyouko in a nutshell."
My Greatest Failure: While Team Himematsu managed to hang on to qualify for the National semifinals (alongside Kiyosumi), Kyouko ends up squandering their lead to Saki's cheap hand. The worst part of it all, according to Kyouko herself, is that Saki technically won with a score of ±0 (and a few points-stealing hands).
Tempting Fate: She is implied to have chosen the Captain role for herself because she wanted to see how far an ordinary player like her could go against powerful Captains. She got her wish, and three of them in one table at once, including the dorky-yet-fearsome Saki.
Tsundere: Is this to Suzu, as despite writing on her forehead when she loses, she has great faith in her abilities. 15 months before the nationals, when Ikuno told Kyouko that they were considering putting her on the team, Kyouko declined, arguing that Suzu would be a better choice, as while she doesn't rank well under Himematsu's ranking system, she has great potential when outmatched. Kyouko then asked Ikuno not to tell Suzu about that, saying it would be embarrassing.
Hiroe's younger sister, Masae's younger daughter, and another player for Team Himematsu. She was said to be a former footballnote as in soccer goalkeeper back in middle-school (with a scholarship to boot), but chose instead to join her sister.
Incest Subtext: Kinue's motivation for joining Team Himematsu was the prospect of playing alongside Hiroe. It is heavily implied that she is a siscon, even to the point of becoming slightly jealous of Kyouko when Hiroe praised her, wanting Hiroe to think as highly of her ability.
Meganekko: One more point of similarity with her mother. In Saki Biyori, after Hiroe accidentally loses her glasses, she takes it in stride, and points out that she has several pairs on hand.
Interim coach of Team Himematsu, taking over while their actual adviser, Zennou, convalesces. She and Fujita seem to have a history with each other, as Fujita goes out of her way to avoid meeting her. She's compared to Harue, her counterpart from Team Achiga, in that she's "troublesome".
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Her general demeanor and even some of her advice causes her to come off as ditzy, but she takes coaching Team Himematsu seriously.
Eyes Always Shut: Most of the time, her eyes are closed, although she does open them from time to time in the anime.
Insistent Terminology: Doesn't like being referred to as a "sub" coach, despite being in charge during the coach's hospitalization.
Perpetual Smiler: She's almost constantly smiling, and rarely has anything more serious than a somewhat thoughtful expression on her face.
Verbal Tic: Has a tendency to insert tildes into her dialogue, often at the end.
Miyamori Girls' High School
Originally a three-girl club without any kind of aspirations for the Nationals, this all changed when pro mahjong agent Toshi Kumakura became their adviser. Bringing Toyone with her, Toshi made the girls aspire for greater things — such as representing Iwate Prefecture in the Nationals. After Aislinn watched them play with Toyone, she was inspired to join Team Miyamori, allowing them to field a Nationals-caliber team, gaining its spot after knocking off high-ranking Makabi High School.The team is notable for being composed entirely of seniors, which puts the future of the club after the summer tournament season in doubt. Team Miyamori was eliminated at the National quarterfinals at fourth-place.
Year: 3rd Position: Vanguard Voiced by: Juri Nagatsuma
One of the three original members of Team Miyamori and classmate of Aislinn, who she invited to watch a game (against a visiting Toyone), inspiring the latter to join her team. Her style is fairly orthodox, at least compared to Toyone. She’s also not a fan of moving and exerting energy.
Conveniently Seated: As a flashback reveals, Shiromi's seat in class fits what one would normally expect a main character in any other series to be positioned in.
Laborious Laziness: In Saki Biyori. In the first Miyamori chapter, she pulls a hand cart to bring a kotatsu to school, wanting to rest under it but knowing that she won't be able to get out once she does. In the second Miyamori chapter, she rests in various places around the mall, under the pretense of doing things such as waiting for a friend or trying on shoes, but ends up moving around the mall quite a bit, as Sae points out.
The Stoic: Usually quiet, dispassionate and apathetic...
Not So Stoic: ...though it's soon made a point that when Shiromi begins to put together a high-scoring hand, she becomes very visibly nervous. Also, her desperately trying to maintain her stoicism while trying to keep Aislinn from crying is rather cute.
Year: 3rd Position: Lieutenant Voiced by: Moe Toyota
Another of the three original members of Team Miyamori. A very short girl who does not tolerate any non-sense and isn't afraid to speak up her mind. She usually has a sweat drop. Her style is similar to Team Tsuruga's Momoko, in that she favors damaten, meaning she can win despite not declaring riichi.
Big "Shut Up!": Directed at Hiroe in response to her incessant bragging during their match.
Kurumi: "It's all right, Ei-chan! Just leave the rest to me and Toyone!" Sae: "What about me?!"
Year: 3rd Position: Vice-Captain Voiced by:Rina Sato
Another of the three original members of Team Miyamori as well as its club president and a Toshi fangirl.Sae's ability is to "seal" an opponent by concentrating her stare at the target. Once she has an opponent marked, it becomes nigh-impossible to complete a hand, although playing this way puts a significant drain on her. She was responsible for knocking off the high-ranking Team Makabi, getting her team to the nationals and helping Toyone hide her ability.
To say that Toyone is tall compared to the rest of Team Miyamori (or anyone else in the championships, for that matter) is an understatement. Scouted by Toshi barely half a year prior to the Nationals, Toyone hails from a mountain village with very few children her age. With only the family TV for company, Toyone had a relatively lonely childhood, which isn't helped by the fact that she is towering at 197cm (6'5"). No wonder that she treats her transfer to Miyamori, as well as entry into its mahjong club, where she can finally share her love of the game with her peers, as probably the best that has happened to her life.Due to watching a lot of mahjong matches on TV, she is a fan of "Mahjong idols" like Komaki and Nodoka. At the end of the Captains' match, aside from asking their autograph, she also asked for Saki, Kasumi and Kyouko's autographs.Toyone is treated as Team Miyamori's secret weapon, and her teammates went to great lengths to keep her style vague up to the Nationals. She possesses the "Rokuyou" abilities — one is to declare a riichi after another player declares, winning off the initial riichi, which is known as "Senbu", earning her the nickname "Right-Behind-You-Toyone"; the other is to win when she has one tile remaining in her hand, which is known as "Tomobiki"; and the third is called "Shakkou", which allows her to call dora tiles by having the surrounding two tiles. It is unknown if Toyone has other abilities related to the other "Rokuyou".
Ascended Fangirl: Started to love mahjong after watching it on TV. Little did she expect that one day she'd be sharing the table with some of the players she came to idolize.
Comically Missing the Point: In Saki Biyori, when she and her friends are going shopping for summer clothing, Kurumi tells her that it will be hot outside that day, and Toyone points out that she doesn't have summer clothes, prompting Kurumi to remind her that it's the reason why they're going shopping. She then says "This is bad. I'll buy some today!" before Kurumi stops her.
Cry Cute: Toyone starts crying after the first time she played with Team Miyamori, since she can't continue for long, lest she miss the last train and/or bus home. This is because she wants to stay and play.
Happens again after Saki ends her dealership turn, thus putting Team Miyamori out of the running for good.
Nice Hat: Always wears a nice black brim hat, even during matches.
Red Baron: Apparently the nickname she had in her town was "Right-Behind-You Toyone" in reference to her playing style.
Red Eyes, Take Warning: Given the black-and-white nature of the manga, her eyes seem like Prophet Eyes at first, but Chapter 94 reveals that the color of her eyes are actually a bright red. Unlike the usual example though Toyone is actually really nice.
An exchange student from New Zealand, Shiromi's classmate, and final member of Team Miyamori, having joined after being invited to watch them play a game against Toyone, who was visiting the club at the time.Prior to the Nationals, Aislinn was noted to always get a closed hand tenpai before the thirteenth turn, ensuring a winning hand. According to Team Himematsu's Kyouko, Aislinn also has the highest percentages in New Zealand's global matches. During the National quarterfinals, Miyamori and Himematsu considered her as the strongest player in the Sergeants' match until Team Kiyosumi's Mako disrupted her by winning small hands.Aislinn's propensity to get a guaranteed win via tenpai was upgraded into an outright occult skill in Zenkoku-hen. After getting her first hand at the start of a round, she then "draws" in her mind the most ideal hand she could get based on it. She also draws what she expects the tiles in her opponents hands to be at that point. There doesn't seem to be a point limit to what Aislinn can envision, but when she does imagine the hand she wants, all she needs to do is get the tiles she needs to complete it. Still, her tiles follow conventional patterns, which Mako exploits to her advantage.
Conveniently Seated: Like Shiromi, Aislinn's seat in class — at the corner close to the window — is where a main character in any other series might be seated.
Cute Mute: While she can talk, she speaks very little Japanese and thus communicates via a drawing pad.
Graceful Loser: Despite her dismay over her performance, she doesn't hold any hard feelings against the three teams who defeated hers, and uses her drawing pad to draw a picture of the members of Miyamori, Eisui, Himematsu and Kiyosumi joining hands.
Informed Ability: Aislinn's ability to draw her "ideal" table, and always get a win. While we finally see how the ability works in the anime, much like the manga nothing comes of it, as Mako blocks her attempts to get a winning hand at every turn.
Oh Crap: In the anime, gets increasingly distressed as Mako keeps blocking her attempts at winning, to the point at which her drawing pad, which typically shows her how best to advance to victory, shows the tiles getting away from her.
Silent Snarker: She has a moment like this when Shiro, who stayed behind after her opponents from Kiyosumi, Eisui and Himematsu have gone back, asks Aislinn to carry her back. Aislinn draws a picture of a person's silhouette kicking another in the backside and Shiro, reading it aloud, says "'Screw you?' How dull..." before walking back as Aislinn smiles and waves.
The Worf Effect: Other characters noted that they shouldn't underestimate her. However she loses very badly to Mako, and their lead is overtaken in the process.
Voiced by: Kaoru Morota
Adviser of Team Miyamori, who helped motivate her charges by scouting Toyone, and herself a pro mahjong talent scout. Years ago, she scouted Harue Akado (current adviser of Team Achiga) for a corporate team, and when she encounters the latter again at the Nationals, she tries so again, this time for another company.
Cool Old Lady: A really good-natured, gentle elderly lady who is also shown to have an eye for talent.
Curb-Stomp Battle: She apparently hands out a few to Shiro, Kurumi and Sae off-panel, taking all three of them under zero more than once.
Full-Name Basis: Most people tend to refer to their school's rivals by their last names without honorifics, unless they know them. Toshi tends to refer to opposing players by their full names.
Older than They Look: Despite being significantly older than most of the cast, she looks no older than any of her students in a bathtub scene in Chapter 84.
Usuzan High School
South Hokkaido's representative, which reached the semifinals alongside Team Rinkai. Like Team Kiyosumi, this is their Nationals debut. Hayari believes they have the potential to win the tournament.Like Team Shindouji, their main threat comes from the last two members of their team. Their captain is a particularly strong ace, according to Funakubo. However, like Teams Shindouji and Makabi, they also arranged their lineup from weakest to strongest.
Tempting Fate: She declares that she'll "get repeated wins" as dealer, but then immediately plays into Myeng-hwa's hand. She also assumes things are going her way after the first round in which she doesn't lose any points, but then plays into Hisa's hand.
Touka's personal butler, always on hand to do what she or her friends request perfectly (despite himself saying otherwise). His comings and goings while doing said requests can only be described as teleportation, and is constantly a surprise for Team Ryuumonbuchi.
Battle Butler: While no actual combat takes place, it's indicated that he's fairly good at mahjong.
Flash Step: Appears and disappears suddenly, which even surprises some of Ryuumonbuchi's team.
Jack of All Stats: Seriously, is there anything this guy can't do? His skill at practically everything is lampshaded when Kyoutaro mentions how he encountered him and got him to teach him how to make tacos.
Slasher Smile: During her game with Saki and Nodoka before the regional qualifiers, she sports a truly psychotic look.
Wake-Up Call Boss: The first person to completely floor Saki and Nodoka. She tells them that as they are, they won't be able to succeed, though at least she has the courtesy to compliment their progress as players.
The Worf Effect: She cites her loss to Koromo as proof that Saki and Nodoka, who lost to her, can't hope to win the prefecturals. She, Saki and Koromo, three of the best players in Nagano, lose to "Cold Touka", when virtually everyone else except Hisa was scared to join the game against them.
Double Entendre: Kouko just loves doing this as shown in Achiga-hen, much to Sukoya's embarrassment.
Hero-Worshipper: Kouko is a huge one for Sukoya, if it wasn't already obvious. Lampshaded by Sukoya in Saki Biyori, where she worries about Kouko's glowing praise of her always making its way into her match commentary.
A color commentator for Inter-High Radio, professional player, and herself the former national champion of the 61st Inter-High.
All There in the Manual: Like Fujita and Mihirogi, details on Sukoya's track record is only found in the Saki Pro trading cards.
Badass: To unbelievable extremes, as revealed on her profile◊ in the Saki Pro trading cards. Seriously, none of the major characters, even Teru, let alone some of the professionals introduced, even come close to what she's accomplished. To wit: she's a former national champion, once placed as high as 2nd in the world rankings (currently at 973rd, but only because she's been off-radar as of late), remained undefeated throughout her run, and the youngest player to hold eight championships — a record that stands to this day.
Christmas Cake: She's well over the age where it's acceptable for a woman to be single, and her mother tells Kouko as much when the latter drops in to pick her up.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Yes, this nervous lady was the same girl who traumatized Harue so hard she couldn't even touch a mahjong tile for years ever since.
Retired Badass: While still an active professional player, she doesn't seem to be playing that many matches anymore, and in the manga Kouko even comments that the last tournament she joined was pretty much an act of charity.
Red Baron: "Grandmaster", according the Saki Pro trading cards.
Shrinking Violet: Shy, easily flustered and tends to be taken aback by some of Kouko's wilder antics.
A professional player and color commentator for the Nationals, she's also an idol and well-known television personality. It is she that foreshadows that Team Usuzan is a school to reckoned with.As Shinohayu reveals, she was one of the four players on the table during the fateful match between Sukoya and Harue.
All There in the Manual: As with all the other pros, many details on Hayari are only found in the cards that were included as bonuses to the Achiga-hen blu-rays.
Chekhov's Gunman: It turns out she's the one who was trying to recruit Harue, via Kumakura, for her professional team.
Idol Player: Hayarin is a well known TV personality outside of the Mahjong arena (as far back as her grade-school days, in fact, according to Shinohayu). Ironically, this makes her a target for Team Usuzan, as they want to make one of their players an even bigger idol than she is.
Older Than She Looks: She's the oldest introduced female pro so far at 28... and yet, as Shinohayu shows, still looks like she was from the Nationals ten years ago (except she has larger boobs now) and even further back when she was eleven.
Hailing from Oojouin Girls' High School in Ehime Prefecture, Yoshiko is a professional player called by Ikuno to help Team Himematsu prepare for the National semifinals, as well as cousin to Team Eisui's Haru. For the purpose of the practice matches, she emulates Saki's signature playstyle.Yoshiko appears slightly earlier in the anime, where she becomes a color commentator for the National quarterfinals between Kiyosumi, Eisui, Himematsu and Miyamori.
All There in the Manual: Like Fujita, Mihirogi, and Kokaji, much of the information on Kainou were only revealed in the Saki Pro cards released with each blu-ray of Achiga-hen.
Exotic Eye Designs: The reflections on her eyes are triangular points rather than the rounded ones everyone else have.
Gratuitous English: Greets Team Himematsu in English and later says "No way!" when asked about some of the things they heard about her. Especially exaggerated in her appearance in the anime, to the annoyance of her co-commentator.
Informed Ability: Apparently noted for her spectral playstyle. What this actually means is anyone's guess; some members of the Himematsu team suggest that she summoned spirits and used King Solomon's powers to get a Yakuman, but she denies those rumors.
Professional player and commentator for the National semifinals Side-B. She seems to have a lot of trouble expressing her thoughts, leaving her comments on the match short and otherwise very easy to misinterpret.An alumna of Team Shindouji, Shinohayu reveals that, much like Hayari, she was the fourth girl on the table during that fateful match between Harue and Sukoya.
Perpetual Frowner: Well not exactly a frown, but Risa's default face seems to be a puff-cheeked pout, even as a high-schooler.
Terse Talker: Tends to give brief responses, often of one or two words at most.
An announcer who comments on matches alongside Risa.
Deadpan Snarker: Occasionally falls into this when Noyori's answers prove too short and too vague, prompting Eri to note that Misaki is being too harsh on Noyori.
"I wasn't asking for a polite or unoffensive answer like that, but a particular point to focus on."
Voiced by: Ai Tokunaga
Nodoka's underclassman from Takatobara Junior High, her last school before Kiyosumi, and herself a player for its mahjong team. Together with Hiroko (not the Funakubo), she is first seen cheering for Nodoka during the Nagano finals. As a player, her special ability is to mimic others' abilities in one turn. But because she is just a beginner, she also commits a lot of mistakes. Nevertheless, Koromo comments that, given proper training, Maho could one day become a "mahjong monster".
Chekhov's Gunman: Introduced as a seemingly random and very minor comic relief Satellite Character of Nodoka's. Later revealed to be a player herself with the potential to join the likes of Koromo and Saki.
The Ditz: Tends to make at least one major mistake per day, such as picking up the wrong tile.
Hard Work Hardly Works: In more of an individual case, she still has many bad habits in spite of playing for over a year and, according to Hiroko, practicing quite hard.
Lethal Chef: Unfortunately, proves to be this in her attempts to make a taco that she, like Yuuki, can use as a Power-Up Food.
Mega Manning: Maho's ability. Works on any skill, but only one per round per day for each ability. Hilarity Ensues in Saki Biyori when she tries to imitate other people's abilities, such as hiding behind a blanket to replicate Momo's Invisibility.
Foil: To Hisa — both are talented players who ended up in schools with less-than-stellar teams. While Hisa forgoes going to the individuals for her first two years, wanting to go to the nationals with her team, Kazue sees the individuals as a place she can shine without being held back by "weak" teammates.
It's All About Me: Her justification for not entering the team tournament. She rather coldly says how she'd rather not have players who aren't as good as she is drag her and her family name down. Needless to say, it's but a matter of time until Saki forces her to eat her words.
Meaningful Name: She excels at the South Wind round, and the "nan" in her surname is the kanji for "south". In addition, her given name sounds like "kaze", meaning "wind".
Pride Before a Fall: Nanpo is introduced as, while being reserved, rather self-important and arrogant. Saki makes sure she learns the importance of teamwork — the hard way.
A girl who appears in a montage of images in Chapter 102, and in a flashback in Chapter 104. It is strongly implied that she is somehow related to the Miyanaga family, and that whatever happened to her — which may have included hospitalization and/or death — caused the Miyanagas to break apart.
Hidden Eyes: Her eyes are often hidden in the flashbacks, somewhat similar to Teru.
Achiga All-Girls' Academy (Main Characters of Achiga-hen)
Not considered a powerhouse unlike neighboring Team Bansei, Team Achiga once upset the balance of power in Nara ten years ago when it eliminated Bansei in the Nara qualifiers and sent a team to the Nationals, only to fall at the semifinals to the eventual champions, led by Sukoya, with their ace player Harue being traumatized into quitting, and ultimately disbanded next year after a disastrous Nationals performance. Its resurgence after nine years of inactivity, as well as the fact that it qualified once more for the Nationals, has surprised some observers.
"Nodoka! We will definitely make it to the finals! So Nodoka, join us! In the finals!"
The daughter of a confectioner, Shizuno is one of the first girls her age that Nodoka befriended during her stay in Nara. Energetic and excitable, she is the driving force behind the revival of Team Achiga, as well as its unprecedented return to the Nationals after almost a decade. Outside of school, she is never seen without her trademark track jacket and... nothing else, actually. While an above-average orthodox player, Shizuno is noted for her determination and her hidden power: "The Lord of the Mountain Depths". Born of her love for long walks along the mountains around her hometown, this ability lets her intuitively sense possible draws from the dead wall (which can be read as "mountain"). Coupled with the dice roll results, she can use this to counter or outright negate her opponents' abilities.
A-Cup Angst: Not in-series, but Shizu has voiced her insecurities regarding her bust size (compared to her friends) during a post-credit skit in Achiga-hen. A manga omake has her distressed after noticing that Ako's height and chest size have increased since they were in elementary school, while hers have largely remained the same.
A Glass in the Hand: In Zenkoku-hen, does this with a rice ball while taking a break from practice to eat lunch with Kei and her friends.
Anti-Magic: What Shizu's ability effectively is, as it shuts down both Ryuuka's Toki-fueled futuresight and Awai's double-riichi explosion.
"Senriyama are strong. Shiratodai are strong. We know that...! But we're strong too! And compared to this morning, right now, we are much stronger!"
Badass Normal: Even commented on by Team Senriyama's Hiroko, when she notes how Achiga's juniors and seniors show weird draw patterns. As a freshman, Shizuno is obviously not included.
Battle Aura: Shizu has two, as revealed in the final chapter: a halo of fire, like the ones seen with Japanese temple guardians, and a gigantic Brocken spectre, the latter of which only Awai can see. Might be an unintentional Shout-Out, given an earlier seriesShizu and Awai's voice actresses were part of.
Blunt Yes: Gives one to Nodoka when they were in Achiga together. Keep in mind that the two are in elementary school at the time.
Nodoka: (struggling to keep up) "Shizu, Ako...! (Gulp) You're going too fast... There's no need for running. Why sprint away all of a sudden? Are you kids?" Shizuno: "Yes, we are!"
Determinator: If there's anything sure about Shizu (aside from not wearing pants) it's that she will never give up, no matter how stacked the odds.
Eleventh Hour Superpower: The "Lord of the Mountain" stance. Koromo says that Shizuno, while using it, thwarted her latter two attempts at Haitei Raoyue, but it only fully manifests in the captain match of the semi-finals.
Genki Girl: Shizuno is such a big bag of cheerful energy that, in an extra chapter, she spontaenously decides to take a mountain hike (missing Kuro and Nodoka in the process) because it looked fun.
Gilligan Cut: She declares that she's "got this" before her quarterfinals match, before the camera cuts to her in dire straits.
Going Commando: Par for course for the franchise, but Shizu's a glaring example for Achiga-hen, as she runs around with just the jacket of a tracksuit, without the pants, which makes it painfully obvious that she's not wearing anything underneath. Ironically her concept art has her wearing spats.
1. Go to Achiga 2. ? 3. Go to the Nationals 4. Face Nodoka again!
Plucky Girl: Especially evident in the last match of the quarterfinals, where, after a difficult beginning, she perseveres and gets just the draw she needs to win.
Tomboyish Ponytail: Wears her hair like this, although it's more as a testament to her energy.
Worthy Opponent: She sees Saki as this, lampshaded in Achiga-hen Episode 3, when Saki scared her off with Battle Aura while walking away casually. For a while Shizu was Unknown Rival to Saki, until Koromo warn her about Shizuno's hidden ability. Considering Saki's surprisingly mild reaction to Koromo's warning, whether the rivalry feeling is mutual or not yet is still under debate.
Another girl Nodoka befriended while in Nara, Ako is Shizuno's neighbor and childhood friend. The younger sister of Harue's old teammate Nozomi, Ako was the second-best player of the children's club that Harue oversaw. She attended a different middle school than Shizuno and Nodoka, and actually planned to enroll in Bansei, but after she hears about Shizuno's plans she gladly enters Achiga instead, where she serves as Team Achiga's ace in the hole, being the only girl with some experience in a national tournament, having placed sixteenth overall during the Nara tourney back in middle school.Ako's style seems to revolve around scoring via quick hands with small point totals.
Badass Normal/Boring, but Practical: Ako's way of playing is not flashy at all, but it does its job, allowing gains without the massive risks that could be found in some of her teammates' playstyles.
The youngest daughter of the owner of Achiga's local inn, Kuro was the star of Achiga children's mahjong club, of which Shizuno, Nodoka and Ako were members. Although the club disbanded when Harue went pro, Kuro patiently continued to look after their clubroom, hoping her friends would return one day. All her hard work paid off when, years later, Shizuno and Ako return to share her goal of going to the Nationals, so they could play with Nodoka again.Kuro has a special ability that helps increase the points of her hands: all dora tiles sooner or later get drawn to her. This means that when she scores, she usually scores big, but limits the kinds of hands she can make. There is another downside to this — she cannot discard dora tiles, lest she lose the ability to gather doras for a few games afterward.
Cry Cute: Breaks down before Yuu after her National quarterfinals match, where she lost too many points to Toki, and again after her semifinals match, this time in regret over how she (apparently) did nothing while Toki and Kirame sacrificed themselves to spare their teams (and Achiga) from Teru's rampage.
Failed a Spot Check: Played for Drama — Kuro never noticed that her win against Teru was only made possible by the sacrifices done by both Toki and Kirame. She only learns about it when her friends point it out to her after the Vanguard match.
Glass Cannon: Kuro's style can be compared to this, where she's capable of scoring huge hands when the situation is right due to her dora magnet ability. However her defense is terrible, and an opponent who knows about her ability can literally play around her — as shown by Toki during the quarterlies of Side-A, where she ran away with a 90,000 point lead.
Invisible Parents: Kuro and Yuu's father is apparently alive and runs their family's inn, but has never been seen.
The Load: For a good chunk of the Vanguards' match against Teru, all Kuro could do was flinch and whimper while Kirame and Toki did most of the work fending away the champion's win streaks.
My Greatest Failure: Constantly losing team points during her turn at the table during the Nationals — when the group is debating whether Harue has lost hope in their chances of victory, she blames herself for losing so many points. Also, during the semis, failing to realize that the two other Vanguards on the table (Toki and Kirame) had formed an impromptu alliance, and as a result was not able to actively help them in taking down Teru.
Overshadowed by Awesome: As with Yuuki, she often ends up facing some of the best players in Japan, unless they have a different approach (such as deliberately aiming to survive the round, rather than win, like Shindoji does). It's best indicated in how her sister Yuu, who's about her skill level, tends to win the Sergeant match, in which there is less likely to be strong players.
Skinship Grope: Gives one to her sister in the brief shot of the girls on the beach in the PSP game's opening.
Spanner in the Works: Surprise! For all her passivity during her match against Teru, it is eventually Kuro who puts a stop to Teru's rampage in the semifinals Vanguards' match (with indirect help from Toki and Kirame). Even before that, Toki, noticing how upset Kuro appears, thinks that she has proven helpful so far by attracting all the dora tiles, making it more difficult for Teru to increase the value of her hand.
Thanks for the Mammary: When taking a step back on the street, she accidentally puts her hand on the invisible Momoko's breasts, and for a moment, mistakes her for her sister, based on touch.
The Worf Effect: Kuro is supposedly one of the best players of Team Achiga; however, come the Nationals, her dora-focused playstyle, as well as going up against some of the best players (including Toki and Teru herself) made her lose the most points per match. By contrast, Yuu, who is approximately Kuro's skill level and has a relatively easier time in the Sergeants' match, has gotten positive scores throughout the tournament.
"World of Cardboard" Speech: In the match against Teru, she has an internal monologue about all the people she's parted from, before preparing to discard her dora tiles, declaring that even if those she parts from won't come back, she will still wait.
"Kuro-chan has always been the one to save me... But today, it's Onee-chan's turn to fight!"
Year: 3rd Position: Sergeant Voiced by: MAKO
Yuu, Kuro's older sister, is the sole twelfth-grader in Team Achiga, and one of two (besides Arata) without a direct connection to Nodoka. Sickly ever since she was young and easily chilled, Yuu is always seen wearing layers upon layers of thick clothing, complete with mufflers and mittens, even during summer. Like her younger sister, Yuu is a competent player, but her skill is complemented by a special ability to draw "warm" tiles (any tile with a red component to its face) to her hand. Unlike Kuro's ability, though, it doesn't have an associated drawback.
Attack Its Weak Point: Does this to Sumire. As she effectively avoids Sumire's arrows, she then scores against Sumire when her defense is at its weakest.
Big Sister Instinct: Usually inverted, in that Kuro usually protects Yuu from bullies back in their childhood, but played straight during the National quarterfinals, when she decides to return the favor after Kuro loses many points in the quarterfinals, thinking it's her turn to stand up for her little sister.
Establishing Character Moment: In her first scene, she's shown relaxing under a kotatsu in summer when she greets Kuro, then displays her shyness when she's surprised to see Ako (whom she knows) and Shizuno. After she gets over her shock at hearing that they want her for the revived Achiga mahjong club, she says she's very happy, having wanted to be in the children's club with her sister.
Foil: The Matsumis can be seen as one to the Miyanagas. Kuro and Yuu are very close (even after their mother's death), in sharp contrast to how a tragedy tore Saki and Teru apart.
Hidden Buxom: It's not obvious from how she dresses, but Kuro is correct, and her breasts are comparable to Nodoka's.
I Know You Know I Know: After realizing Izumi has her figured out in the quarter-finals, she remembers that she's played against her sister and her other friends, who know her even better than Izumi does. Thanks to this strategy, and the fact that Hiroko mis-identified Yuu's drawing pattern, Yuu manages to win the sergeant round.
Ill Girl: It's unclear why exactly she has to dress in multiple layers to stay warm even in summer, but her condition has been present since she was a small child.
Missing Mom: Half of the reason why she works in the school greenhouse is because it's warm, and the other half is because it has many of her mother's favorite flowers.
Nice Girl: In spite of her shyness, she's kind, good-natured and polite.
Scarf of Asskicking: Her muffler, while usually making Yuu look more cuddle-worthy, can also turn into this, as shown in her match with Sumire.
Shrinking Violet: She has some problems with social awkwardness, especially when she says that she had wanted to join the mahjong club, but didn't feel as though she could.
The granddaughter of the owner of the local bowling alley, Arata is probably Harue's biggest fan. While an avid player since very early in life, she stopped after Harue's team lost during the national semifinals. After some convincing by Kuro, she finally joins Team Achiga as club president, finally rounding off their roster.Arata's main play style is very much influenced by bowling, especially with how she prefers waits using "pin" tiles. As Hiroko quickly notes, the tiles she ends up playing usually looks like the (bowling) pin arrangement one gets after the first roll in bowling (or ryanmen waits). This not her only way of playing however, as she also has another "outdated" style that is inspired by how Harue played ten years prior.
Ascended Fangirl: Idolized Harue throughout her childhood, and eventually became one of her protégés come high-school.
Broken Pedestal: Arata pretty much lost all faith in the game after she found out that Harue quit mahjong, even casually. It caused her to stop playing for years as a result, and she initially refused to join Team Achiga because she wanted to see Harue as a pro, rather than teaching children mahjong.
Rebuilt Pedestal: ...But Harue returning to mentor Team Achiga brings her back to the game as well, especially after hearing about Harue playing for a corporate team.
Club President: Harue chose Arata for the position in spite of Yuu being a third-year, because she is composed and reliable.
Custom Uniform: She wears Harue's necktie instead of the ribbon for her uniform.
Cynicism Catalyst: After Harue stopped playing mahjong, Arata becomes somewhat more gloomy and cynical than when she was as younger, even after Harue returns to coach her and the others.
Harue is the adviser of Team Achiga and herself an alumna of a past incarnation of the team that shocked Nara Prefecture by defeating high-ranking Team Bansei ten years ago and qualifying for the nationals. Unfortunately, one brutal loss to Sukoya later at the semifinals, and Harue was traumatized after losing too many points beyond repair. She stopped playing for years after that, and for a while was content to teach the kids of her hometown's children's club. She is eventually scouted by Kumakura, and spends the next few years playing professionally for the Hakata Evergreens, a Fukuoka-based corporate team.When financial woes (and an early playoffs exit) forced the Evergreens to disband, Harue returns to her alma mater to think about what to do next, only to be surprised by the revival of her old high-school team, gunning anew for the Nationals. Seeing it as a chance to redeem herself, she decides to appoint herself as club adviser, intent to see if her protégés can succeed where she failed.
Break the Cutie: Losing her team too many points during her match against Sukoya, which in turn cost Achiga the chance to advance further in the Nationals, really did a number on poor Harue.
Broken Ace: Back in her day she was touted as one of Team Achiga's greatest players. Then came Sukoya, and she was never the same again. Fortunately she got better as the days passed mentoring the current Team Achiga, more so after they reach the National finals, helping her regain her self-confidence.
History Repeats: As Harue told Nozomi while the latter was driving her back to Achiga, the Evergreens were on a roll during last year's tournament. However, come the National playoffs, Harue once again failed the team, as she is still having flashbacks of that devastating loss to Sukoya back in high school.
Hyper Awareness: Harue has a surprising knack of noticing things that others, including pros, commentators and coaches, would miss, like Sumire's tell or the trigger of Awai's other abilities. While it might seem to come out of nowhere, especially since she's never shown any of this prior to the semis, the way it's presented actually makes sense since while other coaches look only at the players' records (see Team Kiyosumi's Hisa or Team Himematsu's Funakubo), Harue actually watches the videos of the accompanying match. It's alluded that she does this repeatedly too.
Hypocritical Humor: Giving Kuro a bop on the head and scolding her for sexually harassing Nodoka in their first meeting, when she herself was fascinated by Nodoka's breasts.
Informed Ability: Harue is never shown actually giving her wards any kind of playing advice. Whether or not this is a sign of a hands-off coaching style begs to be seen, although she does have them play many games with each other, and arranges for matches with other schools. Then we're finally shown several instances of her doing actual coaching, personally retraining Kuro, fresh off a bad game against Teru. Apparently all the coaching she did prior to this was done off-screen.
My Greatest Failure: Losing her team too many points, which led to its elimination in the Nationals. As such, she sympathizes with Kuro after she loses many points in the semifinals.
"If you lose big, keep moving forward even if you lose again."
My Greatest Second Chance: As such, she treats tutoring the first reincarnation of Team Achiga in a decade to be her one last chance to redeem herself. So much so she declines an offer from Hayari (courtesy of Toshi) to become a pro until after the tournament.
Poor Communication Kills: In a case that was largely the result of bad timing, she tells Team Achiga in no uncertain terms that they're unlikely to get through the semifinals with both Teams Senriyama and Shiratodai. Later that night, the girls happen to overhear a conversation between her and Kumakura regarding her going pro, which causes some of them to believe that she had given up on them.
Red Baron: "Legend", though only to the girls of Team Achiga and the Children's Mahjong Club.
Tears of Joy: Cries in relief after her protégés finally accomplish the one thing she failed to do ten years ago — reach the National finals.
Senriyama Girls' Academy
The second-ranking school overall in Japan as of the 70th Inter-High season, this year marks Senriyama's 35th appearance in the Nationals as well as eleventh straight year representing North Osaka for the competition. While its current lineup is composed of veterans from last season, it also features both a freshman and a new Vanguard to round off the team.Unfortunately, Team Senriyama narrowly missed the finals to quarterfinals bracket-mate Achiga and Shiraitodai.
Toki is a frail and sickly girl who, until last year, wasn't even a candidate for her school's Nationals Team, being a middling player in Senriyama's C-Team. This all changed when, while recovering from a near-fatal illness that left her bedridden for a long time, she discovers that she can see into the future for a limited time, equivalent to a single turn in a mahjong match. With this ability, as well as the support of her friends Ryuuka and Sara, she improves her game and works her way up the ranks, eventually joining Team Senriyama's frontliners. As she is prone to fainting spells, Toki is never seen far from Ryuuka's side, and seems to enjoy resting or sleeping on the latter's lap.
Badass Adorable: Combine her undying determination with her cute looks and you have the perfect example of this.
Deadpan Snarker: Unlike most Ill Girl characters, she can be downright snarky if she sees an opening to do so. It's probably just the side effect of regularly tiptoeing the line of death. In fact, half her lines in Saki Biyori is some kind of snark!
Determinator: One of the biggest determinators in the entire series.
Discard and Draw: She implies that she had an ability vaguely referred to as "of the three armies" before her hospitalization, which she thinks would have been more useful against Teru.
Enemy Mine: With Kirame. Invoked, as it's the only real way for anyone on the table to survive against Teru.
Heroic Resolve: Even if her body is frail, Toki will never back down from such tough competition as Teru, even if she has to push her body beyond its limits.
Heroic Sacrifice: Overexerts herself by looking three turns ahead just to stop Teru's streak despite knowing that her body will not take it. She is promptly knocked unconscious afterwards, and spends the rest of the National semifinals hospitalized.
Honor Before Reason: Related to the entry above; instead of playing safe and defensively, she's pushing her body to the brink to, in her own words, "...knock the champion down a peg." This is despite the fact that being second place is good enough to advance.
Hypocritical Humor: In the anime, while watching Ryuuka's match, hopes that Ryuuka won't "overdo it," when, in fact, Toki's overdoing it is the reason she's watching from her hospital bed.
Ill Girl: Despite recovering from a near-fatal illness, Toki is still not in the best of health. When she points out her similarities with Yuu, Ryuuka immediately teasingly asks if she is referring to the two of them having weak constitutions.
Meaningful Name: If no kanji is given, "toki" usually means "time", which naturally fits with her clairvoyant powers.
Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: With Ryuuka. The dynamic is reversed, though: the smaller and more waifish girl wears the pants in the relationship.
Sympathy for the Hero: Upon seeing Kuro despairing against Teru, Toki thinks that Kuro may be beating herself up, but she has proven helpful against Teru by hoarding all the dora tiles. When Kuro discards a dora tile for the sake of stopping Teru's winning streaks, Toki appears quite impressed and pleased with Kuro.
Tears from a Stone: After Team Senriyama is eliminated, while Izumi (then on her bedside) is agonizing over how to break the news to her, Toki sheds tears in her sleep, apparently cognizant of their fate.
Took a Level in Badass: She's come a long way from when she started at Team Senriyama, and this is not wholly due to her acquired ability.
Toki's best friend, who pushed for her inclusion into Team Senriyama's Nationals team, despite the latter's doubts. Ryuuka seems to have taken up the role of Toki's unofficial caretaker (and personal lap pillow), and is never far from her side, to the point of spoling her friend, but given Toki's condition she seems to feel that it's merited.As one of those who knew about Toki's foresight and its toll on her already-frail health, she constantly worries that Toki might one day overexert herself in the middle of a match.
Badass Normal: She made it on Team Senriyama with her own merits, while it took Toki being hospitalized and earning powers of clairvoyance to land a spot in her third year.
Empowered Badass Normal: And then, during the National semifinals, she starts using foresight borrowed from Toki (and in the anime, heat-vision).
Combination Attack: With Toki. During the Captain's battle, she was able to see a fairy Toki that can tell her the tiles she will be given and the highest points she can win. Fairy Toki will only be able summoned three times.
Cry Cute: After Toki knocks herself unconscious at the end of her semifinals match, and after finishing their semifinals in third place, where she was last seen a disconsolate mess.
Eleventh Hour Superpower: Ryuuka receives a much more limited version of Toki's foresight... due to Toki rubbing off her face on Ryuuka's thighs so often. Unbelievably, the anime adds one more: a type of heat vision, where Ryuuka can sense the temperature variances of her opponents, and uses this to predict how opponents would react to her moves. While this is active, Ryuuka's eyes gain neon purple rings inside of them, making them glow with the same eerie color. Added likely to lend her some independence from Toki's loaned ability (since she was able to get on the team before Toki without having an ability), as in the manga she was totally dependent on it.
Friendly Enemy: To Team Achiga. After recognizing Kuro as one of the girls she met at the rest stop, she starts cheering for her, and is pleased when they get through the National quarterfinals.
Girls Are Really Scared of Horror Movies: In Saki Biyori she admits that she's bad with scary stuff, and chooses to watch the film in English, because it would be scary enough even if they don't understand the plot. By contrast, Toki has a much more understated reaction to when the zombies finally arrive.
Informed Ability: Ryuuka is Osaka's highest net point gainer, beating Sera, Hiroe, Kyouko and Kei.
Lap Pillow: Serves as this for Toki, which is also why she got some of Toki's foresight.
Say My Name: Screams Toki's name when she was over exerting herself.
Unbroken Vigil: She stays with Toki after she's hospitalized, until Izumi makes her come back for her match, literally having to pry her away from Toki's bedside. Toki wakes up after Ryuuka has left.
Worf Had The Flu: Possible; Hiroko worries that Ryuuka worrying about Toki's condition, especially since she had to leave for the finals before Toki came to, means that Ryuuka isn't playing at her best.
Year: 3rd Position: Lieutenant Voiced by: Arisa Noto
Sera is another of Ryuuka and Toki's friends. An unabashed tomboy, Sera would rather walk around in shorts than wear her school's default uniform, which is why she is embarassed when Hiroko forces her to wear it for her matches in the Nationals. Like Ryuuka, Sera is one of the first to learn of Toki's hidden ability, and is obviously concerned whenever her friend uses it, fully aware of the toll it takes on Toki's already weak body.Sera prefers scoring with big hands built up over several turns, which makes her the opposite of Ako, whose playstyle focuses on scoring quickly with relatively small points.
Custom Uniform: Sara wears the top of a gyakuran and shorts instead of the usual blouse and skirt combination. Apparently, she's exempt from the dress code in most circumstances, but Hiroko forces her to wear the uniform for matches.
Izumi is the youngest girl in Team Senriyama, which, given its relative size, is a big deal. She has self-declared that she's the strongest freshman, although she lost to Nodoka during last year's Inter-Middle School Championship.
Oh Crap: When she realizes she's the only freshman in the Sergeants' match against three strong players, all in their third year. And again upon realizing that they're attacking at full force, disallowing her to win any hands.
On a lesser scale, when she realizes that Funakubo's conclusions about Yuu were wrong, and that she attracts any tile with red on it, resulting in Yuu winning a large hand.
Pride Before a Fall: After her defeat in her semifinals match, Funakubo said to her that she shouldn't get too full of herself in calling herself one of the best first year players, because she's far from matching the likes of Awai and Saki.
Tempting Fate: Her announcement that she's the Number 1 Freshman currently in the finals. Guess who gets sniped by Sumire immediately afterward?
Unknown Rival: To Nodoka, ever since their run-in during last year's Inter-Middle Nationals, so much so she is the first person to come to her mind whenever people talk about Team Kiyosumi.
Hiroko is the niece of team coach Masae, cousin to Team Himematsu's Hiroe and Kinue, and Team Senriyama's planner and researcher. She routinely collects information on potential opponents throughout the Nationals, and formulates strategies to counter or neutralize their particular playstyles. This includes opponents that have "unusual" draw patterns, like Kuro's propensity for drawing dora tiles. In the anime, she becomes interested in Arata, "for the sake of research", due to the unusual distribution of her draws, and she wants to study it further.Hiroko usually uses the data she gathers before and tests it out on other players. While she may be flexible, she’s limited to only those data she had successfully gather and has a hard time going against people with flexible styles (like Mairu) or people with insufficient data (like Arata).
Attack Its Weak Point: Does this to Seiko. She analyzes Seiko's play and Seiko's habit of discarding 1 and 9 tiles, as well as honor tiles when defending and uses that to her advantage.
Brutal Honesty: She doesn't mince words when telling Izumi that she messed up in her semi-finals match, or that she's not in the same league as the first-year monsters.
In-Series Nickname: FunaQ. Seems to overlap with being an official nickname as well, as the Achiga-hen artist has also referred to her this way.
Ms. Exposition: She's typically the one who outlines her opponents' draw patterns, and once complains when she gets preempted on her explanation.
Not So Different: After Hiroko advises Izumi to not think too much about comparing herself with others, especially not overestimating her own abilities, Izumi asks Hiroko if she's speaking from personal experience.
One Steve Limit: There's also a Hiroko from Nodoka's middle school, although this one is in an entirely different age group.
Right Behind Me: In Saki Biyori, she delivers a New Year's card to her cousin Hiroe, announcing her intention to drop by at 10 a.m.; Hiroe opens the card at 10 a.m., and Hiroko announces her presence immediately afterward.
Slasher Smile: Hiroko gets some seriously messed-up smiles during her match, particularly every time Team Shiraitodai's Seiko makes a move.
Canon Immigrant: First appears (and is named) in the finale of the anime, before she's even shown or named in the manga (chapter 13 to be precise). Prior to it, all mentions of the Senriyama adviser has always been as "that woman".
Dare to Be Badass: In one of Toki's flashbacks, when addressing the new members of the mahjong club, she tells them that it's entirely possible for new members to become team regulars in their first year, so they should be proactive.
Implausible Deniability: In Saki Biyori, she tries to get out of admitting that she didn't write her New Year's cards, first by hiding them behind her back, then by making excuses.
Lame Excuse: In Saki Biyori, after her daughters realize that she forgot to send her New Year's cards, she tries to say that she deliberately put them out in the new year, so that she could convey her "new feelings."
Nepotism: She hopes to avoid any rumors of this regarding her niece Hiroko's presence on the team, but Sera tells her that people will make those rumors anyway.
Hailing from Fukuoka Prefecture, Team Shindouji is the embodiment of the "Every Year They Fizzle Out" trope in the Saki universe — it has a long history of consistently reaching the Nationals, only to falter as early as the first eliminations round (its last higher-placed appearance was at the semifinals ten years ago, of which color commentator Risa Noyori was a player), with last year's loss being the worst of the lot. This year, they produced a new Vanguard in the form of lucky Kirame.Team Shindouji ultimately came up short, placing dead last at the National semifinals Side A, but at least that was the highest they attained so far since at least Risa's batch a decade ago.
If there's a word to describe Kirame, it would be "unflappable" — even in the face of such opposition as Teru, she will never back down from a good fight, despite earlier firsthand experience as to Teru's sheer power. Originally from Nagano, she also used to be Nodoka and Yuuki's upperclassman back in Takatobara Junior High, but moved out just in time for for Team Shindouji's disastrous try for the 70th Nationals.As Vanguard, she counteracts her opponents' strategy. Her special ability is to avoid hitting negative scores during games. Even though she's not strong enough to be in Shindouji's main team, they still chose her over its fifth-strongest player on account of her sheer luck.
Awful Truth: Mairu didn't put Kirame on the team because she thought Kirame was good enough, but because no matter how badly she was outmatched, she would be able to survive the Vanguard phase without going under 0. Subverted in that she doesn't let it bother her, and is glad that she's proven useful in a way.
Born Lucky: The very reason she was placed as Team Shindouji's Vanguard.
Catch Phrase: "Subara!", a shortened version of "subarashii" ("marvelous"). A joke in Saki Biyori has her filling this in on a Mad Libs-style script for an advertisement for the club.
Mairu: "Catch-phrases are unfair..."
Genki Girl: A walking source of bountiful energy for the otherwise somber tone of Team Shindouji.
Enemy Mine: With Toki. Not that anyone had any choice, as it's the only real way for her to ensure no one drops below zero in the match against Teru.
Girlish Pigtails: Wears her hair like these, as if emphasizing her cheerful, optimistic personality,.
Graceful Loser: As the rest of the team cries over their loss, Kirame wipes what few tears she has in her eyes as she offers them some tacos given by Yuuki when they met earlier inside the bowels of the competition venue.
Plucky Girl: Has to be this, to be able to face Teru again despite experiencing what Teru is fully capable of. Even when Toki and Kuro begin to despair, Kirame remains in high spirits.
The Pollyanna: She overheard her seniors talking about the reason she is put into the team, and it doesn't bother her one bit. In fact she says she's ready to be the best damn sacrifice in the name of Team Shindouji's survival.
Sacrificial Lion: Her entire purpose as Team Shindouji's Vanguard. Even if she is not good enough a player, her sheer luck nevertheless brought her into the team.
What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Kirame's happy even about being used as a sacrifice because it means that her ability, which doesn't do much to help her win, is actually proving useful for once.
Padding: In-Universe — in one strip in Saki Biyori, she runs out of things to write in a round-robin journal when it's her turn, putting in "Mister Shindou" when she's frustrated about how to fill all the white space, a move that ends up taking on a life of its own.
Last year's ace and Captain, who failed Team Shindouji last year due to her inability to measure up with the other aces. It was she who suggested the plan to use Kirame as a sacrificial pawn, in hopes of surviving the Vanguards' match and then using their four strongest players to retake the lead.Currently the second-strongest in the team, her and Himeko's ability is called the "Tsuru no Ongaeshi" ("Return Of Gratitude of The White Crane"); hers is individually called "Reservation" — if Mairu binds herself and win a han, on the next match Himeko is guaranteed to win it with twice the hand. The downside is that she had to rely on Mairu, so if the latter loses, Himeko will have a more difficult time winning, and at 1 han at best. of them were a terror in the Inter Middle.
Broken Ace: She's a skilled player, but she blames herself for losing last year, resulting in them dropping the Vanguards' match.
Brutal Honesty: Bluntly told Hitomi that it's her fault for losing so many points in the semifinals. During Kirame's round, she tells Himeko that no matter how they look at it, she's not in a good situation.
Casual Kink: Her power includes being bind up by chains... suggestively. She also blushes when she's bound up.
Club President: Her title in the club. Even Himeko, her best friend, refers to her by her title rather than her name.
Combination Attack: Mairu and Himeko's ability is very threatening that the only reason Team Shiraitodai only found out their ability is when Teru faced on against Mairu during a match on a previous year.
Determinator: She's dominating the Vice-Captains' match to the point that Funakubo was stating that she's "winning too much". It's because even if she wins with low hands, the low hands doubles in Himeko's match.
My Greatest Failure: It's implied that she blames herself for Shindouji's poor performance last year, forcing her to pawn away Kirame as a sacrifice.
Not so Above It All: In Saki Biyori, particularly when she turns an entire page of her round-robin journal red in an attempt to decorate it.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue oni to Himeko. The two are nicely contrasted in their appearance in the second Achiga-hen opening, when they are back to back and arm-in-arm, with Mairu having a more placid expression and Himeko having an energetic grin.
Himeko is Mairu's best friend since middle-school, strongest player and Captain of Team Shindouji, known for wearing a uniform that has a sleeve too long for her.She and Mairu specialize in combination moves — when Mairu successfully binds a han, a key appears before her during the round in her turn, and if she uses it, she’ll be able to win it double the han. Hers and Mairu’s linked ability is so powerful that it was able to override Awai’s 5-6 shanten ability.
Right Behind Me: She says that Kirame would be upset to hear about being chosen only as a sacrifice for the team while passing under an overpass that Kirame is sitting on. Kirame, however, doesn't reveal herself or get upset.
Stating the Simple Solution: In Saki Biyori, she asks why they even need a comic strip in the round robin journal, and when popular demand forces them to bring it back, she decides to write an eneding to the series.
Year: 1st Voiced by: Minami Tsuda
Ako's friend and middle-school classmate, who unlike Ako enrolls in Bansei in the hopes of joining their prestigious team. She is surprised that Ako would go to Achiga on what seemed to be a whim, let alone dare to make waves at the Nationals with an untested team. Naturally, when Team Achiga goes on to defeat Bansei, she's stunned.Despite this she throws her support behind her friend's team, and can be seen later watching Achiga's matches at Kuro's home later on, along with all the kids from the old Children's mahjong club.
Can't Catch Up: She and Ako were about the same level when they went to high school, and reasons that as she can't even get a spot on Team Bansei's bench, Ako and Team Achiga has no chance of defeating them. Thus Team Achiga's surprise victory at the first round of the Nara tournament alone can be seen as an indication that Ako has already surpassed Hatsuse.
Dramatic Drop: After Bansei is eliminated, she drops her megaphone.
Graceful Loser: In spite of Team Bansei's shocking loss at this year's Nara tourney, this doesn't affect Hatsuse much, and was eventually seen leading the home viewers of Team Achiga's efforts.
Kei is the second-strongest individuals player after Team Shiraitodai's Teru, and hails from Sangamaki High School, which placed second in the South Osaka tournament (losing its Nationals slot to Himematsu). She was brought in to play against Achiga in a practice match, and like Ryuumonbuchi earlier, schools them into taking the tournament seriously.She later appears again in Tokyo, this time with a few other individual players, to help further train Team Achiga for the National semifinals against Team Shiraitodai. She is the one who foreshadows just how terrifying Teru's skill really is, by describing the elder Miyanaga as "not human".
All There in the Manual: Her ability, which was only revealed in the Achiga-hen PSP game. She gets an exponential chance to get good-scoring hands if she doesn't win for a few turns. In hindsight this synchronizes very well with Teru's snowballing win streak ability.
Badass: Not only does she hail from the second-strongest mahjong team in South Osaka, but as a solo player she has the skills to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Teru.
Cosplay Otaku Girl: Certainly gives the impression, especially when the Achiga girls meet her again in Tokyo, dressed up as a nurse. Doubly so when all the other players she brought with her — some of whom are competing in the individuals — also happened to be dressed... uniquely, to say the least.
One Steve Limit: It's not very well known, but Nodoka's father (interestingly enough, someone who doesn't even like mahjong) is also called Kei.
"I don't want Komaki Jindai to lose to anyone but myself."
A color commentator for Inter-High Radio, professional player from Yokohama, and current Vanguard for the All-Japan Team in global tournaments. Known for giving quick insights on a player's play style, before quickly taking back what she said and claiming that she's really got no idea what's happening.
All There in the Manual: Like Fujita, many details on Uta are only made known through the Saki Pro collectible card series, like the professional team she plays in (the Yokohama Lodestars) and other personal information.
Pintsized Powerhouse: Standing at a mere 145cm and weighing 37kg, Uta is very petite. She's also apparently a powerhouse with a game-breaking ability. It's not always apparent due to her often being shown seated, but one panel in Chapter 106, while sitting in a chair, her feet don't seem to reach the ground.
The Red Baron: "Cat Chamber". Seems to be a reference to Schrodingers Cat, due to her propensity to both know and not know what's happening during a match she's commenting on.
Voiced by: Yumiko Fujita
A play-by-play commentator for Inter-High Radio. She alternates with Fukuyo Kouko.
Determinator: Has some indications of this. When Kousuke sells her mahjong set save for one tile she held onto, she sets out to create 135 replica tiles out of paper. And then she runs twelve-and-a-half kilometers just to make it to the Matsue tourney.
Foil: Like Saki, she sees mahjong as a way to reunite with someone she cares about, hoping that it will bring her together with her mother in the same way that Saki hopes to reconcile with her sister. While it has yet to be seen whether Shino will learn that her reunion with her mother is less likely than she expects, she enjoys mahjong in contrast to Kanna hating it despite her competitive attitude, while Saki, who doesn't like Mahjong, initially upsets Nodoka who does enjoy mahjong, with her play style.
Graceful Loser: She gets third place in the Matsue Children's tournament (nest to Kanna and Hayari), which she believes is not enough to get in the news and attract her mother's attention, but nevertheless she enjoys the game.
Missing Mom: One day, when she was just in 4th grade, her mother simply disappeared the day after their first mahjong game together. She currently lives with her uncle in Shimane.
New Transfer Student: After the disappearance of her mom, she moved to Shimane to live with her uncle, where she meets Kanna and Hayari.
"Don't you know? A lot of first-class athletes don't like their own sport. Their competitive spirit comes before their personal feelings. And I'm the same way."
A member of the mahjong club at Shino's new school in Shimane.
The Ace: Back in grade-school, Kanna was the star of her school — beautiful, smart, athletic and sociable. Then came Hayari.
Arch-Enemy: She's obsessed with taking down Hayari to an extent that exceeds any of the other players' attitudes toward their rival, to the point of doodling and writing insults on pictures of her, and turning off the TV whenever she is on-air. Thus the irony when, as shown on several promotional materials, she (and Shino) wind up at the same high-school team as Hayari.
Break the Haughty: Her loss to Hayari shattered any delusion of her invincibility, causing her to dedicate herself to defeating her. This is taken even further when she also loses to one of her friends at mahjong, despite said friend being similarly inexperienced.
Brutal Honesty: This exchange when Kanna recruits her friends to form a mahjong club with the goal of defeating Hayari. It also to some extent counts as a Blunt Yes, as while Kanna's answer is "no", she says it with the same straightforwardness and lack of tact that comes with a typical Blunt Yes.
Exact Eavesdropping: After storming out of the multipurpose room after losing to Kyouka, she returns, but overhears her friends complaining about how much she has changed since losing to Hayari.
Hates the Job, Loves the Limelight: The main reason she hates Hayari is because she's in the spotlight, while Kanna is not (yet). It has little to do with mahjong, no matter what she says to the contrary.
Hidden Depths: She comes off as arrogant and overly competitive at first glance, but her POV chapters show that she is often lonely, feels empty despite winning, and actually knows remorse for her poor social skills.
Hidden Heart of Gold: It's revealed in her third POV chapter that part of the reason why she initially didn't want to include Shino in her club was out of a desire for none of her friends to feel as though they're left out.
Insufferable Genius: She's quite talented at almost everything she tries, and does quite well at Mahjong at first, before meeting Hayari.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She's incredibly cold and condescending toward Shino in their first meeting, but as her POV chapters show, it's pretty obvious that much of her attitude stems from the shock of losing to Hayari, and that deep down she is not such a bad girl after all.
No Social Skills: After angrily lashing out at her friends, she ends up looking up how to apologize online.
Not So Different: The start of her POV chapters has her reminiscing that, in hindsight, she and Hayari may have more in common than she would like to admit, both being nigh-invincible girls on their respective fields of expertise.
OOC Is Serious Business: As she's usually grumpy and abrasive, when she smiles and politely declines Kyouka's offer to hang out together, the latter notices that Kanna's more troubled by the others not showing up in the multipurpose room than she lets on.
Parental Neglect: Her parents are never explicitly shown, thus Kanna is free to bring her friends on a whim. This may explain her socially stunted personality.
Perpetual Frowner: She's almost constantly frowning, except for a somewhat smug and vain grin when she thinks Shino's asking who she is.
Serious Business: Granted, mahjong is already one throughout the series, but she pushes it Up to Eleven. She claims she doesn't see find mahjong fun at all. As such, she doesn't play anyone that she believes is of no use for raising herself up the pro ladder.
Sore Loser: To say that she took her first loss to Hayari hard is still putting it lightly. She's not happy about losing the second time, although Shino suggests that she actually enjoyed it. She even gets upset after losing against one of her comparatively inexperienced friends in mahjong.
Tempting Fate: She believes she's the only fourth-grade at the Matsue children's tournament, only to see Hayari soon afterward. She dismisses her as an airhead, and then gets floored.
Took a Level in Jerkass: Following her first loss to Hayari, her friends began complaining (behind her back) about how much Kanna has changed for the worse. She stopped inviting her friends to her house, became more unfriendly, and consumed herself with a single-minded desire to get back at Hayari. Fortunately...
Took a Level in Kindness: ...She gradually takes some of this,too, over time as she's humbled by defeat and starts learning how to play well with others. She goes from being completely self-absorbed and viewing others as means to an end to wanting to include others.
Tsundere: Has some indications of being this, as she appears concerned about Shino after she runs into Hayari and blushes as she denies being friends with her. Arguably she is also this towards mahjong in general — despite openly claiming to hate it, the very fact that she still trains hard indicates that her loss to Hayari actually helped reignite her competitive spirit.
Unknown Rival: To Hayarin, at least at first, as Hayarin merely acts puzzled when seeing Kanna's hostile behavior toward her.
Victory Is Boring: She feels this way since, before getting into mahjong, no one could seriously compete with her at games.
Friends and Family
One of Kanna's friends from the mahjong club.
Beginner's Luck: Not to the level of Kaori, but in a practice match with Kanna (who has never lost a game to anyone except Hayari, and managed to make it to the finals of the mahjong tournament) she gets a San'ankou when she thought it was a Toi Toi, winning the game. Kanna doesn't take it well.
Brutal Honesty: Returns the favor to Kanna by saying, with a cheeky grin, that she didn't go to the tournament because she assumed that Kanna wouldn't want Kyouka to see her disgraced and defeated.
I Lied: It turns out she actually lied and did watch several hands during the finals.
Shino's uncle and caretaker after the disappearance of her mother.
Parental Substitutes As People: He admits that he's been busy with his job and looking for his sister that he didn't pay much attention to Shino, and then tells her that he'll support what she wants to do from here on out.
"I like that look you've got. That sparkling look on your face, when you're playing mahjong."
Shino's mother, who disappeared one day while she was young.
Missing Mom: She disappears without any explanation, causing Shino to compete in mahjong tournaments in the hopes of getting into the papers, causing her mother to notice her and come back.