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This is a "Wild Mass Guess" entry, where we pull out all the sanity stops on theorizing. The regular entry on this topic is elsewhere. Please see this programme note.
Saki
Hiroe is Hisa's estranged former Middle School teammate.
  • First off, start with her sneer that was directed towards Hisa when they first appeared alongside.
  • Look at the color pattern on Hisa's Middle School uniform, and then compare it to the color pattern of Hiroe's uniform. You'll see that they're extremely similar.
  • Based on this, it would be safe to assume that the team Hisa played for back in Middle School must've been some sort of feeder school to Himematsu.
  • Not to mention that when Hiroe takes special note of Kiyosumi High School, Hisa's face is the first thing that pops into her mind. That, and her reaction to Hisa completely wiping the floor in her match is muttering to herself about how she and her team ought to dish out a royal ass-whooping on them.
  • All that considered, it can be inferred that Hiroe might have been Hisa's teammate in Middle School, and is seeking to pay Hisa out for withdrawing from the Nationals in Middle School by preventing her team from winning a championship, just like Hisa prevented their school from winning one.

Hisa withdrew from the Nationals in Middle School because of her parents' divorce.
Her name changed from Ueno Hisa to Takei Hisa after this...Not much to really explain here, is there?
  • If this is true, it will explain why Hisa is very serious about getting Saki into the mahjong club. She sees a little bit of herself in Saki, and don't want the latter's family to break permanently like hers.

Jindai pushed herself too hard in the previous year's tournament fighting Teru.
In Chapter 56 of the manga, Hatsumi mentions how all of the Kagoshima family branches have sent representative players for this year's tournament for the purpose of helping Jindai, who had pushed herself too hard the year before, and is already rather frail. Jindai serves as the Vanguard (First player in a team tournament) for Eisui - The very position that Teru plays for Shiraitodai. And since Teru is heralded as the world's Number One player, and an extremely powerful opponent to boot, it doesn't take much brainpower to infer a causal relationship from here.
  • And, on a side note, look at how similar Jindai looks (Especially in her hairstyle) to the way Saki looked as a child...Hmmmm,
  • In this fic, Teru, who has paranoid schizophrenia and is off her medications, assaults Jindai while apparently hallucinating that she's Saki. Then again, it seems to be at the current tournament, rather than the previous one.

Saki can reunite her family through Mahjong
In a Heart of the Stones way. Seriously, with all the Super Powers around, we are definitely in that kind of setting.

Hagiyoshi is a ghost.
I don't think it needs much explaining as to why I think this.

Saki indirectly caused her family's break-up, which caused Teru's resentful attitude of her, as well as Saki hating mahjong as a result.
I'm surprised that after this long, no one's put this one forward yet. Not a personal theory (the theory itself originates from Triple_R+), but given the setting incredibly likely as well, given how people treat Mahjong like Serious Business on the level of The Legend of Koizumi:

The Miyanaga sisters' talent with mahjong was obvious at an extremely young age. This really excited their parents, and made their parents want to do everything they could to see both daughters become successful pro mahjong players.

Saki once mentioned that if she came in last during mahjong games with her family, she'd "lose her New Year's money" or something like that. This hints at how seriously the Miyanagas took mahjong - even to the point that monetary incentives were put on the table. This may have been the Miyanaga parents' way of trying to push their daughters forward into being better mahjong players.

Now, perhaps Teru thrived under this pressure (or accepted it, at least) while Saki chafed under it. Saki didn't like how intense these Miyanaga family mahjong matches were - They weren't any fun to her due to all the pressure surrounding it.

So while Teru pleased her parents, Saki stopped trying to win and adopted her plus/minus 0 approach as a coping mechanism. Once Saki's parents noticed this, they became upset with her.

One thing to keep in mind here is that, in real life, the parents of sports prodigies can be rather insane about it. Not all such parents are like this, but many are.

Perhaps Saki's parents (or at least her mother) were similarly insane about it. Since Saki is living with her father, but not her mother, it hints that Saki's mother was the person must bothered by Saki adopting the plus/minus zero approach.

Perhaps Saki's father eventually accepted, regretfully, Saki's decision to not try to be good at mahjong, while Saki's mother was incensed by it. So the two parents argued over Saki, which may have played a key role in their separation.

From Saki's perspective, mahjong tore her family apart, which is why she started out hating mahjong way back in the first episode of Saki's original season.

From Teru's perspective, Saki tore her family apart. If Saki had simply tried to please her parents like Teru herself did, the family would never have broken apart. And so Teru no longer considers Saki her sister; perhaps Teru views Saki as someone who dishonorably disrespected their parents' wishes, so family ostracization is called for.

While Saki blamed mahjong for splitting her family up, Saki also knows how Teru blames her for it. Saki also knows that Teru isn't necessarily wrong - Maybe if Saki had tried more to keep being good at mahjong, the family break-up never would have occurred. So Saki is privately living in deep guilt, and can't face her sister at all given the shame that she feels.

Saki's one hope is that if she competes head-to-head with Teru at mahjong, in an official competition where it really matters, perhaps Teru will forgive her based on clear evidence of how Saki is embracing mahjong again.

One other thing that fits nicely with the theory here is how, back in Season 1, there's a brief scene of Saki's father talking about throwing out his long-unused mahjong table. There's something vaguely melancholic about that scene, and if mahjong is what tore Saki's family apart, then her father feeling a certain bitterness towards the game itself would make sense.

  • That is an interesting theory on how mahjong might have torn the family apart. However, the relatively recent manga indicates that something else happened to a girl around the Miyanaga sisters' age, although we have yet to see any elaboration on this. It doesn't necessarily rule out the above being true to an extent, but it's less likely that it was the primary issue.

Saki once served as her family's sacrificial Butt Monkey
This works similarly to the (excellent) sports theory above, but it focuses on the New Year's game as a stress reliever for this family that was already fractious. When Saki refused to be the happy bottom of this unfair totem pole by losing/getting 'punished', she finally undid the ripped seams that held them together. This family seems to attend the same school of logic as Mayu's mother from Elfen Lied, and one hopes Saki ultimately lets Onee-Chan have it with both sets of tiles.

Saki will succeed in reconciling with Teru, but won't bring her parents together again
It's most likely that Saki, by reaching out to Teru through Mahjong, will be able to get Teru talking with her again, enabling them to work out their issues. However, it's possible that this may not have the same effect on her parents, who may remain separated, although it's possible that if Saki and her mother are at odds, they too may reconcile.

Saki is a tribute to CLAMP
If you look closely you'll notice that most Saki characters look like CLAMP Characters: Yuui is similar to Sakura (Cardcaptors) and Tamayo (Angelic Layer), Kyoutaro has an Angelic Layer-styled hairstyle, Mihoko is kinda similar to Chi from Chobits. These may be clues that Ritz Kobayashi is a huge CLAMP fan.

Kuro will throw a wrench into Kiyosumi's plan to adjust Yuuki's playstyle by discarding a dora tile again
The Rinkai team notices after the vanguard match that Yuuki chose to focus on speed, at Hisa's suggestion, to counteract Kuro's ability to attract dora. Since Kuro has learned the value of discarding dora at critical moments and Harue has the ability to analyze other team's play styles, it's likely that Kuro will discard a dora tile, possibly in the hopes of disrupting Kiyosumi's plan or otherwise throwing them off. Given that Kuro only discarded her dora tile at the end of the game, and Nodoka, the only one to hear about the drawback to doing so, doesn't believe in the occult, it's likely that she didn't report that to Hisa.
  • Of course, if this does happen, it's not going to be pretty; one of the things that made Kuro's match in the semifinals less of a complete massacre than it might have otherwise been was how Kuro sucked up all the dora tiles, making it really difficult for Teru's streaks to go higher than 18000. When she shifts from having no dora to having more than normal, everyone else is going to have a bad time.
Nodoka's father will still make Nodoka switch schools after she wins the tournament
If he operates mainly under the belief that mahjong is a game of luck, he's unlikely to change that view if Nodoka wins, possibly dismissing her as just lucky. The series would likely end with Saki and the new Kiyosumi team (with Maho and Hiroko to replace Nodoka and Hisa), much like the Achiga girls, setting out once again, hoping to reach the nationals and see Nodoka again.

Saki suffers from Bipolar Disorder (aka Manic Depression).
If you pay attention, you'll note that Saki has "good" days and "bad" days. On the good days, she can be extremely hyper, runs and darts around really fast and easily does things like hugging Nodoka, which she is normally too shy for. Then there are other days where she seems to have trouble dragging herself out of bed and moves in an almost zombie-like state or just sits around catatonically. She also seems more prone to depressed thoughts and tearful outbursts in these moods. Admittedly, almost everyone experiences some mood swings throughout the days, but Saki's seem a bit too extreme to be healthy. Most of the time, she seems to function well enough to not warrant immediate intervention, but if it wasn't for the fact that there are no therapists in TV land, she probably would be getting some medication and/or therapy.
  • The Saki wiki has a similar theory about Koromo, "as a result of her consistent moodswings and periods of lasting solitude and isolation. Further adding on to this, she experiences hyperactive, childish cheerfulness when not in states of depression or loneliness (AKA mania, which is a defining factor of Bipolar disorder) and can often have a complete change in mood at random intervals. "
    • Koromo is shown to be influenced by the moon though. She gets more "lunatic" the fuller the moon is.

Rinkai will get eliminated as a result of one of their opponents going under 0 while they're not high enough to advance.
Given that's how Megan Davin was able to prevent "Cold Touka" from advancing the previous year, and that they're poised to do this again to Kiyosumi with Usuzan as the target, it would be a nice case of Laser-Guided Karma.
Sakasama no PatemaWMG/Anime and MangaSakura Trick

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