As of current chapters, both teams have qualified for the National Finals and are to face each other, as well as reigning champions Shiraitodai and fourth-seeded Rinkai.
Kiyosumi High School — Nagano
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. The next year, that is the current storyline, four freshmen join the club: Inter-Middle High National mahjong champion Nodoka Haramura and her club mate Yuuki Kataoka, lone male member Kyoutarou Suga, and finally Kyoutarou's middle school classmate Saki Miyanaga. Now having enough members, the club enters its first mahjong tournament.
With an abundance of talent at its roster, Team Kiyosumi takes the Nagano tournament by storm by easily going through the elimination rounds. They later prove themselves worthy of the National tournament by beating last year's Nagano representative Ryuumonbuchi High School, fellow upstart Tsuruga Academy, and 6-year Nagano representatives (until they were dethroned by Ryuumonbuchi the year prior) Kazekoshi Girls' Academy. They also made waves in the National tournament by storming through the elimination rounds and placing first in the quarterfinal round by defeating South Osaka's Himematsu High School, Kagoshima's Ensui Girls' High, and Iwate's Miyamori Girls' High.
As of current chapters, the team has narrowly qualified for the National Finals alongside fourth-seeded Rinkai and are slated to face both reigning champions Shiraitodai (to which Teru, the older sister of team Captain Saki, plays as Vanguard) and fellow upstarts Achiga, while Saki and Nodoka, 3rd- and 2nd-placers at the Nagano individuals, respectively, are slated to play at the National individuals.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Their debut match in the Nagano qualifiers has them walking all over their opponents in the elimination rounds. Their debut in the Nationals also has one instance when only the first three players only get to play because Hisa reduced another team's score to negative during the Lieutenant match.
- Defeat Means Friendship: They get along well with the teams they defeated in the national qualifiers.
- Experienced Protagonists: Each member of the team is already well versed with mahjong. Kyotaro is the only one whose not as good as the girls, but he also knows the basics.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: They were virtually a no-name team upon their entry in the Nagano qualifiers, with only Nodoka's fame as Inter Middle Champion bringing them into the spotlight. Come the National tournament, most teams are now wary of Team Kiyosumi. Currently, they are one of the four finalists in the tournament.
- True Companions: All members have developed a sisterly friendship with each other as the series went on. While Saki and Nodoka's relationship had a rocky start, the two of them became the closest ones to each other.
- Underdogs Never Lose: Downplayed. Kiyosumi's lineup has strong and experienced players and not complete rookies to mahjong. The "underdog" part of their team comes from the fact that it's just the first time their school has entered the national tournament, making them a full-on dark horse team.
Voiced by: Kana Ueda
Portrayed by: Minami Hamabe
Saki is a shy, bookish freshman who claims to hate mahjong when she saw her middle-school classmate and current school mate Kyoutaro play it. Despite this, she is invited to play mahjong by Kyoutaro thinking she's not very good (Saki claimed earlier that she hated mahjong because she always lost to her family members) in the Kiyosumi Mahjong club, where she meets former National Inter Middle-high champion Nodoka Haramura, Yuuki Kataoka who is Nodoka's middle-school schoolmate, second year student Mako Someya, and student congress president and mahjong club president Hisa Takei.
It turns out that Saki's claim of "always losing" is only half true because she ends up with a ±0 net point average (basically breaking even, which is harder than winning), later turned out to be part deliberate on Saki's side and part having supernatural luck. Saki's relationship with Nodoka starts off rocky because of Nodoka's pride as the Inter-middle school champion being crushed after losing to Saki in one match (and with Nodoka's 3 wins prior now being known to be Saki deliberately losing), made more frustrating in that she, a person who loves mahjong, lost to one who dislikes it. However, their relationship improves when 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 — ultimately leading to her decision to join Kiyosumi's mahjong team. She hopes 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.
- The Ace: Of Kiyosumi High's mahjong club. Even former National Inter-Middle High champion Nodoka concedes that Saki's skills far surpass her own.
- Awesome, but Impractical: Saki's consecutive Rinshan Kaihou can net big points and usually is a death sentence for any player unlucky enough to be on the opposite end. However, it needs specific conditions to set up, something that Saki has to prepare beforehand by clever manipulation of the other players' points/tiles/discards.
- Awful Truth: She's aware that Teru is angry with her, but is quite disturbed to hear her telling people that she doesn't have a sister, making her wonder if reconciliation is impossible.
- Badass Adorable: Cute as a button, isn't she? Well, try telling that to everyone who discovered how much of a menace she is on the table.
- Battle Aura: In the form of a burning right eye.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Saki is friendly. polite, and overall one of the nicest characters in the story. However, some savvy players are thrown off when they feel an intimidating aura surrounding her when it comes to mahjong. Anyone who has played with her end up being shocked to find out that Saki is a ruthless force of nature at the mahjong table.
- Blunt "Yes": This exchange with Koromo during the Nagano finals, doubles as a Badass Boast:Koromo: Kiyosumi, do you think you can pull off a comeback?
Saki: Yes, I'm going to win.
- Born Lucky: She has extraordinary luck at the table, and is able to string together improbable moves consistently. It Runs in the Family.
- Broken Ace: She's an incredibly dangerous player, known for pulling off pattern-breaking moves that ruin even the most calculated plays... and she's deep down a sad kid with a broken family, a sister who doesn't even acknowledge her, and a relative who may or may not be dead.
- But Not Too Foreign: It's been revealed in one of the latest chapters that the Miyanaga sisters' maternal grandmother is of foreign descent.
- 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 finals, she helped Kana get past ±0: Kana had achieved tenpai but because she had not 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) however, Saki called pon on the 6-dots that Koromo dropped, meaning there's only one of the four 6 dots left in the wall for Kana to draw. While Kana panicked over the last one, Saki knew it was in the dead wall which was untouched unless by kan, and drew said 6-pin for her by declaring a closed kan. She then declared an open kan with the 6-dots, so Kana could steal it with a chankan — except earlier Saki opened her point sticks drawer before Kana can declare ron, and because of her previous kan she opened 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 after that win ruined Kana's chances.
- During the Nagano finals, Koromo was forced to discard the 1-pin tile she drew to keep her yaku. She knew this will play right into Saki's hand but she was confident that even then the points Saki's hand would net (12,000) would not be enough to overtake her. Cue Oh, Crap! when Saki pulls off a comeback win by scoring 32,000 points.
- At the National quarterfinals, she broke 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.
- During the National quarterfinals, 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).
- Confusion Fu: Saki utterly confounds her opponents with plays that, at first, would seem to be rookie mistakes. She further confuses (and sometimes frustrates) them more with plays that are simply too insane for any player to even consider. It comes to their shock later on that all these insane plays are all part of the plan.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Unknowingly delivers one to the other Kiyosumi members, Nodoka in particular, while under the impression of having a handicap.note In the Nagano team qualifiers. Saki completely blew away one of the teams off screen. Said team had 46,800 points remaining and it is implied that Saki took all the points. It's implied later on during the Nagano finals that Saki blew away her competition through a barrage of Rinshan Kaihous.
- 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.
- Defeating the Undefeatable: Earned a reputation for herself after beating the nigh-invincible Koromo.
- 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.
- Dissonant Serenity: In line with her unflappable demeanor in the face of opponents at the mahjong table Saki always has a gentle smile on her face while simply drawing tiles and building her hand. It turns into both an unnerving and awesome sight when she maintains this smile while pulling off plays that can give opponents heart attacks.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Saki later discovers that she prefers to play Mahjong while barefoot, because it gives her a feeling of homelike comfort that allows her to buckle down and compete at her best. This is because she first played the game in her bare feet when she was really little and at home, and made the connection after remembering she was shoe-less and sometimes even sock-less at training camp. She also likes to clap her bare feet together for good luck, imitating her younger self.
- 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. This is lampshaded during her run-in with Team Achiga in the first few chapters of Achiga-hen, where Shizuno senses a dangerous aura from her.
- 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.
- Flower Motif: Flower petals can be seen whenever Saki draws a winning tile, and flowers can be seen whenever she completes a winning hand. See, Meaningful Name below.
- 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. Saki's play style of unpredictable but high playing gambits also contrasts Nodoka's low-paying logic-based style.
- The Gloves Come Off: If Saki decides to play Mahjong in her bare feet, that means she's going all-out. When she gets barefoot during a match for the first time, her opponents even look at it as her version of taking off her gloves, which ends up being correct.
- 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.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation: Despite narrowly qualifying for the finals, Saki feels bad about being unable to do much throughout her semifinals match and being only narrowly saved by Rinkai's Nelly, though Hisa and their teammates reassure her that she did contribute to their success.
- Hope Spot: Gives one to Kazekoshi's Kana during the Nagano finals by deliberately allowing her to score 16,900 points, saving her from the match (see chessmaster trope above for details). Several of her later moves also give Kana a chance to build good hands, thus making Kana think of a possible comeback victory, only to ruin everything Kana has planned later on.
- 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 a 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.
- I Let You Win: In the beginning, she would deliberately lower the value of her hand, or sometimes deliberately fall for another player's tactic in order to maintain a ±0 stat and not win the match. She says this is because her family would get angry at her if she won too much, and would not give her candy or New Year's money if she lost too much.
- Demonstrated in a glorious way during the Nagano qualifier's final match (see chessmaster trope above for full details). Everyone, save for Kana herself, are aware that what happened during that entire sequence was orchestrated by Saki.
- 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.
- Innocently Insensitive: Saki sometimes makes comments that can sometimes come across as arrogant or mean, even if she doesn't mean it that way. An example is when she agrees to win a practice match with the other Kiyosumi players after being given a handicap, which causes Mako to comment that it's like she's saying that her win is a foregone conclusion.
- In-Series Nickname: She gained quite a number from her fellow players.
- Mako — "Zero Child"
- Momo — "Rinshan Kaihou-san"
- Koromo (and other players) — "Rinshan-user"
- 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.
- Luminescent Blush: Whenever she and Nodoka have a romantic moment, her face colors under her eyes.
- 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, Saki said she always lost against her family, triggering 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.
- Morton's Fork: When she played mahjong with her family, they would get angry at her if she won a lot, and if she lost a lot, she would never get any candy or New Year's money. Faced with these choices, Saki chose to adapt a play style that allowed her to neither win nor lose.
- Nerves of Steel: Saki is usually unfazed by anything her opponents throw at her, only expressing mild surprise whenever somebody make a surprising move.
- Nice Girl: Polite and always friendly to others outside of the mahjong table.
- 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 Hiroko to guess that there is a connection, and Miyamori's adviser Kumakura refers to both as "the Miyanaga sisters" as if she is certain that they are related. 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."
- 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.
- Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: She has a close and tender relationship with Nodoka, one which is likely romantic in nature, but not definitely.
- Solomon Divorce: 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.
- 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.
- Signature Move: Rinshan Kaihou off the dead wall, usually prepped by setting up multiple kans. She's able to achieve this hand practically at will, and opponents all recognize (and fear) her because of this. In fact, by the nationals, every player that Saki plays with expects a Rinshan Kaihou whenever she starts calling a Kan, and are more surprised that she's able to win with a hand not from a Rinshan Kaihou.
- 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 what makes Saki a force to reckon. 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.
- Underestimating Badassery: Most people would not even consider somebody as bookish looking and timid as Saki to be a monster at the mahjong table, that is until they play against her. Averted in the National tournament, where players from the powerhouse schools have taken note of Saki's playstyle and have begun devising countermeasures specifically against her.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: 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.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Nodoka calls her out multiple times for throwing games against her in the beginning, telling her that it's not fun playing against somebody who purposely loses. She also calls Saki out during the individual qualifiers for reverting to her defensive ±0 style, since Saki thought it's fine to just lose as an individual player since they're going to the nationals as a team anyway, reminding her of their promise to go to the nationals both as a team and as individuals. Saki wises up on both accounts.
- When All You Have Is a Hammer...: Her ±0 play style, usually ending with a Rinshan Kaihou off the dead wall. How she manipulates the tiles in order to achieve this result is something that is attributed to both her luck and skill. This sole play style has put an end to even the most skilled players.
- 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. She would also pass up winning tiles on purpose in order to let another player take advantage of her "mistakes."
Voiced by: Ami Koshimizu
Portrayed by: Nana Asakawa
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". 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 opponents 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, which helps 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.
- The Ace: Formerly of Takatoobara Middle School's mahjong club, she is famous as a mahjong genius. This is also what people think she is to Kiyosumi. In actuality, she's more of The Lancer to Saki, Kiyosumi's true ace.
- Agent Scully: Because she doesn't believe in superstition, she simply doesn't notice when something weird is up. This is shown in full force come the National quarterfinals, where by just playing normally she unwittingly derails Sae and Kinue's joint effort to block out Hatsumi's ability, culminating in her taking a direct Yakuman hit with dealer penalty. She's completely unfazed, and still manages to score on par with Hatsumi and outwit Genre Savvy Sae and Kinue, which lends surprising credence to her incredulous modus operandi.
- 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 for being as cute as she is powerful in matches.
- 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.
- Battle Aura: An emanation of her "Nodocchi" avatar. Wings did not just appear, you're imagining it.
- Boring, but Practical: Her logic-based play style can net her quick points in rapid succession and allow her to maintain her own points with minimal loses. It is, however, pretty bland and boring in comparison to Saki's more flashy Rinshan Kaihou barrage, which can net big points, but needs specific conditions to pull off, something that only Saki can do.
- 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 helps that she always tries to put up a serious facade.
- Buxom Is Better: Multiple characters have expressed serious interest in her breasts. Nodoka herself is not happy about this.
- 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.
- Character Tics: She clutches her skirt whenever she gets upset or angry.
- 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: Averted— if anything, her pride was getting a beating when Saki outplayed her with ease 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.
- Empowered Badass Normal: By carrying Etopen, she can reach "Nodocchi mode".
- 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.
- Expy: Of Sigrid Aoyama, the main character of Fatalizer.
- Face of the Band: In-universe example. The only reason people know of Kiyosumi High's mahjong club is because Nodoka is a member. She's even considered the team's ace.
- Famed in Story: As the previous national mahjong champion in middle school as well as being quite a looker with a bombshell body, Nodoka is quite popular with both fellow players, fans, and the media. Her online persona "Nodocchi" is also well known in the online mahjong community.
- Flat-Earth Atheist: Despite encountering Mahjohng players with special powers since she was six years old, she refuses to believe that said powers exist. Kuro's dora-magnet ability, Saki's Rinshan Kaihou barrages, Koromo's full moon empowerment, Momoko's invisibility, none of it is real. It's all a coincidence!
- 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. Their play styles are even complete opposites of each other. Nodoka has a logic-based style that nets quick points due to prioritizing tempai efficiency, that usually results in winning low-valued hands. Saki, on the other hand, uses a play style that is both completely unpredictable and high scoring, but takes a while to actually pull off.
- Fragile Speedster: Nodoka's style revolves playing digitally and going for tenpai efficiency, rather than aiming for high paying hands. This means that she often wins many low-valued hands, but this leaves her point totals shot when heavy hitters win.
- Gag Boobs: They're prone to minor Gainaxing, and are the subject of several jokes throughout the series.
- Girlish Pigtails: At the start, she has two long tails tied with red hair ribbons. Super cute. They turn into a single sidetail during the finals.
- Girls Love Stuffed Animals: She always carries Etopen around, even during matches. She sleeps with the plushie at home.
- Going Commando: A continued argument between fans is if Nodoka does this or not. Make no mistake, this is Serious Business.
- 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. Said mother finally makes an appearance late in the manga.
- In-Series Nickname: "Nodo-chan" by Yuuki, "Boobs-san" by Momo, and "Nonoka" by Koromo.
- Luminescent Blush: Whenever she and Saki have a romantic moment, she turns red under her nose and in her cheeks.
- Ms. Fanservice: Pink hair, pigtails, thigh-high stockings, huge tracts of land, and might not be wearing anything underneath her uniform. Don't worry if your gaze is stuck on her during matches.
- Nerves of Steel: Nodoka is usually unfazed by anything when she's playing.
- 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. 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 their shock.
- No-Sell: Momoko's invisibility doesn't work on her because of her experience with online Mahjong. A player's presence or lack of presence is a non-factor.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: Played with. The media is all over her and bills her as a mahjong genius (though this is not without merit, being last year's individual mahjong inter middle champion) in a supposedly unknown team, thus her hype overshadows the rest of Kiyosumi's players, especially Saki. However, some players tend to underestimate her due to her apparent lack of superpowers and the fact that she's being hyped up by the media makes her actual skills questionable, but they still do not take her lightly. Finally, the most insightful players in the nationals virtually ignore her because they are more interested in Saki simply because it was Saki, not her, who defeated last year's tournament MVP; Koromo Amae.
- Power Gives You Wings: Under "Nodocchi Mode", she appears as an angel.
- Pride: Slightly downplayed, but of all the Kiyosumi players, she's the most competitive, and the most concerned with her image, getting quite embarrassed when her teammates find out about her sleeping with Etopen. As an example, she became upset when Saki is revealed to have been ''deliberately'' scoring ±0 during their matches. Her pride takes a greater hit when Saki unknowingly defeats Nodoka handily during a practice match while Saki thought she came in second because of a handicap imposed on her, when in actuality, no handicap was placed.
- Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: She has a close and tender relationship with Saki, one which is likely romantic in nature, at least on her end.
- Rose-Haired Sweetie: She has pink hair and is sweet and kind.
- Saying Too Much: When playing against Kuro, she mentions offhandedly that she hasn't seen any dora tiles, inadvertently revealing that she doesn't have any. She then learns about Kuro's dora magnet ability.
- Security Blanket: Etopen, her penguin plushie. She takes it to matches to keep calm and focused.
- Super Mode: "Nodocchi", her online persona, is generally better at playing Mahjohn because Nodoka is more focused when she is in this persona. It is activated by holding Etopen.
- Supreme Chef: She makes an excellent bentou, causing both Yuuki and Kyoutaro to imagine her as their wife.
- 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.
- Transformation Trinket: Etopen is Deconstructed Trope. Nodoka uses it to fall asleep at home, and thus it is associated with home, peace, online Mahjong etc. By bringing it to matches, she can better visualize the match as online instead of in-person. This increases her focus, decreases her mistakes, and in general makes her a more powerful player. In other words, Etopen transforms her into her online avatar, "Nodocchi", which certainly looks like a Magical Girl.
- UltimateGamer386: Her online persona "Nodocchi" is so famous, other players wonder if she has "ultimate luck", a pro player, or if she's even human. Hisa once referred to her as "an incarnation of the god of online mahjong".
- 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.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: She has pink hair, and has since she was six years old.
Voiced by: Rie Kugimiya
Portrayed by: Aika Hirota
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 which gives her a greater chance of starting as the first dealer. She tends to lose steam come South round, causing her to lose points she earned in the East round. This leads Hisa to place her as Team Kiyosumi's starter.
- 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.
- Book Dumb: A genius at mahjong, but her brain completely burns out after filling in an arithmetic training book with (mostly wrong) answers.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: She must eat tacos to fuel her mahjong prowess.
- Cloudcuckoolander: At one point says that she needs tacos to remain in her human form. Refers to Kyoutaro and herself as husband and wife. Generally not all there in the head.
- Color Failure: In the anime, when she comes tottering out of the classroom after a makeup math exam. She later has another one in the National quarterfinals when she loses her dealer run because Jindai carelessly played into Suzu's hand.
- Crippling Overspecialization: She blows the field at East Wind... and can do not much else come the other rounds. Come the National semifinals, Hisa tried to remedy this by having her change priorities from big hands to cheap but quick ones with the intention of getting a parenchan; while Yuuki finished her semifinals match in a distant third place, it's implied that the results will be clear in the finals.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Just because she's a cutesy airhead doesn't mean she doesn't know how to lead the way in any match.
- Cute Little Fangs: A further proof of her childishness are her fangs.
- 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.
- Everybody Hates Mathematics: Yuuki's weakness at mathematics is a problem in the long run, as she often miscalculates the scores.
- Expressive Shirt: The cat-belt thingie that's lip-synched to her speech.
- Genki Girl: Almost every scene featuring her is bound to be filled with her infectious, childlike energy.
- Girlish Pigtails: Wears her hair with a pair of these, in line with her childish demeanor.
- Hypocritical Humor: Asking "No matter how you look at it, isn't she [Koromo] just a kid?" when she herself also looks and acts much younger than her age. Hisa lampshades this.
- Identical Stranger: Nishida, when seeing a photo of Nodoka's friends from Achiga, mistakes a younger Ako for her, since she was in the room at the time.
- Innocent Fanservice Girl: Just watch any of the training camp episodes. She and Team Eisui's Hatsumi may as well be soulmates.
- Important Haircut: She styles her hair in the same way as Kirame's for the finals.
- Ms. Exposition: Lots and lots of Mahjong-specific Techno Babble.
- Older Than They Look: Appears to be around 10, in spite of being 15 or 16.
- 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.
- Potty Emergency: Has a brief one in Episode 25; implied to have been caused by drinking too much fruit milk.
- 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 and playing with fast combos. While she only managed to put Kiyosumi at third-place (due to Suzu's explosion), Satoha notes the acceleration of her hands, and muses that she must have been training with both Teru and Kuro in mind.
- Also note that Yuuki's point total is positive in BOTH the quarterfinals and semifinals until someone makes an unexpected play:
- In the quarterfinals, Komaki falls asleep and gets possessed by a god allowing her to get a direct sanbaiman off of Yuuki
- In the semifinals, Yuuki remains positive until Suzu, in the second-to-last hand, takes a page from her books and abandons a closed hand for a faster win. That means that even after Rinkai's ace, Satoha, won a bunch of points from everyone, AND Suzu's initial explosion, Yuuki was still positive, with her supposedly weaker hands.
- In the finals, Yuuki gets a 100,000 point lead over second place within 2 dealer repeats in the first East roundnote . She forces Teru to throw away one of her precious dealer turns by feeding Satoha a win in order to stop Yuuki's rampage in the vanguard's first hanchan.
- Also note that Yuuki's point total is positive in BOTH the quarterfinals and semifinals until someone makes an unexpected play:
- Trademark Favorite Food: Tacos, which she considers to be the source of her Mahjong skills. An alternative to actual Tacos is any food with "Tako" in its name such as Takoyaki and Octopusnote shaped wieners
- Verbal Tic: She often ends sentences with "da jo" or "da je", which are childish ways of pronouncing the masculine sentence particles "da zo" and "da ze". The manga translates this to "djey."
Voiced by: Shizuka Ito
Portrayed by: Seika Furuhata
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.
- Armor-Piercing Question: Asks her quote of Nodoka when talking about her playstyle.
- Awesome, but Impractical: Hisa's playstyle is this. It can net an absurd amount of points given the right conditions. However, because of its low win-rate, this becomes an absurdly risky way to play. Nodoka even points out that Hisa's playstyle is completely insane.
- Bad Ass In Distress: In the National Quarterfinals, Hisa finds herself in a tenpai-less last-place spot, and then makes it worse by losing even more points to first place Himematsu.
- Club President: Is president of both Kiyosumi's mahjong club and it's Student Council President / Student Congress President.
- Cool Big Sis: To the freshmen of Team Kiyosumi, providing encouragement to them both for the game and outside it.
- Enemy Mine: During the Side-B National Semifinals, she decides to make an informal alliance with Team Usuzan's Yuan to prevent either one from falling below 0 (and prematurely ending the game), while simultaneously trying to gain points off Choe and Hiroe and keeping Yuan at arm's-length in the event the latter decides to win off her.
- 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.
- Girlish Pigtails: Wore her hair on a pair of hairbands during her previous competitive season. She does so again come the Nationals.
- 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.
- Honor Before Reason: During the Nagano individual finals, she trusted her ability to the very end. It allowed her to win the hand but it lowered her score such that she couldn't overtake Saki.
- Idiot Hair: Not that she's an idiot, her "absolutely insane" playstyle aside, but she does have the classical hair sticking out.
- Insistent Terminology: She'd rather be called "Student Congress President", and even then she strongly prefers going by "Buchou" ("Club President") over that.
- Insane Troll Logic: In Nodokoa's view, deliberately choosing bad waits because you feel they're more likely than good waits is madness. The problem with Nodoka's view, is that Hisa usually wins like this such as during the regional qualifier.
- The Last Dance: Since she is in her third year, the current tournament will be her last chance to compete.
- Ms. Exposition: She shares this role with Yuuki, explaining things to others in the group and to the audience.
- 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.
- Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Her play style in a nutshell. While watching her match at the Side-B National Semifinals, Momoko compares her style to a rubber-band — the greater the odds are stacked against her, the more dangerous her moves become.
- Performance Anxiety: For all her smarts, one of Hisa's most glaring weaknesses is that she tends to worry too much about her chances of winning, which led to a full-on Heroic BSoD during the National quarterfinals, from which she only recovered at the last minute.
- Rule of Cool: Her habit of flicking the tile she needs in the air, catching it, then slamming it on the table when she has a game-winning hand, is very cool. However, it is hard on tiles.Mihoko: "That poor tile..."
- 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: She likes messing with people, 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.
- You Are Not Alone: A main source of Hisa's emotional strength lay in her realization of how far she has gotten since first stepping onto Kiyosumi — from solo player in her first year to a two-girl team with Mako come second-year... to having not only a full team, but dozens of friends and supporters (inside and outside school, including regional rivals) in her final year.
Voiced by: Ryoko Shiraishi
Portrayed by: Anna Yamada
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.
- Cat Smile: Prominent during the chibified ED's.
- 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.
- Logical Weakness: As she's reliant on her Photographic Memory to analyse opponents' playstyles and compare them to similar situations she's seen before, she's easily thrown-off when playing against complete newbies like Kaori and people who play the game very differently like Hao, simply because she cannot compare what these kinds of players will do with anything she's already seen.
- Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: In several magazine pinups where Saki, Nodoka, Yuuki and Hisa were present, Mako was entirely absent.
- Oh, Crap!:
- 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 of their Nagano finals match (with Tomoki and Miharu). Kaori wins again.
Voiced by: Jun Fukuyama
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 Yuukis... taco delivery boy.
- Butt-Monkey: He spends most of his time running errands for the club, and isn't very good at mahjong.
- Daydream Surprise: The story will occasionally segue into his fanservicey fantasies of Nodoka and/or Mihoko.
- 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).
- Fetish: Imagining Nodoka in a meido outfit wasn't enough. Learning that she was playing mahjong while dressed as a maid caused a goofy look and drool.
- 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 Watson: His relative inexperience at mahjong allows Hisa and Yuuki to play Ms. Exposition.
Achiga All-Girls' Academy — Nara
Achiga, an otherwise lower-tier team, shocked Nara Prefecture ten years ago by defeating high-ranking Team Bansei en route to a slot at the Nationals. Unfortunately, the team lost out at the semifinals to the eventual champions, led by future superstar Sukoya Kokaji, with their ace player Harue Akado being traumatized into quitting, and ultimately disbanded the next year after a disastrous prefectural season. Some years after her loss, Harue founded the Achiga Children's Mahjong club and taught the local children how to play the game as a form of therapy, until it was disbanded when Harue decided to play professionally after college.
Its resurgence after nine years of inactivity is through the efforts of three children from Harue's mahjong children's club; Shizuno Takakamo, Ako Atarashi, and Kuro Matsumi. Inspired by seeing fellow club member (before she transferred to Takatoobara Middle school in Nagano) Nodoka Haramura's National Inter Middle Championship after seeing her in the news, they decide to meet and play against her again at the high school National Tournament. To complete the five-player requirement, they recruit Kuro's older sister Yuu and Arata Sagimori, Kuro's classmate who she knows has played mahjong with adults since she was in elemetary. Coincidentally, Harue returns to Achiga after her company's mahjong team got disbanded, and discovers the club's reestablisment. She offers to coach the members under the promise that they take her back to the National Tournament, in order to finally get rid of the past trauma she suffered during her time.
Under Harue's tutelage, Team Achiga takes the Nara qualifiers by storm, effortlessly defeating every single team they were matched against, including perennial Nara representative Bansei High. They also make waves in the National Tournament by defeating all teams in the qualifiers and coming in first place in the semifinals, overtaking current champions Shiraitodai High School from West Tokyo, second ranked team Senriyama Girls' High from North Osaka, and Shindouji Girls' High from Fukuoka. Regardless of what rank they end up after the tournament, their current rank as one of the four finalists for the National Inter High School tournament (alongside Shiraitodai, Kiyosumi, and Rinkai) is the highest rank they have achieved.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Moreso than Kiyosumi, where they easily steamrolled every other team in Nara, including the perennial winner Bansei High. They also experience this courtesy of Ryuumonbuchi during a practice match, the only team in their training road trip that they were unable to defeat.
- Darkest Hour: They barely squeak through the quarterfinals by getting a win on the last round, and Harue says in no uncertain terms that no one expects them to win against Senriyama and Shiraitodai. Shortly afterward, they witness Harue talking with Kumakura about going pro, and, unaware that Harue refused, wonder if Harue used and then discarded them.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Subverted as unlike Kiyosumi, Achiga had gone to the Nationals before courtesy of Harue, but slowly faded into obscurity after Harue's disastrous loss in the semi-finals and their poor showing the year after. It takes nearly a decade for Achiga to reclaim its spot at the National circuit courtesy of the current members, and even then their success is largely attributed to Harue's coaching.
- History Repeats: Ten years ago, Team Achiga, led by Harue, stormed through the Nara qualifiers and managed to reach the National semifinals, only to fall short courtesy of future superstar Sukoya Kokaji. Team Achiga's current incarnation repeats the same feat, only this time, they manage to get through to the finals of the Nationals, despite facing the current national champion Shiraitodai, led by the best individual player in the high school circuit Teru Miyanaga, in the semifinals.
- Putting the Band Back Together: The current incarnation of Team Achiga is basically the reunion of the Achiga Children's Mahjong club, although only three of its original members remain as the rest are too young to participate, and Nodoka plays for Kiyosumi.
- True Companions: To a bigger degree than Kiyosumi. The people who are responsible for Achiga's revival of their Mahjong club are childhood friends, two of which are sisters, as well as a neighbor who idolized the former Achiga ace mahjong player. Their coach is the former Achiga high school ace herself. Everybody is basically related to each other in one way or another, and their shared love for the sport deepened their relationship even more.
- Underdogs Never Lose: Like Kiyosumi, this is downplayed. Their school has not participated in the national mahjong scene in a long time, so they do not have the reputation of the other schools. The members, however, are skilled mahjong players, further compounded by the fact that they are being trained by Achiga's former ace.
Voiced by: Aoi Yūki
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 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 energy.
During the Side-A National Semifinals, however, Shizuno ultimately reveals 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.
- Arch-Enemy: A very disgruntled Awai has labeled Shizu as this after catching her off-guard with her hidden ability. The feeling is not mutual.
- Badass Boast"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. This changes when she develops her 'Lord of the Mountain' stance.
- Battle Aura: Shizu has two, as revealed in the finale: a fiery halo, like the ones seen with Japanese temple guardians, and a gigantic Brocken spectre, the latter of which only Awai can see.It might be an unintentional Shout-Out, given an earlier series Shizu and Awai's voice actresses were part of.
- Blood Knight: She likes playing against Koromo. Only someone that enjoys intense mahjong battle would feel like this.
- 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!"
- Cat Smile: Often smiles like a cat, especially during her dumber moments.
- Childhood Friends: With Ako, Kuro and (before her transfer to Nagano) Nodoka.
- 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.
- 11th-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 Captains' match of the semifinals.
- Empty Eyes: Played for Laughs after Koromo floors her at a training session and she is stunned. Typically for her, she runs forward with empty eyes for another round.
- Enlightenment Superpowers: The way she awakens to her hidden ability is not unlike Japanese yamabushi monks in the ancient ages, or perhaps a taoist. She even displays a battle aura with a fiery halo motif.
- 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.
- Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: She has a tendency to pint at people in emotional moments, for which Ako scolds her for.
- 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.
- Home Field Advantage: Another name for the tile walls of a Mahjhong game are "mountains", which she spent two and a half years roaming by herself. She spent so long in them that she felt her consciousness merge with them, like some kind of nature spirit. So whenever the match progresses to the point where the players "go deep into the mountains", they enter her territory and their supernatural abilities stop working.
- Hot-Blooded: Her tendency for impulsiveness has been noted by other characters, such as her coach.
- Idiot Hero: Has poor attention span, poor memory and a tendency to act before thinking marks her as someone who is neither level-headed like Arata nor sharp-witted like Ako.
- Missing Steps Plan: Since Shizuno is highly enthusiastic but not much for thinking things through, this happens with her plan to see Nodoka again. Thankfully, some of her friends, such as Ako, help her fill in the missing steps.1. Go to Achiga
3. Go to the Nationals
4. Face Nodoka again!
- Nature Hero: Spending long hours like a mountain monkey have awakened in her an intrinsic mahjong power.
- Not a Morning Person: As seen during the team's first morning in Tokyo, where she's positively lethargic after waking up. It takes her a second to apprehend what city they're in, and why, and that it's morning.
- 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.
Voiced by: Nao Tōyama
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 (Adamine Middle High School, to be exact), 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 as a player for Team Adamine.
Ako's style seems to revolve around scoring via quick hands with small point totals.
- A-Cup Angst: Downplayed, because while she's not exactly flat-chested, she does occasionally wish she had breasts as large as Yuu's.
- Badass Normal: She held her own against Takami despite the later's special ability, outscorring her overall in their match.
- 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.
- Childhood Friends: With Shizuno, Kuro and (for a few years) Nodoka. She decides against enrolling in Bansei to reunite with all of her childhood friends.
- Fragile Speedster: Ako's entire style focuses on calling tiles to speed up her victory; unfortunately, because she opens her hand so often, this deprives her of precious yaku and han that could help improve her score, which also means that players like Sera who only go for those high valued hands typically score more than her.
- Gilligan Cut: While discussing her strategy for her National semifinals match against Team Shiraitodai's Takami...
- I Got Bigger: Back in their childhood, Shizuno was One Head Taller than Ako. Come tenth-grade, the latter has already grown taller (and bustier). Shizuno airs her distress about this development, and the fact that she largely remained petite, during a post-credits skit.
- Identical Stranger: When she was younger she resembled Yuuki. When Junko is interviewing Nodoka about her friends from Team Achiga, she even mistakes Ako for Yuuki in an old photo.
- Oh, Crap!: After realizing that she won with a cheap hand against Takami. She enters a minor Heroic BSoD, and Hitomi has to get her attention.
- Straight Man: She is usually the one to react to Shizune's comical overreactions.Shizune: *while Giving Someone the Pointer Finger * You're the one who scored more points than Kiyosmi or Touka?!Ako: Don't point!
- Tempting Fate: She thinks it's simple to avoid dealer repeats against Takami, but when she gets down to it, she can't manage to do so.
- Undesirable Prize: Ako knows she shouldn't win as a dealer when Shibuya is on the table, but does so nonetheless.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: In Saki Biyori, she plays online mahjong and gets into a yakuman tenpai, only to lose her connection.
Voiced by: Kana Hanazawa
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.
- Achievements in Ignorance: By holding on to her dora, she (unwittingly) manages to keep Teru from running roughshod over her competition.
- 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. At this point she breaks down crying, blaming herself for (apparently) doing nothing to help.
- Fatal Flaw: Her inability to discard dora tiles proves to be her greatest weakness, as savvy and skilled players can predict what tiles she has and adjust their hands in order to target her.
- Freudian Excuse: In an extra chapter, Yuu suggests that Kuro likes large breasts because they remind her of her mother.
- 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 Teru's streaks.
- Missing Mom: Her (and Yuu's) mother died when they were very young, which badly affected the girl. It's also the reason why Kuro is unable to let go of any dora tiles, as she feels it would mean saying goodbye to her mother again. Nodoka, normally dismissive of the supernatural, can't bring herself to dismiss Kuro's beliefs regarding dora tiles to her face.
- 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 Shindouji 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.
- Red Baron: "The Dragon Lord of Achiga"
- Sibling Team: With her older sister Yuu. She, in fact, recruited Yuu for the team.
- 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: When Kuro finally stopped being The Load, her first major move completely spoils Teru's gameplay by way of discarding a dora, a move she is normally loathe to use. Even before that, Toki, noticing how upset Kuro appears, thinks that she has (unwittingly) proven helpful 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.
- Took a Level in Badass: After having willingly discarded a dora in the semis, not only does her ability recover much faster than it used to whenever she accidentally discarded a dora, but it's become even more powerful. Her starting hands start shaping such that she only needs to draw the doras to complete them, she can call whichever dora she wants, and she can even send her doras to someone else. She uses the last ability to force Teru to discard into a counted yakuman in the middle of one of her dealer streaks.
- 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.
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: As she effectively avoids Sumire's arrows, she then scores against her when her defense is at its weakest.
- Big Sister Instinct: Usually inverted, in that Kuro frequently 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 too many points in her match, thinking it's her turn to stand up for her little sister.
- Blank White Eyes: Fairly common when she gets flustered.
- Declaration of Protection: As seen by her quote, above, she vows to protect her little sister afte Kuro's first loss.
- 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 Sergeants' 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 children's mahjong club, but didn't feel as though she could.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Yuu looks almost exactly like her mother, except for hair color.
Voiced by: Yumi Uchiyama
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.
- Badass Boast: At the semifinals, when Harue worries that her old necktie will be bad luck, Arata reassures her that she will take it to the finals.
- 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.
- 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.
- Expy: She's pretty much a carbon copy of Ritz Kobayashi, the mangaka, as she appears in The Legend of Koizumi. Thus, her appearance in that manga is Early-Bird Cameo.
- Generation Xerox: A intentional case. In order to honor Harue, Arata uses the same outdated play style that she uses, combining it with her bowling inspired play. She even wears the tie Harue gave her, vowing to take it to the final round.
- Hero-Worshipper: She thinks the world of Harue and has idolized her for years. When Hare returned from her fateful loss, Arata was the only one to greet her. She told Harue that she did an amazing job and that she will continue to root for her.
- Motifs: Her gameplay is strongly influenced by bowling.
- #1 Dime: Let's just say that Arata really treasures the necktie that Harue gave her ten years before.
- Power Copying: During her National semifinals match she reveals that, besides her bowling-influenced style, she also copied some aspects of Harue's old play style and mixed it with her own.
- Rebuilt Pedestal: Harue returning to mentor Team Achiga brings her back to the game as well, especially after Arata hears about Harue playing for a corporate team.
- The Reliable One: Arata is chosen as Club President because she will certainly be able to handle its responsibilities.
- Resigned to the Call: Arata initially refused Kuro's invitation to play mahjong for Achiga, stating that she's stopped playing at about the same time Harue quit mahjong. After some contemplation and finding out that Harue turned pro, she decides on to join the club as a temporary player. She then becomes dedicated to win the Nationals after she learns why Harue stopped playing mahjong and decides to become champion for her mentor's sake.
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 (as a Vice-Captain), 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 goes back to her hometown to think of 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 become 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 — in fact, in her first chronological appearance in Shinohayu, she even recounts how she forced her opponents to hit negative in the Nara children's final. 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.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Averted. She immediately recognized Arata as the little girl who she gave her necktie to back when Harue was in high school.
- 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.
- When finally introduced in the prequel Shinohayu, it's shown that Harue apparently has a near-OCD obsession with reading match records and researching whether or not a particular opponent has a visible "tell" whenever they make a play.
- 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: Up until the semi-finals, Harue is never shown actually coaching her wards. 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 coaching during the smei-finals. This includes personally retraining Kuro, fresh off a bad game against Teru. Yuu's match against Sumire features a flashback to how Harue made Yuu watch Sumire's previous matches on video until Yuu could spot Sumire's tell. Apparently all the coaching she did prior to this was done off-screen.
- Master-Apprentice Chain: Harue was once coached by Kuro and Yuu's mom while she was in grade school, and now she returns the favor by mentoring the Matsumi sisters in their own try at the Nationals.
- My Greatest Failure: Losing her team too many points, which led to its elimination in the Nationals. As such, she relates to Kuro, who lost too many points during the Side-A 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.
- Performance Anxiety: Thanks to the rehabilitation she got from tutoring the local children in Achiga, Harue had gotten her game back to the point of being able to take her corporate team into the finals of the Japan Pro Mahjong League. However, the past trauma of facing Sukoya Kokaji still caused her to underperform during the league finals, which cost her team.
- 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.