The list of characters from the four teams currently playing at the Side-B Semifinals from the manga and anime series Saki — Kiyosumi, Himematsu, Rinkai and Usuzan.
As of current chapters, Rinkai and Kiyosumi (barely) have qualified for the final, where they are to face reigning champions Shiraitodai and upstarts Achiga from Block A, while Kiyosuymi's co-quarterfinalist Himematsu and fellow newcomers Usuzan are relegated to a fifth-place match.
Kiyosumi High School — Nagano
Himematsu High School — South Osaka
Himematsu, representing South Osaka, is one of the top schools in Kansai, alongside their cross-town rivals from Team Senriyama (whose coach Masae is mother to their own Hiroe and Kinue), and was a seeded team until the emergence of Team Eisui and Komaki, relegating them to fifth-place (and thus forcing them to participate in the first round). Team Himematsu has a tradition of putting their ace as Lieutenant. Notable for being one of the few schools in the Nationals that seems to be composed entirely of normal, if skilled, players.
Its current lineup is composed of 3rd years Hiroe Atago, Kyouko Suehara, and Yuuko Mase, as well as second years Kinue Atago and Suzu Ueshige. Team Himematsu is coached by Kasumi Zennou, but in the current tournament, they are coached by Himematsu alumna Ikuno Akasaka due to coach Zennou's poor health.
Unfortunately for the girls, a sudden outburst of Team Rinkai's Nelly edged them out of the finals, as said outburst narrowly saved Team Kiyosumi thanks to Saki's plays, and are now forced to play in the fifth-place match against co-semifinalist Usuzan and Block A's Senriyama and Shindouji..
- Badass Normal: Unlike the other named schools that have at least one player with a supernatural ability, Team Himematsu is composed entirely of muggles.
- Kansai Regional Accent: Shares this trait with fellow Osakan representative Team Senriyama
- Weak, but Skilled: The team doesn't have mahjong monsters or people with supernatural abilities. They are still one of the top contenders in Japan because of how skilled their players are.
Voiced by: Satsumi Matsuda
Elder daughter of Masae, professional player and coach of Team Senriyama, older sister to teammate Kinue, and ace of Team Himematsu. Hiroe is very loud and blunt about her opinions — she knows she's good, and will not give a second thought about shoving it in everyone's faces, whether they like it or not. Her style revolves around bluffs and trash talks, with distracts her opponents into playing right into her hand.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: In Saki Biyori, when she and her sister are asking their mother for permission to get a pet, Yuuko convinces them that they'll have to get down on their knees and beg if necessary. Amusingly enough, when her mother says yes, Hiroe immediately gets down on her knees.
- Badass Boast: See above.
- Badass Normal: According to Hisa, in a team of normals that is ranked fifth in a competition stuffed to the rafters with mahjong monsters, she's probably the most normal of the lot. This is even more proven to the fact that Hisa's hell waits doesn't work on her.
- Cat Smile: Is prone to doing this to emphasize her mischievous personality, complete with Cute Little Fangs.
- Club President: Of Himematsu's team.
- Fiery Redhead: She's red-haired, and has the appropriate fiery personality to match. This contrasts well with blue-haired Kinue's gentle disposition.
- To Achiga's Yuu Matsumi. Hiroe is loud, brash, and confident. contrasting Yuu's soft spoken, shy, and reserved nature.
- To Shiraitodai's Teru Miyanaga. Hiroe shares a close bond with her younger sister Kinue and is supportive and encouraging of her efforts. Teru's relationship with Saki is shown to be not on good terms.
- Friendly Rivalry: With Sera, who happens to be on the same position for Senriyama's team.
- I Shall Taunt You: Her playstyle is mostly complemented with bluffs and trash talk designed to disorient her opponents.
- Incoming Ham: After flooring the opposition back at her first-round match (qualifying Team Himematsu for the quarterfinals without having to field Kinue and Kyouko)..."Why'd no one pick me up after the match?!"
- Insufferable Genius: Albeit one who mainly displays the "insufferable" aspect around her opponents, specifically those who aren't playing at their full potential.
- Invisible Parents: Her and Kinue's father has never been seen.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Hiroe minces no words, whether she's gloating, taunting or calling names. And she's also a very caring teammate and sister. In fact, Hisa interprets her taunts as her way of goading her opponents into playing better. During the National semifinals she also deliberately messes up her words so the normally quiet Choe would have to speak (to correct her).
- Kansai Regional Accent: According to translators, hers is very heavy.
- Large Ham/No Indoor Voice: As if her Kansai accent is not accentuated enough, she just can't help but speak in loud tones to show off how great she is.
- Nom de Mom: She and her sister took their mother's maiden name.
- Sibling Team: With her younger sister Kinue
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Hiroe is outspoken and blunt but decent, while Kinue is kind but needy of attention.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Achiga-hen introduces her mother, Masae, and aside from hair color and stature, Hiroe is the mirror-image of her, down to the shape of their frowns.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Becomes one with Team Kiyosumi's Hisa during the National semifinals, with the latter beginning to make her own snide remarks in response to Hiroe's (increasingly friendlier) banter.Kinue: "So, you're gonna chicken out like last time?"
Hisa: "At this point, I don't know."
Voiced by: Minako Kotobuki
Kyouko first joined Team Himematsu fifteen months prior to the current story, and is responsible for Suzu's entry and getting Kinue to try for the regular team. While Hiroe comes to the table expecting to win, Kyouko always comes to the table worried that she'd lose, and so she takes up the role of Captain to test her mettle against all the "monster" players.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: As Team Himeatsu's strategist, her research and observation skills prove to be a great asset to her team, as well as her own plays. She figures out how to get around the various abilities of Toyone and Kasumi and in the semi-finals, figures out Saki has a tell and uses it to her advantage.
- A-Cup Angst: She's slightly flat-chested, and once refers to Kasumi, who has the largest breasts of all the high schoolers in the series, as "the booby monster of Eisui".
- Badass Normal: Says so herself in Round 79. She's challenges herself to see whether or not she can go far against her "monster" opponents which includes Saki, Kasumi and Toyone. Saki even mentions she considers her the biggest threat among the semifinalists.
- Custom Uniform: Wears bicycle shorts instead of a skirt. Zennou reveals that she also made Ikuno wear the same style during her playing days.
- David vs. Goliath: How she saw her battle in the semi-final round. She's up against three "monster-class" players and is able to hold her own quite well.
- Determinator: Despite being in a table full of mahjong monsters, she found a chance when Kasumi's suit magnet activated and as well Saki's Rishan Kaihou, where she noted that the table is now much much easier to read. Even as Saki was scared of her persistence in the Captains' match, fearing she wouldn't be able to win next time.
- Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Tends to happen whenever her opponents start to manifest unnatural draws or abilities, which just happens to be all the other players during her turn at the table.
- Foil: To Hiroe.Hiroe: "You see, while I have never started a mahjong game even considering the possibility of losing, Kyouko constantly thinks about losing, even to weaker opponents. She derives her strength from that carefulness. That's Kyouko in a nutshell."
- Hero-Worshipper: To Coach Zennou. She's determined to win once she knows Zennou will be watching the semi-finals, and it's implied that she has difficulty accepting Ikuno as a temporary replacement.
- Important Costume Change: She changes into the more feminine dress that Ikuno first made her wear when she suggested changing her point of view, signifying a shift in her own mindset regarding monster-level opponents.
- Master-Apprentice Chain: Coach Zennou has taught Ikuno and Kyouko. Upon Zennou's absence, Ikuno has taken the job as interim coach, something that Kyouko dislikes and shows by calling Ikuno "sub-coach." This trope is played straight when Kyouko finally recognizes Ikuno as a coach after the semi-final match and Coach Zennou revealing that her semi-final outfit was the same one she made Ikuno wear.
- Ms. Exposition: She debriefs the team on each of their opponents.
- My Greatest Failure: While Team Himematsu managed to hang on to qualify for the National semifinals (alongside Kiyosumi), Kyouko ends up squandering their lead to Saki's cheap hands, losing the most points and almost getting eliminated. The worst part of it all, according to Kyouko herself, is that Saki technically won with a score of ±0 (and a few points-stealing hands). Losing at the semifinals hit her even harder, as she confides to Ryuka (whose team Senriyama was also eliminated from the semifinals) that she cried herself to sleep by Zennou's side after her loss.
- Taught by Experience: When she plays against Saki the second time, Kyouko now pays very VERY close attention to whoever it is Saki's looking or reacting to, having learned that the younger Miyanaga is especially sensitive to occult-based plays, and uses these tells to plan her own strategies.
- Tempting Fate: She is implied to have chosen the Captain role for herself because she wanted to see how far an ordinary player like her could go against powerful Captains. She got her wish, and three of them in one table at once, including the dorky-yet-fearsome Saki.
- Tsundere: Is this to Suzu, as despite writing on her forehead when she loses, she has great faith in her abilities. 15 months before the nationals, when Ikuno told Kyouko that they were considering putting her on the team, Kyouko declined, arguing that Suzu would be a better choice, as while she doesn't rank well under Himematsu's ranking system, she has great potential when outmatched. Kyouko then asked Ikuno not to tell Suzu about that, saying it would be embarrassing.
- Underestimating Badassery: She thought Saki was underestimating her because she's the only normal player in a group of "monster-class" players. Little did she know that it was actually her that Saki was most worried about.
- What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: She's skilled at 3-player mahjong... which isn't really handy in riichi mahjong, though that came in handy against Kasumi's suit magnet.
Voiced by: Arisa Date
Suzu is the former Vice-Captain, who has a tendency to get doodles all over her forehead from Kyouko whenever she fails her tasks. She has since played Vanguard, where she specializes in explosive wins.
- Butt-Monkey: Kyouko likes to write on her forehead when she fails a task.
- Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Against Yuuki, who's troublesome in the East round and especially as the dealer, Shiromi, who plays with big hands, and Komaki, a mahjong monster, it isn't a surprise.
- Informed Ability: Hiroe predicts that her gameplay consists of winning big hands. Actually, it seemed to be waiting for the semi-finals.
- Took a Level in Badass: Come the National semifinals, Suzu finally shows what she can do on the big stage. Deciding to ditch firepower for speed (at Kyouko's advice), she declares a tsumo with a value of 4000/8000 and a three-stick bonus. While it still wasn't enough to overtake Satoha, at the very least she chipped on the massive gap.
Voiced by: Mariko Nakatsu
Hiroe's younger sister, Masae's younger daughter, and another player for Team Himematsu. She was said to be a former footballnote goalkeeper back in middle-school (with a scholarship to boot), but chose instead to join her sister.
- Incest Subtext: Kinue's motivation for joining Team Himematsu was the prospect of playing alongside Hiroe. It is heavily implied that she is a siscon, even to the point of becoming slightly jealous of Kyouko when Hiroe praised her, wanting Hiroe to think as highly of her ability.
- Meganekko: One more point of similarity with her mother. In Saki Biyori, after Hiroe accidentally loses her glasses, she takes it in stride, and points out that she has several pairs on hand.
- Nice Girl: In stark contrast to her sister, she is kind, soft-spoken and courteous.
- Nom de Mom: She and her sister took their mother's maiden name.
- Reflexive Response: Kicks Etopen on reflex, briefly mistaking it for a soccer ball, then apologizes profusely to Nodoka afterward.
- She's Got Legs: Accentuated by her black thigh-high stockings
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Kinue is sweet but in need of attention, while Hiroe is outspoken and cocky (though not totally devoid of decency).
- The Southpaw: According to the character profiles, she's left-handed.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Achiga-hen reveals that Kinue inherited her hair color, figure and (maybe) bad eyesight from Masae.
- "Well Done, Sis" Girl: She wants her sister's approval more than anything.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Literally in her case, emphasizing her gentle nature in contrast to red-haired Hiroe's exuberant energy.
- Zettai Ryouiki: Grade A
Voiced by: Haruka Yoshimura
A former player of 3-man mahjong with Kyouko and Hiroe. Known for her flexible playstyle.
- Odango Hair: She wears her hair like this.
- Perpetual Smiler: Even when pitted against the likes of Mako and Hao during the National semifinals.
- Terse Talker: A flashback showing her, Kyouko, and Hiroe before they became close friends, has her speaking in one or two-liner jabs in response to Hiroe's comments.
Interim coach and alumna of Team Himematsu, taking over while their actual adviser, Kazumi Zennou, convalesces after collapsing during the spring tournament. She and Fujita seem to have a history with each other, as Fujita goes out of her way to avoid meeting her. She's compared to Harue, her counterpart from Team Achiga, in that she's "troublesome".
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Her general demeanor and even some of her advice causes her to come off as ditzy, but she takes coaching Team Himematsu seriously.
- Eyes Always Shut: Most of the time, her eyes are closed, although she does open them from time to time in the anime.
- Insistent Terminology: Doesn't like being referred to as a "sub" coach, despite being in charge during the coach's hospitalization.
- Perpetual Smiler: She's almost constantly smiling, and rarely has anything more serious than a somewhat thoughtful expression on her face.
- Verbal Tic: Has a tendency to insert tildes into her dialogue, often at the end.
Himematsu's club adviser and coach, Kazumi was forced to take an extended leave of absence when overwork and poor health caused her to collapse during the spring tournament. She has since then passed most of the active advising of the team to her former protege Ikuno, but she still does her best to watch over her team, particularly Kyouko, whom she scouted personally.
Much like many of the pros and coaches in the series, Kazumi also features in the prequel Shinohayu, where she becomes the opponent of Shino, Harue, and Kokoro during the junior nationals. There it is shown that her play style revolved around quick hands, something she passed on to Kyouko.
- The Mentor: To Kyouko and Ikuno.
- No Name Given: For the longest time, we've only known that Himematsu's real adviser through her last name. It's only until years later through the prequel Shinohayu that we finally get to learn her first name: Kazumi.
- One Steve Limit: She shares the same first name with Eisui's "booby monster" Kasumi Iwato.
Rinkai All-Girls' High School — East Tokyo
Team Rinkai has been East Tokyo's representative for the past fifteen years and is currently at fourth-seed. Its roster is primarily composed of overseas students studying in Japan on scholarship, though new rules implemented last year now force them to field at least one Japanese player (i.e., Satoha) as Vanguard.
Its current lineup is composed of 3rd years Satoha Tsujigaito and Megan Davin, 2nd year Choe Myeong-hwa, and 1st years Hao Huiyu and Nelly Virsaladze. Team Rinkai is coached by Alexandra Windheim.
As of the current chapters, Team Rinkai has qualified for the finals alongside upstart Kiyosumi with the highest points in the match after team Captain Nelly's last-minute outburst.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Implied during their tournament run, having run roughshod throughout the qualifiers and the first rounds. Their semi-finals run has the team start off in first place courtesy of Satoha, and successfully maintain their lead in all the matches, meaning no Rinkai player had a negative score in the entire match.
- Multinational Team: All of Team Rinkai's incarnations has been composed of foreigners. In the past, it was completely possible for the Japanese high school mahjong champion team to be foreigners. Currently, there's a rule that Rinkai must field a Japanese player as Vanguard.
A Georgian transferee and one of the three newcomers to Team Rinkai, as well as a former Junior World Champion.
- Badass Adorable: She very cute looking, especially with her clothes and Nice Hat. She's also one of the most dangerous players in mahjong, being a former world champion. She demonstrates her ability when she wins 1 24000 point hand and two 18000 hands to end the captains' match.
- Expy: Of Nellie, a Russian character from Fatalizer. As that manga revolves around super-powered foreigners in Japan, Team Rinkai is pretty much a homage to that manga, and it shows.
- Famous-Named Foreigner: Her surname probably comes from Eliso Virsaladze.
- I Am Not Left-Handed: By the end of the match, Nelly admits that she was deliberately holding back her ability until the final stages of her match. She said that it was to show their sponsors that they're underdogs and put on a better show.
- I Let You Win: A variant, as Nelly's sudden comeback burst saved Saki and Team Kiyosumi from being eliminated in the semi-finals. Nelly herself points this out to Saki.
- Informed Ability: Apparently, her power involves total flow control. A silhouette of her appears when Hisa was talking about abilities.
- Nice Hat: Wears a very nice red one.
- Phenotype Stereotype: Inverted, as she's a tiny brunette.
- Third-Person Person: She sometimes slips into this speech pattern.
- What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Although not verbatim, Nelly asks Sawaya to use one of her Kamuy spirits on her as a test. Sawaya obliges and Nelly suffers some sort of physical ailment as a result.
Voiced by: Chiaki Omigawa
A player for Team Rinkai from the United States. A regular competitor in the international junior leagues, Megan joined Usuzan in order to gain more experience playing against strong players, and maybe enjoy the culture on the side. The got more than what she bargained for in the former, when she faced off against Ryuumonbuchi in the prior year's nationals; even today, she considers it a mark of shame on her part that, instead of facing Touka head-on, she was forced to end the match quickly by eliminating the weakest player on the table.
While she's shown herself to be an above-average player, her skill is augmented by an increased sensitivity to tenpais — the moment she is in tenpai, she instinctively knows who else on the table is as well (manifesting as a cowboy hat hovering over said player's head). The moment someone is in tenpai after Megan however, she may declare riichi, provoking a "duel" between her and the targeted player. Unlike Toyone's Pursuit Riichi, Megan's is not an absolute success, but it succeeds more than it fails.
Megan however has another less-known skill: if she places her initial hand and draws face-down, she gains an exponential chance to gain the tiles that she needs. However it isn't well-tested, and the restrictions are onerous: Megan can only use it for six rounds, spread over the course of forty days. It's no wonder she's cautioned to keep it in reserve for the championship match.
- Anime Accent Absence: A strange example, as she seemingly gains a stereotypical thick American accent at the end of Zenkoku-hen, whereas she showed none of this (she instead spoke in a halting, but perfectly normally-accented Japanese) during one of the earlier episodes (the Training Camp flashback).
- Battle Aura: Whenever she perceives that someone is in tenpai, Megan becomes clothed in a cowboy's poncho and ten-gallon hat, and starts to see the said player in similar clothing. Unfortunately since she was set up against the, ahem, rather buxom trio of Nodoka, Kinue, and Yukiko, this just ends up giving the latter three fetish-tastic cowboy outfits that don't leave anything to the imagination.
- Moment of Weakness: During last year's Nationals, Megan became so terrified of Cold Touka she went the way of the Dirty Coward and targeted a weak player and ended the match in Team Rinkai's favor. She has since deeply regretted it.
- Must Make Amends: As she confides to Satoha, she terribly regrets having ran away from Cold Touka, and wants a second crack at facing her. Unfortunately for her, since she's in her final year of high school, and with Team Ryuumonbuchi out of the Nationals, that chance will likely never come.
- Phenotype Stereotype: Averted. Megan is explicitly African-American.
- Pretty in Mink: Wears a long coat lined with fur on the collar when she was first introduced in play.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Saki Biyori reveals she's very fond of Japanese instant ramen.
Voiced by: Yoko Hikasa
The oldest and sole Japanese member of Team Rinkai, as well as last year's third-placer in the individuals, behind Kei and Teru. As per tournament rules, she is required to play as Vanguard (a natural fit for an ace player like her).
- Badass Normal: Able to keep up with the best in Japan, alongside playing monsters like Teru and Kei — and all she has are sheer skill and experience.
- Coat Cape: Wears one to emphasize her "gangster" image.
- Deadpan Snarker: Satoha doesn't beat around the bush when she mentions that Megan had ran away from her match a year earlier. Megan, however, doesn't deny this, and Satoha lays a comforting hand on Megan's shoulder after she expresses her regret for how things turned out.
- Early-Bird Cameo: To those with good eyes, she makes an appearance on the first opening of the anime's first season, at the mahjong table with Teru.
- Purely Aesthetic Glasses: She doesn't apparently need her glasses; nevertheless she wears them as part of her public persona.
- Samurai Ponytail: During her matches.
- Sarashi: Under her uniform during her semifinal, as revealed afterward. This is presumably part of her Yakuza motif as well.
- Hidden Buxom: Canny readers will notice her cup size seems to increase after she takes said sarashi off.
- Token Minority: Inverted — she's the sole Japanese player in a Multinational Team, as per tournament rules at least one Japanese player is required to be a Vanguard. Of course, as the coach points out, she's the strongest player on the team, and would be the Vanguard in spite of the rules.
- Underestimating Badassery: Averted. She had heard less than flattering things about Yuuki, but realizes that freshmen can make strong opponents, like Kei was for her.
- Worthy Opponent: Apparently considers Kei to be this, after their match in last year's individual finals. Whether it is mutual remains to be seen.
Another newcomer to Team Rinkai, of French-Korean stock. Prior to her arrival in Japan she was a top-ranking player in the European leagues.
As her nickname "Venter" suggests, Choe's ability centers on the gathering of cardinal wind tiles to her hand, being able to gather the same type of Wind tile as her seating position (meaning if she's seated East, she gets East tiles as well, and so on). She also seems to be able to gather Wind tiles depending on the round (East during the East Wind round), but only when she's a dealer. Choe has a second ability; by singing, she can more easily draw the tiles she needs. While she can do it constantly in Europe, she is only able to do it in intervals between rounds in Japan's Inter-High, making it less of an advantage.
- Blow You Away: Her entire motif revolves around the cardinal directions, which in mahjong are collectively called "winds". She also has a parasol to glide down with, and picks up her seating tile with a gust of wind.
- Disappeared Dad: Her father, possibly her French parent, died before the series started.
- Exotic Eye Designs: She has a transparent "arch" in the middle of her eyes, a trait she shares with Team Usuzan's Yuan.
- Fish out of Water: In Round 124, Choe notes that she still feels unused to Japanese culture.
- Good Parents: Her mother, Prof. Choe, seems to be one by all indications, coming down to see her daughter play. Myeng-hwa hopes to become independent as soon as she can so she wouldn't be a burden to her mother.
- In-Series Nickname: "Venter", or "Wind Goddess".
- Magic Music: When she sings, her chances of earning good hands increases.
- Musical Assassin: By singing, she can help gather the tiles she needs.
- Parasol Parachute: She glides through the air into the arena on her parasol.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Spellings of her name include Choi Myeng-hwa, Choe Myeonghwa and Che Myong Fwa.
- Trademark Favorite Food: She's said to like salmon and herring roe ever since she came to Japan.
Hailing from Hong Kong, Hao is one of the three newcomers to Team Rinkai, as well as a champion in Chinese mahjong back in her grade-school days and silver medalist in last year's Incheon tournament. She also played in the Asian tournament, but due to differences in rule she has had a hard time playing it, much less winning in it, and so she accepts Rinkai's scholarship offer so she can prepare for another crack at the Asian tournament, as Japanese riichi-style mahjong is close enough to the rules used in that competition.
Despite her stay in Rinkai, Hao still isn't comfortable playing riichi mahjong, as she has difficulty getting the tiles she needs to complete her hands. In order to adapt, she comes up with a style that keeps the essence of Chinese mahjong, but still adhering to the rules of riichi mahjong. This is the reason why, to date, she's never called riichi in any of her games.
- Anime Chinese Girl: Of course, being from Hong Kong and all.
- Badass Boast: Her quote, regarding chinese mahjong, when Satoha asked about it.
- Spanner in the Works: Her unfamiliar playing style rattled Mako's already unstable gameplay.
- Worf Had the Flu: She's unbeatable at Chinese mahjong, but since Riichi mahjong is somewhat different from it, she's unable to play at her best. The reason for her stay in Rinkai is to get enough experience in Riichi mahjong.
Rinkai's coach and scout.
Usuzan High School — South Hokkaido
South Hokkaido's representative, which reached the semifinals alongside Team Rinkai. Much like Kiyosumi, the team is a newcomer to the competition circuit, though unlike Kiyosumi their goals aren't winning the nationals per se; rather, if they do win it's an added bonus, but secondary to their main objective. Said objective of course being publicizing their friend Yukiko, and turning her into a celebrity rivaling even Hayari in fame.
While the team originates from Usuzan's Mahjong club, by Sawaya's second year it had degenerated into a group that had played every analog game available in the clubroom except mahjong. It was only when Yukiko, then still a middle-schooler, brought in a rickety old automated mahjong table, did the club return to its roots, and by her first year have become good enough at the game to represent their prefecture.
Its current members are 3rd years Sawaya Shishihara and Chikako Himori, 2nd years Naruka Motouchi and Yuan Iwadate, and 1st year Yukiko Maya.
Due to the variable levels of skill of its players, Usuzan placed its less skilled players first, while its powerhouses Yukiko and Sawaya are positioned last. Although this tactic has seen the team through prior to the semis, it backfires badly, and Usuzan is forced to claw its way back from a near-fatal point deficit almost from the start of the match. Despite briefly reaching second place, Sawaya suffered a series of devastating point losses, erasing her hard-earned gains. Usuzan finished their semifinals block at the bottom, and are now forced to face off against fellow semifinalist Himematsu, as well as Senriyama and Shindouji at the fifth-place match.
- Catholic School Girls Rule: Uzusan is a Catholic school.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: They are on the receiving end this during the semi-finals. Their 5th place matches, so far, has not been good either.
- Informed Ability: Hayari touts them as the team to watch out in the tournament, implying that Uzusan is a strong team. Their actual performance, on the other hand, gets them on the receiving end of the other teams' wrath.
- Instant Fanclub: The rest of the team is basically a hype machine for Yukiko as the others go out of their way to make her a mahjong idol bigger than Hayari Mizuhara.
- True Companions: The senior members of the team are Childhood Friends and gladly helped Yukiko out and gave her confidence. Yukiko, on her part, does her best and gets along with their plan to make her into a mahjong idol because she feels it's her way of repaying all the good things her seniors has done for her.
The vanguard of the team, and the second-youngest member of Usuzan's Mahjong Club. Although she has middling skill as a player, she's woefully unprepared when matched up against a wily player like Satoha, or even a minor ability user like Yuki.
- Agent Scully: Turns out, Naruka doesn't put much stock in all of this talk of Mahjong superpowers.
- Childhood Friends: With Chikako, who she's known since grade school.
- Peek-a-Bangs: Cover her right eye.
- The Worf Effect: She's the first Team Usuzan player to give lie to Hayari's predictions when she ended up losing over 50,000 points.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Pink Hair, in her case
A senior player and complete newcomer. She specializes into calling tiles to get into an empty tenpai, avoiding a noten penalty.
Another player of Team Usuzan, who makes clothes for Yukiko to wear during mahjong matches. She only wins a single hand in the lieutenant match, leaving her school in severe danger of going under 0.
- Butt-Monkey: Starts off in a less than advantageous position in the lieutenant match, and wins only one hand at the end of the match.
- Childhood Friends: With Chikako and Sawaya.
- Cosplay Otaku Girl: She's responsible for Yuki's idol outfits. In Saki Biyori, she makes two full mascot costumes for a dance video they made.
- Enemy Mine: Somewhat averted against Himematsu and Rinkai, since she realizes that it's just as advantageous to win off Hisa and recover the points she needs to keep going.
- Nobody Poops: Averted; she says she's going to the bathroom to "let the fighting spirit in," and one of her teammates is about to say that on the toilet, things come out, before someone cuts her off.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: After observing that things aren't going her way at the end of her match, she hastily adds, "Not that I mind!" and after leaving, starts to cry.
- Tears of Remorse: After failing to put Team Usuzan atop the standings (and trying to put up a facade of bravado), Yuan was last seen walking down the corridor trying to wipe off her tears.
- Tempting Fate: She declares that she'll "get repeated wins" as dealer, but then immediately plays into Myeong-hwa's hand. She also assumes things are going her way after the first round in which she doesn't lose any points, but then plays into Hisa's hand.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: A variant comes into play; Hisa declares that once she gets second place, she no longer cares whether Usuzan goes under 0.
The youngest member of the team, Yukiko is indirectly the reason for the revival of the Usuzan Mahjong club, with her "donation" of the old automated mahjong table her family kept at home. When Sawaya discovers that she's more than a little cute under her bookish exterior, the former decides to not only give her a make-over to boost her confidence, but also to make sure that the rest of Japan learns about it too.
For her part, Yukiko is content to go along with Sawaya's scheme, even it sort of turns Usuzan's campaign into one long publicity generator for her. She figures it's the least that she could do for the kindness Sawaya and her friends had shown her.
Yukiko has shown to be an above-average player in terms of skill, but this is complemented by her ability to draw both dora and ura-doras to her hand. However before this happens, she must ask permission to use her left hand to draw tiles from the dead wall; if permission is given, symbols that spell out Y-H-V-H appear on the back of her hand (essentially, the name of God). She can only use this once per day, though it is not known how long the effects persist (readers theorize that it lasts as long as it takes for Yukiko to complete YHVH, meaning four good hands).
- As the Good Book Says...: Notable in that she's only one of two members of the team (the other being Sawaya) to quote the Bible regularly, doubly so when one remembers that Usuzan is supposed to be a Catholic school.
- Butt-Monkey: While in middle school, she frequently got saddled with errands, causing Sawaya to wonder if she's bad at rock-paper-scissors or is even possibly being bullied.
- Chekhov's Gunman: After the reveal of her custom uniform, it's apparently her in the preview image for the Individuals against Satoha.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: A minor case, but Yukiko has some odd notions that crop up from time to time. For example she wanted to enroll in Usuzan because she thought that studying the Bible was cool. And after she was given her make-over, she still thought that the goofy helmet that she had to wear while biking to school was "cool" as well.
- Commonality Connection: With Nodoka. Boobs aside, she loved the same set of children's books about Etopen that Nodoka cherishes, though admits that she eventually sides with the puffins instead of the penguins since she didn't like the latter's ego. She uses this to strike up a conversation with Nodoka during the break in their match.
- Custom Uniform: The clothes Yuan made for her semifinal match.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Goes from wearing a ponytail in middle school to wearing a looser hairstyle in high school
- Gag Boobs: On par with Nodoka and Kasumi, at that.
- Idol Player: What Sawaya intends for her, of an even greater extent than Hayari did back in her day.
- Meganekko: Chapter 129 reveals that she wore glasses in middle school, in addition to having a different hairstyle.
- The Pollyanna: Retains a positive attitude even in the face of some of the less pleasant interpretations about why she's the errand girl of her middle school.Yukiko: I was pretty sure this stuff just came to me by default, or that everyone trusts me to do it...Yuan: You're pretty positive...Chikako: If she doesn't even notice it, then she's not really bullied, is she?Naruka: Someone this pure is rare nowadays...
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Yukiko originally followed a simple style, coupled with wearing nerdish glasses, making her look bookish and plain. Sawaya noticed that she's quite cute behind her bookish exterior as well as being pretty stacked, so she decides Yukiko should have an image change and present it to the world.
- Two First Names: She's "Yuki" to her friends, and "Maya" to some of the girls who order her around.
The ace in the hole of Usuzan's team, Sawaya is the unspoken leader of the team and the one who came up with the "Let's make Yukiko famous!" plan to begin with. While this goal has already been mostly fulfilled — she's fairly sure that Yukiko is now acknowledged enough to get a slot in the Fall competition —- she still wants to see how far she can go with the team, and maybe have a bit of fun in the process.
Sawaya has shown two sets of related abilities, both springing from the mythology of the indigenous Ainu people: the ability to perceive and use colored clouds (which is based on the Ainu creation myth, explained in more detail here) to generate limited field effects, and the ability to channel Kamuy, ancient gods that predate the Shinto kami, who provide more potent playing power. Particularly sensitive players or pros like Saki or Yoshiko can see whenever she uses her powers though; Saki could see the clouds Sawaya expends for her plays, while Yoshiko can perceive the true forms of the Kamuy the latter channels.
How she gained these powers is still a continuing mystery, even to her friends, as Sawaya had apparently vanished for several days in a place where it was really hard to get lost in (as it had several natural landmarks one could use to pinpoint where one was, and get home). However since then, no matter the trouble Sawaya gets herself into, she would always come out safe.
- Alliterative Name: Sawaya Shishihara.
- As the Good Book Says...: Is fond of quoting the Bible, something she shares with Yukiko. However as Chikako mentions, while her lines are accurate, she often gets the context of the quotes wrong.
- Broken Ace: Implied to be incredibly lonely after the gods seemed to favor her and make her a Creepy Child, even though Yuan and Chikako treated her the same as before.
- Childhood Friends: With Chikako and Yuan.
- Curse: The Pakoro Kamuy, a god of disease and lifespan, essentially does this. Practically speaking however, what it does is make the targeted player's hands and draws (in this case Kyouko's) more susceptible to a direct hit from Sawaya's own hand, which also becomes better-scoring in response.
- Exotic Eye Designs: She has triangular pupils.
- Hope Spot: During the captain match, Sawaya manages to get up to second place briefly, a fairly impressive feat considering that Usuzan was dead last for most of the semifinals, and in danger of dropping out for a good period of time. Unfortunately, when Nelly shows her true abilities, Usuzan loses a massive amount of points and ends up with a paltry 11,000 points.
- Irony: The girl who goes to a Catholic school and is fond of quoting the Bible has very unbiblical abilities, and draw upon an entirely different set of gods to help her win matches.
- Mundane Utility: Outside of the mahjong table, whatever it is that powers her skills also keep her safe regardless of the situations she gets herself into. And given how fairly regularly Sawaya gets in trouble according to Yuan, well...Chikako: What may have happened is... that she was helped by that something again.
- Noodle Incident: According to Yuan, Sawaya got lost when she was little and returned two days later soaking wet with red seawater with only the words "It helped me" as the only explanation she gave. Nobody knows how she got lost, where she had gone, and how she got back. Chikako and Yuan theorize that this incident was the reason how Sawaya never seems to get harmed no matter what kind of accident she gets involved in, and she will not say what it was that helped her. Presumably, this is also the incident that gave Sawaya the ability to summon Ainu spirits.
- Willing Channeler: For the primal Ainu spirits. While at the play table they grant Sawaya several useful effects that skew chances in her favor, though they can be only used a limited times before they have to be "recharged". By the time it becomes her turn to play for her team for example, she only had three "clouds" and three kamuy left, limiting her options for their use.