|Written by Ritz Kobayashi|
English publisher Yen Press
Magazine Young Gangan
Genres Sports, Mahjong
|Published by Square Enix|
Adaptations Saki (2009)
|Original run February 3, 2006 – present|
Main characters Nodoka Haramura, Saki Miyanaga, Hisa Takei, Mako Someya, Yuuki Kataoka
Publishers Yen Press (NA), Square Enix Holdings
Similar Akagi, Non Non Biyori, YuruYuri, Minami‑ke, To Love‑Ru
Saki (咲-Saki-) is an ongoing Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Ritz Kobayashi. The story revolves around a first-year high school girl named Saki Miyanaga who is brought into the competitive world of mahjong by another first-year, Nodoka Haramura. The manga has been serialized in Square Enix's Young Gangan since February 3, 2006 and is licensed in English by Yen Press. A 25-episode anime adaptation by Gonzo aired between April and September 2009 on TV Tokyo.
A side-story manga illustrated by Aguri Igarashi, Saki Achiga-hen episode of Side-A (咲 Saki 阿知賀編 episode of Side-A), was serialized between the September 2011 and April 2013 issues of Monthly Shōnen Gangan, with an anime adaptation by Studio Gokumi airing between April and July 2012, with four additional episodes airing between December 2012 and May 2013. A third anime series, Saki: The Nationals (咲-Saki-全国編, Saki: Zenkoku-hen), also by Studio Gokumi, aired between January and April 2014. A spin-off series to Achiga-hen, Side story of -Saki-: Shinohayu the dawn of age, began serialization in Big Gangan from September 2013. A gag manga series by Saya Kiyoshi, Saki Biyori, began serialization in Young Gangan from June 2011, with an original video animation released on July 25, 2015. Another spin-off manga illustrated by Meki Meki, Toki, began serialization in Big Gangan from June 2016. A live-action television series began airing in December 2016 and a live-action film will be released in 2017.
Saki Miyanaga, a high school first-year student, does not like mahjong because her family would always force her to play it and punish her regardless of the outcome of the game. Due to this, she learned how to keep her score at zero, neither winning nor losing, a skill said to be more difficult than actually consistently winning. However, her friend from middle school, completely unaware of such circumstances, convinces her to visit the school's small mahjong club upon entering Kiyosumi High School. After the club discovers her ability, they recruit her permanently and convince her to win instead of breaking even. She easily does so with her skill and discovers a new love for mahjong, along with a friendship with her fellow club member, Nodoka Haramura. This leads the team to enter the prefecture's high school mahjong tournament with the goal of reaching the national high school competition.
The side-story manga, Saki: Achiga-hen episode of Side-A, is based in the area around Yoshino, Nara and follows a girl named Shizuno Takakamo, an old friend of Nodoka's, who used to be in Achiga Girls Academy's mahjong club together. A few years after the club disbanded and the two split up, Shizuno spots Nodoka on television as she makes her stride in mahjong. Wanting to see her old friend again, Shizuno decides to revive the Achiga Mahjong Club so that she can face against Nodoka in the inter-high national championships. The spin-off, Shinohayu the dawn of age, shows the childhood of the various pro mahjong players in the series, focusing on a girl named Shino Shiratsuki who enters the world of competitive mahjong to seek out her mother who disappeared one day.
Written and drawn by Ritz Kobayashi, the Saki manga series is serialized in Square Enix's biweekly seinen manga magazine, Young Gangan. Serialization began on February 3, 2006, and is still ongoing, with a new chapter in every issue. Square Enix is also collecting the chapters in tankōbon volumes. The first volume was released on December 25, 2006, and as of March 24, 2012, nine volumes have been released. Yen Press have licensed the series in English for digital release.
A 4-koma series written by Saya Kiyoshi, Saki Biyori (咲日和), began serialization in Young Gangan from June 17, 2011. The first volume was released on March 24, 2012; two volumes have been released as of August 25, 2012. A spin-off manga series written by Kobayashi and illustrated by Aguri Igarashi, Saki Achiga-hen episode of Side-A (咲 Saki 阿知賀編 episode of Side-A), was serialized in Square Enix's Shōnen Gangan magazine between the September 2011 and April 2013 issues. The series is compiled into six volumes released between March 24, 2012 and August 24, 2013. Another spin-off manga titled Side Story of Saki: Shinohayu the Dawn of Age began serialization in Big Gangan from September 25, 2013. A spin-off of Achiga-hen illustrated by Meki Meki, Toki (怜-Toki), began serialization in Big Gangan from June 25, 2016. A series of parody one-shots titled Ritz (立, Ritsu), which detail the fictionalized backstory behind Kobayashi's serialization of Saki, have been written and illustrated by Hideki Owada and published in Young Gangan.
An anime adaptation of Saki was announced in the 24th issue of Young Gangan. The series was adapted by Gonzo, directed by Manabu Ono, and written by Tatsuhiko Urahata, From episode fifteen onwards, animation production was done by Picture Magic. On January 31, 2009, a 105-second promotional video began streaming on the anime's official website. The series aired on TV Tokyo and its affiliate stations between April 6 and September 28, 2009.
A 12-episode anime adaptation of Saki: Achiga-hen aired in Japan between April 9 and July 2, 2012. Ono and Urahata return as director and writer and animation production is done by Studio Gokumi. Four additional episodes aired on AT-X between December 24, 2012 and May 25, 2013. A short anime was included with a Blu-ray boxset released on March 18, 2015. A third Saki anime series, titled Saki: The Nationals (咲-Saki-全国編, Saki: Zenkoku-hen), aired 13 episodes between January 5 and April 6, 2014. Ono and Urahata again return as director and writer under Studio Gokumi. Each of the series are simulcasted by Crunchyroll. An original video animation of Saki Biyori, also animated by Studio Gokumi, was bundled with the 14th manga volume of Saki on July 25, 2015.
Saki uses five pieces of theme music, two opening themes and three ending themes. Saki: Achiga-hen episode of side-A uses four pieces of theme music, two opening themes and two ending themes. Saki: The Nationals currently uses one opening theme and two ending themes, one of which has variations featuring different artists.
For the PSP game, the respective opening and ending themes are "Kimi ga Waratte Kureta kara, Kyō mo Yume no Tane o Makō (Kimi Tane)" (君が笑ってくれたから、今日も夢の種を蒔こう。-キミたね-, lit. "Because You Make Me Laugh, The Seeds of Dreams Will Bloom Today As Well") and "Bakuhatsu Shidō Revolution" (爆発始動レボリューション, Bakuhatsu Shidō Reboryūshon, lit. "Exploding Startup Revolution"), both performed by Little Non. For the Achiga-hen PSP game, the opening theme is "Moment of Glory" by Miyuki Hashimoto.
A four episode live-action television series began airing in Japan on December 4, 2016, and a live-action film will debut in Japan in February 2017.
A mahjong video game was unveiled at the 2009 Tokyo International Anime Fair, and later released on April 22, 2009. Gonzo collaborated with Sega in developing the arcade mahjong video game based on the series, and it is based on the MJ4 Ver.C network mahjong game. The game includes a Saki Single Mode, where the player can play with Saki characters instead of matching-up with opponents online. Another mahjong video game was developed by Alchemist for the PlayStation Portable, and was released in March 2010 in Japan under the name Saki Portable. A sequel, Saki Achiga-hen episode of Side-A Portable, was released on August 29, 2013.