The Best Episodes of Saki
Last Updated: Feb 14, 2019
Miyanaga Saki is a high school freshman who doesn’t like mahjong. Ever since she was a child, she would lose her New Year’s gift money during her family mahjong game. If she won, her parents would be upset, and if she lost, well, she lost. As a result, she’s learned to play in such a way that her score always remains plus/minus zero: not good enough to win, but not bad enough to lose. When we meet her, she’s being dragged to her school’s mahjong club by an old friend. How will a girl who hates mahjong, yet has become adept at the game as a result of her upbringing, survive in this environment?
#1 - Meeting
Season 1 - Episode 1
Saki Miyanaga is a skilled mahjong player, but she hates the game since she would be punished by her family whether she won or lost when she played with them. Upon entering high school, Saki's friend, Kyōtarō Suga, takes her to their school's mahjong club so Saki can be a fourth player. There, she meets Nodoka Haramura, a very skilled mahjong player and previous junior high champion, and Yūki Kataoka, an energetic first-year who is skilled in mahjong though has trouble staying focused. Saki only plays a few hands and leaves shortly after the club president and student council president, Hisa Takei, wakes up. Hisa notices Saki managed to keep her score at zero, a difficult feat. Hisa manages to get Saki to come back the next day to play a couple more games with Nodoka, Yūki, and Mako Someya, a second-year member of the club. Saki shows her skill in mahjong by attaining the zero score in the first game.
#2 - The Tournament Begins
Season 1 - Episode 6
After arriving at the tournament area, Saki gets separated from her friends, and during this time Nodoka gets hounded by reporters due to her having won last year's national junior high school tournament. After Saki makes it back to the others, Hisa explains the order of the players, starting with Yūki, followed by Mako, herself, Nodoka, and finally Saki. While initially underestimated by her opponents, Yūki wins many hands, nearly shutting out the others. Afterwards, Mako and Hisa also make quick work of their opponents, ending with a commanding lead. When it is Nodoka's turn, more people show up to watch her match.
#3 - Tradition
Season 1 - Episode 7
Nodoka walks into her match holding her penguin stuffed animal which causes a stir among the observers and her own opponents. Nodoka plays extremely well, and of the competitors from Ryūmonbuchi, Tōka, notices her similarities to a famous skilled online mahjong player known as Nodocchi. She tries telling this to her teammates, but they still do not think it can be true. Saki makes short work of her round by taking the remaining points from one of the players, and the team progresses on to the semi-finals round. In the semi-finals, Saki's team makes it through to the finals, along with Ryūmonbuchi, Kazekoshi, and Tsuruga Academy. One of the members from Kazekoshi, Kana Ikeda, gets harsh treatment from their coach for not playing up to her expectations, despite the fact they made it to the finals. The captain of the the team, Mihoko Fukuji protects Kana, and after the coach leaves, the captain encourages her teammates in showing everyone that their school is the best.
#4 - Last Night
Season 1 - Episode 8
The Kiyosumi team takes the train back to town since they do not have enough money to stay in a hotel near the tournament. Hisa tells Mako how she was the reason why Hisa held on to the hope that more girls would join the mahjong club the next year so that they could go to the prefectural tournament together. Nodoka recounts to Saki how she used to play mahjong only on the Internet due to lack of players, but after entering junior-high school met Yūki and others, leading them to enter into the junior-high tournament, though only Nodoka advanced. The girls from Kazekoshi talk about how their captain, Mihoko Fukuji, does most of the work for the club, and since it is her last year, they want to play as hard as they can so they can go to the national tournament. Tōka dispatches a butler to bring Koromo Amae to the tournament, who had been sleeping all day.
#5 - Enlightenment
Season 1 - Episode 9
The final's first round starts when Ryūmonbuchi representative Jun Inoue accidentally eats Yūki's only taco. The latter cries and causes a commotion, but Mihoko shares her lunch box with her. As the game progresses, Jun starts to win many hands and pressures Yūki who is gradually losing her confidence. Mihoko opens her right eye and uses her power to read the game's flow in order to help Yūki gain her points back from Jun. Jun gets irritated over the two teaming up against her while Yūki thinks Mihoko is her ally. However, Mihoko surprises everyone with her continuous winning, and both Jun and Yūki finally realizes that she is the true enemy. The first round ends with Mihoko completely dominating the game points for the Kazekoshi team.
#6 - Awaken
Season 1 - Episode 12
Mihoko arrives to pass along the information to her companion, and Hisa barely recognizes her. Koromo takes the torn penguin to her butler, who fixes it, and she returns it to Nodoka. While Nodoka expresses her gratitude, she leaves quickly and is unable to hear Koromo's name.
#7 - Fever
Season 1 - Episode 13
The fourth round begins off slow with Nodoka winning a small hand, and as play continues, the players continuously keep on getting draws. Eventually, Nodoka is able to get more into the game, and ups her skills like when she is playing online. By the time of the last hand of the first half of the round, only Nodoka has won any hands and has pulled ahead of the other three.
#8 - Existence
Season 1 - Episode 14
Tōka makes a slight comeback, ruining Nodoka's perfect run, but then falls into a play laid by Tsuruga's Momoko Tōyoko, whose presence is so small her calls for riichi cannot be heard by her opponents. She had trouble being noticed and had abandoned all communication until she was found by her school's mahjong club leader, Yumi Kajiki.
#9 - Demon
Season 1 - Episode 15
Momoko's abilities fall short against Nodoka, whose training matches her real life playing to her online play style, therefore not taking notice of Momoko's lack of presence. The round ends with Kiyosumi retaining the lead. The final round starts with Saki, Kana, Yumi and Koromo, though initially Saki cannot connect the fearsome aura she felt with the petite looking Koromo.
#10 - Conspiracy
Season 1 - Episode 16
As the round continues, Saki finally recognizes Koromo's aura. She starts putting pressure on her opponents by reducing their tenpai probabilities and playing two haitei raoyue moves in a row. However, this is broken up when Yumi allows Saki to win with a her discard. Yumi then follows this up by getting some points from Kana.
#11 - Connection
Season 1 - Episode 18
Remembering the pact she had made with Mihoko, Kana gets a burst of confidence and regains a lot of points. Yumi also gets a good play, and Koromo, having paid all her attention to Saki, gets a little agitated. Saki takes off her shoes and socks, remembering the times she played mahjong at home and at the training camp.
#12 - Contest
Season 1 - Episode 2
Playing under special scoring rules, Saki plays the next game while trying to keep her plus/minus zero score and winning at the same time, but cannot do both with the special rules. However, when the special rules are removed, Saki ended up winning the game, therefore disallowing her from keeping the zero score. Nodoka is dejected after losing since before Saki told her that she hated mahjong and despite that won, but Saki tells her that playing with her was fun. Saki thinks about what Nodoka said, and even tells her father that she wants to one day play again with her mother and sister like they used to before they left to be professional mahjong players. The next day, Saki joins the club, saying that she wants to play more and win against Nodoka.
#13 - Confrontation
Season 1 - Episode 3
It has been a week since Saki joined the mahjong club, though Nodoka is still distant to her. Nodoka plays a game by herself with all the tiles exposed and takes notes, but she is still unable to attain a plus/minus zero score like Saki who can do this flawlessly. Hisa and Mako go and sign up their club for the national qualifiers for high school students. Saki wins a game against Nodoka, Kyōtarō, and Yūki, who is depressed that she cannot possibly win when playing against both Saki and Nodoka. In the next game, Saki lets Yūki win, which makes Nodoka angry since while Saki did it so that everyone can have fun, Nodoka can only have fun when Saki is playing at her best. Saki makes a promise with Nodoka to shoot for the nationals, and the two finally become friends.
#14 - Beat-down
Season 1 - Episode 4
Hisa announces to the club that they are now signed up for the national qualifying tournament, and she hands out the rules. Yūki sees that one school, Ryūmonbuchi, are extremely skilled and even won the tournament the previous year despite being all first-year students. Hisa asks Saki and Nodoka to help out at Mako's family's cafe, telling them that learning about the real world is also important to improve their mahjong skills. When they arrive at the cafe, they see that it is actually a maid cafe, and they have to wear embarrassing maid uniforms. Patrons can also play mahjong there, and Saki and Nodoka easily win against two customers. After one leaves, a woman who Saki is intimidated by joins them. The woman completely mops the floor with them, and at the end it is revealed that she is Fujita, a professional mahjong player. Saki and Nodoka later find out that Hisa set the whole thing up so that they could also feel what real defeat is like. Hisa explains that the club is going on a training camp to improve their skills.
#15 - Training Camp
Season 1 - Episode 5
The mahjong club goes to a mountain retreat training camp to improve their skills. The first day is spent mainly having fun, and playing some normal games of mahjong. The next day, Hisa gives the first years (excluding Kyōtarō) special tasks. Saki plays mahjong online, but is dejected how easily she loses to others. Nodoka has to gain experience playing others in real life when she is more skilled playing online like she is used to when playing at home. Yūki does math drills in order to improve her ability to keep track of the score when playing mahjong. Afterwards, Yūki becomes depressed how she loses so much against Nodoka, Saki and Hisa, and the club president recounts how when she was a first-year, she was the only member of the club, but she kept with it and now she is grateful there are many new members. Yūki continues to play, and manages a win. The next day, Yūki, Nodoka and Saki go to see the nearby waterfall.
#16 - Beginner
Season 1 - Episode 10
Hisa recommends Saki and Nodoka take a nap before their matches, and while Nodoka initially declines, she decides to go so that Yūki does not have to cry in front of her and Saki following her match. Mako's turn comes up, and Hisa explains that she takes off her glasses in order to remember past matches she had witnessed.
#17 - Nightmare
Season 1 - Episode 17
During the break, Mihoko goes to comfort Kana, and Nodoka catches up with Saki to reaffirm their promise and rebuild her confidence. Fujita warns Koromo to play mahjong properly.