Why do People Like Saki? WHY??

Now, it has come to my attention to while people are flaming Shangri-La, many are also praising Saki. Both of these shows are by GONZO. So if people hate GONZO, they should hate Saki right? Apparently not. I fail to understand what these people who like Saki (and who presumably are the people who adore the abominable Strike Witches, GONZO’s rare financial success) actually like about it!

Now, perhaps it is a suspension of belief. After all, I understand that if one knows little about the subject, he cannot nitpick the errors and totally impossible scenarios out unlike a pro. For instance, One Outs was a great show to many people, but the true baseball fans found it lame. Many like Captain Tsubasa but I think it’s terrible. So the key to enjoying a good sports show (assuming Mahjong is a sport) is not actually understanding it! I’m sure the likes of Steven Den Beste know nothing about Mahjong, much less Japanese Mahjong, which is a lot more complicated than the other styles. I may not be a Mahjong expert, but at least I know enough to tell that what Saki is doing is not skill, but the equivalent of drawing a Royal Flush blind-folded based on pure luck alone with no regard for the laws of probability.

Since the actual Mahjong playing is rubbish, unlike that of the Akagi series, what do people look for? The answer is of course, MOE and YURI. Saki isn’t particularly cute, the titty pink girl isn’t either and is some weirdass, and the others are just bad. So they aren’t moe (at least to me).

Can someone please enlighten me as to how the Saki actually breaks through all the bias towards GONZO and became a well-liked show? I just don’t get it. I consider it one of the worst of the season, but am still watching while cutting my toenails or practising guitar.

26 Responses to “Why do People Like Saki? WHY??”


  • Probability be damned; Saki believes in the heart of the tiles, so she’ll nearly always draw the appropriate tile to win.

    Maybe people like it because it is actually a close adaptation of the manga without stupid discrepancies? By GONZO! GONZO faithfully making an adaptation, I mean… WOW… that’s a first.

    I dunno, shouldn’t you rip on Eden of the East is you actually want to create some dorama?

  • Well, like you said, if we ignore the mechanics for the most part, the drama comes through and it feels like Hikaru no Go crossed with Bamboo Blade. Both of them are fine shows… The Gonzo factor is surprisingly low in Saki, too, compared to Strike Witches or whatever.

    So yea, it’s about selective blindness.

  • Anonymous Coward

    Funny you mentioned that, I overheard TJ Han saying that Eden of the East was a crap show full of nonsensical political psychobabble, badly written lines like “I’m a terrorist?!” and character design latently ripped off from Honey and Clover. You heard it here first.

  • It’s… hilarious. I barely can stop laughing when watching up to episode 3. :lol:

    or maybe it’s just me.

  • I’m waiting for the rongasm scene.

  • Eden is too good a show to hate on lol.

    Omo: Unfortunately, just no. BB feels just far cleaner. I know Saki’s quite close to the manga, which is the main reason why the shows sucks. The manga was bad to begin with. Ravage, the only thing awesome about Saki is the cool tables where you no longer have to arrange the tiles. I like those.

  • “Why do People Like Saki? WHY??”

    Why people like Gintama, or Zetsubou Sensei, or any other crappy anime ? Who knows.

  • Saki has yuri, lolis and fanservice. Shangri-la doesnt have those. I think.

  • “So yea, it’s about selective blindness.”

    It also helps that unlike in Shangri-la, if we don’t get something (like how to play mahjong), it’s not because it’s hard to get/understand. Simplicity is best. :v

  • Shangri-la has an Okama. Nuff said.

  • I like the over the top lightning flashes and eye sparkle in Saki. Albeit I’d be too embarrassed to watch the show in front of anyone because it’s so corny. But its precisely because of that that I’m liking it. ¬_¬
    I’m weird. Also I find Saki cute, the pink haired girl has impossibly huge jugs which turns me off.

    Lastly, the seiyuu cast is AWESOME.

  • Actually, the yuri and fan service in Saki are relatively mild compared to some shows. Why did I like it?

    The Saki character appealed to me; that’s really the core of it. She appealed to me as a person. She’s not a wimp; she doesn’t let herself get pushed around. When, at the end of ep 2, she joined the MahJong club, it was because she had decided she really wanted to. She wasn’t railroaded, and attempts to railroad her would have failed because she’s strong willed.

    I am so desperately tired of main characters who get pushed around, especially girls, and it was such a pleasure to run into a main character who wasn’t a ball of insecurity with no drive and no will power. Saki’s carrying around some pain (because her mother and, presumably, a sibling ran away from her and her father) but she’s not angsty (so far as I can see).

    And while she’s aware of the fact that Nodoka’s boobs are a lot bigger than Saki’s own, she doesn’t seem insecure about that, either. In fact, she doesn’t seem insecure at all. And I like that. I like strong characters.

    When they’re both strong and capable that makes it even better.

    As long as there isn’t any kind of love triangle or other romantic angst introduced into the show, I’ll be happy. What I want to see is a sports drama, and so far that looks like what it’s going to be.

    Who knows? I may come to hate it eventually, especially if it gets all angsty. But so far I like what I see.

    As to it being Gonzo? I couldn’t care less about that. I don’t have any kind of Gonzo fetish, either positive or negative. Gonzo has given me some good times, and they’ve also produced a lot of crap. But each new show is a new chance, and just because other Gonzo shows have been garbage doesn’t mean this one inevitably must be. I’ll take it as it comes and see if I like it — and so far, I do like it.

  • That’s a good perspective Steven. The only reason I am put-off by her is her ability to do Stephen Chow-like magical draws without ESP.

  • I just posted about that, too:

    Sure, I know that what I’m seeing Saki do is impossible. But that doesn’t matter. Sports stories always involve a degree of super-human ability, mental or physical or spiritual; it’s part of the fantasy element of the story.

    Why would I want to watch a show about someone who was stiflingly normal? I want my heros to be heroic. I expect them to be better than I could ever be. That’s not a flaw in Saki, it’s a virtue.

  • TJ, have you ever played poker? (I assume so.) 5-card draw? Three quarters of the hands are a pair or worse. That’s just how the probabilities come out. But if I’m watching a drama about 5-card draw, I don’t want to see hand after hand with the pot won by a pair. Dull. I want to see the hands where both players have something really good; that’s when the game gets the most exciting.

    But in 5-card draw you may only get that once per night. Dull. So violate the laws of probability in your poker drama, and give everyone much better hands routinely than really should be possible. Sure, it’s unrealistic, but it’s a lot more fun.

    And so it is in this series. Sure, the kinds of tiles they’re all drawing are way over to the right on the normal curve. But so what? Watching a game with real, normal, probable draws would be like watching paint dry. Dull!!!!!

    Saki isn’t a documentary, it’s a fantasy story. Or at least I hope it is, because all good sports dramas are fundamentally fantasy. And I want my fantasy stories to be fantastic. Otherwise they’re not worth watching.

  • Steven: Fair enough, however I do prefer my shows to have some degree of believability unless it’s Inazuma Eleven of couse. You might want to catch that, it’s a great fantasy football anime. It might be an unfair comparison, but something like Liar Game is far far superior to Saki, and the former doesn’t really use your inflated probability logic at all, but still has it exciting.

    Sorry for the lack of links, but I find that everytime I link, there’ll be some javascript error that results in the link failing. It’s something I’ll have to fix during my holidays.

  • It’s always tough to balance realism and fantasy to achieve verisimilitude without boredom. Some writers err on the side of the mundane and put their audiences to sleep. Some err on the side of the fantastic and over-suspend disbelief to the breaking point.

    But usually it’s better to err on the high side. Even so, there’s always going to be someone in the audience who says, “But that can’t happen!”

    Over at my site we call this “Engineer’s disease”. The treatment for Engineer’s disease is to stop thinking and look at the boobies. (I can’t BELIEVE that you don’t think Nodoka is gorgeous!)

  • If I really had to pick, I would choose either the President or Saki. Nodoka is ew, reminds me of those fake tittied American porn stars with rocks for boobies. There are huge numbers of anime females even in this season alone who are far better/hotter than Nodoka. Eg, Mio, Ein from Phantom, some of the bimbos from Hatsukoi, etc etc.

    That said, I recommend Liar Game, if it ever gets an anime adaptation.

  • I tried watching the first two episodes of this, and it was just like watching the start of Initial D. And at least I liked cars. :x

  • Saki is horrible as a Mahjong show. Most of the mahjong playing involves the players picking and discarding tiles/people declaring wins and the other player going OMG :V /Saki doing lucky draw wins.

    One of Nodoka’s wins in episode 3 involved her throwing a 2 Sou and declaring Riichi, when she didn’t have any Sou tiles left. She either makes no sense or has zomg hax yomi levels.

    If you stop watching it as a Mahjong show and instead think of it as some yuri fanservice show, it’s slightly more bearable! O:

  • Wait, yuri, Saki has some yuri? If this is true, maybe I must start watching it!

  • “That said, I recommend Liar Game, if it ever gets an anime adaptation.”

    You read the manga or watch the live action show?

  • Cronolink: Manga.

  • Saki was already a let down before the anime was out. To be more specific, the manga sucks. Individual character development is very shallow and there’s practically no skill in the girls playing style. Everything were just text, no explanation no theory no nothing. If u ask me why i pick up the series even though i dislike it so much, my answer is Mahjong Moe bk cover. However, the substance is substandard and im already giving it up.

    if u want moe and mahjong, i recommend u PSP moejong. The girls are voiced by amateurs VA though. But the gameplay is much much more realistic.

  • where can u find saki manga anyway?

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