When I started out with this series, I had great fun with taking all those Saki x Nodoka red cheeks, shiny thighs, blushing knees and magnifying the yuri goggles to the max. But this became somewhat redundant as the series progressed, with the yuri subtext – more or less – coming to the fore. Due to time pressures and being somewhat bored with the tournaments, I slacked off in terms of the timeliness of posting and then, when I did catch up, slacked off on the actual content before shifting to incorporate large elements of Kabitzin’s posting style (which I will reflect on in a later post). The slacking off caused readership to suffer, that is, some bailed out and those who stayed didn’t really get what they expected/wanted.
Within moments of the first episode, I decided that I liked Saki – mainly for her very male gaze as she once-overed Nodoka. But it was also within the next few moments that I became somewhat uneasy with the fanservicey chara-design of the other main heroine. Like Havoc, I love boing too but Nodoka’s is just… too much. Erica hits the nail on the head wrt why OTT fanservice gave an ick factor to Saki x Nodoka which Yumi x Momo was spared and thus ascended to Best Couple position. There were so many interesting side characters who could have used more screentime such as Satomi Wa~ha~ha Kanbara and I would have looked to see more Hisa x Mihoko.
How the power of yuri love gives you mahjong mojo was a LOL theme for great entertainment but sadly the Saki vs. Koromo battle only showed how the series could do great mahjong drama but couldn’t be bothered with most of the time; wrt those who compared it unfavourably to Kaji – well, apples and oranges. A characteristic which also applies to comparing Saki with Hikaru no Go. I would liked to have learnt more about riichi mahjong via this series but as there’s no rookie chara (and by extension no ghostly mentor), it’s not quite possible. Saki’s Oneechan angst clearly underlies her motivations but it’s also buried for most of the middle period; it reminded me somewhat of Angelic Layer where the heroine quests to be reunited with a familial loved one – though wrt to Saki, due to the yuri subtext, I’m wa~ha~ha hoping that Nodoka’s love will allow Saki to let Teru go and, by doing so, re-establish the sisterly relationship but via a revaluation of all values at the great noontide.
GONZO has the power to do yuri – the strongest besto impression they left on me was the Burst Angel manga (not the anime) and they certainly delivered lots of yurilific LOL entertainment in this series. Also good job on confining CG to the mahjong mechanics. Casting Kana Ueda in the lead role almost seems obvious especially when there’s oppai play involved. I was rather surprised at Ami Koshimizu’s performance of Nodoka since it’s her shoutier roles like Kallen (Code Geass), Nina Wang (My Otome) and Megumi (Muteki Kanban Musume) that left an impression on me. But now I can’t hear Mio talk without going: Haramura Nonoka!
Entertaining but not something I’d rewatch. It helps if you understand mahjong rules but not a major impediment if you don’t – in fact, it would be better not to be too keen on mahjong because the show is really more about yuri blushing (of all the girls, Yuuki is probably the only one who has an active interest in guys – take what you can, Suga-kun!).
Zyl’s Rating: 3/5