Saki is some godly mahjong player that has absolutely no desire to win or lose due to some childhood pseudo-trauma. Somewhere in the mix is an insanely annoying loli, a boring pink-haired girl, a genki seito kaichou, and a guy. Something tells me none of the girls has any interest whatsoever in him, as they’re too busy rehearsing their eventual lifelong roles as old ladies in the Joy Luck Club. I’m sure many of you play mahjong (neither me nor Omni do), but you’re likely to find this as ridiculous as we did…
Some might say that my time is better spent blogging about shows that I actually enjoy, that I should just leave their precious favorite guilty pleasure shows alone, but what’s the fun in that? Enter Saki, the next item up for flaming at jaalin’s grill and bistro. You want that well done or burnt to a crisp?
In the past, I’ve picked on the weak and laid waste to travesties like Ninomiya-kun and Kono Aozora, but I’ve since graduated from bullying on those that accept their role as bottom-feeder. Instead, I’ve turned over a new leaf, and am now saving my flame spells on those epic high-profile shows that assume their success is guaranteed, but are actually catastrophic train wrecks right as they depart on their maiden episode.
Saki, Saki, Saki, where to begin? First of all – elephant in the room – yes, it’s an anime about mahjong. It’s really not that big of a deal, considering Hikaru no Go made an absolutely black-and-white board game pretty cool, Naruto made something awesome like ninjas farking boring, and Queen’s Blade made something humans are genetically hardwired to stare at into something unbearable to watch (ok, gonna lay off the QB references for a bit before I exhaust it). Saki does get quite technical with the game and keeps things surprisingly focused, but the entirety of it just comes off as being really freakin’ corny. To put it simply, where I was expecting something like Hikaru no Go, I was instead treated to a rehash of Yu-Gi-Oh with moe-fied character designs.
And maybe that’s my own fault, but given the rather nice character designs, decent art quality, and an amazing voice cast which includes Koshimizu Ami (Nina Wang, Horo), Ueda Kana (Hayate’s Sakuya, Maria-sama’s Yumi), Shiraishi Ryoko (Hayate), Itou Shizuka (Hinagiku, Index’s Kanzaki), and Kugimiya Rie (um… Al Elric), can ya blame me? Gonzo might not be the best studio, but they’re definitely a big name in the industry.
And maybe they were doomed from the start in attacking a game typically played by old loogie-hocking Chinese ladies with too much time and memory to spare, but something about this show just doesn’t sit right with me. Maybe it’s Kugimiya Rie’s overtly loli voice that’s just begging for attention, maybe it’s pink haired chick’s overly-indulgent character design, maybe it’s the awkward fanservice and yuri moments, maybe it’s the 300-esque slow motion scenes (THIS… IS… MAHJONGGGGG), maybe it’s the OH SHI- *thunder and lightning* moments when a tile is played… but whatever it is, it’s clear that the show is just trying too hard in all the wrong ways. And I’m not that easy to win over!
That’s not to say you shouldn’t watch this show – quite the contrary – the first episode was entertaining and even reached “epic lulz” (or whatever the new 4ch lingo is these days) levels at the end, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be one of those one-episode wonders and just fall off a cliff from hereon out. The only way I can see this show working out is that it picks up the whole “Dragonball Mahjong” vibe like Prince of Tennis had, but none of these characters have any of the “mada mada dane” swagger or personality of Seigaku. Still, I’m hoping to be surprised.
Anyone that plays mahjong have any idea what’s going on in this show?