The Long ARM of Saki Miyanaga

I have watched the first few episodes of Saki, and I think I will probably try a few more, but I don’t see myself finishing the series or any of the sequels. The series seems to lean on a fundamentally bad premise, best explained by scifi author Larry Niven.

Larry Niven, best known for his “Known Space” universe, including the award-winning Ringworld. In Ringworld, we learn that mankind has been secretly subjected to a eugenics program to develop luck. Yes, “luck” is an actual force in this universe, just roll with me for a moment here.

Niven’s Known Space universe stories cover about a thousand years of human history, ultimately ending with a very lucky human species. But Niven wrote few stories that take place at the end of this timeline, because he quickly realized that having infinite luck is actually pretty boring to write about.

And this brings us back to Saki: Saki is portrayed as having amazing luck. She is practically handed amazing hands right out of the initial draw, and this is portrayed as some sort of “talent.” Sorry, I’m not convinced so much as I am bored. I want to see actual skill and decision-making, and so far I have seen very little of that.

The fact that the series assumes you know all the intricasies of mahjong going in doesn’t help my enjoyment. It could be argued that that’s my own fault, not the show’s fault. And yet, I know none of the intricasies of baseball, yet I loved Touch. I know that you hit the ball and run the bases without getting tagged by the ball. The few times weird rules got involved, they were explained. Saki does not do that, the only explanations we get are in the subtitles themselves, and they go by so quickly as to be almost unreadable.

The whole “light yuri” thing doesn’t work for me either. If you’re gonna go there, just go all-in.

I’m sorry, I got more enjoyment, and more knowledge of the game, from watching the Mondo Women’s Mahjong Championship on Youtube. Saki doesn’t quite work for me.

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