At the beginning of the first episode, sixth grade girls Shizuno Takakamo and Ako Atarashi make friends with a new transfer student named Nodoka Haramura. It turns out all three girls enjoy playing mahjong, and Shizuno and Ako take Nodoka to participate in a children's mahjong club at Achiga Girl's Academy. Here, Nodoka is introduced to Kuro Matsumi, the club's top player.
Harue Akado is the advisor for the group; she's a college student who used to be the top player for Achiga Girl's Academy during her high school years. Unfortunately, Harue quit the club after being defeated in a major tournament; after Harue quit, the school's club disbanded. Harue came back to start the children's club as a form of rehab.
After some time passes, Harue is scouted for a company's mahjong team. Harue joins the team, which leads to the closure of the children's club. For middle school, Shizuno and Nodoka decide to attend Achiga Girl's Academy; however, Ako decides to go to a different middle school that has a strong mahjong club. During their first year of middle school, Nodoka tells Shizuno that she will likely be transferring to a different school the next spring, due to her mother's work.
Then, the anime moves ahead in time two years, when the girls are third-year middle school students. Shizuno finds a middle school mahjong championship as she's watching TV, and sees Nodoka win the championship. Shizuno had given up mahjong at this point, but seeing Nodoka win reignites her interest. Shizuno, along with Kuro, decide they want to revive Achiga's mahjong club so they can compete in the high school championships during the next spring. Ako decides she wants to enroll in Achiga for high school and be part of the club.
While Saki Episode of Side-A has the elements of a game and competition like Hikaru no Go, this series focuses on girls. Also, this series seems to emphasize relationships just as much as the competition, much like Chihayafuru.
Content-wise, a couple of females refer to Nodoka's breast size when she's a sixth grader. Also, there is a shot right near the end of the first episode, when Nodoka has finished middle school, that she's wearing an outfit that emphasizes her breasts.
Even with that content in mind, when I look at the overall presentation of the series, I would personally recommend Saki Episode of Side-A to anime viewers who are 12 or 13 years of age and older. Also, I think that female viewers may find a little more interest in this series than male viewers.
|Saki Episode of Side-A||14||2012||Manabu Ono||Studio Gokumi||N/A|