Saki Miyanaga is the titular main character from the Saki anime and manga.
Saki is a shy, bookish freshman who claims to hate mahjong when she saw her middle-school classmate and current school mate Kyoutarou play it. Despite this, she is invited to play mahjong by Kyoutarou thinking she's not very good (Saki claimed earlier that she hated mahjong because she always lost to her family members) in the Kiyosumi Mahjong club, where she meets former National Inter Middle-high champion Nodoka Haramura, Yuuki Kataoka who is Nodoka's middle-school schoolmate, second year student Mako Someya, and student congress president and mahjong club president Hisa Takei.
It turns out that Saki's claim of "always losing" is only half true because she ends up with a ±0 net point average (basically breaking even, which is harder than winning), later turned out to be part deliberate on Saki's side and part having supernatural luck. Saki's relationship with Nodoka starts off rocky because of Nodoka's pride as the Inter-middle school champion being crushed after losing to Saki in one match (and with Nodoka's 3 wins prior now being known to be Saki deliberately losing), made more frustrating in that she, a person who loves mahjong, lost to one who dislikes it. However, their relationship improves when Nodoka helps her confront her personal demons — that is, a bad impression of her own sport because her family used to be sore losers and arrogant winners — ultimately leading to her decision to join Kiyosumi's mahjong team. She hopes to one day reach the National Inter-High School Tournament and see again her estranged older sister Teru, the current national champion, whom she hadn't seen since their parents separated.
In the AWA fics, Saki is a student at the AWA Academy.
Saki has short brown hair, often with one tuft sticking out from the side of her head, and red eyes. She has a petite body and is most commonly seen in the Kiyosumi High School uniform. Like her other first-year classmates, she used to wear a short skirt; however, after accidentally wearing Mako's longer skirt, she has more recently beem seen wearing that.
Saki is a shy, bookish girl with a poor sense of direction. At first, despite her skills, she doesn't like mahjong, in particular because of her family. She is very caring about her friends' feelings, as seen when she loses on purpose to Yuuki Kataokato make her feel better and stops doing so because Nodoka says that she cannot have fun if Saki is holding back. Saki gets very excited when thinking about playing against strong competition.
Saki is a poor swimmer and she doesn't use electronics, only getting Mako's old cell-phone right before the team semi-finals in the nationals.
Saki's skills primarily come from her ability to sense her opponents (even from several city blocks away) and read the flow of the game. However, she has a hard time reading the table itself and thus initially plays online mahjong very poorly but later improves thanks to Hisa's training (this aids her in defeating Momoko Touyoko in the individual tournament, and later in the semifinals). This sense of the table allows her to combat other players with abilities to great effect, using and accepting their abilities to aid her hand. For example, in the national quarterfinals, Saki used Toyone's senpu ability against her by having the same wait as Toyone, allowing her to win instead of discarding the tile for Toyone's ippatsu.
The mahjong move she favors most is rinshan kaihou or "tsumo after a kan". With it, she is able to win hands when she isn't in tenpai at the start of her turn. Aiding her rinshan kaihou ability is her enhanced ability to get kans. In the national quarterfinals, 4 out of 6 of Saki's wins were won with Rishan Kaihou, and in one of the remaining two, Saki declared 2 kans. Saki also has an enhanced ability to make last hand comebacks.
Saki also has a ± 0 ability. Initially she is seen scoring successive scores of ± 0 when she plays against Nodoka, Yuuki, and Kyoutaro. In the prefectural tournament she also goes on a streak of ± 0 until Nodoka confronts her about holding back. While initially she does this by picking the correct amount of points to win with in the final hand. However, she is shown to also manipulate the other players' wins and losses in order to achieve ± 0: this ability first debuted when in the first episode where she let Kataoka Yuuki win with a honitsu. Another example of this is in the quarterfinals, wherein she allowed Kyouko Suehara to win with a baiman in order to adjust her points. She also did this in the Nagano prefectural finals, where she fed Kana Ikeda a baiman in order to prevent her from going below 0 points.
When Saki removes her socks and shoes, she increases her ability to play mahjong significantly; calming her and increasing her sense of flow. This comes from her learning how to play mahjong when she was a child, without socks.
Finally, she is noted to have very good luck both in her initial hands and draws. For example, when Hisa tests her ability to win in episode 2, Saki is able to get a double-riichi & ippatsu-tsumo in the East game - 1st hand; in the same episode, she got a suuannkou rinshan kaihou. Also, she was in tenpai a kokushi musou in less than 3 turns in episode 3.
In chapter 143, Saki says that ever since she was little, she is able to recognize the tiles that can form a kan. She could also feel the fourth tile in the wall one or two turns in advance; when she does this, her eyes wander over to the wall, looking at the tile she can use to form a kan with.
- When Saki gets ±0 (also known as breaking even) it has often been ambiguously stated that she gets zero points. However, due to how the scoring works, she achieves it by scoring 2nd, while winning between 4500 to 5400 points. (It is also possible to achieve it by scoring 3rd and gaining 14500-15400 points, but it's nearly impossible to have this scenario happen.)
- In the anime, Saki sees Fujita-pro on the cover of the Weekly Mahjong Today news magazine that has an article on Teru. A week or so later, she senses Fujita-pro as she enters the cafe, but Saki doesn't know who she is.
- During the prefecture matches, Saki wears a short skirt that ends just above her knees. However, in the National festival, she accidentally puts on Mako's skirt one morning, and is later told by everyone else to continue wearing it because it looks good on her.
- Rinshan kaihou literally means "a flower blooms on a ridge," Saki notes that this is similar to her name 咲 which means to bloom.
- Similarly, it can be taken as something overcoming adversity, referencing Saki's ability to make amazing comebacks in seemingly impossible situations.
- Saki has a poor sense of direction.