The Nagano Individual Tournament Part 1 – What does Saki sees while Playing Mahjong?

This would be my first post and the start of my analysis of the individual matches. I I will starts with one of the most contentious things that are debated… why can Saki see Momo in her stealth setting?

Warning: WMG ahead (or Night just took a psychology unit which is why she is a little crazy… ) 


This start with the Kiyosumi Training Camp. Remember on this training camp, Hisa focused on improving the First years. Yuuki got math drills which was now paying dividends in the Nationals. Nodoka practiced playing tiles in real life and getting used to it. Saki on the other hand was asked to play online.

According to Hisa, Saki maybe one of the people who are good at reading  information taken from playing real life. For example. when playing poker, my little brother lips twitch lightly as if he was trying to stop smiling when he has a good hand.  And considering Saki can actually feel Koromo’s aura from a kilometer range she should be good at that.

Anyway, we actually get to see Saki play online mahjong and she was absolutely terrible at it.

I don’t think its the product of bad basic skills though. The first thing the series has said to us as is Saki can get +/- zero indefinitely. To get freaking +/- zero every single time, she really needs to have good mahjong basic skills. Seriously, it needs god-tier puppetting.

Saki’s problem with online mahjong is she is unfamiliar with it and the fact that it probably feel like playing with blindfold to her. Look at her complaint: Saki can’t see the tiles at all.

This is also the exact same complaint she gave when she was playing Momo. You know Momo’s power? You can’t actually see her tiles because she gave no presence. 

From here, we can make some assumptions to what is Saki’s problem with online mahjong. To Saki playing online mahjong is akin to playing 3 Momo’s at the same time. The players have no presence at all.

Saki is very sensitive to presence. Thus, maybe playing with a computer is creepy because it would be like playing with soulless husks. Or maybe Saki conflated mahjong with presence so much, that she can’t actually see the tiles literally!  On an off tangent…I just have this thought… What  happens if you play 3 Momo’s at the same time? Wouldn’t that mean come south round you can’t freaking see any of your opponent’s discards?!  

 Ehemm…. back to theorizing. Its actually interesting to see how the series resolved this problem. Here is the manga page.  


Ritz-sensei was even poetic about it. “Its just as she says, even if you can’t see them. Those stars are always there.” 

Translated to mahjong playing. It meant even though Saki can’t feel the players or see the tiles. It doesn’t mean that it isn’t there.

I’m actually a bit bothered by this epiphany. Or actually the fact that Saki actually needs this epiphany. Its basic object permanence. We learn this as a child. You know the idea that an object continue to exist even if you can’t see them.

But, I thought about it… What if Saki never learned about it? If Saki has a km aura sensor or longer which the manga/anime supports. Then, Saki always senses or “sees” the objects around her. She can’t learn object permanence if an object is always within her sight.

Its probably the reason why Ritz-sensei used stars as well. That and its a nice imagery.  Its reasonably distanced from Saki (HA! light years actually) that she can’t use her other senses to “see” it and still be able to be seen with her naked eye.

Come to think of it. Having no object permanence, no wonder Saki gets lost every single time. 


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5 Responses to The Nagano Individual Tournament Part 1 – What does Saki sees while Playing Mahjong?

  1. kappa145 says:

    Nice analysis.
    Btw, don't you think that Saki actually have 'similar' (to certain degree) skill like Teru's Mirror?

    I mean, even if it's not explicitly stated, Saki do have ability to 'understand' ability and playing style of her opponents, AND do have problem when her opponent radically change her style in the middle of the match (like what happened in last captain match, when Himematsu use 3-Player Mahjong Style against Eisui).

  2. chakawai says:

    he he really if it's really the reason she lost all the time then it's reasonable, after all as far as the series we only saw/read that Saki only get lost in big building (the wall have no presence and and everywhere is the same), and crowd ( in my opinion as long as the crowd she is in actually only have average person (no strong aura or other power) then she is pretty much hopeless, lol

    and how did this tied to her play in the table, who know maybe you can gave me insight ( well it's obvious with Momo) how about all other average

  3. Aaron says:

    If Saki has a km aura sensor that can also see/ sense all objects, shouldn't it kinda work like a minimap in that she shouldn't get lost? Or it only senses only certain objects or people, etc, their should be something that she couldn't sense such that she does learn object permanence in childhood?

    • nightsentinel09 says:

      Heh. I wrote this quite a while. But, based on recent revelation, I think instead of a radar Saki seemed to have something like a second sense of sight geared toward the supernatural? In the semifinals we see, Saki clearly watching the kamui clouds and other supernatural phenomena. Note that no one else in the table seemed to be reacting to those except the one who is using the power. Heck, Saki's senses is so effective that Kyouko used her as an alarm.

      I think beside the objective reality that everyone sees, Saki sees also the supernatural realm that exist within it. Thus, the reason that Saki get lost is probably "because there is too much to see". And probably some of the thing that she senses or "sees" doesn't exist in a material sense. This probably true of Teru as well considering Teru's explicit power is sensing/revealing hidden things aka the mirror.>

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