Hisa x Mihoko (or 部キャプ ‘Bucap’ in Japanese circles — a portmanteau of ‘Buchou’ and ‘Captain’) is one of many possible yuri pairings in the mahjong series Saki. Saki began its run as a manga series in 2006, before being picked up for an anime adaptation in 2009. It even managed its own spin-off series (manga + anime).
The anime series amps up the yuri levels considerably, while the manga is rather lacklustre in comparison. And while ships hardly need logic to back them up, I personally like Hisa x Mihoko because there’s a more equal relationship dynamic between them. It’s not an easily excitable girl’s crush on an unresponsive (and invariably heterosexual) onee-sama, for example.
Instead, it’s a crush that Fukuji Mihoko (left) develops over Ueno Hisa (right) after they play one another at a middle school mahjong nationals competition. Mihoko has an inferiority complex over her heterochromia, so she usually keeps her right eye (it’s blue!) closed. But she is so shocked by her loss to Hisa’s unconventional (but extraordinarily effective) play style that Mihoko forgets to keep her right eye closed. Hisa casually compliments on how pretty Mihoko’s blue eye is, and leaves.
Hisa’s left a deep impression on Mihoko, but for a mysterious, undisclosed reason, Hisa suddenly forfeits her matches and disappears in the middle of the tournament. Bewildered and disappointed, Mihoko hopes she can meet Hisa again — Mihoko enrolls in a high school that has an extremely prestigious mahjong club, hoping Hisa will do the same. But Hisa does not show up — neither at her school, nor at any future tournaments.
Flash forward three years since their one and only meeting. Mihoko is in her last year of high school now, participating in the prefectural qualifiers for her last chance in the nationals with her fellow mahjong club members as the Captain of their team. Suddenly, the mahjong commentator introduces a player called ‘Takei Hisa’ — although her family name is now different (?!), Mihoko instantly recognises the girl as the Ueno Hisa she played against once…
With her heart racing and feelings rekindled, what will Mihoko do, when surely Hisa no longer remembers her?
There’s no mistake that the series Saki focusses heavily on Japanese mahjong and epic, over the top matches, but it’s also an extremely shippable series for a reason. With a contrived reason for girls-only mahjong, the series only has about three recurring male characters (of little consequence) with the rest being girls. If you are not familiar with Japanese mahjong (completely different from Western mahjong — the one where you match pairs of tiles from complicated stacks — or Chinese or other variants of mahjong), you can enjoy the series as mindless moe yuri fluff, and you can gauge how epic a scene is with the help of Combat Commentators. And if you are familiar with Japanese mahjong, it’s still moemoe fluff, but with a fraction more substance to it.
With that said, if all you care about is the delicious Hisa x Mihoko pairing, take a look below:
- episode 10 – the last few minutes; where Mihoko recognises Takei Hisa as ‘Ueno-san’, the only one who gave her trouble during the nationals three years ago.
- episode 11 – Hisa’s epic pwnage of everyone else during her match
- episode 12 – the backstory from Mihoko’s perspective of the events three years ago
- episode 21 – Mihoko gets to play against Hisa in the individuals; Hisa recognises Mihoko
- episode 23 – the ‘four club presidents’ play each other (Kanbara barring)
- episode 24 – for Hisa and Mihoko interacting outside of mahjong; Hisa asks Mihoko out on a date to watch fireworks
Of course, there are other pairings (innumerous, actually) in Saki, so it’s best to watch it all in any case. You might like the other pairings more than HxM; some popular ones are KajuMomo, Touka x Hajime, and Saki x Nodoka (though none are quite my thing).
There’s more HxM in the manga, but I’m too lazy to find each and every scene to write it down here. Follow along from the “Saki (manga)” category on the sidebar for HxM developments, since it’s unlikely I’ll write too many posts on the manga without mentioning Hisa and Mihoko.
(Note that I do not guarantee the quality of the manga translations or the subs for the anime in the links provided above. I can, however, guarantee the quality for the Hisa chapters that I’ve translated myself. Also viewable from an online reader.) <– These are Hisa-centric matches from the nationals. No Hisa x Mihoko, though. =(
There are also picture dramas and drama CDs that can be considered official material, but they’re often tongue-in-cheek. Most of it is untranslated. I’ve begun translating some of it, but there’s no guarantee I’ll do all of them. I’m probably just going to do the ones with Itou Shizuka and Horie Yui in it (though, sadly, they’re never in the same story together in the drama CDs)… and the ones that really tickle my funny bone.
Lastly, there are a lot of doujinshi on HxM (though hardly enough). The Hakka-ya doujin come with my highest recommendation, and are the cutest, most adorable stories you will ever have the fortune to read in your life. For truth. I’ll give you a virtual cookie from my non-existent pile if it doesn’t put a smile on your face.