|“||I'll get us in first place for the captain's match. For Harue-chan and everyone!||”|
|Japanese name:||鷺森 灼|
|School:||Achiga Girls' Academy|
|Grade:||Second-year high school|
|Debut:||Saki Achiga-hen, Chapter 2|
|Voiced by:||Yumi Uchiyama|
|Main skill/ability:||Bowling pin waits|
Arata Sagimori is a second year at Achiga Girls' Academy and a protagonist in the spin-off manga Saki Achiga Hen episode of side A. Arata is the last member to join the mahjong team. She is a huge fan of Harue Akado. When she was little she used to play mahjong with the Matsumi sisters but stopped playing all together when Harue quit.
Arata has short black hair and dark eyes. She wears the standard Achiga Girls uniform without the jacket, knee-high socks, and the tie Harue Akado gave to her when she was young. While playing mahjong, she wears a bowling glove to promote the family business.
In the Achiga-hen manga, Arata bears a resemblance to Tamaki Kawazoe of Bamboo Blade. Like Achiga-hen, Bamboo Blade is illustrated by Aguri Igarashi.
She has a cool type personality and has a strong admiration of Harue Akado. Though at first she stops playing mahjong because of Harue Akado's loss in the semi-final match of the national tournament and quit the team afterwards on. But later she starts playing again when Harue becomes the coach of the Achiga team. According to Harue, she is a reliable person, so much so that she is named president of the newly reformed mahjong club.
Playing Style / Abilities
Arata prefers pinzu waits and they resemble what might be left after the first roll in bowling. Her main wait is similar to a bowling move called The Greek Church or Big Five. Here her hand includes 5-5-5-6-7-8-9 pin the wait being on the 4,6,7,9 pin (as there is no 10 in mahjong). She also gets a wait that is similar to what's called a washout, her hand includes the 2-3-3-3 pin with the wait being on the 1, 2, and 4 pin. However Arata isn't limited to just bowling moves or pinzu tiles; an example being a 7-7-7-9 man, leading to a 8-9 man wait. Hiroko notes that Arata's playing style is outdated, like she hasn't played in years and a style that resembles Harue's.
The aspects in particular that she mimics have to do with taking advantage of gaps in the defense of opponents; she takes advantage and honor tiles for her safe discards, and sets her waits on these tiles to win off of her opponents.
Introduction ArcArata is first shown working at her family's bowling alley before talking with Kuro Matsumi about joining the new Mahjong club. She didn't seem interested until Kuro mentioned that Harue started playing Mahjong again, which led her to join the team in name only. We next get a dream where a young Arata was welcoming back a depressed Harue after she had lost at the inter-high. When Harue saw that Arata was sad at not getting an autograph she instead gives her her tie. Arata then wakes up and checks the tie. That afternoon Arata and Yuu Matsumi are introduced as the new members of the mahjong club. A few months later Harue shows up at the club and recognizes Arata immediately which causes her embarrassment. Then when Harue announces that she would like to go with the mahjong club to the inter-highs, Arata asks her why and if she wants to play mahjong herself. After answering, Harue joins the club as a coach. When spring begins, she ditches her bowtie for Harue's old necktie.
With the start of the semester, she and the others gather to offically start the mahjong club.When Harue says that winning the tournament would be an impossible task, but Arata says that the person who beat them last time was right there (refering to Harue). In order to up their skill level the team was trained by Harue for the next two months. At the start of the prefectural tournament, she and the rest were a bit nervous thanks to there being so many people and in their first match having to face Bansei High. However thanks to their training Bansei was no match for them and Achiga girls went on to win the whole tournament.
A few days later Arata went shopping with Harue and when they got back, the club decided that in order to prepare for the nationals they would face some of the clubs that finished second in their prefectural tournament and Ryuumonbuchi was selected to be their first opponent. During the match between Shizuno and Koromo Amae, Arata was stunned that Koromo had over three haitei raoyue saying that it wasn't normal. After a few weeks Achiga had beaten all their opponents except for Ryuumonbuchi and Arakawa Kei, together they held a training camp to further their skills and at the end of that they headed for the nationals. Stopping at a rest stop before Tokyo, Harue and Arata decided to go buy drinks for everyone and when they returned, they noticed that the girls Shizuno were talking to were from the fourth seeded school in the national tournament Senriyama.
National Tournament Arc
The Achiga Mahjong team later arrives in Tokyo for the Nationals. As the group made their way for the ticket-drawing, Harue annouces that Arata would be doing it saying that she was the most reliable. The next day after Kuro awakens Shizuno and Ako, the team gathers to discuss the bracket and watch video of their opponents matches. On the second day of the tournament Achiga's first round match begins. Arata's match wasn't shown but Achiga did advance to the second round of the inter-high tournament.Arata is shown throughout the first few matches cheering on her teammates. When she leaves for her match Arata congratulates Ako Atarashi and says she will give her all. In the anime we get a flashback before her match. Here she and her grandmother converse about the bowling alley with Arata being worried about her, then grandmother tells Arata about how happy she looks playing mahjong and for her to go and win the nationals. She then tells her that she will do her best. During the match Arata was overtaken and Achiga went back to third place.
Achiga would go on to place second and advance to the final eight. Afterwards the team celebrated but was brought back to reality when Harue told them that even though they advanced they were beaten by 90,000 pts and that Shiraitodai is next for them as well. She then left for a meeting. Yuu went along with the others to get some ramen when they overheard Harue and Toshi Kumakura talking about Harue being a pro again. After arguing about what they heard they ran into Momoko Touyoko and Satomi Kanbara.
Final Eight Arc
Kanbara takes the team to the place where Tsuruga was staying and introduced them to Yumi Kajiki. After hearing their story, Yumi agrees to help them and gets Kanbara to pick up Mihoko Fukuji, Nagano's best individual player. When they are done playing Kanbara takes them to their hotel. The next day Arata and Achiga meet up with Kei Arakawa, who was the only person who agreed to play them. However Kei called some of her friends over and they all played against Achiga. While going home Shizuno wonders if Nodoka won her match, but Arata and Ako tell her its better to not know. Back in the hotel, Arata greets Harue and wonders if she is going to ask where she was. After Harue gives her response, Arata thinks back to what Ako said about her abandoning them again but shakes this thought off. She is present when Shizuno calls them together and reveals that Harue is not leaving them.
Before the matches begin, she is present to wish Kuro good luck. During half time, Arata and the rest go meet Kuro for encouragement. Later she is shown celebrating Kuro's winning hand to end her match and when Sukoya Kokaji says that she remembers a certain players style of play, she looks toward Harue and was about to say somehting but instead just smiles. Arata together with all of Achiga go to the entrance to see Toki Onjouji off to the hospital. In the waiting room, she wishes Yuu good luck. After Harue decides to help Kuro get her powers back for the finals, Arata along with Shizuno and Ako explain to Kuro what exactly transpired during her match, causing her to cry. She later appears during the lieutenants intermission, listening to Ako discuss her match.Just before her match, Harue tells her that she's happy that she wears the tie but that it will bring bad luck. Arata then tells her that she is there today because of that necktie and that she will take it to the finals. Harue then says to herself that she wants Arata to make it so.At the table she reminds herself that Harue never got beyond this point. When Seiko Matano starts with her ability, Arata and the others realize they have to win first but it was too late and Seiko tsumo's them. During the east second round dealer repeat, Arata notices everyone has won except her and says that she feels left out. She then proceeds to play into Mairu Shirouzu hand. Later Mairu kept winning until Arata declared riichi and won with a haneman. Hiroko Funakubo then wins to pull very close to her. She then declares riichi and wins with a different wait than the others anticipated. Arata then remembers back to when she was first made president. Harue tells her that she is the most reliable and that she has to look the part. She then remembers that she's carring the hopes of many and a large responsibility and then she wins again. Later Mairu declares riichi and Arata decides to do a pursuite riichi wanting to get first place. However Mairu wins with a baiman. Arata ends the match with a win and brings Achiga withing less than 5,000 pts of first.
She then meets Shizuno in the hallways and gives her a high-five. In the waiting room Arata falls into Harue's embrace. After Shizuno's win, Arata notices Harue standing by herself. As she cautiously approaches Harue informs her that she wondered if she would've been sincere if they won but says she's overjoyed. Later Harue tells her to lead them to the finals stage.
Final Eight Arc
On their way back to their waiting room, they run into Nodoka. After Shizuno talks to her, they go their separte ways.
Side Story of Saki: Shinohayu the Dawn of Age
Arata appears with the rest of Achiga celebrating their recent victory before Harue tells them to go to sleep. Harue then asks her if she can sleep if she enters the room later and she replies that she could and tells her to have fun.
- In the manga oneshot done by The Legend of Koizumi's mangaka Hideki Ohwada, Ritz Kobayashi (author of Saki) bares a strong resemblance to Arata.