A live-action adaptation of the mahjong manga Saki is probably the best thing that can happen to the franchise. And it's not getting one, but two live-action adaptations!
People who have watched the anime adaptations will know that because the series has a large cast of (female) characters, you need to have a long list of actresses lined up.
The live-action adaptation seems to have pulled it off by tapping on an interesting mixture of actresses, gravure models, and idols. I'm going to introduce each one.
Kiyosumi High School
Kiyosumi High School's mahjong club members are the protagonists of the series. In the story, the club is playing its first high school mahjong tournament.
Title character Saki Miyanaga is played by Minami Hamabe, one of the winners in the 2011 Toho "Cinderella" Audition. She is largely an actress in television dramas and films. Her most notable role to date is as Meiko Honma (Menma) in Fuji Television's live-action Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai.
Saki's best friend Nodoka Haramura is played by Nana Asakawa, a member of the iDOL Street-affiliated group SUPER☆GiRLS. Asakawa is also known for her gravure model work, which makes her a suitable actress to play the busty Nodoka.
Nodoka's childhood friend Yuuki Kataoka is played by Aika Hirota, a member of the idol group Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku. Her high-pitch voice is a natural fit with the personality established by voice actress Rie Kugimiya, djey!
Kiyosumi mahjong club president Hisa Takei is played by Seika Furuhata, a fashion model who won the Grand Prix award in the 13th Nicola Model Audition. She is affiliated with LesPros Entertainment and will also lead the cast in the live-action film of Isshuukan Friends., opening in February 2017.
The steady Mako Someya is played by Anna Yamada, Grand Prix winner of the 2011 Ciao Girl Audition. She is affiliated with Amuse and previously starred in the live-action drama of Ciao manga series 12-sai.
Kazekoshi Girls' High School
Kazekoshi Girls' High School has the strongest mahjong club in the prefecture, continuously winning the prefecture tournament before the streak was snapped by Ryuumonbuchi High School a year prior to the story.
Team captain Mihoko Fukuji is played by Mami Kamura, a former leader of the Iwate local idol group Chairmans. She also starred in the Television Iwate action hero drama series Tetsujin Ganriser and its sequels.
Feisty ace Kana Ikeda is played by Rena Takeda, a fashion and gravure model who has also starred in live-action adaptations of Ansatsu Kyoushitsu and Prison School.
The shy Miharu Yoshitome is played by Aya Yoshizaki, a model born to a Filipina–Spanish mother and a Japanese father.
Kazekoshi's strongest first-year member Seika Bundou is played by Yuzu Higuchi, a model who is the elder sister of Nogizaka46 member Hina Higuchi.
The reserved Sumiyo Fukabori is played by Mizuki Hoshina, a gravure idol who debuted in Shuukan Playboy at the age of 15.
Ryuumonbuchi High School
Ryuumonbuchi High School burst onto the high school mahjong scene one year ago by delivering a shocking loss to powerhouse Kazekoshi with an entire team of first-year students. It is looking for a second prefecture title.
Ryuumonbuchi family heiress Touka Ryuumonbuchi is played by Mariya Nagao, a former 9th generation member of AKB48 who left the idol group in May 2016.
Sleight of hand player Hajime Kunihiro is played by Kyouka Shibata, a veteran actress who debuted at the age of 10. She was selected as a Ribon Girl runner-up in 2009.
The boyish Jun Inoue is played by Ena Koshino, an actress who starred in the live-action film of shoujo manga Strobe Edge.
Computer girl Tomoki Sawamura is played by Rie Kaneko, a gravure idol and one of two Grand Prix winners in the Miss iD 2015 competition. She is also one-half of The Idol Formerly Known As LADYBABY.
Much feared Ryuumonbuchi ace Koromo Amae is played by Mai Kikuchi, an 11-year-old child actress who has played supporting roles in the Sadako horror films.
Tsuruga Academy is a dark horse in the current prefecture tournament. They are severely limited in competitive experience but have hidden tricks which can even throw their strongest opponents off guard.
Team strategist Yumi Kajiki is played by Natsumi Okamoto, a fashion model who debuted in 2012 after winning a LOVE berry model audition. She is also a former Oha Girl with the Oha Suta children's variety television program and was a leader of the three-member idol unit Oha Girl Chu! Chu! Chu!
Stealth player Momoko Touyoko is played by Ano, a member of the new wave idol group You'll Melt More! who joined in 2013.
Tsuruga mahjong club president Satomi Kanbara is played by Aguri Oonishi, a member of the Oscar Promotion-affiliated idol group X21. Wahaha.
Lucky beginner Kaori Senoo is played by Marina Nagasawa, a member of the idol group Houkago Princess and a runner-up in the Miss iD 2016 competition. She is often nicknamed the "legal loli" as a baby-faced adult who also works as a gravure model.
Cool-headed Mutsuki Tsuyama is played by Mari Yamachi, a television variety talent and gravure model who debuted in Shuukan Playboy in 2012. Yamachi starred in the live-action film of Chimamire Sukeban Chainsaw.