Sakaki in a color insert from Azumanga Daioh.
|English voice actor||Christine Auten|
|Japanese voice actor||Yuu Asakawa|
Sakaki (榊 Sakaki), full name unknown, is a character from Azumanga Daioh.
Tall, soft-spoken Sakaki is uncomfortable with her height and her busty physique. Because she is shy, she seldom speaks, and this reticence is misinterpreted and admired as "tough", "mysterious", and "cool" — a reputation compounded by her natural athletic ability. She is the subject of Kaorin's (largely unspoken) infatuation. In contrast to what other students think of her, Sakaki has no interest in sports and has a secret passion for all things cute (which she eventually admits to Chiyo). Despite her reserve, she has a very strong desire for friendship, leading her to attach herself to the group. If she is aware of Kaorin's infatuation, she shows no sign of it.
Sakaki's passion for cute things encompasses animals both real and stuffed (she gives her own stuffed animals names, like a small child). Once, having heard that Sakaki liked bears, Yomi buys Sakaki a can of bear stew, to her horror. Sakaki is particularly taken with cats, but cannot have one at home because her mother is allergic. Unfortunately, cats hate Sakaki for unknown reasons — one in particular, a gray cat known as Kamineko, delights in luring her close so he can bite her. Kagura theorizes cats think her hand smells like fish. One subtitle in the manga explains that the street cats suspect that Sakaki approaches them with murderous intent.
During the class trip to Okinawa, Sakaki bonds with an Iriomote cat, the first cat who ever let her pet it. Later, after the cat's mother is run over by a car and killed, he follows Sakaki to Tokyo, who adopts him and names him Maya. At his arrival, Maya suddenly appears and chases off a malicious horde of the cats led by Kamineko who were threatening Sakaki and Chiyo. Confronted by Maya's wildcat "battle aura", the cats wilt and scatter. Because of Sakaki's mother's allergy, Maya is taken in temporarily by Chiyo.
Sakaki is unusually busty and tall — her height is given as 174 centimeters (approximately 5'8") and "still growing", which is extraordinarily tall for a Japanese woman. Also, she is very self-conscious about her body. In the anime, Osaka notes that they 'have an American among [them]' because of her large breasts (in episode 4, in girls' locker room parlance, those with medium-sized breasts, such as Yomi, are referred to as 'Hawaiian'; those with flat chests, such as Osaka or Tomo, are referred to as 'Japanese', much to Tomo's chagrin). In response, Tomo remarked that it was hard to believe that Sakaki had been in middle school only a year earlier, which embarrassed Sakaki so much she almost broke down crying.
As revealed in Azumanga Daioh: Supplementary Lessons, Sakaki is scared of many things, including earthquakes, thunder, mechanical guards at construction sites and bugs. When she tells Chiyo this, she is surprised and says "you seem like you wouldn't be afraid of anything". Sakaki also dislikes horror stories as shown when Osaka suggested that they would tell ghost stories during their first visit to Chiyo's summer house, and Sakaki walked away.
Sakaki is envious of Chiyo's irresistible adorableness, and is often seen with Chiyo and her Great Pyrenees, Mr. Tadakichi (who lets her pet him). She secretly wishes she looked more like Chiyo so she could openly pursue her interest in cute things. In contrast, Chiyo wishes she looked more like Sakaki so people would take her more seriously. Sakaki occasionally dreams of a floating yellow cat-like creature that claims to be Chiyo's father.
In Episode 17, when the girls sing karaoke, Sakaki sings her character song, Kokoro wa Shōjo de Parachute. Her beautiful singing voice surprises the other girls. In contrast to Koyomi's singing voice which shocks everyone.
In her senior year, Sakaki takes the examination for and is admitted to a veterinary college. While initially concerned that it was far from home, requiring her to get her own apartment, she warmed to the idea when she realized that this allowed her to have "her very own cat", Maya.
- Sakaki makes a cameo appearance as a philosopher who criticizes Quine in Classroom of Thesis; From the Report to the Graduation Thesis by Kazuhisa Todayama. This book refers also to other Azumanga Daioh characters.
- Sakaki makes a cameo appearance in Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni Kai in episode 11 after Teppei was held in custody. She was with Satoko.
- According to Kiyohiko Azuma, Sakaki grows over the course of the series, and is about 180 cm tall by the end.
- Sakaki is terrible at drawing.
- Sakaki's boobs are 8 cm (3.14 in) bigger than Tomo Takino's as said by the latter in episode 1. When Sakaki revealed how big her breasts really were to Tomo and Osaka, they were shocked and said "Is that even possible!?"
- She usually blushes easily.
- Sakaki was supposedly born in 1984.
- Kokoro wa Shoujo de PARACHUTE Words by Aki Hata, music by Masumi Itō
- Mahou Neko ni aeru Hi wa Words by Aki Hata, music by Masumi Ito
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