The 5 Best Gambling Anime Shows Ever Released

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Anime has become a dominant animation genre across the Western world during the last couple of decades. The Japanese-created cartoon art is a beautiful way to represent reality in a captivating, enthralling manner. It first appeared together with manga (comic novels originating from the Land of the Rising Sun) and quickly developed a life on its own by winning over the hearts of fans all over the world.

One of the most intriguing things about anime is that it tackles all sorts of topics relevant to today’s society. If you have not encountered this form of Japanese art before, you will most probably remain surprised to learn that gambling is the leading theme in quite a few anime shows. In case you are interested, we have selected for you the five best gambling anime TV series ever produced.

#5 Kakegurui – Compulsive Gambler

gambling anime shows

This is one of the most intriguing gambling anime shows to have ever appeared onscreen. Kakegurui – Compulsive Gambler is authored by two extremely talented artists – writer Homura Kawamoto and illustrator Tōru Naomura. The original content appeared in March 2014 and was serialized into 14 chapters until February 2021. The show first aired in Japan in 2017. Netflix released Season 2 outside the country in May 2019.

The Kakegurui – Compulsive Gambler series has inspired many additional formats along with the main plot, such as a full-screen movie and a video game, and a few spin-offs, including a prequel named Kakegurui Twin. A few light novels have been created as well as several sideline manga series.

The narrative of Kakegurui – Compulsive Gambler is quite enticing. The action takes place at one of Japan’s most prestigious schools called Hyakkaou Private Academy. The school aims to train its pupils through various gambling activities to turn them into future leaders and change-makers.

However, one day Yumeko Jabami, a gorgeous first-year student, arrives at the academy to challenge the existing order. To make things more complicated, Yumeko hides a dark past of a compulsive gambler, who is in constant pursuit of high adrenaline adventures.

#4 Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor

gyakkyou burai kaiji

Kajii is one of the older gambling manga/anime series. Nobuyuki Fukumoto developed it in 1996, and in 1997, it appeared in print. The famous Madhouse Company saw the potential of the comics and created a 26-episode anime TV series under the title Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor.

The anime show gained a huge success, which led to a sequel named Kaiji: Against All Rules released by Nippon TV in 2009. Eleven years later, in 2020, the third and last movie called Kaiji: Final Game appeared.

The reason for Kaiji’s tremendous popularity lies in the intriguing plot. A few years after graduating from high school, Kaiji Itō is still unable to get a job and ends up intoxicated and depressed. Gambling, drinking, and smoking constitute his everyday life. His condition worsens when a brutal loan collector visits him because of outstanding debt. To repay the debt, Kaiji has to board a gambling ship called Espoir, and so his adventures begin.

#3 Legendary Gambler Tetsuya

legendery gambler tetsuya

This is another renowned gambling anime that has left a long-lasting mark in the hearts of fans. Shōbushi Densetsu Tetsuya, as the original name goes, is authored by writer Fūmei Sai and illustrator Yasushi Hoshino. The manga appeared in 1997 and was serialized until 2005. In 2000, a 20-episode anime TV series aired.

The series represents the adventures of a talented gambler named Tetsuya, who lives in post-World War II Japan. Tetsuya is committed to winning at all costs and considers that “It’s only cheating when you get caught. Until then it’s a winning strategy.” He plays mahjong like a virtuoso and uses every chance to employ clever tricks to beat his opponents.

#2 Touhai Densetsu Akagi: Yami ni Maiorita Tensai

touhai densetsu akagi

Translated to “Akagi: The Genius Who Descended Into Darkness,” this famous manga-turned-into-anime aired in 12 episodes in 2005 – 2006. The original manga was written and illustrated by talented artist Nobuyuki Fukumoto and became a bestseller in its home country. Akagi has sold in 12 million copies in Japan.

The plot tells the story of Shigeru Akagi, a 13-year-old boy who defeated members of the Yakuza gang in a mahjong game. Akagi turns out to be a very talented gambler, who goes through a lot of trials to secure himself a better life off the streets. The series is regarded to this day as one of the most powerful gambling anime shows.

#1 Saki

saki anime top5

Saki is another widely famous gambling anime that combines elements from Akagi and Kakegurui. It originated from a manga written and illustrated by Ritz Kobayashi. The original story transformed into an anime TV series that aired in 2009. Later on, a few side stories also saw the light of day on TV.

Saki Miyanaga is a first-year student in high school who hates mahjong. Nonetheless, one of her friends introduces her to the school’s mahjong club, which Saki reluctantly joins. It turns out she has the special skill of keeping her score at zero. She developed her talent under dark family circumstances, where she was forced to play mahjong and was then punished regardless of the game’s result.

In Conclusion

Anime is a very intriguing art format that has conquered the world thanks to its beautiful animations, unique style, and realistic approach to storytelling. It has become wildly popular in the Western world even among people who are otherwise unfamiliar with Japanese culture. This is a long way for a modern-day TV series format that began its life in the form of lantern shows back in the 19th century.

Interestingly, anime was created during World War II, and the first movie came out in 1945. Soon enough, Toei Animation and Mushi Production embraced the new genre, and things quickly took off. Nowadays, there are anime series on all sorts of topics.

Talking about themes, we should mention that gambling anime by no means aims to glorify addiction. Rather, it looks at the issue from a more complex perspective, examining lots of social, personality, and family layers. If you observe carefully, you will find out that the main characters always go through a sort of a cathartic experience that helps them grow and build better lives for themselves.

In addition to the above-listed anime series, there are also quite a few gambling-related shows that are worth watching. Some of them include Naruto, Death Note, The Money Of Soul And Possibility Control, Death Parade, One Outs, etc.

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