Number 5: One Outs
To start with, let us look at an anime that doesn’t just centre around gambling. You might say it combines the world of gambling and sports betting all in one go. One Outs is a successful manga series that was created by Shinobu Kaitani. The first chapter was published in 1998 and continued until 2006. Two years later, the series gained a relaunch of the full collection along with its first anime adaptation in late 2008. The anime adaptation was created by anime powerhouse, Madhouse, and was able to recreate the series up until volume 10. The show ended March 2009 with a full list of 25 episodes.
The story revolves around a young baseball team named the Saitama Lycaons. This team runs into the mysterious underground batting game, One Outs. A batter and pitcher face off against each other in a 1v1 battle. It is through this game that Kojima meets Toa Tokuchi, a pitcher with no immediate qualities but reveals himself to be an untapped talent in his field. Witness young Tokuchi in a dangerous, high stakes story with his credibility and future career all on the line.
Sports anime is an incredibly popular category, especially with titles such as Haikyu, Yuri on Ice and many others. However, One Outs carries the soul of gambling far more than the sport of baseball itself. The main character, Tokuchi, is an intimidating protagonist who enjoys the thrill of outsmarting his opponents and controlling everyone on the field. However, he isn’t the only manipulator. The new manager of the baseball team who wishes to use Tokuchi to make the Lycaons more popular is perfect opposition for the angsty anti-hero. Everything in this show is met with sinister undertones, strategic mind games and a heavy atmosphere which envelops every round in the game.
This gambling anime may be disguised as a sports anime, but it certainly delivers on almost all the stress-inducing aspects that come with it. There is a reason why it can also be placed in the “psychological” genre.
Number 4: Legendary Gambler Tetsuya
Legendary Gambler Tetsuya was first created back in 1997, with it being drawn by Yasushi Hoshino and written by Fumei Sai. It was incredibly popular when it continued, producing up to 41 volumes and even winning Kodansha Manga Award in the year 2000. Because of this award, it was able to get the recognition it needed to start its anime adaptation later on in the year, which was developed by Toei Animation. The anime had a total of 20 episodes that split into 2 seasons. The show finished in 2001, the following year.
The plot involves a professional gambler by Tatsuya, who lives in Shinjuku after the events of the Second World War. Tatsuya makes his living through gambling on games of Mahjong in parlous and even underground facilities. He will even compete in illegal mahjong parlous, doing whatever he can to win money in order to survive the post-war depression that came after the vents of the war. This story is in fact based on the events of real-life gambler, Takehiro Irokawa, who gained the nickname of “Hourouki Mahjong” during his heyday. Watch as Tetsuya navigates this dark world using whatever method he can to get by.
What makes this type of gambling anime most intriguing is that Tetsuya isn’t exactly a “pure” kind of hero. In fact, he straight up cheats in almost every game he plays. Cheating is one of the most prominent and important aspects of playing the game. In this world of recovering from a brutal war, cheating was considered the turning point between the professionals and the amateurs. If you can outsmart your opponent, then that is all that it takes to win. Every game that Tatsuya plays is a strategy game full of dirty tricks and overcoming obstacles.
While it is through the games that the show gets exciting, it is the characters and the stories that surround them that makes this anime truly shine. It isn’t just Tetsuya that is trying to get by, but the many other residents that are followed by tragic backgrounds and believable struggles. While there are many comedic parts to help break this tone down, behind the funny faces is a real story of genuine sadness that comes from living a life that has kicked you down. This alone is what makes the anime an intriguing show to watch. Full of high-stake gambling with emotional consequences.
Number 3: Akagi
If you wish to raise the stakes even further in your anime, then Akagi certainly has you covered with an interesting concept of adding Yakuza into the mix. Akagi: Yami ni Oritatta Tensai was first introduced as a manga back in 1991. The manga was both written and illustrated by Nobuyuki Fukumoto, and it is actually a spin-off from his previous work named Ten. It has a list of up to 36 volumes with the series ending in 2018. The anime adaptation, also created by Madhouse, ended before the manga finished with only 26 episodes ending in 2006. However, this show was even given a live-video adaptation in 2015 which starred on Japanese network television.
The story revolves around the gambling amateur, Shigeru Akagi. Coincidently, this is also set after the events of World War II. After surviving a near-death experience from a game of chicken one evening which involves his being chased by the police, Akagi decides to enter a mahjong parlous to shake them off. Unknown to him, this is a Yakuza owned establishment. Even though he isn’t too familiar with the game of mahjong, he uses his quick wits dumb luck to overcome the trials and adversities that follow him. Before you know it, Akagi becomes a professional gambler as he faces off against various members of the seedy underbelly of Japan. The more he plays, the more unshakable he becomes to the face of death itself. A true legend is soon to be in the making.
Adding the concept of mafia involvement truly raises the stakes of this particular anime. Unlike those who play to escape of poverty or wish for fame, lives are truly on the line here as Akagi must defeat opponent who are known as truly dangerous criminals. What makes this more stress-inducing is the fact that Akagi begins this journey at the age of 13. As the story progresses and Akagi delves further and further into the criminal underworld, the more you see own sanity begin to unravel. Every game he wins puts him into a deeper, melancholic madness. It gets to the point where the only thrill and satisfaction he gets out of life is through high-risk gambles. Akagi alone is enough of a reason to watch as his own mentality is what creates the excitement of the show. You almost feel infatuated with him yourself as he twists and tortures his opponents through strategic mind games. We all love a good psychotic character.
Number 2: Kakegurui
Speaking of psychotic characters, how about entering school full of them? The anime, Kakegurui (Compulsive Gambler) is the school to attend. Created by Homura Kawamoto and illustrate by Toru Naomura, the manga was first introduced in 2014 under the handle of Square Enix’s Gangan Joker. 11 volumes have been made so far, and the series is still continuing. So far it has managed to sell over 5 million copies worldwide. The anime began its adaptation 2017 and had just finished its second season, which streams exclusively on Netflix. This is yet another anime that has been able to produce multiple spin-off manga’s and have its own live-action TV series.
As mentioned before, the anime is centred around a high school setting. Although unlike most schools, there is a sinister twist to its social hierarchy. It is to be at the top, and it isn’t about being the most popular or how smart you are. It is gambling. The students of this prestigious academy can only move up if they gamble their money away to achieve higher social standing. Those who lose are left as mere pets indebted to the higher-ranked students. However, there is one transfer student who doesn’t care about anything like money or power. She gambles for the sheer thrill of it. Yumeko Jabami is gorgeous, talented, charismatic and just full of joy. But when she gambles, she reveals a whole other side of herself. A sick, twisted side that goes feral at the thought of gambling it all.
It is no lie that this anime has gained a notorious following for reasons that may be a little risqué. The anime is certainly the most provocative of the recommendations so far. Every student in this school is a complete psycho. Whether they are a deranged sex maniac or an emotionally, manipulative sociopath, it is pretty clear that morals and ethics are thrown out the window in this school. Our main character even shows signs of being sexually aroused whenever she places her high-stake bets. She certainly isn’t afraid to get up close and personal with any of her opponents, regardless of gender or status. The games themselves can range from simple poker to crazy labyrinths. Each challenge gets more and more absurd and wild. While not the most realistic anime about gambling, it is far more entertaining than other shows. If you enjoy a colourful cast of beloved crazies as they battle each other in both wits and insanity, then Kakegurui can provide all of that and more to satisfy your twisted mind.
Number 1: Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor
Perhaps the best and most popular gambling anime of recent times, Kaiji is a phenomenal story of one man’s struggle through varied, insane challenges. The manga series, written by Nobuyuki Fukumoto, was published in 1996 and is continuing even now, with a total of 71 volumes. The series itself is divided into six parts, each consisting of a different game and story arc. Winning the 22nd Kodansha Manga Award and selling over 21.5 million copies, it is no wonder it gained not only an anime, but a full-length feature film based on the manga named “Animal World”. The anime itself began in 2011 but shortly ended with only 26 episodes.
Our hero in this story is Kaiji, a down-on-his-luck, poor man who wishes to simply get by in the world. After being tricked into debt by his friend, he now has 10 million yen to pay back and fast. In a last-ditch effort to pay this off, Kaiji is summoned to a special game on a cruise ship. After that, he is pulled into a gripping conspiracy as he must use his own mathematical talents to win his own life in a series of daring and horrific trials.
Without giving away too much, the anime is incredible in building suspense and drama, mixed perfectly with simple games that are full of rules and complications. For example, the first arc revolves around a cruise ship where players play a life-and-death battle of rock-paper-scissors. While it may sound silly, the direction of the story and the dread that comes with makes this the most exhilarating show based on the survival of the fittest. You never know who you can trust, and you see how far Kaiji is willing to go in order to survive. A gripping and intoxicating show that will leave you wanting more after every revelation. Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor truly earns its title through its playful and masterful storytelling.
What Is Anime?
The purpose of this list is to give you some of the best and most creative gambling shows from Japanese Animation. From classic games like mahjong to poker with dangerous twists. In the world of anime, everything is exaggerated and filled with theatrics. Japanese Animation is a spectral of varied styles combined with the grand spectacles of everyday life. Even some as common as a high school setting can be filled with quirky characters and intense moments.
While these other examples are not gambling animes per se, they do contain methods of gambling mixed with incredible stories.
One of the most gripping animes in the early 2,000. Light Yagami finds a notebook that allows him to kill anyone that he writes their name down in. Watch as he outsmarts the world and his deadly rival, L, in a thrilling game of cat and mouse.
Prepare for an anime that overflows the senses. Join Yukihara Soma as he battles with his tingling cuisines in cooking tournaments galore. Gambling his dreams against the foods from across the globe.
One of the most influential and popular anime’s of the generation. Join Naruto as he journeys to become the leader of the ninjas in epic fantasy action series. Along the way, he is helped by teammates, teachers and even a few gamblers as well.
What Do You Suggest Watching?
Even if anime isn’t your thing, being an avid gambler can make media such as this just as entertaining as the games people play in real-life. There are many twists and turns to playing gambling games, and anime has the power to bring this to full fruition with its dramatic storytelling and incredible animations. So why not suspend your disbelief and enjoy stories that enrapture the many complex emotions of what it means to be a gambler.