Anime is undoubtedly one of the most beloved attractions within the
entertainment industry, with an estimated 3.5 percent of the world’s population regularly watching these Japanese movies and series. From Dragon Ball to One Piece and Naruto, there are thousands of great shows to watch from a wide range of genres. Today, we’ll take a look at some of the best anime about gambling and risk-taking and what makes them worthwhile choices. Whether you like taking risks yourself, you will certainly want to give a try to some of these great shows.
For a long time, gambling has been one of the world’s favourite pastimes. Most of us have participated in some type of gambling at some point in our lives, whether it was sports betting or classic games like roulette and blackjack; so it’s only logical that the subject is also incredibly popular in movies and TV shows. Given its popularity, gambling has always been portrayed on the screens, and thousands of movies and TV shows based on the subject have been created throughout history, either about casinos in Las Vegas, avid gamblers, or the mob. However, it’s not just Hollywood that pays homage to thrills of gambling, as several manga and anime also focus on the theme.
While gambling is a prominent theme or at least a recurring motif in anime, it is mostly a cultural trend rather than the anime focusing on gambling on purpose. Gambling was an important aspect of the post-war reality in Japan, and these shows in fact focus on risk-takers and the undeniable thrill we get when waiting on the outcome of a wager, which, according to this site review, is the exact feel that the online gaming industry seeks to provide to players all over the world.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best and exciting anime based on gambling.
Kakegurui, out of all the gambling anime you may come across, will certainly get you hooked on from the first episode on. Available by Netflix, the series is based on a manga series written by Homura Kawamoto and illustrated by Toru Naomura.
The plot takes place in Hyakkaou Private Academy, a high school where students are assessed exclusively on their gambling abilities. As strange as it may seem, the academy’s purpose is to create future leaders and professionals entirely based on their ability to outperform their classmates in various games. Students wager their own money on these games and either flourish or fail and become subservient to the triumphant ones.
2. No Game No Life
No Game No Life is a surreal comedy that follows Sora and Shiro, shut-in NEET siblings and the online gamer duo behind the legendary username “Blank.” They view the real world as just another lousy game; however, a strange e-mail challenging them to a chess match changes everything—the brother and sister are plunged into an otherworldly realm where they meet Tet, the God of Games.
The mysterious god welcomes Sora and Shiro to Disboard, a world where all forms of conflict—from petty squabbles to the fate of whole countries—are settled not through war, but by way of high-stake games. This system works thanks to a fundamental rule wherein each party must wager something they deem to be of equal value to the other party’s wager. In this strange land where the very idea of humanity is reduced to child’s play, the indifferent genius gamer duo of Sora and Shiro have finally found a real reason to keep playing games: to unite the sixteen races of Disboard, defeat Tet, and become the gods of this new, gaming-is-everything world.
3. Legendary Gambler Tetsuya
With a classic master and disciple plot in which the pupil excels the tutor, this anime series tells the story of Tetsuya, a brilliant gambler in post-World War II Japan who plays mahjong and always plays to the limit of his skills: Tetsuya enjoys cheating anytime the opportunity arises. “It’s only cheating when you get caught,” he says. “Until then it’s a winning strategy.”
But the best thing about this anime is that Tetsuya is based on the true story of gambler Takehiro Irokawa, who was also known as Asada Tetsuya. Therefore, the gritty reality imbued in the anime is one of the reasons why Legendary Gambler Tetsuya has an amazing plot.
4. Akagi: The Genius Who Descended into Darkness
Also known as Touhai Densetsu Akagi: Yami ni Maiorita Tensai, this is another gambing anime set after World War II. With Japan still reeling from the horrific bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Akagi centres on the narrative of the title character, Shigeru Akagi, is a young kid who goes up against Yakuza gangsters in mahjong games and beats them at only 13 years of age.
Akagi swiftly demonstrates his skills by aiding Nangou, an inveterate gambler who has amassed an enormous debt, and by achieving a better life for himself through his aptitude at mahjong, a desire for many people in post-World War II Japan. The anime is based on the manga series of the same name written and illustrated by Nobuyuki Fukumoto.
5. Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor
Also created by Nobuyuki Fukumoto, and directed by Yuzo Sato, the same director responsible for Akagi, this anime follows the story of Kaiji Itou, a miserable vagabond who spends most of his days intoxicated.
When an unscrupulous associate dupes him into accumulating a massive debt, Kaiji is compelled to sober up and join an illegal, underground gambling ring aboard a cruise ship.
There’s a lot of action going on, and there aren’t just one or two violent conflicts that forces Kaiji to adjust to his new life, which is fraught with peril. One of the the finest anime about gambling ever made, the narrative is deep and entertaining, and Kaiji’s character is both believable and inspiring to anybody looking for a change in their lives.