Anime has grown in popularity worldwide over the recent years as the Japanese hand-drawn and computer-generated animation genre has seen a rapid increase in viewership as popular subscription streaming services like Netflix have embraced it.
In 2020, streaming giant Netflix reported a 50% increase in the number of households (100,000) who had watched at least one anime title over 2019, while Netflix is now saying that more than half of its global viewership have enjoyed anime over the past year.
“Anime is one of the cornerstones of our investment in Japan, watched by nearly 90% of our members here last year,” Netflix Anime Creative Director Kohei Obara said in a recent interview with Variety magazine. Anime about gambling simply sells.
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“At the same time, interest in anime has grown worldwide, and more than half of our members globally tuned into it last year,” added Obara, who oversees all of the anime acquisitions made by Netflix as the company’s Anime Creative Director.
And, like legal Sports Gambling has grown in online websites and online casinos across the United States and Canada, anime about gambling has also become more popular and Netflix and other streaming networks and sites like Crunchyroll have seen their viewership rapidly increase.
Many of these popular anime gambling shows see a particular style called Manga—used both to describe Cartoons as well as Comics—which conforms to a specific art style that originated back in the late 19th Century in Japan.
So, what are some of the best gambling anime shows for enthusiasts?
Here is a list of 10 that are worth a definite look, including the 2014 TV Show Kakegurui—The Compulsive Gambler, where the children of Japan’s wealthiest families attend a very unique High School.
Below are some of the best gambling anime offerings including who the main characters were and plenty of other pertinent details.
Number 1- Kakegurui – Compulsive Gambler
This anime has two seasons on Netflix
Plot- how much are you willing to gamble on when the risk is so high?
Let’s get our gambling freak on! pic.twitter.com/LswejPtEyO
— ✨Thee anime auntie is back ✨ (@blackgirlsanime) April 23, 2020
Legendary Gambler: Tetsuya
The Legendary Gambler: Tetsuya is based on a real-life gambler named Takehiro Irokawa (nicknamed Hourouki Mahjong) and the manga show originally debuted as The Legend of The Gambler: Tetsuya (1997-2005) before later changing to the Legendary Gambler: Tetsuya.
Like the American TV series Kung Fu (1972), Tetsuya has the narrative where the Student ultimately surpasses the Teacher, Weedhopper. The show was written by Fūmei Sai and it was illustrated by Yasushi Hoshino and then adapted into this 20-episode anime series.
The Legendary Gambler: Tetsuya appeared in Weekly Shōnen Magazine (1997-2005) before Toei Animation adapted it into the TV gambling anime manga show which was broadcast on TV Asahi from October of 2000 through March of 2001.
Kakegurui—Compulsive Gambler was created in 2014 by Writer Homura Kawamoto and Illustrator Tōru Naomura and it began its comic book serialization in March of 2014 in Square Enix in Gangan Comics Joker in this memorable anime about gambling offering.
In February of 2021, its chapters—including a prequel called Kakegurui Twin—were collected into 14 Tankōbon and the manga is licensed for an English-language release in North America.
The show follows gambler and main character Kakegurui at an elite High School for the children of the wealthiest in Japan called the Hyakkaou Private Academy, where all of the students are judged only on their Gambling skills.
The show, animated by MAPPA, aired from July 1, 2017 through September 23, 2017 on Tokyo MX, MBS, and other TV channels and had a total 12 episodes and can be found now on Netflix and it also has a spinoff series on Netflix titled Kakeguiri Twin (August, 2022).
The show, which features Kakegurui and main protagonist, second-year academy transfer student Yumeko Jabami, also had a second season called Kakegurui ×× (January 2019-March 2019) where all of the show’s cast reprised their roles.
One of the most commercially successful gambling anime series ever—it has sold over 12 million copies in Japan alone—Akagi is the story of Nango, a man in trouble with the Japanese Mafia (Yakuza) but who meets a Teen who teaches him how to win in Mahjong.
The tile gambling game of Mahjong ( 麻雀) weighs heavily in many of these anime gambling shows worth a look, and the Riichi Mahjong variant of the game has grown in popularity because of Online platforms and the increased appetite for Japanese Anime and Manga.
Akagi was developed by Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor creator Nobuyuki Fukomoto and the show has seen several Cartoons, Comic Books, Video Games, Live-action adaptations, and Merchandising created in the wake of Common Man Nango and the show’s popularity.
Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor
Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor (aka Gambling Apocalypse Kaiji) was created by Nobuyuki Fukomoto in 1996 and published in 2017.
Studio MADHOUSE picked it up and adapted it into a 26-episode series, which ran from October 2, 2007 to April 1, 2008. The Main Character Itou Kaiji is caught up in a Recession and spends all of his time vandalizing cars, smoking, and drinking and gambling before a man named Endou Yuuji shows up and tells him that a Loan he cosigned for a coworker was never paid off.
And with this coworker nowhere to be found, Kaiji somehow incurred the debt and with the extraordinary interest, it increased from ¥300,000 to more than ¥3,000,000.
Enmdou tells Kaiji he can erase all of his debt by winning in a single night on a gambling cruise.
You can watch the popular anime about gambling show Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor on Crunchyroll.
It's a @tudzdotexe takeover in my discord. We'll be watching Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor this Sunday 6pm UK!
'The most fearsome dangers of all are greed, paranoia, and the human survival instinct itself.'
— Jess (@soibssom) May 15, 2021
Gambling Apocalypse: Kaiji
Gambling Apocalypse: Kaiji was Written and Illustrated by Nobuyuki Fukumoto and has been serialized since February of 1996 as a comic in Kodansha’s Seinen manga—aimed at adult men—in a Japanese magazine called Weekly Young Magazine.
Gambling Apocalypse: Kaiji follows the adventures of consummate gambler and Main Character Kaiji Itō and has 6 series with the latest one, Tobaku Datenroku Kaiji: 24 Oku Dasshutsu-hen, which started back in 2017.
There were 26 episodes in the first two seasons of the adapted TV series’, Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor (October 2007-April 2008), and Kaiji: Against All Rules (April 2011-September 2011), produced by animation studio MADHOUSE and aired on Japanese Nippon TV.
Saki was Written and Illustrated by Ritz Kobayashi and the manga was first serialized on February 3, 2006 in Square’s Enix’s comic Young Gangan and it is licensed in English by Yen Press and had a 25-episode series adaptation aired from (April 2009-September 2009).
Saki follows the story of a Freshman High School student by the name of Saki Miyanaga who reluctantly enters the competitive gambling world in Mahjong after being introduced to the game by fellow Freshman student Nodoka Haramura.
This is a fun series for young Women and Gamblers alike, as after learning and mastering Mahjong at a young age, Saki is torn between showing off her skills to impress her new friends and help the school’s’ Mahjong Club win Tournaments or stay under the radar.
There have been several spinoffs of Saki. and a live-action TV series of this anime gambling show aired in Japan from December 2016 through January 2017 while there was also a live-action Saki film that opened up in The Land Of The Rising Sun in February of 2017.
You can watch Saki on Crunchyroll.
ONE OUTS is another MADHOUSE Inc.-produced—parented by Nippon TV— anime TV series Baseball fans and has anime in gambling and follows the story of Saitama Lycaons Pitcher Tōa Tokuchi who wins, then loses a bet against the team’s star Hiromichi Kojima.
After he makes the team, Saitama Lycaons Owner Saikawa offers Tōa Tokuchi a gambling-oriented “One Outs” contract, where his new hurler will get ¥5,000,000 for every Out but will lose ¥50,000,000 for every Run that he allows for the Lycaons.
ONE OUTS was Written and Illustrated by Shinobu Kaitu and was originally serialized in the manga magazine Business Jump (1998-2006). MADHOUSE offered up an anime TV adaptation of the popular series from October 2008 to April 2009 airing on Nippon TV.
Finished watching One Outs yesterday. The way it blends a baseball anime with the formula of a gambling anime is great. I gotta read the manga for the rest of it sometime. Same author as Liar Game. pic.twitter.com/n0XT4Yvm8c
— ☞SSSS.TEHVICT (@TehVict) August 18, 2022
Usogui—Translated “The Lie Eater”
Madarame Baku is Usogui (The Lie Eater), a gambler, who with his protégé Kaji Takaomi and Bodyguard Marco, tries to overthrow the underground 48-member Gambling organization Kakerou which employs 101 Referees or Debt Collectors in this classic.
Usogui Ch.536 Color Page pic.twitter.com/j2h7SMGkfb
— Sako Toshio Art (@ToshioArt) October 30, 2020
Written and Illustrated by Toshiso Sako and serialized in the seinen manga magazine Weekly Young Jump (May 2006-December 2017), the gamblers in this manga series—which was also adapted into original video animation series—use their Lives as antes or bets.
One Piece Film: Gold
Produced by Toei Animation and part of the Film series One Piece, One Piece Film: Gold is an animated action Film made in Japan in 2016 which was directed by Hiraki Miyamoto and made its world debut on July 15, 2016 at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Based on a ship and entertainment city, this movie focuses on the Straw Hat Pirates and a gambling excursion in the city owned by Gild Tesoro, a man they soon are challenged to a dice game in the VIP Lounge of the Casino after meeting him from the Concierge Baccarat.
After the Concierge uses her Devil Fruit powers to take all of Luffy’s Luck away, but after she confesses to her scheme, the Straw Hats refuse to give up their Money and a fight between Tesoro Dice and Mr. Tanaka ensues in this gambling anime cinematic thriller.
One Piece Film: Gold made its premiere in Japan on July 23, 2016 and the US and Canadian rights to this picture were acquired by Funimation, who announced the deal from January 10 to January 17, 2017.
Akagi: The Genius Who Descended Into Darkness
Another good anime gambling series to check out is Akagi: The Genius Who Descended Into Darkness (Touhai Densetsu Akagi: Yami ni Maiorita Tensai) and is the story of a 13-year-old boy named Shigeru Akagi who plays the Yakuza in a game of Mahjong and wins.
Protagonist and Akagi then befriends a compulsive gambler and street person named Nangou who is ¥3,000,000 in debt and who bets his open Life against the Japanese Mafia in one final game of Mahjong in an effort to clear his debt and his name.
This classic gambling anime show first aired with two live-action, Black-and-White movies (1995, 1997), the 12-episode series ran from October 5, 2005 through March 29, 2006, and then it became a live TV drama that aired from 2015 through 2017.
You can watch Akagi: The Genius who Descended into Darkness on Netflix.
Conclusion: Anime Gambling is Here to Stay
Gambling, like Pachinko machines—which have been around in Japan since 1920 and is now played by over 8 million people there—is a cultural thing, and the game of Mahjong has been big in Japan with illegal parlors part scene for decades on the Asian island nation.
Anime gambling content has seen this rise in Cartoon, Comics, TV, Movies and even in Live performances based on some of the characters and shows, and with Netflix making those recent commitments to anime gambling content.
Some other good movies with anime about gambling include Death Parade, Yu-Gi-Oh – Season 0, C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control, Alice in Borderland, and No Game, No Life. If you want a good one to start with, try Netflix’s Kakegurui—Compulsive Gambler.
Kakegurui: Compulsive Gambler (12 Episodes, Dub/Sub) is now on @netflix! pic.twitter.com/q3iWyBUSkK
— Netflix Anime U.S (@AnimeOnNetflix) February 1, 2018
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