• Anime recommendation: Kaiji
  • Anime recommendation: Kaiji

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  1. #1
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    Anime recommendation: Kaiji

    Hey there Outlaws! This isn't a review as such, but this is a relatively obscure anime that I think deserves more attention than it gets, not so different from our own beloved series in that regard.

    *ZAWA, ZAWA*



    This is Kaiji, a good-for-nothing layabout who fritters his money away on gambling and Pachinko. He wastes his life away in poverty and is by all accounts what you would call, a loser. After an unexpected turn of events, Kaiji ends up several hundred million yen in debt; his only option of paying it off? Take part in a shady, high-stakes gamble for a chance to start his life all over again.

    The cost of failure, however, is a matter of life or death. He isn't the only one invovled in this, many others have bet their lives on this desperate gamble and are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure their own survival, it's every man for himself.

    Something changes in Kaiji; he's no longer the witless bum you would have assumed him to be. He's calculative, scheming, always thinking up a plan to ensure his surival, as well as those he would be naive enough to call friends.

    So what, you might be thinking. Gambling is boring, who wants to watch a show about that? That's what I thought at first-- but Kaiji is a series that isn't afraid to explore the deep, darker side of human psyche and morality. It's an uphill battle all the way, against the shadiest, most sadistic group of individuals you could imagine, The Yakuza. From start to finish, it's a rollercoaster ride with highs that will have you gritting your teeth in excitement, and lows that will have you on the verge of tears. This is the most adrenaline inducing piece of media I have experienced in a long time, so much so that I spent last week binge watching the whole thing; I just had to see what kind of ridiculous scheme Kaiji was going to cook up next, or how harsh the reprecussions for his misjugdements.



    There are currently two seasons of Kaiji, both are excellent in their own regard although the first is arguably darker in tone. Fans are hopeful there will be a third season someday, but for now all we can do is hope.

    So yeah, give it a try sometime or something guys. I think you'll enjoy it.

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  3. #2
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    It certainly sounds interesting to me, but that's in part because my natural urge to understand my background comes into play here- I'm from a family of gambling problems (well, my mom's side)...And there's also a family history of mob involvement, being totally honest here. So mixing those two factoids together...This might be the perfect anime to delve into understanding what the heck is going on in my family's heads. Where do you recommend watching it? Or where did you find it, rather?
    "I don't know what words I can say
    The wind has a way to talk to me
    Flowers sleep, a silent lullaby
    I pray for reply
    I'm ready"
    -Melfina's Song

  4. #3
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    That's... Somewhat unsettling to hear, but very interesting all the same! ^^; (I'm kidding, that actually sounds really cool.)

    Personally, I watched the whole thing on Crunchyroll but I'm sure there are other sites that stream it. There's actually another series that came out a few years earlier called 'Akagi', it's a similar premise with high-stakes gambling but Akagi is a much darker character than Kaiji, I would say.

    He's a liiittle on the crazy side and kind of a sadist, too.



    I much preferred Kaiji though, since the 'games' they play are simple enough that anyone can follow them, wheras Akagi is all about Mahjong.

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    I'd probably stick to Kaiji for both the slightly less dark side of things and the simplicity, then...Because I just don't understand Mahjong, even if it's played a roll in series and movies I loved before. I love puzzles but...I just don't get that one. At all.

    And there's nothing especially cool about my ability to relate. I never really met the relatives that were dealing with the mob, besides my grandpa who worked for one of their slaughterhouses (like, the kind that produces meat you eat, not people, promise). And even then, it was well after he retired. As for the gambling...That's kind of what broke my family (my mom gambled away my dad's business and our home). So...With those things in mind, I tend to have to be cautious and avoid things that involve gambling, because I do admit I tend towards issues with it myself if I allow myself near it. I only gamble in virtual games that have no actual money involvement for that reason. I'll probably try to play along with the puzzles if there are any I can do in the show, therefore. Plus...My life won't be on the line like his.
    "I don't know what words I can say
    The wind has a way to talk to me
    Flowers sleep, a silent lullaby
    I pray for reply
    I'm ready"
    -Melfina's Song

  6. #5
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    I kind of said that without thinking, I'm sorry if it seemed like I made light of your familys' struggles or something like that. That must have been a terrible thing to go through, I can't even begin to imagine.

    I don't get Mahjong either, to be honest that's the reason I never finished Akagi, I just couldn't put myself in it. Kaiji is a more relatable character, as well-- he's a loser, but he's a lovable loser. I wouldn't say either series really 'promotes' gambling, either-- if anything it shows what a bleak, desperate thing it is. The only reason Kaiji keeps getting caught up in it is becuase, well... he's an idiot who doesn't know when to quit.

    Edit: Oh, as for playing along: early season one is just rock paper scissors, so that's simple enough. And then early season two you'd need a bowl and two dice (I can't remember the name but they specify the scores in the show), that's a really fun idea actually, I might try that when I next rewatch it.

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    I didn't think you were making light of it necessarily, silly- I just felt it was important to note the true part of it rather than romanticize it which at the time I felt might happen if I didn't say what I did. No harm done.

    I'm not sure if I'm a lovable loser, but I'm certainly often told I am lovable- and I'm certainly a loser in my own way, so I surely would feel able to relate! Based on what you've told me of Akagi, I probably wouldn't be able to relate either. Kaiji already sounds very much like me- stubborn/hot-headed and tendencies towards being a derp.

    I don't know if I could play along for that second game, but RPS is always easy to play with. Luckily for me, even if I do fail, I'm not in trouble like he is. We should play against each other sometime to play along! Actually maybe not. But it seems like a fun idea to play with it.
    "I don't know what words I can say
    The wind has a way to talk to me
    Flowers sleep, a silent lullaby
    I pray for reply
    I'm ready"
    -Melfina's Song

  8. #7
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    The Nexus' very own death gamble, huh? Sounds like fun! Just kidding. I'd be slightly afraid if someone related to Akagi, since he literally kneecaps a minor at one point. (To be fair, he's also a minor but I'm not sure if that makes it any better.)

    Fun fact: Akagi originally appeared in a manga called 'Ten' (also about Mahjong) but I've heard he commits suicide due to no longer being able to play because of his old age. He's... kind of a dark character, for sure. ._.;;

    Kaiji is great, though. And he cries. A LOT. You can't help but want to give the poor guy a hug. D:


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    I just watched the first two episodes, and it looks darn good so far. I like these psychological kind of anime. And it's executed it really well so far.
    Thanks for the recommendation!


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  11. #9
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    Glad to hear you're enjoying it so far, pseudohippie! ^^

    Funai is a despicable scumbag, isn't he? Like Kaiji, I was naive enough to fall for his tricks myself, even though he clearly has the kind of face that says: 'untrustworthy guy'. ._.;;


    Hehe, don't worry-- the ride has only just begun, it's only going to get crazier from here.


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    To be honest, right when they started playing Rock, Paper, Scissors, I thought "He's gonna betray Kaiji, isn't he? Yup. He suuuuure did!

    But I've watched a few more, and I'm loving it. I always like trying to figure out the reasoning behind strategies like this in anime, or any other medium, and I was able to figure out a few things.
    I was able to figure out at least part of why Kaiji purposefully lost the second hand. That way he'd know he wouldn't play his last rock.


    I might make a recommendation thread for Re:Zero a bit later.
    Oh, and I think Kaiji is Usopp's long lost brother lol.


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