Today we’ll talk about the best gambling anime series. Some have elements of gambling (like poker anime) while others have clear discussions about it.
From Yu-Gi-Oh! to Naruto, you’ll almost certainly have watched at least one episode of anime before – even if you didn’t realize you were doing so. But did you know that gambling anime exists as well?
Yes, you heard that right. Let’s get started.
Joker Game is an anime series that originally began as a novel series, and has also become a film. The series takes place during the 20th century, and it’s just before World War II is about to impact the world.
While Joker Game does not explicitly talk about gambling throughout the series, you will find various shows where people are playing poker and whatnot. So, you could theoretically class part of this series as gambling anime.
The original series of Joker Game ran from 2008 to 2016.
Kaji: The Ultimate Gambler
Kaji: The Ultimate Gambler is a movie based on the Kaji: The Ultimate Survivor series. The film was first shown in October 2009 and was pretty well-received in the world of anime; domestically, it generated the equivalent of $25 million. Around two years later, Kaji 2 went live.
The movie follows Kaji Itou, who finds himself in a tricky situation after an ex-colleague tricks him and he is in significant debt. Kaji turns to illegal gambling as a viable solution, with the other option being to spend 10 years paying what he owes. It’s one of the best examples of gambling anime.
Kakegurui: Compulsive Gambler
By now, you’re probably noticing that there’s a lot more anime with gambling than you perhaps originally thought. Kakegurui, also known as Kakegurui: Compulsive Gambler, is yet another example of this.
Kakegurui is still running at the time of writing, having first aired in 2014. In the series, those at the top of the high school get there by being good at gambling – rather than any other merits.
In this gambling anime series, some of the characters fall into debt – which they must pay off before they graduate.
Kakegurui also has a video game called Kakegurui: Cheating Allowed. You can also watch the series in multiple languages.
Usogi is yet another anime with gambling where you can clearly see gaming take place. This one follows a gambling underworld, with Baku being the main character throughout the series and known as “The Lie Eater”. In this gambling anime show, Baku and a couple of accomplices aim to rise to the top of the gaming space.
During the show, you will also witness IDEAL – a group of criminals that Baku and his own partners come into frequent run-ins. The series ran from 2006 until the end of 2017, and gambling in it typically involves significant sums of money.
Saki is another manga anime series, and yet again, it’s an anime with gambling as a huge player in the show. The show mainly focuses on Mahjong, a hugely popular game both in Japan and other parts of the world.
Whether you class Mahjong as gambling is up for debate, but it follows similar themes to many table games. Moreover, the main character would play for money when doing so with her family.
The original Saki TV series ran between April and September 2009, with the manga show lasting from June 2011 to March 2018.
Mahjong Hishouden: Naki No Ryuu
Another gambling anime featuring Mahjong is Mahjong Hishouden: Naki No Ryuu. The series focuses almost entirely on this particular game, and it’s an interesting insight into how you can outwit your opponents and succeed in similar games.
The main character uses the same move in every game, and he only plays against other criminals. He’s known as “Crying Dragon”. The series is one of the older ones on our list and ran between 1985 and 1990.
Since it stopped airing, the series has become a variety of video games. These were released in the late 20th century.
Legendary Gambler Testuya
Also featured in our anime with gambling is Legendary Gambler Tetsuya. This time, we’re heading back to just after the Second World War – which is when this series is set. Like many of the other gambling anime shows on our list, Mahjong heavily features in this series.
Legendary Gambler Testuya’s anime series ran from October 2000 until March 2001. The series won an award in 2000 and is one of the most popular shows in this particular genre. Testuya often adopts questionable tactics to win, making him perhaps less “legendary” than the main character in our previously-mentioned show.
Mudazumo Naki Kaikaku: The Legend of Koizumi
Mudazumo Naki Kaikaku: The Legend of Koizumi is a light-hearted anime with gambling involved that you might want to watch if you’re a beginner. In this series, various global leaders – including former US President George W. Bush – face off against each other in a game of… you guessed it… Mahjong.
Mudazumo Naki Kaikaku: The Legend of Koizumi has a manga series that aired between 2006 and 2015, with the show featuring these leaders airing in 2010. In addition to Bush, the show features North Korea’s Kim Jong Un II, Vladimir Putin of Russia, and former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Have you ever found yourself eager to watch an anime thriller? If so, Akagi is an anime with gambling that you should definitely watch in your spare time. The anime show ran from October 2005 to March 2006, with the manga series running from 1991 up until 2018.
Akagi is a diverse gambler in terms of his skills; you’ll need to ask yourself whether the majority of them were genuine or not. He goes to any stretch necessary in order to win, including several methods that involve cheating. He’s also willing to take huge risks in order to finish on top of the tree.
Touhai Densetsu Akagi: Yami ni Maiorita Tensai
The next entry on our gambling anime list is Touhai Densetsu Akagi: Yami ni Maiorita Tensai. This series involves the main character Nangou, who racks up debt totalling 3 million Japanese Yen. Things get pretty dark for him, and he gets to the last resort stage during this series.
Nangou wagers his life to try and recover from his troubles, but things do not go well in the beginning. Shigerou Akagi takes over the game before the series shows his career as one of the best gamblers in Japan. Prior to coming into the arena, he was running from the police.
Anime Has Plenty for Gambling Fans to Keep Entertained
So, there you have it – that’s our list of gambling anime series complete. Anime with gambling is a huge subgenre, and you’ll find plenty of shows that include poker, Mahjong, and various other games. Each series is exciting and guarantees to keep you gripped for as long as you’ll let it.
These gambling anime series are also an excellent way to potentially learn Japanese if that’s what you want, and you’ll also gain an insight into Japanese culture – even if gambling is largely illegal in the country. Now that you’ve read our top gambling anime series, why not check them out for yourself and pick your favourite one?