Just like movies and video games, animes are as diverse as they can be. You can find an anime centered around just about anything from romance & action to more specific niches such as sports, tech, and gambling.
This article looks at the best anime focusing on the latter example. Of course, there are dozens of them out there, but believe it when we tell you that these are the best of all time.
Adapted for the screens by Madhouse, Gambling Apocalypse: Kaiji is an original manga work by Nobuyuki Fukumoto. It follows the life of an unlucky punter, Kaiji, who’s determined not to give up. After all, he is already deep into debt. What he goes through is universally relatable to all seasoned punters, as gambling is not always roses. So can a loaded loan shark be his salvation after all? There’s only one way you can find out!
2. One Outs
Also produced by Madhouse, One Outs is a masterwork about Kojima Hiromichi, a star baseball player who heads to Okinawa to get in shape. He meets fellow baseball-player, Tokuchi Toua, who doubles as a pro One Out gambler. He convinces him to sign for his team back home in an atypical agreement. Same as when you play in an online casino with craps for real money in real life, it is one that could see him end up with nothing if he keeps losing or a superstar if he keeps winning. One Outs is an adaptation of the original manga series by Shinobu Kaitani, with 25 episodes to binge on!
3. Legendary Gambler Tetsuya
With its easy-to-comprehend and relatable storyline, Legendary Gambler Tetsuya is the type of Manga you like on the first viewing. It is a story about the residents of Shinjuku who resort to gambling with the little they have got. So Tetsuya, the star, goes for Mahjong, giving the houses a run for their money. And when he is about to get cocky, he comes across Boushu-san, a seasoned gambler who makes him doubt his skills. It is an adaptation of the award-winning Fūmei Sai’s Manga that goes by the same name.
4. Akagi: The Genius Who Descended into Darkness
Nobuyuki Fukumoto writes a sequel to his previous work, Ten, on this one. It is about Akagi, a master of mahjong and other forms of gambling, who goes where others fear to tread. He defeats the feared Yakuza only at age 13, becoming a god of the game revered by everyone. For the anime screens, the published copies gave rise to a 26-episode anime directed by Yuzo Sato.
A faithful adaptation to the original mahjong manga by Ritz Kobayashi directed well. It showcases complementing scenes that immerse you into a narrative about Saki Miyanaga, a student who dislikes mahjong since she was young. She, however, becomes obsessed with the game as she grows, trampling over everything standing between her and the national mahjong tournament.
With its rather unorthodox ideology of developing gambling skills early in school, MAPPA’s Kakengurui is an exemplary beacon for the gambling anime category. Written originally by Homura Kawamoto with illustrations from Tooru Naomura, the 2-season series tells a story about a girl named Yumeko Jabami who transfers to the gambling school, Hyakkaou Private Academy, and she might be the best of them all!
7. Death Parade
Inspired by the short film Death Billiards by Yuzuru Tachikawa, Death Parade is a 12-episode series by the same creator. As the title suggests, Death Parade teleports you to the afterlife, where humans enter Decim’s Quindecim after death. Here, they get tricked by Decim to place their soul as a wager while he knows so well that he will decide their fates no matter the outcome.
8. No Game, No Life: Zero
Based on Yū Kamiya’s novel series, No Game, No Life is an anime created by the same author in collaboration with his wife, Mashiro Hiiragi. It aired for the first time on July 15, 2017, telling a story about Sora and Shiro, who go by the tag Blank in the gaming world. Little do they know that their life is about to change when they receive a message challenging them to join a chess tournament.
And there you have it, a list of the best gambling animes of all time. Sure, there are other gambling animes you can find out there, but rest assured that they do not tackle gambling straightforwardly as those listed here. As for which one is the best among all eight, it all depends on you, to be honest. While others will like the mythical narrative of Death Parade, others will be engrossed in Kaiji’s journey to see whether he can find the light at the end of the tunnel.