Introduction: Gambling Mangas
The term manga actually means “whimsical picture”, though in the west we associate the word with Japanese comics. In fact, the All Japan Magazine and Book Publisher’s and Editor’s Association (AJPEA) has stated that the combines land based and digital income from manga comes in at over $3.89 billion in 2017. Among all the huge variety of titles and genres, there’s space for just about everything. So it should come as no surprise to find manga’s featuring and centered around the theme of gambling and gamblers. Let’s take a brief look at five of the best gambling mangas according to the online gambling sites in Japan.
These are a series of gambling mangas that center around the theme of the art of gambling. Its full name is Tobaku Mokushiroku Kaiji or Ultimate Survivor Kaiji. Funnily enough, there’s a famous Japanese slot machine called Kaiju which is powered by Elk Studio, though the comic and the casino game are unrelated. The main character is called Kaiji, who’s trying to escape his debts. Though he constantly gambles with his neighbors, he is never able to win. Only when later confronted with a life threatening situation, does Kaiji realize that he does, in fact, possess great skill in gambling? The comics are really episodes of Kaiji getting into trouble and then using his gambling prowess to escape from unpleasant situations.
Gambling Mangas: Kakegurui
The full title of this manga is “Compulsive Gambler” or Kakegurui. It’s an intriguing tale about a certain school call the Hyakkaou Private Academy. Here the children of the wealthy and influential are educated. But there is an interesting though ultimately dangerous game being played at the school. All the students at the school must take part in a betting game. But the prizes and losses are a huge consequence. Essentially the students bet against each other. They put at stake their future fortunes and career possibilities.
The outcomes can mean the total loss of everything, along with huge debts and you end up becoming “house pets” for the others at the school. Those who fail to settle their debts before the end of the school term, receive “Life Schedules”. These are actions and rules which will influence a person’s whole career and even their entire life. But everything takes a more serious change when a new student, Yumeko Jabami, comes to the school. He has extraordinary powers and quickly sees through the school’s gambling scams.
Gamble Fish is one of the most popular gambling mangas, though it’s actually classed as “tankobon”. This means that it’s not a serial, but more of a stand-alone, with a complete episode each week, rather like an individual book. It tells the story of Tomu Shirasagi, wh is a 14-year-old boy who happens to be the son of a renowned trickster called Yumeichirou Shirasagi. He goes on to attend the famous Shishidou Academy, where he realizes that he’s no ordinary young man. It transpires that he’s an expert con artist himself, and the manga is following his journey into the darker side of the academy.
Gambling Mangas: Akagi
To give the manga its full title; Akagi: Yami ni Oritatta Tensai. This translates to ” Akagi: The Genius Who Descended into Darkness”. It follows the story of Shigeru Akagi. These gambling mangas were published in 1991 and still remains very popular to this day. In the manga, Akagi manages to beat a local yakuza in a name of Mahjong. Mahjong is a tile based game from China. After his win, he goes into hiding. The game made him into a legend, and though no one has seen him for many years, he suddenly returns. This is in order to play against the king of the underworld, Iwao Washizu.
The Liar Game
This last manga was translated into both Chinese and Dutch. The Liar Game centers around an unbelievably honest girl, Nao Kanzaki. One day he receives a package that contains $1 million. Along with the package comes a note informing her that she has been invited to “The Liar Game Tournament”. Rather than play according to the rules of fair play, the idea behind this game is to lie and cheat as much as possible. Those that lose will have to pay back a debt according to their individual losses. At some point in the story, Kanzaki akes a deal with Shinichi Akiyama, whose a well-known con-artist. This gambling manga is their story as they progress through the game, freeing others from debt whilst at the same time trying to break the game and those behind it.