Anime of the Week: Kaiji
March 30, 2012 11 Comments
Gambling, gambling, gambling! This Anime of the Week brings you Kaiji. Strategy, luck, skill, and ZAWA ZAWA. The show has it all. Bring some tissues because manly tears will definitely be spread. Zawa zawa~
What’s it about: Kaiji is a man who carelessly gambles and drinks his life into heavy debt. He seeks help from a debt-collector, Endo, to repay the money he owes. Instead of deciding to spend ten years of his life to repay his debt, Kaiji takes a chance to repay it all in a single night by boarding a cruise ship where gambling isn’t all what it seems to be.
What it sounds like: Liar Game, apparently. I personally couldn’t find a good comparison to Kaiji, but co-host, Ven, describes it to be much like the manga, Liar Game. Both main characters experience ups and downs as they gamble with dangerous strangers.
Why you should watch it: Gambling in the Kaiji series isn’t like any other kind of gambling you’ve seen anywhere else. The first arc of the first season is a seemingly simple rock-paper-scissors game. However, it’s much more complex than that. Each person is given a specific amount of rock/paper/scissors cards and must challenge other players to win a star from them. Stars have a value of 5/10 million yen (?) and are used to clear the debts at the end of the game. Anyone who loses all of their stars is sent to a fate much worse than being in heavy debt. Keep in mind, this is the least dangerous arc of Kaiji. From there on out, it’s a game of life or death. Kaiji’s a persistent and strong-willed character, someone you wouldn’t see everyday on the streets. The music used in Kaiji is also well conducted. There’s not too many instances where a single track is overused or repeated for the sake of dramatic tension. The music compliments the mood of each episode extremely well, allowing some moments to stand out more than others. ‘Beginning’ might be one of my favorite tracks:
Kaiji’s second season was my anime of the year of 2011 for a reason. It was absolutely brilliant. There’s so much cleverness and strategy built up in the arcs that it didn’t even matter to me that they were long. It’s these kinds of shows that’s just filled with adrenaline and excitement. I found it impossible to just put down for awhile. Hell, Ven and I were even gambling ourselves to challenge each other of what would happen next in the series. This is what anime should be nowadays. It gets you excited about watching it. It gets you involved with what’s happening on screen and invested with the story. Kaiji’s one of the most manliest shows I’ve watched to date. So many manly tears are shed in the series, you can’t help but invest yourself into the sort of situation these characters are placed in. If the character designs appear to be a turn off for you, I urge you to overlook them for the sake of just watching what happens in Kaiji. The payoff will definitely be worth it.