• Trailer: No good ones. The intro is something, at least.
  • What it’s about: Kaiji is a degenerate, down on his luck loser. As it turns out, his luck is worse than he thought – his former room-mate defaulted on a loan that he co-signed, leaving him to pick up the tab. The Yakuza offer him a way out: a one-night gambling cruise where the winners walk away debt-free. Who knows what happens to the losers, though…
  • Why you should watch it: Kaiji is…oddly compelling, series and character alike. The show is famous for its twists and turns, the mind-games that are played from start to finish. It’s the only series I know that makes Rock Paper Scissors not only central to the plot but interesting, to boot. It’s a gripping story, but I honestly couldn’t tell you why.
  • Caveats: The character designs: that nose. You do get used to it, but it’s going to be the first thing anyone comments on so it might as well be brought up. There really aren’t any interesting characters in the show other than Kaiji himself – they’re all rather one-note with little development. The show is best watched in short bursts; too much and it gets a little same-y.
  • Themes: Game theory (inextricable from the plot). Altruism, and how easily it goes by the wayside when your own future is on the line. That while evil men will do evil things, it is generally the individual who is the architect of their own demise, through procrastination, laziness, short-sightedness and greed.
  • Similar works: Akagi and No Game No Life. Outside of anime, Liar Game is a fantastic manga that follow much the same course.


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