Synonyms: Legendary Gambler Tetsuya
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Oct 7, 2000 to Mar 24, 2001
23 min. per episode
R - 17+ (violence & profanity)
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.651 (scored by 960 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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SynopsisIn the year 1947, the people of Shinjuku are down on their luck. With little money to buy food or necessities, some resort to gambling in order to survive. Traveling Tetsuya chooses to spend his time at Mahjong parlors where he is wiping the floor clean with his adversaries. However, when Tetsuya meets the intensely skilled Boushu-san, he realizes that his skills are still lacking.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Tetsuya - Jansei to Yobareta Otoko
Characters & Voice Actors
Legendary Gambler Tetsuya. This one of the anime I've been striving to watch for a long time. I first learned about it back in 2003 on an old anime site which doesn't even update anymore, and I've tried to watch it ever since. Up until a few months ago, I had only seen one episode. Now, of course, I've finished the series through a combination of subs and raws. I have to say it was worth the wait.
Story: As one might infer from the title, this show is about gambling. Gambling and gamblers (called bainin in the show) who cheat at gambling for a living. The name of the game is Mahjong. For those of you who don't know what Mahjong is, look it up. The MAL Mahjong club has a section on Mahjong hands. The basic premise of the story is various "good" bainin (Tetsuya and pals) facing off against "bad" bainin in Mahjong matches where both sides blatantly cheat.
The interesting part of the story is the cleverness with which some of this cheating occours. Tetsuya runs up against several opponents, and they each practice a different method of cheating (hand switches, elevators, tile tossing, tile-holding rings, magic "x-ray vision", etc.) It's interesting, although the dialogue during the active cheating scenes sometimes seems a bit sluggishly shonen. The cheating is more of a sideshow, though, compared to what is arguably the main dynamic of the show - an almost classic yakuza-film-style way of portraying Mahjong conflicts, seeming like a more passioate underground odyssey. All is helped along by a rich cast (which I'll get to later).
Art: Really mostly normal. Some weird faces, but not so ugly as some other shows. The ugly mugs are pretty believable, actually, given the characters are supposed to be destitute gamblers. But not fun to look at. Moving on.
Sound: The instrumental OST sounds very old-school, with trumpets andwhat I think is a viola making up most of the sounds. I liked it, but I don't think too many will. The OP and ED are nice, traditional manly songs, sung by men with moderately low voices. Voice acting itself is nothing special, really. The highlight of the auditory ensemble is probably the insert song "All Last", which plays during many of the major arc endings and encapsulates the whole yakuza-film atmosphere.
Character: It's a man's world. Mostly, aside from 2 female players and 1 bar hostess. The main focus of the plot is the coming of age of a young cocky lad, name of Asada Tetsuya, as he acquires a sense of bainin ethics. The message Tetsuya sends varies from arc to arc, but the general theme is this: "It's a cold, hard, dirty world out there, and only the strong (a.k.a. cheaters) survive." It is a worldview that's been done before, but the setting of post-WWII Japan makes a lot of sense. there are many other notable characters, from an old man who teaches Tetsuya to survive bainin Mahjong to a partner with a pompadour who gets his own arc to a left-handed drug addict who challenges Tetsuya to a match in order to get drug money. Very developed ensemble, and their matches show as much.
Enjoyment: Tetsuya was fun to watch for me because of a number of factors, mostly the gritty realism mixed with some Mahjong (a very cool game) and badassed cheating and, some Mahjong situations I've never seen before - particularly a double open reach and a Dora 16 hand.
Overall: Tetsuya was great, fun viewing, but it didn't really connect with me in all the ways I expected it to. Definitely worth the 20 episodes, even in raw form. If anyone wants to better understand the finer aspects of cheating, this is your show. Good concept, great execution. read more
Akagi is similar to Tetsuya in that they both deal with the dark, seedy underworld of Mahjong where the stakes are high and the consequences dire. Both Akagi and Tetsuya deal with similar dark themes, although Akagi is generally recognized to be the superior amongst the two. Tetsuya predates the Akagi anime by several years. Both have their own distinct styles and are great additions to the genre. If you liked Akagi then you should definitely check out Tetsuya.
Almost the only similarity is Mahjong (a chinese board game), and all the dirty triks that comes with that game cheating, figthing and the most importent surviving.
If you liked Tetsuya then you should definitely check out Akagi.
Akagi and Tetsuya are both about the same basic subject - that is, riichi mahjong - and although the emphasis is more on cheating and underhand play in Tetsuya than on the godly luck and mindmessing of Akagi, the two share a lot of common links - both are biographicals of sort, focusing on the rise of their titular subjects into sorts of mahjong legends. There's enough common ground that fans of Akagi will almost certainly like Tetsuya, and I should imagine vice-versa.
Opening Theme"REACH OUT" by Akiko Wada
Ending Theme"Kajitsu" by Teruo Isono
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