English: Mahjong Legend Akagi: The Genius Who Descended Into the Darkness; The Legend of Mahjong: Akagi
Synonyms: Touhai Densetsu Akagi - Yami ni Maiorita Tensai
Japanese: 闘牌伝説アカギ 闇に舞い降りた天才
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Oct 4, 2005 to Mar 28, 2006
23 min. per episode
R - 17+ (violence & profanity)
L represents licensing company
Score: 8.111 (scored by 12093 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
drama mahjong psychological sports
SynopsisWhile mahjong is a game that is often played with family and friends, it is also a game that is played in the darkest corners of society. Nangou is a compulsive gambler who has accumulated debt over three million yen. In a last ditch attempt to clear his record, he decides to wager his life on a game of mahjong with the mafia. Unfortunately, as the game progresses, Nangou only moves further from the prize and closer to death.
When all hope seems lost, the game parlor is suddenly intruded upon by Shigeru Akagi, a young boy on the run from the police. Desperate to turn the game around, Nangou hands the game over to Akagi after teaching him a few of the rules. The mafia can only smirk as Akagi sits down to play. However, they soon come to learn that Akagi is a natural born gambler. An imposing figure who does not fear death. One who is destined to become a legend.
[Written by MAL Rewrite]
Related AnimeAdaptation: Akagi
Characters & Voice Actors
Akagi is based around its titular character gambling his way to the top of the underworld, his enigmatic prowess for mahjong often turning the tide of certain defeat into victory. Akagi is a cold, relentless character. He cares little for money or for his own life. In the heat of the gamble he stops at nothing less than completely crushing his opponent's will to win...
Akagi is the first Nobuyuki Fukumoto manga to get the anime treatment and the anime has been executed surprisingly well. It is with reason that I say, 'surprisingly'. When considering Fukumoto's original, while particulary famous in Japan and Korea, you can't help but think that it would be very difficult to animate it well enough to make it appeal to a wide audience.
Firstly there is the subject matter, Akagi (the anime), as with a number of other works by Fukumoto, basically involves Akagi (the character) playing a couple of games of the Japanese version of mahjong, gambling for keeps. Next Madhouse have kept (thankfully) with Fukumoto's original art style, with all of its unconventional flourishes (read; big noses etc.). And finally, the lead character, Akagi, is not exactly the easiest character in the world to relate to. In short, he is out of this world, nothing short of a true "God of Gamblers".
With all of this in mind it is 'surprising' just how intense this anime is. In the next couple of paragraphs I'll try and breakdown how this anime overcomes all of the above, making it one of the most original, mind-numbingly insane animes in a long, long time.
Firstly the mahjong. I have to admit that when I first started watching this anime I knew nothing about mahjong in general, let alone the Japanese version. The good news is that it doesn't really matter. The basic goal of the game and the rules are subtly explained as the anime progresses, and while it does help learn a bit about the different 'hands' everyone is going for it is definitely not a pre-requisite. You see, mahjong is game based on points so it is always pretty obvious who is in the lead, what kind of a hand Akagi needs to win the game etc. The finer points of mahjong all seem to come in to place as the games progress. The anime's direction involves a lot of internal dialogue. The audience is always privy to each characters' thoughts, allowing them to (conveniently) tell the viewer what kind of tile the character in question is waiting for, the number of points the hand they are going for will land them etc.
Fear not, I can wholeheartedly say that the mahjong in this anime does not form an obstacle in the enjoyment of the anime in any way, shape or form. Like me, you'll probably get really into the game as you watch - The danger associated with having to throw away your tiles (with the possibility of the tile being picked up and used by your opponent as his victory tile) makes the game, and this anime truly absorbing to watch.
The mahjong battles are awesome, leaving you on the edge of your seat the whole time, however the real reason that the mahjong battles draw the viewer in is the interaction between characters, or more specifically, the carefully constructed psychological battles that are played out before our eyes.
The characters cannot be mentioned without some reference to the drawing style, which plays a large role in creating the tone of the series. As with anything Fukumoto, the character designs do take a little getting used to. Yes the characters do possess noses so large that Pinocchio would be put to shame. Yes the characters in general are kind of... angular. Yes there are no busty 2D babes providing you 13 year olds with fan service - Okay, deep breaths, deep breaths... If you watch this anime past the first episode you will (hopefully) realize that these features ARE NOT necessarily bad things.
Firstly the originality really makes it stand out, and as you watch further into the series you begin to realize that the character designs do actually really suit the whole grim, macabre feel of the anime - hey, we're talking about a bunch of men gambling with more than money, with their very lives here - it's not exactly The Brady Bunch... Trust me, by the time the anime ends you will think that the character design presented in Akagi is the ONLY true way you could represent the vile, ugly nature of underworld thugs. Personally, I love Fukumoto's ouevre. The characters are very expressive and the drawing style is perfectly combined with Hideki Taneuchi's brooding score to paint an intensely bleak pictue of the Japanese underworld circa the 1960's. I'm giving art and sound a 10.
Next, on to Akagi the character. He is a prodigy, an enigma - put bluntly, you are going to have a hard time understanding what he is going through. This is both a good and a bad thing. In a way his absoluteness, his superhuman insight wraps Akagi in a veil of mystery and, to paraphase the Fonz, is what gives him 'his cool'. On the other hand, when the anime ends you feel like you still don't really know anything about him at all. His existence in the anime is kind of like that of a mystery film. He reveals a little of his character, answering one question, only to pose two more...
Now I like a piece of entertainment that doesn't completely reveal itself to the audience, making each and every one of us think for ourselves about the story's meaning, about what happens next. With Akagi however, this is taken to the extreme. The anime just kind of ends (mid-match). I know, that this is not really the fault of the animators as the original manga had still not ended its run. (At the time of writing the manga is up to 20 volumes and is still ongoing - the anime version of Akagi ends at the start of volume 13). Having said that though I kind of wished that the animators would have veered from the original manga a bit towards the end, to give it a proper ending.
For me personally it is such a shame that such an epic anime ends with not a bang, but a whimper, and it has a point taken off it for that... I hold out hope that there is a second season (it doesn't look likely though).
While my review does end on kind of a sour note, let it be known that up until the ending this anime is pure gold, definitely a must see. If it is the mahjong or the character design holding you back, I urge you to give it a try - if you dismiss this one on face value you'll only be missing out on one of the most original, nail-bitingly intense anime series around. (No real biggie:) read more
Akagi. Once again, I'm strung into a series by merely the name and a brief introduction summary.Well yes, "Akagi" isn't all that of an awesome name in itself, but where I came upon it it was named "Touhai Densetsu Akagi - Yami ni Maiorita Tensai"; "Gambler Genius Akagi - The Legend who Descended into the Darkness". Well, with reservation for translation. In any case, I acquired an episode to have a gander at what an Anime mainly about Mahjong could be able to offer...and if I'd be able to learn anything in the process.
Akagi Shigeru, a thirteen year old daredevil with an unknown background, stumbles in on a Yakuza quarter, right in the midst of a Mahjong battle. This is the birth of a new legend, as the narrator states, and Akagi has never played Mahjong in his entire life - yet, when taught the basics and (by a fluke) given a chance for a test round, he appears to play like a professional already. And this is just the beginning of the story, as it advances hastily through his career life as an underground genius, who uses clever strategies as well as dirty tricks to win his games.
The layout reminded me a lot about strategy Anime shows, such as Death Note, mainly, even though the stories differ greatly. The main character has a very fuzzy alignment; you can't quite put your finger on if he's really good or evil. He uses strategic tricks that the usual commoner would never have thought about, and the show even goes so far as to explain most of the tricks he pull, and how he reasons when reading the other people by the Mahjong table. And we mustn't forget about the thick layer of special effects that makes the simplest game of Mahjong into a battle of life and death (or worse) (see more under "Enjoyment"). Also, it's not solely based on Mahjong, as the main character is an overall gambler, so we're also acquainted with a streak of Russian roulette and the Japanese dice game Chouhan.
Yes, it's an incredible number I'm giving this one point, considering the first thought that probably pops up into most of people's heads as they see the first episode..."these characters are butt ugly." Yeah, that was my initial thought as well. But, it didn't take all that long before I actually got used to this unique drawing style, and came to like it more and more as the show progressed. The rest of the artwork - the backgrounds, the Mahjong tiles - absolutely flawless. When Akagi is faced with a round of the special Washizu Mahjong, where 75% of the tiles are transparent, the rendering of these tiles is simply stunning. And during the dramatic scenes (and there are a few, trust me), the animation goes smooth as silk.
Akagi's voice couldn't be better for the role he plays. Silent, yet sharp. And I imagine his snicker can send icicles down any opponent's spine. No voice actors are especially bad, the music blends in well with the show, and the opening/ending sequences fit very good as well (The opening sequence can sound annoying the first few times, but it really grows on you if you listen to it a few times more). The one thing that racks this score down is that 1)The show has a narrator, 2)He talks a whole lot, and 3)He has a nasal, close to soulless voice. It kinda ruins the effect on the drama that takes place.
It's easy reading the characters out, because each of them has a very distinct style of acting. There's the insane gambler Washizu, the dirty cop Yasuoka, the calm top-player Ichikawa and the young and nervous Osamu, among other colorful and charismatic personalities. And Akagi himself is deceitful, perceptive and willing to risk his life for the game...and probably one of the coolest motherf@$kers I've ever seen in action. </personalopinion>
Man, what can I say. It's been a long time since an Anime strung me in so tightly right from the very beginning. The dramatic effect factor plays a large role here - pauses are elongated to create the perfect amount of tension, the Mahjong tiles crash down on the playing table like meteors when played out, and the camera pans in on the facials to capture every drop of agony and clenching there is. And the flow of the story is as good as it can get...or, well, could have been. However, at the last six or so episodes, it stops to what almost feels like a complete halt, during the last, intense game we see Akagi play. It drags along painfully slowly, each tile taking forever to draw and collect/discard, and cuts off short at the last episode at a very abrupt ending, dislocating the otherwise so nice pace the Anime had. Hadn't it been for this snailing in the end, I would probably have rated the show a ten (yes, even considering the narrator), but I cannot allow myself to such for this.
Overall? A must see. If you're into an Anime with knife-sharp strategy and high stakes, this is your pick. And if you manage to acquire Triad's subtitling, they'll provide you with helpful translator notes along the way regarding the Mahjong games (boy, I dunno where I'd been if I wouldn't have had them), if it's unfamiliar terrain for you. Yes, I learned a few bits and pieces about the game, and experienced a great Anime to boot. read more
Both are gambling animes done by the same director and mangaka, both main character's are also voiced by the same seiyū, Hagiwara Masato.
Same exact art style, produced by the same people - Kaiji is sure to reward the viewer with as much intensity as Akagi, if not more. I highly recommend watching Akagi if you plan on watching Kaiji.
Same director and creator, similar character design, and both have gambling themes.
Both are made after the manga of the same author, both deal with gambling and exceptional, life-and-death situations when the main characters have to use all their intellect and presence of mind to survive. Similar design, too, ugly at the first sight but it grows on you.
Both Psychological animes with battles of wits and finding out what ur opponent has. Both about gambling.
Both anime comes from MADHOUSE, also done by the same director and mangaka.
The main characters are very similar.
Both are gambling animes, the little difference that in Akagi they focus on Mahjong (a chinese board game), but in Kaiji they play various games that can get them killed or they can win a lot of money, this part is correct for Akagi also
Exactly the same art style and use of tension, suspense and thrills. Both are great series but I like Kaiji a little better.
Same story, same feel, cept Akagi's a badass mudabitch, but Kaiji sheds manly tears
Both are gambling anime directed by the same director. The style of animation is completely the same. Both of them have amazing cliffhangers and both main characters analyze their opponents psychologically and play mind games in order to get the results they want.
Both are very strategic animes, I recommend!
The whole idea that they dont become scared of death and such
Same Author, Same Seiyuu for the main character, same graphic style.
Most important, both animes are about gambling, but the theme is made more psychological than what it could look like.
Same author, same style, same themes (gambling, underworld), same atmosphere... different point of view.
Another work made by Fukumoto Nobuyuki, same tense. the most insane decisions and gambles, the factual philosophy. Kaiji is full with original gambles' ideas while Akagi is a mere mahjong anime. However, it has also it's original strategies and cheating tricks.
Same art style
Both gambling animes
There's a lot of pressure to win in both
The main difference would be that Kaiji is more of a good guy and doesn't have such a dominating presence
The main character of One Outs is said to be created under the influence from Akagi. Both are similar in their extreme, cold-bloodied ability to win by mind-f*cking their enemies.
One gambling man, one game, and large sums of money. Those are essentially the three things that link these two anime together, both made by MADHOUSE studios. Both of these rely heavily on suspense and tension to draw the viewer in, you'll also find many other similarities such as art style and character personalities. To an extent it's a case of 'you like one, then you'll like the other'.
It's Akagi with baseballs, so cash.
Akagi is another anime about gambling men although it involves the game of mahjongg while One Outs is about baseball. The character design of Tōa Tokuchi is similar to Akagi's character, but then again the Madhouse animation studio has assembled a team of veterans from Akagi for the series. I will make more recommendations as the show progresses.
If you liked how Akagi took something boring like majhong and somehow made it exciting suspense mindgame action then One Outs delivers
except without the noses (Hey I liked the noses but most didnt...) and now its baseball.
both animes are based on how well they can use their minds. both main characters are similar in how badass they are compared to evreyone else in the anime
Both revolve around gamblers with amazing talent of analyzing/ reading their opponents mind and using it to win the games they play. Both Akagi and Toua are very calm and seem to not care about the results of the games but in reality their calmness comes from their high level of confidence in their abilities. The main characters are both very realistic and act based on logic.
both about super badass main character who destroy enemies with his scientific genius and temporarily control his opponent's actions
One Outs can be described as Akagi with baseball instead of mahjong.
Because that's what it is. The main character Tokuchi Toua is essentially the same person as Akagi. A cold-blooded genius who beats his enemies with mind games, emotional manipulation and wits.
Another thing is that One Outs and Touas tricks are much easier to understand than what Akagi is doing, even if you don't know the rules.
If you couldn't really get into Akagi because of a lack of knowledge about mahjong, you might want to try this anime instead.
Akagi plays mahjong. Toua Tokuchi plays baseball. Apart from that, they are nearly the same character, including having the same seiyuu. The author of the One Outs manga drew heavily upon Akagi for inspiration, and both series are created by the same studio and director.
Toua resembles Akagi in almost everything, Akagi is about Mahjong while One Outs is about Baseball, both of the MCs love challenges, and are legends in their field.
Opening Theme"Nantoka Nare" by Furuido
Ending Theme#1: "Akagi" by MAXIMUM THE HORMONE (eps 1-13)
#2: "S.T.S." by Animals (eps 14-26)
Which fansubbers do you like the best? Click + to approve of their subs for this show. Click - if you don't think they did such a great job.
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