Synonyms: Mahjong Legend Akagi: The Genius Who Descended Into the Darkness, The Legend of Mahjong: Akagi
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: 8.091 (scored by 14337 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
Who the bloody hell watches an anime about a game that they don't even understand? Well, I did. And you know what? This show is dope as hell.
From the same director of the Kaiji series, Yuzo Sato, we have another anime that is focused on gambling: Akagi. Akagi is a psychological, drama, game, thriller anime about a Japanese game called Mahjong. And while Mahjong is often played between family and friends, this anime shows how the game is being played in the underworld of Japan.
The story itself revolves around a young man named Akagi Shigeru, who is destined to become the Mahjong legend. There isn't actually that much of a plot. The story basically is about Akagi who is playing several Mahjong games that mostly take a couple of episodes. The good thing about this anime, is that you don't actually have to understand the rules of Mahjong to watch it. Well, the story is somewhat repetitive, until the final game which actually takes half of the whole series to accomplish. That's right, more than 10 episodes about one psychological match. So you can expect a slow pacing anime. But as the episodes come along and the story itself makes progress, it gets much more serious and people will be putting their lives at risk while playing Mahjong. Another good thing about Akagi's story is that it's incredibly unpredictable and it had a lot of twists in it. Every episode ends with a small cliffhanger, and that just keeps you guessing of what's coming up in the next episode. But unfortunately the anime doesn't end really strong. But the thrilling storyline makes up for that and makes this a highly entertaining anime.
The animation in Akagi is something unique. The character designs are truly ugly as hell. Their faces looked really weird, their chins are really pointy, and their noses are really sharp. But it's actually also pretty good since they suit the dark atmosphere in Akagi. Face expressions were also clearly visible. Just by looking at the faces of the characters, you could notice their emotions. The black oulines around the characters looked also pretty good and that also fits with the darkness of this show. The background animation was very fluid. The great usage of colors, lights and shadows made the background animation look very detailed and it seemed to fit the atmosphere in Akagi.
This is where Akagi truly stands out from a lot of other anime series, the sound. The sound in Akagi is something which I would consider perfect. To start off with, the opening theme "Nantoka Nare" (by Furuido) is a very good OP. It's a very relaxing song. Even though it's relaxing, it managed to suit the dark atmosphere of this show. Background songs are amazing. The bass tunes and guitar melodies made the exciting parts in Akagi much more intense. The voice acting is also perfectly done. All of the voice actors did an incredible job portraying the personalities of the characters. Emotions were also highly noticable from their voices. Especially Akagi's voice sounds amazing. He had a pretty calm voice. And since he is a strange guy, he voice made him look even more mysterious.
The characters in Akagi, are mostly pretty one-dimensional. They aren't developed very well as the story progresses. Especially Akagi, the main character, is someone you'll barely know anything about and lacks some development. And that's maybe a good thing in my eyes. It would get in the way of the story in this anime, and since Akagi is a very mysterious guy, it would somewhat ruin one of the good parts of the show, Akagi himself. People love him for the type of guy he is. He is so crazy, and he does the most unpredictable things. You just don't know what was going on in his head. And still he managed to come up with some brilliant ways to outsmart his opponents during a game of Mahjong. He is a real demon.
Well, like I said before, you don't need to understand Mahjong. Just pay attention to the show, and I know you will enjoy this anime a lot. Especially for those psychological/thriller anime fans out there. I myself enjoyed watching this show a lot. The thrilling storyline with a fantastic OST that made everything even more intense, was truly highly enjoyable. Watching Akagi doing the craziest shit, was pure entertaining and after watching each episode, it only made you want more.
Overall this was a unique show. A very thrilling and intense storyline with a dark atmosphere, ugly character designs which fit the dark atmosphere really well and a very detailed background animation. Amazing OST and one of the most likeable main characters ever.
Besides it flaws, this show managed to keep me entertained even though I don't understand anything of Mahjong. This series was definitely worth my time and I would also recommend Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor since that anime and Akagi are both very thrilling gambling anime shows. read more
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.
The main character of both is similar, cold blooded, cunning, is a genius. And both are about games.
One Outs is Akagi but with Baseball instead of mahjong. psychological thrillers and mind games.
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.
While One Outs lacks most of the good things (interesting characters/ dark atmosphere/..) found in Akagi, it does have a very intriguing main character who is similar to Akagi just enough to make One Outs the most entertaining sports anime.
Gambling and stakes on the line, both One Outs and Akagi brings out the psychological twist to gaming. The main male protagonists from both series are intelligent and often stay ahead of the game.
Madhouse is also involved with the production of these two anime so expect some similar artwork. There is smart logic to the games that these two anime tries to convey. With that, there are intensity and thriller-like endings to many episodes that keep viewers at the edge of their seats.
In both animes, we have a Mind Fuck main character that could be called prodigies in the game they play and like to Gamble a lot.
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.
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.
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
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)
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