Japan. Some know it as the land of the rising sun, others call Japan the home of samurai warriors, karate, sumo wrestlers, and a third calls it the capital of various innovative technologies. Among the many reasons to mention Japan, we will focus on the one about manga comics and gaming. Where is the connection between gaming, slot machines and manga? Can it be described by the word ‘influence’? Let’s take a trip to Japan to find the answer to the riddle and discover the top 5 manga where gambling appears!
Introducing gambling-related manga comics
Manga means ‘whimsical images’ and is a common term used to refer to comics originating from Japan. In this country, manga is associated with both comics and animation. Manga comics are very popular in Japan and around the world. They contain themes such as adventure, business, comedy, mystery, science fiction, sports, gambling, romance, drama, and more.
The top 5 manga related to gaming are:
- Gamble Fish
- Game Liar
- How much manga means to the Japanese publishing industry in terms of profit can be seen in the following example of the annual income from it in Japan. According to All Japan magazine and the Association of Book Publishers and Editors (AJPEA), the combined land and digital sales of the manga industry in Japan in 2017 were about $3.89 billion. Whoa!
Also known by the name Tobaku Mokushiroku Kaiji or Ultimate Survivor Kaiji, this manga series was created in 1996 and should not be confused with the Kaiju machine powered by Elk Studios.
The main character of the series is Kaiji Itō, who is trying to escape debt. Being poor, he gambles with his neighbors and never wins. However, when he finds himself in a life-threatening situation, Kaiji realizes that he has a hidden gambling ability that helps him get out of many unpleasant situations.
The full title is Kakegurui – Compulsive Gambler. The plot of Kakegurui is quite original, introducing the private Hyakkaou Academy, which educates children from rich and influential families in Japan. These children are expected to become leaders in the future, but they are all involved in a very dangerous game.
The school has a gambling system, and the students place bets against each other. They put their own fortunes on the line, waiting for a potentially terrifying outcome. Students who fail to pay their dues because of their debts become ‘pets’. Furthermore, those who fail to settle their debts by the end of their school days are given Life Schedules that affect their careers and thus their entire lives. Everything changes when Yumeko Jabami, a student with an uncanny ability to see through gambling scams, enrolls at the school.
Animated in Weekly Shōnen Champions, Gamble Fish is another popular Japanese manga. Here, you’ll encounter the most expression in tankōbon. Curious as to what that means? Here’s the thing – tankōbon is a Japanese term that often refers to individual volumes in a manga. In other words, it is a book that is not part of a series.
As for Gamble Fish, the story is about a 14-year-old boy named Tomu Shirasagi, son of the infamous con man Yumeichirou Shirasagi. Tomu is sent to the famous Shishidou Academy, where he quickly realizes that he is no ordinary boy. The protagonist discovers that he is a notorious con man who is about to expose the darker side of the academy.
Akagi: Yami ni Oritatta Tensai, literally translated as Akagi: The Genius Who Descended into Darkness, is a fourth-ranked gaming-related manga series. It was first published in 1991 and later became very popular. The main character of the story is Shigeru Akagi, who defeats a yakuza member in a game called mahjong.
If you don’t know, mahjong is a tile-based game that originated in China. And so after defeating another yakuza member well versed in mahjong, Akagi disappears and becomes a legend. And then, suddenly, one day he returns to play a final duel with his ultimate rival, Iwao Washizu, the unofficial king of the Japanese underworld.
The Liar Game
Last on this list of manga masters is The Liar Game. The plot inside revolves around an incredibly outspoken college student, Nao Kanzaki, who receives a package containing $1 million. She also finds a note in there saying that the girl has been invited to the Liar Tournament.
Unlike the amazing and fair online slot games you can play at various online casinos, Liars Tournament offers a completely different set of rules. Players are encouraged to lie and cheat, and losers must pay a debt proportional to their losses. At one point, Kanzaki made a deal with cheater Shinichi Akiyama, and together they went through the tournament in an attempt to relieve their opponents of their debts and break up The Liar Game organization.