Gambling, with its high stakes, intense mind games, and adrenaline-pumping moments, has long been a thrilling central theme in anime. The shows centered around the aspects of betting and risking it all for a chance at fortune always leave the audiences hooked with their lively narratives and mind-bending strategies
Whether it’s mahjong battles, underground casinos, or unconventional sports gambling, these series dive deep into the world of wagering, where every move could lead to victory or devastating loss. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best gambling anime. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Usugoi has unluckily never received a full-fledged anime series, but there’s an OVA that tries to imitate the dark and suspenseful world of gambling laid out in the manga. The series centers around Kakerou, a powerful organization that exists to ensure that all bets maintain a semblance of fairness.
In a high-stakes gaming world where betrayal and treachery go side by side, a compulsive gambler named Baku Madarame enters with a commitment to bet more than just money. Displaying his calculating nature, Baku challenges psychotic opponents while aiming to seize control over Kakerou itself.
9. C: The Money Of Soul And Possibility Control
C’s philosophical approach in exploring the gambling anime genre often puts it on the radar of criticism, regardless the series remains an underrated gem that attempts to set a narrative in motion where duels are more about clashing economic ideologies than typical gambling bets.
The story follows Kimimaro Yoga, a second-year economics major who is introduced to the alternate reality of the Financial District, where people bet their futures in battles. Pitted against his countrymen and fate, Yoga must quickly adapt to this new world and discover just how much money is truly worth.
8. Legendary Gambler Tetsuya
Just like any other gambling anime, the central theme of Legendary Gambler Tetsuya is pretty simple – survive in a world overrun by cold, hard, and dirty cheaters. Set in post-war Japan, the series follows the story of Tetsuya, a talented gambler who’s known for his unparalleled skills in playing mahjong.
However, after a devastating defeat at the hands of a rogue mahjong player named Boushu-san, Tetsuya sets out on a quest to become a master gambler and outclass his rival, no matter what it takes. If anyone wants to better understand the finer aspects of different methods of cheating, this is your show.
In the age of anime infested with average goody two-shoes main characters, Kakegurui takes a bit of a different approach by introducing a neutral protagonist. Yumeko Jabami is a transfer student at a prestigious high school, Hyakkaou Private Academy.
A school where spoiled kids from wealthy families come to show their prowess in gambling and deceit serves as a perfect stage for Yumeko to prove her mettle – by exploiting the strengths of opponents against them using her intricate trickery and plain ingenuity.
From the same author of “Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor”, Akagi is a mahjong-based series that revolves around its titular character gambling his way to the top of the underworld. The story features Akagi Shigeru, a young boy who’s on the run from the police.
Somehow he stumbles upon a compulsive gambler who hands his losing game over to Akagi, desperate for any hope of survival. What starts as an accidental encounter, turns into a nail-biting battle of wits where Akagi rises as a new up-and-coming mahjong legend.
5. One Outs
On the surface, One Outs may look like nothing more than a baseball-based sports anime, but once you dig deeper the series flourishes into a perfectly balanced story where gambling and mental aspects take center stage. Toua Tokuchi is a remarkable pitcher who only plays the sport to make some quick money.
Being overly confident about his skills one day he strikes a very bizarre deal with a professional baseball team owner – he’ll earn five million yen for each out he pitches, but he’ll lose fifty million for every run he gives up! One Outs provides everything a viewer could want in a gambling anime along with a little thrill of baseball.
4. Death Parade
Psychological thriller Death Parade begins with an intriguing question of whether people are inherently good or bad, and how their actions in the afterlife can determine their fate. Set in the afterworld, the story follows multiple deceased people who are taken to a bar called Quindecim.
Decim, an arbiter and bartender passes judgment on those who wind up at Quindecim by challenging them to a series of life-threatening games. Each patron must slowly bring their true nature to light as they wager their souls in games involving darts, bowling, and gambling.
3. No Game No Life
No Game No Life offers one of the best transferred to game world anime story through its mesmerizing setting. Based on a light novel, the series follows Sora and Shiro, two shut-in siblings who become insanely popular in the gaming circle following their unbeaten record.
Word of their gaming skills excites the god of Disboard and they’re soon summoned to a world where all disputes are settled through games. This strange new world gives the duo a new purpose in life – to beat everybody who crosses their path and become the new Gods of this world!
2. Alice In Borderland
Even though Haro Aso’s Alice in Borderland didn’t receive a grandiose welcome in the anime landscape upon its release, it later emerged as one of the best live action anime adaptations. Regardless of that, the series holds its leaf amongst survival thriller gambling anime.
The ruthless yet immersive death game of Alice in Borderland follows Arisu Ryouhei and his two friends who are transported to a parallel reality known as the “Borderland”. In the Borderland, the three must compete in a series of deadly games if they wish to survive.
1. Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor
Through its simple yet effective plot, Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor gives the best experience of a gambling rotten world that drags the helpless into it. The story focuses on the titular protagonist Kaiji as he tries to pay a loan of around 4 million yen after being tricked by his co-worker.
With no real prospects of his own and no money, Kaiji accepts an offer to board a cruise ship where players can earn what they need but there’s a catch. Thus begins Kaiji’s journey in an illegal underground arena where life is gambled on each move.