10 High Stakes Gambling Anime & Manga Japanese Fans Love

Who doesn’t love a good wager? Characters gamble with money or their lives in intense situations, which can include playing mahjong against gangsters or breaking an opponent’s mind!

Kakegurui - Compulsive Gambler

While gambling is generally banned in Japan, it doesn’t stop fans from falling in love with high-stakes stories. Goo Ranking asked the Japanese community to rank the best, and while most are obscure works focusing on mahjong, there are a few internationally loved stories!


10ACMA:GAME – 30 votes

Mangaka: Meeb (writer) / Kouji Megumi

Status: Finished (198 chapters)

Quick Pitch: Oda Teruasa is gifted with smarts, looks, and wealth, making him the perfect scion of the powerful Oda Group. However, his life is tossed into disarray after getting caught up in a nightmarish game with the son of the Belmont mafia family.


9Mahjong Hishouden: Naki no Ryu – 34 votes

Mangaka: Junichi Nojo

Status: Finished (72 chapters)

Studio: Gainax / Magic Bus

Episodes: 3

Quick Pitch: Ryu can be found playing mahjong against gangsters and other unsavory people. He is a peerless talent and seeks the thrill of winning by “ron” against underground opponents.


8One Outs – 36 votes

Mangaka: Shinobu Kaitani

Status: Finished (175 chapters)

Studio: Madhouse

Episodes: 25

Quick Pitch: Toua Tokuchi is a master at gambling and mind games with an unbeatable reputation in “One Outs,” which is a simplified version of baseball. Hiromichi Kojima recruits Toua to pitch for the Saikyou Saitama Lycaons, the weakest team in the country. To make things interesting, Toua proposes an unusual contract: every out gains him 5 million yen, but every run allowed loses him 50 million yen.


7Usogui – 54 votes

Mangaka: Toshio Sako

Status: Finished (541 chapters)

Studio: Not revealed

Episodes: 1

Quick Pitch: Baku “Usogui” Madarame is a brilliant gambler who uses his own life as a wager. These deadly gamblers are monitored by the Kagerou organization, which serves as a neutral party. However, Usogui’s goal is to outmaneuver Kagerou for total control.


6Gin to Kin – 71 votes

Mangaka: Nobuyuki Fukumoto

Status: Finished (108 chapters)

Quick Pitch: Morita has trouble finding success, and he takes his frustrations out in gambling. One day, he meets Ginji, who is a fixer with connections to the underground. This new world is filled high-stakes gambling and people corrupted by greed.


5Legendary Gambler Tetsuya – 75 votes

Mangaka: Fuumei Sai (writer) / Yasushi Hoshino (artist)

Status: Finished (339 chapters)

Studio: Toei Animation

Episodes: 20

Quick Pitch: The people of Shinjuku find themselves struggling to survive after WWII came to an end. Many people lack the money to buy necessities, so they turn towards gambling for survival. Tetsuya doesn’t mind the situation since he’s been easily defeating opponents…until Boushu-san arrives. After a thorough defeat, Tetsuya realizes he still has much to learn about mahjong.


4Liar Game – 172 votes

Mangaka: Shinobu Kaitani

Status: Finished (203 votes)

Quick Pitch: Nao Kanzaki is an honest college girl who receives a mysterious package containing 100 million yen and a note stating she is a contestant in the Lair Game Tournament. The game revolves around obtaining another contestant’s money, with the loser bearing a debt equal to their loss. When Nao’s money is stolen, she asks a con man named Shinichi Akiyama to help her retrieve it. After defeating their first opponent, the duo vows to advance through the tournament to free their opponents from their debt and to defeat the Liar Game organization.


3Akagi: Yami ni Oritatta Tensai – 195 votes

Mangaka: Nobuyuki Fukumoto

Status: Ongoing

Studio: Madhouse

Episodes: 26

Quick Pitch: As a young boy, Akagi interrupts a mahjong game while fleeing from the police. One of the patrons is destined for a victory, so he turns his game over to Akagi and quickly explains the game’s rules. It’s quickly discovered that Akagi is a natural-born gambler and makes it his life’s work to mentally break hardened gamblers.


Mangaka: Homura Kawamoto (writer) / Toru Naomura (artist)

Status: Ongoing

Studio: MAPPA

Episodes: 12

Quick Pitch: Hyakkaou Private Academy is an institution that only admits the wealthiest students. A student is not judged by their academic achievements or athletic ability, but by their skill at high-stakes gambling. The student council rules with an iron fist, but transfer student Yumeko Jabami is going to show them what real gambling is.


Mangaka: Nobuyuki Fukumoto

Status: Ongoing

Studio: Madhouse

Episodes: 52

Quick Pitch: Kaiji is a good-for-nothing loiterer who wastes his life drinking and stealing hubcaps. Just when he thinks life couldn’t get worse, he is tricked into repaying a friend’s debt to the yakuza. Faced with choosing to work at a labor camp for 10 years or boarding an illegal gambling cruise, Kaiji decides to test his hand at gambling.

What are your favorite gambling series?

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