Gambling Apocalypse Kaiji
Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor
Ultimate Survivor Kaiji
カイジ (Japanese)
逆境無頼カイジ Ultimate Survivor
Keywords: , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - Madhouse
Itou Kaiji is a bum who steals car emblems and slashes tires on what seems to be a regular basis. This routine changes one day when he is paid a visit by a man in a trench-coat. Once the two get talking, it seems that the visitor (Calling himself Endou) is a debt collector. The reason for his visit is an unpaid loan which kaiji had previously co-signed for a work-mate (Furuhata Takeshi). The original loan was 30000 yen (or $300) and once Takeshi had disappeared, the loan then fell on Kaiji.

Kaiji is then told that one way to clear the debt (which with interest stood at 3,850,000 yen ($38,000)) would be to get involved in a gambling event on a boat with others in his position. Once on the boat the debtors would then have to gamble with loaned money, which would end with a few winning, and others getting into deeper debt and having to work to pay of their debts. After some coercing kaiji accepts the invitation to the event with the hopes of clearing the debt and make a bit of money as well...

26 TV episodes
Animation by Madhouse.

This series has the same animation style & theme as Akagi and One Outs.

46sec Series Opening - YouTube Video
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 9 9 8 8 10 10 Dreamer [series:1755#2279]
Wow! Let me say that again. Wow! I highly, highly recommend this to anyone. No matter what genre you like, you cannot miss this one. This series really had me thinking about my "habits" and to what length I would go to fulfill them. Read on....

Art, Animation & Character Design
The art and animation at first was a turn-off. Well, let me clarify. The protagonist, "Kaiji" looked horribly designed and seemed lacking in art. Of course, after watching through a few more episodes you get use to it. However, I think the designers made it deliberate as to give him an appearance of someone "shysty", "greedy", "snake-like" or someone who would backstab you if given a chance. If that's the case, then it lends to the anime greatly. As for the other characters, they seem average, if not grotesque in a deliberate way. Some the facial animations or expressions was done so well... a bit slightly over-emphasized but purposely, that it would pull you into the character's emotions. There are scenes where Kaiji is so distraught, so tormented by fear, anxiety and a sense of utter loss that it almost translates right out the screen into your own body and soul while leaving you nearly breathless. There are times I caught myself yelling, "OMG"!! or "YOU IDIOT"!!

Surprisingly, the theme song was enjoyable! Normally I skip the intro but this series had me almost always watching through the opening. There's a part in the song, near the end where Kaiji yells as part of the song... which made it that much better. I just found it to be a neat effect.

Series and Episode Stories
Okay, without recapping the synopsis above, I will sum the story up by saying that this is all centered around gambling. You would think that there wouldn't be much of a tale about gambling however, there's much to tell. This story is an epic battle of wit, emotions, mental strain and the struggle to choose right or wrong... or what is moral over greed and addiction. The thing is, there's very little physical action but mostly mental and you get an amazing story that paints an ugly picture of us humans, as individuals and the banes of our existence... greed & addiction, and their catalyst, "money". It paints a very real picture of us in the real world and shows you how far one is willing to go to achieve money or how much one is willing to sacrifice for their addictions. It's kinda scary really. At the end of the series, I think I had an enlightenment. I actually sat and pondered at my own "addictions" and greed for money. How far am I willing to go? How important is it in my life? At one point do I say, "enough is enough. I'm happy with what I have. Or, I don't need that 6th twinky".

Overall, this is one anime you shouldn't miss. It seriously draws you into it's ugliness and shows you the sides of yourself you've really never looked at. I'll say for sure, there's a Kaiji in each of us.

Last updated Sunday, November 30 2008. Created Sunday, November 30 2008.

Other Sites
Japanese (Language) Series Web Site http://www.ntv.co.jp/kaiji/
Wikipedia - Entry for the manga series http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaiji_%28manga%29

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