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Alt titles: The Legend of Mahjong: Akagi

Akagi main image more screenshots
3.974 out of 5 from 3,041 votes
Rank #741


One stormy night, a desperate man finds himself playing Mahjong with yakuza thugs; the prize is his life. He is losing, and death seems certain, until a teenage boy stumbles out of the darkness into the Mahjong parlor, drenched in rain. Allowed to watch, the boy soon offers to play in place of the marked man, and that night, a legend is born. After his first taste for Mahjong, Akagi Shigeru finds himself entangled in the dark underworld of Mahjong gambling: for money, reputation, and lives.

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related manga

Manga Name Year Relation More Info
Ten - Tenna Toori no Kaidanji 1989 TBD
Akagi 1991 TBD
Hero - Gyakkyou no Touhai 2009 TBD
Name Role
Takahiro UMEHARA Character Design
Yuzo SATO Director
Hideki TANIUCHI Music
Nobuyuki FUKUMOTO Original Manga Creator
Masao MARUYAMA Producer
Toshio NAKATANI Producer

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Main Characters

Shigeru AKAGI image Shigeru AKAGI heart unheart

Secondary Characters

Fake Akagi image Fake Akagi heart unheart
No voice actors found.
Iwao WASHIZU image Iwao WASHIZU heart unheart
No voice actors found.
Yasuoka image Yasuoka heart unheart
No voice actors found.

Minor Characters

Urabe image Urabe


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No voice actors found.

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Official Editorial Reviews

Title Author Score Date
Akagi valondar 7/10 Feb 25, 2009
The Legend of Mahjong: Akagi valondar 7/10 Feb 25, 2009

Community Reviews

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Title Author Score Date
Akagi Bigaback 7.5/10 Feb 7, 2014
The Legend of Mahjong: Akagi Bigaback 7.5/10 Feb 7, 2014
Akagi TheBrickGuy 9/10 Jan 16, 2012
List Title Username Entries Date
anime order 10th rounds YamiRin 561 Jan 20, 2014
Favourites dadooobap 5 Dec 24, 2013
Watched Anime CeDeR 284 Oct 8, 2013
Post Name Username Comments Date
Zeken Gardix - Anime Blog zekengardix 0 Mar 22, 12
On Winning. vivafruit 3 Aug 9, 09
One Outs SorBlade15 2 Jul 8, 09
animefanman rated the Akagi anime 5/5 stars
animefanman rated the Akagi anime 4.5/5 stars
animefanman rated the Akagi anime 5/5 stars
animefanman rated the Akagi anime 4.5/5 stars
animefanman watched Akagi at 26 of 26 episodes

Recommendations if you like Akagi

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Kaiji Ito is as pathetic a person as they come; a man who gambles his days away, only winning enough to lose significantly more. He hates himself, is riddled with envy for others, but is ultimately too weak to think of a way out of his massive debts. Then one day he is approached by a strange man who offers him what seems the solution of a lifetime – to take a short journey on a ship called Espoir, during which time he will be given the chance to win more cash than he can dream of in a card game like no other. Ever the desperate, Kaiji takes the gamble of his life; however, the game turns out to be far darker than he expected and the hard lessons pile on thick and fast. Now stuck in a closed world of unsavory characters willing to do anything to destroy him, can Kaiji gather enough courage to outwit them all?

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You immediately think of Akagi when you watch Kaiji, and vice versa. The similarity is in the character design, colour/tones, and especially the drama! The intense, competitive feel you experienced in Akagi is also expressed in Kaiji. You'll definitely like one if you like the other.


Being similar in everything except for the character line-up and background story, you'll definitely enjoy Akagi and Kaiji. It is safe to assume that both series take place in the same 'world'. Both feature extreme forms of gambling in combination with yakuza practices.


Both Akagi and Kaiji deal with the characters being put into high stake gambles. By using their wit and talent they might just get out of it alive.


Both Kaiji and Akagi involve gambling and the underworld as the core themes. They also share the same producers and generally look, sound and feel similar.


For Akagi's characters, their universe revolves around Mahjong. One could argue that Kaiji has the same exciting environment as Akaji, but has levelled up a stage - it is even more of a survival game.


Kaiji and Akagi are two very similar series. They both have the same tone, they deal with gambling, similar art style, character designs and also there is a lack of females in both series. The only real difference is the type of gambling and the main characters personality. If you enjoyed one of these definitely check out the other.


Kaiji and Akagi are from the same mangaka, they features the same style of characters, a plot around gambling and even some same voice actors! So if you liked one, you'd assurely like the other.


Both series have drama, suspense and make you think, with interesting plot twists. Also the same creator behind both series.


Both of these series share the same drawing style and atmosphere (after all, the stories come from the same mangaka and has got the same produser). Both main characters are also hardcore gamblers, even though the kind of games they play differ and they're two completely different people. With that being said, the overall feel you get from both series are pretty much the same.


If you want to see losers bettings their lives (literally) for a bone big enough to choke on... then look no further than Akagi or Kaigi.  If you're not keen on mahjong (or it confuses you beyond your senses, like me) then i suggest you start with Kaiji.  Who knew that gambling and desperation could be so amusing?


Stylistically, they are the same. They each feature elements of gambling, strategy, supsense and a protagonist constantly pushing himself to overcome insurmountable odds and should be marathoned to get the best experience.


Both Akagi and Kaiji are about gambling, money and - last but not least - human behavior and emotions. They also have quite similar graphics and character design, and the same sense of drama and plot twists. And both anime will give you probably the same feeling.


With the same creative staff behind each one of these series, based on work by the same mangaka, each featuring his distinctive character designs and sordid, yakuza-filled gambling psychological mind games, these series are entirely and completely complimentary. Admittedly Akagi requires a knowledge of mahjong and ends terribly while Kaiji requires no prior information and ends wonderfully (making it clearly the better of the two) a fan of one is sure to appreciate the other.


Well this one is pretty obvious. Both came from the same autho, both have unique drawing style, both are telling a stories about some really crazy gambles (like betting 4 fingers or using own blood as points). Both are showing in realistic setting that gambling can screw you big time (though in Akagis case he is screwing his oponnents).


Both Akagi and Kaiji have quite similar main characters. Talented individuals who must use their skills in a series of high stakes gambles in order to survive. With bigger chins and noses than Bruce Campbell and Peter Townsend's illegitimate lovechild, the art style used in both is sure to leave an impression.


I think it's a given that if you like one of these anime you'll like the other too.

Both have their roots in two long-running manga created by the same man, Nobuyuki Fukumoto. Therefore, it's no wonder the dark mood, the plot, the ugly yet engaging characters designs and the sensations Akagi and Kaiji portray are really similar.

There are some differences, though.

The two main characters, Akagi Shigeru and Kaiji Itou, are like the two faces of a same coin. While Akagi is your perfect, cool-headed genius that makes everyone around him feel inferior just with his abilities, Kaiji is a good-for-nothing excuse of a man who's always struggling to make his way through the sordid and unforgiving world of gambling, constantly becoming prey of the panic and comitting countless mistakes, even though he's actually a pretty smart guy but, unlike Akagi, Kaiji feels much more like an actual human and it's easier for the viewer to relate to.

Their motives for gambling are radically different too. Akagi doesn't really care about money, he just wants to escape from a meaningless life by putting himself in danger against worthy opponents, to feel the thrill in his body - that's what he considers a truly fulfilling life is. Kaiji also wants to escape his routine, but in a different way: he's broke and has piled up outrageous debts, hence needs the huge amounts of money gambling can give him in order to start anew.

Another important difference is that, while Akagi focuses itself in Mahjong alone, a game which needs prior understanding of (even though you can enjoy the show just fine without it), Kaiji displays a variety of different ''games'' on each story arc, which gives it a sense of renewal. Plus, these ''games'' need no prior knowledge.

Despite the differences, Akagi and Kaiji are definitely two of a kind, and will appeal to the same audience. Thrilling and entertaining to the core, these are not titles a good anime fan should miss. 


Did you enjoy the noses of the various characters in Akagi? Do you think a large nose screams out, 'I'm a badass, and I shave without shaving cream'? If you answered yes to this question, then you would also enjoy Kaiji! Large flamboyant noses are present in both titles.

On a side note: They're both by the same author, and thus deal with gambling and the plethora of mind games that come with the territory. Each episode in either of the series will have you on the edge of you seat, holding in that bowel movement for just ONE more episode. However, everyone knows you'll watch it for more nosey-goodness.


*Zawa Zawa* These are shows that if you like the crazy awesomeness of one, the other should also leap to your arms. Kaiji has the desparate struggle of a man who gets reamed by life, whilst Akagi is about a boy, soon to be man, who is clearly broken in the head. Still if you don't like Mahjong, which many can't follow, then Kaiji will hold you with their own unique games.


It a real intense psychological anime. It may seem like only gambling but when you will watch it you will see that its more than just that. Both of them was created by the same person (Fukumoto) and he is a awesome artist because he makes the story in a way that you feel all the stress and the anxiety that the main character is feeling. So knock yourself out !!


Akagi and Kaiji both have an uncannily similar feel, likely due to the fact that they are based on the works by the same mangaka. Both series involve gambling with very high stakes that require all the cunning, manipulation, and skill the protagonists have in order to get out in one piece. The character designs, tone, and style are all quite similar, all the way down to the use of a narrator to explain the situation (although the narrator in Kaiji is much more dramatic). 


Mind games, high stakes and character designs are some similarities that Akagi and Kaiji share. Both will drive you to the edge of your seat and you just can't stop watching until you reach the very end and even then you will be wanting more.

On a side note, Akagi deals only with mahjong, so some knowledge about it is needed to get the most out of the series, while Kaiji has various games which are thoroughly explained and thus making it easier to approach.


Both have an unique artstyle, share the same mood and are about ridiculously high stakes games. 

The biggest difference between them is the game they feature in each anime. In Akagi they play Mahjong and not having any prior knowledge of the game might make it harder to enjoy it, while in Kaiji they play an array of simple games which are easy to understand.

Despite this difference, anybody who liked one would enjoy the other. 

Hikaru no Go

Hikaru no Go

While examining an old Go board in his grandfather's basement, twelve-year-old Shindo Hikaru is possessed by the restless spirit of Sai, an ancient Go master who has waited for over one thousand years to play the Hand of God: the perfect move. Sai convinces Hikaru to act as a vessel for making his moves, but it is soon clear that Hikaru also enjoys Go and wants to play his own games. Moreover, the rules of Go have changed since Sai's time, and Go players from all over the world are now much stronger, having had the benefit of hundreds of years of evolution and experimentation by the masters before them. Can this unlikely pair form a successful partnership and rise to the top of Japan's Go community, and can Sai finally play the Hand of God and find some peace?

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Both Hikaru no Go and Akagi are based on the games of Go and Mahjong. Even though Akagi has a much darker side then Hikaru no Go, both of the lead characters are extremely talented boys that are dragged into playing a game (Akagi=Mahjong, Hikaru=Go) in which they have to face the best to meet their goals.


Both Hikaru no Go and Akagi deal with games that are not too well-known how to play outside of Asia. While watching, you can learn about the games while enjoying stories that revolve around them. Hikaru no Go deals with Go and is more of an upbeat anime for all ages to enjoy. Akagi deals with Mahjong and is a darker anime that deals with the underground (Yakuza & games where the loser dies, etc.) and is more of a PG-13 type anime.


Both HnG and Akagi rely heavily on tension which is developed through board game playing. They're both excellent series that involve the same basic principle of an unknown rookie player furthering himself through competitions, in order to compete with better players. Often times the mahjong pieces in Akagi are even thrown down in the same manner as the marble pieces in Hikaru no Go.


Both based on a simplistic game of asian origin, Akagi and Hikaru will at least teach you the intracacies of the game. Hikaru is based on Go (a two coloured tile face-off), and Akagi on Mahjong (a more complex tile based game). Although they may sound dull on the surface, the competition and excitement built up in both will have you hooked from the start.

Hikaru is definitely a kids show, and Akagi a more adult one, but I think they will both appeal to an older audience.


If you enjoyed either anime, it stands to reason that you may enjoy the other. Both stories follow their leads in the path of mastering a game through progressively more difficult battles. Even though neither game is very popular in the western world, both anime do a great job at immersing even completely inexperienced spectators into their respective games, as well as exploring the emotional state of the protagonist during each battle.Although different in tone and style, with Akagi being directed towards an older audience, both promise not to waste the time you will spend watching them.


They both remind me of each other, Akagi is about a child who learns mahjong in a very short time and masters it, while Hikaru no Go is about a child who gets a spirit who lived 1000years ago and is also a master at Go, to live in the mind of Hikaru to teach him Go, and to also play against the strongest people in modern times at Go.Akagi has more dark themes than Hikaru no Go, however both are really good animes for giving you that spine tingling feeling when they shock their opponent through skill displayed!

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Death Note

Death Note

Have you ever felt like the world would be a better place if certain people weren’t around? Such grim daydreams might occur when watching the dismal daily news, but on one fateful day, Light Yagami finds that these daydreams can become reality. By pure happenstance, he comes across a black notebook entitled "Death Note", whose text within states that whoever's name is written on its pages will die. With the aid of the death god Ryuk, Light takes it upon himself to rid the world of its corruption, ushering in a new era of purity one death at a time. But as Ryuk foretells, Light's actions will not go unchallenged...

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Even though Akagi is about Mahjong, what drives it are the battles of wit and intellect, not to mention risk-taking, that its protagonist endures for money, reputation, and life. It's riveting, filled with suspense, and is light on action and heavy on brains. In other words, very similar in dynamics to what makes Death Note great.

Therefore, if you enjoyed Akagi, you'll be sure to enjoy Death Note. Throw in supernatural powers, replace Mahjong with Death itself, and add engaging character development, and you've got Death Note. Have an apple and be overwhelmed.


Both Akagi and Death Note follow the life of a boy genius, tracing his devious antics as he strives to become God (Death Note in a more literal sense, Akagi less so). Both plot lines are progressive, manga-lead stories, which genuinely keep you in a state of suspense.


Both Akagi and Death Note run on the basic principle of manipulation, trickery, and mind battles. While in one this is done on an actual game board, in the other it is performed through a man's pursuit to create his ideal world. While everything else is different, the core that the shows are built upon is the same. If you liked Akagi, you will adore Death Note. If you liked Death Note, you will probably like Akagi.


Both are suspenseful and could be classified as thrillers as the battle of mind and wit take place. Only the smartest will win. Both suprisingly nail biting


Admittedly, Akagi requires knowledge of mahjong and has a pretty poor ending while Death Note - however uneven at times - concludes rather well. However, both series are depictions of antihero geniuses who battle in elaborate and melodramatic mind games against their opponents.

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One Outs

One Outs

Kojima is a baseball legend. As the superstar cleanup hitter for the Lycaons, he won himself many awards including rookie of the year seven times; but there's one title he never acquired: champion. In an attempt to find that special something Kojima feels he's missing inside, he opens a training camp in Okinawa. There, through a series of events, Kojima is introduced to a high stakes game dominated by the talented Toua Tokuchi, and subsequently loses a fortune. However, Kojima finally defeats Toua and due to their agreement, he enlists him to join the now poorly-ranked Lycaons - but Toua demands a high price: instead of a salary, he will receive five million yen for each out, and lose fifty million yen for each point lost. With a bad attitude and prodigal skills, Toua will help transform the Lycaons into winners once more.

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Both One Outs and Akagi are both brought to us by director Yuzo Sato, and they both are quite similar series as they both have to do with gambling in a way.  Not only that, but both are dripping with the same badass style that Sato is superb  at bringing forth in his series.  If you've seen one series, you'll quickly pick up on the similar sylistic elements (panning, camera angles, ominous sound effects and music, facial expressions, etc.) and if you enjoy said elements, then there's no question that if you liked one series, you'll definitely like the other.  You may also notice that the main character is voiced by the same actor in both series!


One Outs and Akagi both deal with gambling in a way (although Akagi is probably a little more concentrated on that subject) . They also have quite similar graphics and style, the same seiyuu for the main hero and the same intensive and quite tense aura.


Scheming to the extreme. If you like fearless and crazy mahjong player Akagi you can't dislike genius pitcher Tokuchi.   Both of them make use of their oponents minds, provoking them and making them play just the way they want to.


Both these shows take a mature look at their respective games and the way they're played. By uncovering cheating opponents and outwitting the other team- both Akagi and Tokuchi try to stay one step ahead of the game. With these kinds stakes... losing is not an option.

Legendary Gambler Tetsuya

Legendary Gambler Tetsuya

In the year 1947, the people of Shinjuku are down on their luck. With little money to buy food or necessities, some resort to gambling in order to survive. The Mahjong parlors are where the traveling Tetsuya chooses to spend his time, wiping the floor clean with his adversaries. However, once Tetsuya meets the intensely-skilled Boushu-san, he discovers that his own skills are lacking, and from now on Mahjong will never be the same! Does Tetsuya have what it takes to become a legendary gambler?

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Tetsuya is a Mahjong gambling Anime set in Post WWII Shinjuku, Japan. While it is not as psychologically tense as Kaiji and Akagi, it is nonetheless engaging with rich character development and settings and exciting intellectual battles of mahjong/gambling skills with friend and foe alike.


Mahjong - Akagi and Legendary Gambler Tetsuya are revolting around that game. Both series have sometimes quite tense atmosphere and focus on psychological aspects of mahjong. Not always legal actions and characters - you can also find that in both anime. Legendary Gambler Tetsuya is older series, not as tense as Akagi, but in a way more realistic. I suppose you should try the other, if you liked one of them.