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Alt titles: Ultimate Survivor Kaiji

Kaiji main image more screenshots
4.236 out of 5 from 3,736 votes
Rank #320


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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related anime

Anime Name Type Year Relation More Info
Kaiji 2 TV 2011 Sequel

related manga

Manga Name Year Relation More Info
Tobaku Mokushiroku Kaiji 1996 TBD
Tobaku Hakairoku Kaiji 2000 TBD
Tobaku Datenroku Kaiji 2004 TBD
Tobaku Datenroku Kaiji: Kazuyahen 2009 TBD
Name Role
Haruhito TAKADA Character Design
Yuzo SATO Director
Hideki TANIUCHI Music
Nobuyuki FUKUMOTO Original Manga Creator
Manabu TAMURA Producer
Toshio NAKATANI Producer

Love it? Hate it?

Official Editorial Reviews

Title Author Score Date
Kaiji VivisQueen 8/10 Apr 20, 2008
Ultimate Survivor Kaiji VivisQueen 8/10 Apr 20, 2008

Community Reviews

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Title Author Score Date
Kaiji roriconfan 8.5/10 May 30, 2012
Ultimate Survivor Kaiji roriconfan 8.5/10 May 30, 2012
Kaiji skankfish 7/10 Nov 18, 2011
List Title Username Entries Date
TV to watch dvnrng 38 Mar 9, 2014
My 5 star rated anime DreamMonster 11 Feb 6, 2014
randomize gklein07 109 Feb 6, 2014
Post Name Username Comments Date
Top 10 anime openings infinityplusone 2 Feb 28, 12
dropped Kaiji johnsbaker 0 Nov 5, 10
On Winning. vivafruit 3 Aug 9, 09
One Outs SorBlade15 2 Jul 8, 09
HorrorAliveLT rated the Kaiji anime 4/5 stars
Rench wants to watch Kaiji
Nakara is watching Kaiji anime at 8 of 26 episodes
Nakara is watching Kaiji anime at 6 of 26 episodes
shuffle168 watched Kaiji at 26 of 26 episodes

Recommendations if you like Kaiji

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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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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 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.

However, be sure to know a little about mahjong before watching Akagi. It makes the show more enjoyable.


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 Kaiji? 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 Akagi! 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. 

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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Both anime exploit a narrow premise in order to create a strategic game of life and death. Kaiji has no paranormal elements like Death Note, and the animation styles are incredibly different, but the dark, edgy tone and atmospheric settings guarantee that liking one means liking the other.


If you liked Kaiji, you will LOVE Death Note. Both of them are about people in potentially deadly situations who must use their intelligence to outsmart and outmaneuver their opponents.

They are both unbelievably suspenseful with dozens of twists and turns. But don't take my word for it: see for yourself!


Both anime are incredibly thrilling and is a must if you like thrillers. They make you sit at you computer watching for hours just because it's so "exciting". cancell your life for some hours and watch Death Note//Kaiji. If you liked one of them i am sure you will enjoy the other.


As many have said before, the mindgames between life and death are uncanny in these two, but it's also the amazing exercise the japanese are fond of practicing of making one seemingly simple premise (notebook of fate, game of rock-paper-scissors) and EXPLODING it into a complex and evolving system of conflict, suspense, and deceit full of canonical loopholes any sharp viewer would point out in hindsight. Also and more specifically, the 'people with power get bored easily' trope gets exploited.

watch it online now!



Much to the annoyance of Kei, he and his childhood friend Katou have died, having been torn apart by a train. But rather than finding themselves at the gates of heaven, the duo materialize in a room full of strangers and a giant black sphere known as GANTZ. As if dying once wasn’t bad enough, the occupants of the room are then forced to embark on dangerous missions to kill strange aliens; missions that very few return from. Now, Kei, Katou, and a well-endowed friend must fight for their freedom with an arsenal of guns, high powered suits, and a very low chance of survival.

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I thought Gantz was unique with the survival games, although the master is truly unknown. Kaiji also has survival games, but here it is "voluntarily" done for a chance to score big bucks and the game masters are human...


Survival is the name of the game!

Both of these shows deal with groups of people forced to play games where their lives are on the line. Both of the shows have unexpected twists and a good lineup of interesting characters.

Trust me, if you like one, you'll like the other.


The situation in Kaiji and GANTZ are basically the same with slight alterations. The characters in both series are put into new worlds where someone pressures their minds to its fullest extent. Not only do the characters in both series have to deal with psychological mind games, but they must also survive giving up their own values.


Psychological suspense thrillers!  Both animes star two average guys who are leading unfulfillable lives and later are put into a position where they must now listen to their instincts in order to survive. Aside for the obvious wagers of like and limb, Kanji proves that everything is not what it seems to be. So if you like the suspense and violence from GANTZ, then Kaiji is your anime. 

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 Kaiji 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 Kaiji have quite similar graphics and character design, and - in a way - theme. Both series deal with gambling, and have rather psychological approach to that subject. Also the story protagonist in both anime is voiced by the same seyiuu. Moreover, One Outs and Kaiji will give you probably the same feeling.


Both Kaiji and One Outs are directed by the same director. The protaganists are voiced by the same person. Also both animes have a phsycological aspect, so if you enjoyed Kaiji, you would love One Outs.


Both series have the same pacing, using the gambling elements to create the high-suspense atmosphere that makes these two highly enjoyable.

Death Billiards

Death Billiards
  • Movie (1 ep x 25 min)
  • 2013

When two strangers find themselves trapped in a mysterious lounge with no memory of arriving, they're informed by the bartender that the only way to escape is play a game like their lives depend on it. With a spin of the roulette wheel, their fates are set: the men must play a game of pool, but it's no ordinary game! In a suspenseful, macabre twist, the balls aren't numbered but rather represent a different organ in each man's body. Just what kind of fate awaits the loser of this anything-goes game of billiards?

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Games with stakes higher than money. 

Trying to stay away from spoilers, just know they have an element that is very similar. 


High stakes games combined with psychological elements make for an intense watching experience. Both these anime involove a battles of wits that compliments the skill that is involved with the games being played. In both cases the games are fairly simple to understand which allows both shows to play up the psychological angle.