Sunk deep in colossal debt, Kaiji must spend the next decades of his life working it off in an underground slave pit, shovelling dirt with other disgraced down-and-outs. But far be it for Kaiji to have learned his lesson from his experiences on the Espoir. Upon discovering that the only fast track out of gambling-induced slavery is to gamble even more in a dice game called chinchirorin, he throws caution – and presumably his senses – to the fickle winds of luck! As well as giving him plenty of reasons to weep, this takes him up against formidable foes like his supervisor, Ohtsuki, whose dirty delight is to ruin the workers psychologically as well as financially. As the saying goes, in a bet there's a fool and a thief, and Kaiji can only hope he will not end up the former.
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.
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 Kaiji would enjoy Akagi.
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...
Like Kaiji, Death Note exploits a narrow premise in order to create a strategic game of life and death. Death Note has paranormal elements whereas Kaiji tries to remain within the limits of the real world. However, if you're used to Kaiji's representations of giant unscalable cliffs and demonic pachinko machines, then the spooky traits in Death Note should present no distractions whatsoever. The animation styles are also markedly different, with Death Note having a darker, edgier, gothic tone, atmospheric settings, and quite beautiful character designs. But the thrills (and occasional rip-roaring stetches in logic) make it as exciting, if not more so, as Kaiji.
Ippo continues his career as a professional boxer, trying to live up to his role as the Japanese champion. Now that a new generation looks up to him as both a role model and a target - even though he's still a little green behind the ears himself - Ippo must develop his skills both inside and outside the ring. Can the kind Ippo ruthlessly crush his challengers and be a man his younger peers can look up to? And ultimately, can he take his skills to the level where he can follow in Date Eiji's footsteps and aim for the international title? Pro boxing is a difficult sport; Ippo and his friends - even the mighty Kimura, must survive in a competetive world where all others must fall in order for one to rise to the top...
While the themes of each show are super different, Kaiji being gambling, Ippo being boxing. Both shows are done in such a way that make viewing them really intense. You'll be wishing to know what happens episode after episode. Both also have almost all male casts, an interesting look art wise, and really fitting background music for what they are trying to get across to the viewer. Check them out!