Shoubushi Densetsu Tetsuya

Alt title: Legendary Gambler Tetsuya

TV (20 eps)
2000 - 2001
Fall 2000
3.677 out of 5 from 471 votes
Rank #3,363

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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The year is 1947 and Japan has hardly begun to put itself back together after the devastation of the war. The people have found an outlet to pass the time and liven themselves up →  gambling with games of Mahjong. Who’s the best Mahjong player in Shinjuku? Why Kid Tesu of course! How’d he get to be the best? He was once a young adult with an attitude problem before being taken under the wing of a veteran player {Boshu} and taught to hone is innate abilities in deception and seeing through deception. Now he’s a Mahjong player everyone wants to take on. For the better part of 20 episodes he surprises, upsets, baffles, and attracts opponents and onlookers. He even gets a fanclub courtesy of Danchi. His one obvious limitation as a player is teamwork. So of course his character development centers around learning to play nice with others. Tetsuya has no problem beating up a fan or a rival when they’re asking for a smackdown. He lays more than one character out flat while speaking nothing but the truth when he catches them with Hiropon. -- This anime is full of by the book crooks, swindlers, sleazeballs and any other synonym one would care to think of backed by a bucket full of foul language. From common pickpockets to loan sharks who use expletives like they’re going out of style. {Or perhaps as the new vernacular in town}. It’s loaded with 40s hairdos designed to literally put eyes out. The instrumental music within the anime does more than a decent job of representing what the characters are going through and their struggles to become even better at Mahjong. Character faces are all very shape based with squares and rectangles being favored by the designers. The hard lines and stanched clothes scream period story as do the sandals, drug addicts, and rampant poverty. The decision to include real world events as not only the backdrop but as consistent elements throughout the course of the anime serves several functions: 1st) The reality of financial hardship after WWII gave rise to the need for much more than a quick buck. With so many people looking to stay alive turning a past-time into a source of major income showed great ingenuity. 2nd) A major reason behind why people gamble, and why they were gambling in the 40s, was not just because money was hard to comeby but because legitimate money was scarcer than “honest work”. 3rd) Drug addicts and gambling are tied together in a not so nice bow and those who find themselves dependent upon a substance will do anything they have to for another dose. The drive for another hit of Hiropon or shot of alcohol afflicts more than one of Tetsuya’s opponents. 4th) When a man left a woman in these times the woman's choices were very limited and turning to something that could help her make just enough to at least eat usually meant illegal activity. 5th) Sometimes running a legitimate business requires funds than cannot be obtained through the proper channels. Business owners have to branch out and find ways to stay successful. Everyone has a sob story and they’ll use any trick they can think of to try and get sympathy and empathy from anyone they can. Users. No matter what time or space they’re put in, they’ll do what they do best. Because that’s their prerogative. The variety of opponents Tetsuya faces come from different yet similar backgrounds, their individual reasons for challenging him and being challenged by him compel viewers to keep watching. To connect with them all and cheer when they come to realize why they will ultimately be beaten by Kid Tetsu should put a smile on viewers faces. They are also not throw-away characters. They don’t simply appear to be taken down, they serve important functions as obstacles for Tetsuya and his team to overcome. Their existence and value are given proper tribute. -- Rather than simply telling a story where a prodigy wipes the floor with pros TITLE heavily focuses on the main characters growth. He doesn’t just win game after game because he’s the best. He wins because he puts his all in: he reads his opponents, makes friends, learns how to be a team player and not just a team leader. If you are an anime fan and like a story where a main character tackles opponent after opponent each with their own special ability in a realistic world absent of “super” powers then this is worth the watch. -- When a gambler has given his all his legend is born. Life is not wasted so long as the individual takes pride in their efforts.

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