Gambling anime often feature gambling games, many with serious consequences, involving fame, fortune, life and power. In this article, we are going to see a list of the best gambling, betting and mind games anime.
In these anime, characters use words and actions to psychologically manipulate others. In some of the anime in this article, characters are forced or choose to play a special kind of High Stakes Game: You play to win or die trying.
Whether it's for fun, to gain an advantage, or for darker purposes, the characters in these anime use manipulation to achieve their goals. Bets and rules can be agreed by the parties involved or imposed by an outside force.
Kaiji – Play to survive
In this anime the protagonist Kaiji is in debt to the Mafia, in order to pay it he enters a ship where games of chance take place that test his mental abilities. The game has a very large psychological plot, the stakes get more and more deadly.
This one wins the top spot in betting games, but many have dropped out because of traits that can be uncharismatic at first. I ignored it for years due to this, but when I gave it the chance, I loved the anime!
In Kakegurui they practically do a repeat of Kaiji, only without strategy, and without real tension in the games. If you really wanna feel what Kakegurui tried to pass in his work, watch Kaiji without fail. It's two seasons!
Kakegurui – Compulsive Gamblers
Shiritsu Hyakaou Gakuen is a prestigious Private School attended by high-class students from the political and business world. In addition to famous, skilled athletics and others who stand out in front of society.
In this school there is a great war and hierarchy based on games of chance, where the winners live like kings and the losers are put in the wringer. The story features a newcomer named Yumeko Jabami who shows how it's really played.
The young protagonist has the enormous desire to play against the members of the Student Council, as they use rigid methods, in which they also put the gambler's life at risk, leaving Yumeko Jabami excited, as she loves to take risks and danger.
Liar Game – Lie to win?
Unfortunately there is no Liar Game anime, but we have a manga and a drama, both are good that I want to put on this list. The premise is similar to Kaiji's, the difference is that money and debt are involved instead of life itself.
Games are made to win on the basis of lies, but the innocent protagonist cannot lie, ends up distorting the whole objective of the game, but in the end everything works out because of the genius of another protagonist. It is really a very good drama.
The manga has a very dark atmosphere, the games are well-crafted and smart, it even made me want to make these games in real life. The work is full of mystery and holds you from beginning to end. Make an effort to watch the drama or read Liar Game.
No Game no Life – The world of trivial games
This anime manages to use clichés, ecchi, fan service without being appealing and keeping the intelligence of the characters. This artwork by a Brazilian shows two brothers entering a world where everything is solved with trivial games.
An anime and Light Novel of great worldwide success that also won a very exciting movie, is also available on Netflix and shows how to make a gaming and betting anime. You've probably already watched it, if not, I recommend it!
I don't want to give too much spoiler of this work of art, but let's say that the protagonists need to lead the simple and weak human race to win over other races that have superhuman powers, strength and abilities in territorial disputes.
One Outs – Baseball Manipulation
One Outs is not just another sports anime, it is totally different, the protagonist is a myth of psychological games, manipulating enemies and applying these mind games in baseball games for 25 episodes.
The anime is a little old, unknown, but it held me from beginning to end, even though I'm not a sports fan. I feel a lot of absence of anime of the psychological genre, it reminded me a lot of the atmosphere present in Kaiji.
The story begins when Kojima Hiromichi, the Lycaons' top hitter, heads to the south of the Japanese island of Okinawa to train. There, he meets Tokuchi Toua, a pitcher and undisputed leader of a form of baseball game called "One Out".
Akagi – Gambling with Mahjong
On a stormy night, a desperate man finds himself playing Mahjong with yakuza thugs; the prize is your life. He's losing, and death seems certain, until a teenager stumbles out of the darkness and into the rain-soaked Mahjong room.
Allowed to watch, the boy soon offers to play in the marked man's place, and that night, a legend is born. After his first taste of Mahjong, Akagi Shigeru finds himself tangled up in the dark underworld of the Mahjong game: for money, reputation and lives.
The anime is from the same creator as Kaiji, you will see similarities in the traits and style of the work. Get ready for a lot of gambling and psychological terror. I strongly recommend this anime, although it takes patience to learn Mahjong.
Death Parade – Bet your Fate
When two people die at the same time, they are sent to a place that is neither heaven nor hell: a luxurious bar between worlds where the stakes are high and the rules are simple: if you win, you live again, if you die, you are gone forever.
Decim is the bartender in charge of serving the souls that enter Quindecim. He may prepare a petty cocktail, but his real profession is to play the role of arbiter: a judge who determines whether or not a soul is worthy of reincarnation.
To aid his judgment, the bar's patrons are forced to play simple games mixed with sadistic twists aimed at bringing their true natures to light. For Decim, the trial has always been black and white – that is until he meets a young woman…
Danganronpa – Kill and clear yourself
The anime is based on a successful Visual Novel game and has over 3 seasons, with plenty of psychological horror. Hope's Peak Private Academy is a super exclusive institute that brings together the best and brightest students.
The school provides them with a world class education and propels them towards any career they desire. At least it was meant to be, as the only way to “graduate” is to murder a fellow student and deceive everyone else in a life-or-death trial!
In this anime students are arrested in a school where people are murdered and everyone must find out who the murderer is in a kind of trial that takes place in a courtroom. If the murderer gets away with it, all the students die.
Btooom! - Kill to survive
22-year-old Ryouta is an unemployed worthless man who spends his days living at home and playing Btooom, an extremely popular online game that has sold over three million copies worldwide.
Alongside other teammates, Ryouta fights others using powerful bombs and sonar that can reveal hidden enemies, and his dedication has earned him the title of Japan's best player.
But soon, Ryouta's hobby becomes a terrifying reality, as he and many others are dumped on a tropical island and forced to play Btooom - but this time in real life. Now he and the rest must fight to the death using any means necessary.
Other Life Betting Anime
Sword Art Online – Despite fitting into the genre of MMORPG Isekai, it is worth noting that in this anime people struggle to survive in a virtual world. It's kind of like a game for life.
Mirai Nikki – In this game 12 people try to kill each other to see who will become the new God, using simple journaling apps that share an individual skill for each player.
Tower of God – An anime where people try to climb a tower by going through different challenges.
Higashi no Eden – The protagonist is involved in a game of life and death linked by missiles that hit Japan.
Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle – An anime about mind games and dangerous puzzles where failure can lead to death.
Mondai-Ji Tachi ga Isekai Kara Kuru Sou Desu yo? – The masters of this world host the Games of the Gift, in which extraordinary prizes can be won and lost by gods, spirits, monsters, and people of extraordinary abilities.
Darwin's Game – Players fight each other using superpowers called Sigils.
Deadman Wonderland – A prisoner needs to fight other prisoners using a power that manipulates blood.
More anime about Betting, Games and Manipulation:
- Rio: Rainbow Gate!
- Tobaku Haouden Rei
- Gamble Fish;
- Dongwa Gwolleyok;
- Mardock Scramble;
- C: Control
- Shichisei no Subaru;
- Yakusoku no Neverland;
- Death Note;
- Great Pretender;