Anime has proven to tackle any genre with much flair. As a medium, anime takes relatively borderline mainstream themes, and creates an engaging experience for its viewers. Creators of such anime are known to use many influences to have more complex stories and characters. And one of the many influences commonly found in anime often used as a plot device is the practice or activity of betting, aka Gambling.
Gambling is a psychological game of chance and luck and is inherently a twisty one, with a specific outcome that always leads to a plot twist. The theme of Gambling is a philosophical one, as it focuses on the psychology of characters overcoming impossible odds as they aim to win. Gambling anime is also known for intense drama and rich backgrounds.
Considering its compulsive nature, it’s not strange that the gambling phenomenon has gained fame in Japanese animation for having the most impactful narratives. If you’re looking for a gambling anime to watch that’d give a rush of excitement full of surprises, twists, and turns, worry not. Here’s the list of best gambling anime you should watch right now.
Best Gambling Anime
01. No Game No Life
Sora and Shiro are shut-in NEET siblings and an undefeated duo when it comes to games. One day, the siblings receive an email from a stranger who challenges them for a chess game. After accepting the request, the sibling duo gets transported to another world called Disboard.
In Disboard, they met Tet, the God of Games, who tells them that in this world, every form of conflict, even if it’s war, is resolved through games, with each side putting equivalent stakes. Follow Sora and Shiro as they play different games against sixteen races of Disboard to defeat Tet, the God of Games.
02. Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor
After graduating from high school, Kaiji Itou moved to Tokyo and started looking for a job but failed to maintain steady employment. Discouraged by all this, Kaiji spends his days drinking beer and gambling.
However, suddenly his apathetic life takes a drastic turn when out of nowhere, he found himself participating in an illegal underground gamble on a cruise ship to clear the debt after being tricked by his former co-worker.
03. Death Parade
When humans die, they don’t go to hell or heaven. Instead, they end up in a bar, which acts as a gateway between reincarnation and the eternal void. At the bar awaits a bartender with a random game challenge.
Decim is a bartender at the Quindecim bar whose role is to judge a human based on the information he gathers while playing the death game with them. He then makes judgments of whether they’d reincarnated or be sent to the eternal void.
04. Touhai Densetsu Akagi: Yami ni Maiorita Tensai
Nangou is a compulsive gambler who was playing a game of Mahjong with the local yakuza in the hope of clearing his debt of over three million yen but lost miserably. As a last resort, he decides to wager his life on the line.
As Nangou was about to lose the game and his life, suddenly, Shigeru Akagi, who is on the run from the police, showed up at the game. After watching Nangou struggling, he offers to substitute himself. Little did they know that Akagi is a natural-born gambler destined to become a legend.
05. C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control
Japan is on the brink of a financial crisis causing high unemployment rates, crime, and suicide. In this collapsing financial nation, a second-year Economics university student Kimimaro Yoga struggles to secure a stable life.
However, one day, a man comes to his front door, offering him a large sum of money in exchange for his future to be held as collateral. He reluctantly accepts the offer and finds himself pulled into a mysterious realm known as “The Financial District.”
06. Kakegurui: Compulsive Gambler
Buy/Stream On: Netflix
Hyakkaou Private Academy is a high-class elite school for the children of Japan’s most wealthy and famous people. However, the school doesn’t determine its students based on academic achievement or athletic ability but rather by gambling curriculum. At Hyakkaou Private Academy, the winners rule over the losers.
Yumeko Jabami just transferred to the Hyakkaou Private Academy. By looks, she is a seemingly innocent and beautiful transfer student, but under her charming facade of an ideal student, she is a genius and a natural-born gambler. Yumeko likes to play a little differently than the students at school as she plays not to win but for the trills.
07. One Outs
Buy/Stream On: Unknown
Lycaons is currently the weakest team in Japan’s Pacific League. To bring himself out of the slump, Kojima Hiromichi, the star batter of the Lycaons, decides to go and train in Okinawa. While training, he learns that his team member lost to a guy named Tokuchi Toua in a baseball gamble match.
To make up for his team member’s loss, Kojima challenges Tokuchi, but even he surprisingly loses. Even though Tokuchi is average at best in pitching, there is something different about him. Kojima may have finally found the dark horse that would take Lycaons to the path of victory.
08. Kengan Ashura
Buy/Stream On: Netflix
Gladiator arenas exist since the Edo period of Japan. For a long time, many businesses and merchants hire gladiators to fight a deadly battle in these arenas known as Kengan matches. Nowadays, any disputes between wealthy companies are settled by gladiators representing companies.
Tokita Ohma is an exceptional fighter who loves to fight. After defeating a fighter representing the Nogi Group. Nogi Group CEO Nogi Hideki picks him as their new representative and wants Ohma to participate in the Kengan Zetsumei Tournament to win the spot as chairman of the powerful Kengan Organization.
09. Problem Children are Coming from Another World, Aren’t They?
Izayoi Sakamaki, Asuka Kudou, and You Kasukabe are teenagers with extraordinary psychic powers living a pretty boring life. One day, each of them receives a special envelope with an invitation to a mysterious place called Little Garden. Bored of their mundane lives, the Trio decide to give it a try and gets transported to Little Garden.
Upon arriving, the Trio is welcomed by Kurousagi, who explains to them about Little Garden. It is a world where its residents participate in high stake games known as Gift Games. The winner earns wealth and fame for their communities. Kurousagi then requests the Trio to help her community No Name regain its prosperity once again.
10. Shoubushi Densetsu Tetsuya
Buy/Stream On: Unknown
In 1947, the Shinjuku is in a financial slump, with many people having a hard time even putting food on their table. To survive, people resort to gambling with whatever little money they have.
Tetsuya, who was visiting Shinjuku, decided to try his luck at the Mahjong parlors. One by one, he was winning every game by his sheer luck until he loses to intensely skilled Boushu-San. The story follows Tetsuya on his journey to become the strongest Mahjong player.