In Defence of Kaiji

I read a blog post about Kaiji and the person wrote that Kaiji is an evil series that promotes sin and a bunch of other things. Yes, the characters lie and betray one another for personal gain and greed. Yes, some characters have died or are subject to inhumane human labour. Yes, some characters have lost limbs as a result of losing a gamble. Does the manga promote crime and murder though? I fail to see it.

It’s a work of fiction. Am I as a reader going to go and start deceiving people for my personal gain because I’ve read this series? Of course not. What I got from the manga is an intense and exciting reading experience. Most of the time, you read manga for entertainment. Am I a bad person for reading this series because some characters have died and other characters are in terrible life situations? What series doesn’t have something like this.

Kaiji Itou is a man thrown into unfortunate circumstances. He’s not particularly smart like Akagi, for example, and sometimes loses his gambles. What strikes me about him is his perseverance and desire to overcome his obstacles. This is why many people became interested in the series. I am caught up on the manga and do not think that this has changed. Kaiji still has obstacles he needs to overcome but he has been vigilant and cautious in Part 6 of the manga.

At least in my experience, I feel motivated after reading Kaiji. Seeing Kaiji so determined makes me want to do something. This “something” can be as simple as getting out of bed. Sometimes I look at my life and think, what would Kaiji do? He wouldn’t give up like this. There are many inspirational quotes in Kaiji.

As for the Tonegawa series and comedy spin offs, I think they are fine as long as they are separate from the Kaiji manga (and they are). I’ve read the spin-off manga and watched the spin-off anime. I know that spin-off Tonegawa is not the same person as Tonegawa in the Kaiji series. That being said, spin-off Tonegawa does not change how I view Tonegawa in the Kaiji series. Tonegawa is a separate series and should be seen as such.

Deceiver’s Distrust in Psychological Anime & Manga

I was studying for an exam and the term, deceiver’s distrust, came up.

Deceiver’s distrust = When people lie to others, they often begin to perceive the recipients of the lies as less honest and trustworthy as a result.

I thought about it, and it does happen in a lot of psychological and gambling anime. Two examples of deceiver’s distrust in anime and manga are Kaiji and Liar Game. Deceiver’s distrust plays out often in these two series, but I’ll outline two specific scenarios. Spoilers ahead!

1. Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor

Kaiji is the best psychological anime I’ve seen. I highly recommend it. In a match against Middle Manager Tonegawa, Kaiji trusted Tonegawa. Tonegawa, who was cheating the entire match, believed that Kaiji had switched the cards for his own benefit. Because Kaiji trusted Tonegawa and because Tonegawa thought that Kaiji had switched the cards, he lost… bitterly.

2. Liar Game

Liar Game is a psychological manga. I highly recommend this series as well, but the ending was extremely disappointing. During the Contraband game, Nao and Akiyama promised to save everyone, even though it meant that they had to move onto the next round. Yokoya, who was secretly smuggling money into his own account, did not believe Nao and Akiyama’s good intentions. He called them losers, stupid, and foolish. Spoiler alert: he lost the match.

There are many more examples of deceiver’s distrust in anime and manga. Can you think of other examples? What about in real life? Perhaps believing that others are less honest and trustworthy reduces their own guilt. What do you think?