Manga Review: Tobaku Datenroku Kaiji

Tobaku Datenroku Kaiji is Part 3 of the Kaiji manga. The events that take place happen after the second season of the anime.

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Synopsis: Kaiji is living in Mr. Sakazaki’s new house but he doesn’t work or do anything. Mikoko adores Kaiji, but the feelings are not mutual. (The scenes in the ending theme song of Kaiji season 2 were showing the future!) Maeda and Miyoshi, two of Kaiji’s friends that were freed from the underground labour camp, approach him to gamble. Kaiji accepts, and the rest is on mahjong.

Kaiji plays against the President of a casino in a game of 17 Steps. 17 Steps is a different version of mahjong in which you do not pick up new tiles. Instead, you can only discard tiles. The stakes are high – if Kaiji loses, he’ll have to pay the consequences.

Thoughts: I loved the beginning because you see Kaiji’s day-to-day life when he is not gambling. It will be difficult to understand the match if you do not know how to play mahjong. However, I don’t think you have to know how to play it because it’ll still be interesting to see the tensions building up and the emotional turmoil the characters experience. It’ll be beneficial to know how to play mahjong, but not required.

The art takes a while to get used to, but it depicts human emotions and suffering so well. Yes, it distorts features of the face and exaggerates expressions, but the art is so expressive.

Out of the three story parts so far, I liked this one the least. Don’t get me wrong – it’s great and it’s better than most manga I’ve read. Compared to the first two parts, however, it’s less exciting. Do I recommend this? Absolutely yes, but you have to start from the beginning.

Kaiji is my second favourite series. Kaiji Itou demonstrates so much resilience despite all the sh*t he’s been through. He’s been betrayed again and again, has nearly faced death many times, has been in the lowest situations imaginable, yet he still has faith in humanity. He still clings onto hope.

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Freedom feels relaxing in the beginning, but when freedom is prolonged, life feels empty and meaningless. Thus, I have a blog. πŸ™‚

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A reminder to myself in all situations.

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I was reading Kaiji on a day I was feeling sorry for myself, and this page sparked something within me. I think that perseverance is a strength in all of us.

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