Manga Review: Tobaku Datenroku Kaiji: Kazuya-hen

Tobaku Datenroku Kaiji: Kazuya-hen is Part 4 of the Kaiji manga series by Nobuyuki Fukumoto. For my review on Part 3, click here.

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In the beginning of the arc, Kaiji reads a novel written by Kazuya. The story is ridiculous, but it was also extremely captivating. I was completely drawn in and couldn’t stop reading.

Kaiji plays a significantly smaller role in this part. Unlike the other arcs in which he is the main player, this arc is focused on three best friends: Mitsuyama, Chang, and Mario. The three friends play the Salvation Game. Kaiji and Kazuya watch from the sidelines while the three friends put their friendship to the test. Either all three friends will win the game and split up the prize money (millions of dollars) or one friend will betray the others and take all the money for himself. If the latter happens, the two remaining friends will have their skulls crushed and will die as a consequence.

Kaiji believes that Mitsuyama, Chang, and Mario will work together until the end and win the game, while Kazuya believes that they’re all frauds. He believes that betrayal is inevitable and that it’s inherent to human nature. I found that my own morals were put to the test because I felt that I had to pick a side. To be completely truthful, I kept going back and forth between Kaiji’s and Kazuya’s arguments. In the end, the side I picked lost.

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Kaiji stands his ground and doesn’t suck up to people he doesn’t like!

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Kaiji compares the players to his “friends.” This was a painful page to read. Not only did I feel empathy towards Kaiji, I was also reminded of my own experiences of betrayal.

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Kaiji still protests, despite being punched and kicked on.

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Kaiji isn’t involved in the game, doesn’t know the players, but still feels empathy for the players.

Why do I read Kaiji?

  1. It makes me feel better about my own life. I reflect upon my own life and think, my life isn’t bad at all. I’m actually so lucky to have a supportive family and a roof over my head. I don’t have to worry about going hungry. I have clothes that will keep me warm. I have a bed and access to a hot shower. 
  2. Kaiji inspires me. Yes, he’s a fictional character but he’s a resilient character.
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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. 🙂

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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.

Manga I’ve Dropped

It seemed many people enjoyed my post on anime I’ve dropped so I decided to make a post on manga I’ve dropped!

1. Dragon Ball

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I know that the show was a lot of peoples’ childhoods but I never got into it. The first few chapters of Dragon Ball did not interest me because there was urine, butts – just gross things. I like characters in bishonen style better. That’s just my personal preference.

2. Mikan no Tsuki

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The art style is not very good and the story was confusing. Overall, not a good impression.

3. Kirihito Sanka

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This manga is by Osamu Tezuka, the godfather of manga. I understand that he is massively influential to anime but I am not his fan. I’ve read a bit of Lost World, Astro Boy, and Ribbon no Kishi. I’ve also watched Metropolis.

I am not his fan because 1) he grossly exaggerated features of POC. For example, I don’t like the way he drew Chinese characters or African characters. It’s stereotypical and racist. Kirihito Sanka (Ode to Kirihito) was done in 1971. While I can see that it was made many, many years ago, I still don’t like it. I know that some American cartoonists did the same thing too and I don’t like that either.

2) There was rape in Kirihito Sanka, more than once. 3) Reading Kirihito Sanka made me groan at so many moments. The characters are ridiculous and I don’t agree with many of their actions.

4. Masamune-kun no Revenge

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Masamune kept talking about taking revenge on Aki but he ran so many errands for her, like getting bread for her.

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Okay… I thought this was about revenge, not about becoming her servant. Masamune needs to grow a backbone and I don’t see anything there is to like about Aki. I don’t care if she’s cute! I don’t like anyone in the series.

5. Chobits

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I’m not big on robot manga or anime. Chi is adorable but that’s basically all there is to her. Picking her up from the trash reminds me of picking up a stray cat from the streets. Yet, she is seen as a love interest and it just doesn’t sit well with me.