I was mindlessly scrolling through Instagram (this is nothing new) and I came across this meme.
I immediately thought about Tonegawa from Kaiji. So I rewatched his speeches and I really like this one.
Normally, those people would never wake up from their fantasy worlds. They live meaningless lives. They waste their precious days over nothing. No matter how old they get, they’ll continue to say, “My real life hasn’t started yet. The real me is still asleep, so that’s why my life is such garbage.” They continue to tell themselves that. And they age. Then die. And on their deathbeds, they will finally realize: the life they lived was the real thing. People don’t live provisional lives, nor do they die provisional deaths. That’s a simple fact! The problem… is whether they realize that simple fact.” – Yukio Tonegawa
Frankly, I felt called out. I often tell myself that I don’t belong here and that I wish I could teleport to another world. That I feel like an alien sometimes. I frequently think, “If only I could do this… If only I had this…”
Tonegawa’s speech makes a lot of sense to me. Whatever fantasy world I’m dreaming of, I need to wake up from it. I need to recognize that I am living my real life right now. It is a simple fact…
Let’s say you recognize that you’ve been wasting your life away. Then what?? Thinking is easy, but taking action is not.
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.