A Mahjong anime, but even if you hate mahjong still watch it
Akagi is a Mahjong anime. Mahjong is a popular game in many Asian countries (it also frequently played in the West though) which involve using tiles to build certain hands, and ones that contain patterns are worth more. Now before you go "Ugh, I don't want to learn all this rules to this game to understand this anime" you don't have to. Most of the concepts are well explained, and there's enough of other non-tile related things going on to keep you occupied. In fact, I initially disliked mahjong until I saw this anime. The series is very dark; its setting is in the seedy underground Yakuza lairs in Postwar Japan. Playing Mahjong has become a big deal in Yakuza dealings and many would aspire to gamble it up and perhaps become ruler of this dark world. As to be expected gang members and leaders are not the nicest people, and thus one would need a great amount of wits, street smarts, and just plain courage. Enter Shigeru Akagi, a teenage kid who is completely fearless. He has no qualms over driving over cliffs or cheating angry Yakuza members right in front of them. One thing he does lack though, is any knowledge of mahjong which quickly changes as he inadvertently helps a poor losing player on the edge of being killed by the Yakuza by offering bold advice. The loser, Nangou, pleads with Akagi to help him as the kid has shown great intuition and possibly great talent. Akagi's cleans house without even knowing all the rules. But intuition and fearlessness is not all he has; Akagi frequently messes with the heads of his opponents. Sometimes they actually pass out-- that's pretty hardcore. And a legend begins...
Despite the strange looking animation, everything is done with a certain style that fits in well with the dark climate of the story without looking contrived. The music is also pretty catchy. Near the end, the story gets a little weak, but I can say this anime was a unique experience that you couldn't get elsewhere.
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