Saturday, February 10, 2007

Anime — Akagi, Mahjong Legend; the Genius who descended into the Darkness

So, I'm a little late on this one. But when it comes out labelled as "Genre: Sport", you don't immediately think of something anywhere thrilling.

The very first glance at the introduction, and a look at those noses, tells you it's not going to be “just another anime”.

The best summary of the first three episodes (from which most of that montage comes) is that it's 1958, and teenager Akagi Shigeru drives a car into the ocean, then from zero background comes to win your tabletop game, clear your debts, double the winnings and and mess with the heads of the local yakuza.

From there on, after just one episode to catch your breath it's mind-games all the way. About the only weakness is that the series ends when it catches up with the manga, two-thirds of the way through a climactic match, where Akagi is wagering his blood against the fortune of the Secret Master of Japan, and only a sudden skip from Summer 1965 to Summer 1999 and a brief glimpse of middle-aged Akagi tells us all we need to know.

Not a series I would have expected to like from the premise; but one that is riveting watching — and bears a rewatch as the scan for the screenies above proved in passing.

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