The Hyakkaou Private Academy is not your typical high school. Its students are the children of the rich and powerful, of politicians, entrepreneurs, diplomats, actors. They are the future of the land and they need to learn the real rules of the world and not some petty all-around subjects like history and literature. They need how to work themselves up the hierarchy and that’s why there is one inside their school. Their social status is determined by their ability to gamble and win millions of yen. You either win and rise in the ranks or lose and become indebted, taking the role of a house pet, essentially a slave that needs to put up with the abuse of the more powerful students.
The protagonist, Jabami Yumeko, has joined the school to spice things up. She feeds on gambling, the thrill and risk being her bread and butter, and wants to make it to the top and challenge the horrendous student council.
MANGA.TOKYO is here with 10 anime that are in some ways similar to the gambling anime. We don’t think about it too hard when it comes to similarities and differences. These are titles we think you’ll enjoy if you liked Kakegurui!
Kakegurui was part of our weekly anime reviews here in MANGA.TOKYO. You can read our review of the first episode and take it from there:
In No Game No Life, Shiro and Sora have dedicated their hikkikomori lives to playing video games. Their online alias is known as the names of the most skilled online gamers the world has ever known. One day, they receive a strange email that offers them a chance to be challenged in games they have never played before. They are transferred to another world by the god of games, Tet, a world where wars are decided through games.
The games are very similar to gambling and radiate the same thrills. The risk is still there (this is war through games we are talking about) and the only thing that seems to be missing is actual money. Yet, all the players in NGNL are prepared to push themselves to their limits to achieve their purpose.
2. Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope’s Peak High School (Future + Despair)
24 Episodes (12+12)
Based on the game franchise of the same name, the two simultaneously aired anime series (Future and Despair Arcs) serve as a conclusion to the storyline of Hope’s Peak Academy, the elite school where the Ultimate Despair, Junko Enoshima, played hostess to a bizarre game of life and death, disguised as the evil bear Monokuma.
Both Danganronpa and Kakegurui feature a storyline where the stakes are high. They are both set inside a school where one wrong step could make you lose either your freedom or your life. While no-one dies in Kakegurui, both anime are so dark that sometimes it feels like the characters in Hyakkaou Private Academy are betting their lives.
You can read our review of the special final episode here:
One Outs combines sports with gambling in its protagonist, Toua Tokuchi. Toua uses his overpowered baseball fastball to win money in a game he calls One Outs. One day, he is asked to join an unsuccesful team and lead it to success. Toua, who just loves making money, agrees with one rule: for every out he pitches he will make 5 million yen, and for each hit he will lose 50.
One Outs is very intense, just like Kakegurui. You will find yourself biting your nails just before each fastball.
The steaks are really high for Soma and his cooking career. The shonen protagonist joins the Tootsuki Culinary Academy where only the best of cooks manage to graduate. The prestigious academy has a unique rule called shokugeki (food wars) through which the students can challenge each other in cooking battles!
Food Wars has a lot in common with Kakegurui. Yumeko and Soma are both deriving pleasure from their vices and are trying to extract as much pleasure from them as possible. There is also the explanation that comes after every gamble and every food. And isn’t the Student Council ridiculously overpowered just like the Elite 10?
The third anime season is part of our weekly anime reviews. You can read our series reviews for the first two seasons:
Light Yagami is probably one of my favorite anime protagonists of all time, as is Jabami Yumeko. Light, a child prodigy and a genius, is so sick with the world that he wishes he had the power to change it. That power comes in the form of a supernatural notebook called the Death Note. If you write the name of a person in it, that person dies. What else does a sociopath with a weird moral compass need to become a God?
Death Note is not about gambling, but the two main characters seem to be engaged in a high stakes game in which they have to manipulate each other if they want to emerge victorious.
6. Death Parade
What is there after death? Is it the Elysian gardens of heaven or the pitting depths of hell? In Death Parade, it is neither. When you die, you have one of two options: you will either be reincarnated or forever be lost into oblivion. The place where this decision takes place is a bar. The barkeeper will challenge the newly deceased into a game that will determine whether they will get to live another life or cut their journey short.
I don’t know about you, but I was sold to this anime the moment I read the premise. It reminded me of a certain chess game between a knight and Death, and the fact that the protagonist is a black-haired woman without a name just made things even better. The style of Death Parade is similar to that of Kakegurui, dark and mature. They also share the gaming – gambling theme and a strong female protagonist.
Death Parade spawned from the short film Death Billiards, which was part of the Young Animator Training Project’s Anime Mirai 2013.
7. Prison School
Do you want to bring trouble to an all-girls prestigious academy? Make it co-ed. When the board of Hachimitsu Private Academy decided to accept male students, it wasn’t expecting that the first five boys to enter in the new semester would be thrown to school prison. Kiyoshi, Gakuto, Shingo, Andre, and Jo peeped into the girls’ bathroom, and to punish them, the shade Underground Student Council throw them into a prison built right inside the academy, on a one-month sentence.
The president of the student council in Kakegurui reminded me of the president in Prison School, and its comedy is similar to that found in the gambling anime. The school setting and the adult themes are also similar. If you want an anime with dark characters who have a lustful side and a story full of ecchi moments that are not there just for the fan-service, you have to give Prison School a try.
8. Lostorage Incited WIXOSS
Suzuko and Chinatsu grew up as best friends in Ikebukuro. After years of absence, Suzuko can’t wait to return to her hometown and meet her friend. Something has changed, however, Her classmates seem pre-occupied with a game of cards called WIXOSS. After getting her first deck, she’s surprised to learn that one of the cards is alive. It explains the game to her: she has five coins. Each time she loses a match, she loses a coin (and every time she wins she gains a coin back). If she loses all five coins she will lose all her memories as well.
The price to pay is really high in WIXOSS. I consider memories to be far more important than money. While the gamblers of Kakegurui are betting their future in terms of financial and societal security, the players of this game are betting their actual future. There is no future without a past to remember.
The anime was part of our weekly anime reviews. You can read our series review here:
Have you ever been to a big casino, usually part of those resort hotels in exotic destinations? This is exactly how the one in Howard Resort Hotel looks like. In the casino, a buxom red-haired dealer named Rio Rollins is known by patrons as the Goddess of Victory. Of course, Rio doesn’t really care about the nickname, and the only thing in her mind is to achieve her only dream: to be as legendary a dealer as her mother. How can she achieve that? But, of course, by gathering the 13 legendary gate cards. There is much legendary happening in this series.
Rio is not as dark as Kakegurui but they share the beautiful women and the gambling.
10. Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor
Fall 2017 – Winter 2008
The protagonist of this anime, Kaiji Itou, is just a regular thug. He gets drunk and steals and swears and smokes and generally does nothing productive. To make matters worse, when he is betrayed by someone he knew, he finds himself with a debt he is unable to repay unless he joins a cruise ship and takes part in the illegal gambling that takes place inside. The anime is based on the famous gambling manga series by Nobuyuki Fukumoto.
Both Kaiji and Yumeko are the protagonists of a gambling anime where the stakes are really high. They both deal with how gambling affects our personalities and how humans react when they are pushed to their limits.
How do you feel? Are you ready to bet on your next anime? Just choose one (or all) from this list and I guarantee you that you’ll have a great time.