「地の獄」 (Chi no Goku)
“Earthly Prison”

What a surreal feeling it is to be watching Kaiji again. Three years have passed since the first season ended inconclusively, but the feeling hasn’t changed. It’s still awesome.

Kaiji is a psychological “warfare” anime, in vein to Death Note, but more similar to Liar Game, a very well done manga that I recommend reading if you’re already into this genre. In a sentence, Kaiji landed himself in debt, got caught up in a series of life-threatening games where he was given the chance to gamble back his debt, failed and lost, and now we’re at season two. I don’t think there’s anyone that can’t enjoy a good struggle of intelligence and wit, and if you’re worrying about not wanting to think too much, the show explains most of it for you anyway. Though, in terms of cleverness, Kaiji is not as high as Liar Game nor Death Note, but it remains quite enjoyable (partly because it’s actually being animated).

One of the best things that makes the series work is the strong emotion running through the characters, a clear relatable struggle of pain and anguish, perfectly exemplified by the first episode. Kaiji battles a slippery slope of wants, certainly not helped by the influential Ootsuki (Chou), and then I suddenly saw myself in Kaiji. His decision to make six months into seven to be able to have more extra spending money is hilariously close to how my procrastination reasoning usually goes. “Oh, I’ll just watch this episode until 3:00, and then I’ll start on my homework. Okay, until 3:10, it’s only ten more minutes. It becomes 3:45. Well, since it’s around 4:00 anyways, I’ll let it go to a round number, so until 4:00! And that’s it!” …yeah, I guess I’m as much of a failure as him.

Kaiji slowly falling to his doom is typical for the show (no matter how stupid it seems), and it’s actually quite nostalgic to begin that way. He was actually quite formidable in the previous season, so the new environment cracking him this fast was unexpected. His ride down was deliciously fun in the non-sadistic kind of way due to all the clever detail given to his predicament, and the light psychological battle between the food sellers and Kaiji should really only get your feet wet at this point. Kaiji isn’t really Kaiji without a true gambling game, so as expected, Ootsuki pulls out some dice for a challenge. It might be a simple game of chance and luck, but with other materials nearby, who knows?

There’s really not much that should be said. Madhouse animation, strong seiyuu, and a solid story make this a must watch. No, don’t even give me that, “but Kiiragi, they have such big noses, and where’s my kawaii-uguu bijins?!” or, “but I didn’t watch season one!” Nope. Catch up, grow a beard, then watch Kaiji Hakairoku-hen, and grow a second beard. Don’t worry, this post will still be here, so you can still thank me later. The ONLY bad thing about these types of shows is waiting weekly for the next one. I might just marathon this for maximum enjoyment and a maximum beard.


ED Sequence

ED: 「CからはじまるABC」 (C Kara Hajimaru ABC) by 忘れらんねえよ (Wasureranneeyo)
Watch the ED!: Download, Streaming ▼


  1. “Kaiji is not as high as Liar Game nor Death Note, but it remains quite enjoyable (partly because it’s actually being animated)”

    On the other hand, Death Note had very strong movies, Liar Game had an average TV series, but Kaiji movie was an utter trash. They even stuck a woman as one of the main characters.

  2. I think I’ll skip this one, just because you were so insistent I watch it ;p

    J/k. It does look interesting but if I need to watch the first season to catch up I’ll put it on ‘to watch later’. Too many other good shows this season that require no such thing to enjoy.

    1. Yeah, they explained that this very episode with Kaiji racking up another 2 million yen debt (~$20k) in medical fees to get them reattached (and get their movement back surprisingly), bring his total debt to 9.5 million yen (~$95k).

  3. Weeeeeeell…i honestly did not expect it to be so good after seeing screenshots. They got some atmosphere.

    PS. Didn’t ever hear about 1st season until today.

    PPS. Who is composer in this one?

  4. I like the concept of the plot but it’s the art that I don’t like, it breaks my eyes.For anime and manga, it’s usually the art that influences me to watch/read it first because that’s the first thing I see.Then I read the little summaries of what the story is about for something like a confirmation for whether or not I want to watch/read it.As long as the art is decent enough I’d watch it, like Crayon Shin Chan (which was excellent and hilarious), but this looks like something I can scratch off my list of what to watch.

  5. “Don’t even give me that, ‘but Kiiragi,they have such big noses, and where’s my kawaii-uguu bijins?!'”

    You tell ’em bro.

    Kaijiiiiiiii S2! My heart is full of zawa TuT

  6. I normally don’t mind art style that much as long as the story is engaging enough. However, the Kaji’s mangaka style is really not my cup of tea. It bothers me too much ( “THAT NOSE!”) to enjoy the anime properly. And no. It isn’t because they aren’t bishies. While I do enjoy my animes a bit more if the lads or ladies are my types, plenty of things that I like (both anime, manga, as well as comics and animations from the Western side) don’t feature a single character I would like to date no matter how drunk I get. I truly have no idea why this particular art style bother me that much compare to anything else.

    Will keep on reading your posts on the series though. It might eventually convinces me to watch it.

    1. Hmm, not blogging this though. I can understand the art style truly bothering some people, like almost on a disturbing level, but honestly, it’s their loss. One needs to be open in order to experience all good things :]

  7. Well said! Kaiji may look hideous but it’s on the inside that counts, and that is where he is even worse. Kaiji is the story of ugly people doing ugly things, and the ugliest secret of them all is that that ugliness is our own. Eagerly awaiting episode 2.

  8. > Though, in terms of cleverness, Kaiji is not as high as Liar Game nor Death Note

    I actually think Kaiji is more clever than the both.

    But it was a delight to see Kaiji again in animated form. I missed all the suspense, the emotions let out from watching the show and also the over-the-top Narrator (lol). The only downside is that the “Zawa…” sound effect sounds wrong than the 1st season. What happened?

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