Kaiji – Intense Anime RPS

Kaji1While Rock Paper Scissors has often been used as an executional device within a TV show, rarely has it been the central focus of the drama. Japanese Anime series Kaiji goes deep into the seedy world of gambling by following a down on his luck gambler Itoh Kaiji who, being 3 million yen in debt, decides to go on a mysterious gambling cruise that promises to erase the debts of the winners (and magnify the debts of the losers) through a series of gambling games.

What makes it interesting to us is that the first 9 episodes focus on an intense version of RPS called Gentei Janken or Restricted Rock Paper Scissors. Kaji2This version of RPS is most similar to Street RPS but with a twist. Each player starts with a total of 12 cards (4 of each throw) and 3 stars. Players then play each other for their stars with anyone earning enough stars getting the right to move to a safe room and the losers going even deeper into debt. A large screen keeps track of the cards played so players can get a general sense of the what cards are left. Like Street RPS, Restricted RPS has few rules beyond the basics allowing for plenty of subterfuge and deception which is where the drama really starts to get intense. By the time the RPS themed episodes are done, you will likely be hooked and wanting to watch the rest of the series. While the series loses its way midway through the season, it makes up for it later one with another diabolical card-based game that shares similar lines of thinking to RPS called E-card.

Kaji3Anime fans give this series a very high rating , so if you are new to this style of storytelling this is an excellent and entertaining introduction to the genre. You can watch the whole Kaiji series online at crunchyroll.com