Rolling into Day Nine of the 30 Day Geek Out Challenge, I am back to post about my favorite anime. Although I don’t really watch anime anymore, I was once into the scene enough that I feel like I can make an informed choice about this.
In my heart the real answer to this question is probably Cowboy Bebop. Not only does it have the best soundtrack to anything ever created, but it also features a variety of truly memorable characters, a fantastic story, and a really cool animation style and space Western aesthetic. Seriously, even if you don’t consider yourself someone who likes anime give this a shot.
That said, I am going to make this post about something else. As awesome as Cowboy Bebop is, I feel like that choice is just a bit too safe and mainstream. Instead, I am going to go with Akagi.
Set in Japan during the late-1950s, Akagi tells the story of a teenager named Akagi Shigeru and how he became a legendary figure in Japan’s criminal underworld for his gambling skills. It all begins, as these things often do, on a dark and stormy night when he stumbles into a mahjong parlor while running from the police following a game of chicken. He talks himself into playing in place of a hapless debtor and, despite having no knowledge of the game, deals a stunning defeat to a prominent Yakuza boss.
I’m not going to say the series is perfect, but I do really enjoy it. What I love about it so much is that it’s one of the very few (at least that I am aware of) to focus on mahjong, a game I was very much into playing around the time I watched it. It really dives into playing styles and gambling strategy, so if you’re looking to geek out about that sort of thing, this is most definitely for you! I also like the funky, angular animation style. It fits the gritty world of this story quite well and really stands out in my mind as different. I’ll admit the series probably is not for everyone (if you don’t play mahjong or think it’s just a tile matching game you will quickly get confused) and I suppose the complete lack of any female characters whatsoever is somewhat problematic (to arguable degrees given the settings), but it is one that I look back on fondly and give a rewatch every now and then.