Akagi (manga)

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Akagi: Yami ni Oritatta Tensai
Akagi manga vol 1.png
Cover of the first manga volume
アカギ 〜闇に降り立った天才〜
Genre Drama, Gambling
Manga
Written by Nobuyuki Fukumoto
Published by Takeshobo
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Kindai Mahjong
Original run 1992 – ongoing
Volumes 28
Anime television series
Directed by Yuzo Sato
Written by Hideo Takayashiki
Music by Hideki Taniuchi
Studio Madhouse
Network Nippon Television
English network Crunchyroll
Original run October 4, 2005March 28, 2006
Episodes 26
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

Akagi: Yami ni Oritatta Tensai (Japanese: アカギ 〜闇に降り立った天才〜?, lit. "The Genius Who Landed in Darkness") is a Japanese manga written and illustrated by Nobuyuki Fukumoto. First published in 1992 in the weekly magazine Kindai Mahjong, it is a spin-off of the author's previous work, Ten. It revolves around Shigeru Akagi, a former 13-year-old mahjong champion who returns to the game six years later.

In Japan, Akagi has sold over 5 million copies. It was adapted as two V-Cinema live action films in 1995 and 1997. A 26-episode anime television series was produced by Madhouse and broadcast on Japanese television network Nippon Television from 2005 to 2006. The series has also spawned several companion books, spin-off manga, video games, and merchandise.

Plot[edit]

The story revolves around the mahjong gambling exploits of Shigeru Akagi (赤木しげる Akagi Shigeru?). After a death-defying game of chicken one evening in 1958, Akagi nonchalantly enters a yakuza mahjong parlor to shake the police's trail. Although he is unfamiliar with the rules of mahjong, his gambling intuition saves a small time gambler, Nangou (南郷?), and grants him a seat at the gambling table. As the night progresses, the stakes are raised both within the game and for Akagi, who is under the suspicion of the local policeman, Yasuoka (安岡?). However, Akagi manages to defeat Keiji Yagi (矢木圭次 Yagi Keiji?)—despite Yagi's cheating during the game—and impresses the members of the gambling house.

Yasuoka arranges a new match against other yakuza members, in which Akagi defeats Ichikawa (市川?), a blind professional mahjong player with very accurate hearing. After defeating him, Akagi gains mythical status at 13 but then disappears, becoming a legendary figure all over Japan. Six years later, Yasuoka orders Yukio Hirayama (平山幸雄 Hirayama Yukio?) to pretend to be Akagi to impress some yakuza bosses and make money. Meanwhile, Nangou finds the real Akagi, now aged 19. Akagi, however, does not need to play with Hirayama as Hirayama is defeated by Urabe (浦部?), a professional mahjong player for another yakuza group who is later defeated by Akagi.

Akagi's ultimate rival is Iwao Washizu (鷲巣巌 Washizu Iwao?), an old man who has made a lot of money and become one of the most powerful people in the Japanese underworld. Having built up massive funds from shady dealings in Japan's post-war era, Washizu tempts people to bet their lives for the chance to win a large amount of money. Washizu and Akagi play mahjong in an unusual way that Washizu calls "Washizu Mahjong", in which glass tiles replace most of the tiles and make the game different in many ways.

Media[edit]

Manga[edit]

Akagi: Yami ni Oritatta Tensai, written and illustrated by Nobuyuki Fukumoto, is a spin-off of Fukumoto's 1989 manga, Ten: Tenhōdōri no Kaidanji.[1][2] It was serialized after its first chapter was published in Takeshobo's Kindai Mahjong magazine in 1992.[3][4] The manga's first tankōbon (collected volume) was released by Takeshobo on April 24, 1992,[5] and its latest volume—the 28th—was published on December 10, 2013.[6]

Volumes[edit]

No. Japanese release date Japanese ISBN
1 April 24, 1992[5] ISBN 978-4-88475-574-4
2 December 9, 1992[7] ISBN 978-4-88475-620-8
3 September 29, 1993[8] ISBN 978-4-88475-673-4
4 June 27, 1994[9] ISBN 978-4-88475-723-6
5 April 17, 1995[10] ISBN 978-4-88475-799-1
6 January 27, 1996[11] ISBN 978-4-8124-5005-5
7 July 10, 1997[12] ISBN 978-4-8124-5138-0
8 April 27, 1998[13] ISBN 978-4-8124-5193-9
9 February 27, 1999[14] ISBN 978-4-8124-5281-3
10 November 27, 1999[15] ISBN 978-4-8124-5333-9
11 August 27, 2001[16] ISBN 978-4-8124-5544-9
12 January 26, 2001[17] ISBN 978-4-8124-5616-3
13 June 27, 2002[18] ISBN 978-4-8124-5670-5
14 March 27, 2003[19] ISBN 978-4-8124-5792-4
15 February 27, 2004[20] ISBN 978-4-8124-5917-1
16 September 27, 2004[21] ISBN 978-4-8124-6022-1
17 June 7, 2005[22] ISBN 978-4-8124-6187-7
18 February 27, 2006[23] ISBN 978-4-8124-6436-6
19 January 27, 2007[24] ISBN 978-4-8124-6549-3
20 July 17, 2007[25] ISBN 978-4-8124-6711-4
21 April 26, 2008[26] ISBN 978-4-8124-6820-3
22 February 17, 2009[27] ISBN 978-4-8124-7035-0
23 October 5, 2009[28] ISBN 978-4-8124-7165-4
24 June 11, 2010[29] ISBN 978-4-8124-7287-3
25 July 27, 2011[30] ISBN 978-4-8124-7640-6
26 July 17, 2012[31] ISBN 978-4-8124-7931-5
27 July 17, 2013[32] ISBN 978-4-8124-8344-2
28 December 10, 2013[6] ISBN 978-4-8124-8469-2

Anime[edit]

Madhouse adapted the manga into an anime television series titled Tōhai Densetsu Akagi: Yami ni Maiorita Tensai (闘牌伝説アカギ 闇に舞い降りた天才?, lit. "Mahjong Legend Akagi: The Genius Who Descended Into the Darkness"). It was co-produced by Nippon Television (NTV), VAP and Forecast[33] and directed by Yuzo Sato.[33] The Akagi anime premiered in Japan on NTV on October 4, 2005, and ran for 26 episodes until its conclusion on March 28, 2006.[34] In September 2013, streaming service Crunchyroll announced the licensing of the anime in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbeans, and South and Central America.[35] The six first episodes were available in these countries from September 10, 2013, with five more episodes streamed every week there after.[35]

VAP compiled the series and released it as two DVD box sets on March 24, and May 24, 2006.[36] Several types of tie-ins merchandise were released,[37] such as an official guidebook published by Takeshobo on March 29, 2006[38] and an official soundtrack album composed by Hideki Taniuchi released on January 25, 2006.[33][39] Produced by VAP,[39] the soundtrack featured 35 tracks[39] including the anime's opening theme, "Nantoka Nare" (何とかなれ?) by Furuido, and its two ending themes, "Akagi" by Maximum the Hormone and "S.T.S." by The Animals.[40]

Related books and spin-offs[edit]

Several related books and spin-off manga have been released. A series of three books titled Akagi Akuma no Senjutsu (アカギ悪魔の戦術?) were released between May 17, 1999, and January 27, 2001.[41][42] An anthology written by several other manga artists, including CLAMP, Shinobu Kaitani and Mikio Igarashi, was released on July 27, 2011.[43] An Akagi-themed mahjong introduction guide was released on two parts on July 27, 2011, and July 17, 2013.[44][45] A character book was released on July 17, 2012,[46] and an anthology compiling dōjinshi written at 2013 Comiket was released by Broccoli Books.[47] Several crossovers between Akagi and Ten[48][49] as well as between Akagi and Hero, another series by Fukumoto, have also been published by Takeshobo.[50]

Washizu: Enma no Tōhai (ワシズ -閻魔の闘牌-?), a spin-off manga written by Keiichirō Hara focusing on Iwao Washizu, was serialized in Monthly Kindai Mahjong Original starting on June 28, 2008.[51] The series spawned eight volumes released between February 17, 2009, and January 26, 2013.[52][53] A one-shot on Washizu was also drawn by CLAMP for Monthly Kindai Mahjong Original and released on August 8.[51] Washizu: Enma no Tōhai was also published as two "B6 Series" released on October 27, 2012, and January 17, 2013.[54][55] On November 8, 2012, Monthly Kindai Mahjong Original published the first chapter of Washizu: Tenka Sōsei Tōhai Roku (ワシズ 天下創世闘牌録?);[56] three volumes have already been released as of November 27, 2014.[57][58][59]

Other merchandise[edit]

Kenzō Maihara directed two V-Cinema films adaptations of Akagi starring Takashi Kashiwabara: Tōhai Den Akagi (闘牌伝アカギ?), released November 11, 1995,[60] and Suzume Ma Akagi (雀魔アカギ?), released July 25, 1997.[61] Takeshobo rereleased both films in DVD format on January 27, 2006.[62][63] A video game based on the first film was released by Micronet for PlayStation on January 19, 1996.[64]

Warashi adapted Akagi into a PlayStation 2 game released by D3 Publisher on December 12, 2002.[65][66] It was rereleased as part of the budget-priced "Simple series" on October 14, 2004.[67] In 2006, Taito Corporation released two mobile games based on the anime.[68][69] Two video games based on the anime series were developed by Culture Brain and published by Nintendo. The first, a Game Boy Advance game, was released on March 3, 2006,[70] and the second, for Nintendo DS, was released on August 9, 2007.[71] Fujishoji released a pachislot machine in 2008.[72] Okumura Yuuki released its first pachislot machine the same year,[73] which and followed with another in 2012.[74] A smartphone game was developed by Imagineer and made available from March 5, 2014,[75] while Gloops releaed a social network game for Mobage on August 1 of the same year.[76]

Reception[edit]

As of 2006, the first 17 Akagi manga volumes have sold over 5 million copies in Japan.[77] Individual volumes have been featured in Oricon's weekly charts of best-selling manga in 2009,[78] 2010,[79] 2011,[80] and 2013.[81] The series has a cult following,[2] and has aroused interest for mahjong in the West,[82] but has been surpased in popularity by Fukumoto's other work, Kaiji.[83]

English-language reviewers have analysed the anime adaptation more than the manga. David Cabrera of Otaku USA called Akagi a nihilistic badass, highlighting how he "psychologically dismantle[d] a man."[82] Both John Oppliger of AnimeNation and Michael Toole of Anime News Network compared it to Kaiji.[2][83] Oppliger, however, stated that Kaiji relies on deus ex machina events but Akagi is based on "skilled gamesmanship."[83] He opines that the series is "engrossing and addicting because of its smart, suspenseful writing."[83] Toole declared that "Akagi isn't about whether or not the title character will win—he will definitely win. It's about the joy of seeing how he wins, about observing a young man who seriously does not give a fuck relentlessly picking off bad guy after bad guy."[2]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]