Are These The 3 Best Gamblers in Anime?
In the world of anime, there are very few tropes, topics and hobbies that aren’t covered. There are shows centered around everything from golf to baking cupcakes, so it’s no surprise that there are several shows and characters that center around gambling. Games such as poker provide mangakas and producers with endless plot lines as they can go in any direction. Will the main character get that royal flush and win back their honor, or will they be stuck with nothing and lose everything to the audience’s chagrin?
Today, we thought we’d take a look at three of the best anime characters in the gambling business, since they are often the most charming and funny in their respective shows.
Tsunade Senju – Naruto
Let’s begin with the character we’re all most likely to remember and relate to: Tsunade Senju from Naruto. As fans of the iconic Shonen Jump manga and anime are sure to know, Tsunade has a number of titles to her name. She is known as a princess as she is the granddaughter of the First Hokage, she is one of the Legendary Sannin and is eventually labelled the Fifth Hokage of the Hidden Leaf Village. Throughout her life, this character impacted the ninja world in a number of critical ways due to her prowess in medical ninjutsu.
That said, there is something else she is renowned for in the world of Naruto: being The Legendary Sucker. You see, Tsunade is a gambler who loses so often that whenever she actually wins it is almost regarded as divine intervention. The first time we ever meet Tsunade she has recently lost a game of something like poker, and later wins big on a slot machine – a sign of something bad approaching. Needless to say, you wouldn’t be seeing her at the Grand Poker Series anytime soon, even if they sent her personal invitation to the $1,000 Seniors Super High Roller. Still, this doesn’t stop Tsunade from having fun, we just hope that she pops up in Boruto soon to bring some life back to the party.
Kaiji Itou – Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor
When it comes to first rate poker players, Kaiji Itou may not be your first choice. Compared to other gambling pros that appear in anime, Kaiji is very much considered a loser from the beginning as he often finds himself in debt. He wants that flush more than anything in the world, and yet a two pair is usually as good as it gets. His lackluster performance has even been known to get him in trouble in the past, with many of the show’s main plot lines stemming from Kaiji’s innate lack of skill. This though, is what makes the show. The creators of Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor are able to push our protagonist to the very edge of his wits repeatedly, and we will always support the inept underdog.
If Kaiji were a real-life professional poker player, he would no doubt make his way into the 2017 World Series of Poker, perhaps even competing against big names like Chris Moorman and Parker “TonkaaaaP” Talbot. He might have even gone head-to- head with Mike Wattel in the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship earlier in July, but we really doubt he would have won. After surviving so many hardships throughout his career, Kaiji has learned a lot about life, people and poker – gambling in general – and so, while he would maybe not be a favorite to win there’s the real possibility that he would out victorious at the poker tournament. The fun thing about Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor is we never really know if Kaiji will be successful or if more shenanigans are about to ensue.
Faye Valentine – Cowboy Bebop
Finally, how could we write a piece about gambling without featuring one of the best anime characters to ever enter a casino: Faye Valentine from Cowboy Bebop. Despite having originally aired in the late 1990s, this anime still manages to hold up even when pitted against more modern anime, which partly due to how entertaining the characters are.
In the show, Faye quickly becomes a member of a bounty hunting squad fronted by Spike Spiegel. We wouldn’t blame you for disliking Faye at first – after all, she is often seen drinking, smoking and gambling in dingy space bars. However, she is without a doubt the most charming gambler on this list, and someone that you will come to love throughout the series.
There you have it, our top picks for gambling characters. Do you agree with our choices or do you have a favorite that we’ve missed off? Let us know in the comments below.