Gambling Apocalypse Kaiji anime and Live action dissimilarities

You have to miss the chairman making crazy sounds when he is giggling like a madman

and similarities. K, K, KAIJI-SAN! Ever watched the live action? From the show animated by Madhouse, Kaiji, the man who is stuck at the bottom of  a brutal social stratification who seeks to go up in the system when his life in put in danger and forced to the take the mandatory risks he never wanted to push forward. What characterizes the anime was how human Kaiji is who makes both understandable and face palming mistakes whenever he gets the chance. Kaiji is the type of character that you cheer for even though you know his ever rotten luck might get in the way again.

Endou looks more girlish in this movie

Kaiji, a man reaching his 30s, has not amounted to much in his life. Leading a complacent life and earning just enough to get by, Kaiji has little dreams and even littler ways of accomplish them. Similar to the anime counterpart, Endou, who in this case is depicted as a woman, comes to Kaiji to collect the money the friend Kaiji owe to the company he asked money from.


They added Andou glasses and made him less than the bastard he was in the anime, regardless still a bastard. Kaiji’s  desperation is noticeable as he enters the game is evident as what awaits those who lose in the game is unknown. Andou is the conniving snake with promises of getting Kaiji out of this mess. One of the most important moments in the anime is this moment as Kaiji’s situation drastically changes at that moment after being cheated for the first time, making all difference as it shows him how unfair and tricky people can be. Despite  not being completely foolish, Kaiji still presents a case of naive expectations that the gods or luck is still on his side. He’s the person that still thinks he’s special or to say, he is the “exception” to the rule. Kaiji hardly knows that that is anything but far from the truth.  Kaji’s realization is like any one person in the ship that he has as much chance as the others to win or to lose. Seeing it with a critical eye, there was nothing initially special about Kaiji. More to the point, seeing how terribly he has been doing for the past years of his life, it was difficult to think that this was his golden opportunity to pull through.

The live action changes the outcome of Kaiji’s battle to a more suitable one for the character they were going for. Kaiji makes a  huge comeback on the Espoir ship similar to the anime but with only the help of  the  loyal old man rather than the two other guys in the anime (no Mikami either) His victory over Andou results in a more satisfying way getting him his just desserts when he completely beat him by not only leaving him with two starts rather than three. Andou is taken to the same place (or worse) that Kaiji later is sent to when he plays the sacrificial sheep to save the old man. Once again instead of making him appeared betrayed by others, Kaiji himself believes that it is right for him to go down even without a back-up plan.

Chips 3,000. Chicken 7,000. Beer, 5000. Liberty, Priceless.

Kaiji acts as the good guy but somewhat incompetent no matter version we’re watching. Kaiji is the type of guy that only shows his true potential when he is push to his limits as the very notion that he is safe hold him back no matter where he goes.  Live action version adds the part where Kaiji is sent underground to pay for what he owes to the chairman. This was in fact a decent addition to the movie that showed Kaiji’s hardships rather than just being falsely accused yet again when he was working as a part timer on the surface. The live action shows that there was immediate punishment for those who failed by showing how it was forced upon the losers of society such as Kaiji. Kaiji is even branded like cattle as sign of his current slavery.

Everything is not hell in this place, actually it’s worse than that. Initially resisting his own needs Kaiji is tempted by the  foreman to spend his hard earned money buying beer then fried chicken and appetizers to quench his thirst and hunger. But this is all a huge scheme the people running the place have created so the works spends insanely huge amount of money compared to what they’re paid. Kaiji in live action version shows his weakness and ends up regretting it later. Kaiji fails.

hanging in there

In the live action Sahara is one of Kaji’s co-workers underground rather than the sly co-worker at his part time place. After falling ill like many others Sahara is chosen to play the ultimate gamble (supposedly that’s the idea but it’s just a way to get rid of people who can’t pay their medical bill)  Kaiji volunteers himself to go too rather than waste his life underground like the others. Kaiji shows resolution in the live action rather than being once again tricked by Endou to participate in one of the Chairman’s games which he’d probably end up losing rather than winning. The clear difference here is that Kaiji’s conviction comes from himself than of being manipulated by others.

Extremely similar to the anime, Tonegawa once again is here and he is in charge to lead the “trash” to their certain death.  Terrified the players don’t wish to die stay on the ground. The hard truth is that the odds of any of them making it across the other bridge are extremely low.  Endou can seen serving drinks to the higher ups who are enjoying the show from the other side of the building.  Very similar to the anime Kaiji comes up with the idea of using a  black marker to perfectly match the rail lines to their shoes in a weak effort to give them extra confident that they can do it. There’s not much that can be done as same as the anime some characters just won’t make it no matter what version we’re watching.

The emperor side

Kaiji made it to the other side of the building and he is offered a second chance by the Chairman who looks like a kungfu master with that long bear and attire rather than a capitalist lord. The game that they play is E-Card (emperor card) that much represent the world the chairman lives in. The slave, least powerful, the bottom of the line being possible in the kingdom of the fat cats. The citizen the normal person or worker that is above the common person who is granted to that title by the King of that kingdom. In the chairman’s game only the rich and powerful were considered citizens anything below them were considered trash. Kaiji chooses the slave side to prove that a ‘slave’ like him could win again the elite of the elite in additional of being able to get extra bonus for choosing the slave side. Tonegawa’s image is still the same as his figure stands before him as the image of the oppressor dressed in a black suit with the only desire to crush him.

Tonegawa is just filled with a condescending attitude who looks down on Kaiji knowing that there is no way someone like him would lose to trash like this. Confidence or just taking things for granted? Tonegawa has to rely on tricks to win against others, same as the anime version Tonegawa’s great position as being superior is undermined by the fact he is not taking a risk himself by playing against Kaiji fairly. The thought of him losing having the odds on his side would be the worst defeat of all. I think that’s probably what sends the chairman into a greater rage in addition of being crazy.

the chairman doesn’t laugh much, if at all

You have to miss the chairman making those disgusting sounds when he is giggling like a madman. In comparison, this chairman is too serious rather than the insane character he is supposed to be playing as. One thing never changes, the chairman is in total control of the highest position in this palace, this kingdom, making him the “King” here. He is able to throw money around like it is nothing to him. There are no signs of the chairman being a sadistic maniac other than him being the sponsor of these illegal and inhuman games. As we can see this version is extremely toned down and disappointing compared to the powerful image the chairman is in the anime.

After being tremendously disappointed that Tonegawa didn’t make Kaij spend all his money, he viciously throws a glass at Tonegawa for his failure to entertain him. The most disappointing part is that unlike the anime since there isn’t any ear drilling devices the chairman kindly lends Kaiji a total amount of money equal to Endou’s age, in exchange he will send Kaij for the rest of his labor until he kicks the bucket.

Kaiji doesn’t make a comeback on his own in the live action and he is to be taken back underground to pay his never ending debt after he loses all the money he got against Tonegawa. Kaiji appeals to Endou’s “good side” with promises that he will definitely win this time as he has a perfect plan to defeat Tonegawa. Money is the only thing stopping him from avenging his friends. Endou accepts and momentarily joins the rank of the underdogs. You can say that even if she did it to gain something Endou is portrayed as the most humanitarian person compared to the rest in this movie.

Tonegawa’s mistake is the same as in the anime version.  The great Tonegawa who looks down on others notices Kaiji’s attempt to switch the cards after the blood spilled on some of them. The difference is that Tonegawa saw Kaiji pulled the same trick on the Espoir ship and that’s why he already knew that trick. Just like a snake he is, Tonegawa sees himself in Kaiji trying to poison him. Tonegawa’s mistake was that he considers Kaiji less than he is. While he certainly isn’t an idiot, seeing him try to pull the same trick twice as a last attempt to win a losing makes him extra confident of his own victory. Tonegawa takes the bait.

Kaiji’s revenge is apparently “complete” in the live action when he defeats Tonegawa in his own game and proved that the lowest class, the slave, could beat someone as first class as a Tonegawa, a citizen. The Live action never goes farther than Kaiji “winning” against him and erases the part where Kaiji comes to the realization of who the main source of evil is, highest on this pyramid in which he’s always been on the lowest section – the chairman.

The live action keeps Tonegawa’s pride after he loses when he decides to leave own of his own when his citizenship in the kingdom of the chairman is revoked  (no burning apologizing device!) and sent underground to pay for his defeat. Possibly for the rest of his life, the same as the people he sent down there. You can say that once again the theme of the “good” winning over “evil” is greatly emphasized when the opposing side gets what it deserves.

Kaiji comes off as the winner in the showdown between him and the Tonegawa and to celebrate his victory he has dinner with Endou, on top of giving her part of both the loans he owed her.

Kaiji has a lot to learn. Or he just doesn’t learn.

Endou drugs him and leaves with most of the money Kaiji earned so hard, leaving him with a letter explaining that the interests on them was more than Kaiji thought. Kaiji is left with a few thousands for him and with a promise that someday he will get another chance and that they might meet again. Endou is seen in on the back seat of a car throwing away her card after probably leaving the chairman’s company for good, cutting any links to his Kingdom after leaving with all that money. Endou comes as the “final winner” of this whole story instead of Kaiji just losing to the chairman and along with his fingers like in the anime. Kaiji visits the old man’s daughter’s working place (a panchiko parlor) and leaves her the money his father earned with his life, but not even saying hello to her. Kaiji is then seen walking down the streets same as the first scenes in the movie, people same as him walking down the busy streets of Japan.

Kaiji anime wins by more than a mere nose. The movie was a brief summary of the anime, adding a few parts there and modifying others. The effect and goal of both of them was similar, Kaiji a guy struggling to get by and to get a better future for him. The acting wasn’t the greatest if you ask me. Personally, I wish  they would’ve picked a new set of actors for Tonegawa, the chairman, and even Kaiji whose acting didn’t quite get Kaiji’s personality. Also they changed Endou to give the movie a “romantic” vibes at the end which felt strange seeing that Kaiji doesn’t revolve around that. Over all the movie was interesting to watch but it’s very far from perfect, slightly covering each part of the story and giving you a quick and brief version of the anime version. ざわざわ.


7 thoughts on “Gambling Apocalypse Kaiji anime and Live action dissimilarities

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Gambling Apocalypse Kaiji anime and Live action dissimilarities « 「 Just as planned 」 L5 --

  2. Ah, so the movie was actually a combination of the first manga series (which was adapted into the anime) and the second series (at least the underground labor part and Endou making off with Kaiji’s money, although that involved Kaiji vs A Pachinko Machine).

    If they make another live-action movie, I hope they adapt the third Kaiji manga series (all Mahjong, all mindgames, all MANLY TEARS).

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