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Manga: Gamble Fish

Shishidou Academy is a boarding school reserved for the children of the financial and intellectual elite of Japan, where the future leaders and CEOs of the country are prepared for their future. As a result, the school is full of arrogant, aggressive, class-conscious people.

Enter Tomu Shirasagi, a mysterious fourteen-year-old boy with poor parents who transfers in. Soon after his introduction, he makes clear that his only reason for attending Shishidou is competing with other students in "fights of intellect" for money, starting with low bets and going progressively higher.

Not to be confused with Rumble Fish.

This series provides examples of:

  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game: Pretty much The Series.
  • Abusive Parents: Mayo Hanasaki's parents when she was small. Well, only her father was abusive, a drunk who hits her and even burns her hands with a lit cigarette for no real reason. Her mother is nothing but a Dirty Coward who fled her home, abandoning her own child just to save her own worthless ass. When a young Mayo goes and finds her mother to seek help from her father, her mother immediately blows her off, just so she could selfishly keep her pleasant lifestyle. Even when Mayo's father died and her mother got custody, she immediately sent her daughter to the boarding school and still has yet to contact her.
  • Americans Are Cowboys: Emily Dawn.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Abidani teaches Yoshio, whose dream is to be an Evil Overlord, about gun disassembly, hand-to-hand combat, and... proper intimidating horse riding posture.
  • Back from the Dead: Abidani likes to think that this is what happened to him when he turned to what he is now. As he states himself, "God ordered me to die, but the devil ordered me to come back from the dead!" and more recently "The truly strong shall rise forth from the dead! No matter how many times!"
    • Tomu now also pulled this on purpose to break Abidani's edge in mental strength. Bonus points for him actually using poison to stop his heart, having death confirmed by electric chair, then still coming back.
  • Badass Grandpa: Or Badass Great Grandfather, Isamu Shishidou the principle of the Shishihou School. 95 and he looks like this.
    • Tengu, who has to at least be in his 60s for having a relationship with Mika's grandmother at 18.
  • Batman Gambit: Tomu is a master of this. He manipulates opponents who think themselves at an advantage against him into accepting an ever so slight modification of the rules, then proceeds to wipe the floor with them. Abidani has also proven that he is a real master at this.
  • Beyond the Impossible: Closely related to Back from the Dead. How do you otherwise call surviving a Russian Roulette with a fully loaded 10-shot gun? The trick though is still awesome.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Mika, for Tomu. With a Panty Shot!
  • Bland-Name Product: A background panel advertises an "Xfox 360".
  • Cast of Snowflakes: Characters do have their own specific faces, and are not all flawless Bishōnen. Check Abidani (even though he used to be quite the bishie in his younger days), Kaoru Gokijima, and Yoizame.
  • Chainsaw Good: For severing a finger.
  • Chick Magnet: After building an Unwanted Harem/loyal group of friends composed of Natsumi Kimura, Yuka Tsukiyono, Rio Asahina, Mika Shishido, Mayo Hanasaki, Emily Dawn, with acts that could cross the border into Chivalrous Pervert territory (though to be fair he only steals kisses; does that disqualify him as a Chaste Hero?), except that Tomu is not at all perverted as opposed to his sidekick, Mizuhara. He also fits half the bill for The Casanova, except that he does care about his loyal harem and friends and will go to incredible lengths to defend them.
  • The Clan: The Shirasagi clan and Shishido family, a long time ago in Japan's history.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Tomu's Unwanted Harem seems to be made of these.
  • Clothing Damage: When attacked by the Tengu, Leica is slashed down the front, cutting through her assault rifle, her tank top AND her dog tags.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Akira Juumonji despises Tomu because Emily has a crush on him while rejecting his own advances. In revenge, he tries to sabotage Tomu's attempts to enter the Class Reunion, but ultimately failed.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: At least as far as gambling goes. Mizuhara looks and generally acts like a lame perverted geek, but he is in fact very skilled at poker.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Most of the girls in Tomu's Unwanted Harem/group of friends group were previously his opponents.
  • Determinator: What else do you call someone who's willing to get his own finger cut off with a chainsaw in order to win at cards by marking them with his own blood?
  • Didn't See That Coming: What Tomu inflicts upon his opponents countless times through luck, sheer Heroic Resolve, Loophole Abuse and cheating.
  • The Dreaded: Pretty much every student flees the room when Abidani shows up.
  • Drowning Pit: Used in one of the Class Reunion battles.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Say what you will about Abidani, but you can't deny that he's a fair referee.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep:
  • Exposed to the Elements: Poor Yuka gets stripped down to her bra and panties before being tied to a tree in the snowy mountains by the "Tengu" during the rabbit capture game.
  • Expy: King Omaha is Barack Obama in every sense aside from his name.
  • Eye Scream: Self-inflicted by Tomu to protect himself from Emily's Rainbow Dawn. It's later revealed he faked this, instead destroying his ear drums
  • Fanservice: It will be seen, for example, Tsukiyono stripping naked in chapter five. It's everywhere, and so blatant, a blind man couldn't miss it.
  • Fat Bastard: Kaoru Gokijima.
  • The Gambling Addict: Oddly enough there has yet to be a character that shows an addiction to gambling.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Barack Obama... I mean "King Omaha" turns out to be the surprised guest at the Gamble Tournament.
  • Gilligan Cut: While trapped in a cave during the Victory Flag arc, Tomu asks Mika if he could sit on her shoulders so he can get a better look at the cracks of the cave's ceiling. She refused, citing that it is usually the woman that sits on top but he debates that her being a tennis pro her legs are stronger to support them. She ultimately suggests they Rock-Paper-Scissors for it. The next scene she is seen carrying him on her shoulders, cursing that she should have never gambled with a cheating gambler.
  • Give Me a Sign: Abidani pretty much goes insane trying to get a sign from God if he should publish his mathematical formula which he believes has the possibility to destroy the world.
  • Graceful Loser: Tomu whenever he is the victim of someone else's schemes.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The traffic accident of Tsukiyono's brother.
  • Guile Hero: Tomu, and he comes from a long line of them.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Abidani against Tomu, all the time. Also Mika against Emily.
  • Identical Stranger: It turns out the man that Abindani has locked up isn't Tomu's father, but a con artists that looks just like his father who often abused this fact to scam people out of money and gamble as well as turns out he was the one who scammed Rio's father. Though Tomu believes in "Wall" that the parents he is gambling against are the fakes.
    • And it turns out that Tomu is right - they are fakes. In fact, the one posing as his father is the very con artist that scammed Rio's family. And he can change his face at will. The one posing as his mother is his student, who is also trained in the use of the face-changing ability.
  • Jerkass: The students of the academy. In the first chapter they were planning to drive the new transfer student away simply because he wasn't from a wealthy family like they were.
    • They do the same to Asahina, just because she is a scholarship student.
    • The Headmaster is even worse. In the Meat Pie Roulette challenge, he explicitly stated he would have told the players the trick with the Dragon's Beard after a "meat pie" was made just to throw salt into the players wounds.
  • Jerkass Realization: Emily Dawn once Tomu beats her in the rabbit flag game.
  • Kubrick Stare: Everyone uses these in conjunction with a Slasher Smile to show a Let's Get Dangerous moment.
  • Large and in Charge: Isamu Shishido, the Headmaster of the Shishido academy.
  • Large Ham: Abidani and Tomu. The chainsaw scene was a fight to out-chew one another. The literally larger than life Headmaster, Isamu Shishido also qualifies as a Large Ham of epic proportions. They even speak using epic expressions and speech patterns which this troper had only witnessed in Fist of the North Star, all of which would of course normally be unfit for normal Japanese conversation in modern day.
  • Laxative Prank: Tsukiyono was incapacitated with a cow laxative in one chapter.
  • Looks Like Orlok: Abidani
  • Magnetic Hero: Mostly through Defeat Means Friendship and sheer charisma, Tomu manages to gather a core group of allies who would be willing to go to Hell and back for him, as well as a few who have their own agendas and one in particular who is explicitly only in it for the money.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Mizuhara buried his face in Rio's ample cleavage when he, Rio, and Natsumi didn't want to see Yuka potentially getting crushed in the roulette wheel.
  • Meaningful Name: Abidani. The kanji in his name and shout of "Avi" are pretty ominous, referring to "Abi-kyoukan": agonizing cries, Pandemonium, or more precisely the Avici Hell, the Eighth Hell in Buddhism and the most painful of them. You could therefore interpret his name as "Valley of agonizing cries," raising a bit of "why the hell didn't his family change names?" Also, "kyoukan" from "Abi-kyoukan" can be read both as "screams," and as "instructor," which is appropriate since he technically is a teacher. Shirasagi also could qualify for this, since his name means literally "white heron" (and he does have white hair), but "sagi" can be read as "fraud, swindle" too, though in his case his clan has history in such matters in feudal Japan.
  • Moment Killer: Yuka was placed in a huge roulette wheel in a game Tomu was playing in the Class Reunion. Once he won, she was released and passionately tackled Tomu to the ground, happy he was all right. She looked like she was going to kiss him, but then the realization of being spun around at a fast rate in a huge roulette wheel where she accumulated much motion sickness came to the fore, and she accidentally barfs on Tomu as a result.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Mika Shishidou.
  • Number of the Beast: The dice gamble match had it to where an automatic win comes if one roles three sixes with three dice.
    • Abidani's hotel room number in Macau is this number, quite fitting.
  • Obviously Evil: ABIDANI. Just look at him.
    • King Omaha. Can't get more evil than willing to blow 800 billion USD of taxpayer money on a bet.
  • Oh Crap: You would too if this happened to you.
  • The Ojou: Mika Shishido. Curly? Check. Family treasures? Check. Lineage? Check. Ojou speech style? Check. Also has loads of Tsundere vibes. Emily Dawn. Filthy Rich? Check. Heir to the largest weapon manufacturer in the world? Check. Spoiled brat? Check. Also has Yandere tendencies. And also, when those two have fights, it gets into Large Ham proportions too.
  • Only in It for the Money: The only reason Gokijima agrees to help Tomu out.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Everyone calls Mizuhara "Mushroom-head", to the point most students thought that was actually his name. Tomu's the only one who doesn't call him "Mushroom-head". When he does, Mizuhara realizes something is up.
  • Parental Abandonment: Tomu's parents. His dad Yumeichiro appeared to have been captured by Abidani, but it turned out that it was an Identical Stranger; the real Yumeichiro managed to escape and reappear at the Shishodo Class Reunion with Tomu's mother, who Tomu thought had died.
    • As it turns out, those two were actually con-artists who can change their faces at will. The one impersonating Tomu's father is actually the swindler who ruined Rio's family, and many others.
  • Pet the Dog: Yoshio, nasty as he is, has a protective instinct when it comes to women.
  • Punny Name: Barack Obama's name changed to Omaha, as Omaha is a version of Poker. Essentially he is the King of Poker.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Tomu's favorite tactic in battle : when faced with the worst possible situation for him, he'll attempt something so daring that at first glance looks totally crazy, with one of the two following goals in mind : it will give him an absolute edge due to Loophole Abuse, or it will just Mind Screw his opponent out of his brains. To the point this gets lampshaded to him in later arcs. And most of the time he pulls it off and this results in a well deserved Crowning Moment Of Awesome.
  • Rule of Cool: It feels like this whole manga breathes this trope. Most of the stuff Tomu pulls could be done without resorting to it, but it just adds to his psychic warfare arsenal that he pulls all his antics with STYLE. Other gamblers also use and abuse this, and the whole manga itself too, screwing laws of physics and biology because a gambler's soul transcends the body's endurance.
  • Sadist Teacher: Abidani. Just Abidani. For hell's sake, he even has his own secret seminary, which is really where the most dangerous elements of Shishido Academy are locked up, or where its 'bad pupils' get sent for 'correction' by him and said dangerous elements. Needless to say a lot of corporal punishment is involved. And, it seems the Shishido Academy Headmaster can top him at this sort of game, though he does not "teach" per se.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Tomu.
  • Serious Business: Gambling, in this manga, takes so much importance, even the president of the USA, King Omaha, participates in the Shishidou Alumni Meeting's gambling tournament. Hell, if gambling wasn't Serious Business, and if the Headmaster didn't have his own business to settle, Tomu would be expelled out of school for his antics.
  • Slasher Smile: Every gambler in the manga gets to show this when they get fired up. Abidani has one stuck to his face permanently.
  • Snow Means Death: Used for the traffic accident in which Tsukiyono's brother died.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Mika seems to think of herself as this to Tomu, due to their dueling families.
  • Strip Poker: First round of the Dice battle involves calculating prime numbers — with the loser being forced to remove clothing. Later, Tomu uses his three female sidekicks as his stake in poker, in which they each have to strip in front of the casino crowd. In typical Tomu fashion, he freely loses until he is able to figure out his opponent's weakness; his patience naturally concerning the ladies who are becoming more and more exposed!
    • Mizuhara is revealed to play this online in his free time under the alias Kaiser Mizuhara. It is because of this he is actually a very skilled poker player.
  • Take Off Your Clothes: Tomu gets Tsukiyono, Natsumi and Mizuhara to take off their uniforms so he can wrap himself against a burning hot cauldron. The clothes catch fire, leaving the three of them in their underwear in front of a whole crowd. They (the crowd and the trio) aren't too phased considering how the gamble was Serious Business.
    • Subverted when Tsukiyono spontaneously takes everything off to prove to Abidani that she isn't hiding any tricks.
    • Tomu instructs Mika to take her ski clothing off. Mika misunderstands the instruction and ends up stripping naked.
    • Natsumi, Yuka, and Rio were forced into this in a game of strip poker Tomu was playing with 100 billion yen and the Shishidou Crystal Lion at stake.
  • Tank Goodness: Emily performs a Dynamic Entry with one by driving it through a wall.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Pretty much everything Emily Dawn does: from playing tennis with swings so powerful they look like cannon fire, running a tank through a building to employing the Green Beret (complete with Helicopters and real guns) to help her in a game of Capture the Flag against teenagers.
  • Tournament Arc: Occurs late in the manga.
  • Trying to Catch Me Fighting Dirty: Even though even Tomu has limits about what he will do and not do in a fight, he still outright cheats several times to win. His defense when called upon it by his opponents? "You didn't catch me, you can't prove it, so you suck as a gambler (or whatever game is going on). Also, if I win, I shall have you take back these words." Most of the time though, it's just Loophole Abuse with the rules, or really sly motions to lure his opponents in thinking he played one move instead of another. It also helps referees in such matches do abide to Literal Genie interpretations and agree to Loophole Abuse just for the lulz.
    • Not to mention he is able to cheat in a way where if his opponent calls him out on it, they would have to admit they cheated themselves.
    • However, he understands this rule both ways. As if someone does this to him, he accepts his set back or defeat as his fault for not catching it.
    • Also Abidani applies this into his referring, if he catches them cheating, he will not call out either player on it unless the players themselves catch it. Even if one of the players is someone he hired.
  • Tsundere: Mika Shishidou, definitely. She comes off hating Tomu in the beginning, but her developing crush on him becomes very apparent, especially after Emily Dawn entered the picture.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Mayo Hanasaki at the conclusion of the dice games. She wore a dress with a plunging neckline showing an ample amount of cleavage, yet she was able to hide a small vial of poison down there, which she planned to use to commit suicide, but was stopped by Tomu via "Shut Up" Kiss / Kiss of Distraction.
  • Waif-Fu: Natsumi may look delicate, but she's got a surprisingly strong punch. Gokijima learns this the hard way and gets floored after Tomu realized he was disguised as the chef.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Throughout the first two rounds of the dice games Tsukiyono was incapacitated by a powerful laxative administered by the mole, leaving Tomu without the aid of what seemed to be his two strongest allies.
  • Xanatos Gambit: The Pool Hustler had one during the Pool Arc. If Tomu wins, he gets 4 million yen, and if he loses, he still has the 2 million he got up front. However, Tomu is later able to get back said 2 million.
  • You Called Me X, It Must Be Serious: Mizuhara realizes that Tomu is trying to give him a strategy during the dice stacking game when Tomu calls him Mushroom-head, as Tomu is the only person who does not called him that.

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alternative title(s): Gamble Fish
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