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YMMV / Kaiji

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  • Accidental Aesop: Although it's long since move passed it thanks to Serial Escalation, the first arc also serves as a cautionary tale reminding readers and viewers to not co-sign for a loan that you can't pay off yourself.
  • Anvilicious: The manga keeps driving the point to not rely on luck. The gambling industry is not trying to help you. It only wants your money and will take advantage of your hopes and desperation. That said, this can also be an example of Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped, with how popular gambling has become.
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  • Arc Fatigue: Can happen at times. Most notable during the Bog Machine arc due to the gambles of that arc revolving around a pachinko machine, which takes away the face to face confrontations that make the other arcs so exciting.
  • Awesome Music: Oh yeah, tons of it. Wish, Kaiji's Theme, This World III, Beginning, Transparent, Law Breaking Theme, Bassment, Max Zawa and Hakairoku Theme to name a few.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: In Chapter 7 of Series 3, we are left on a cliffhanger with Kaiji staring at a box of Uno cards in a way that suggests it may be the next game. The President talks about it in a way that also suggests it, but Kaiji quickly declines, and by the third page of Chapter 8, it is a distant memory, never to be mentioned again.
    • Some of the Proverbs of Kaiji segments in season 2 come off as this, due to the way said proverbs can sound out of contenxt.
  • Bishounen: Ichijou (in-universe, of course).
  • Complete Monster: Kazutaka Hyōdō, a wealthy socialite and president of the financial consulting firm Teiai, is a man driven mad by money and power whose only enjoyment in life is to see the lower classes of society struggle for their lives and money in illegal gambling tournaments. In Part 1, Hyōdō has a group of his debtors gamble in a ship, collecting badges from each other. Those who lose all their badges are transferred to an underground mine where they are forced to work for their money in horrible conditions, most of them dying due to work-related injuries or breathing problems caused by the smoke. In Part 2, Hyōdō forces another group of debtors to walk on a narrow plank ten meters up the air, and to win, they have to push down others, breaking their bones while doing so. After Kaiji and a handful of others manage to walk on the other side, they are then forced on a similar plank which is electrified and hundreds of meters up the air. Kaiji, being the sole survivor of the second part, is then obliged to duel against Hyōdō's right-hand man, Yukio Tonegawa, and choose either his eye or eardrum as his stake. After Kaiji wins, Hyōdō proves how cruel he is to his subordinates, forcing Tonegawa to kneel for a minute on a scalding platform. Briefly appearing in Part 3, Hyōdō is seen drinking the blood of his victims, while treating his other subordinates with similar cruelty. A truly despicable old man, Hyōdō is the living incarnate of greed and cruelty in a world where people are willingly to do anything in order to pay back their debts.
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  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: With most (if not all) Kaiji's victories being either temporary or too nominal and costly to be celebrated, and most losses resulting in permanent injury or unrecoverable consequences, many viewers wonder if it's reasonable to cheer for protagonist who appears to be doomed from the start. This begins to become less extreme in the later parts, as Kaiji begins to succeed in his goals more and more, and the idea that he may actually stand a chance thanks to his willpower and morality.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Averted. While the gambling is very entertaining to watch, Kaiji so often ends up losing everything he won, frequently ending up worse than how he started. It hardly is presented as something worth imitating.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Ichijou.
  • Ear Worm: It's near impossible to get Numa out of your head.
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  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Mikoko Sakazaki has become really popular on the Internet, which the creators are apparently aware of. Tonegawa also qualifies because of his badass speeches on society, and for being a Magnificent Bastard in general. Then there's the narrator...
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: It's alright to lie, cheat and steal when your survival absolutely depends on it.
  • Faux Symbolism: The finale of the first series uses this to some extent.
  • Ho Yay: Murakami's undying loyalty to Ichijou has made them a popular pairing among fans. Kaiji is commonly paired with Endou, Kazuya, Sahara, or Ichijou.
    • No Yay / Foe Yay: Between Hyoudou and Kaiji. The former drools at the sight of the latter in pain.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Tonegawa. Despite having cheated his way through the E-Card game, in the end he still comes off as noble and ultimately badass. Even more so Hyoudou.
  • Memetic Molester: Hyoudou. Let's leave it at that.
  • Memetic Mutation: Aaaaandooooooouuu!
    • I hate it! (He hates it!)
    • ざわ。。ざわ。。ざわ。。(ZAWA... ZAWA... ZAWA...) Explanation 
    • Comparing Taro Otsuki' resemblance to "Hugo Chávez" is pretty common.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Teiai Corp.'s various torture devices as well as the second half of the Brave Men Road arc.
  • Padding: Way more than even your usual primetime game show. Even Deal or No Deal can't compare.
  • The Scrappy: The number of people who unironically like Andou can probably be counted on one hand. To a lesser extent, Furuhata.
  • Stylistic Suck: The character designs are infamously ugly, with super-thick lines and faces that are either soft and bulbous or creepily hyper-masculine.
  • Ugly Cute: Some find Mikoko to be this.
  • The Woobie: Some will argue that the whole point of this series is to see Kaiji lose tremendously, get back up in an inspiring and heart-winning manner...then lose even more tremendously. In the end, you just want to give him a hug or buy him some drinks after all that's happened to him (losing scads of money, betrayal and bullying, maiming, losing his comrades, being forced into slave labor, being harassed by a girl he doesn't like...the list goes on). Many fans will argue that Kaiji is indeed "moe", or moeGAR.

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