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Akagi ~Mahjong Legend~ (Episode 1) PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 5
Now in Japan
Wednesday, 08 February 2006 00:00
Akagi - I haven't seen a nose like that since Escaflowne..The thing about series based around a sport or game is that they're really hard to follow if you don't follow the game - and doubly hard if you don't even understand the game to start with.  That leaves Akagi ~Mahjong Legend~ facing an uphill battle, as it's dealing with a subject I know precisely nothing about.  Add in a dark and seedy feeling, and it somehow manages to become even less appealing...

1 - The Genius who Descended into the Darkness
13 years after the end of the Pacific War (that's WWII to you and me), and Japan's preparing for rapid growth.  It's a time of great change, but Nangou isn't making the best of the opportunities offered by the time - he's too busy gambling his life away in mahjong parlours.  But a chance meetng with a young boy named Akagi - or is that possibly a devil? - turns his fortunes around...

Akagi - Taking a break to ponder defeatAkagi - Caught cheating?

As you've probably figured out by now, Akagi is a "sports" anime based around mahjong.  For someone who's only just playing his first game Akagi's got incredible skills at mahjong and/or cheating, and the first episode's game is just the start of him beginning to turn the gambling underworld on its head. 

So far, so good.  The big problem is, the series presents the game as a life-or-death matter (which in terms of the story here, it is), complete with the sort of "action" pans and suspense-filled moments that you'd get in an more action-based series - but I have a really hard time finding mahjong that interesting.  That's probably down to just not knowing the game, but that's enough to kill the appeal of the show right there unless you're familiar with the game.

On the upside, the setting tries to be different from the usual fair-play that usually fills shows like this - Akagi is ruthless, uncaring, and damn careful about making sure that no matter how he cheats, it's not going to be able to come back on him.  I can only see that working long-term if the series is going to build him up for a really big fall at some stage, but at the moment he's the legend-in-waiting that you seem to be meant to cheer for - and I found that really hard to do.

Overall, then, I can't really recommend Akagi, other than to people who already understand mahjong.  The darker twist on things would probably work quite well in a series where I could follow what was going on, but here it just adds an extra level of complexity.  Pass.