Akagi: Yami ni Oritatta Tensai

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Akagi: Yami ni Oritatta Tensai 「アカギ 〜闇に降り立った天才〜」 is a 36-volume manga series written and illustrated by Nobuyuki Fukumoto. It started on June 1, 1991 and finished publishing on February 1, 2018. Studio Madhouse produced a 26-episode animated series from October 5, 2005 – March 29, 2006.


Warning: Spoilers Ahead. Click Expand on the right to reveal text.

The manga starts with Nangou, a gambler who has desperately bet his life insurance in a mahjong match against the yakuza. He has been losing for a while, but at just the right moment, Shigeru Akagi wanders win. Akagi does not know the rules of mahjong, but senses that Nangou is in trouble, and says "you'll only survive if you die". Nangou, encouraged, discards a dangerous tile, enters tenpai, and wins the hanchan. Afterwards, Nangou asks Akagi to play in the former's stead. Akagi does not make an impact at first, but through luck, skill, and sleight-of-hand, eventually overcomes the yakuza. Akagi asks to raise the stakes, but Yasuoka (a corrupt police detective, investigating Akagi's participation in a game of "chicken"), impressed by Akagi's performance, suggests to arrange another match at a later date. The former states that, if the stakes were too high, the yakuza wouldn't pay. Akagi agrees, and waits for the next match. (Yasuoka, getting a cut of the next match's earnings, drops investigating the game of chicken.)

With Nangou waiting outside, Akagi pays a visit to his future opponents. He meets the blind mahjong master, Ichikawa, his next foe. He also picks up a revolver, challenging Ichikawa to a game of Russian roulette. Ichikawa, unnerved, allows the trigger to be pulled on him, then points the gun at Akagi, who also allows an empty shot. The gun had a second purpose - while Yasuoka dropped his case, the gang members who played the game of chicken wanted revenge. Akagi visits said gang members, allows himself to get injured "so he could claim self defense", and shoots twice at one of the member's legs. Akagi then points the gun at the member's head. The gang member, not as fortuitous as Ichikawa, faints, and the others run away.

Akagi's incursion makes him late for the mahjong match - Nangou is forced to play in his stead. Nangou plays a simple style of mahjong, which Ichikawa takes advantage of, until he is left at 2000 points. Akagi arrives at the nick of time. With 0 safe tiles left, Akagi plays a trick - he discards a tile, but shoving the previously discarded West to the current position, and announces he had discarded West. Ichikawa notices Akagi's cheating but is unable to prove anything.

Akagi's and Ichikawa's match had a special rule: the game would continue until either Akagi or Ichikawa ran out of points. After winning safe points from the other two players, Akagi plays a tricky style to get cheap wins from Ichikawa. However, the blind mahjong master wins with bigger hands, and puts Akagi in the backfoot for a bit. Akagi wins back some points, then suggests to cut his and Ichikawa's points in half - the latter refuses. Akagi then decides to "force the issue" by cheating. Ichikawa is compelled to accept Akagi's "cut points in 10" offer. If Ichikawa doesn't accept, then he will lose to Akagi's cheating (even if he cheats back, Ichikawa is blind, and is as a disadvantage). With their points cut, both players pull out tricks, but Akagi's strategy, relying on coincidence, wins out in the end.

After the match against Ichikawa, 5 years have passed. Nangou has quit gambling for good; Akagi is a legend, but nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, Yasuoka hires a fake Akagi to impress a new group of yakuza. Ishikawa (not to be confused with Ichikawa), who had oversaw Akagi's previous game, feels something is off. He then encounters the real Akagi working in a factory. Ishikawa asks the real Akagi to meet the fake. It turns out that the fake Akagi's strategy is fundamentally different - relying on numbers and probability, instead of luck and coincidence. The fake Akagi challenges Akagi to a game with a low chance of winning, and to the former's shock, Akagi succeeds.



Akagi is a prequel to Ten: Tenhou-douri no Kaidanji (1989 - 2002). Akagi himself first appears as an opponent to Ten, but later becomes an ally in the main tournament arc. Following the success of the two manga, various works set in the same universe were made:

  • Washizu - Enma no Touhai and Washizu - Tenka Sousei Touhairoku (2008 - 2012) are prequels to Akagi, featuring Akagi's ultimate antagonist.
  • HERO: Akagi no Ishi o Tsugu Otoko (2009 - 2021) is a sequel to Ten. Some characters in Akagi are referenced/appear.
  • Yami-ma no Mamiya (2019 - ) is set further in the future than Hero.


  • A 26-episode animated series of the same name was produced from 2005 - 2006. It covers Chapters 1 - 109 (beginning of manga to Washizu Mahjong, end of 4th hanchan) of the manga mostly faithfully, skipping over a minor arc.


  • An 18-episode live action series was released from 2015 - 2018.
    • Season 1 ("Akagi") covers Chapters 57 - 211 (Washizu arc beginning to Washizu, 6th hanchan)
    • Season 2 ("Akagi: Ryuzaki, Yagi-hen / Ichikawa-hen") covers Chapters 1 - 26 (beginning of manga to end of Ichikawa arc).
    • Season 3 ("Akagi: Washizu Mahjong Kanketsu-hen") covers Chapters 211 - 296 (Season 1 end - end of Washizu)

External links