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Poker Anime and Manga: Where It Started? Posted Jan 28, 2020

When it comes to comics and movies or TV series based on them then the first thing that comes to mind is the Marvel or DC Universe and the respective films and TV shows created with those characters. Anyone will instantly recognize a movie's poster or an actor in such a role and might think that there’s no one better than the US when it comes to comics and their adaptation. By saying so they also forget a key player in the comic book market: Japan.

Japanese manga and anime are extremely popular in today’s Western culture. There are loads of genres and plenty of characters to get yourself familiar with. Some of the most popular ones include Dragon Ball ZNaruto, One Piece, [/one_punch_man/.|One Punch Man]] and many more.

As it is composed of many genres it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some traditional Japanese gambling games and classic casino games make it into the cut and among them poker. As it is a card game known all over the world it seems fitting to pay it homage by mentioning it in manga or making anime series about the game. However, poker wasn’t that popular in Japan at first.

The Japan Poker Experience

Poker Anime and Manga: Where It Started?

Long ago before the first online poker sites with guides on how to play poker and millions of players’ online Japan took its time in accepting poker. Now, the game is one of the favorite pastimes of the Japanese. It is a game of considerable skill and players need to be sharp to play it. This phenomenon has swept the world and through the Atlantic and Pacific found a home in Japan as well.

As one of the biggest cities, Tokyo is home to the Akihabara District which houses many casinos. Among them, the Akiba Guild is known to offer fantastic poker games to its visitors as the poker dealers not only deal cards but also dress up and make the atmosphere more interesting. This type of experience is unique and it should come as no surprise that it served as inspiration for several manga and anime adaptation.

Poker in Manga and Anime

Anime means animation and like every other animation it needs something to be based on, and this is where the manga series come in. Since poker is a popular game and manga is a popular format for expressing stories the combination of both proved to be a winning match.

One of the most popular poker anime series is Kakegurui which was launched back in March, in 2014. It was based on the manga of the same name. The story follows Yumeko Jubei a highly intelligent student who loves pokers and his struggles in the prestigious Hyakkaou Private Academy that keeps its students based on their winnings. This idea of a gambling academy sparked some interest and in 2018 the critically acclaimed manga received its own TV series.

Some other anime that feature the game include Rio: Rainbow Gate and Mardock Scramble. The former shows the adventures in the Howard Resort Hotel a prominent entertainment destination while the latter follows the adventures of Rune Balot in the crime-infested Mardock City. Besides these series, Devil May Cry also features an episode called Death Poker. In addition to these series, many other characters that love poker were created.


Japan’s fascination with poker has inspired many manga and anime adaptations. It’s no doubt that poker is a popular game in the region and will continue to serve as an inspiration for many manga writers.

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