What’s it about ?
Adaptation of a shonen manga series about gambling in post-war Japan.
Tetsuya, our protagonist, is one of the many former Japanese soldiers demobilized after the end of WWII. There are tons of them, and not much work to go around (to say nothing of the desolate state Japan has been left in) ; so he decides his best bet is to enter a random mahjong gambling den and try to make what little money he has left fructify.
He did have a very good teacher back in the army ; an old soldier who was most probably a yakuza, and had nerves of steel, if the flashbacks are anything to go by.
Most of his first opponents are easy rubes ; he reads them easily and can clean them out without cheating, using basic psychological warfare. Er, maybe you’re going too far by becoming physical with one of those guys when it turns out he can’t pay right now ? It’s not like anyone here is swimming in cash…
Boshu, an old man who’s a regular and has noticed the scuffle, decides to intervene and join the table. And he’s a completely different matter ; shrewd enough to destroy Tatsuya (who won’t notice until much too late that the guy can also cheat like a pro).
Perfectly okay, if a bit of a retro feel. Considering that this is a period piece that manages to sell the run-down state of post-war Japan, there’s not that much flash to the mahjong matches ; just enough to carry the big narrative beats over without feeling out of place.
Ah, mahjong. A game I’ve never managed to learn the rules of, and the show is making little effort to explain. That makes it hard for me to follow the games, outside of the general thrust of it ; and thus I just can’t quite care enough. Tetsuya being a bit of a dick doesn’t help ; he really deserved that comeuppance.
Also, I’m a bit suspicious of a competition series adaptating a manga midway through its long run ; I fear we don’t get a real ending. (The fact that it aired in daytime makes me suspect it got cancelled for low rating.)
So, despite a strong period flair, I’m not going to bother with this one.