Kaiji: Jinsei Gyakuten Gêmu

I was sitting in front of my PC with a list of manga-based live-action films. Just the names, no descriptions. I clicked a random item on the list. “Kaiji? Sure. Why not?” I said to myself. *click*. On the freshly loaded page, it described a manga about the art of gambling. I found it a little funny since I just did a review of  the anime One Outs which was also roughly about gambling. I didn’t really pay much attention as to what I was reading since the description was more about the manga and not necessarily about the movie, but since it was about gambling I thought this might be interesting to check out.

With the magical powers of the internet, I was able to obtain a copy of the movie and watched it. I was in for a surprise. It was an interesting watch. Also, if you’ve watched the Death Note(2006) live-action films, you’ll immediately recognize some of the actors in the movie. Tatsuya Fujiwara and Ken’ichi Matsuyama who acted the roles of Light Yagami and L Lawliet, respectively, were again working together to star in this awesome film.

Series Information

Genre: Drama
Directors:  Toya Sato
Producer: Kazuhisa Kitajima, Yoshinari Shimatani
Aired: October 10, 2009
Duration: 2 hr 10 min(130 min)
Theme Song: “It’s All Too Much” by Yui



One day, Itō Kaiji gets involved with a bunch of shady people. He finds out that he owes them a lot of money, about 2.02M  yen (around 20,000 USD). His friend, who he co-signed a contract for a loan, had disappeared. As a result, he’s the one who has to pay for it. Unfortunately, Kaiji isn’t rich, but he is given a chance to join a game on a  fancy boat. The game, it seems, becomes more than what he had bargained for. Winning the game would ensure to clear his debt but if he loses, his debt would increase and he would end up working for the rest of his life to pay for it.


Kaiji: Jinsei Gyakuten Gêmu a.k.a. Kaiji: The Ultimate Gambler. Yeah, I don’t really know how the translation for that works. Doing my own research, I found that Jinsei=Life, Gyakuten=Trial and Gemu, well that’s just the Japanese pronunciation of the word ‘game’. So ‘Life Trial Game’, I think this actually describes a whole lot about the film. Anyway yeah, this film is an adaptation of the manga Kaiji by Fukumoto Nobuyuki.

Itō Kaiji, has been more or less a loser most of his life. Working in a supermarket and spending money on gambling scratch cards was his normal daily routine. The fact that he found out that he has a massive debt only made it more apparent to him. This game though will forever change his life. The people behind this ‘life trial game’ hoarded losers, who all owed them debt, to play this game against other losers for a chance to change their lives. Ito Kaiji is one of those losers. So this film, has a kind of dystopian concept of society. As you go in deeper into it, you will witness Kaiji getting pulled into this dark game more and more, betting his life and his freedom. Aware that he has been a loser all his life, Kaiji finally decides to take this chance to change his life. Obviously though, it’s never that easy.


I’ve seen a few people commenting how the film wasn’t as good as the manga. I haven’t read the manga so I can’t really say but honestly though, I did enjoy the film. I think that it’s really great by itself. The fact that the actors from Death Note were there was a nice treat for me. I rarely watch live-action films, so it was good to see familiar actors. The acting was quite good. It’s got to be said that there were parts of the film that actually made me tear up and I wasn’t expecting that from this film, which is always a nice surprise. It shows that the film cast and crew did a good job on getting the viewer to connect with the characters. And for that, I think it’s a good movie no matter what other people say.



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5 Responses to “Kaiji: Jinsei Gyakuten Gêmu”
  1. Sutra says:

    Look interesting, I’ll watching it for now, I’ll comment after watch it 🙂
    Any other good recommendation?

    If you interest in Tragic and Life-Death situation I recommended “Jin – Live Action”
    It was really good. It’s Story about Surgery Doctor who travel back into the past, and forced to perform surgery with only limited equipment.

    • zweimac says:

      Recommendations? Of live-action films? Unfortunately no, I don’t watch that much. I’m planning to watch more though, so recommendations are encouraged. I’ll try to check Jin out after examinations are over. School can be a hassle sometimes.

    • Sutra says:

      Same here, I only know just Jin, no other, and it’s purely coincidence, lol!
      I plan to watch more too but have no clue which is a good one =D

      Meanwhile, I gonna watch this first, thanks and good luck with your school exam 😉

    • Gisei says:

      well there is a live action adaptation of the anime “Another” that has killings occuring all through out, you should check it out

  2. Sutra says:

    Look thrilling OvO, thanks

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