Mahjong Legend Akagi Wiki
Mahjong Legend Akagi Wiki
Tag: Visual edit
Tag: Visual edit
 
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{{Character Infobox|Name (Kanji) = 赤木(アカギ)しげる|Name (Romaji) = Akagi Shigeru|Age = <small>13 (debut), 20 (Washizu Arc), 23 (Current Arc), 41 (Ten debut), 53 (at time of death)|Gender = Male|Voiced By = Masato Hagiwara|Manga = Chapter 1|Anime = Episode 1|Ten Manga = Chapter 16|Name (Japanese) = 赤木しげる|Image = akagi.jpg|Status = Deceased}}
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{{Character Infobox|Name (Kanji) = 赤木(アカギ)しげる|Name (Romaji) = Akagi Shigeru|Age = <small>13 (debut), 20 (Washizu Arc), 23 (Tehonbiki Arc), 41 (Ten debut), 53 (at time of death)|Gender = Male|Voiced By = Masato Hagiwara (anime)<br>Takeshi Kusao (game)<br>Tomokazu Sugita (Sengoku Taisen)|Manga = Chapter 1|Anime = Episode 1|Ten Manga = Chapter 16|Name (Japanese) = 赤木しげる|Image = akagi.jpg|Status = Deceased}}
'''Shigeru Akagi''''' '''''(赤木しげる''', ''Akagi Shigeru''''')''''' ''is introduced as a deceptively adult looking young boy, whose spark of genius transcends age and resides in gambling, especially in the game of mahjong. Throughout the story, Akagi utilizes techniques other gamblers don't dare to, in order to sway his opponents: brazen cheating, extremely risky maneuvers, far fetched bluffs, and blatant disregard for his own life.
+
''Akagi Shigeru'' is a'' ''supporting character in Nobuyuki Fukumoto's manga work ''Ten'' and the protagonist of its spin-off/prequel, ''Akagi: The Genius Who Descended Into the Darkness''. A white-haired gambler, he is portrayed as an aloof genius who has reached a superhuman level of wit, intelligence, intuition, luck, force of will and all the other elements necessary to win at gambling, especially in the game of mahjong. Throughout the story, Akagi utilizes techniques other gamblers don't dare to in order to sway his opponents: brazen cheating, extremely risky maneuvers, far fetched bluffs, and blatant disregard for his own life.
   
 
== Appearance ==
 
== Appearance ==
Akagi is a Japanese young man with a rather lean build, silver hair and eyebrows and very sharp facial features (particularly his nose, a recognizable trait between him and Itō Kaiji).
+
Akagi is a Japanese young man with a rather lean build and very sharp facial features (particularly his nose, a recognizable trait between him and Itō Kaiji). He has pure white hair, which he already had by the time he turned 13, and eyes of bottomless darkness that compel people to imagine the short life he has lived up to that point.
   
 
During his early teens, meeting Nangō and having a match against Ichikawa, Akagi wears a white short-sleeved button-up over a darker tee-shirt, a belt and dark pants, the button-up shirt being typical of the time period. Because he first appears coming out of a storm, his shirt is messy and a little dirty upon his first appearance but it is cleaned by the time of his match against Ichikawa.
 
During his early teens, meeting Nangō and having a match against Ichikawa, Akagi wears a white short-sleeved button-up over a darker tee-shirt, a belt and dark pants, the button-up shirt being typical of the time period. Because he first appears coming out of a storm, his shirt is messy and a little dirty upon his first appearance but it is cleaned by the time of his match against Ichikawa.
   
After the first timeskip, Akagi appears again in a blue jacket with breast pockets, sleeves rolled up over a dark gray shirt and pants which he seems to wear until the match with Urabe, when he changes to an outfit similar to the one he had when he was thirteen, but the shirt is a dull navy blue. After the second timeskip, Akagi's appearance has not changed much if at all.<gallery>
+
After the first timeskip, Akagi appears again in a polo shirt with breast pockets. In the anime, the color of his polo shirt is consistently blue while the pants and sneakers are white/pale, but the original manga also features volume covers where his colors are less consistent, showing him wearing orange and occasionally pink. After the second timeskip, Akagi's appearance has not changed much if at all.
  +
  +
In his middle years, as shown in ''Ten'', he is wearing a tiger print dress shirt and white suit. He briefly appears again with that outfit in the final scene of the series.<gallery>
 
File:akagi angle.jpg|His nose is approximately 32 degrees
 
File:akagi angle.jpg|His nose is approximately 32 degrees
 
File:shigeru washizu match.gif|Washizu Arc
 
File:shigeru washizu match.gif|Washizu Arc
Line 14: Line 16:
   
 
== Personality ==
 
== Personality ==
  +
[[File:Akagi Syringe.png|thumb|220x220px|Akagi agreeing to let his blood be taken over the course of a game of [[Iwao Washizu#Washizu Mahjong|Washizu Mahjong]].]]Akagi's lack of concern for life and death, profit and loss, and common sense, and his stance on the games themselves and his desire to maintain his beliefs, is unique among Fukumoto's works, which tend to depict extreme battles for big money and survival. His brilliance, mentality, luck, and prowess are all so out of the ordinary that he is often compared to the devil. He is a genius at mahjong and other forms of gambling, but he does not have a greed for money or materialistic desires, and even if he wins a lot of money, he readily squanders it. He does not like to get along with others, and at a young age, he is a lone wolf who has built a legend of his own by going through many scenes of carnage. He has his own unique view of life and death, and he understands that he is a heretic who has no desire for life and no fear of death, to the extent that he describes himself as a "half-dead man".
[[File:Akagi Syringe.png|thumb|220x220px|Akagi agreeing to let his blood be taken over the course of a game of [[Iwao Washizu#Washizu Mahjong|Washizu Mahjong]].]]
 
  +
Akagi in all iterations is a cold, calculating individual who will risk anything and everything if he feels he will win. He cares deeply about his individuality and living life his own way, and will not cave in to others' demands or expectations at all if they go against his own will. He has astounding luck and intuition as well as a high level of intelligence, and his preferred method of victory is to play against what his opponents expect him to do to ensure they see him as unpredictable. He has been seen to want the stakes of all ends of a bet to have equal chances of "being ruined" or "being killed", disregarding his own life and well-being if it contributes to the game itself.
 
 
Despite this, he has shown consideration and concern for [[Osamu]] after the latter begins to tag along within the three year timeskip following Akagi's match with [[Iwao Washizu|Washizu]] [[Iwao Washizu|Iwao]]. A few times over the course of volume 36, he has repeatedly tried to convince Osamu to turn away and get a normal life as not to get involved, though it can be argued that he did this for the sake of preferring to be alone and trying to make it so.
  +
  +
In the main series/sequel ''Ten'', he is portrayed as a legendary gambler who lived his life with no support, relying only on his own abilities. Although he is said to be invincible when it comes to gambling games, there are times when his luck is slightly worse than it used to be in his heyday. It is also said that his elegant mahjong tactics are very popular with the ordinary gambling enthusiasts (not the yakuza). He reigned at the pinnacle of the underworld for about three years, but retired early because of his principle that position and fame constrained him. He has been called "Man of the Divine Realm," "Fierce God," "Once-In-A-Century Genius," and "The Infallible Akagi," and has countless legends to his credit. Just as he did in his youth, his sincere approach to the games and his conviction that he prefers earnest battles above all else has not changed. However, the sharp, pointed personality that seemed to be pregnant with madness that he had in his youth has been softened somewhat, and he is now comically portrayed as forcing a chef to cook fugu sashimi late at night and only eating one bite of it, and traveling to Hawaii with Washio and Kanamitsu and indulging in a round of golf there. He also became more eloquent compared to his younger days, when he was less talkative, by giving Hiroyuki lots of advice as his guide and gently persuading Ginji, who was on the verge of death himself but was terrified of dying.
  +
 
== Akagi at different ages ==
  +
 
The series is set up with four major time skips, showing Akagi at different points in his life. He is introduced at 13, again at 19-20, then at 22-23, and finally appears in ''Ten'', from ages 44-53.
   
  +
=== Youth and adolescence ===
Despite this, he has shown consideration and concern for [[Osamu]] after the latter begins to tag along within the three year timeskip following Akagi's match with [[Iwao Washizu|Washizu]] [[Iwao Washizu|Iwao]]. A few times over the course of chapters three-hundred to the latest chapter, he has repeatedly tried to convince Osamu to turn away and get a normal life as not to get involved, though it can be argued that he did this for the sake of preferring to be alone and trying to make it so.
 
  +
Akagi's parents, siblings, and other biographical details are unknown. His assumed birth year is 1945. In 1958, at 13 years old, he survives a game of chicken and stops at a mahjong parlor in the outskirts of town to avoid a storm. Nangō, who was playing a life-threatening game of mahjong, senses Akagi's unusual talent and asks him to play for him. At that time, Akagi didn't know how to play mahjong and was only explained basic rules by Nangō, but his natural talent blossomed and he overwhelmed the skilled player Ryūzaki in the blink of an eye. The opposition also decides to put its faith into a professional rep player, Yagi Keiji, but they can't stop the awakened Akagi, who ends up winning twice in a row. It is also during this time that he meets Yasuoka, a delinquent detective who was searching for the survivor (i.e. Akagi) of the chicken game.
   
  +
Five days after the Yagi fight, he battles one of the top five big guns in the underworld, Ichikawa, for eight million yen, and wins in a fierce battle, making his name known in the underworld overnight. However, after that, Akagi goes into hiding.
== Shigeru at different ages ==
 
   
  +
Six years later, while working at a toy factory, Akagi was making a name for himself as a brawler among hoodlums (and seemingly continuing to play life-threatening games for those six years as well). He later faced off against Urabe, a professional rep player who had defeated Hirayama Yukio, a "fake Akagi" set up by Yasuoka, and won against an overwhelming disadvantage. Afterwards, he plays and wins a match against Nakai Junpei, who challenged him to a fight at a mahjong parlor downtown, but then he disappears again.
The series is set up with four major time skips, showing Akagi at different points in his life. He is introduced at 13, again at 19-20, then at 22-24, and finally appears in one of Fukumoto's earlier series, ''Ten'', from ages 44-53.
 
==== 1959 (13 years old) ====
 
   
  +
One year later, Akagi is accused of winning a gambling game at a yakuza den and is almost killed. Yasuoka and Oogi Takeshi rush to the scene and are able to save him, but he is injured in the shoulder. At the hospital where he is treated, he is asked to play a match against the dark king who ruled Japan from the shadows after the war, Washizu Iwao. Akagi senses that Washizu is a heretic of his own kind and agrees to this. What awaits Akagi is a special kind of mahjong called "Washizu Mahjong", a game invented by Washizu to watch his opponents die in fear of death, in which he bets on blood and hundreds of millions of yen.
In his youth, Akagi is a cocky, cold-hearted brat who does not seem to value his life or the life of others, as long as he can get a genuine thrill from high-stake gambling. Even when he is first introduced, he agrees to play a vicious Mahjong match against a yakuza member right after he escaped the aftermath of life or death chicken race with a street gang. Hailed as a prodigy, Akagi is able to outsmart gamblers far older and experienced than he is and was not only able to cheat, but beat experienced yakuza members only mere hours after learning the basics of mahjong. Akagi is also highly intelligent, being able to deduce when his opponents purposely bet situations in their favor and turning the situation around to his benefit. Despite being every bit as cunning and calculating as he is later in life, underneath it he is still a kid, albeit a seriously messed up one who enjoys psychologically pushing his opponents to the edge, despite them begging for mercy.
 
   
  +
During the long game of Washizu Mahjong, Akagi was dominant from start to finish, but he fought in an extreme mortal struggle in which he straddled the line between life and death, such as when he lost 1,800cc of blood and fell into a coma. In the end, Washizu fainted due to massive blood loss, which resulted in Akagi winning according to the rules, but based on the nature of the fight, Akagi said that it is Washizu who actually won the fight and that he was the one who lost, and walked away without accepting the money he was supposed to get from the confrontation.
Akagi tends to wander around at night at late hours and even into the morning, indicating he has either lax, overworked, or even neglectful parents. It has also been speculated that Akagi is an orphan as he stated later in life that he has "no family".
 
====1965 (19-20 years old)====
 
   
  +
Three more years after Washizu Mahjong, the curtain comes down on ''Akagi'' as he and his colleague from the toy factory, Nozaki Osamu, wander around the local gambling dens.
In his young adulthood, Akagi is more relaxed than he was in his teens, but still retains his cold personality and lack of value for his life. He is somewhat resigned to life as he works on an assembly line in a toy factory. It is implied that he switches jobs often (likely because he's constantly cheating his superiors out of money and beating them up when they protest). Though he passes off as a typical civilian, he still retains his sharp wits and is every bit of a genius as he was in his teens, if not smarter. However, he is more level-headed and less cocky as he was when he was younger. Akagi still has an aggressive side as he enjoys beating up street punks and yakuza in the middle of the night for no apparent reason.
 
   
  +
In addition, since the manga was not finished at the time the anime aired, the anime ends at the fourth East-South session in the Washizu Arc and states that the battle with Washizu is "passed down as a legend, and Akagi will later reign in the underworld as a man of the divine realm."
Unlike when he was younger, Akagi has grown to show more genuine respect towards his elders like Nangō and has even shown empathy for his former co-worker Osamu, even getting his money back for him after he was cheated in a game of mahjong.
 
   
  +
=== Prime of life/Middle aged ===
It is implied that in his 6 year absence from the limelight, he has been building a reputation by continue to participate in high-stakes gambles underground. Akagi has also picked up the habit of smoking.
 
  +
Three years after his retirement from the underworld, Akagi faces off against Ten Takashi, when Murota, who was his rep player, is defeated by Ten. He overwhelms Ten from start to finish, but withdrew from the East-South session after 30 games because of one loss. Two years after his match with Ten, he participates in the East-West tournament where the best mahjong players in Japan get together to have a showdown. He joins the East camp headed by Ten, where he takes on Harada Katsumi, the strongest active rep player in the game, and Soga Mitsui, Akagi's rival in the world of ''Ten'', who was the strongest player in the underworld before the emergence of Akagi, and he becomes the driving force for the East camp's recovery by showing off an otherworldly level of strength (at the very least, it is suggested that Harada was afraid of Akagi's abilities to the extent that he was forced to accept the special rule that Ten had proposed, which gave a slight advantage to the East camp, when Ten hinted at Akagi's re-entry into the tournament before the finals of the East-West battle). In addition, he often gives advice to Igawa Hiroyuki, a young, inexperienced man belonging to the East camp, and the two develop a teacher-student relationship.
   
  +
Nine years after the East-West game, Akagi suffers from Alzheimer's so severe that he is unable to play mahjong and decides to die a natural death by euthanizing himself before his "identity as Akagi Shigeru" disappears. He is desperately urged to change his mind by his comrades and rivals in the East-West battle, and at this time, he is challenged by the priest to a final gamble to keep him alive and to settle the score, but even there, he shows his intuition that defies the odds. In one of his last conversations with his friends, it was mentioned that he was in debt to several people in his later years. The creditors are said to have "not been in the mood to lend the money" and that he forcibly repaid it but got it all back again from the funeral offerings, but it is unclear if the debt was due to gambling. He added, "When you build up too much success, you tie yourself down. So every time you succeeded, you break down," so when he got a lot of money from a gamble, he quickly dissolved it.
==== 1968 (22-24 years old) ====
 
Three years after the match with [[Iwao Washizu|Washizu]], he doesn't seem to have changed much, but has traveled plenty over the course of those three years, running into Osamu at some point along the way. Whether or not he got a job or several jobs during this time is not revealed, however from how Osamu speaks of his experiences of being with Akagi on the road, it is heavily implied that he has been consistently gambling over this time and accumulating money.
 
   
  +
Akagi was touched by the sincerity of Ten, who tearfully begged him not to die and swore that he would look after him as his family even if he became amnesic and disabled, and expressed his gratitude with tears in his eyes for the first time in the series, saying, "I didn't have a family, but I had friends." Nevertheless, his determination never wavered until his death, and he peacefully passed away on September 26, 1999, after being taken care of by his friends. He was 53 years old.
====Late 1990s, early 2000s (44-53 years old)====
 
   
 
After his death, a grave was built in his honor where his many fans have brought him offerings. However, it has also become a tradition to chip pieces of his gravestone for good luck, therefore causing his gravestone to become misshapen. Although this angered Ten, he eventually felt happy that it felt like everyone was gambling with Akagi, keeping his legacy alive.
By his 40s-50s, Akagi has become even more relaxed and takes life slow. He is now a top boss in the yakuza and has several subordinates and friends who care a great deal about him. He has even been seen playing golf with them in Hawaii. He is also very rich and makes people bring him a tray of puffer fish in the middle of the night because he's hungry, eats one piece and then tells them to eat the rest.
 
   
  +
== Portrayals ==
In his adulthood, Akagi has also become less stern and is seen showing an array of different emotions. He also laments how the younger generation does not seem to know much about the true thrill of gambling.
 
   
  +
=== Voice Actors ===
Later in his 50s, Akagi develops Alzheimer's and he starts losing his vision. He ultimately decides life isn't worth living anymore (life is nothing but a game, and if he couldn't play it, there was no point in living) and states his wish to die while he is still "Akagi Shigeru". Against his subordinates' wishes, he decides to euthanize himself.
 
  +
* [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masato_Hagiwara Masato Hagiwara] (2005 anime)
  +
** Hagiwara is also the voice of [https://kaiji.fandom.com/wiki/Kaiji_Itou Kaiji Itō]
  +
* Takeshi Kusao (2002 video game ''Akagi'' for the PlayStation 2)
   
  +
=== Actors ===
After his death, a grave was built in his honor where his many fans have brought him offerings. However, it has also become a tradition to chip pieces of his gravestone for good luck, therefore causing his gravestone to become misshapen. Although this angered his subordinates, they eventually felt happy that it felt like everyone was gambling with Akagi, keeping his legacy alive.
 
  +
* Takashi Kashiwabara (V-Cinema)
  +
* Kanata Hongō (TV drama)
  +
* Tomokazu Sugita (''Sengoku Taisen'' game tie-in)
  +
* Eisaku Yoshida (''Ten'' TV drama)
   
  +
== Trivia ==
=== Differences between anime, manga, and live action versions ===
 
  +
* Fukumoto says he is "the ideal male figure" and "a spiritual being."
* He has black hair in the V-Cinema live action films.
 
  +
* His last name was taken from [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keiichirō_Akagi Keiichirō Akagi], the late actor who carried a cool image. The name Shigeru was chosen simply because it felt like a good fit.
  +
* In the V-Cinema film adaptations, he is 17 years old in 1958, making 1941 his presumed birth year in that continuity, and has black hair.
  +
* In an interview with "Weekly Shonen ___" in 2003, when asked who is the best gambler in Fukumoto's works, Fukumoto replied that "it's either Akagi Shigeru or Ten."
  +
* On September 27, 2009, the tenth anniversary of his death, a memorial service for the opening of the Akagi tombstone was hosted by Takeshobo. After the memorial service, the tombstone was displayed at Bar Scarab in Kichijōji, Musashino, and for a limited period of time, from April 1, 2010, at the Mahjong Museum in Misaki, Isumi District, Chiba Prefecture. The tombstone was then permanently displayed inside the bar SurpasS (closed) in Kichijōji, and as of July 2015, it is currently on permanent display at the Hungry Boy restaurant in Yokosuka.
 
[[Category:Male Characters]]
 
[[Category:Male Characters]]
 
[[Category:Mahjong Players]]
 
[[Category:Mahjong Players]]
  +
[[Category:Deceased Characters]]

Latest revision as of 00:38, 12 October 2021

Shigeru Akagi
Shigeru Akagi
Personal Info
Name (Japanese) 赤木しげる
Name (Romaji) Akagi Shigeru
Age 13 (debut), 20 (Washizu Arc), 23 (Tehonbiki Arc), 41 (Ten debut), 53 (at time of death)
Gender Male
Status Deceased
Media
Voiced By Masato Hagiwara (anime)
Takeshi Kusao (game)
Tomokazu Sugita (Sengoku Taisen)
Debuts

Manga Chapter 1

Ten Manga Chapter 16

Anime Episode 1

Akagi Shigeru is a supporting character in Nobuyuki Fukumoto's manga work Ten and the protagonist of its spin-off/prequel, Akagi: The Genius Who Descended Into the Darkness. A white-haired gambler, he is portrayed as an aloof genius who has reached a superhuman level of wit, intelligence, intuition, luck, force of will and all the other elements necessary to win at gambling, especially in the game of mahjong. Throughout the story, Akagi utilizes techniques other gamblers don't dare to in order to sway his opponents: brazen cheating, extremely risky maneuvers, far fetched bluffs, and blatant disregard for his own life.

Appearance[]

Akagi is a Japanese young man with a rather lean build and very sharp facial features (particularly his nose, a recognizable trait between him and Itō Kaiji). He has pure white hair, which he already had by the time he turned 13, and eyes of bottomless darkness that compel people to imagine the short life he has lived up to that point.

During his early teens, meeting Nangō and having a match against Ichikawa, Akagi wears a white short-sleeved button-up over a darker tee-shirt, a belt and dark pants, the button-up shirt being typical of the time period. Because he first appears coming out of a storm, his shirt is messy and a little dirty upon his first appearance but it is cleaned by the time of his match against Ichikawa.

After the first timeskip, Akagi appears again in a polo shirt with breast pockets. In the anime, the color of his polo shirt is consistently blue while the pants and sneakers are white/pale, but the original manga also features volume covers where his colors are less consistent, showing him wearing orange and occasionally pink. After the second timeskip, Akagi's appearance has not changed much if at all.

In his middle years, as shown in Ten, he is wearing a tiger print dress shirt and white suit. He briefly appears again with that outfit in the final scene of the series.

Personality[]

Akagi agreeing to let his blood be taken over the course of a game of Washizu Mahjong.

Akagi's lack of concern for life and death, profit and loss, and common sense, and his stance on the games themselves and his desire to maintain his beliefs, is unique among Fukumoto's works, which tend to depict extreme battles for big money and survival. His brilliance, mentality, luck, and prowess are all so out of the ordinary that he is often compared to the devil. He is a genius at mahjong and other forms of gambling, but he does not have a greed for money or materialistic desires, and even if he wins a lot of money, he readily squanders it. He does not like to get along with others, and at a young age, he is a lone wolf who has built a legend of his own by going through many scenes of carnage. He has his own unique view of life and death, and he understands that he is a heretic who has no desire for life and no fear of death, to the extent that he describes himself as a "half-dead man".

Despite this, he has shown consideration and concern for Osamu after the latter begins to tag along within the three year timeskip following Akagi's match with Washizu Iwao. A few times over the course of volume 36, he has repeatedly tried to convince Osamu to turn away and get a normal life as not to get involved, though it can be argued that he did this for the sake of preferring to be alone and trying to make it so.

In the main series/sequel Ten, he is portrayed as a legendary gambler who lived his life with no support, relying only on his own abilities. Although he is said to be invincible when it comes to gambling games, there are times when his luck is slightly worse than it used to be in his heyday. It is also said that his elegant mahjong tactics are very popular with the ordinary gambling enthusiasts (not the yakuza). He reigned at the pinnacle of the underworld for about three years, but retired early because of his principle that position and fame constrained him. He has been called "Man of the Divine Realm," "Fierce God," "Once-In-A-Century Genius," and "The Infallible Akagi," and has countless legends to his credit. Just as he did in his youth, his sincere approach to the games and his conviction that he prefers earnest battles above all else has not changed. However, the sharp, pointed personality that seemed to be pregnant with madness that he had in his youth has been softened somewhat, and he is now comically portrayed as forcing a chef to cook fugu sashimi late at night and only eating one bite of it, and traveling to Hawaii with Washio and Kanamitsu and indulging in a round of golf there. He also became more eloquent compared to his younger days, when he was less talkative, by giving Hiroyuki lots of advice as his guide and gently persuading Ginji, who was on the verge of death himself but was terrified of dying.

Akagi at different ages[]

The series is set up with four major time skips, showing Akagi at different points in his life. He is introduced at 13, again at 19-20, then at 22-23, and finally appears in Ten, from ages 44-53.

Youth and adolescence[]

Akagi's parents, siblings, and other biographical details are unknown. His assumed birth year is 1945. In 1958, at 13 years old, he survives a game of chicken and stops at a mahjong parlor in the outskirts of town to avoid a storm. Nangō, who was playing a life-threatening game of mahjong, senses Akagi's unusual talent and asks him to play for him. At that time, Akagi didn't know how to play mahjong and was only explained basic rules by Nangō, but his natural talent blossomed and he overwhelmed the skilled player Ryūzaki in the blink of an eye. The opposition also decides to put its faith into a professional rep player, Yagi Keiji, but they can't stop the awakened Akagi, who ends up winning twice in a row. It is also during this time that he meets Yasuoka, a delinquent detective who was searching for the survivor (i.e. Akagi) of the chicken game.

Five days after the Yagi fight, he battles one of the top five big guns in the underworld, Ichikawa, for eight million yen, and wins in a fierce battle, making his name known in the underworld overnight. However, after that, Akagi goes into hiding.

Six years later, while working at a toy factory, Akagi was making a name for himself as a brawler among hoodlums (and seemingly continuing to play life-threatening games for those six years as well). He later faced off against Urabe, a professional rep player who had defeated Hirayama Yukio, a "fake Akagi" set up by Yasuoka, and won against an overwhelming disadvantage. Afterwards, he plays and wins a match against Nakai Junpei, who challenged him to a fight at a mahjong parlor downtown, but then he disappears again.

One year later, Akagi is accused of winning a gambling game at a yakuza den and is almost killed. Yasuoka and Oogi Takeshi rush to the scene and are able to save him, but he is injured in the shoulder. At the hospital where he is treated, he is asked to play a match against the dark king who ruled Japan from the shadows after the war, Washizu Iwao. Akagi senses that Washizu is a heretic of his own kind and agrees to this. What awaits Akagi is a special kind of mahjong called "Washizu Mahjong", a game invented by Washizu to watch his opponents die in fear of death, in which he bets on blood and hundreds of millions of yen.

During the long game of Washizu Mahjong, Akagi was dominant from start to finish, but he fought in an extreme mortal struggle in which he straddled the line between life and death, such as when he lost 1,800cc of blood and fell into a coma. In the end, Washizu fainted due to massive blood loss, which resulted in Akagi winning according to the rules, but based on the nature of the fight, Akagi said that it is Washizu who actually won the fight and that he was the one who lost, and walked away without accepting the money he was supposed to get from the confrontation.

Three more years after Washizu Mahjong, the curtain comes down on Akagi as he and his colleague from the toy factory, Nozaki Osamu, wander around the local gambling dens.

In addition, since the manga was not finished at the time the anime aired, the anime ends at the fourth East-South session in the Washizu Arc and states that the battle with Washizu is "passed down as a legend, and Akagi will later reign in the underworld as a man of the divine realm."

Prime of life/Middle aged[]

Three years after his retirement from the underworld, Akagi faces off against Ten Takashi, when Murota, who was his rep player, is defeated by Ten. He overwhelms Ten from start to finish, but withdrew from the East-South session after 30 games because of one loss. Two years after his match with Ten, he participates in the East-West tournament where the best mahjong players in Japan get together to have a showdown. He joins the East camp headed by Ten, where he takes on Harada Katsumi, the strongest active rep player in the game, and Soga Mitsui, Akagi's rival in the world of Ten, who was the strongest player in the underworld before the emergence of Akagi, and he becomes the driving force for the East camp's recovery by showing off an otherworldly level of strength (at the very least, it is suggested that Harada was afraid of Akagi's abilities to the extent that he was forced to accept the special rule that Ten had proposed, which gave a slight advantage to the East camp, when Ten hinted at Akagi's re-entry into the tournament before the finals of the East-West battle). In addition, he often gives advice to Igawa Hiroyuki, a young, inexperienced man belonging to the East camp, and the two develop a teacher-student relationship.

Nine years after the East-West game, Akagi suffers from Alzheimer's so severe that he is unable to play mahjong and decides to die a natural death by euthanizing himself before his "identity as Akagi Shigeru" disappears. He is desperately urged to change his mind by his comrades and rivals in the East-West battle, and at this time, he is challenged by the priest to a final gamble to keep him alive and to settle the score, but even there, he shows his intuition that defies the odds. In one of his last conversations with his friends, it was mentioned that he was in debt to several people in his later years. The creditors are said to have "not been in the mood to lend the money" and that he forcibly repaid it but got it all back again from the funeral offerings, but it is unclear if the debt was due to gambling. He added, "When you build up too much success, you tie yourself down. So every time you succeeded, you break down," so when he got a lot of money from a gamble, he quickly dissolved it.

Akagi was touched by the sincerity of Ten, who tearfully begged him not to die and swore that he would look after him as his family even if he became amnesic and disabled, and expressed his gratitude with tears in his eyes for the first time in the series, saying, "I didn't have a family, but I had friends." Nevertheless, his determination never wavered until his death, and he peacefully passed away on September 26, 1999, after being taken care of by his friends. He was 53 years old.

After his death, a grave was built in his honor where his many fans have brought him offerings. However, it has also become a tradition to chip pieces of his gravestone for good luck, therefore causing his gravestone to become misshapen. Although this angered Ten, he eventually felt happy that it felt like everyone was gambling with Akagi, keeping his legacy alive.

Portrayals[]

Voice Actors[]

  • Masato Hagiwara (2005 anime)
  • Takeshi Kusao (2002 video game Akagi for the PlayStation 2)

Actors[]

  • Takashi Kashiwabara (V-Cinema)
  • Kanata Hongō (TV drama)
  • Tomokazu Sugita (Sengoku Taisen game tie-in)
  • Eisaku Yoshida (Ten TV drama)

Trivia[]

  • Fukumoto says he is "the ideal male figure" and "a spiritual being."
  • His last name was taken from Keiichirō Akagi, the late actor who carried a cool image. The name Shigeru was chosen simply because it felt like a good fit.
  • In the V-Cinema film adaptations, he is 17 years old in 1958, making 1941 his presumed birth year in that continuity, and has black hair.
  • In an interview with "Weekly Shonen ___" in 2003, when asked who is the best gambler in Fukumoto's works, Fukumoto replied that "it's either Akagi Shigeru or Ten."
  • On September 27, 2009, the tenth anniversary of his death, a memorial service for the opening of the Akagi tombstone was hosted by Takeshobo. After the memorial service, the tombstone was displayed at Bar Scarab in Kichijōji, Musashino, and for a limited period of time, from April 1, 2010, at the Mahjong Museum in Misaki, Isumi District, Chiba Prefecture. The tombstone was then permanently displayed inside the bar SurpasS (closed) in Kichijōji, and as of July 2015, it is currently on permanent display at the Hungry Boy restaurant in Yokosuka.