Yakuza is a Japanese organized crime syndicate, known for its strict code of honor and loyalty. The yakuza wields a strong presence in Japanese media, that's why they appear in anime, and manga, as well. The anime world is full of gang-related shows, but there are some other shows that openly mention the yakuza, and in which the yakuza has a role, one way or the other.
If you are curious about yazuka, and want to know ten related shows, stick with us until the end! We won't fail you.
10. Back Street Girls: Gokudolls
- Episodes: ongoing
- Aired: July 2018 – ongoing
Let's go on with a show of the current season, Gokudolls! This story revolves around three yakuza members who disappointed their boss one more time. After failing an important mission, the boss gives them two options: honorably commit suicide, like a real yakuza member should, or going through a surgery to become girls, and train in order to become idols. After spending one year training, their debut brings them a lot of popularity... this is how three former yakuza members turn to idols!
As the show is still ongoing, we still don't have a clear idea of how it will go on, but by now we can affirm that this is an amusing anime. We follow the three women through their flashbacks to their past as yakuza members, compared to their current life as female idols. Give it a chance as it may turn out to be a wonderful yakuza anime for the current season!
9. Darker than Black: Kuro no Keiyakusha
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 2007 – September 2007
Two places where the law of physics are ignored appeared: the Heaven's Gate – in South America – and the Hell's Gate – in Japan. As a consequence, Contractors emerged as well: those who exchanged their humanity for supernatural abilities. Misaki Kirihara, living in the city next to the Hell's Gate, finds herself facing Hei, a Contractor also known as “Black Reaper”. Together, they will discover a plot threatening the existence of Contractors.
Even though Darker than Black is not specifically a yakuza anime, the yakuza play a role in a few episodes. In fact, there are two characters related to a yakuza group, and they are two brothers: Hitotsubashi and Kenji Sakurai. Affiliated with the Nakazawa Group, these two brothers will make their appearance and unveil yakuza plots, and schemes.
8. Nisekoi (Nisekoi: False Love)
- Episodes: 20
- Aired: January 2014 – May 2014
As a child, Raku promised to his childhood friend that they would marry in the future. Years after, Raku's memories are faint, but all what remains of his childhood friend is a pendant. During high school, Raku falls in love with Kosaki Onodera, yet being the heir of a yakuza family, he has some duties. That's why, in order to bring peace between his family and the Bee Hives, he has to fake a romantic bond with Chitoge Kirisaki. Their fake love life begins... and it will be full of trouble!
As you can understand by the premises, here the yakuza have an important role. Both our protagonists, Raku and Chitoge, belong to yakuza families. Not only that, they are also forced to fake a romantic relationship in order to forge peace between the two families. As Nisekoi is a shounen anime, you can expect gangsters very far from reality. In fact, in spite of being related to yakuza, Nisekoi has funny turns of events, and a lot of gags!
7. Seto no Hanayome (My Bride is a Mermaid)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2007 – October 2007
During his summer vacation, Michishio Nagasumi's life undergoes an odd twist of events: he risks drowning in the sea, but he is saved by a beautiful mermaid. She is Sun Seto, and she belongs to a yakuza mermaid family. Their law says that if a human happens to see a mermaid, that person or mermaid, has to pay with their life. That is, if Nagasumi doesn't want to marry Sun... in order to save both of their lives, Nagasumi asks for Sun's hand, and their journey together begins!
Seto no Hanayome is a different kind of yakuza show. In fact, it wields supernatural elements, and the yakuza here are mermaids and mermen. Of course, by these premises you can expect a comedic show, full of gags, what with the poor Nagasumi finding himself in a very odd situation changing his life for good. Pick it up if you wish to watch a lighthearted show involving yakuza!
- Episodes: 2
- Aired: May 2012 – June 2012
As the heir of the fourth boss of a yakuza clan, Ryunosuke Oohara will have to succeed his father someday. In spite being a troublemaker, losing it as soon as someone tries to talk to him, he is a kindhearted boy with just one dream: to quit yakuza and marry Naoki Satoya, his childhood friend. Naoki, on the other side, can't accept the fact that Ryunosuke is willing to throw away his duties for something fruitless like love between two men.
We don't forget our fujoshi/fudanshi readers: as you can see, even the yaoi/BL genre can involve yakuza. In Tight-rope, we find the successor of a yakuza clan who doesn't care about the situation he's in. Even when pushed by his father, he keeps choosing his love toward Naoki. This short yakuza romance is totally worth watching, so be sure to give it a try!
5. Hinamatsuri (Hina Festival)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2018 – June 2018
Yoshifumi Nitta is a member of the yakuza, and one night a strange object falls over his head. The strange thing is a box, and much to Nitta's surprise, it contains a girl – Hina – with supernatural powers such as telekinesis. Since her power can become a helping hand in Nitta's yakuza business, he takes her in. There's a huge problem, though: if Hina doesn't use her powers, her powers run wild to the point of destroying everything around her. Not to mention, she may eventually use her powers on Nitta, as well...
Hinamatsuri is yet another yakuza anime with supernatural and comedy elements. It revolves around a yakuza member helped constantly by a mysterious little girl wielding supernatural powers. Nitta and Hina, on the polar opposites, manage to create a particular bond. If it's true that this show is full of gags, it's also true that as a seinen anime it wields some deeper themes. Pick it if you want to see how a yakuza member can be troubled by a little girl!
4. Durarara!! x2 Shou
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2015 – March 2015
Durarara!! x2 Shou is the sequel of Durarara!! This amazing show takes place in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, and it revolves around a huge range of characters. The story follows closely each of them, through their ups and downs. In a city where gangs keep wreaking havoc, each character will be at the same time victim and perpetrator of what's going on.
In Durarara!! x2 Shou there's a yakuza group called Awakusu-Kai. One of their members is Mizuki Akabayashi, who falls in love with Sayaka Sonohara, mother of Anri Sonohara – one of the protagonists of Durarara!! By the end of the season, Akabayashi manages to become part of the Dollars, in spite his old age. Even though it's not strictly related to yakuza, Durarara!! x2 Shou has some yakuza appearances and it is about gangs. You won't be disappointed!
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: January 2004 – March 2004
Kumiko Yamaguchi is about to start her dream job as a math teacher. However, her enthusiasm is tested the moment she steps into the Shirokin Academy: the all-boy school is full of delinquents. Kumiko is not a girly girl, though; in fact, she is the head of a powerful yakuza clan, with a lot of skills, and strength. While trying to keep her criminal background a secret, she will have to tame the horde of delinquent students...
Gokusen deserved our third position, as in this anime yakuza play an important role. Kumiko, at the age of 23, is the acting head of the Ooedo Clan, as her parents died years prior and her grandfather is ill. Kumiko is surrounded by a bunch of thugs who respect her, and tend to be overprotective, but she – like a real yakuza – has the ability to assert her authority. If you crave for a non-conventional yakuza show, pick Gokusen up. This josei anime won't fail you!
2. City Hunter
- Episodes: 51
- Aired: April 1987 – March 1988
Ryo Saeba works in Tokyo as a City Hunter. Together with Kaori Makimura, they are “sweepers”, and try to maintain the city clean. Kaori is responsible for getting clients, and protecting the female clients from Ryo's advances, while Ryo is very adaptable: at times assassin, at times bodyguard, he does whatever clients request. With his Colt Python, Ryo walks the streets of Tokyo trying to help desperate people!
Ryo and Kaori's job is to clean the city, and help people; that's why the yakuza intervenes in this show. Ryo being a flawless contract killer, the yakuza somehow admire him. Not only that, they go as far as to hire Ryo, in order to solve the most difficult cases. So, Ryo helps the yakuza, and they sometimes cooperate. If you want to take a look to the Tokyo underground, join the sweepers of the city!
1. Great Teacher Onizuka
- Episodes: 43
- Aired: June 1999 – September 2000
Let's end this ranking with a super popular, and overly appreciated show! Great Teacher Onizuka revolves around Eikichi Onizuka, who was once a biker gang leader. Now reformed, Onizuka has one dream: to become the greatest teacher. The only hindrance between Onizuka and his goal is a class of delinquents trying to push him away. But the great teacher Onizuka has his own methods: he doesn't care about legal, or illegal, he just sees the ultimate goal, and he is willing to do whatever it takes!
We chose Great Teacher Onizuka as our number one as this show is amazingly good, and overly appreciated, and through years it keeps gaining new fans. Onizuka is a former delinquent, and yakuza is the reason he became a teacher: basically, he thought that he could only succeed in organized crime. In fact, he graduated cheating from a standard university, and his methods as a teacher are questionable. However, throughout the show, Onizuka will face the yakuza in numerous occasions, sporting his past as a gang leader. You should give GTO a try, it will make you crack up!
With GTO our ranking comes to an end! How did you like this journey among various yakuza shows? We basically touched each genre, from shounen to seinen, passing through yaoi/BL, as well. Hoping you enjoyed the ride, we invite you to let us know what other show involving yakuza you think could have fit this ranking in the comments below. See you next time!