"Sit the fuck down. You're dealing again."
|Japanese name:||伊藤 開司|
|Anime Debut:||Episode One, First Season|
|Manga Debut:||Chapter One, First Series|
|Talents:||Thinking under pressure|
Kaiji Itou (伊藤 開司, Itō Kaiji) is the main protagonist of the manga and anime series typically referred to by the same name. Though he started off as somewhat of a naive man, he quickly develops into a clever and thoughtful gambler after his first experience with the Espoir.
Kaiji is a young Japanese man with a somewhat tanned complexion and long black hair, shorter at the top with bangs, and hanging down at the bottom.
Though the color of his eyes has yet to be confirmed, it is likely they are brown. He has been proven to be relatively able-bodied and somewhat muscular (which may be considered a surprise given the severe lack of ways he has to keep in shape, or lack of screentime showing any sort of thing having to do with it at all)
Throughout the first season of the anime and the first series of the manga, he is seen wearing a brown leather pilot jacket with the flags of five countries on the back and a dark shirt, light colored pants (likely jeans) and white sneakers.
By the end of the first season, Kaiji has gained a cut scar on his left cheek, scars around the bottoms of all the digits of his left hand, scars and a re-attached left ear.
In most of the second season of the anime, Kaiji wears a short sleeve green plaid button-down over a gray tee-shirt, pale pants and those same white sneakers.
Outside of gambling, Kaiji has proven himself to be somewhat of a cowardly character, but after his first experience with illegal gambling he begins to act more hotheaded and is slightly more aware and cautious of his surroundings (albeit not by much).
Prior to the series plotline itself, it's described that he always gambled, playing games with neighbors and people he knew, though he often lost. It seems to be somewhat of an undertone that he can be lazy, and has constantly been subjected by his low social status and lack of income.
However, despite his lack of money and personal wealth, he still values other people heavily and isn't fond of death and dangerous situations - Kaiji at first seemed to give people the benefit of the doubt, but becomes more careful later on.
During his second run-in with the world of illegal gambling, Kouji (better known as Ishida) had approached him and expressed his relief in seeing the young man again but Kaiji pushed him away, going as far as to slam the older man into the wall to reinforce the fact that "they were enemies," and that he shouldn't rely on Kaiji. However, as Makoto (better known as Sahara) points out, he is only putting it up as a facade in a haphazard attempt to fool himself and others that he is cold-hearted and unwilling to help others. Which, of course, is not the truth.
Despite Yukio (better known as Tonegawa) having in effect killed several of his friends and comrades in the process of the various games and gambles, he finds it horrible that Kazutaka (better known as Hyodo) in effect forced the man to kneel in apology on a searing hot plate of metal for ten seconds. He has relatable morals and beliefs to most viewers, in effect making him a relatively more complex character in terms of personality compared to most.
While Kaiji has shown he is very capable in using logic and applying it to the various games he plays, he's also irrational and impulsive at times. This is solidly displayed after Kaiji wins against Yukio at E-Card, and decides he wants to challenge Kazutaka as well despite his comrades telling him it would be better if he did not, keep his money and get his poor ear reattached. Another instance this is shown would be when his employer after his first run-in with the Espoir accused him of stealing an envelope with ¥100,000 inside, and he became noticeably angered.
Kaiji is poor, downtrodden and lazy - he lives by himself in a slum and is constantly in debt. He bides his time by playing cheap gambling games with neighbors, though he always loses. In spite of this, when his life is in danger, he displays a remarkable hidden capacity for gambling, which allows him to endure the hardships he faces. He is shouldered with a 3,850,000 yen debt at the beginning of the story by a coworker who convinced him into consigning a loan, leaving Kaiji with the full weight of the debt compounded over a year.