Chess is a game of intellect, strategy, and patience. Many iconic scenes in anime feature characters engaged in intense chess matches, using the game to display their intelligence and cunning. Unfortunately, there isn’t really any anime about chess, but there are a lot of great scenes across popular anime series that showcase the sport. In this article, we’ll highlight some of the most memorable anime moments that involve chess and shogi!
Best Shogi and Chess Anime Moments
5. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
Lelouch Lamperouge, the series’ protagonist, is a master of chess. His matches serve as a metaphor for the larger conflict between the Rebellion and the oppressive Britannian Empire. In one iconic scene where he plays against his brother, Schneizel el Britannia, the kings come face to face as Schneizel attempts to see how strong Lelouch’s will is. The scene is mirrored later in the series by their decisive battle for control of the world!
4. No Game No Life
The main characters Sora and Shiro, a brother-sister duo known as “Blank,” face off against a seemingly unbeatable chess opponent. The game takes place in a virtual world where the chess pieces are brought to life, and they can communicate with the players. As Blank gradually gains the upper hand, they reveal that they’ve been manipulating their opponent’s moves to force a stalemate. This demonstrates their tactical genius and sets the stage for their future adventures in the world of Disboard. With vibrant colors and fluid animation, No Game No Life is as visually stunning as it is engaging, especially during the chess game.
3. Ryuuou no Oshigoto!
Ryuuou no Oshigoto!, also known as “The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done!”, is a series that revolves around shogi. The protagonist, Yaichi Kuzuryuu, a teenage shogi master, and his young disciple, Ai Hinatsuru, find themselves in a situation where they need to play a game of chess. The scene occurs during a training camp when the characters engage in a game of chess to sharpen their strategic skills and to better understand different board game principles.
Throughout the series, Shikamaru can be seen engaging in shogi matches, most notably with his sensei, Asuma Sarutobi. Observation and strategic thinking are invaluable tools to a ninja in the Naruto world, and these matches serve to hone his incredible intellect. The Shogi games between Shikamaru and Asuma also act as a backdrop for deeper discussions about life, responsibility, and the bond between teacher and student.
1. Hunter X Hunter
Meruem, the Chimera Ant King, is born perfect and his subjects bow to his every will. He challenges humans to various games and feats but defeats everyone he comes across until he meets Komugi, a blind girl and Gungi prodigy. Komugi never loses to Meruem, even going so far as to say that she will give her life if she loses. Through their intense games, Meruem not only learns that humans are capable of growth and greatness but also gains a deeper understanding of humanity, humility, and the power of connection.
Shogi is often more prevalent in anime but chess still makes appearances because of the striking aesthetics of the pieces. One reason chess may not be as popular in Japan is the strong cultural attachment to shogi as a game that has been played for centuries. The rules of shogi, which allow for captured pieces to be reintroduced to the game, create unique dynamics which may be seen as more interesting. Despite this, chess has found its way into various anime series, demonstrating the potential for cross-cultural appreciation and the power of strategy and intellect as key elements in captivating narratives.