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This Spring anime season has not disappointed so far. One of the new, exciting series on offer is Joker Game. Even though it’s only a couple of episodes in, Joker Game has managed to hook many of us with its spy-filled, pre-WWII story.
In the year 1937, with international relations reaching a very tense state, the D Agency trains the best of the best spies Japan has ever seen. These trainees are from all walks of life and will become the most elite of spies. Sakuma, a Lieutenant of the Japanese Army is there as a liaison and doesn’t really look eye to eye with the Agency’s ideals or its spies.
With such a promising storyline, mind-games and several Japanese 007s, it’s hard to imagine being able to find something else like Joker Game. But it’s also hard to wait for the next episode to come out! So we have made our best attempt at finding 6 more anime that have some of the qualities we love about Joker Game so far.
The choices below were picked because they have one or a combination of the following characteristics: A military story, spies, they take place during war-time, tense international relations or they involve a group of young men developing and growing alongside each other in less than normal circumstances.
Similar Anime to Joker Game
1. Senkou no Night Raid (Night Raid 1931)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Apr. 2010 – Jun. 2010
Set in Shanghai in 1931, global conflicts start to reach a fever pitch. With secret complex conspiracies afoot, nations all over the world are in danger of destroying each other and themselves. Enter Sakurai Agency; a secret Japanese intelligence agency whose spy ranks are filled with clairvoyants, telepaths and other ability users. These agents are charged with unraveling the tangled plots that threaten the world and eliminating them.
This one is probably the most similar of the list. Set in the 1930s like Joker Game, Night Raid also brings us a highly skilled spy agency that is basically in charge of finding out all the secret plots that threaten peace and somehow foiling them. The difference between D Agency and Sakurai Agency is only that the agents of Sakurai have superhuman powers. This is another Military and Historical show with a bit of Super Powers in the mix that you’ll surely enjoy if you like Joker Game!
2. Young Black Jack
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Oct. 2015 – Dec. 2015
In 1968, during the Vietnam War, a young mysterious medical student shows unbelievable skills with the surgical knife. He gets involved in situations where his abilities become known and he gains notoriety in certain circles. He sees himself involved with dangerous and shady characters, all in the name of medicine and the Hippocratic oath he aims to take at the end of his studies. That’s if the criminal underworld and corruption don’t get in his way.
Set a little later in history, Young Black Jack focuses on Kuro Hazama as he pursues his medical career during the Vietnam War. Even though he is not a spy, he sees himself involved with dark secrets and conspiracies as well as corruption and blackmail. And while we only follow Kuro as opposed to a group of young men, he is incredibly skilled at his craft, much like the spies in Joker Game are, except it’s medicine. Despite the differences, I believe Young Black Jack has a more similar feel to Joker Game than Baccano!, which is also set in the 1930s and is our next entry!
Blockbuster "Young Black Jack" is TV animated !! 10/1 (Thursday) Start [TBS]
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jul. 2007 – Nov. 2007
In the early 1700s, alchemists discover the secret of immortality and its cost on board of the Advena Avis. Jump ahead to the 1930s in New York and we have Szilard, a scientist, and his assistant Ennis who are looking for missing bottles of the immortality elixir. The Flying Pussyfoot is about to start its journey from Chicago, and there’s a war amongst Mafiosos. Somehow, thanks to a couple of thieves, Isaac and Miria, all these people and events will connect and there will be consequences!
At first glance, the only thing Baccano! And Joker Game have in common is the 1930s. However, we also have highly skilled characters, like Felix Walken who is an assassin, acrobat and train conductor. Baccano! is a Historical, Mystery Seinen with a good dose of badass characters that will keep you entertained until the next episode of Joker Game. And, it also has a similar soundtrack!
Any Anime Like Joker Game ?
4. Golgo 13
- Episodes: 50
- Aired: Apr. 2008 – Mar. 2009
Golgo 13 a.k.a. Duke Togo is an incredibly skilled assassin with an unknown past. He is a talented marksman, cold and calculating and always gets the job done. As long as he is offered the right amount of money, he will take jobs from anybody. Oh, and of course, he’s a ladies’ man! The Golgo 13 manga is actually the longest running manga still in production and its main character has been referred to as a darker James Bond.
Golgo 13 isn’t necessarily a spy, though he needs the skills of one, and if he’s being compared to James Bond, you know he has the talent and the moves. Like the spies in Joker Game he knows how to woo a lady (or several!) and he is cold and ruthless when it comes to completing his mission. Golgo 13 is realistic and a bit darker than Joker Game, and it’ll give you your dose of intrigue and action with a punch!
5. Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr. 2010 – Sep. 2010
Rainbow takes place in 1955 and it follows the story of 6 young teenage delinquents who get sent to Shounan Special Reform School on serious criminal charges. In the prison, they meet an older inmate, Rokurouta Sakuragi, who is a former boxer and guides them through their tough life in prison. Together they aim to survive the abuse and humiliations they are put through and then try to piece their lives together after completing their sentences.
Rainbow is most definitely not a spy anime. However, we do have a group of young boys whose life situations have gotten them into a lifestyle that is less than average. Through training and cooperation, they grow together and develop to face the next stage of their lives. It is also set in the 1950s so it has that historical feel to it too. It gets pretty dark though, so just keep that in mind.
6. Heavy Object
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Oct. 2015 – Mar. 2015
Far in the future, wars are no longer fought by infantry. Giant round tanks with multiple high tech weapons called Objects do all the fighting. Qwenthur Barbotage and Havia Winchell are two young men who are part of the 37th Mobile Maintenance Battalion and support the Legitimate Kingdom’s Object, the Baby Magnum. During a battle, they are confronted with an Object with only their camo fatigues and standard issue weapons. The way they deal with the situation will change the face of warfare and their lives.
Ok, so this one is not set in the past and it doesn’t involve a group of boys. But what it does have is tense international relations, conspiracies, spies here and there and highly skilled boys who can get out of almost any situation possible. Qwenthur and Havia both have pretty cushy pasts compared to some of the boys in Joker Game or Rainbow, but they still support each other, learn and develop to continue on the path life has put them on.
Heavy Object - Official Clip - Baby Penguins?!
Joker Game is a very unique kind of anime. The type of training the spies do is kind of reminiscent of James Bond. It can also be a tad heartbreaking that they are so young and have become these cold, unfeeling creatures. Then there is also the time period and the impending war.
Only a couple of these shows parallel Joker Game, especially Night Raid. It’s hard to find something exactly like it, but I think these series will fulfill your cravings until the next episode. Whether it’s for the male bonding, spying, cold, hardened characters, historical settings or plots and conspiracies, I’m sure you can find something here!
What do you love about Joker Game? Are there any other anime series you think should’ve made this list? We want to know so let us know in the comments!
Thanks for stopping by, see you next time!