Professional wrestling history was made when future WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) legend Kevin Nash invaded rival company WCW’s (World Championship Wrestling) live show, WCW Nitro. Along with tag-team partner and friend Scott Hall (who invaded an earlier Nitro show before Nash), Nash delivered a warning to the WCW:
Idioms such as “[this is] where the big boys play” and “this is the big leagues” are often used to identify areas of intense and professional levels of competition. Areas reversed for the elites and only for the elites. Rookies are warned not to enter the big leagues unless they are mentality and physically tough and resilient enough to join.
Of course, you have the foolish rookies who – thanks to their ego – think they can go toe-to-toe with the harden vets (of the big leagues). Blinded by both arrogance and ignorance they try; only to be utterly humiliated, embarrassed, and humbled by their superiors.
This is the case of Erimi Mushibami: a little kid who thinks she’s hardcore just because she’s going through her baby’s first weeaboo gothic lolita teen angst phase. So hardcore that, the first thing that she does upon arriving at Hyakkaou Private Academy, is to challenge Yumeko Jabami and Midari Ikishima to a game of chicken.
An extreme game of chicken where players must place a finger inside a hole built into a mini guillotine with several cords attached to its frame. The guillotine blade itself is only held by single cord that – if cut – will send the sharp blade flying down; slicing its victim’s finger off. Removing your finger before the blade comes down will results in the player forfeiting the match and becoming a slave to the game host.
It’s the ultimate game of nerves.
Nerves that Yumeko and Midari both have an unlimited supply of.
Yumeko is insane and gets off to playing high risk/high rewards gambles. Midari is not only insane, she’s a fucking deranged masochist whose panties would be soaked if she got a finger cut off. The game is so thrilling to these women that Yumeko put aside her disdain towards Midari to team up with her against Emiri.
Erimi is a stupid kid.
Erimi gathers Yumeko, Midari, and Suzui into a room for her little game. Yuemko is relaxed. Midari is thrilled. Suzui is scared. Not for neither Yumeko nor Midari: he knows both of them are crazy. Who he’s concern for is Erimi herself – the girl who started this mess.
Erimi has yet to understand that her opponents are extreme gambling addicts. Both find joy in playing risky games – no manner how dangerous (the risks are). Furthermore, Yumeko and Midari are having fun playing Erimi’s game; even if the odds stacked against them. Erimi eventually picks up on her opposition’s carefree mentality towards her game and assumes if she pushes the girls to their absolute limit, she can break them.
Again, Erimi is a stupid little kid.
Erimi starts bragging about how her mafia-like family is full of torture freaks that used the guillotine game (and other fear tactics) to force confessions out of their victims. Yumeko isn’t impressed; she winds up finding the game boring as time goes on. Yumeko also thinks Erimi is a scared little bitch: as she believes that Erimi may have install a cheat to prevent her from losing her finger in things goes wrong and decides to go off on her.
Midari joins in on Yumeko’s verbal onslaught against the goth kid; reversing Erimi’s love for torture against her (remember: Midari wants to be tortured). In fact, she admits that the risk of losing a single finger doesn’t excite her; she wants more punishment if she loses.
Intoxicated with glee, both Yumeko and Midari pressure Erimi to cut the wires. Worse, Midari, out of her excitement and impatience, snatches the scissors off the table and decides to cut all the wires at once. Sure enough, the safety feature that Yumeko theorized that Erimi put in place was triggered; saving everyone from losing their fingers. But, even in a moment of grace, Erimi has broken down. In tears, she begs Midari and Yumeko to stop even after the game was finished.
The little girl wasn’t ready to play with the big girls.
Ego is funny thing. It’s the source of our ambitions, desires, and self-confidence. However, if left unchecked, the ego can lead us to disaster; as we saw with Erimi in episodes one and two of Kakegurui xx. Her wild ego and childish behavior made her believe that she could go toe-to-toe with two superior gamblers who outclassed her in talent, skill, and insanity. She could not handle the pressure that Yumeko and Midari rain down upon her; leading to her breakdown. Her plan to mentality break her opponents backfired – given they both love the thrill and dangers that came from her game. It’s the ultimate irony: Play with people’s fears only to be paralyzed by fear yourself. Pretend to be a big kid only to have bigger kids put you in your place.
Never attempt to play in the big leagues when you’re still in the little leagues.
Investing and stock trading is akin to gambling. Like placing all your chips into a single gamble in high hopes of winning, putting your money into an investment or stocks can mean triumph victory. You will be rewarded with massive capital gains. However, gamble and invest wrong, and you’ll end up with a crippling defeat – losing all of your hard earn money. In order to win big in both gambling and investing, you must learn how to analyze, read, and plan in around moves of your opponent and trends. Investing – and winning – provides the ultimate thrill. Investing, gambling, and money are all powerful, addicting drugs.
Infamous stockbrocker and fraudster Jordan Belfort show us how exciting and dangerous the drug of money can be in The Wolf of Wall Street.
Similar to how the villainous student council members of Kakegurui cheated to win, Jordan Belfort uses manipulative tactics to earn capital with his stock trading and investment schemes through penny-stocks scams and pump and dump moves. His suckers victims do not know any better. They’re chasing money in high hopes of getting rich fast, and Belfort takes full advantage of their stupidity. Kinda like how Mary had high hopes of escaping debt through gambling with Yuriko’s Life or Death game — only to end up in more debt.
As Belfort wins and wins, we see his fruits of his victories such as his business growing, wild parties at his office, and his yacht. Yet, his greed became his downfall. Jordan is placed under investigating by the FBI for his fraudulent schemes. Eventually, a federal case is built against him and he loses everything.
If you enjoy the wild gambles of Kakegurui and how horrible the cheaters of the series did their thing, then check out The Wolf on Wall Street.
(Disclaimer: Do not attempt to emulate what Belfort did in the movie and real life. You will be sent to federal prison or possibly shot.)
I hope you enjoy this recommendation! I’ll be doing more of these for the Facebook group Kakegurui FanClub. If you want to connect and network with fellow gambling addicts and desire to debate against them on who’s the best girl (spoilers: it’s Ririka) is, then please join us!
Oh Kakegurui! You were an amazing and fun series! In fact, you were maybe like, one of four shows of the past Summer season that didn’t disappoint me (unlike say Hajimete no Gal). In four months, you created a cult following of dedicated fans with superior quality episodes and entertainment. Expect for that atrocious episode 9 with that pointless Idol show (I give that trash a 2.5/10). Anyways, fans from all over the globe illegally streamed tuned in to watch 24 minutes of deranged, spoiled rich kids gamble their money and lives away. All in the sake for power and…money I guess.
The support and love towards Kakegurui was felt online. The flashy fans showcased their cosplays – dressing up as their favorite character. The artsy ones use their visual talents to produced fanart of their favorite girl. The musically included fans gifted the fandom with the sound of music – remixes and piano covers of the OP were poppin’ up on YouTube. There was even an ero doujin staring Yumeko having sex with some guy whom she poked holes in his condom (because Yumeko loves her thrills and risks)! Hell, some fans were even inspired to gamble or challenge others to gambling matches because of this show.
Yea, you heard me right. There are some fans out there whom believes that they should gamble because of this show.
Earlier today while I was doing my usual shit posting on Facebook, I shared a post from the Kakegurui fanpage to my own page for this blog. The post was simply news about the new Kakegurui cell phone game coming out in Japan soon. Within a few minutes of me posting it, someone commented.
“Care to gamble?” This fan said. I started to laugh. Maybe its’ an idiot fanboy who thinks they know how to gamble because they watched a few episodes of Kakegurui. At first I ignored this nerd, but then I figured I should entertain this just for more laughs.
“1v1 me in blackjack at Anime Weekend Atlanta (AWA) if you’re going! Back that internet talk up IRL.” I replied, calling his ass out. I went through his profile and discovered that he was going to Anime Weekend Atlanta (which I too am also attending). I assumed that he was just some weeaboo nerd talking mad shit online. He is probably a giant pussy outside the internet. He even had an anime profile picture; people with anime profile picture tend to talk the most shit on the internet. Based on my findings, I concluded that he wasn’t about neither about gambling life, nor was he going to meet me up at the convention.
Or so I thought.
“Bet.” He responded back, posting a photo comment of him flashing several hundred dollar bills.
‘Well shit…He IS about that life.’ I said to myself. I was dumb struck. Not only did this dude back that internet talk up, he was also totally one of those rich (or well off) weeaboos who could buy the special edition of every Summer 2017 shows on Blu-Ray and not even be hurt about it. Me? I can barely buy a $10 bootleg waifu figurine after paying the bills and investing into my brand (this blog, the FB page, etc.). I mean shit, I was just trolling; trying to get a reaction out of the dude. Well, I got my wish.
Boy I got my wish.
That aside, this made me wonder: will Kakegurui inspire fans to gamble against one another? Perhaps this guy flashing his cash and challenging me to a gambling match at a nerd convention is simply an outlier (and an idiot for posting his money on the Book). But still, it doesn’t hurt to be a little concern. It’s possible that ignorant fans will make a trend of gambling within the fandom. It’s not uncommon for fans to create trends and tributes to their favorite series.
Back in the mid-2000s, Haruhi fans were doing that Hare Hare Yukai dance at anime conventions and for YouTube videos. Recently, fans of the Dragon Ball series have gather at public landmarks, parks, and colleges to scream like Goku for the hell of it. It wouldn’t be a shock to see Kakegurui fans gamble against one another at anime conventions. Shit, people already gamble at room parties when they play card games or money match in Street Fighter or Smash Bros.. With a popular gambling series like Kakegurui, it won’t be too long until weebs think they can gamble for cash.
And they will get utterly destroyed and lose all of their money.
In my personal opinion, Kakegurui glories gambling. To start, Yumeko makes gambling seems like a fun time (which I confess it is). The consequences of losing a match aren’t too extreme (sans having your life mapped out through the Life Schedule Plan). We do not see the harsh realities of having a gambling addiction either. Yumeko, who calls herself a gambling addict, thinks nothing of it. She seems well off mentally. Gambling addicts in real life have ruined their relationship with love ones and annihilated their bank accounts.
Gambling isn’t really that great when you break down the horrors of it.
If this show inspires you to gamble and you never gambled before, well, good luck to you and everything. Just know that you’re an idiot and it’s your fault if you lose. Go watch/read Kaiji or something so you can learn that gambling ain’t really all that amazing.
JUDGEMENT: ‘If you are unsure of a course of action, do not attempt it. Your doubts and hesitations will infect your execution. Timidity is dangerous: Better to enter with boldness. Any mistakes you commit thought audacity are easily corrected with more audacity.
Everyone admires the bold: No one honors the timid.’
-Robert Greene, 48 Laws of Power (Green, 1998, p. 227)
Pitted against the prideful Mary in a gambling match of Card Rock-Paper-Scissors, the seemingly naive Yumeko bets two 10,000 yen chips on her hand. In what seems to be a stroke of beginner’s luck, Yumeko’s bet pays off; her rock card defeating Mary’s scissors. Testing her luck further, Yumeko ups the ante; betting 50 chips (or 50,000 yen) in round two. Unshaken by this, Mary tells Yumeko that she’s quite the gambler, which she politely denies.
As the game progress there is a tie, followed by two wins for Mary. She’s feeling confident, perhaps a little bit tad cocky even. The game continues with Yumeko betting 50 chips, only to lose to Mary once more, and owing her 1,000,000 yen. The transfer student tries her luck again, betting her remaining chips, but it’s all for naught.
Mary wins again.
As Mary stokes her ego, Yumeko requests her for one final game. Despite Yumeko lacking any chips, Mary honors her request with a smile (while taunting Yumeko; calling her an idiot, etc.). The prideful girl starts to praise her own genius. She believes that she can force Yumeko into a debt – thus lowing her social status to that of livestock.
What Mary didn’t expect was Yumeko betting 10,000,000 yen – real cash – not mere poker chips.
Offended, Mary snaps on the bold Yumeko; calling her crazy and careless.
“There’s no way you can afford to bet so much on a single RPS game! You’re crazy!” Cried Mary. She doesn’t think that Yumeko is actually putting down real money on the line. This is a joke! Yet, Yumeko is not joking – she is serious. She sees the fun in her bold action and high risks. Mary is confused and angry at Yumeko’s recklessness. She assumes that Yumeko is just mocking her with such fearlessness and is merely baiting her. She refuse to go on with the game the bet but Yumeko mocks her as she turns away.
“Don’t tell me you have cold feet.” mimicking Mary’s earlier taunts with smug. Hearing this, Mary reluctantly accepts the offer.
As the girls play their final cards, Yumeko reveals to Mary that she knew that she was paying off their classmates to manipulate the game to ensure Mary’s victory. Mary is enraged once more but regains her composure. Mary thinks that Yumeko is simply bluffing for a win by getting under her skin. How could she have this knowledge of her using her classmates to win? She is just a simple stupid girl. She can’t be that smart. Regaining faith in herself, Mary slams down the paper card on the table with the highest confidence.
Alas for Mary, Yumeko held scissor – defeating her.
The bold action of betting with cash as opposed to poker chips and using her skills to dismantle Mary’s cheating system (and a little luck), Yumeko made a name for herself on her first day of her new school by defeating Mary.at her own game. Her daring spirit took Mary by surprise, as she didn’t expect the new student to pull such a stunt off against her and win.
Yumeko’s brilliant fearlessness humbled the once prideful Mary.
REVERSAL: ‘Boldness should never be the strategy behind all of your actions. It is a tactical instrument, to be used at the right moment. Plan and think ahead, and make the final element the bold move that will bring you success. In other words, since boldness is a learned response, it is also one that you learn to control and utilize at will. To go through life armed only with audacity would be tiring and also fatal. You would offend too many people, as is proven by those who cannot control their boldness.’ (Green, 1998, p. 235)
After accepting an invite to play against Yuriko in her modify roulette game “Life or Death”, Yumeko decides to act bold against the student council member. Bolder than her earlier match against Mary mind you. Rather than silently wait until later to reveal the cheating system of Yuriko’s game, she goes off on her with bravado.
“Your methods are the worst.” Yumeko berates her with a smirk. In her bravery, she admits to her that she knew that Yuriko baited Mary into the game. Yuriko took advantage of the broken Mary; luring her with the hope of clearing her debts and reclaim her pride – only to mislead her and sink her further into it. Yumeko compares her to a loan shark, calls her the lowest of the low, and finally – a piece of shit.
Yuriko (trying to hide her anger) simply smiles warmly, brushing off Yumeko’s offensive language and taunts. Yuriko seems to forgive Yumeko’s brashness, but is quickly angered again when Yumeko starts playing around with her family name, “Nishinotouin” – calling it a proper family name for a cheap airhead like Yuriko.
This was a tactic to force Yuriko into rage and bet everything she has blindly. Yumeko knew Yuriko was cheating. Her personal dealer had magnetic metal moles implanted in her hands. This was to control the blades’ location in order to influence where each blade landed. Later, Yumeko explains how this cheat has no absolute guarantee for victory; as you can only control one blade and leave the rest to luck.
After bragging about her successful revelation of the cheat, Yumeko lost the match. Her boldness worked against her as she lost not due to Yuriko’s skills, but simple and pure luck.
With this lost, Yumeko’s status is reduced to the levels of housepet. But then again, Yumeko doesn’t seem to mind.
With episodes four and five’s plot of Mary and Yumeko teaming up to regain their humanity and lives, I figured that now is a great time to drop a theory I have on two possible narrative theme elements of Kaegurui; The theme of power and freedom. Both episodes (including manga spoilers) and the ED provided me with more than enough evidence and clues to support these claims. Hell, I’ll throw in some theories I have about Yumeko’s personality because why not.
The first phase of the ED opens with separate, close focus shots of Yumeko’s ass and bouncing breasts; branding Kakegurui as a series of near hyper sexuality. Next, we see Yumeko walking in the rain unprotected. She doesn’t appear to mind the rain, or the problems it brings. This tells us that Yumeko is carefree: She loves taking risks and finds comfort in being reckless. In short, she marches to the rhythm of her own beat.
Sakaya reflecting on Yumeko’s carefree spirit.
Sakaya reflecting on Yumeko’s carefree spirit.
Sakaya reflecting on Yumeko’s carefree spirit.
In the background, there is a peony flower – the Japanese symbol of daring bravery and wealth. People with bravery and wealth are powerful. Yumeko is a brave girl; she’s not bothered by high risk stakes or manipulation by outside sources. In fact, she enjoys it. To say she gains pleasure from it is a statement not far from the truth. Hyakkaou itself is rich in wealth, bravery, and power. Seeing the peony flowers in various Kakegurui manga covers and promotional materials is no coincidence in that sense.
The peony cycles through four colors: red, green, yellow-green, and purple.
In color theory, red is use for power. Now, what are the Hyakkaou students gambling for? Status and power above all. But, before you get the power, you must get the money. This leads us to the next color – green.
Green – most associated with money – and greed. Money makes the world go round. Money never sleeps like Wall Street. If gambling is the backbone of the school than money is the lifeblood. The student body is made up of the children of some of the richest and most powerful connected families of Japan.
Power is everything. Money rules all.
‘You gotta get the money first. Then when get the money, you get the power.’ -Tony Monata, Scarface (1983 American film)
‘All my life I want money and power.’ -Kendrick Lamar, Backseat (2012 American hip-hop single)
Next is yellow-green. We already analyze green, so let’s focus on yellow. Yellow represents logic, analysis, and brain stimulation. Gambling itself is a mental game; As you much analyze and read your opponent’s moves. Logic can greatly dictate the flow of a gambling match (if you’re extremely smart and/or know how to play the system that is). Yellow can also represent joy and happiness – something Yumeko tend to indulge herself in a lot through gambling.
Finally the color purple. Purple represents royalty, power, luxury, and nobility – four things in which the upper-class students either have obtained or inherited. The lower-class/livestock yearns for these four things they lack. Purple is also a mysterious, yet beautiful color. This works with Yumeko, as we do not know neither her origins, nor background. She’s also rather beautiful as her male peers were captivated by her beauty at first sight (and it’s implied Ryota has a crush on her based on her beauty).
This phase of the ED continues for a few bars of music, which builds up as the vocalist and instruments are layered in the melody.
There are quick, close focus shots of Yumeko’s chest, skirt, opened shirt, and finally, her lips. The animation of her lips sync with the vocalist singing “tagitte shimau wa!, or, “I’m overflowing!” in English.
Now, we’ve heard Yumeko say this line before in episode 2; as she gets aroused through gambling. Gambling excites Yumeko profoundly. Perhaps a bit too much however.
The ED transitions into phase two. The peony flower has exploded into red pedals. The pedals start to rotate around Yumeko. Now, remember that red means power. Who has the power in Hyakkaou? The student government has the power of course. Now, could that possibly mean that Yumeko will break up the student council’s power game, and have them wrapped around her fingers as the series progress?
These lyrics of the ending theme seem to suggest so:
‘So have your way with their souls.
Make them dance in the palm of your hand!’
Then again, this could also be a reference to how the student council control the lower class; removing their humanity, treating them as livestock, and dictating their lives through the Life Schedule Plan (more on that later).
After that, Yumeko tosses her blazer aside carelessly; her dress shirt open, revealing her cleavage and pink bra. Her arms are spread slightly. She walks with fluidity as she sways her hips back and forth, still soaked by the rain. Liberated from her “restrains” (the blazer and buttoned shirts), she wears a wide smile; As if she’s happy that she can be free. Perhaps this symbolize that in the future, she’ll finally be happy that she can be her true self – a fearless, limitless gambler.
There’s a bar of rest in the music, followed by an upskirt shot from the ground up. The downbeat directs us to the final phase. Yumeko’s arms and hair are raised high above her head. She walks with more confidence in each step. Multiple lights sync with the percussion, alternating between blue and pink at each bar. Five or six peony flowers appear in the background, each rotating like roulette wheels while the pedals of the original peony still dance around Yumeko.
The imagery increases with intensity, working in synergy with the music’s crescendo. The animation transitions to a set of poker chips ascending; This might hint that Yumeko will raise above the ranks of Hyakkou and the student government.
Finally, the ED ends with a focus shot of the Yumeko’s face. It’s blushed, her lips are parted, and her hair a mess. She appears she just been pleasured sexually for some odd reason (sex sells I guess). Also, note how her hair are red – just like the peony pedals. Perhaps she gains power and triumph over the student government overtime. Maybe I’m thinking way too deep into the shot, but whatever.
By analyzing the ED, I’ve theorized two the possible themes of Kakegurui are freedom and power.
Freedom plays a large role in the series. Students yearning to free themselves from their “pet” and “livestock” statues, as well as debts they owe to others. We first see this through Ryota and Mary’s game from the first episode. Of course, Ryota lost to Mary and became her pet as a result.
Later, after her defeat against Yumeko, Mary is force to surrender her life, and live the life that the student council crafted for her: the Life Schedule Plan (getting married to a senator, baring his children, etc.).
She enters a debt forgiveness gambling match with Yumeko (also suffering the same fate as Mary). The two join forces to lower their debt, thus one step closer in retaining their humanity and freedom. During this match, we’re introduced to Nanami, a young girl reduced to livestock status. She’s forced to partner up with minor villain Kiwatari. After realizing that she was coerced (as well as emotionally and mentally abused) into working for Kiwatari, Yumeko convinces Nanami to grow a backbone, fight for herself, and free herself from Kiwatari. Despite losing the match (coming in second place) and still having debt, Nanami gains a sense of freedom and confidence for herself.
As for the theme of power, it’s quite obvious. From episode 1 to the recent episode 5 (and the manga of course), power and status is played heavily in the series. Mary has power over Ryota for a time. Yumeko displays her power through extreme wit and intelligence. Students with status and money have power over the pets. The student government (made up of high ranking gamblers and students with political and financial connections) rule the school through their power. We see the fincinal status and connection with Itsuki (as her dad is the CEO of a toy company) and the political pull and ruling of the current ruthless Kirari Momobami.
Power is everything in Hyakkaou.
‘No one man should have all that power.’
–Kanye West, Power (2010 hip-hop single)
How did you like my analysis and theories? Think I’m spot on or am I’m just overthinking an ED and the music? I’m excited how things will play out in both the manga nad anime, as things are starting to get wild in episode 5. I’ve yet to read the manga but I heard from a friend that it’s nuts. Let me know what you think in the comments!
Mother’s Basement analysis of the OP of Kakegurui. Although this further inspired me to do this ED analysis, I wasn’t initially inspired by the video. I was more inspired by Anime Live Reaction analysis of Dragon Ball Super ED 7 to analyze anime lyrics and ED.
NOTE: If you’re wondering why I haven’t done days 29 and 30 of the “30 Day of Anime Challenge”, it’s because I’ve been too heavily focus on other major projects right now. They will return soon.
You only get one shot. If the first episode of an anime doesn’t impress me – it’s getting dropped.
Did Kakegurui’s first episode impressed me, or did I have to drop it? Let’s find out! Summary
In Hyakkau Private Academy, status is everything. Gambling is law. Money rules all.
‘Cash rules everything around me.
C.R.E.A.M. get the money
Dollar dollar bill ya’ll’
-Wu Tang Clan
Students with high status are royally treated and rewarded. The low aren’t considered human – treated as pets and furniture. To obtain the high status, you must gamble. Money. Power. Respect. Anything and everything you want in Hyakkau can be obtained – but only if you gamble.
We’re presented with the risk/reward premises of Kakegurui early on through an intense game of Poker between two students: the sadistic gambling queen Mary Saotome, and the lowly Ryota Suzui. The two are to their last cards, breathing heavily, and sweating hard, fatigued from the game. Ryota reveals his hand in confidence: full house. Upon seeing his hand, Mary starts giggling, her face inhumanly twisted.
She reveals her winning hand – Royal Straight Flush.
“Too bad!” she shouts in victory.
Coldly, Mary encourages Ryota to keep his spirit up, despite the hardships he has been through the day. Then, she calls him “Pochi” – his new name. Ryota is no longer human. He is a “dog”. A house pet. His hope, faith, and humanity: gone. Retaining it all is a fool’s game.
Or so did he believe, until a girl named Yumeko Jabami arrived.
The scene transition to Yumeko introducing herself to her new classmates, wishing to befriend them all. Immediately, she becomes popular. Her male peers are captivated by her cuteness and friendliness. Even Ryota himself is charmed by her sweet presence and beautiful appearance. As a new student, Yumeko needs somebody to show her around. Ryota, due to his class rep status, is selected by his teacher to help her around. He happily accepts his new duty. Yumeko tells him that it’s nice to meet him, with him agreeing likewise. Despite his new status as Mary’s house pet, Ryota’s luck is starting to change.
Speaking of Mary, she jealous of Yumeko’s instant popularity. She doesn’t like the new transfer student. She stares her with disdain.
So far, three characters have been introduced and established. Ryota, the main male character and house pet of the callous supporting character, Mary, and finally, the new student and main female character, Yumeko, who has her first hater in the form of Mary. It’s fairly obvious that Ryota and Yumeko will have the most interactions and their relationship will evolve into friendly terms. We can assume through Mary’s anger towards Yumeko that they’ll have a rivalry. First episode in and we’re already got some good bits served to us and even a possible hook for us to go past the fist episode rather than dropping it.
Let’s move forward.
After class, Ryota gives Yumeko a tour of the school. She’s at awe at its beauty, expressing her happiness of her transfer to him. Next, she notices Ryota’s dog tag around his neck – the name “Pochi” engraved on it. She questions him why he’s wearing it, to which he doesn’t respond, turning his back towards her out of embarrassment. He doesn’t want to let her know about his status as a pet. After a few seconds of silence, he asks Yumeko if she ever gambled before. Yumeko replies innocently, telling him she knows the rules of gambling through Poker and Mahjong.
Ryota replies to her answer. He starts breaking down how gambling is not just the school’s tradition, but it’s the backbone of it. After school, the rich kids turn the school into a massive gambling hall. He tries to warn her that the rich kids will try to invite her to gamble, but is suddenly stopped by her. She finds the idea of gambling in school fun and starts to giggle madly. Ryota looks at her with shock.
There seems to be more about Yumeko than what she lets on.
Later, while socializing with her new peers, Yumeko is challenged by Mary to a gambling match: a game of rock-paper-scissors in card game form. Mary seeks to humiliate Yumeko for stealing her spotlight, and sets her up as her latest sucker. Yumeko, unaware of Mary’s plan, accepts her challenge. Everyone is at abuzz about the challenge, and prep the classroom, transforming it into a gambling den. After the room is set up, Mary explains the rules of voting-rock-paper-scissors to Yumeko.
Both girls play their first card. Mary draws scissors and Yumeko draws rock, winning the first round. Mary congrats Yumeko on her first win and allows her to place the next bet. Yumeko boldly bets 50 chips (valued at 50,000 yen); a move that surprises and socks everyone. Yumeko is chill about her bold move, thinking nothing of it. Both girls draw rock from their hands, resulting in a tie. They continue, Mary playing rock once more and Yumeko with scissors. Obviously, Mary wins. Following that, Yumeko wins the next round, betting 50 chips once again. After that, Yumeko starts to lose each hand, losing all her chips in the process, but again, she’s still in her calm and chill state.
Mary starts celebrating her apparent victory, She asks Yumeko if she want to continue her losing streak. Yumeko doesn’t reply, which prompts Mary to start laughing at and taunting her opponent, asking her if she has cold feet. Mary’s an incredibly arrogant and prideful player. She enjoys taunting her opponent and thinks herself as a paragon of superiority.
I like that. Mary, you’re the second best girl so far.
Yumeko, still stoic and calm, informs Mary that the game has just truly started. She requests one final match, which Mary (cockily) agrees to. Mary believes she’s can force her into an unpayable debt, thus forcing Yumeko to become her new pet. Mary starts praising herself and calls Yumeko foolish. She can’t believe Yumeko wants to play against her once more. She then questions the “foolish” Yumeko how could she possibly continue the game if she doesn’t have any chips left.
Yumeko may not have any chips left, but she has something much more exciting to offer – money.
Yumeko bets real cash – 10,000,000 yen (USD $88,760 as of July 20th 2017) in stacks to be exact. Mary is shocked – offended even. She starts to lose her mind, demanding Yumeko to explain why she carries so much cash on her. She assumes that Yumeko can’t afford to gamble such an outlandish amount of money away on a simple game. She didn’t expect her seemingly naïve and innocent opponent to take the game to a serious route.
She calls Yumeko crazy, but the girl doesn’t seem to be mind being called crazy. In fact, she loves it. She becomes enthusiastic about the new risks. Her eyes start to glow red, demonic like even. She explains how the lifeblood of money rules the world. She gets excited explaining to Mary how the risk and craziness of gambling makes the game even more fun. Yumeko loves money. Yumeko loves high risks. Yumeko loves insanity.
Yumeko loves gambling.
‘Maddness is the essence of gambling, isn’t it?’
(Alright. So Yumeko’s true personality [or at least parts of it] is revealed. She ins’t this modest and humble girl that she originally lead everyone to believe (althrough the OP animation foreshadow that, but whatever). Like a seasoned gambler, she conceals her hard earned knowledge of the game. Yumeko (obviously) is a different person when she takes a game seriously, taking a simple friendly game to high risk and rewards levels – because she loves it.
I’m hooked. No need to drop this anime on episode 1.)
Mary is enraged. She believes Yumeko is mocking her with her reckless behavior, and refuses her offer. Unemotionally, Yumeko taunts her – asking Mary if she has cold as she did her. Pissed, Mary accepts and regains her confidence. She believes that she can still win; entrusting her victory in the fact her classmate are voting in her favor (of course, Mary does have them in her pockets, taking advantage of their needs and wants).
However, Yumeko is hip to Mary plans and exposes her.
Yumeko figures that Mary has about 10-20 people voting in her favor – a fact she hid poorly. Yumeko notices that Mary was playing the same cards twice, mixed her cards while she wasn’t betting, and their peers’ reacting to their plays, sending each other signals to inform Mary on which card to play. She finishes with telling her that she can’t fool anyone if she isn’t prepared to lose money. Mary becomes enraged once more. Her plans broken down and revealed! But, she believes that Yumeko is merely bluffing! She couldn’t be that clever! She has no proof that Mary’s trying to play the system! With her egotistical mindset, Mary believes she can still win. She plays her final card: Paper. She slams her card down with the highest of confidence – but it’s all for naught.
Yumeko, with her sweet and friendly smile, reveals her winning card: Scissors.
Everyone starts to freak out in shock. Mary, the gambling queen of Hyakkau , has been dethroned. She starts to blank out, withdrawn in her thoughts. She just lost 10,000,000 yen – which she lacks. Yumeko demands that she pay up ASAP In shame, Mary bows her head, grits her teeth, and confesses to the victor that she lacks the money. Yumeko (back to her normal innocent nature), tells Mary that the joy of the game and it stakes was payment enough. She cheerfully leaves the room, expressing her hopes that her new classmates will treat her as an equal.
For a first episode, Kakegurui is excellent, and right on the jump! I like how we’re treated to the premise right away: gambling is law and status. An example of the risk and reward of obtaining victory or losing are presented – with Suzui becoming a pet to Mary, and Mary owing debt to Yumeko after losing to her. Like gambling itself, matches are exciting and the excitement factor is increased when the stakes are higher, as we see with Yumeko betting cash rather than simple plastic chips.
One thing that I’ve noticed that makes me enjoy the anime is the facial expressions of each characters and how it’s link to their reaction. Yumeko with her eyes widing, twisted smile, and facial blushing as she explains how much gambling gives her pleasure, or with Mary’s anger towards defeat expressed through her gritting her teeth, body trembling, lips quivering, and eye twitching.
I am looking forward to how this anime will playout throughout the summer season as it looks promising and refreshing (by my taste). Once completed, I’ll give the series an in-depth review and possible analysis in the future!
So, to answer my question: Did Kakeugurui impressed me?
Yes! Yes it did!
If you have any anime I should watch this season, please let me know in the comment section below! I need to build up my anime game this year!