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Failure Isn’t Bad (Zombieland Saga)

Throughout her short seventeen years of life, Sakura Minamoto dealt with everlasting failures and setbacks that mentally wrecked her. In the third grade, she landed the intense star role of Snow White after months of relentless practice to master the role; only to become sick and bedridden on the day of the performance.

 

Gifted with superior athletic skills, Sakura was selected as captain of her school’s relay team.  She trained day after day in hopes of leading her school to victory against other schools in the Saga district.  Alas, on the morning of competition, she tore up her hamstring; forcing her to retire.

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This is why you stretch before any physical activities, children.

But, those past failures wouldn’t hold her back. Determine to eradicate her bad luck, Sakura (now a sixth grader), had her sights set on academic mastery; vowing to shut everything out of her life in order to enter the best high school in her school district. Friends. Family. Entertainment.   If it wasn’t a tool that’ll help her gain scholarly success, Sakura ignored it. Nothing mattered to her sans entering the ranks of the educated elites.

Two years later, Sakura’s near psychopathic drive towards success would pay off for her. She aced the mock entrance exams days before the real deal.  Finally! Victory was near.

Or so she thought.

On her way to take the real exams, Sakura ran across a few sick elderly women who needed her help.  Instead of ignoring the women and letting them die on the streets (which she should: they had their chance at life), Sakura decided to help these poor women out. However, this drove Sakura into an intense panic; as  she feared that she’ll be late for and miss the exams.

Thankfully, she was able to make it in time. But, the stress from the fear of missing the exams gave Sakura extreme test anxiety – causing her to fail the exam – and missing out on her chance of success once more.

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Should have let the old ladies lay there and die, Sakura.

***

Now in high school, the defeated , depressed, and hopeless Sakura rejected offers to hang out with friends, join any after-school clubs, and work on her scholarly and athletic gifts. Nothing mattered to her anymore. She knew that anything she attempted to try would only make her feel worse about herself.

 

Every day after school, she headed straight home; numbed to the world. She lay up on the couch, mindlessly watching TV and rotting away as life passed her by.  One day in peculiar, Sakura caught a TV special featuring the rise of singer Ai Mizuno: the center performer of the idol group “Iron Frill”.  During the special, Ai was asked about her work ethics, as well as why and how she works so hard.

Ai replied:

“I guess it’s because I don’t think mistakes or failures are a bad thing.  Because they always end up helping with whatever happens next.  And I really believe I’ll only be the best version of me once I overcome it all.”

Mistakes aren’t bad.  Failure isn’t bad. If you study your failures and mistakes, learning from them in the process, you’ll always better yourself.

(Now, let’s not forget the fact that worse girl Ai is a stupid fucking idiot who got herself killed by sticking her arm out during a thunder/lighting storm while holding a mic at an open air concert on live TV/internet broadcast; therefore traumatizing her friends, family members, band mates, and fans for life. Plus, she made her parents cremate and bury her, so there’s that)

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You fucked up on a test.  Cool.  See what you were struggling with, study, and do better.  You got rejected by the girl or boy you liked.  That’s okay.  Be happy and reflect on the fact that you finally control your nerves, got over your fear of rejection, and you went for it. It’ll all be helpful the next time you ask different girl or boy who captured your heart out. You might get turned down from the company you’ve dream of working for since your youth.

Look, you will fail at something – it’s unavoidable.  Your return on invest for your efforts might wield negative results at the end.  Whatever you’re working on, sometimes, it won’t turn out the way you hope for.

And that’s okay.

You should embrace failure.  Appreciate it.  Respect it.  Failure means that it wasn’t the right time to execute your plan.  You selected the wrong moment for your course of action.  Something didn’t line up right. Your approach wasn’t correct. Even so, you should inspect what went wrong so that next time, you will do better and better; until the day you are successful.

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 “There’s no better than adversity.  Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.”-Malcolm X

Inspired by the TV special, Sakura attended their Saga concert. There, Sakura was captivated by Ai’s high spirited performance to the point she was moved to tears.   It was there where Sakura found the willpower to pull herself out of her depression; yearning to  attack success one more time.

One more shot.
One more try.
One more chance.

Sakura set her sights to become the girl that she always dreamed of.   She applied to join Iron Frill as an idol.  She wanted to perform next to the singer that – as cheesy and white girlish as it (always) sound – saved her life.  This was it.  She’ll no longer let the set-backs and disappointments of the past drag her down.  With the finished application in hand, the high-spirited Sakura ran out of the house to mail it…

…And then she got hit by a speeding truck and died on impact.
The End.
Thanks for reading!

(Just kidding.  Sakura lived for a few more seconds in the air from the force of being hit before dying.)

 

 

***

“Failure is deceiving; it’s a good thing! You want to and should fail –it’s the learning process!” -Grant Cardone, CEO and real estate investor

Sakura’s journey to success wouldn’t end at her death. In fact, her death (and zombification) was the start of her finally capturing victory. As the center of the all zombie girl music group Franchouchou, Sakura had to lead her team and new friends through failure after failure on the path of success.

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You could say that their first concert at the death metal show was a near flop.  First, Sakura was the only member of Franchouchou (or Death Musume as they were first called) who regained her human conscious upon awakening.  The rest of the girls were still in their mindless state.  This resulted in everyone (sans Sakura) not being able sing or play instruments – let alone perform in unison.

Second, they were dress in bright, colorful idol outfits; ill-fitting for a venue hall catering to savage and cutthroat fans of death metal.  Finally, the crowd wasn’t feeling them. They believed that Death Musume was mocking death metal with their idol get-up.

Death Musume proved their doubters wrong.

Thanks to their enhanced zombie  bodies and minds, Death Musume surprised the metal heads with their brutal, (literally) broken-neck style head banging, ghastly growls, hard hitting stage dives that would had injured or killed a normal human, and caused mayhem in the pits after the show.

Even if the show was a (so-called) “flop”, Death Musume gained the respect of the metal heads (whom normally dismissed idols).  They even earned two metal heads as loyal fans after the event. Fans who once were discrediting them admired their savage spirit so much that they followed Death Musume’s journey to success everywhere they performed.

 

Their second concert was almost a complete disaster (compared to the last).  Despite regaining their senses, Death Musume (now Green Face), weren’t in tune with one another.  Their movements were awkward and stiff (due to not building up chemistry with one another yet; not because they were zombies).  The audience seemed uninterested in their performance.   Tae had yet to regain her senses; so she was still roaming around mindlessly.

Worse, she tried to steal somebody’s dried squid snack. Sakura attempted to restrain her friend; only to cause Tae’s head to fly off her body into the crowd – therefore causing panic and confusion.

In panic, Sakura played everything off as a magic trick. While Sakura struggled to regain order, Saki started to dick around. The two girls started fighting over Tae’s head (Saki took Tae’s head off her body while Sakua tried to put it back on, annoying the latter). Pissed, Sakura snapped on Saki and snitched on the fact that they were all zombies. Saki snapped back: leading to the girls auguring on stage. Understandably, the audience was shocked.

Total disaster indeed.
But, most damages caused by disasters can always be fixed.

Tatsumi saw this as a chance to switch the show’s direction. Seeing Sakura and Saki argue as if they were rival rappers, he began to beat box.  Best zombie girl Yuugiri provided a melodic instrumental on her shimisen. Lily channeled her inner Flavor Flav and played hype girl.  Worse zombie girl Ai stood around looking stupid, awkward, and useless. Second best zombie girl Junko was also standing around looking stupid and awkward.  Sakura and Saki turned their argument into a rap battle.

Together, Green Face was able to take a losing situation, turn it around into something positive, and became victorious.
Franchouchou improved each passing day.
They didn’t avoid failure – they embraced it and turn it around – into success.

They failed to get a business sponsorship from a drug company (due to Sakura being an idiot). That’s okay; they cut a deal with a local restaurant a few days later; netting a promotion deal with them.  Tae accidently wore said restaurant’s mascot t-shirt after winning a sporting event instead of the shirts featuring their band’s name and logo (for promotional reasons). It didn’t matter: Franchouchou gained more fans from the sporting event.

Lighting struck the stage and the girls during their first major stage performance.  What would have killed any normal human the lighting gave Franchouchou (thanks to being zombies) not only gave the girls the appearance of angels, but enhanced their voices; giving their fans a musical experience they never forget.

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“Last night took an L, but tonight I bounce back.”
“If you’re a real winner you know how to bounce back!”
-Big Sean, Bounce Back

Like Franchouchou, you must use failures as a tool to net you a positive outcome. The path you were on turned into something else. But, you need to take advantage of that.  History is littered with people whom “failed” at one thing but was able to turn it around into greatness.

Japanese Horror and visual novel author Ryukishi07  Ryukishi07 first draft of the ever beloved Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni (lit. When They Cicadas Cry) murder-mystery visual novel series was a short play titled  Hinamizawa Bus Stop.  Inspired by a friend, he submitted the play to his college’s theater group for a contest.  He lost.  After college, Ryukishi07 tried to enter the video game industry with no luck.

Yet, despite the setbacks, he was determined to let the world know about the mysteries and horror of the small village of Hinamizawa. His passionate drive would pay off in August of 2006 when Ryukishi07 dropped Higurashi upon the otaku world at the massive Japanese anime convention Summer Comiket 2002. The game became a global sleeper hit; with the series branching off to light novels, mangas, two live-action movies, a TV series, remakes of the games, and of course, an incredibly successful anime adaption by Studio Deen.

Intelligent System was failing to keep the Fire Emblem series afloat.  After back-to-back failures with titles such as New Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, the series was at risk of being killed off by Nintendo.  Finding themselves on death grounds with the series, nearly everyone at Intelligent System that has ever worked on a Fire Emblem game pour their heart, soul, guts, creativity, love, and focus into  Fire Emblem Awakening. They truly believe that Awakening was going to be the final Fire Emblem game in Nintendo’s (and gaming) history.

If Fire Emblem: Awakening was going to ultimately fail, at least  Intelligent System had the balls to try to revive the series everyone counted out with everything they had.  And as we all known (despite what the old-school autistic elitist assholes in the fandom may say), Fire Emblem: Awakening brought the series back to life: saving it from total death.

See how you can turn failure into victory?

We live in a world where failure is viewed as a bad thing. If you failed, you’re nothing (according to lowly people with their inflated egos who will never fix their own failures).  In Japan, failure is viewed in such a negative light that young school students have killed themselves from the shame of failure (may they failed a test, failed to get into an elite high school, etc.).

They would rather end their life than to face society (after failure).

The American school system have mentality wrecked children for decades; because teachers, parents, and the education system paint failing as the ultimate sin. Who knows how many children in America are suffering from mental health issues such as depression and anxiety because of how aggressive we are against failure?

Social media is now on a level where people will share your failures and humiliate you for it within seconds.  We would rather mock those on Facebook or Twitter for their mistake(s) than to encourage them to recover and give them advice on how to do better.  A screw up can easily be shared and display on the world’s stage without a second thought. It’s a shield to hide our own failures.

Why display your shame to the world where you can cover it with another man’s shame?

Society is not only fearful of failure – it uses it as a weapon.

But, you can’t be scared of failure.  I’m not saying you should go out in purposely fail; that’s foolish.   I am also not saying that some failures aren’t your fault; because your own stupidity and unchecked ego/pride can cause you to screw up. If you’re doing something that is outside the realm of logic, and your friends/family are telling you so, and you can’t prove them wrong, then don’t do it. Because that’s truly is failure.

You need to go into something knowing that there’s a high possibility that you will fail and that you need to bounce back from the failure.  Beating yourself up over failure won’t  get you to success. Having a defeatist attitude because you screw up won’t fix the screw ups.  People will use your past failures to mock you; in order for you to give up.  But, you can’t allow that. Try again until success.

As Sakura said to Junko and Ai in episode 2, and this is the closing statement:

“Quit coming up with excuses on why you can’t win. If you got even a little chance, try to do that then!”

 

 

 

SELECTED RESOURCES:

[Alux.com] (Dec. 15th, 2018) How to overcome FAILURE and start from scratch? [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rs6PU5jQQBc

[Nino Brown] (Oct. 16th, 2019) Fail Your Way To  Success [Video File], Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DO99GJwtsOk

[Alpha Male Strategies – AMS] (Oct 3rd, 2018) Why I Love Being A Failure [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58wu8k4CjnI

Grover, Tim. “#1. When You’re A Cleaner… …You don’t recognize failure; you know there’s more than one way to get what you want.” Relentless: From Good To Great To Unstoppable

 

AFTERWORD:

I lied about the whole “Ai worse girl” thing she’s actually became my favorite character as I wrote this essay and re-watched ZLS due to her relentless drive to re-write her legacy after death.

Seriously, I wouldn’t spent nearly $25 on this shirt if I thought she was the worse girl:

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(Plus, I love how she G-checks Tatsumi when he’s on his bullshit)

I’m also going to work on another Zombieland Saga essay that tackles the  morality of men, how we should make the best of our limited time on Earth, and  and a touch of Stoicism to go along with it within the following months.

In addition, there will be an audio version of this essay in the near future.

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FREEWRITE: Kakegurui: It Shouldn’t Inspire You to Gamble

(Lewd Midari for dem clickbait views)

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.

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They also gambled for body parts as well.

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.

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“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.

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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.

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A Mary cosplayer losing her money at a room party.

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.

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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.

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Yumeko Jabami and Law 28 of the 48 Laws of Power

LAW 28: ENTER ACTION WITH BOLDNESS

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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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“Life or Death”, or “A typical day in South Chicago and North St. Louis”.

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.

Yuriko snaps.

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Yuriko’s happy face.

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.

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With this lost, Yumeko’s status is reduced to the levels of housepet.  But then again, Yumeko doesn’t seem to mind.

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Screenshot without content.

 

 

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Kakegurui – Power and Freedom (THEORY)

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.

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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.

 

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.

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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.

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From episode 2. Yumeko has issues.  Not Midari level issues.  But issues.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

FURTHER READING AND RESOURCES:

http://www.ncpgambling.org/help-treatment/national-helpline-1-800-522-4700/
The National Council of Problem Gambling.  Just because a fictional character makes having a gambling addiction fun doesn’t mean it is in real life.
http://www.empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com/meaning-of-colors.html

http://www.color-wheel-pro.com/color-meaning.html

http://www.thelanguagejournal.com/2012/10/hanakotoba-japanese-secret-language_18.html

http://peonypaintings.blogspot.com/2013/07/japanese-peony-flowers-meaning.html

http://www.lyrical-nonsense.com/lyrics/d-selections/layon-theline/
English and Japanese lyrics for the ED.

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.