“Part of it went on gambling, and part of it went on women. The rest I spent foolishly.” – George Raft.
To those of you who have watched Kakegurui I ask: Why did you watch this anime? Were you intrigued by the aesthetic look of the show? Or maybe what drew you to Kakegurui was the concept; gambling! The latter was what caught my eye, as past experiences with gambling anime have proven that they hold some of the most entertaining and exhilarating moments I have ever seen. These shows have given me goose bumps from sheer awe and admiration while watching psychological battles of wits
and strategy between people willing to risk their very lives on even the simplest of games. Unfortunately, these kinds of anime are extremely rare to come by, as nearly all of them are practically unknown to most of the anime community and nearly impossible to watch any of them legally. So when I saw that Kakegurui was airing this season and also happened to be the most popular show of Summer 2017, I was pretty excited. I had heard good things about the manga and it was being produced by Studio MAPPA, a studio that I have high hopes for despite not being impressed with any of their previous works. All that was left for me to do was watch it, and this is where the hype for this show died for me. I was disappointed with Kakegurui from episode 1, because even after just one episode, it is obvious to see that Kakegurui is a terrible gambling anime.
Kakegurui takes place in Hyakkaou Private Academy, a prestigious school where the student are the most wealthy and privileged students in all of Japan. I use the term school lightly because there seems to be no actual classes or learning happening, instead the school is more like a gambling den, where every student partakes in gambling. They bet their fortunes against one another regularly, and those who become in debt are practically slaves to the holders of their wealth. The show focuses of Yumeko Jabami, a new student who gambles for the fun of it and is really good at it; too good, in fact. Her actions end up disrupting the student hierarchy of Hyakkaou Academy, causing the Student Council to come up with ways to stop her. Throughout the show, Yumeko befriends beta cuck bitch-boy Ryouta Suzui and fellow gambling gal Meari Saotome who help her as she gambles to her heart’s content. Ironically, Yumeko’s first gamble at the academy is against Meari, and it is here where the first major problem of the show lies.
The game Yumeko and Meari play is a card-game variation of rock-paper-scissors where the crowd of people watching them write the symbol of “rock”, “paper” or “scissors” on cards, where they are collected and put into a box for both players to draw three cards and play the game. Meari manipulates the majority of the class’ votes to her advantage, however Yumeko still wins decisively and reveals exactly how Meari cheated. Throughout the entire game, the audience is given no insight into what Yumeko is thinking or even a hint as to how she was able to figure out Meari’s scheme until it is given through exposition after she has already won. As such, viewers are forced to believe Yumeko was able to piece everything together without fault. Doing this is lazy of the writers as it solely relies on having to tell the audience what happened, rather than show it as it is happening. This problem is apparent in every gamble in the show and kills the opportunity for viewers to engage with the gambling games and the characters playing said games. The games themselves are also poorly constructed; some come off as unnecessarily complex, others are just too simple and easy to beat. Being marketed as a gambling anime makes the show look incredibly dumb and retarded, taking away the chance to get excited for how these games play out. And that leads to what I feel is the 2nd biggest issue with this anime: no thrills.
As you watch Kakagurui, you begin to notice a couple patterns with each gamble: High-stakes are never fully realised, every female character is bat-shit insane and “Yumeko wins LOL”. Seriously, even when Yumeko loses like in episode 3, she has no repercussions from losing. Because the audience is always watching from the perspective of either a mere onlooker or one of Yumeko’s opponents, she always comes across as too good for every situation she is placed in. Because of this she rids the show of any tension it could have had. And when you figure out that most of the time Yumeko gambles, she barely even uses a complete strategy, relying on pure luck to win at random times, which feels like a slap in the face to anyone expecting consistency and/or intelligence from this show. The fact that there are no actual punishments fulfilled from losing a high-stakes gamble also hinders the joy and excitement viewers get from watching. Now while there are consequences for being in an extreme amount of debt (e.g. house pet, Meari’s “Life Schedule”), you never actually see the show go through with these consequences and even then, the punishment for losing rarely ever matches the reward for winning. And in Yumeko’s case, the money she wins never really matters to her at all. She is the kind of sadomasochist that would throw countless amounts of money away to feel satisfied with how high the risk of losing a gamble is. Yet the show never goes through with these risks. So I’m left here after watching each gamble asking myself “What’s the point?”. A lot of fans of the show have been saying that Kakegurui is not a gambling anime, but a great thriller, and I just cannot agree with that statement at all. It is a mediocre thriller at best and that is only if you turn your brain off.
Speaking of which, this show stretches one’s suspension of disbelief so much that you would think this has the quality of fanfiction-level writing. Not just with the gambling aspect of it, but the entire setting is fucking retarded. From the very start I was always curious why there were so many students at Hyakkaou Academy and why they would all gamble. But as I continued watching, the curiosity turned into frustration because it became apparent that there is no proper reason why so many students would stay there or continue to engage in gambling than to make Yumeko even more perfect than what she already is. Yumeko exposes a lot of the games played in gambles as cheat ways to get other in debt, yet that never changes the amount of gambling that takes place within the academy, and that is because most of the students in the background are ignorant buffoons. I would also like to know why only one adult to my memory has appeared in the entire 12 episodes. ONE! I cannot imagine such a prestigious academy to only have one adult working at the academy, but it makes sense with the amount of betting that takes place so regularly. And how in the world are guns and kidnapping allowed? And why does being in extreme debt eventually lead to a life sentence that dictates you to a wealthy future? So many questions that are never explained because this show is not about logic. It tries to look smart but just comes off as a dumb piece of shit. Calling this show psychological is pure lunacy; if anything, it is psycho-sexual because any real sense of logic got thrown out the fucking window!
Nearly every character in this show pissed me off. I have already stated how Yumeko is convoluted out her own ass and is like a vacuum sucking all the excitement away from the show, but she seems like God’s gift to this show when compared to every other character. Meari, who seemed like she had potential, starting off as a cocky bitch that is humbled by Yumeko before being humiliated by the student council. Sadly, she turned out to be a weaker clone of Yumeko by episode 4 and is only used as a way to explain other games Yumeko plays as the story goes on. Fucking waste of potential. Ryouta is their other friend, but honestly he does nothing in this show. He just reacts to shit happening around him and nods in response and is a waste of space. Fuck him. The only other characters that matter are the one-note members of the student council that only matter for the one episode they are in before getting pushed to the side. Dishonourable mention to eyepatch-girl with the revolver fetish and a chronic masturbation habit, edgy bitch. Although, there is this one supporting character who literally tried to rape Yumeko that was unironically my favourite character purely for that one moment. All kidding aside, every character is awful in their own way and make the show even more predictable and boring.
Regarding the production, from a company like Studio MAPPA I was really disappointed. The art style is not impressive, most of the female character designs are generic, backgrounds are fairly basic and visual effect are for the most part impressive. The most controversial feature of the animation has to be the facial expressions and I have mixed feelings about them. On one hand, they showcase how broken and mentally unstable these characters get at times, but these faces just do not fit the visual look of the show and come off as cringe-inducing to me. The fan-service used is also off-putting to me, seemingly thrown in at random intervals in each episode. Yumeko pretending to be a cat was a definite low point for my enjoyment and did more to prove to me that it cares more about sex appeal than anything of substance. The music used was fine to me, with the OP being perhaps the best part of the entire show, which is not a hard feat. The ED however, was nice to listen to once but afterwards was always skipped, as I don’t see how Yumeko walking for 90 seconds as her breasts bounce constantly is worth seeing more than once. The voice acting was fine until characters went into their crazy stage and felt artificial and forced, but I suppose that fits the show unintentionally.
In conclusion, Kakegurui was pretty awful, filled with formulaic, villain-of-the-week gambling matches that felt like a waste of time once it was all over. In the end it was only trying to entertaining on a superficial level; it was never attempting to have a real identity, besides being yuri fapbait. Now I have no problem with anyone who liked the show; you are free to like and enjoy whatever anime you want to, but if someone were to ask me if I enjoyed it? HELL NAW. Lemme put it this way: If you liked Mirai Nikki and Akame ga Kill, you’ll probably enjoy this. But if you are anything like myself and thought those two shows were terrible, Kakegurui ain’t gonna be worth your time. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to watch something that is actually worth my time.
(Ongoing 12-episode Series Preview)
"Kakegurui" easily won my heart from episode 1. Although I've only seen four episodes so far, I was more than excited to write a review about this, and can't wait to see more. Its premise is straightforward, but the execution is stunning. Its strengths lie in its dynamic facial expressions, fair storytelling, and high-quality artistry. The aesthetic expression, in all aspects, always manage to complement the mood and tone of the story. Small details, such as lighting, eyes, mouth, wrinkles, all contribute to the viewer's experience.
The main protagonists Jabami and Suzui both act as archetypal foils to another. This juxtaposition allows
the viewer to further appreciate the mood, complexity, and humor of the show. The gambling matches reflect those of a videogame 'boss' battle, each having its own unique characteristics, patterns, and spins. This keeps the show exciting and leaves the viewer wanting more.
The result of the matches are hard to predict, and steps away from stereotypical 'cheap' wins that similar anime fall into. The insanity and savvy of the Compulsive Gambler is highlighted by their philosophy, which isn't introduced through cheap narration, rather through gameplay and thoughtful dialogue.
I highly recommend "Kakegurui" for those who enjoy psychological thrillers, nuanced expression, and those who appreciate visually pleasing shows. I really enjoyed this anime, and I'm glad that I picked this up.
I’m not a fan of using buzzwords but it’s hard to ignore the edginess when watching Kakegurui. Based on the manga of the same name, this adaptation translates to a gambling story. I can’t help but think of a wicked thriller when watching this show. It basically takes the idea of gambling and transform it into madness with its characters, setting, and ideas. However, does it live up its hype and worth watching? The answer is quite the opposite.
Getting into this show for some people will likely not be easy. It’s not a recommendable show for anyone unless you really fancy a psychological thriller that
deals with a crazy cast of characters. The show itself takes place at Hyakkaou Academy. It’s a peculiar school that prepares students for proficiency related to strategizing, mental strength, and of course gambling. To survive, you have to outsmart your opponents and become part of the hierarchy. In other words, it’s survival of the fittest.
The first episode definitely will get you into the mood as we meet Yumeko Jabami, the main protagonist and new transfer student. While Jabami may seem like an ordinary girl at first glance, it’s easy to notice how far she is from normal once she gets herself involved in gambling games. The show chronicles her school days as she takes on opponents with high risk. I mean, it’s gambling. There’s always risk but what’s peculiar about Jabami is that she gambles for the thrill of it rather than for fame or money. In addition, the show makes it clear that Jabami is intelligent as she quickly learns the inside and outside of the school’s gambling games. In fact, there are episodes where Jabami beats her opponents at their own game. However, I can’t firmly say that Jabami’s personality is one that people can appreciate. She is highly unpredictable and truly enjoys the thrill of gambling. From every episode, she has orgasmic reactions when she thinks about gambling. To a certain extent, the show truly wants us to accept Jabami for who she is but I find it difficult to do so. The reason she gambles is irrational and I can hardly find her relatable to anyone. Not to mention, this show doesn’t do an adequate job of getting viewers to understand her better. Her morality regarding gambling is absurd and really lacks reason. She just wants to gamble and treats it as the most exciting thing in the world. I also have to confess that Jabami’s character change from an elegant beauty to a psychotic freak to be difficult to watch at times. In retrospect, Jabami has a lot of flaws in her character and this show doesn’t do a decent job at repairing them.
Beyond Jabami, the majority of the cast isn’t far off from their psychotic characteristics. Mary Saotome, the first gambling opponent of Jabami at the school shows her own crazy antics. The majority of the student council has various characters ranging from the mysterious president Kirari Momobami, the violent head of Beautification Committee Midari Ikishima, the calculating Kaede Manyuda, part-time idol Yumemi Yumemite, nail loving Itsuki Sumeragi, and among others. The show tries to make them appealing by injecting their personalities in the most devious way possible. What we get as a result are weak background stories, generic characteristics, and abominable morals. To me, these characters are pretty much all the same and serve as an obstacle to Jabami. The show has Jabami fighting against some of the key members of the student council but the result usually ends up being extremely predictable. To be quite honest, the anime itself is nothing short but predictable from the start. Even though Jabami isn’t invulnerable to losing, it doesn’t make us feel anything about her situation when she does. Jabami herself doesn’t even seem to care and in many ways, the show tries to express offbeat ideas that come out as uninspiring.
Character relationships in this anime is also very questionable. The most normal character at the school would probably be Ryouta Suzui, one of Jabami’s very few allies. He has a very lack-luster personality and I honestly feel like this show would be much better if he didn’t exist. His relationship with Jabami is easily forgettable as the two are very polar opposites. Others also make him look like a fool and to be quite honest, it’s pretty much what he is. That being said, the show makes it clear that the society has many fools. Thanks to the hierarchy that the student council president has made, there are those that are labeled as “house pets”. Essentially, house pets are those that sink into large debts and are mistreated by the public. Why? It’s the simplicity of social status. Unfortunately, we never really get a full understanding on why this system exists as the show focuses way too much on Jabami’s gambling adventures than anything else. It’s one of the major weakness of the show as everything seems to be about Jabami. The show is like a loop with the same formula. Jabami faces off against an opponent, plays against them at their own game, and gets the orgasmic thrills of it. It becomes tedious fast and lacks substance because of Jabami’s morals. I also don’t really find the games themselves to be thrilling as most are predictable. The games puts emphasis on psychology rather than strategy so don’t expect this show to be smart in any way. I mean, a good majority of the gamblers cheat, manipulate, and do anything to win. Then, there’s Jabami who just wants to enjoy the ecstasy of gambling. On the plus side, adaptation standards remain mostly faithful as the show captures the expressive faces of the characters. Each chapter is adapted carefully with panel by panel storytelling. However, it’s still an incomplete adaptation because manga itself is ongoing. A 1-cour adaptation like this really leaves open a lot of questions and doesn’t tie any loose ends in the end. There’s also original content added in for this adaptation.
Adapted by Studio MAPPA, the producers apparently went all out to bring out the sheer entertainment value as much as possible. First, there’s the character expressions that really borderlines inhuman insanity. The art shift is pretty noticeable for almost every gambler in this anime. One minute, they look normal but as soon as gambling business picks up, they go full facial with highly stylized features. Jabami is the guiltiest of this with her psychotic eyes, intense blushing, and body language. The show decorates itself with fan service although this sometimes looks like a satire. Also, it seems this show can’t sometimes hold back on the violence so don’t be surprised if you see blood, vomiting, etc. It’s a crazy world after all.
By technical elements, Kakegurui’s soundtrack, music, and voice acting is impressive. The theme songs are very stylistic with piano chords, eerie beats, and haunting lyrics. Both theme songs also have a clever tempo that matches the momentum of its creativity. Plus, it’s also hard to ignore the show’s OST during any gambling match when it’s at its highest point. Finally, I have to admit that a good amount of character personality comes from the voices. This could likely be Saori Hayami’s best role to date as Jabami. She had a lot of different voice acting roles in the past before but to me, her character in this show stood out the most. If there’s anything to take away from this anime, it’s to remember the talents of the voices.
In the end, Kakegurui turned out to be a cheap cash grab that serves as a giant advertisement of the manga. It’s hard to forgive this show when the storytelling is so blend and the characters are brutally depressing to watch. The anime tried far too hard to sell whatever it intended to and ended up delivering a nakedly dumb adaptation. Some of the visual elements, music, and voice acting saved this show from total catastrophe. However, it still makes this show look like a crude joke.
For over the past few years in the anime industry, they brought as so many ''Game'' genre animes like SAO, Accel World, Log Horizon, Btooom! and other ''Game'' animes out there. But the thing is, most of them or should I say ''Almost'' of the anime with a ''Game'' genre are about going into a video game itself and it's getting boring tbh. Summer 2017 season is going to end along with one of its unique ''Game'' anime which is very different to other animes this season because not only it excels to the ''Game'' genre with being different to other animes out there but
also it excels on the psychological part of it. Welcome to Kakegurui. A 12-episodes anime that offers both the craziness of gambling and mechanism of it.
Kakegurui brought as a simple story where a student (Jabami Yumeko) just wants to gamble even further, exceeding the expectations of a normal human being like her subordinate Suzui Ryouta.
Gambling for her is like soft drinks which has a very good feeling to the body. Not only she's crazy but also she's competitive that from the beginning of the anime (Episode 1 - 3) she has taken an interest to gamble every member of the school's Student Council. The story focuses about competition and power through gambling. If one is a failure, he/she is automatically dropped on this anime's atmosphere. If one is successful, he/she will be consider as an elite on this school. Kakegurui is unique itself from its setup of the school. Normally, school animes are about high school life, romance and other stuffs, but here, competition is a must.
That's what makes Kakegurui a worth-to-watch anime this season because of its characters focusing on one goal. To be the best. But of course Yumeko is an exception. She just loves gambling.
What makes this anime famous this season is the art of the anime. Mostly, it's about the facial expression of each characters whenever they are thinking, devastated, or confident on winning. Some actually see it as a disturbing one but on my opinion, it reflects the character's attitude and thats the reason it's excellent.
Though it's not only the facial expression. The normal sketches of the anime is already good you know. Though sometimes you think that the normal face is lacking something but when the expression changes drastically, you are quite shocked.
Do you ever get the feeling that something is going to happen when the sound changes? Or something feel ''uneasy'', well there are parts on Kakegurui that will offer you some a little bit of suspense. Just a little because if it goes high, well this will be a horror anime. Speaking of sound, the opening is excellent with the jazz and music on it. Then followed up by a change of music with the ending.
To be honest, from episode 1 - 12, we have seen all the character's traits and development because of the good plot that Kakegurui brought as, though some are lacking history while others are rich of it. As for the MC she's an exception though we can see her development pretty quickly along with some other characters as well.
My enjoyment for this anime is pretty simple. To see how the character's react, think and make decisions on every game and the anime did it on a splendid well. With gambling as the main core, they derived their strategies and make it simple for the audience to understand like us. I don't know any rules about any gambling games but I understand it a little because of this anime.
Overall.. I rate this anime as 8.5/10 or 8/10 for the fact that it focuses on its genre more, character development and the craziness it offers to us this Summer 2017 season.
Gambling is a fairly common topic in manga, though it is seldom adapted into an anime. There is good reason for this: there is little in the way of action that would benefit from adaptation, and exposition really drags on when it needs to be voiced rather than just read. And alongside these conceptual problems, there's the moral repugnancy that Kakegurui revels in, which should serve to further alienate any potential audience. But despite all of this, Kakegurui has somehow won against a stacked deck, and in this review, I'll take a look at how this oddball became a mainstream success.
This anime covers the first
27 chapters of the manga, and then adds on an anime exclusive ending. These chapters essentially serve as an introduction to the world of Kakegurui, establishing the characters and the rules that the world follows. It’s really just setup for the much more interesting second arc, though considering the events of the new ending, I wouldn’t hold my breath for a second season.
In gambling, there are always two games going on. There’s the game that the characters are playing on the table, but there’s also all of the mind games and cheating that are going on surrounding it. Pretty much all of the games played in Kakegurui are original, though simple and straightforward enough that the audience can quickly understand them. On the other hand, some of the tricks employed are poorly explained, which can be frustrating. But despite the occasional misstep, the gambles generally succeed in remaining tense throughout.
In general, the cast of Kakegurui are terrible. And by that, I don’t mean that they’re terrible characters, but that they’re terrible people. They’re manipulative and sadistic, and with few redeeming traits. But while their actions are regularly cartoonishly evil, there is actually a bit of humanity behind them. For example, there’s a scene in episode eight where one of the villains talks about her ambitions of becoming an actress, and while it in no way justifies any of her behavior, it begins to make her understandable. This pays off when once-villains return as allies, which happens twice in the territory covered by the anime, and a lot more in the next arc. These are easily my favorite games in the series, because Yumeko isn’t actually a very interesting gambler. She can fix dice rolls and memorize things to an insane degree; she’s too good for there ever to be any worry of her losing, and she lacks motivations that the viewer can get behind. Luckily, the show seems to understand this, and often adopts the perspective of her opponents, which keeps tensions high.
But while I may not particularly like Yumeko, her portrayal by Hayami Saori is easily the highlight of the series. She seamlessly transitions between ladylike calm, playful teasing, and manic edge, and I could not imagine any other seiyu being as perfect a fit for the character. Besides that, the rest of the cast also delivers nicely, but Yumeko is a step above. In regards to the music, it does an excellent job of setting the mood, both through its fantastic opening and the almost constant jazzy background music, and the only place it really stumbles is in the ending theme, which falls behind the standard set by the rest of the soundtrack.
There’s been a lot of praise given to this anime for its faithfulness in recreating the wild facial expressions from the manga, and I’m not sure that I agree. These faces worked great as single frames, but when they need to be put into motion, they lose the sharpness that made them so iconic. In addition, by focusing so much on faces, other details can suffer. In particular, hands are regularly animated with 3dcg, which is really off-putting once you begin to notice it. But credit where it's due, the opening theme, directed by Yamamoto Sayo, is a real spectacle. Kakegurui is always visually ambitious, and when it works, it can be fantastic, but more often than not, it’s more than Studio MAPPA can handle.
In the end, Kakegurui has its faults, but it has also demonstrated that it’s possible to make a gambling adaptation work. I would love to see more gambling shows in the future, and hopefully Kakegurui's success will pave the road for that to happen.
A word of caution before getting into this review: There will be minor spoilers.
I thought that overall, Kakegurui was pretty damn fun and enjoyable. 6 may seem like a bad score, but I think it's fair. I scored it based on what it says by it, and it means "Fine". Perfectly how I would describe this when I look at this as objectively as possible in my review, and not out of pure enjoyment (else it'd be a 7 or 8, to be honest). Now with that out of the way, into the review.
Let's start out with the characters. The majority of
the notable characters are female. I find this rather unique in a gambling anime since this very rarely happens. The majority of characters also show a crazy side, most of them being female since, as I've said before, most of the notable characters are female. While this isn't anything new, it's understandable since this is gambling themed and gambling can make people go nuts, and this sort of side can add to the excitement or fun of the series, it can also understandably get either dull or ridiculous at times, more likely than not being ridiculous since it often displays most of the characters' crazy side in an exaggerated fashion. There's also one who is just insane all-around, which is the one with the eye-patch, as you probably already would have expected when judging sorely on her appearance in the opening. With how she is, I sometimes wonder to myself why she is even allowed to attend the school. Even when this trait often comes in with the characters, there's quite a good number of characters who either have character development or depth. This even includes Ryouta Suzui, the male main character and one of the most "normal" notable characters of the series. Despite the fact that he mostly sits around and watch the games that the main character (Yumeko) participates in while asking and answering questions, even he will gain bits of a type of character development over the course of the series.
However, there is one thing I noticed about the characters, and that all you pretty much ever see are teenagers. Not really any adults. That's not to say that there aren't any in the series, because there are, but with the exception of the one and only teacher you'll ever see that appeared for a very short time and practically the only time in the very first episode, the few that appear in flashbacks, and a few of them talking a little bit to a character in one episode, there's practically no adults shown to be present. I find this very weird. Who is running the school? Is that person or are those group of people running it indirectly? If they are, do they even care much as to what is going on around the school, like what the student council president making such a system for every student in it to follow? We never know these answers.
Now let's move onto the main character, Yumeko. She is your typical character in gambling series that is very good or intelligent that rarely loses. In fact, Yumeko is the usual "mysterious transfer student that is surprising good at what is essential to this series" general trope. She's also the usual crazy girl trope when it comes to gambling, having traits like being aroused in a few of them. So you can see that she's quite the typical character in numerous ways. Despite being crazy in gambles, she has likable qualities, the main thing being that she's very kind and actually cares about her friends. There are quite a number of things that I find about her that is more unique or enjoyable to me as the main character. One thing is the fact that she doesn't mainly gamble for the sake of others, because if she did, she would have aimed to defeat the student council in order to stop the sort of corrupted system and to put an end to the corrupted student council. As it usually goes with mysterious main characters, you will learn more about Yumeko as the series progresses and understand even more about her character. The series will unwrap more and more about her personality, which is what the ending theme of this series symbolizes. You will learn things like how she enjoys both herself and her opponent feeling the same pain while both having the chances of winning or losing, and since she likes to risk as much as she could, she'll make sure that her opponent does the same, which would bring great worry to them. The way she feels and witnesses pain in the gambles is full of pleasure. Pretty much a type of hedonist, in short. With these types of numerous aspects of her character, you will understand why many other characters who has a crazy side and are in such a crazy environment will even deem her as being insane, which includes the one who is pretty much completely insane all-around.
However, you will only learn the mysteries of her personality. You will not learn much when it comes to her background. It'll unravel a little bit of it at one point in the series, but nothing more than that, and it doesn't look like we'll be able to get anymore than that in the anime series due to how the series ends with it's own, anime-original ending (so it looks like there won't be a second season, though I could be wrong on this). You'll have to go through the original source of it all, the manga of this series (which is still on-going by the time I've made this review) if you want to possibly know more about her background.
STORY AND SETTING
Next, I talk about the story and setting. The story is simple to follow and know what is going on. Nothing really complicated. The premise, the general setting's rules and what they need to do in order to survive around the school, and even the games themselves are easy to follow. As the anime progresses, you will learn more and more about the school and some things behind the main character. The pacing, for the most part, is also fine. The roller coaster keeps on going nonstop without anything feeling slow-paced, and, for most of what is going on, not rushed at all. Surprisingly, even though this series is filled with pretty looking high-school girls, there's not that much fanservice, or at least anything as strong as the ones in the opening and ending. That's pretty much the most you'll get when it comes to fanservice. There's quite a number of teases, and there are a few scenes like bouncing boobs and boob grabs, but they are very minor in numbers. In fact, as far as I remember, the manga of this has a lot more fanservice than this adaption of it.
Despite all of this however, when you think about it, the story is pretty basic and average. Not really much special, even though there are some nice twists here and there, this in a gambling high school, and the main character doesn't gamble for justice. The usual mysterious transfer student who turns out to be good at what is essential to the series is gambling and defeating anyone standing in the main character's way while aiming to challenge the big-bad is what you can pretty much say about what is going on the whole time. There's also the fact that the setting is literally only in high school. There is almost nowhere else they go. Nearly everything that happens in this series happens only at that exact same school. So if you're expecting them to go literally anywhere else outside of the school grounds even a decent amount of times, then you'll be disappointed. In fact, you would very rarely even see them even going outside of school. You will never see any of the characters' homes. It's pretty weird, as if it wasn't weird enough that you don't really see any adults.
The tone of the series is quite dark, but not that serious, to be honest. It is marked as a drama series and definitely does have some serious moments, along with very dangerous and risky elements, but still not that serious overall. I would say that despite how dark it clearly is, it mainly portrays itself as being lively and fun, so if you are expecting this to be something pretty serious, you might be disappointed.
As an adaption of the manga, it has done pretty well for the most part. It has been extremely faithful to the manga while doing a few things in it's own styles, although they did skip a notable amount of things, and the final episode went into it's own original direction to end things instead of continuing to being faithful to the manga, which is odd when this suddenly happened. To be honest, I find the way it decided to end things in the final episode to be disappointing, and that it just gave me even more of a feeling that this really should have had a couple more episodes in order to adapt the next event that would have been a worthy stopping point to the series in my opinion.
I would now like to talk about the games. Pretty much all of them are simplistic, straightforward, and pretty much basic plays. This also includes most of the strategies being used. You'll probably quickly understand what's going on throughout. While these aren't necessarily bad things since there's actually not really anything wrong with the gambles themselves, apparently it makes certain others want more from the games, if not much more since it doesn't help that, much like other gambling anime/manga series, the pattern of how the games basically go as are pretty similar (and it's in a basic shounen way), the outcomes of the overall games are mostly very predictable, and that this series focuses a lot on cheaters. Despite all of this, I find that the games can still be enjoyable. Why? The characters themselves and how they exaggeratedly bring out their various emotions and personalities in the different situations of whatever games with the great or ridiculous looking art. This is probably the main aspects in what makes it fun for me to watch through. Seeing the ridiculous reactions from the characters never really gets old for me, but if you're expecting depth in the games from this series, then this will disappoint you.
ART AND ANIMATIONS
Now for the art and animations. I think MAPPA did pretty good in the art department. They make the cards and poker pieces look very well done at times, and there is a lot of impressive visual moments and effects in this series. While the character designs themselves mostly look pretty standard, the amount of details they put on certain aspects of the close-up faces impressive to me. This especially goes for their eyes. Not often do I see such beautiful looking eyes nearly everywhere in an anime series, with some of them having nice-looking visual effects. They also added little extra details on different parts on the faces at times, most noticeably on the insane faces, such as bits of wrinkles on the lips and making the nose drawn to look a bit more realistic. This is helpful for the type of faces since it helps give you that ridiculous, shocked, or cringing feeling to the viewers like most were purposely made and presented to be as, and it can even help add into the excitement and feeling of whatever is going on, but the insane faces are understandably not for everyone. Due to the amount of details they often put on them, they can look over-the-top, even when ti comes to anime usually making things over-the-top. There have been a few to some faces that look absolutely hilarious to me, and I unfortunately mean that in a bad way since I'm not talking about the ridiculous ones that were clearly made purposely to look funny, which are also hilarious looking. As for the animations, they're mostly standard and decent, but there have been a fair number of very good ones. The opening itself is just filled with great animations.
SOUND AND VOICE ACTING
Last I will talk about is the music and voice acting. Starting with the opening and ending, it's honestly a couple of my most favorite songs of the whole season. They're very good and I find them perfectly emphasizing how energetic and upbeat the anime portrays itself as despite how dangerous and dark it is. The opening will take a bit of getting used to, but still great and very stylish. As for the overall soundtrack of the series, I would say it's decent to above average. There's a few weird and questionable tunes, but overall everything else has either been fine or enjoyable, and they fit well in the situations present. The crazier tunes help add to the fun and insanity of the situations the type of songs it's used in. There's not really much to comment on the voice acting to me, but I think they did fine. I think Saori did very well as the main character, Yumeko.
And on that note, I think that wraps up the review. If I would have to score and summarize each aspect I've talked about,
Characters - 7/10. A lot of the characters are your typical anime characters, but a good number of notable characters have depth or character development.
Story and Setting - 5/10. Not really anything special when you think about it, and nearly everything only happens in the school. Not to mention with the way they've ended it at the final episode is pretty disappointing.
Games - 5/10. Not really bad since it didn't do anything wrong, but will probably leave you wanting more from them.
Art and animations - 6.5/10. Great details and sometimes visual effects on numerous things such as the items and certain parts of the faces, especially the eyes, but the insane looking ones are a major hit-or-miss.
Sound and voice acting - 7/10. Fantastic opening and endings with a lot of decent to enjoyable tunes in the overall background music, but there are a few questionable or weird tunes. The voice acting is fine to me.
Overall - 6/10. A very stylish and lively series overall, but it could leave much to be desired, since it's pretty basic when you think about it. As long as you don't expect too much or have very high standards, then I think you'll be fine. I highly suggest watching through the PVs first in order to know what you'll pretty much be getting into throughout if you're still interested.
It where two reasons that I started to watch Kakegurui (Compulsive Gambler) this season. The first where that I´m planning to read the manga, and was curious about it. And the second and more important one, is that Kakegurui is produced by studio MAPPA. Which happens to be one of my favourite studios after seen what magic they created with the “Shingeki no Bahamut”-series. Their animation quality is nothing but as close to flawless as you can get, and they do have a brilliant way of bringing forth the specific design of the show they produce – they surely know how to place the effects
for maximum output. And that applies to what they have done with Kakegurui as well. Stunning work indeed.
But as we all know, that great animation quality is just a factor to the whole experience of an anime. Other factors such as how the story appeal to us, how it´s narrated, it´s pacing, and how coherent it is, are also very important to us viewers. For not to speak of the characters. They have to intrigue us, make us feel with them, and feel like real life like persons to capture our interests. But you aren´t reading this review for a philosophical discussion of what makes up a great anime, you are reading this because you want to know if Kakegurui is a show for you, and/or maybe to see what opinion I have on it. So, let´s get to the point.
Do you like stunning art and animation? Do you find gambling interesting? Do you find an exclusive high school setting with an almighty student council interesting? Do you find slightly insane gamble addicts, that gets off on high stakes games as entertaining characters? Do you find it exciting to watch people outsmart each other in various games, by the means of reading their opponent? Do you find an almost female only cast appealing? And yes, it´s sexual innuendos between many of those said female characters, if you were wondering.
If your answer is yes on most of those questions, you will probably love Kakegurui. Because that´s what´s it´s all about. Nothing more, nothing less – it´s very straight forward. But it´s done in a very fluent and fashionable way, Kakegurui oozes of class and quality. Everything from the characters body language, facial expression, to the conversations they have, fills out what otherwise is pretty flat story perfectly. Grinding teeth’s, sweat that trickles down the forehead, insane glowing eyes, and the thought process the gambler has is all details that are nicely highlighted.
As mentioned before, the animation quality is excellent, studio MAPPPA have really out done themselves again, in their way of capture the core of the story and characters, and brilliantly bring them to life in their unique style. The psycho faces, cards or dices that are thrown in glee on the table, or the excited eyes of a gambler, they captured it all. The colours are strong and vivid, with a fancy for sinful red.
The pacing of the story is very even, not to slow, and not to rushing. And even if Kakegurui has an episodic feeling to it, and that each episode is build up in the same pattern, it feels coherent, and not reparative or to predictable. Because just when you think you figured the whole show out, it does a double take and does something that you weren´t prepared for. But at the same time, it still follows the same episode pattern. Easily put, in each episode the new student Yumeko Jambai, faces new opponents in different games, and works her way towards the top by very conventional means. Our protagonist isn´t gambling for power, money or glory, just for the pure rush of the game. That characteristic makes her a very hard opponent to both read and predict, which she uses to climbs up the schools gambling latter.
The voice actors are really doing a great job to portray their characters, so props to the cast. They all feel very well matched, except the vice president, but I guess that´s intentional. And when speaking of sounds, the sound effects are the little extra spice in the Kakegurui stew. The sound of grinding teeth´s, a pulse speeding up, or a sweat drop finding its path down someone’s face to splash on the gamble table, it´s all very effectual and pronounced. It´s gives the scene life and feeling, and combined with the great visuals the result it masterly done.
Did I enjoy my time with Kakegurui? Sure, to a certain extent. The story itself isn´t one of my usual cup of tea, with such a narrow story line and lack of personal growth- and interacting of the characters. The choice to only focus on gambling was risky, either that will appeal to you or it won’t. I fall a bit to the second category, I can absolutely appreciate gambling, or competitions as an element in a story, but to have a whole show around it didn´t capture my full interest. Had they combined it with more elements, such as character development and relationships a bit more, the final product would´ve appealed to me much more. But the stunning animation with those little extra sound effects made this a visual feast for me, and the reason that I watched it to the end. The story and its characters I find mildly entertaining, absolutely not boring, just not deep-heart-and-soul-catching, which I highly appreciate in a show.
So, to come to some sort of conclusion, I would recommend you to watch Kakegurui purely based on the amazing animation, if not the plot seems like your thing, it´s worth it. But if you indeed find this type of show appealing, then you are in for a treat.
As the players take their seats, excitement fills the air. Cards, gathered up in one quick swoop, become the weapons of this match, as each fighter tries to gather their wits under the intense stress and tension at play. Pulse quickens, the heart accelerates, at the sight of their weapons, as each fighter stares at their enemy in silent anticipation, awaiting any indication into the contents of their hand. As time passes the air grows all the more incredibly heavy and thick, sweat adorning both of these brave warriors, as, suddenly, the signal to throw down their cards to determine the victor is called. Who
will receive Lady Luck's blessing this time?
Gambling! High octane stakes and tension! Narratives surrounding the use of gambling are supposed to be exciting, tense, give us a sense of utmost euphoria, and, most of all, be entertaining as hell! Kaiji is a series that excels in this department, and, while I haven't seen every episode of the show yet, the first eight episodes that I have seen have been everything I look for in a gambling-centric narrative. The stakes are high, being that each game involves the consequence of death if someone were to lose, it's easy to care for our main character after the huge debt that has been left to him and each game is insanely interesting since it becomes a huge psychological battle with players trying to deceive and outwit each with other, with the great animation and soundtrack enhancing each element. Watching the show is essentially like having one giant adrenaline rush, which makes you want to keep watching episode after episode, which is a sign of well-crafted and written thriller around the use gambling. However, Kakegurui (or, if you prefer, Bukkakegurui, which is what I'll be referring to the show as for the rest of the review) is one of the most downright boring shows I've ever had the displeasure of watching, despite having similar ideas and premise to that of Kaiji. But, why is that? Why does Kaiji succeed where Bukkakegurui does not? Well, let's find out! Let's grab a chair, bet some insane amount of money, and remember to have about twenty orgasms as we play, since gambling, for some reason, gets us completely wet!
Bukkakegurui's narrative is set inside a prestigious academy which is a tad bit different than conventional schools. While, during the day the school adopts the typical lessons that any student from any school undergoes, at night the school becomes a gambling den, where those who are seeking power and money go to gamble. The series sees our protagonist, Yumeko, an obsessive and insane gambler who experiences an orgasm every time she plays, gamble her way through the student council until the climatic game with the student council president at the very end of the series. In terms of narrative structure, the series is incredibly linear and straightforward, and adopts a "monster of the week formula", whereby Yumeko will play off against a new member of the student council of increasing difficulty before coming to the big finale. This structure of storytelling is not inherently bad, and since the focus of the show, and the appeal is based around the games itself, I don't mind the narrative being rather simple. However, there is one problem I have with this formulaic structure, and that is, that Yumeko never grows or learns throughout the duration of the series or in her matches. She never acquires any new tactics or skills during the games that could be applied in later scenarios, and she wins more so because the script tells her to win rather than putting any actual effort into her character winning through clever manipulation, strategy, or anything else that would be remotely interesting. For the sake of argument, let's compare Bukkakegurui to the 1995 series, Neon Genesis Evangelion, which also adopted a "monster of the week" formula for much of its duration. The reason why Evangelion succeeds is because during every Angel encounter and fight in the series, we are learning as an audience, both about the nature of the world, and of the characters, in their mental state and emotions. Shinji, Rei and Askua grow, not only in their physical abilities against the Angels, but also as people as well, as they begin to grow to like themselves as the series progresses, and work together as a team. By doing so, it grounds the characters in a more realistic way, and makes them feel far more like actual people, which Yumeko fails at completely, as she is more akin to an over powered Mary Sue who wins just because. While her personality suggests that she gambles so much for the thrill and excitement it brings, which is a fine motivation for her character, it also makes her feel rather boring and one dimensional as we never learn anything about her beyond what is presented at surface level. While there is a mini flashback that suggests that Yumeko is gambling in order to raise money for her sister's operation, or something along those lines, we're never given any more information regarding that aspect, and this idea should have been introduced at the very start of the show, to give Yumeko's matches some actual emotional weight and narrative stakes, but they didn't do that so each match feels incredibly inconsequential. Speaking of narrative stakes, let's dive into that next!
In Bukkakegurui, the school is divided into sub sections dependent on how much money you have, with those losing money and being in debt at the bottom, being treated as house pets, while those with money get to rule at the top. If, at some point, you get into enough debt while at the school, the student council will write you out a life plan which determines every element in your life in the future, all planned out for you, from who you will marry, how many children you will bear, among other things. So, there are elements that are at stake here, such as your entire life being ruined forever by this life plan or crippling debt, but the stakes presented in the matches don't work because the characters are all completely one dimensional and it's hard to care for anyone at all. Who cares if Yumeko becomes a house pet or gets a life plan written up for her, when she'll pay back her debts anyway through her gambling? Who cares that someone like Meari ends up with a life plan when she has been nothing but a horrible bitch throughout the show and gets what she deserves? WHO CARES? It's one thing to have narrative stakes, but another thing to have characters who we care about having those stakes inflicted upon them.
In order to better convey what I mean, imagine a scenario in which I have two rocks. The first rock, rock A, represents the characters presented in Bukkakegurui; they're all horribly one dimensional, lack personality and are hard to care for in the slightest. We don't learn anything about them as actual people, despite the fact that they're all hungry for power or vast amounts of wealth, nor do we feel any connection to them on any personal level since there is no time devoted for fleshing them out. The other rock, Rock B, represents a character that we have had time to care for. They're here not, because they find thrill for gambling, but because they have no other choice. Perhaps they have a large debt to pay off, or have to gamble for money for an operation to save a love one or something, but what's important is that we learn about this character in order to feel some kind of connection, and the fact that they're an underdog will make the audience root for them more, and will make the games more exciting as the character will have to come up with new strategies constantly, driving more investment in the narrative. The audience should experience the world through this character's eyes, so not only do we become more attached to them as an actual person but also so that we can see how they grow and think. Now, with both rocks categorised, let's say I bring in a sledgehammer, thus introducing the concept of death and smash them both. Now, which rock do you care for? Obviously the rock with more of a personality, back-story, and have had time to care for. And this is why I find no excitement whilst watching the show and why I don't care about anything that is happening.
Now, people may argue against me by suggesting I am taking the anime too seriously and should just shut my brain off and enjoy the series as a rule of cool, dumb show, since there are plenty of pretty silly elements, and the games in the anime are the reason why I should be watching it since that is the main appeal of the show. Now, this isn't necessarily a bad stance to take, and I want to clarify now that I don't begrudge anyone who has actually managed to derive entertainment from this show, but I can't see the show in this light since I found most of the elements to pretty boring, especially all the games, which, for a show that is focused completely around this idea, is a pretty bad sign on the quality of the work!
Each game in Bukkakegurui is boring, lifeless and we don't learn anything during the match about either participant involved, other than, sometimes, very short back stories consisting of only thirty seconds or so. Most of the games are essentially just Yumeko winning by either complete luck, or figuring out how her opponent is cheating in some way and the way she determines this and discovers how they are doing so feels so contrived and stupid that I want to slam my face into a wall. Now, luck is a HUGE aspect of gambling, so therefore her wins through luck are not necessarily that bad (even though it really pushes it in plenty of places) but there's no attempt at creating anything interesting. Aside from the games being incredibly simple anyway, there is no psychological battles taking part, none of the characters are attempting to outwit one another and there is hardly anything present that made Kaiji's games interesting. You never really get that cathartic feeling when you witness an intense match go on for ages when a character outsmarts another in some creative way as you say to yourself, "Ah! How clever!" The few times they do try and throw a curveball into the games or when Yumeko tries to outwit her opponent it feel so weak and dry since the in-the-moment logic is incredibly shallow and the way the story tries to awkwardly implement in these elements is so insulting to the intelligence of the audience as the show thinks that by throwing some random curveball at the final moment is a plot-twist or a smart way to deceive the audience since they didn't see it coming, because it appeared out of thin air. The only time the anime ever comes close to being somewhat entertaining during a match is in episodes six and seven where Yumeko gambles against someone who, believe it or not, is even more insane than she is, by the name of Midari Ikishima, a girl who finds pleasure in harming herself through the use of gambling. During her match with Yumeko, they both decide to play Russian roulette, which raises the narrative stakes and tension since it introduces the consequence of death into the game, although it is hard to care for anything that is going on, because, as I've said, the characters are dry and boring, and also because it's pretty obvious that nobody will actually die during the match anyway, but still the scene comes the closest out of any to actually entertain me, and, even then, the scene is still incredibly weak.
The characters, as I've previously mentioned, are all incredibly hard to care for, and are pretty much all absolutely insane! Most of the characters take the utmost pleasure in laughing hysterically at their enemies, smiling and looking down upon them during a game if it is going in their favour, which makes everyone feel like an unlikeable, one dimensional asshole. The show often utilises cheap victimisation in a pathetic attempt to manipulate us into feeling sorry for these cardboard cut-outs, and nowhere is this more evident than in episode nine, where, a student council member who also happens to be an idol with a huge following, has her secret revealed to all of them, in which, recorded on a tape, she proclaims that she finds all of her fans to be absolutely disgusting and she hates the fact that she has to even shake their hands since it makes her puke. Despite that already sounding incredibly horrible anyway, she as a person is a complete and utter twat, with no redeemable qualities, hiding behind the facade of being a wonderful idol. During the episode, when the secret is revealed, she breaks down crying, as she comes to the realization that her dream is now ruined. I expect that the creators of the show wanted the audience to sympathise with her, but how can we when she is such a horrible twat who got everything she deserved? And, if that's not already bad enough, the audience gets a direct kick to the nuts straight after when all of her fans forgive her! That's right! If you're a horrible person with no likeable traits who gets what they deserve, all is forgiven if you simply have a dream you want to uphold!
I could go on more and more about each one of the other characters, but at that point I'd be beating a dead horse since they all suffer from the exact same problems I've talked about before. Perhaps the only character who doesn't fit into this mould is one of our main protagonists, who offers so little to the narrative that you could omit him from the plot entirely and it wouldn't make a single difference! Now THAT'S a good main character! I suppose his main purpose is to act as the voice of reason and rationality in the story since he is the only sane character, and the one the audience can relate to the most, but if that's what they were attempting to do with his character, then they failed horribly since I honestly forget this guy is even here half the time. They try and make it out that he and Yumeko have this deep friendship, since she helped him recover from his debt in the beginning of the series, but their relationship feels superficial, as if the only reason they're even friends in the first place is just because the script dictates as such. His main purpose in the show is to deliver random expository dialogue and that's pretty much it.
If there's one thing that Bukkakegurui gets right, then that's in the animation and art department. The show is very visually appealing, with pretty attractive and striking character designs, that blend well with the rather unique school uniform designs too. Not only that, but the show has plenty of super detailed close-up shots of character's faces to convey, not only the insanity of each one, but to also represent the sexual euphoria each character attains whilst in the games, and Bukkakegurui does a good job in that area. It's clear that the animators put a lot of work into making the show as visually interesting as they possibly could, but it's not without its inconsistencies however. CGI is sometimes used during close-up shots of the player's hands when dealing with cards, and it not only looks terrible, but is so jarring as well. Luckily CGI isn't used all too much aside from this one instance for some odd reason, so I can let it slide for the most part. The music is overall fine, and pretty forgettable, mostly consisting of free-from jazz that is way too suave and sophisticated for a show at this level of trashiness. The opening and ending tracks however are both damn great! The opening especially I love, with its use of stylish visuals and fantastic music, which almost tricks you into thinking that the actual show will carry the same energy and charisma. The voice actors as well all do a pretty stellar job in their respective roles, perfectly capturing the voice of someone who is insane!
In conclusion, Bukkakegurui was a massive disappointment, and I think that's what makes the show ultimately more aggravating for me. While I dislike using the word to describe anything, I feel it is pretty appropriate when talking about this one, and that word is cringey! The show reeks of desperation, and tries way too hard to be edgy, and ends up just being embarrassing instead since many of the scenarios presented in the show, such as a scene in which Yumeko acts like a cat on all fours, feel as if they were written by a twelve-year-old. It fails as an intense thriller, it fails as a character study, it fails as a gambling show, but most importantly it fails at the most basic level to achieve any emotional connection with the audience. Bukkakegurui is a show more interested in over blown theatrics than it is in characters and the actual games itself, and the reason why this show is so bad. I can't even recommend this to be people on the grounds that it is "so bad that it's good". Just watch Kaiji instead...
Bukkakegurui is a word trademarked by the great NFMaster! All credit goes to that sexy bastard!
Kakegurui is a show that I personally enjoyed and I will be writing this review without having touched the manga.
Kakegurui gets you interested in the world by throwing you into a game which shows you how this school works and how insane this show really is. The story has kept me entertained so far and as you predict something is gonna happen the game flips itself on its head slaps you and says no.
Amazing would not describe this animation. It shifts from the norm quite regularly by just going insane. When Yumeko figures something out about her opponent the animation gets energetic. With her poses
red becomes dominant showing just how insane she really is. Also the op in my opinion was amazing.
The soundtrack is nice and can get you extremely excited and shows the main protagonist's true madness but can also be quite stagnant. Even the op's song "Deal with the devil" perfectly fits the show.
Yumeko is quite the interesting character with her normally being sweet then becoming more cruel then beating a puppy with a bat and this change is really something to be praised but then there is Suzui the former dog. Suzui breaks expectations by being the girls' b*#@! and continues to be nothing more than an object to figure out what is going on.
Kakegurui is by far one of the best animes this season with its superb... well everything. It gets my blood pumping and makes me feel like I'm an idiot compared to the protagonist and that's ok because it's so damn fun to watch.
As someone who has been keeping up to date with the manga, Kakegurui was an anime I've been looking forward to this season. However, knowing that this is going to be a Netflix show made me pretty frustrated, but I went on to watch the show through other ways.
What do I think about Kakegurui? It's very faithful to the original source material. Kudos to MAPPA for getting much of what made the manga great, with the art and character expressions being accurate. Though not as interesting and suspenseful like other gambling anime, the show still keeps it entertaining throughout. Characters add so much emotion to
the anime and basically carry it through predictably boring gambling scenes. This show is great gateway material and its good and exciting enough to hold up as one. Possibly the best OP of the season (and maybe the entire year), Kakegurui's OP is fantastic. It has so much symbolism and connection to the manga that it contests any JJBA anime openings. BGM isn't really something to write home about, but it does well to build up the tension and atmosphere. The ED might seem like fanservice at first, but there's a sort of hidden symbolism in it, representing the change of Yumeko as a character.
If you read the manga, you should definitely watch this. If you're coming in blind, I would recommend reading the manga first and watch it later (which you can actually do, since there's no legal way to watch it with english subs yet), since you won't be able to appreciate much of the what anime is doing right. Overall, if you're looking for an anime to watch this season, this definitely should be something that you need to consider.
Isn't madness the essence of gambling? In a capitalist world, Money is life. The fate of your life isn't depicted with order or fairness yet people gather in casinos because humans feel pleasure in the madness of betting their own fate. To resume, GAMBLING IS FUN BECAUSE ITS INSANE"
Hyakkaou Private Academy
In this school, the winners are ahead of the game living like kings and queens, while the losers are seen as housepets to the winners. The best of the best are the student council members with the student council president being ahead of the school. One day, the system ends up falling apart by a
mysterious transfer student, Yumeko Jamabi. She is then known throughout the school and the student council is a bit curious of her.
Seeing Saotome being left as a housepet like Yumeko, She'll be taken much more interesting once you see her in the new spinoff before Jabami got transferred into the academy. Fear me not, We may know that some of you either hated her but as her character changes and become even more manipulating as ever.
Among the intriguing part are their detailed facial expressions which is much more wicked. Seeing the setbacks of how some characters get brutally taunting or provoking their opponents in every one sided battle, Either bluffing or not, MAPPA studio really top most scenarios to make even less more crazier and too wild.
Compiling all the Greatest Risk Gambling set Of Arcs may come ahead cause once you thought more about gambling. Kakegurui has a mindset filled with devastating trickery methods unless pack with best of all battle between the student council with none other than Kiraki Mobami.
Among the best of all this Season by far
You'll never get to the chance missing this wicked show.
The story is about a compulsive gambler that goes to a school that is built on gambling which sounds awesome. the source material was popular so even having not read it you may have heard of this show before. in this school, if you gamble and lose more that have ( gain a debt) you get treated like shit getting tags telling people they can do so. you become a slave essentially. long story short its good.
the art is similar to Prison School's and in being so it allows the show to change tones and gears very quickly which coupled with the writing you
can be intimated at the same time as wanting to laugh.
the music is swing inspired which is often stereotyped with casinos and gambling, so it is very fitting in getting you in the mood of the show. its fun but can be turned darker if need to.
the characters in this show are very eccentric in a good way. like how I mention how the show can change gears quickly it because most of over characters can go from making a scary face to cute one in seconds. their faces are very detailed so in that the characters having nothing to hide you know how they feel as if they dont have poker faces or maybe they do.
this is a show you want to watch so far. even if you know nothing about gambling you feel connected to whats going on especially as everything is explained to you before hand. if you do know gambling to make be tedious or if you know that this is a basic game and if the characters don't know how to play this they probably shouldnt be in this school but the writers do it in a way that its unlikely you would feel that way. 10/10
I was a bit sceptical about this anime after reading its description but after watching the first episode I became addicted to it.
While the plot isn’t something extraordinary, “Kakegurui” is focused more on the psychological aspect of the story: how do you escape from critical situations, what do you do when your future is at stake, when you’re about to lose your family’s fortune in a game? The whole plot revolves around Jabami, a transfer student that happens to be obsessed with gambling and makes her name widely known in her school from the first day of attendance. Even though each episode has
a repetitive storyline, there’s always a plot twist that keeps you intrigued and prevents boredom.
Each and every character is unique and represents a stereotype. Jabami, the main character, is by far the most complex out of them all: she is beautiful, insanely smart, and crazy (not necessarily in a good way). The way she expresses her emotions and theories always drives the people around her to the point of madness and breaks their masks allowing them to show their true identities. Some of the supporting characters are well portrayed, though there are fewer details about them but their interaction with Jabami relieves fragments of their stories.
I have rarely seen emotions so well portrayed in an animation. They literally made every feeling come to life on the faces of the characters and in their eyes. Especially in the most intense scenes, the expressions of the gamblers are so exaggerated; their eyes are so vivid that it feels like the whole moment is coming to life before your eyes. The animation is the work of a perfectionist, the details are amazing and everything is well placed.
I love the innocent voices of the characters and the way they change under stress. The music is beautiful and the opening and ending are both perfect in illustrating the theme of the whole anime. The music matches the atmosphere of the scene.
As I previously said, this anime is totally addictive, especially for the way the characters (mostly Jabami) think. With every episode I can’t wait to discover more about the wicked lifestyle of these rich students and their gambling strategies. It’s truly the best anime of this season and one of the best of its kind.
(ONLY 4 EPISODES HAVE BEEN RELEASED AS OF THE TIME I'M WRITING THIS. RATING WILL MOST LIKELY CHANGE TOWARDS THE END OF THE SHOW.)
Having read the manga, it's needless to say that I was totally hyped when an anime for Kakegurui was announced to be in the works. I still remember getting so excited for episode 1 that I ended up waiting all night just to watch it. Of course, there were still doubts on the back of my mind. What if this adaptation turns out to be disappointing? But the thing was, I didn't even need to worry about that stuff, because this adaptation
didn't disappoint me at all.
Story - 9
This is basically a high school anime in which high school students are required to gamble each other for rank, status, and popularity. If a student finds himself in a huge debt, then it's anything but good since those who are in the bottom 100 are to be labelled as "housepets", the lowest of the low. This is the situation that one of our main characters, Ryouta Suzui, finds himself after losing in a gamble with another main character, Saotome Mary.
It is said that if you find yourself in the housepet position, then it's impossible for you to get your status back. Suzui thought so too, that is, until a gambling maniac by the name of Jabami Yumeko suddenly transfers into the school.
This anime mainly follows Yumeko as she gets involved in various gambles with a lot of people, with her goal being the cause of the gambling madness: the student council president.
The pacing in this anime is good. It's not too fast, and it's not too slow. In my opinion, it's just right.
Art - 10
I absolutely adore how this is animated. It perfectly captures the atmosphere of certain scenes. For example, the anime is in a normal school life kind of part, the animation is more normal and calm, but when a gamble begins, then the whole feel of the show changes because of the way the animation slightly changes. The whole scene suddenly becomes more tense and gripping. This is most obvious in scenes where Yumeko becomes truly mad in gambling.
Also, special mention the OP animation, I think it's just gorgeous and sets the tone for the show.
Sound - 9
I immediately fell in love with the OP and ED when I first heard them both. But I have to say that I like the OP more. How should I describe it, I wonder? Well, Kakegurui [i]is[/i] a show about gambling, and, this OP is, for lack of a better word, jazzy. A perfect match, if I do say so myself.
I have no issues with the voice acting. Everything is exactly how I imagined it to be, especially with Yumeko and Mary. Yeah, Yukino, the always calm and collected high school girl from OreGairu, she's a gambling maniac now. Feel old yet?
Character - 8
Now, what I consider to be the weakest aspect of this series is the characters. Yes, all of them are interesting in their own little ways, but I find it difficult to point out characteristics that
make them unique, and as a result, they're quite forgettable. Well, except for Yumeko, I guess. She has the "going crazy in gambles" thing going for her, so good for her. However, the other characters aren't as memorable. Especially Suzui (who is ironically a main character), he's kind of "just there" all the time so the viewers have someone to explain what's going on to them.
Personal Enjoyment - 10
What were you expecting? The Kakegurui manga is in my favorites, so I still would have given this a 10 based on personal enjoyment even if it did end up being a terrible adaptation. I've been hooked since episode one, and I can't wait for all the future episodes.
Overall - 8
Honestly, I'd give this a 10, but I think it's still too early to give this adaptation a final verdict. All I know is that I'm really enjoying what the Kakegurui anime is offering us right now. (Will most probably change overall score as the show progresses.)
Even if you haven't read the manga, or aren't into this kind of anime, I still recommend trying to at least watch the first episode. Who knows? You might just come to like it too.
EDIT: I finished watching this a week ago. Don't believe everything I said here. The original ending turned this potential great anime into a piece of shit. Go read the manga. My final rating is a 5/10.
Resubmitting my review as the other one got removed because posted it too early. So lets hop on to the review right now!
As most of the anime is centered around High school, this one is too. But this ain't no ordinary High school guys and gals.. The students, they all some rich gamblers dawg, whom laugh at your very own poor existence >:D Muahahahah....!! (okay then I should kill myself now.)
Each of the student's art style represents their personality very well. The colors are very well suited for this kind of set in anime. Visual representations are all well I'd say.
The OP is nicely done.
Has a "yeah! i'm a rich bitch" feel in it. Same i'd say for the ED too. The soundtrack in the background makes you keep going on watching and makes stuff look more interesting.
I'm enjoying this show for myself now. I'd recommend you watching it too if you have some free time. Welp it's summer dawg! so you muster up and start gambling!
This is a rather interesting anime and I'm enjoying it, it's all about gambling and cheating and how it's done creativly.
Story: It's got a simple story, school where your prestiege is based upon your ability to gamble, and the main char is in debt when he runs into a girl that likes to gamble, the main thing is the gambling,wich is well done.
Characters: This is great, though maybe a bit over the top, half the chars seem to get off on just gambling nd making or losing money, but I found them interseting.
Enjoyment and overall: Just a early review
of this, but so far so good, interseting gambling, cool characters, and rather enjoying it, I say if your looking for something about gambling check this out.
Kakegurui- The Great Value Brand of Kaiji: Now with Chicks!
The dim, incandescent can light burns the back of your head from above. Your mouth is a desert, lips parched as you struggle to even swallow your own saliva. An irregular heart beat increases its oscillations, and your vision blurs as you attempt to read your own cards. You're a house pet, a term coined only for those drowning in the debt of the student council and this one hand of poker could either seal your fate for the rest of your life, or set you free of the shackles of your dues. Anger, guilt, nervousness
and tension well up inside your brain, clouding any sense of strategy once present in your arsenal. The remaining cards are dealt, each one like a subsequent dagger being driven into the heart. Your fingers dig into the cheap felt table lining and begin to burn from the friction. As the last card approaches, thousands of scenarios race through your mind, and your opponents stoic appearance does nothing to ease the pressure. Will you survive? Will your reputation and existence be dismantled, succumbing to the hands of the tyrannical council?
The final card slams down with a thunderous echo…
Gambling is a subject rare to take center stage in the realm of anime. Kaiji, Death Parade and Liar Game are some of the only examples I can think of in the medium, until studio MAPPA’s (Zankyou no Terror, Yuri!! On Ice) Kakegurui landed this season. From a viewer’s perspective, for the gambling to really have an impact on our senses the scenes must comprise a balance of suspense, mind games and creativity. Kaiji the Gambler, arguably the best example I can think of features a main character literally gambling for his life, in games that are either very intricate or require a large degree of mental fortitude to participate in. The result is white-knuckle tension that has your finger hovering over the skip button, ready to binge through the entire anime in one sitting. Kakegurui attempts to mimic Kaiji’s critical success with a different target audience by introducing better animation and a more familiar setting, high school. Because, you know, that makes sense.
There is a “well visioned” setup, with taboo setting of school in which students engage in lavish betting and gambling once the last bell rings for the day. We witness firsthand the daunting effects of losing in this school: you're deemed a “house pet” and everyone treats you accordingly. This wouldn't be quite as ridiculous if it weren't for the fact that kids are ridiculed and treated like shit in high school to begin with. In essence, this significantly dilutes any ounce of realism with regards to the stakes these students are playing for, and ultimately the entire premise from the beginning. The “upside” is that IF you are successful at gambling and start raking in the dough, your family is already rich as fuck so…. none of this betting really even matters to begin with. See my point? From its inception, Kakegurui’s narrative is faulted. The whole premise of the anime seems pointless in that if you win, you'll be rich and if you lose, you'll still be rich but get treated like that awkward kid who frequently gets stuffed into lockers. The student council seeks to rule the school with an iron fist, but I'm not sure what they actually do; except cheat to win, fly in fancy helicopters and wear terrifying androgynous masks.
Unassuming transfer student Yumeko Jabami looks to shake things up at this school by winning any and every gambling match she's in. Countless opponents fall victim to her innate ability to see through tricks and deftly play each person for a fool. This can be frustratingly similar to the No Game no Life effect, in which Sora and Shiro’s victory was assumed prior to them even starting the game. To top it off, Jabami seems to get off on the thought of risking “everything” on each of her matches. Each of her mental orgasms is brought to our attention in exhausting detail, as her eyes leer red and her legs tremble with excitement. The anime progresses almost episodically with a “rinse, repeat” effect. New characters are introduced, Jabami challenges them, a new game is played and Jabami emerges victorious yet again. This process repeats over and over and over again in a due loop merry-go-round. There’s no sense of doubt, no uncertainty built into the script. It’s a perpetual nightmare from a scripting perspective.
With Jabami at the helm, we as viewers never really experience her thoughts about anything. Neither her strategy, intuition or objective ever becomes clear and the games themselves often end up narrated by her foes. Long, overthought monologues about what they “think” she is planning through each and every move, which began to take a toll on my attention span since I knew the eventual outcome prior to each match taking place. And since a majority of the anime is spent “in game” and we don’t catch a glimpse of what Jabami is thinking, her characterization is thrown out the window. The rare occurrence of a line of dialogue from our “heroine” is spent devilishly coercing another one of her pawns to help her with a bet in the game. The main protagonist in the anime doesn’t even have fucking character development… it’s embarrassing.
Did I mention how edgy Kakegurui is? I was legitimately interested to see where the plot would unfold when I started the series, but my supposition quickly dissolved when I uncovered the anime’s true nature. It’s 2017, so I’m not sure what I expected, but the initial consensus was that I was at least intrigued. So a girl gets her jollies by gambling, who cares? But, when EVERY character acts as if they’re on the verge of insanity? Now we have an inherent problem. Not to mention the horrifically unattractive adrenaline slut who gets wet thinking about having her head blown off from a game of Russian Roulette. It’s a sex scene away from being a dumpster fire Sundance film about how fucking “raw and gritty” some teenager’s life is. Again, it’s the tactical diversion producers craft to steer the audience away from how dreadfully written a show can be, simply because it’s dark or shocking. I don’t always mind this level of scheming when the veil is at least entertaining. But in Kakegurui, you get the worst of both worlds: badly written and boring.
It would be a disservice to anime fans everywhere if I didn’t at least attempt to address the comparisons between Kaiji and Kakegurui. Kaiji as a protagonist is someone you can really root for. His awful luck is inviting, in a sympathetic manner. He basically starts from nothing, and risks his actual life for a chance at redemption. Jabami comes from out of nowhere, with no clear motive and little to no relatability. Kaiji’s gambling games are fewer, but are better explained and have a more intricate explanation. Kakegurui falters, partially due to a shorter run time, and that the games are changed so quickly that less attention is given to their development. It feels like the writers are more focused on getting through everything vice making an impact on what they introduce. Kaiji is primarily a male cast, making it harder to attract female viewers but ideal for a seinen genre. Kakegurui has more females than you can shake a stick at: loli’s, tsunderes and yanderes to boot. Hence my opening statement in the review. Lastly, as I mentioned previously, most of Kakegurui’s dialogue comes from the opposition, creating a wall between the viewer and the character appearing to be the main protagonist (Jabami). In Kaiji, this internalizing is shared between he and his adversaries. It creates an equilibrium that helps the viewer rationalize either end of the gamble.
I think it’d come off as redundant if I expounded any more about the characters in Kakegurui. Despite having significantly less screen time, Ryouta and Meari receive significantly more development than Jabami, inflating my unpopular opinion of her ten-fold. We do get some back story on a few minor characters, but nothing short of a plot device in order to propel the story forward. Possibly the most interesting character from the entire cast is Manyuda, who actually has a clearly defined motive, is cutthroat and calculating and doesn’t seem to break character as much to partake in edgy escapades. Oh yeah, and he’s the only member of the student council who actually gambled fairly, at least in his own game. If you’re looking for relatable or enticing characters, Kakegurui may not be the anime for you.
If there’s anything I learned from watching Kakegurui, it’s that facial expressions are apparently everything. In an environment where maintaining a “poker face” is often sought after, the animators in this anime decided to do the exact opposite and emblazon a crazy face on almost every character in the cast. It’s brilliant in some respects because it helps distract the viewer from the rest of the anime’s inadequacies by giving them a fresh dose of ADHD, but is entirely unnecessary. It does helps manifest some false suspense, only it ends up making some of the scenes more irritating. The rest of the animation is quite good, and the overall tone it sets for the show works well for the subject matter. The character models are attractive and proportional, and the flashier scenes with dialogue-heavy moments please the eye. One major blemish on the art side would be the complete lack of animation with the Jabami idol karaoke scene. It came across as complete laziness, with the still image of Jabami fading out into the completion of her song. I’m not sure if this was intentional, but it was jarring to say the least. To help make up for it, they at least added a completely random duet between her and Yumemi to close the episode.
I’ll be honest, I absolutely love the OP for the show. It’s a psychedelic, sexy acid trip with a risque’ jazz track narrating the visuals. If you look closely, it even tells a small story relating to the story progression of the anime itself. The ED on the other hand, leaves a lot to be desired, sans the mystery of what’s underneath Jabami’s outer layer of clothing. The song isn’t even catchy, a quality I can at least cling to in an ED. The rest of the soundtrack existed to create false tension and accentuate the mood of its corresponding scenes, and I can’t recall it being necessarily bad. Voice acting in Kakegurui is one of its strong points, and I can only imagine how much fun the seiyuus had considering how edgy the series can be. The actors actually had a chance to break character and have a good time.
From an entertainment perspective, Kakegurui hits all the wickets. It has hot girls, great animation and an almost avant-garde approach to storytelling that could be incredibly appealing to young, impressionable audiences (aka, most of the anime community). This being said, I can’t be baffled by how well the show was received, even if I didn’t agree with it. This is the main purpose of a reviewer or critic, to point out enjoyment as well as flaws. I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t enjoy Kakegurui. But is it a good gambling anime? Hardly. It suffers from a severe lack of character development/relatability and has an edgy stigma about it I can’t shake. The previous negatives coupled with the unrealistic premise can create some harsh criticisms and overall disappointment. I’d recommend this to fans of shows like Re:Zero, No Game No Life or any other similar series, due in part to it being edgy and appealing to a certain audience. Thank you to all for reading this review, and be sure to check out the rest of my Summer 17 ones!
Okay, I admittedly started watching it because the OP looked like a jazzy rendition of a girl gathering a bunch of other girls into her lesbian harem, but I certainly wasn't disappointed with what I actually got when I watched it, because holy crap.
Yumeko is a girl who starts a new school where Gambling is used to basically decide the school's hierarchy. Yumeko is 100% on board with this.
The way this anime handles it's facial expressions and characters is just godly. Some people might think the expressions are TOO exaggerated, but I think they're rad and really represent how evil the
rush of gambling can make people. Yumeko herself is perfect, I absolutely adore how they didn't go with the whole 'lets thrust this innocent character in this awful gambling world and watch her beat people in the name of JUSTICE AND LEARN A LESSON IN THE END'
Yumeko's genuinely enjoying every second of this school and can go cold-blooded in a second if someone says something that isn't what she wants to hear. This, and tons of other things is what makes this anime a must-watch, in my opinion. I'm loving this so far, and can't wait to see where it goes next! 9/10.
EDIT on 8/29/17: Okay, I'm now on episode 8, and holy SHIT. This series hasn't gotten any less amazing. It's gotten even better, in my opinion, adding on more quirky/insane/conniving characters and giving tons of depth to characters I thought we'd never see much.
Yumeko is still the scummy, genius of a goddess that we all love. Suzui is still...well, he's sweet and gives the anime a cute dude to be on par with all the cute girls, and I'm sure more use'll come of him later.
Mary's blown me away honestly. I can't say much without spoilers, but...I didn't think we'd see much of her and know of her as anything more than 'the girl Yumeko beat first', and BOY was I wrong! The way they manage to keep her in character, aka cocky, overbearing and tsundere as hell and still make her lovable and pretty damn cute is quite impressive.
Seriously, before writing Kakegurui off as the overrated hype series of the season, give it an episode or two. Even people who despise it have to admit the way the anime goes about things is interesting as hell, and so engaging that I'm all over the newest episode as soon as it comes out.
I genuinely don't want this anime to end, but I can't wait to see how they wrap the first season up, and I have complete faith they'll make it an amazing finale. I'm sorry for adding so much more, but I feel like I really didn't praise this series enough before and it's only gotten better, so I just had to add more. (I'll most likely add one more edit when it finishes.)
So... this is my first review. This anime has COMPELLED me to do this. I'll try to work around spoilers and keep it short. And I assure you this review is completely unbiased (wink wink). That is to say I absolutely love it.
Let me tell you this: it's hard to represent mania, and this anime has it on lock. It's rare to see a chaotic character represented in media that it's not psychopathic or lacking any emotion or empathy, in fact this is quite the opposite, the characters are so overwhelmingly filled with all kinds of emotions that they
keep exploding in this maniacal behavior.
The story is fairly simple, the setting is not something incredibly innovative but the execution of the rest makes it completely believable and perfect.
The art its absolutely amazing, it gets you excited, it makes you laugh, it's aesthetically coherent, it fits perfectly. It makes you scream "YES!!! STEP ALL OVER THEM!!" while making the same faces they do in the games. Even the CG is on point.
The sound is impeccable. Sound effects in moments of pure caricature are just enough to get the crazy visuals over the edge, not to mention the soundtrack (that freakin' opening).
The characters are super-exaggerated humans, they aren't your typical Hollywood casino movies lot, they are absolutely insane and to say that is an understatement. They steamroll over their enemies while making insane expressions, while still being cold and calculating... most of the time.
The content of this review must have revealed my enjoyment with this so far.
Overall, I see amazing potential in the episodes to come and it got me hooked up, I will eventually update this review if my opinion changes over the course of the episodes. Let's hope it'll keep the current score. If you are looking for a fresh anime, this is sure to keep you entertained.