「誘う女」 (Sasou Onna)
Well it may not have been the Saw spoof of our dreams, but I think we can agree Kakegurui has reached crazy levels far beyond our clearly inadequate imaginations. Money, debts, sadistic decadency? Oh that’s just the first level to this demonic rabbit hole boys and girls. As Midari’s “unique” form of entertainment and gambling shows, Kakegurui means to take the rational limits of pulp psychological suspense and crush them. Completely.
While Midari is almost assuredly insane, it’s pretty damn funny how she’s only the first character to truly rival Yumeko’s depravity. Money means nothing to her (what’s a billion yen between friends?), status is a superfluous perk, what matters—like for Yumeko—is the thrill of the game. Sure one may get off on the gambling itself while the other pleasures herself to thoughts of self-immolation, but these girls are two peas in a pod. Seriously, just look at that happy couple. Perfection. In a way it’s a fitting “gateway” match before the obviously inevitable showdown between our equally invidious Student Council president and chaos reincarnated. If Yumeko isn’t fazed by the likes of variable bullet shootouts and some
pochi Suzui abuse, then handling a little cheating and threats of life plan abuse is nothing. Consider it the calm before the storm, if we’re seeing matches like this right now, just imagine what’s coming down the pipeline.
Beyond Midari’s charm, however, what particularly caught me was the quieter machinations at work. Kirari’s attempted poaching of Mary shows the Student Council (or at least its president) is as equally pragmatic as it’s devious, willing to co-opt/absorb any resource capable of furthering its objectives. It’s anyone’s guess what those objectives are, but subduing the increasingly disruptive Yumeko is definitely one of them, particularly if the ever prissy little Runa’s warnings to Midari are anything to go by. Probably a stretch currently to think President and co. will try turning Mary against Yumeko, but I wouldn’t put it past them if Yumeko starts offing the more important members.
Furthermore are the first hints dropped regarding Yumeko’s backstory. I don’t expect us to ever learn anything beyond the bare bones details here, but it’s still interesting seeing how Yumeko is an orphan and has a sickly sister in the hospital because of the plot-based opportunities it presents. We can guess how Yumeko is earning the money for her sister (gambling) for example, but the Student Council doesn’t know it, they firmly believe she has assets stashed away for safekeeping. That sister especially makes for a great weapon should the Student Council seriously try discerning a weakness in our little gambler. After all we already have bets involving human fingernails and the risk of player death, not hard thinking the next stage is betting with the lives of others. If I were Suzui I might want to start considering a new place of education.
Before those tasty possibilities, however, comes some ESP reading and a little Russian roulette. This game, more than any, is all about psychology, and by hell we are going to get it in spades. With two equally insane opponents and a set of outrageous conditions, the winner of this match will be the one who breaks last. Thrillers don’t get much better than this.