「愛踊る女」 (Ai Odoru Onna)
Even for a quiet week Kakegurui sure doesn’t slow down. Sure we may have lacked in a new game and some ludicrous betting, but the show easily made up for that with the emergence of cutthroat politics and its own variety of overarching story. Oh and the crazy faces, always the crazy faces.
Considering Kakegurui’s setting, it’s not too surprising the Student Council is not a monolith, there’s simply too much power and reward for its members to be satisfied with their positions. Kirari’s convenient “business” trip though exposes just how divided the Council is, with at least three members (Yumemi, Manyuda, and Runa) clearly aiming for top spot or something similar. I might be in the minority, but I love these type of backroom power plays, particularly when you can see all the pieces in motion. Yumeko may be tearing at the Council’s authority, but she also gives its more aspiring members a useful tool. By defeating three members already (well technically one, but that’s splitting hairs), Yumeko has established a sort of Council hierarchy, and with Kirari’s treatment of her (not collecting on her debt, insulating her with a life plan) and weeklong disappearance, the better positioned members have an opportunity to push their claim to the presidency by destroying its main threat. It’s almost too perfect a situation, which leads me to suspect Kirari knows exactly who her challengers are and is using Yumeko and her trip as a means of blunting/culling these members. Plus the President almost certainly wants Yumeko all to herself, but only after Yumeko has likely proven her worth. No better way than by first eliminating the competition.
Where this gets interesting is in how our new idol game plays out. While Yumeko losing is not out of the question, I’m not sure it’s in the cards this time, particularly given the three members involved. Idol culture and fanbase attitude aside, Yumemi has ironically one of the more sane desires in the show, which in this story all but guarantees she’s screwed before too long. If Yumemi loses, Manyuda will definitely feel compelled to confront Yumeko too just to save his hide, while Runa—having brought down two members with minimal provocation—will probably start feeling her oats and act more aggressively. How the aftermath plays out then is anyone’s guess, but it almost assuredly leaves Yumeko with next to no one between her and her intended prey—anything else would simply be dragging out the inevitable. Even if I’m completely wrong though (which is often), I still hope the pint sized Runa at least gets a thrashing at some point. That face is the stuff of nightmares and should be wiped from the face of the Earth. Completely.
So with a new challenger before us and the most public of stages for the game to play out, it’s time for a new gambling arc. Cheating will happen, our reaction face folders will triple in size, and one way or another, Yumeko will get closer to her goal of the perfect gamble. It may be more conventional than Midari’s chaotic ecstasy, but the crazy is never that far away.