「選択する女」 (Sentaku suru onna)
Now that was the good stuff. One of the issues with Kakegurui the show has mostly papered over has been its enemies. Win or lose, Yumeko has usually gone up against single minded opponents who have not really been able to compete at her level. They have always followed their prearranged scripts, freaked when things fell apart, and sometimes scraped by with a little help from external sources. With Manyuda though we got our first “real” enemy, and I’d say the wait was worth it.
What makes Manyuda a good counter for Yumeko is his mindset. The Student Council may know Yumeko only cares about gambling, but that knowledge is pointless without proper application—this is where Manyuda beats the rest. If Yumeko gets off on risk, simply construct a situation where she can pleasure herself with a high risk choice while you come out the winner. Quite surprising it took this long for someone to think of this, but in a council filled with ambitious lunatics I guess simple logic takes a backseat. Also something something giving Yumeko hard starting battles removes suspense and all that jazz.
The real fun for me in this battle though is how Yumeko responds to Manyuda’s wits. For all the mental twisting we only had two hands play out, and as past experience has shown, Yumeko only really wins after getting her ass handed to her. The girl could just as easily switch into a “less is more” strategy where she hedges her risk to try and screw with Manyuda, or keeps going balls to the wall crazy in a battle of monetary attrition. For all this poker game’s simplicity, the psychology remains and is the one thing which can quickly overwhelm Manyuda. When you have the capacity to think of every possibility, it’s not difficult to start overthinking, and overthinking leads to worry and sloppy mistakes—just ask Yumemi. All it would take is Yumeko doing something Manyuda cannot account for and his mental front would quickly break down.
How we could get there of course involves Sumeragi. The debate of talent versus training is an essay in of itself, but simply put Manyuda is wrong and Yumeko is right. All talent provides is a head start, something training and education can more than make up for. The talented may have a higher obtainable skill “ceiling”, but unless properly nurtured, the talentless can easily become more skilled over time—they just have to take the chance. Manyuda might have the talent to go with his ambition, but he’s arrogantly dismissing Sumeragi’s abilities and willingness to bet on her dreams as that billion yen wager shows. Of course Sumeragi’s courage is probably not enough to shake Manyuda just yet, but if Yumeko starts winning or Sumeragi comes up with another billion yen, then all bets are off. It’s hard thinking straight after all when your predictions start failing.
With the public match more or less back at square one and our lovely competitors now roughly equal in cash, I expect we are in for some seriously fun mental struggling—and more crazy faces. I have no bloody idea who will win this game, but with only two episodes remaining, you can be the process is going to be a blast.