「人生を賭ける女」 (Jinsei o kakeru Onna)
“The Woman Who Bets Her Life”
I’d be lying if I denied the constant grin on my face during this episode. Deliciously ingenious psychology, hilariously ridiculous bets, and one vice-president who apparently is the president in disguise—what’s not to like? Plus we finally got the first taste of the showdown Kakegurui has incessantly teased for weeks on end. That’s right boys and girls, it’s about to go down.
It’s slightly amusing for me that I guessed right regarding Sumeragi’s role in this game, but was off the mark when it came to Manyuda’s reaction. I was fully expecting her doubling down to worry the guy, but if anything it made him more committed. With Kakegurui’s theme though, it’s not that surprising. The entire situation was homage to the age old contest between logic and emotions, showing through one man how incredibly easy it is to switch from rationality into feeling-based control. Manyuda’s arrogance blinded him to the gradual investment Yumeko (and Sumeragi) drew out of him, inculcating a rigid sense of superiority which knew no weakness. The variety of poker played only intensified this aspect, all but encouraging wildly illogical actions by giving the players a game ending tool—for a price. This is why I highly suspect this game was designed not to crush Yumeko, but set up Manyuda. The guy was too invested in his strategy, never once suspecting his initial impression of Yumeko might be wrong. Sure miss crazy might love risky bets and not care about her losses (so long as she can play), but she sure as hell doesn’t aim to lose—games after all are all about winning. By missing this critical point Manyuda never considered his opponent(s) had their own strategy, and overlooking that cost ultimately him the game. For a man destined for leadership, it’s the worst mistake of all.
For all the fun Manyuda was though, the real game starts now. With Yumeko having proven herself twice in a row, there’s little reason for Kirari to hold back now. The Student Council is a wreck, competitors are not far away, and the opportunistic sharks won’t take long to start biting at the carcass—better to reinstate order now before someone else does it for you. Plus this gives Kirari the fight she has always been wanting, someone at her level with a similar mindset wholly willing to put everything on the line for the fun of it. While I’m not entirely sure if Yumeko is right that Kirari is seeking her gambling better (a little simple given previous information), I do know you got to feel bad for Sayaka being stuck in the middle of these two. That poor girl is woefully out of her element and is only going to suffer when the festivities commence, because in this world the stronger you hold something dear, the more likely you will hurt over it.
With only one episode left and two titans about to clash, it’s anyone’s guess what we are about to see next. Yumeko beating on the prez? Kirari crushing the upstart? Maybe a substitution (or two) and a cliffhanger just for the troll factor? No bloody idea, but I do know it’s likely to be awesome. With Kakegurui, you can always bet on awesome.