「かわる女」 (Kawaru onna)
“The Connected Woman”
While Netflix’s subbing schedule may continue to be my greatest pet peeve of the season (it’s a permanent love to hate kind of relationship), the delay in Kakegurui, especially this week, just helps reinforce how much I look forward to this damn show. It’s not often we get a perfect mix of reaction faces and psychological prestidigitations after all, but top it off with John Newton’s Amazing Grace of all things being sung? Oh boy we’re going places this season. I may have had my doubts about Kakegurui’s sequel before, but I’ll be damned if they aren’t quickly being put to rest.
As Kakegurui has been showcasing plenty these fast few weeks a lot of the fun of this season lies in the return of key players featured last time. Pairing up the likes of Midori and Runa with Yumeko and Suzui has yielded some interesting and amusing scenes for example, while the unlikely combo of Meari and the vice prez promises some deservedly redemptive fun and games before all is said and done. Now though we also get the return of the Dreaming Creaming Sisters (heads out the gutter now you naughty, naughty people) and the building on Kakegurui’s arguably most honest antagonist. Yumemi as everyone familiar with the first season can say is out purely to get her moment in the sun on the Hollywood stage. She may not be above manipulation and coercion to get what she wants as can be seen, but it says a lot compared to some here (*cough* Kirari) when the girl understands this will only get her so far; succeeding required recognition, and recognition requires skill and talent. Helping get the opportunity to walk the red carpet is all Yumemi is looking for in her gambles, and so far at least that strategy has paid off.
The issue for Yumemi of course is that the world of entertainment is a cutthroat business and those already in aren’t about to let their positions be usurped. I must admit, I never expected the eerie Sumika Warakubami to turn into the equally dark stunner Natari Kawaru, but given this arc is pretty much Yumemi development part two there’s no better villain to help our little idol grow into an actress. Sumika has already done what Yumemi is after, so she naturally knows the games being played behind the curtains. Buying votes, manipulating fans, altering public perception? This girl guaranteed is a master of that already, and it falls to Yumemi to recognize it and identify a way to overcome it. Thankfully for Yumemi though, Sumika has already given her the answer in that impressive singing performance. Want to win over the audience and move them in your favour? Give them an honest, heartfelt performance they’re unlikely to forget. Duplicity can be smelled a mile away when compared against the real thing, so it falls to Yumemi to do the one thing she arguably should’ve done from the start.
If our little starry eyed performer and her cute gambling crazy sidekick can figure out how to perform their hearts out, this will be one gamble where the results won’t ever be in question.