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« Kakegurui×× – 11

Kakegurui×× – 12 (END)

「零の女」 (Rei no Onna)
“The Null Woman”

Well no real surprises for Kakegurui in its final week. The gamble that’s not technically a gamble (but is anyways) ended as you could expect, we got a little more backstory to complement Yumeko’s already threadbare history, and the swath of usual teasers for a sequel guaranteed will arrive once the manga has enough new material to adapt. Of course there’s the matter with Rei and that wickedly awesome reveal of her own past, but really, having it all come down to a coin toss—and one where both still wind up the victor? The mists of season one’s finale lay thick indeed. I suppose I cannot complain too much however; a second season of Kakegurui might never have happened to begin with, and oh boy did we get some fantastic gambles to slobber over this time. Plus one tomboy came out looking quite pretty from where she started. For a bit of competitive madness I dare say it wasn’t all that bad in the end.

Final Impressions

As with the first season Kakegurui’s second round will inevitably be a love or hate thing. This series makes no qualms about playing to the craziest and most obscene archetypes available in anime (and writing) land, seeing just how far it can take the visual and psychological depravity while keeping the plot consistent and entertaining. Does it always work? Hell no, but when it does it’s a sight to behold.

Arguably the main the strength of Kakegurui this season of course lay in its characters, particularly the student council members and the new Momobami antagonists. Mixing the likes of Yumeko and friends with former adversaries and facing them off against some new faces (and new archetypes) was more than enough to keep things interesting in a (more or less) structurally monotonous series. Some of the gambles after all may have been similar to previous ones (particularly in terms of items bet), but the interactions lacing their screen time? Oh yeah we went places. Midari and Yumeko for example featured some of the best crazy face/banter combos this side of new and improved Suzui, while the likes of Yuriko and Kaede found some redemption and cute moments after the chaos of the last round of gambling madness. Hell we even had time to flesh out Yumemi’s struggles and show Kakegurui isn’t always about the act of gambling. Once you get past the main cast and start traversing the secondary fields, you’ll find there’s plenty more to this show than initially meets the eye.

Where Kakegurui falters however is in terms of plot (heh) and story. Anyone hoping for a proper plotline after the first season’s ambiguous teasing and twists and turns will wind up disappointed here, because while some answers were forthcoming in this season’s final moments, there’s still plenty of smoke and mirrors masking a good deal of information. Why is Yumeko so enamoured of gambling, what is her and her family’s specific relationship with the Momobamis—how is poor Suzui still breathing and functionally sane after all this time? These questions and more continue remaining elusive. To be fair of course we did get plenty of fleshing out for Kakegurui’s minor cast (notably Sayaka in the condensed Tower arc), but eventually Kakegurui will run out of shock and awe to help keep things fresh, and when it does it will need a story with legs (and all the fixings that go with it) to give purpose to the insanity. Considering how open the show left itself for a third season and the good chance of seeing a sequel in the next few years (because Netflix money) this concern is only going to become more prominent as time goes by.

In the end though, future worries or not, I can confidently say my second time blogging Kakegurui was definitely worth it. The show may have proved annoying in terms of release schedule (thanks for that also Netflix) and ended with as many questions as answers, but as a bit of weekday fun and thriller relaxation it’s hard finding a more satisfying series. Kakegurui may not be to everyone’s tastes or even the best representation of gambling in anime (that’s what Kaiji is for), but if you liked what the first season had to offer give the sequel a try. I guarantee you won’t leave disappointed.

March 28, 2019 at 10:01 pm
6 comments »
  • March 29, 2019 at 9:55 amMagewolf

    I think the big problem with the story is that it does not want to reveal what Yumeko’s plan is. So that means you just get hints of it as apparently unrelated stuff happens. That is why the side characters get more development as well.

    I may have mentioned it here before but there are only two people gambling in the show,Yumeko and the President,everything else is just a part of that. Unfortunately we do not know why they are doing it or the stakes. Actually I do not think even the President knows for sure what Yumeko is doing. That is why she called in the rest of the Momobamis, to feed them to Yumeko as a way to try to gain info from her. And have fun of course. That is were her and Yumeko really separate themselves from the rest of the cast, they love gambling as an end into it’s self as opposed to a means to an end like the rest but that does not mean they do not have other ends in mind as well.

    As for the coin toss ending that was never a gamble in the first place. As much as Yumeko goes on about her pure love of gambling if you look at a lot of her gambles there were no losing condition for Yumeko, either there was no real chance of her losing or it advanced her plans either way. The coin toss was like that. She set Rei up to win regardless of what happens,only fair since she was fighting for Yumeko’s sister. Yumeko did not care about the money and losing her name would probably only help with her gamble with the President while she knew that just taking the bet would be enough to get Rei on the President’s good side win or lose. The Tower game made that clear.

    • March 29, 2019 at 10:50 pmPancakes

      Yeah pretty much, it’s what I was trying to highlight in the post above. We are never privy to what Yumeko is really after, why she’s obsessed with gambling, and what beyond ecstasy she gets out it. Pleasure alone is reason mind you, but considering Kurumi apparently is only after that too, we’re left with the situation of having nothing really to fight over. The chaos of the Joker works because it’s dichotomous to the order and stability of Batman—replace the latter with another Joker and it’s a whole lot of pretty explosions with no real payoff.

      Kakegurui really needs its own Batman to appear soon for this reason, but whether it does or not we won’t know for a while. I suspect this is what Terano and the Momobamis are meant to represent, but it’s a funny situation considering they’re being treated as the antagonists. I’m quite curious seeing how Kakegurui winds up squaring this circle, if it does.

  • March 29, 2019 at 7:01 pmcvb

    For me the main problem of this show is it lacks the spark of Kaiji, Akagi and even Saki in the psychological games and there is not really a strong point in the story, is just here you got this hot babes doing edgy weird faces for your sadomaso boner while we pretend we have some deepness.

    Seeing how popular this series is sure it has its audience, but I find it lackluster as a gambling anime in every aspect, there isn’t really a sensation of dread in the chance of losing or what would happen. Yumeko is the True One Tatsuya of the gambling animes and it was already boring at the end of last season.

    And awful anime for me.

    • March 29, 2019 at 10:44 pmPancakes

      Funnily enough that’s probably why I wound up liking this show so much. Since it focused more on the thriller, popcorn entertainment aspect with gambling more of a mechanism than reason it was easy to just sit back and enjoy the carnage. Definitely a case of a mile wide and inch deep (compared to Kaiji and Saki especially), but IMO not bad for what it was aiming for.

      Also nothing will come close to topping Tatsuya. Ever :P

      • March 29, 2019 at 11:56 pmcvb

        Yeah, I suppose I’m looking it at a bad angle. Still, I would like things getting dangerous or at least expulsion level of threat to the characters, but that’s like how a lot of people doesn’t like series because no one dies. And focusing a little more on the psycholigical games and less on the ahegaos would be better.

        Also, the problem of godly mcs is you appreciate their quirks or you end hating them with passion, which is my case with Yumeko or Tatsuya but I love Keima or Sora and Shiro. To each their own I guess.

  • April 3, 2019 at 2:10 pmsomerandomblackweeb

    bleh, really enjoyed first season. i think this was rushed and because of that, lacked the quality to justify making 24 eps. thats why they cut their losses and stopped at 12. there is so much left unresolved…yes they can do a S3, with a strong comeback. I hope they take their time and learn from their mistakes! It’s a pretty fun series.

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