I'm going to disagree with those who feel this season is "padded" (with the exception of the recap episode, which I just skipped since I binged all the episodes). If you enjoyed the first season and are giving the second a shot, you should be on board. After the initial handful of episodes in the first season, I adjusted to the pace, so I knew what to expect here. For me, there's nothing "extra"; everything either adds to the tension or develops characters.
At the end of this second season, I felt almost high. During the final battle with "the Bog" (the monster pachinko machine), I was practically crawling up to my TV screen in excitement. I was like one of the crowd cheering Kaiji on and crying with frustration and despair alongside him. In my gut, I knew it couldn't end happily, and we see that Kaiji is still a loser whose future likely isn't bright. But he has honor, loyalty, and friends, with is more than his opponents and co-conspirators can say.
This season has a similar arc as the first, but in some ways Kaiji has grown. You can't help but be disgusted with him at the start what with his "backsliding" further into debt and gullibility. But soon you begin rooting for and admiring him, trying to anticipate his tricks and strategies, wondering how much he's accounted for and how much he hasn't.
Definitely a favorite.
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Second season doesn't deliver. At all.
I was hoping for more great mindfights between Kaiji and his opponents, and only the Chinchiro part was about that, the rest was mindless fillers of Kaiji waiting, Kaiji shouting and Kaiji crying. It really should have been a 13 episode anime, because it needlessly stretches out everything.
The story wasn't too terrible, I enjoyed seeing how Kaiji will defeat Ohtsuki, how will he get the money for his debts and how will he work out the way to win at the Bog. However comparing this to the first season it's pretty lacking, and towards the end you get about 4 episodes of pointless talk and waiting.
And remember how Kaiji wanted to destroy Hyoudou in the first season? There is absolutely no interaction between the two in this one. They don't even meet.
Animation wise, it was great. On top of the great art style, everything moves smoothly. The 3D animations are as good as, or even better than in the first season.
As goes for sound, neither the opening nor the ending was catchy. And overall, the soundtrack was pretty bland, and not rememberable.
And for characters, I have mixed feelings. Kaiji doesn't show any change nor progress at the end. He got fucked over by Endo, and he still insists on saving his "friends" from the Undergound, and after saving them, he blows all his remaining money on a fucking pachinko. My guess is the author wanted to show him as a total loser.
Regarding other people, I'm sad that there was no interaction between Kaiji and Kurosaki, like with Tonegawa before; Ohtsuki and Sakazaki were nicely presented and Ichijou impressed me by his gradual change from a villain to a person similar to Kaiji, who was about to live or lose everything.
As I started the second season of Kaiji I was already hoping for a good series with an epic ending, as the first one ended. And, was I in for a surprise!
The series continues the story of Kaiji, a character that can ascend to godly achievments as well as quickly fall into misery. It takes only the first glance to see that, once again our "hero" has fallen into misery. Buried deep in an underground world, a human-made hell, working endlessly trying to pay off a debt of 10 million. So it starts the second season.
The labor the people working there have to do pushes the human limits to the maximum. The rations given are scarce and distasteful and to top it off the salary they are given is in "Perica" a currency only used in that sub-world, also a currency 10 times lower then the yen. If a worker manages to accumulate 500.000 million perica, he is granted a full day on the outside, back to the real world. How can Kaiji accumulate so much?
But, alas a glimmer of hope: the workers are divided into cells, or teams, each of those teams having an headmaster. Luckily for Kaiji, his headmaster just happens to like gambling and is kind enough to invite him to a gamble: chinchirorin.
It consists in rolling three dices favoring the player with the best combination. Kaiji participates in a first session, joined by Miyoshi but to no avail, his money slips away. Miyoshi does some profit and becomes addicted to the gamble, but only to fall like Kaiji. In the pit of despair Miyoshi shows Kaiji a book where he mantained records of all the plays of the session he went through, Kaiji then realizes the game is rigged. So it begins the plan to break the rigged gamble of his head master.
I really liked this part of the second season, and really is the only part worth watching: the characters (that matter) are well developed throughout their reactions, decisions and glimpses of their pasts. The animations, much like in the first season, delivers with exquisite facial expressions, the sounds waltz flawlessly with mood and the episode climb up to the grand climax.
The problem is the second part. Baring in mind that the first part (the dice gamble) lasts 10-12 episodes it's kind of streching to focus the remaining 14 on Kaiji trying to beat a pachinko machine.
The setting is in an illegal casino where a rigged pachinko machine, known as the Man-eater, The Bog holds a prize of 700 million yen. At first the excitment of a new challenge and a much needed plan to beat the machine is astounishing, thrilling and exciting. There's the acknowledgement of the machine, the manager devlish ways, the new resources to work with and the plan Kaiji elaborates to beat it. But in the end, that excitment fades away, as episode after episode everything is streched out. There are, 3 episodes which are absolutely unnecessary: there's no action, no developing of the story, just over exaggerated expressions of the characters over nothing. And this progresses until the last two episodes, by the time we already know what's going to happen ruinning the climax, giving you an: "Get this over with!!!" feeling.
The first part is really worth watching, it may even be one of the best gambles of the series as a whole.
The second part only you really want to see will it give you any sense of excitment. The over-streching, continuously poiting the obvious as time wasting will spoil your ride for the pachinko part.
The animation is just as the first series. Perfect for the type of anime, the metaphors help to comprehend the physical and psychologicall state of the mind and the facial expressions, movements are all well done.
The sound at least fits every occasion, even in my pure boredom on the pachinko part the music sometimes ticked me off a bit to emerge again on the exciment and suffering Kaiji was going through.
Because the second half spoils it all I cannot give it more than a 7. If we separate them I'll give the first half a 9 and the second a 6.
You get to see more of kaiji's inner weakness and pain.
It's addictive, though I'm not sure if this is a good or a bad thing, or perhaps even a clever element added to reinforce the subject matter.
Way too long for the content, again.
Sometimes totally ridiculous.