"A gambling show, in a school setting, where -except for learning- anything can happen... yeah that makes sense, i'm 100% sure nothing could possibly go wrong."
What would happen if you combine that gambling with schools, throw in some horny sexy chicks, make them as crazy and perverted as possible, and throw in the derpiest faces you can find in GTO, and make it as edgy as possible. the resulting show would be deviant piece of soft porn that is more cringy than exciting, and too fanservice-ish to be taken seriously. that show is called Kakegurui.
Gambling can be one of the most thrilling and exciting subjects in anime, from the battles of wits, watching people risk their money or even life, watching the stakes grow as the danger brings out their true colors. however, Kakegurui fails miserably at being enjoyable. from the bad characters to the terrible gambles, this was one of the most disappointing shows i've ever watched.
Starting with the characters, first we have the male lead, who is a beta male, and his only use is whining or explaining the -obvious- events as a narrator, because the viewers are a bunch of toddlers who can't think for themselves, so i'm sure they need someone to explain things to them.
The female lead, and this show's mascot, is shown to like highstakes, and wants to intentionally put herself in situations where neither her victory nor defeat is assured. but you can't have the thrill of that, because she is written to be the overpowered overlord of the show.
You can try to pretend you want to see how she wins, but then again all she does is dive head first into the game, with plans that follow no form of logic or consistency, which is then dubbed as smart, either that or she uses the power of plot convenience and plot armor to win every game. otherwise she is just another case of Gasai Yuno, just a sexy psycho with no redeeming qualities beyond that.
And the rest of the cast isn't any better, all of them are the same one-note varient of the crazy chick, and they get boring very fast since they come and go like a generic villain-of-the-week. and it doesn't help that every single one of them is cheating, it become predictable and gets boring fast.
The games is where every gambling driven show is supposed to shine, yet you can't enjoy them for many reasons. it fails miserably when it comes to it, it doesn't try to give an insight to the gambling world, nor the mentality of the gamblers. when you think of gambling, you'd expect it to be either psychological and smart, or an exciting thriller. but it turned out to be neither.
It's not smart since almost all the games are luck based, won through plot convenieces, or bullshit super hax skills such as photographic memory. and the way it deals with the "cheating" is very bad, there is no attempt at making the viewer an active part of the deducation of the cheating methods, since it's not showing anything until the last second, and we also never get an insight to how the orgasming girl managed to reach such deducations. oh, but we already know how! she read the script!
you can't call it a thriller either since there are no real stakes, it's already established that the protagonist is an overlord will win no matter what, and even if she did "lose", she has nothing to "lose" nor she acts like she does lose, since the only thing that'll happen is her falling into a dept making her a "slave" for the rest of the rich students (oh the horror), which she also had shown that she doesn't care about it, and it was shown that money holds no real value, and it comes and goes as easily as making an orgasming face, and even when they lose they still have the fortunes of their families. and even when it does have some real stakes, such as gambling with their lifes on the line, it turns out to be a troll, just some fake tension, as it's revealed that there was no danger in the first place.
The games are also very uninteresting, as they are either unnecessarily complex with barely anytime to explore or look at in an interesting way, since they are shown only once in a single episode then thrown in the backstage to never be elaborated on again. or they'd be too simple to be interesting. and all of them are dependant on luck so all the creativity and the variety in them is completely pointless, it's like having a closet with the same type of clothes with the only difference is their color.
I could go on about the ridiculousness of the show and the gambles, or where are the adults and teachers that allow such gamblings of fortunes to happen? why is carrying weapons, kidnapping permitted in this school?, why would you get abused and treated like an animal and happen to get a "life plan" if you lose?, what kind of political connetions the student council has?, why would they have such connections? aren't they just a bunch spoiled rich brats?
On a positive note (for once), Mappa created something pretty to look at, the character designs are nice when they don't make you cringe when they make orgasming faces, and the backgrounds are basic but good, it's true that the animation quality didn't last long, since Mappa might have had some financial problems, but they are still nice. sounds are simple but still good, but the BGM doesn't fit the show's edgy tone but is still some nice Jazz beats. all of which is just some superficial entertainment that means nothing if the real content is bad.
In the end this is only edgelord material, it's not deep or mature, nor even entertaining. it's basically edgy femdom yuri fapbait. you might say it could be a good time waster for beginners but i find it more of a waste of time. But even if you want to watch it as a time passer. there will be nothing to remember it for when it's finished, except for all the cringe. now excuse me as i count how many times i used the words edgy and cringy while making an orgasm face.
So, there’s this gambling den where people risk their future. Money is power in capitalism and the more you have the more powerful you become. Ok, it makes sense so far.
And then it stops making sense because the gambling den is a freaking high school, where the only thing that is not going on in there is learning. Everybody is acting like a horny lunatic and wants us to accept the educational system is fine with letting its young people become unstable gambling addicts.
The status quo is broken by a transfer student, of course, since that is the only reason to have high schools in modern anime. Instead of having to be creative, you just let the plot write itself by following the exact same formula every single time.
So, they gamble and the first game they play is a rehash from Kaiji, only with no strategy since there is no way to know how many cards of each type there are. Which means it’s all random bullshit. They try to make it sound like there are tactics because everyone is cheating, but it comes down to dumb luck and the horny protagonist finding a wau yo solve everything. Just because!
As much as the theme tries to be an allegory to the materialism of modern life, it fails to prove it by saying it all comes down to a lucky draw. Furthermore, for a gambling series, there is no actual tension, since the only thing that is at stake is money. Fortunes come and go in every episode, and although that seems to be ruining the lives of those who become broke, we never see the effects of it, besides becoming an errand boy for horny bitches in a high school. Woah, what a dreadful life it is to not have money, yet still going to a prestige school and doing a few chores for horny bitches who are probably having sex with you eventually.
If that wasn’t enough, the main girl in the show is so ridiculously rich to the point she doesn’t care how much money she wins or loses, therefore she is not really risking anything. Her objective has nothing to do with making money or making sure you are not going to lose them. The premise is betrayed almost immediately, since everybody gambles because they are addicted to gambling, and not because they risk everything for a better life, like in Kaiji.
The series is eventually fairly one-note. There is not variety in personalities, since everybody is the same closet psychopath. The games differ but play out with the exact same structure without connecting with one another, thus there is not much of a plot. There is not even much of a worthwhile objective. Every character is self-destructive, and has no long-term plans other than cumming in his underwear while gambling. It gets tiresome and cringy very fast.
Many try to defend the show as a psychological thriller and a character study, by making it sound like it’s all about the effects of gambling on rich people, as well as how the whole thing is a social experiment aiming to create a new breed of super humans. There is some of that present but it’s overshadowed by the constant ahegao faces everyone is making while playing these random games. It’s almost entirely a shitty ecchi series about people getting orgasms while gambling and the animation makes sure to point that out every 10 seconds. It’s sleazy fetishism with little to no substance, and those claiming it’s more than that, do it for the sole purpose of making it sound like the deviant crap they are watching are intellectual masterpieces.
Rewatch Kaiji and don’t even bother with this one.
God where do i even start,
First off if you can't handle some pretty weird shit then dont even bother.
this anime comes off as something that might as well be a masterpiece except for one thing
So of course the characters just have to be horny psychopaths with a winning fetish.
Seriously creators, did you really have to make the characters like this, really? The main character Yumeko seems like a normal human being, and you can tell everyone else is too, but god the first three episodes of this anime made me realize how the whole thing is gonne turn out. I mean sure you shouldn't judge by first impressions or anything, but the amount of just plain weirdness everytime they gamble is unsettling and frankly quite disturbing. Not to mention they are high school students.
Yeah I get it, this school is very Prestigious and is much different than your normal hgih school. But god forbid these people actually being humans and lets just make them distubing psychos. I mean come on I cannot be the only one who gets even a little bit weirded out by this:
However I do not have only bad things to say about this so don't pull the trigger yet.
While yes As i've explained it is weird I must admit that the storyline/art/animation/sound is all phenomenal. I think I will continue watching this for the sole reason of liking this kind of genre. Also while i did make a big deal out of the sexualness in this and how horny everyone gets I must admit it isn't that bad ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
All in all it gets a 7/10 for being what it is and not a ten out of ten for being what it is
This show is amazing. Definitely one of the best shows I've seen in a while.
*Something that I talked about in my last review of Sakura Quest and that I will address again here is the strong female cast. Besides Suzui, who act more as a narrative, almost all characters are female. And like in SQ, they are all very strong characters but it’s in a very different form. That is because all the female characters in Kakegurui are damn crazy, they are completely insane when it comes to gambling. But that is what made them so unique and it helped build the character of the anime itself.
For a video review, check out my Youtube channel. Link on my profile page.
And on top of all of them is, of course, our main character Yumeko. Yumeko was a fantastic character especially because of her double personality. In normal situations she seems really nice and naive but when the gambling starts she transforms into a monster which only wants to destroy its opponent. Yumeko is one of the strongest female characters that I have seen this year and I have seen quite a lot of them.
*My second positive point were the strategies that lied behind some of the gambles. This is something that I always enjoy in this kind of strategic, psychological anime. Because you can see that a lot of thought has been put into some of these gambles and the strategy behind them. The best one of these was the tournament about halfway through the anime. The strategy that Yumeko and Meari used was really well thought out and I had to watch it again to fully understand the extend of the smoke that they sprayed.
*And a final positive point is that the creators went through the trouble of creating an anime original ending. It’s not common to see an anime receiving an anime original ending when the manga still continues. Usually they just leave it at an open ending but here they made a special ending.
*Now despite me appreciating that there was an anime original ending in stead of an open ending, there was a problem with it. The ending, imo, was super weak. The final gamble between Yumeko and the president was without creativity and without any major thought gone into it. It was a game of luck. I was expecting a way more intense battle with a lot more psychological manipulation and hidden strategies.I found it way too weak for a final “boss” battle in a story.
And the outcome of the gamble was enormously weak. I felt like “Seriously?”. I was really disappointed by the end. And because of this outcome, it still feels like the story isn’t complete yet despite the anime original ending. The story doesn’t feel finished so it wasn’t that much better than an open ending.
*My final remark is that the events in Kakegurui become a bit repetitive over time. Almost every gamble follows the same path: Yumeko’s opponent is cheating to win, Yumeko looses the first round to figure out how and then uses that to her advantage to win. Especially a lot of the gambles in the early stages of the anime follow this path.
So as a conclusion, Kakegurui’s concept was very interesting and for the most part it was also executed very well. Only the ending was kind of a let down since it felt that they just wanted to force that final battle into the anime but it eventually didn’t matter. But overall I enjoyed Kakegurui and especially the insane female cast. So I’m going to rate Kakegurui at 4 stars. Unfortunately a second season of this anime seems unlikely since they made an anime original ending.