Kakegurui Episode 1 Review

Since the new anime season starts in July I thought I’d start reviewing some episodes as it seems to be the done thing around here. Since I know this will come out late compared to everyone else’s episode review I’ll put extra effort in to make sure it’s good, and hopefully better.

My enthusiasm for this episode changed dramatically. On the one hand I dislike most high school anime but I also really love high stakes scenarios such as the ones presented in gambling. I thought the fan service and school setting was pretty dull but the gambling made me have hopes for the series as it continued.

The new transfer student Yumeko is forced to gamble with an extremely rich and powerful student who has the main character as a slave to pay his debts. She’s made to look like an imposing villain but that really didn’t come across. The reason why gambling shows such as Kaiji are so well loved is due to the psychology and mind games with the enemy, I love listening too and watching the thought process of the characters as they make they’re actions. Even mainstream anime like death note and no game no life have this heavy emphasis on the thought processes of their characters, so I know we all love it!

So I was naturally a little disappointed when we just got to see the game without really hearing what the characters were thinking. If the evilness of Saotome (the opposition to Yumeko) didn’t give it away then the fact that she only wins on high stakes bets shows that she’s rigging the game in some way.

The game is a different version of rock, paper, scissors (reminding you of any gambling anime in particular…) and a voting system. The classmates pick a card, put it in the box and the players pick three cards and play one. It’s a good opening game for an anime of this nature but it’s not that interesting because we can piece out a lot of the things that’s going to happen. Or at least I could because I’m a fan of the genre and know what tends to happen in these kind of situations.

After the rock, paper, scissors game is over it’s revealed that the main character was helping Saotome, meaning that it wouldn’t really be possible to get into anyone’s head.  This whole episode reminded me with akagi, which goes to great lengths to hide what the main characters doing whilst still keeping a layer of strategy.

It does this through the side characters theorising, advising and thinking what they’d do or even just seeing the entire round from the opponent’s perspective to keep us in the dark. This both creates the psychological warfare which I love, and keeps the air of mystery that takes place in the games. Unfortunately though, I don’t think this will happen in this anime due to the reactions of the characters during the game.

These characters are supposed to be gambling experts who know a lot about gambling, it would make sense to see people acknowledge this instead of just react in surprise to everything.

The premise of the show at the end of the episode promises that the main character will attempt to win back all his money to not be in debt. This makes me think that this show will be more like Kaiji than anything else. I can see him struggling yet doing something dramatic last minute to win.

I think the quality of this show could go either way. I could love it or hate it. It really depends on the gambling games and the strategy behind them that will determine my enjoyment of the rest of the series.

So for me to really love this show it needs to have several things in the future. The first thing being convincing gamblers, everyone needs to have good decisions for making the decisions that they make. As an example Saotome entering that final round of the game was a stupid and ridiculous thing to happen. Every single gambler knows that people do that when they’re extremely confident on their victory, and every gambler against them wouldn’t join the round unless they found out the strategy that the opposition was going to use so they themselves could steal the money. Saotome completely stupidly ignores this and takes the fight out of pride even though she’s uncertain. If the show wants my attention in the future it needs to stop things like this from happening even if it does this by forcing the opposition to stay in the round.

Another obvious thing is the games. Akagi falls flat due it’s repetitive game (though it’s very entertaining at first) and it seems like everyone dislikes the end of Kaiji season two due to the nature of the game. They need to be fun and challenging. I love the idea of taking simple games (e.g Rock,paper, scissors) and making them more complicated to see the hidden strategy behind them and how people deal with this. I’d also love cheating! My favourite thing in these games is seeing both sides cheat and one side wining because they cheated better. Cheating can be really entertaining as it’s fun to see it turned against the cheater and it’s also fun to try and work it all out.

Lastly I’ve got to end up liking the main character, right now he’s not a fun guy to watch gamble. He’s not a master strategist or a person who believes in themselves strongly. I’ve not had much time with him yet so he could be good (I hope so) but right now I’m not feeling it.

Overall I’m glad that this episode is so popular this season as it is at least in the genres that I like. If you loved this anime and want to watch things similar to it, I couldn’t recommend all of the shows I’ve name-dropped here enough.

Thank you for reading this post from JEARETTAS Day 21! If you have any episode suggestions for me to review then you are unfortunately too late. But don’t worry, you can search the JEARETTAS archive for something you might like anyway!


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