A Friends Sacrifice in Kaiji – 12 Days of Anime Christmas Day 1

I may discuss terrible and twisted topics in the next upcoming 12 days however I wanted to set today aside to remember what this whole challenge is all about, um so friendship I guess. Friendship in the midst of terrible and twisted things, only by sheer coincidence.

In the face of horrific danger and a way to be free of your families extreme debt it’s difficult to remain composed and stick together. Especially if you need to cross a 74m beam which will electrify you if you touch it across the top of two skyscrapers. You may think that this is a crazy situation which I’ve made up but in Kaiji it happens.

When you’re in a situation such as this a combination of looking down, wind, terrible balance, and bending of the beam can cause immense stress and panic. Let’s also imagine that many people are with you on this beam and lots of them have already died, screaming as they fell to their deaths. I can imagine a combination of all these things would trouble many people to say the least.

In the show people are given tickets to redeem large amounts of money, but they can only be redeemed if they cross the beam. Two people on the beam are Kaiji and Ishida, and it’s Ishida’s sacrifice I want to focus on. He made his family poor by gambling and wants to help them, but he knows he cannot cross the bridge, his mental state is messed up and he is swaying constantly, it really doesn’t look good. He knows he can’t cross it so he gives his note to Kaiji from behind and asks him to pay off his family’s debts for him. Now this isn’t exactly a sacrifice but the fact that Kaiji accepts shows the strength of his sacrifice. Ishida says that he’s going to stay still for a while before dropping, he also tells him not to look back.

So Kaiji carries on forward, looking for something to motivate Ishida as he goes, suddenly he finds it but Ishida isn’t there, he’s gone. He jumped in silence, off a beam the height of a skyscraper to protect Kaiji’s mind. If you heard your friend dying there is no way you’d be able to cross the beam, so by remaining in silence Ishida tried his best until the end to give Kaiji the ultimate chance of survival.

It was a brilliant and emotional moment to not just show the brilliant friendship of Ishida and Kaiji, who still only really know each other from playing these immensely difficult games, but also the corruptness of the society they’re forced to live in. Whilst Kaiji did practice gambling before being wrapped up in these schemes he only found himself in a terrible situation because his friend co-signed a loan and completely vanished on him.

The show is full of tragedy and disdain, but the fact that friendship can still play a key role in it is an important lesson for people to take to heart.

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