Kakegurui First Impressions (1): Gambling is fun

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Alright, let’s start out the new season with a fun one. Kakegurui at first glance reminds me a lot of a series I read a while back called Gamble Fish. Both stories revolve around a gambling-obsessed main character who enters an elite school that effectively promotes gambling among the students. Let me get this out of the way first. I found this first episode to be really entertaining even if it felt familiar. I think Yumeko is presented with just the right amount of crazy to avoid feeling overbearing.

Let’s talk about the game. I definitely appreciate putting a twist on a game as simple as rock, paper, scissors by adding a limit to how each player chooses what to play. I thought that Yumeko’s play style was pretty obviously probing, given the massive swing in her bet sizes. But I also think that the episode did a good job of setting her up as the harmless transfer student to give Mary a good reason not to suspect her.

I do want to voice a particular concern about Yumeko, though. I was hoping there would be more to her win in this episode than just being lucky enough to draw the scissors. I understand that gambling will ultimately rely on a measure of luck, but something about that doesn’t sit well with me. To give a more concrete analogy, Akagi Shigeru was someone with extremely good luck, but I always got the sense that he was calculating behind his luck, rather than relying on it to make the situation more entertaining. It might work for this series, but it feels strange initially.

This was a very quick scene, but I wanted to point it out. When I first saw it, I thought that Mary was breaking the fourth wall to insult Yumeko. On second thought, I realized that you could also make the argument that she was talking to her lackeys standing behind her. I believe this is intentional because it frames the expressions used in this episode differently.

The facial expressions that the characters make in this episode are very noticeably exaggerated. But based on this fourth wall scene, I think that we’re being told that these expressions exist only for the audience to see. That’s why they’re exaggerated and why they’re largely ignored by the characters in the series.

So that’s all I’ve got on this first impression. I’m looking forward to seeing more of this series, especially the games that the characters will be playing. I also wanted to try a different format for this post. Let me know what you think…whether it be about the episode or the post format.

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4 thoughts on “Kakegurui First Impressions (1): Gambling is fun”

    1. gamble fish felt like the more appropriate pick in this situation because of the similar school setting and main character. kaiji always came off as someone who was forced into the world of gambling instead of someone who thrived in it. plus, kaiji felt more gritty about how it presented the games, while kakegurui and gamble fish felt more theatrical about it.

      Liked by 1 person

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