Kakegurui Final Episode (12): That’s one way to do it

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As far as endings go, I feel like I have to be critical as this one. Thinking back, resolving the battle against the president in a single episode is a strange idea. I think this kinda adds to why the drawn ending ends up being unsatisfying. It’s true that a more conclusive ending would have been even more of a disappointment, but this ending is pretty much a tease. Maybe that fits the show, but still…

Either way, this ending opens the series up to a second season. I guess that’s fair, but I had heard this was an anime original ending. It seems a bit counterintuitive.

I think a lot of why this episode rubbed me the wrong way stems from how the president talked. All of this mention of destiny and fate gave her too much of a “zen spiritualist” persona that didn’t seem to fit with someone supposedly on par with Yumeko. It also seemed to rub in the ending for me. Not only was it a tie, but it was destined to be a tie.

Giving Suzui the final play in the series seemed…okay. It seemed a bit strange to me at first, but I think the scene made up for it. I quite liked this shot with Yumeko guiding him.

At the end of the day, I still don’t understand this character (whose name I’ve forgotten). I get that she worships the president and all, but what exactly was she put in to do? I was honestly expecting her to cheat on the president’s behalf to give her some purpose in the show. She seemed to be getting some setup in the previous games against Yumemi and Manyuda, but it all died when the president returned.

As a side note, I found this scene hilarious. Suzui’s “confession” was mostly underwhelming, but this reaction was funnier than I expected.

Final Score: 7/10 Certainly had its flaws, but enjoyable overall

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Kakegurui Episode 11: Stakes are getting higher

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This week’s episode went back to being a bit more predictable. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because it makes the twists a bit more satisfying. Some of the recent ones have just felt confusing.

That being said, I definitely didn’t see the president’s return. I would argue, though, that I don’t really understand what her reveal accomplished in the game. Was she really the only person who could legitimize Sumeragi’s bet? It felt more like she was only there to set up a final showdown with Yumeko.

Interestingly enough, this week’s episode shows its hand when Yumeko literally shows her hand. That was kind of a nice touch. I had to either accept that Sumeragi was stupid enough to give away her desperation or smart enough to realize that she was brought up to help trick Manyuda. Given her resolve from the previous episode, it made more sense for her to provide the contributing factor in the gamble. Ripping out all of her fingernails might have been a bit overkill, though.

When you really get down to it, Manyuda effectively lost because he expected Yumeko to use the exact same strategy that she used in the previous hand, discarding a good hand to get a losing hand. Why exactly did he think she would do the same thing again? I guess I was hoping for a bit more out of him.

The supernova discussion seemed a bit strange, but I guess it works. It seems like a simple comparison for the point that the president was trying to make. It probably just has to do with admiring the brilliance of a “life” in its dying state.

Kakegurui Episode 10: Bringing in the money

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I admit I might have brushed Sumeragi aside a bit while I was watching these episodes. I didn’t expect the focus of the two games we’ve seen to ultimately be about bringing her over to Yumeko’s side. However, her addition to the game makes sense given the kind of game it is.

As everyone pointed out in this episode, this style of poker relies heavily on the amount of money each player has. Sumeragi’s only real defining feature so far is her father’s money, so she acts as a perfect money pot to even the odds for Yumeko.

Once again, this series has me hopeful with Manyuda. While the nature of the game is currently in his favor, he hasn’t made any crazy moves yet. He seems to be relying on his intellect to win the game. That would make this game potentially the only game that’s actually a mental battle, as Manyuda struggles to figure out any pattern in the wild nature of Yumeko. At least, that’s the direction I hope this game is taking.

While I didn’t have much of an opinion on Sumeragi before this episode, I thought her flashback in the end was pretty entertaining. It seemed to paint the student council and Manyuda in a good light right before she rejects them in favor of backing Yumeko. It makes sense too, since she’s realizing Manyuda didn’t see her as a comrade.

I want to touch on this scene too on the side. I’m not sure if this is just a translation thing, but were we ever told before this that house pets only get a single forced match? I never got that sense when it was originally described, but Sumeragi’s statement about wasting the match makes it sound like Yumeko only has one. And given that house pets are treated like trash, it would make sense that they can’t constantly challenge other students. But are they only telling us this now or is it something that I missed?

Kakegurui Episode 9: Trust the dice

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I wasn’t really having much fun watching this week’s episode. I thought the game in this episode was pretty boring overall. It might partly have to do with idol variety shows not fully clicking with me, but I think it’s mostly that the presentation of the game was boiled down to a bunch of dice rolls for the most part.

However, the end of the episode made it seem like this week’s game was only meant to be a precursor for the real game next week, so I’m hoping that makes up for things. It would be cool if the next game incorporated elements from this week’s game.

If Yumeko was telling the truth about relying solely on luck to win this game, then this might be the luckiest she’s ever been. I mean, it fits her character and the story, but those odds seem astronomical. Let’s not forget the die roll that she had to get right at reduced odds. I was expecting at least some other trick to it.

There’s another piece to the month guess thing that I was expecting to be part of the explanation in this episode. While it’s true that 6 and 9 are the best digits for perpetrating Yumeko’s ruse, there’s another level to them. As an aside, I want to mention that you could probably cause the same confusion with the numbers 1 and 11 (by pretending to write the second 1). But choosing 6 also gives you more win conditions in this game because you would be the closest month if the correct answer is anywhere from January to July, covering 7 months.

I don’t even know what to make of the fan club’s response to the recording of Yumemi. Maybe this is some kind of reference to idol fan culture, but I know pretty much nothing about that. I suppose the fan club, being the most devoted, would have the highest probability of accepting the recording. It’s just hard for me to understand the thought process.

Kakegurui Episode 8: Idol worship

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Well, this week’s episode was pretty much all setup for the actual game next week. Even with that in mind, I’m not really looking forward to next week’s episode. The idea of a popularity contest or some kind of idol competition doesn’t sound too appealing on its face. Hopefully, there’s more to it, but I guess I’m just skeptical for now.

This letter seemed to set off most of the big moments in this episode, which is part of what made it disappointing to me. Yumeko seems perfectly capable herself, so it seems strange that she would need help from someone else to face Yumemi. And just to be sure, was it the hoodie girl who sent the letter? Based on timing of scenes, she seems to be the most likely candidate, but I wasn’t sure if that was the intended interpretation.

If I were to take anything from this episode, I’d say there’s probably something going on about online celebrity here. Even if Yumemi is impressively popular online, does that really translate to anything to close to an Academy Award? I’ve always seen online fame as something completely separate than normal media fame, even if it’s slowly getting to the point of equivalence. But hey…this guy’s strategy counts as legitimate views, right?

As a final note, I do want to say that I think that the idol battle itself isn’t totally out of nowhere for a show like this. Yumeko is pretty good at putting forth a fake persona to cover up her crazy side, so the battle seems to fit her well. We’ll just have to see where it goes.

Kakegurui Episode 7: Heavy reversals

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While I liked how Midari and Yumeko were contrasted in this episode, I had a hard time watching it. I’m guessing that this was intentional since the episode was meant to show an uglier side (it even had the horror show basement setting). I’ve just never been a fan of that kind of thing.

In some ways, I agree with Yumeko’s assessment of the game. I thought it might be the first time that Yumeko would face someone who would actually play the game out of sheer enjoyment of the random nature. Instead, the game ended up being pretty similar to other games. The only exception is that Midari rigged the game to end in her loss rather than her win. I guess her insanity was supposed to make up for that fact.

I liked Yumeko’s reaction to Midari overall. I think it was pretty easy to compare the two given that they both seem to ignore the bet when they’re gambling. Yumeko’s rejection was a nice reference to this assumption as the episode proceeded to explain why the two were different.

And Yumeko has a fair point. I don’t particularly enjoy playing games against people who are trying to lose either. Yumeko probably wants to face her opponent on relatively equal ground and hopes that the random nature of gambling decides the outcome. The fact that Yumeko is compared to the president makes me a bit nervous, though. It makes me wonder if we’re getting more of the same until that “final showdown”.

On the side, I thought it was nice that Mary rejected the student council president’s invitation, but it made me wonder why any of the others in the student council even accepted. I suppose they just heavily admire the president’s personality or something (similar to how people are starting to fawn over Yumeko). But at the end of the day, a “strong sense of justice” has nothing to do with it. If I were in the situation, I wouldn’t want to join the council just to cater to the president’s whims. Are they just there to please her?

Kakegurui Episode 6: Getting more insane

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This episode was refreshing in its own way because of how Midari was introduced. I’m still not sure if the timing of her introduction in the earlier episode made sense, but it really adds to the game in this episode. Because of her parallels with Yumeko, she becomes pretty much the first character so far who would be incredibly unlikely to cheat. It makes this game harder to read because we’re no longer looking for the cheating method of the person who created the game (who would know the game the best).

As for how the game will be handled itself, the preview already gives away that Midari didn’t get her gun. To be fair, this is also an anime and Yumeko is the protagonist, but let’s not get carried away. Yumeko doesn’t seem to be the type of person to bluff, so I’m guessing she found some way to distinguish the guns. Her final comment was probably meant to indicate that she knew it was her gun. Maybe it means that she also rigged the gun to backfire or something too? Not sure.

Taking a step back, the beginning of the episode felt weird to me. I know it was pretty obvious that Mary would give Yumeko the winnings from last week, but it felt like such a casual thing in this episode. Did I misunderstand something in the previous episode? But that aside, the whole piece about Yumeko wanting to stay a house pet to take advantage of the official matches didn’t come as too much of a surprise. I think I said something along those lines earlier in this series.

This comment from Suzui also ties into another question I’ve been meaning to ask. Does Yumeko actually consider her loss in the roulette game to be a true loss to the student council president? I get that she’s pretty methodical, but should she really have expected the president to interfere? And if it really is a true loss in her eyes, I wish the show would give me a better sense of why the president is so capable that she’s able to outwit Yumeko. If all she needed was the element of surprise, that could have been literally anybody.

Just putting this here for no real reason.

Kakegurui Episode 5: Debts flying everywhere

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I’m not sure whether it was a translation issue or the split into two episodes, but the debt transfer in this game definitely took some research to understand. I think I have a handle on it now, though. Mary self-reported a debt of 260 million to Ryouta, which led the student council to pay him the 260 million so that they could assume Mary’s full reported debt of 310 million. That debt then got transferred from the student council over to Kiwatari when the game concluded.

Second place and third place ended up being simpler than expected since Tsubomi reported the second-highest debt and Yumeko reported the third-highest debt. As such, their debts didn’t change. Yumeko still owes her full 310 million. The series has pretty much shown that she doesn’t care about her debt, though, so I’m actually not sure whether Mary will give her the 260 million she received from Ryouta or not. I’m not even sure which scenario I would find better.

Now that the debt-related conversation is out of the way, I’m not sure I was totally on board with the rest of the episode. Tsubomi’s betrayal was pretty good because they set it up and gave her strong motivation, but Kiwatari just felt like an idiot the whole time. His reactions to the bluffs seemed really simplistic and he just kept getting further characterized as a terrible person who deserved to lose.

The fact that Yumeko isn’t swayed by money makes her an interesting wild card in this series. The twist of this game ended up being the most unexpected one so far. I wasn’t sure how they were going to declare a winner with two major characters in a table, but it makes a lot more sense if Yumeko doesn’t care. I honestly expected her to be freed from debt out of the sheer fact that she’s the main character.

Oh yeah…this whole “leading Tsubomi to the light” thing was a nice touch.

Kakegurui Episode 4: Back to poker

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I’m shifting the schedule around because there’s no episode of Re:Creators this week.

This episode is really keeping things fresh for the series. This is the first game where the game itself wasn’t decided by one of the players, allowing for a more even cheating ground. It’s also the first game that isn’t a straight one-on-one and it’s potentially the first time we see Yumeko cheating (if she’s really working with Mary). So far, Yumeko has taken advantage of her opponents, but this episode seems to be suggesting some potential collusion.

That being said, the scenario proposed in this episode seemed a bit strange. I honestly wasn’t expecting Mary and Yumeko to be put into the same group because the group system doesn’t seem very great for teamwork. Since they’re not gaining any money and only one debt is forgiven, what bargaining chips do the players have for working together?

The game itself is also a little confusing, since the fact that you can’t see both of your cards seems to make it really tough to play as strategically as you would in a normal poker format. Given what the organizer said about cheating, it’s like the game is designed to encourage the players to cheat. The best way to get a handle on the game is to have someone else tell you what card you have.

Did anyone else find the introduction of Ikishima Midari to be a bit strange in this episode? She doesn’t really have much purpose in the game, so why is she appearing? Does she have some hidden influence? Or is she just being set up as the next person in line to face Yumeko? It’s true that she seems to be very similar to Yumeko in terms of their approaches to gambling, so she could be an interesting addition.

I’m curious to see how this game will go. From my eyes, it’s obvious that Kiwatari’s supposed to be the weakest player at the table despite his initial boasting. I refuse to believe that the deadpan girl filling the fourth slot is just a random side character with no purpose in the game.

Kakegurui Episode 3: Life or Death Nyan

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This episode was really good, but not for the part I was expecting. Having Yumeko lose a game is a development that I welcomed, but I feel like it’s undermined by the student council president’s intervention. I understand that the point was probably to set her up as a worthy opponent for Yumeko, but it cheapens Yumeko’s loss.

Someone like Yumeko, who is willing to throw caution to the wind in order to increase the excitement in the game, should lose games naturally (in my eyes, at least). It’s not really a matter of realism. I just think it fits her insane and volatile nature. I feel like I would have been perfectly fine watching her completely deconstruct the game to point where she even convinced her opponent that she had won just to fall to chance…but maybe I’m alone in that thought.

All of that being said, I thought the progression of the game was presented in a really interesting way. First off, Mary is shown losing the game, and we’re given insight into her thoughts as she’s losing. I was going to criticize her for believing that the game was fair despite the obvious disparity in winnings, but Yumeko later acknowledges Mary’s inability to find the cheat and incorporates it into her own analysis. Yumeko acknowledges that Mary is skilled enough to see a cheat that heavily influences win percentage (like the one that Mary used herself) and is able to conclude that the cheat must only slightly favor her opponent.

And let’s be honest. The minute the game was shown to have a dealer shuffling the swords, it was pretty obvious that she was the one manipulating the outcome.

Another “setup” piece of this episode was the explanation about house pet gambles. It’s stated that house pets are allowed to force a game as long as the bet is “reasonable”. That’s sufficiently vague to suggest that there will be a future abuse of that rule. Now that Yumeko is a house pet, she’s perfectly positioned to be responsible for that abuse. We’ll see how that one turns out, though.

House pet Yumeko is here for no reason in particular. *cough*

Overall, this was another fun episode. This series has been pretty enjoyable to watch so far and I’m looking forward to seeing more.