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.

Kakegurui Episode 2: Lots of remembering

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I think I’m getting into the swing of this series. Aside from the specific mechanism, the flow of the game this week was pretty easy to follow. The episode also formally introduces the school system as full-on focused on gambling. It’s pretty casual about how gambling skill is supposed to correlate with leadership abilities, but I’ll leave that aside. The student council also acts as a pretty convenient set of targets for our main character. These parts of the episode weren’t too surprising.

It might have just been the translation, but the description of the school gambling system didn’t feel consistent. A caste system based on gambling makes a lot of sense for this series, but my understanding is that the student council payment is manner by which people move through these castes. However, Ryouta also mentions that the concept of a house pet existed before the current student council president took over and implemented the payment system. So how were the castes determined before? Evaluation by teachers?

As for the game itself, the episode did a decent job of eliminating possibilities. While I couldn’t guess exactly how Itsuki was cheating, it was made pretty clear when the random spectator pointed out that both players hadn’t made any mistakes. Given that Itsuki hadn’t made an offhand statement about that to Yumeko, it suggested that she wasn’t particularly surprised that Yumeko was able to memorize the cards. It’s meant to show that they’re on relatively equal footing, so the only remaining factor is luck. If the chance to win is equal, then Itsuki has to be cheating.

I was also surprised by Yumeko’s innocent act in this episode. It feels like something that can’t work forever, so we’ll see how much it gets played out.

I did have one quick question about the house pet system. If every house pet of the same gender is given the same pet name, how do they handle situations where multiple house pets are in the same class? It seems strange that this isn’t more common given the power structure of the show.

I still struggle with watching Yumeko as a character. I get that she’s intentionally exaggerated because it fits the show, but her torture-level bets remind me a lot of Akagi Shigeru and I much preferred his presentation. Maybe I’ll get used to it.

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.

Little Witch Academia Final Episode (25): Magic saves the world

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As much as I’ve complained about this series overall, this final episode felt really strong. It felt like a good wrap-up for everything that’s been happening in the series. There was a lot of good hype and good scenes in the episode, and it felt like it had a good sense of past events, from the broom throwback to the big battle where Akko uses the spell she’s practiced the most to fight the missile. My opinion of this series has really turned around from what it was in the first half, so I’m glad I stuck it out in this season despite adding an extra show to my schedule. This show turned out to be a lot better than I expected it would be.

What’s the point of showing the missile on this guy’s phone if some random aide is going to tell him about the missile immediately after we see it? Also, is Croix’s app specifically showing the footage of this missile? That’s pretty twisted, man. Plus, I don’t understand how this video is even being recorded. Sigh…magic, I guess.

Apparently, you can overcome the security system of a program with brute force alone. Wait, that might have been the wrong choice of words.

I can literally hear Uncle from Jackie Chan saying “magic must defeat magic” when I’m reading this line. No one’s going to get that reference…

Also, I just want to throw out that we saw earlier that Chariot was able to hit the moon with a shot from the Shiny Arc. We’ll just ignore that fact. Plus, the missile is a moving target and Akko isn’t that bright, so the plan probably wouldn’t work anyway.

Oh I see now. There are nine witches if you include Croix and Chariot, but there are only seven stars on the Shiny Rod, so two must be left behind. I’m going to assume that this is intentionally done because it’s really cool.

Haha they turned the giant broom into a multi-stage rocket. Fair enough.

This guy’s logic makes no sense. He’s unwilling to inform the other country about the incoming missile because he doesn’t expect the other country to believe that they didn’t fire the missile. However, he somehow believes that they will bear no responsibility for the damage caused by the missile. Didn’t you just say that they would believe that you were the ones who fired the missile? What happened to that? Make up your mind.

Hmm…I see 4chan, Twitter, Niconico, Youtube, the BBC, and Facebook. Did I do this right?

Urgh, I really shouldn’t be surprised that the power of belief is what gives Akko and Diana enough magic to fight the monster, but it still hurts. That’s not my main point. I don’t see how this speech from Chariot works. She refers to a dangerous monster, but the general public have only seen a giant missile. Is there a reason why they would rally behind two witches trying to fight some random monster? Why not specifically say that they’re going to stop the missile?

Even Andrew has his moment.

That’s a hell of a throwback.

I have to admit that this attack is pretty hype.

That’s actually a pretty good way to end.

Final Score: 8/10

Little Witch Academia Episode 24: Closing the loop

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I stand by my disappointment with how this story has gone, but I still think that this episode did a decent job of wrapping things up. I didn’t really have any issues with Chariot and Akko’s reconciliation. On the other side of things, I’m not sure how I feel about Croix turning into a redeemable character. I would have been more convinced if last week’s episode didn’t set her up as a perpetually jealous character who was sabotaging Chariot from the beginning. I guess I’m just not convinced. Anyway, we’ll see how everything goes next week.

I don’t doubt that improving magic with science is possible in a world with magic, but it’s still a pretty funny thing to say.

Wow…they even added a lightsaber hum. This scene went full Star Wars.

I’m so surprised about this entrance that I’m questioning why Chariot didn’t bring in the other professors earlier. Though based on her reaction to their entrance, Chariot probably didn’t call them here.

Despite a huge boost of energy from human emotion, Croix still needs to drain the leyline of its magic. It’s probably because it makes it harder for the other witches to stop her or because she needs even more energy, but we’ll save that for later explanation.

Also, how convenient that Akko and friends are in the leyline when the magic goes out, which put them in Arcturus Forest in the very first episode. It’s like we’re coming all the way back around.

I wasn’t expecting a physical object to represent the world reconstruction magic, but I guess it’s just a stick.

I would say something about this scene, but I’ve met people who think this way, so I really can’t complain.

The one time the big death machine doesn’t have a self-destruct sequence…

This might actually be interesting. At first, I assumed that the Noir Rod went crazy because it received too much negative emotion, but I wanted it to be linked with Croix’s own emotional instability. Since Chariot never once triggered the Fuel Spirit, she’s probably doing the same now. So the Noir Wand probably isn’t rebelling against its master. It’s targeting another source of Fuel Spirit energy.

We really are coming full circle.

This feels like a familiar message…

I have to admit that the brief silence and “clicking” sound effect that happens right before the magic fully activates made me wonder if the spell would work on the first try. It was funnier than I expected it to be.

Hold on. We need to solve one last crisis before we’re done here.

Little Witch Academia Episode 23: Renewed hope?

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This episode had more worried for a bit. I was disappointed with Chariot’s story in the beginning of the episode, but I liked Diana’s conversation with Akko near the end. I guess I was expecting a bit more from Chariot’s background than what we got, so it felt like wasted potential. That being said, I’m still curious to see where the series will go with the final Word. Based on the quote from the Shiny Chariot card that Diana gives to Akko, I wonder if the final Word has to do with trusting someone else. Maybe Akko needs to entrust the final Word to Diana in order to make it work. That could be a fun way to end things.

Diana’s on the case! Since Diana knows that Ursula left to find Akko, her actions make a lot of sense. I always appreciate scenes like this.

This seems familiar.

This explanation of Chariot’s backstory is overall pretty disappointing so far. First off, Croix’s dissent is literally boiled down to jealousy about the Shiny Rod. The earlier reveals suggested there was more to Croix than that, but it seems like that’s all we get.

More importantly, I feel like there could have been more interesting ways to explain Chariot’s use of Dream Fuel Spirit. At the end of the day, Croix is just the ultimate villain of the series, tricking Chariot into using unsafe magic. I was thinking that the nature of her shows might force her to resort to using an alternate means of fueling her magic, since she couldn’t carry a Sorcerer’s Stone around with her. Alternatively, there could have just been a darker side to Chariot in the past…that would have worked too.

This entire scene suggests that Chariot only used the Dream Fuel Spirit on one show. I get why that might weigh on her conscience, but that seems like an honest mistake.

I’m not sure I’m willing to buy into this “more magic means more entertainment” idea. It feels like a general lack of resource management and creativity from Chariot. I suppose it’s stated that she isn’t a great witch, so that might make sense. I wonder if this scene is trying to suggest that Akko succeeds in that respect, using what little magic she can muster to provide entertainment.

She knows!

Ouch, Diana is coming up pretty big in this scene. I found it impressive enough that she didn’t flip out at Ursula taking her magic as a child. This line is just adding even more.

Diana’s probably the best character to find Akko in this situation.

I like how the scene blows past this revelation. It adds to the story, but there’s no reason to dwell on it.

I’m enjoying this conversation between Diana and Akko. Diana’s position is almost like a future state for Akko. She can see the paths that Akko and essentially gives her preference.

You could say that Diana believes in Akko’s heart that believes in her.

I can’t see this ending well.

Little Witch Academia Episode 22: The truth

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Phew…that was a hell of an episode. This second half of the series has really been a completely different series if you compare it to the first half. I was definitely not expecting the Shiny Chariot reveal to play out like this. I take back every complaint I made about Ursula’s reluctance to tell Akko her secret. This reveal does such a great job of explaining so many elements of the series, like Akko’s lack of magical skill and the general disdain for Shiny Chariot in the magical world. It even explains why Diana lost her magic as a child. I’m glad that this series was hiding such an interesting underlying story. I’m definitely curious where this goes, because I’m guessing Chariot had a reason for using the Dream Fuel Spirit. Croix’s not completely off the hook yet.

You sure about that? There are still three episodes left? You probably don’t want to rush it.

I’m sure that Croix has a hand in all of this, but it’s still pretty silly that countries are going to war over the outcome of a soccer game. That would definitely never happen in real life…right? Plus, the whole “goal/no goal” thing makes it sound like it was a dispute about a decision that the game officials made. Why would it spark enmity between nations?

Am I the only person who’s a little too suspicious about the fact that Ursula says “almost” here?

I would get mad, but they showed us Diana in the scene right before this one. It was practically a given that she would intrude on this meeting right as Ursula was about to tell Akko about Shiny Chariot. We have to save that for the climax, right?

The “almost” strikes! Nice to see that last week’s episode didn’t magically fix everything.

They’re friends now!

Using youtube videos to spark controversy? Where have I seen this before?

Also “discription”.

While I don’t disagree with Croix’s statement that the anger comes from within the citizens, I’m pretty sure we’ve already seen evidence that she was provoking them. Anger is a normal thing, but she threw gas on the fire.

I’m kinda curious about what the master plan is. You gather a bunch of magic and do what with it?

It’s happening!

Come again?