Kakegurui | Worth Watching?

Is it worth? Who knows! I’ll let you decide, but first, you’ll need to give it a watch 🙂

The first episode definitely will get you into the mood as we meet Yumeko Jabami, the main protagonist and new transfer student. While Jabami may seem like an ordinary girl at first glance, it’s easy to notice how far she is from normal once she gets herself involved in gambling games. The show chronicles her school days as she takes on opponents with high risk. I mean, it’s gambling. There’s always risk but what’s peculiar about Jabami is that she gambles for the thrill of it rather than for fame or money. In addition, the show makes it clear that Jabami is intelligent as she quickly learns the inside and outside of the school’s gambling games. In fact, there are episodes where Jabami beats her opponents at their own game.

However, I can’t firmly say that Jabami’s personality is one that people can appreciate. She is highly unpredictable and truly enjoys the thrill of gambling. From every episode, she has orgasmic reactions when she thinks about gambling. To a certain extent, the show truly wants us to accept Jabami for who she is but I find it difficult to do so. The reason she gambles is irrational and I can hardly find her relatable to anyone. Not to mention, this show doesn’t do an adequate job of getting viewers to understand her better. Her morality regarding gambling is absurd and really lacks reason. She just wants to gamble and treats it as the most exciting thing in the world. I also have to confess that Jabami’s character change from an elegant beauty to a psychotic freak to be difficult to watch at times. In retrospect, Jabami has a lot of flaws in her character and this show doesn’t do a decent job at repairing them.

Beyond Jabami, the majority of the cast isn’t far off from their psychotic characteristics. Mary Saotome, the first gambling opponent of Jabami at the school shows her own crazy antics. The majority of the student council has various characters ranging from the mysterious president Kirari Momobami, the violent head of Beautification Committee Midari Ikishima, the calculating Kaede Manyuda, part-time idol Yumemi Yumemite, nail loving Itsuki Sumeragi, and among others.

The show tries to make them appealing by injecting their personalities in the most devious way possible. What we get as a result are weak background stories, generic characteristics, and abominable morals. To me, these characters are pretty much all the same and serve as an obstacle to Jabami. The show has Jabami fighting against some of the key members of the student council but the result usually ends up being extremely predictable. To be quite honest, the anime itself is nothing short but predictable from the start. Even though Jabami isn’t invulnerable to losing, it doesn’t make us feel anything about her situation when she does. Jabami herself doesn’t even seem to care and in many ways, the show tries to express offbeat ideas that come out as uninspiring.

Character relationships in this anime is also very questionable. The most normal character at the school would probably be Ryouta Suzui, one of Jabami’s very few allies. He has a very lack-luster personality and I honestly feel like this show would be much better if he didn’t exist. His relationship with Jabami is easily forgettable as the two are very polar opposites. Others also make him look like a fool and to be quite honest, it’s pretty much what he is. That being said, the show makes it clear that the society has many fools. Thanks to the hierarchy that the student council president has made, there are those that are labeled as “house pets”. Essentially, house pets are those that sink into large debts and are mistreated by the public. Why? It’s the simplicity of social status.

Unfortunately, we never really get a full understanding on why this system exists as the show focuses way too much on Jabami’s gambling adventures than anything else. It’s one of the major weakness of the show as everything seems to be about Jabami. The show is like a loop with the same formula. Jabami faces off against an opponent, plays against them at their own game, and gets the orgasmic thrills of it. It becomes tedious fast and lacks substance because of Jabami’s morals. I also don’t really find the games themselves to be thrilling as most are predictable. The games puts emphasis on psychology rather than strategy so don’t expect this show to be smart in any way. I mean, a good majority of the gamblers cheat, manipulate, and do anything to win. Then, there’s Jabami who just wants to enjoy the ecstasy of gambling. On the plus side, adaptation standards remain mostly faithful as the show captures the expressive faces of the characters. Each chapter is adapted carefully with panel by panel storytelling. However, it’s still an incomplete adaptation because manga itself is ongoing. A 1-cour adaptation like this really leaves open a lot of questions and doesn’t tie any loose ends in the end. There’s also original content added in for this adaptation.

Adapted by Studio MAPPA, the producers apparently went all out to bring out the sheer entertainment value as much as possible. First, there’s the character expressions that really borderlines inhuman insanity. The art shift is pretty noticeable for almost every gambler in this anime. One minute, they look normal but as soon as gambling business picks up, they go full facial with highly stylized features. Jabami is the guiltiest of this with her psychotic eyes, intense blushing, and body language. The show decorates itself with fan service although this sometimes looks like a satire. Also, it seems this show can’t sometimes hold back on the violence so don’t be surprised if you see blood, vomiting, etc. It’s a crazy world after all.

By technical elements, Kakegurui’s soundtrack, music, and voice acting is impressive. The theme songs are very stylistic with piano chords, eerie beats, and haunting lyrics. Both theme songs also have a clever tempo that matches the momentum of its creativity. Plus, it’s also hard to ignore the show’s OST during any gambling match when it’s at its highest point.