Oh god… as it stands now, reviewing Kaiji when it’s finally over is going to be a incredibly difficult. At the moment, I have no idea whether to classify it as just good or excellent. All the commenters on the previous episode made me see this series in a new light, but on the other hand I still remain convinced that the beam-arc was just way too long and drawn-out. I hope that the final episodes will either back up how amazing this series is, or how flawed it is.
The current episode was just amazing, though. This is really what I’ve been hoping for: mind-games without cheating. Tonegawa was absolutely amazing this time, because for once he has to use his head. He’s now going through the same as Kaiji was, back in round one. The creators also switched the viewpoint for this episode: the entire episode was told from the perspective of Tonegawa. We never get to see any of the worries that play into Kaiji’s head.
There’s one thing I do know for sure about this series: I absolutely HATE the cliff-hangers. They work fine if you’re marathoning this thing, but when you watch it on a weekly basis like I’m currently doing, they leave me every episode with a bad taste in my mouth, just because I’m too eager to find out what’s happening next.
I’m really interested to find out where Tonegawa’s thinking-error lies. Obviously, Kaiji can’t die yet; there are still five episodes left. But this also means that the final arc is going to be a relatively small one. The next episode will probably be enough to conclude the E-Card arc and introduce the final one, leaving just four episodes for the real action. If I had to guess (and hope), then Kaiji will be taking on the big boss himself. At the moment, I see Kaiji crazy enough to challenge that guy for something around 20 billion yen. Bleeding ear or no bleeding ear.