Posted by psgels on 30 June 2011 with categories: Spring 2011 Kaleidoscope



And as today is the last day of June, this is going to be the last post for my Spring 2011 Kaleidoscope. I am not sure what I’m going to do next season though: whether I’m going to do a Summer Kaleidoscope and blog six full series, or blog seven full series instead: it’s entirely going to depend on that seventh series. Plus, it’s got two huge question marks as well in the form of Appleseed and Last Exile. They’re both two series that aside from the regular line-up I really want to blog.

In any case, this episode was build up, build-up and even more build-up. The creators made sure to make it into a gripping episode though, especially when Kaiji brought in Endou of all people: the guy who was responsible for getting him into his mess in the first place. This episode was really being mysterious in the way that it refused to reveal Kaiji’s plans (much like the previous arc), so a lot of this episode consisted out of cryptic hints at how supposedly awesome his plans are going to be, although the negotiations with Endou really kicked ass in how intense they were.

Now, the big pitfall for this series is going to be the the suspense of disbelief. There is one big difference between Akagi and Kaiji: Akagi was superhuman. It’s not about seeing really smart plans, but about psychology. Kaiji meanwhile belongs in the category of series that specialize in plans and schemes. The biggest pitfall of those kinds of series is to take their plans a step too far and make them just ridiculously complicated, a la Death Note or Code Geass where in the end things depend on the most precise coincidences. That’s also one of the reasons the first season annoyed me, in the way in which Kaiji miraculously danced across death on the beam arc.

In terms of characters though, this arc does have the most interesting side-kick for Kaiji that we’ve seen in this series yet. His Buddhist roots, his incredible temper: all of it works really well and it’s quite a step away from the usual young guys. The villain though has yet to prove himself. He’s just this posh underling, and nowhere as interesting as some of the best villains of this series.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

7 Responses

  1. Wandering Bunny says:

    Well I’m happy to inform you Psgels, that the entirety of Kaiji’s plans don’t have a single aspect of those “ridculously complicated precieving how any single player will act in a long string of abnormal situations” plans in Death Note and Code Geass. He dosen’t rely on the casino workers reactions much and the few things he does do that rely on them are relatively small and it’s belivable that the casino workers would act like they do because it’s how a normal person would act.

    Kaiji’s plans however are not perfect if you ask me; you’d be doubting a number of technical things in his plans like “how did he get the money to put plan A into fruition?” or “just why does kaiji, a normal high-school graduate, know how to make item B for plan C?”

    As for the opponent, while Ichijou isn’t as competent as some of kaiji’s better opponents, he’s definately a good villain. Despite usually being disadventgous he keeps up a good fight through the entirety of the arc and constantly tries to pull things up to interfere with Kaiji’s plans.

  2. Alec says:

    Akagi was BS anyway

  3. Puran says:

    Yeah, generally Kaiji’s plans don’t really rely on coincidences that much. They are far fetched and crazy, but in the end you can see there is a good chance they could work.

  4. Souther says:

    I wouldn’t go that far. In reality, Kaiji’s plans are almost as unrealistic as any plan from Death Note or Code Geass. Neither of them would be very likely to work, let alone worth employing, in real life without running into additional problems and requiring more steps.

    It just so happens that the Kaiji series is set in a slightly more realistic context, despite the very cartoony graphics, and the narrator makes a lot of detailed comments to explain how the plans are set up or how they fail…but the actual outcomes wouldn’t really work too often in our world.

    This goes both for when Kaiji seems to “win” as when he loses. Real people wouldn’t easily come up with such plans and they are rather ridiculous, regardless of the above, which is why the comparison is only of limited use.

    Then again, I don’t see the problem with liking series that aren’t realistic. Reality is reality and fiction is fiction. If I wanted realism, I’d watch a documentary on gambling.

    My suspension of disbelief can handle impossible or unlikely coincidences just fine.

  5. Bonehimer says:

    in the way in which Kaiji miraculously danced across death on the beam arc.

    Kaiji just has great balance, brah.

  6. Wandering Bunny says:

    @Souther: Can you please give examples so I have it easier getting your point?
    You say they are ridiculous and unrealistic without really explaining why, and honestly, except for the “how was he able to get the items for the plan” bit I explained above, I never really ever remember Kaiji using unrealistic methods in his plans.
    I guess Kaiji does sometimes win thanks to lucky circumstances, but these never really have anything to do with his plans and he never expects them to happen but abuses them once he realizes they happen. In that regard you can’t judge Kaiji’s cunningness, because he dosen’t rely on luck like it comes to him.

  7. Joojoobees says:

    Endoh coming back was awesome. Of all the crazy things to do Kaiji goes to the guy you would think he hates more than anyone. As they say, crazy like a fox.

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  • Emma
    (Saturday, Apr 25. 2015 03:28 AM)
    @Bam: In any case Richard Kelly shows himself to be both a left wing and very clever filmaker =)
    I loved it =)
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Apr 25. 2015 02:58 AM)
    @Bam:It was creative and twisty and had a bit of everything and I liked that about its plot. But I haven’t decided whether its better than Donnie darko or not. Interesting to see Sarah Michelle Gellar in role that isn’t buffy.
    Haven’t seen Box yet, but should do so.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Apr 25. 2015 02:57 AM)
    @Bam: I just completed watching southland tales in full. Another used on here had mentioned this to me ages ago, but you talking about it got me off the fence to finally get round to it. Though I felt it perhaps excessively long, a bit padded in places, this was a very underrated film with a biting satire, great ideas and a good, very funny at times dark sense of humour.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Apr 25. 2015 02:52 AM)
    @Bam: I think the only thing arslan’s manga had going for it was some alright fight scenes here and there.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 25. 2015 12:13 AM)
    Ep03 of Arslan was weak. The only reason I’m still excited for the next episode is Narsus. Hopefully Arakawa’s portrayal is as cynically delightful as Tanaka’s.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 25. 2015 12:10 AM)
    @Emma: yeah I liked that. Uses the same digital rotoscoping that was used in A Scanner Darkly. I enjoyed reading ASD more than the movie. Philip K. Dick has a literary style that really doesn’t lend itself to the screen. Interestingly enough Southlake Tales is also heavily inspired by Dick’s novels.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Apr 24. 2015 11:35 PM)
    @Bam: I’ve only partially seen it but seems like theres noticeable dark humour there.
    I saw a trippy movie about lucid dreams lately called waking life.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Apr 24. 2015 07:31 PM)
    Love it or hate it, everyone agreed that it’s certainly an interesting watch and a tantalizing and magnetic film that even if you despise it you would still badly want to watch it to the end. Dwayne Johnson, Justin Timberlake, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Sean William Scott are just the tip of the iceberg in this weird list of celebrities who all play a strange and out-of-character role in Southlake Tales. The movie was ambitious if nothing else.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Apr 24. 2015 07:23 PM)
    I just recently watched Southland Tales for the first time: I gotta say I enjoyed it. This was Richard Kelly’s next big project after Donnie Darko. Not considering The Box this is pretty much the only thing he’s done since and it’s extremely polarizing with the audience; although most people hated it. It’s a satirical dystopian apocalypse story and might be one of the weirder films that strangely never became a cult classic.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Apr 24. 2015 07:18 PM)
    @Emma: Vinland is one of those that stresses me every time I hear its name since I badly need to catch up with it. I also watch Vikings, pretty solid show. It premiered on the History Channel of all channels, mostly known now for the entertaining but laughable Ancient Aliens. I think I might’ve seen Angel a while ago, and Holy Motors just sounds so strange; so I might give it a go actually.

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