Posted on 15 February 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kakegurui

For all of you who are disappointed that we didn’t cover the sequel to the show that even Elon Musk watches, I felt that this season of Kakegurui would benefit more from an periodic overview rather than following it week from week. Kakegurui was never about the mechanics nor tense stakes as it relies on its orgasmic reactions, psychotic personalities and outlandish circumstances to appeal to the mainstream audience. It doesn’t hurt to have one of the most memorable OP of recent times. However, when it comes to the opening credits of this season, it was always going to be an uphill battle to match, much less surpass, the visually exciting and musically alluring predecessor. That being said, I think that the second opening is actually pretty good and I wouldn’t mind listening to it a couple times on repeat.


Posted on 28 September 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Kakegurui, Reviews by AidanAK47

This show is one that makes conventional reviewing difficult as your enjoyment of your series will likely determine on highly subjective factors. For if I was to put this under scrutiny on matters of f-plot, setting and characters then it will end up lacking in all categories. The plot is just watching Yumeko face members of the student council in a series of gambling games. The setting is absolutely ridiculous with a unnecessary school setting that makes no sense whatever considering what happens in the series. The cast is made up of people whose main trait is being crazy in some form or another and go over the top with facial expressions. Yes to judge this show on these qualities would have it fall low indeed but that is not what makes a show enjoyable. I believe that style over substance is what I am getting at here as Kakegurui works mainly due to it’s presentation.

While gambling is the focus of this anime, the games themselves don’t really amount to much as we never really get a chance to look inside Yumeko’s head and see her work out plans or countermeasures. If you have just finished Kaiji and walk into Kakegurui expecting something similar then you will be undoubtably disappointed. For the common factor here is to see how smug the opponent is in how they rigged the game and having Yumeko eventually unveil that she knows about it and manages to win. Often putting her previous smug opponent down a peg.

Thus the satisfaction is in seeing the over exaggerated fashion at which this all goes down. The music, animation and art are often as over the top as possible with the soundtrack sporting trumpets and jazz like music while the characters faces distort into vile contortions be it in victory or defeat. Every character is crazy and none are crazier than our lead who often elapses into sexual excitement over the idea of risk. This aspect can get admittedly too much as it’s used to push fanservice as characters essentially orgasm over gambling and there are quite a few times where in female characters seem to be visually seducing each other in what would be otherwise a normal conversation. Yuri undertones are apparent here quite blatantly despite none of the character being made clear to be homosexual nor interesting in anything besides gambling and their own ambitions.

As such this is a series that I can’t really provide value through words, instead I say if you show interest then check out the first episode as that acts as an example of what you will receive for the entire series. However I would warn you to not expect something more than that as Kakegurui is only good at one thing and it will not move far from that one thing. This is a series about a crazy gambling girl showing smug assholes their place. That’s all you are going to get. But if you are fine with that then this is the show for you. Personally while i enjoyed it at first, I began to grow tired of it in the final episodes of the shows run so my rating for it’s that it’s a decent distraction but not one I will return to.

Posted on 26 September 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kakegurui

It’s been awhile since I seen an anime original ending and honestly I was rather dreading it when I started this episode. Anime original endings don’t have a good track record as of course attempting to tack on an abrupt conclusion to an ongoing story is not going to turn out swimmingly. Even if I wasn’t aware this would be anime original, I believe the dialogue at the beginning of the episode would have clued me in. For I always notice a level of artificiality when it comes to anime original endings, like here where the characters are attempting to string together some feeling of conclusion from what is essentially the start of a story. However against all odd this actually worked out for Kakegurui. We have an ending which brings a feeling of closure while leaving open the potential for a second season, a second season which I don’t think this series needs. I will be blunt and say that this series has run it’s course and the only thing that lies ahead is more of the same. There is only so many times you can see the same scenario before it grows tiresome and so it’s better to stop while you are ahead than run yourself ragged. For anyone that wants more there is always the option to start the manga from chapter 27, where the anime leaves off.

So Yumeko bets against the president and in the source it was supposed to be that the president’s secretary challenges her instead. leading to a high stakes bet that involves a giant tower structure that the president built for the sole purpose of a single bet. Here though the president challenges Yumeko to a simple game using Tarot cards. Admittedly anticlimactic considering that if the president was dying to bet against Yumeko then she would set up a much more dramatic gamble but well we got one episode to wrap this show up and when you get down to it the gamble isn’t really the important part. The rules are simple, three people pick up a single tarot card. Each tarot card is worth a certain amount of points and depending on whether it’s upside down or rightside up those points could be plus or minus. The president wins if the points are minus while Yumeko wins if the points are plus. Both pick up one card and the last card is selected by Ryota. The loser of the bet must leave the academy forever and never come back. It is rather funny that out of all the bets Yumeko has been in, this is by far the most fair. In most other games the opponent was cheating but here it really does appear to be a game of luck and nothing more.

Though thanks to luck the president manages to put Yumeko in a position where the only card she can win with is the fool and Ryota must be the one to pick up that card. I really love the mindgame here however as one of the cards was marked by the president’s nail polish during a small demonstration, making it that all that needs to be done to win is to pick up the marked card. Though the question is whether the president truly marked the fool card or some other card in other to throw off her opponent. This leads to what might be quite frankly, my favorite moment in this series, where Ryota more or less confesses to Yumeko and ends up picking a card at random. The way that Yumeko practically transformed into a demonic entity guiding his hand is an image that’s likely to come to mind whenever I think of this series. Thus the game ends in a draw and neither have to leave the campus. Though whether the president marked the Fool card or not is left up to debate, to which I guess that she probably did. Thus we have a confrontation showdown between the two without compromising the possibility of a second season. I may require some rewriting to make it work but it can be done but much like I said before, I think it’s fine to leave this story like this. Kakegurai isn’t likely to get a second season and an ending like this is fine as she managed to challenge all the student council members and not leave too much hanging. Sure there is a bit of a sequel hook but it is my hope that this will be it as this show came, did it’s thing and now can leave the stage graciously.

Posted on 20 September 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kakegurui

So…what am i supposed to say here? Yumeko wins, the treasurer loses and now the show looks to be teasing a matchup between the Student council President and Yumeko. I would say it’s a good thing this shows end looms near as my interest in it has just about petered out. I love seeing smug scumbags get just desserts as much as anybody but there is only so many times that the same story beats can be repeated. The games may change and the people playing them but the formula is the same. Yumeko challenges them, forces them to put their life on the line and wins. That’s essentially the admittedly bare bones rundown of this story from start to finish.

In this case the differentiating factor was the inclusion of Itsuki who backs up Yumeko with her cash. The series seems to treat this as some master plan by Yumeko to get the treasurer into putting more into his bet than he can pay off. Who goes as far as to bite off her fingernails because of…dramatic effect? Actually why did she do that? Wait, how did she do that, I mean if she bit down hard she would have just bitten through them and somehow managed to tear off all ten of her fingernails cleanly with her mouth. Honestly that’s very impressive for a ridiculously useless skill. So they managed to trick the Treasurer by doing…something. Honestly i have difficulty in following the logic as it seems to be along the lines of fooling the Treasurer into thinking Yumeko was going for a weak hand and distracting him with the theatrics of Itsuki so that he didn’t take the safer route. A ridiculously risky plan which has me wondering just how the two could be so ridiculously confident in it.

Enter the student council president who seems to display the same level of insanity of Yumeko that no one can quite understand. In fact I say I would be clueless without context as well seeing as the president starts off by talking about supernovas. Overall this talk seems to show that Yumeko and the president are on the same level of crazy and are both addicted to the risk of high stakes gambles. Evidenced by her cornering her own member of the council just to make a gamble more interesting. The way this interest in risky gambles always seems to be displayed is often though high sexual excitement. Which sort of trivialises it as not so much an intellectual thrill and more like a masochistic fetish. In fact, a lot of the interest in this show are visualised in a sexual manner, even the Secretary’s respect for the president is more along the lines of romantic attraction, if evidenced by the heavy blush she had just by the president revealing herself. I swear, what is with this show and yuri undertones? I am pretty certain no one in this show is distinctly homosexual so why? I mean I know the obvious reason why…but why?

Posted on 13 September 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kakegurui

It seems to be a common theme in Shounen series that as the series goes on, less and less happens in each episode. Which makes my job all the harder. In this week’s episode of Kakegurui Yumeko faces off against the student council treasurer and loses. Now that would be something rather refreshing for Yumeko to lose a high stakes bet but it appears that losing was part of the plan. As Yumeko pushes former antagonist Itsuki to put all her money down for a once in a lifetime chance to get back on a council. With the flashback sequence it tries to spur sympathy for Itsuki was recruited into the council by the treasurer as a pawn and tossed aside when she lost her usefulness.

It is indeed nice to see her back up Yumeko in order to put the smug self satisfied student council president in his place. However unlike Mary, Itsuki’s redemption is harder to get behind. After all while Mary did act as antagonist before, when she did she was just trying to put Yumeko down a bit. Itsuki on the other hand carries around a case full of human fingernails and threatened to rip off Yumeko’s nails if she lost. No matter how you try to justify her actions that still comes across as rather unhinged. Villain turnarounds in a shounen series are nothing new but the turn should be a little more gradual than this if the characters actions at the start where rather horrific.

Then we have the Treasurer and boy do I dislike these types of characters. The genius planner type that somehow makes out every situation as if it is some grand master plan calculated to the most minor of details. I don’t mind characters like the cast of Death Note as at least their reasoning is within a realistic context but this guy throws around probability like it’s ironclad law. No matter how smart you are and no matter how much you may calculate the odds, there is no certainty in it. It’s just guesswork and while you can be successful in gambling by being able to calculate probability, it is far from being foolproof. Having a character be so ridiculously self assured in actions which have plenty of room for failure just has me rather aggravated as all it really takes to knock them off their high horse is one small thing not going to plan. So yes, right now the Treasurer is self assured in his victory but knowing Yumeko it’s likely she wishes to put him in a position of real risk. Losing this match wouldn’t really cost the Treasurer that much and Yumeko’s usual code of play is to get her opponent into a position where they really have a lot to lose.

Posted on 5 September 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kakegurui

It’s an episode like this that really shows that the appeal of this series isn’t so much on the gambling games themselves but rather on the individuals playing them. In this case the gamble was barely present in the episode at all as it was a varity of 9 games in which the winner is decided by the audience. We don’t actually see the games being played, instead the show decides to skip over and montage the games. The cuts to the first game were rather jarring but understandable. They didn’t want to waste time animating three song and dance routines. But really the only game that mattered was the final one as it was revealed that Yumemi purposefully gave Yumeko a lead in the game so she could stage a miraculous comeback to make the show more entertaining. However she was taken completely off guard when the game she engineered to work in her favor was turned on her. The last game being for the two to guess the birthday of an audience member and because Mary was chosen instead of one of her fan club members, her plan was decimated.

I have to say that for all the confidence Yumemi and the treasurer had this has to be a massive oversight. Then again Yumeko’s level of predictive skill so far exceeds any logical level that she more or less has access to this show’s script at this point. This may be why I lost interest in reading the manga as there is only so long a game can remain interesting with a protagonist so overpowered as this. I enjoy seeing smug self confident horrible people get their just deserts as much as anyone but there is only so many times before I get bored of the situation. I want to see Yumeko actually work for a victory, not just smile and recite deductions likely only gained through precognition. As Yumeko puts it herself, there isn’t any fun unless both participants have an even level of risk. While Yumeko does stop her opponents cheating, everything tends to go exactly as she planned. Even if she leaves part of it up to luck. It’s much like the power creep of Isekai’s wherein the main character becomes so strong that only an act of god could defeat him. Otherwise it’s just a long line of the main character showing people how amazing they are.

Despite her true feelings being revealed to public, Yumemi manages to get away with her career intact as her fans decide to love her even if she finds them disgusting. I still think that she would be better off starting in acting rather than idol work for her end goal but well all’s well that ends well I guess. So Yumiko has managed to use this gamble to set up another gamble with the treasurer by accusing him of sabotaging Yumemi’s gamble. Despite the fact that it was actually the girl in the orange hood who send that letter to Yumeko. Already Yumeko has moved to challenge the next rung on her road to challenge the president to a gamble.

Posted on 29 August 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kakegurui

I only just noticed it now but I see the opening of this series actually spoils the order which Yumeko takes on the student council. Likely because I skip the opening after seeing it once.(Unless it’s really good.) So this time we have an idol girl and if there are those who read my posts then you might know that I don’t have a particularly high opinion of idol culture. I have see many an anime which attempted to glamorise the nature of it as giving hopes and dreams or promoting advertisement for a good cause. Though that’s fiction and no matter how I try to think of the positives of idols, I really cannot see it other than the exploitation of young girls in order to strip lonely individuals of their money. For the music is frankly terrible and the underlying implications are rather sinister. Of course I am no idol expert so my opinion isn’t worth much as I have only experienced it through the lens of anime. Still I do wonder just what those girls think as they shake their fans hands and jump on stage to sing songs. For I wouldn’t be surprised if it was close to what Yumemi thinks here.

I don’t blame Yumemi for hating her fans, if anything she has good reason to. The level of obsession they have is quite creepy and much like she said, they aren’t even listening to her music. These are the kind of fans that would burn her albums at her mentioning a boyfriend. (That even happened with an anime when one of the characters revealed that she had a previous relationship. The demand for idolised girls to remain “Pure” sounds much like a contradiction to me. For the only reason they want her “pure” is so they can imagine dirtying her themselves) Still I find her plan to reach stardom through the idol industry to be rather fascinating yet highly unlikely. From the 5 minutes I spent searching google I can’t find any Japanese idol that broke into Hollywood Cinema. Nor would I think one would be looked upon favorably as that would be more the Justin beiber or Miley Cyrus path to fame. I mean sure you would be well known but not very respected. Looking at her goals, her idol career would be more a blight than a blessing and she would fare far better if she just learned English and started Acting.

Anyway Yumeko does her usual thing of removing any safety nets from the bet which appears to been helped along by another member of the student council whose attempting to shake things up now that the student council president…has taken a helicopter…to engage in important business…(Alright Aidan, you know it’s dumb but let’s just roll with it.) Though honest question, what does student council work actually entail? I have seen plenty of series where they apparently do paperwork and it’s supposed to be a rather busy job but I am having a hard time thinking of what they actually do besides allocating club budgets and organising school Festivals. I fear I may have gotten rather sidetracked in this episode post but well it could be summarized as just introducing the new Council member and her challenging Yumeko to a bet. We don’t know what the bet entails but we do know that if Yumeko loses then she will be forced to become an Idol duo with Yumemi under the name of “Dreaming Creaming Girls”. As a side note, while I didn’t find evidence of Japanese idols becoming Hollywood stars I did find a few articles detailing Japanese idols who became Adult Video stars. That name might be rather prophetic of your future profession Yumemi. Of course the big thing here is that can Yumeko sing and dance, or maybe that doesn’t matter?

Posted on 22 August 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kakegurui

Today on Kakegurui, we see the end of the bet and well…that’s it. This post may have the same problem as my Attack on Titan posts in that I just don’t have a lot to say here because not a lot actually happened. Mary refused the student council president’s offer to join the student council and Yumeko got away from Midari’s bet unscathed. So this more or less has gone as usual besides Yumeko ending the bet in a draw instead of a win. All in order to deprive Midari of the satisfaction of losing the bet. yes unlike the other bets Midari rigged the game to lose rather than win. For she is batshit insane and only really gets a thrill out of life when in pain or agony. A masochist if you will and one insane enough to gouge her own eye out for losing a bet with the student council president. I guess we did learn a little about the president in that she doesn’t really see people as people and more as things to entertain or interest her. When inquiring to Midari about what the other side of an eyeball looks like she sort of reminded me of a messed up version Chitanda from Hyouka.

Though I don’t really find this to be fascinating as those that tend to treat themselves as some higher master race are often more ignorant than intelligent. It works as a way to get Yumeko to be the one to bring her down from her pedestal and knock this high handed attitude out of her but sadly I sincerely doubt this series will ever get to that point. As for Midari she has certainly stepped up from repulsive to absolutely vulgar. Looking over her character I can’t say she’s all that great and if she’s going to hang around then she’s going to have to need something more than her desperate masochism. Otherwise she will just be a one trick pony begging Yumeko for bets for the sake of comedy. She did accomplish one thing however and that was proving that Yumeko desires a fair bet. Yumeko doesn’t get off on a one sided bet, instead she always breaks down any cheats in order to turn a bet into an equal match. Both sides must have something to risk and seeing Midari hog all the risk for herself made her disgusted. Midari was the first antagonist to truly get Yumeko to hate her with a passion. Somewhat funny as now Midari is absolutely obsessed with her.

Posted on 16 August 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kakegurui

Here’s where these betting games get really out of control as we have an elaborate setup which likely cost quite a lot of money to make and only serves to make this bet possible. Before I made the choice of ignoring the general nonsensical rules of the school however now I think that I should consider it that the entire world outside this school doesn’t actually exist. I mean we now introduce a member of the student council whom has her own torture complex under the school complete with a dangerous betting game in which people can get actually shot with a real gun. I just have to wonder what hospital takes in these students with mysterious gunshot wounds and how parents don’t hear of their children getting sent to hospital. Likely the explanation is that when money talks, everyone shuts up. But there really is so far before something this ludicrous is revealed to the world. This place is one reporter away from becoming headline world news so my only real option is just to assume that the world doesn’t exist and this school is center of the universe.

We have the introduction to our new opponent, Leader of the beautification committee, Midari Ikishima. Midari is somewhat unhinged which would be an understatement because she’s completely goddamn insane. In honesty I wonder how these kinds of characters function in mundane scenarios because I can’t imagine this girl sitting in a classroom for a full day without pulling a gun on the teacher. It’s also puzzling how someone so spontaneously prone to mood swings can somehow collect loyal followers.In a show that is already over the top, this girl is chewing the scenery to the absolute extremes. One thing about her that I find myself pondering over is the nature of the absurd level of raw sexuality from her. Normally I would sigh at such things as a girl straddling the male protagonist while begging to let her play a game but in the case of Midari I don’t find these actions titillating. I am sure someone is getting off on this but to me it feels the story is portraying her in a manner that these lustful mood swings are more disturbing than erotic. Her bloodshot eyes, practically drooling thirst and desperation show her off as more revolting in her naked unrefined desire. In the spectrum of Seduction and ravenous lust then Midari would be a full on rapist who would likely kill you afterwards. Strange that all this lust is directed at having a bet with Yumeko and while the story does draw parallels between their desire for risky bets, Midari’s seem more rooted in physical satisfaction.

Fanservice that I can’t quite reason away however is how the Student council president attempts to recruit Mary into their ranks and then the conversation gets as bit odd. Now the context of the scene is clearly that the president is trying to threaten her into the position but how the anime frames the scene is more like a seduction. Remove the sound and you could very well assume that she was coming on to her and I wonder if this is the director’s influence. I wonder just how much is intentional catering to this demographic and what is simply the result of him amping story developments up to eleven. Moving on the game is afoot and someone is obviously cheating because they always are. It’s difficult to see what plan Yumeko has at this point and knowing her, it’s bound to have her taking a big leap of faith. However it is a rather weak cliffhanger to end on a gunshot and have the after credits sequence ruin the surprise. Not that Yumeko was going to die but we could have been in suspense over her getting injured.

Posted on 2 August 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kakegurui

When gambling in this show:
Rule number one: Always cheat.
Rule number two: If using another person for your cheating then don’t use someone with a clear grudge against you or treat them like dirt.
Rule number three: Never ever bet against Yumeko Jabami.
There is a certain satisfaction in seeing someone like this thug get so brutally destroyed by our main duo even though he’s a relatively one dimensional nobody. I tend to favor villains with a bit more moral nuance and more well written but nonetheless cannot deny a certain level of glee in seeing someone so utterly morally bankrupt get his life ruined. Sure you could argue that his crimes were no huge enough to have the remainder of his life detected by a notebook and be treated as trash for the rest of his days but considering the arrogant mentality of this guy there is no better medicine than a good reality check and a ass kicking. But again this does not mean that he’s well written as it’s not a difficult task to make someone hateable, All you really need to do is have them in a position of power and have them do clearly evil deeds while convinced that it’s totally alright for them to do these things because they are special in some way. If you want a well written villain then work on making a character with a unique worldview, sympathetic or logical motivations, a personality and a backstory to accommodate these aspects.

If you want to make a hateable villain them just have them do something clearly morally repugnant and then refuse they did anything wrong. “Oh it’s perfectly ok for me to bully this kid because I am better than him and he should just go die.” “Oh I killed that bitch but she was clearly in the wrong when she tried to pretend she wasn’t my woman.” “Oh I burned down that orphanage but it was full of gutter trash that wouldn’t be of any use anyway, society should thank me honestly.” It’s funny in that it’s not so much the act itself that makes it so despicable but rather the contradiction and flawed reasoning these characters use to justify their actions as not wrong. Indeed there is no better way to rile up the internet into a fury than to have someone do something wrong and them do everything in their power to refuse to admit it. So to see a character get a shift kick in the nuts is a rather cathartic experience and I fully admit that I fully read the source of the upcoming “Rising of the Shield Hero” anime adaption purely for the satisfaction of seeing the villain get taken down a peg.

I couldn’t quite follow how exactly Mary and Yumeko managed to trick the delinquent but I believe it had something to do with Mary and Yumeko lying about the amount they owed before the game and then switching her board with Yumeko to confuse the delinquent into miscalculating the end game totals. So these two had the game in the bag right from the start as the delinquent didn’t have the scoreboard right from the beginning. Though the thing this episode is named after is Yumeko’s last little gambit to encourage the pet girl to go against the delinquents orders. Throughout the game she had been helping the delinquent cheat out of fear and her own institutionalisation to her status of pet. I rather like the metaphor that Yumeko puts to it, being a pig in a open cage. This girl could fight back, could rebel but instead settles for small freedoms granted to her within the cage. In truth the very name of pet is apt for that is what these people are conditioned to become.

Thus Yumeko managed to break her out of that mentality through her provocation. Though um…why was it…so suggestive? I generally don’t tend to look too far into these kinds of things but when you have two girls with faces intimately close to kissing distance while reserved girl has a heavy blush that really does seem to be fuel for hime-danshi(This appears to be the opposite of the Fujoshi term being for males(Hime-joshi for females) who ship lesbian couples though doesn’t quite hold the same level of infamy as the fujoshi term) Yuri baiting did come up in the manga but it really is much more pandering when seen in animated format. Look if you are going to start insinuating lesbinism or bisexualism then go all in, don’t just shove it in halfheartedly for Blu-ray sales. Still while i have neglected to mention her before but next episode appears to feature a girl who is going to really amp up these Yuri undertones so I at least hope we keep things somewhat classy.

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Long time no see and strap in cause this is going to be a long one. I will preface this review with the assumption that you have seen the first movie of this trilogy and this movie as well as the assumption that whomever is reading this knows what a command spell is. So basically […]

Serial Experiments Lain Anime Review – 78/100 – Throwback Thursday

Serial Experiments Lain is weird. It is a series unlike any other, wholly unique in anime, both modern and historical. Every aspect of it, from presentation to narrative, is best described as an experience. It is because of this that I believe Lain is a must watch, if only to experience a piece of anime […]

Penguin Highway (2018) Movie Review – 89/100

You’re walking along in your neighborhood, going about your daily routine. It’s a fine morning. The sun is shining brightly. But suddenly, you see something strange. You squint your eyes; even rub them, to make sure it isn’t a mirage before exclaiming with excitement, “Oh, look. It’s a bird. No, it’s a plane! No no. […]

One Punch Man Season 2 Anime Review – 34/100

Often at the start of one of these reviews, I will wax philosophical about a series. Attempting to slowly draw you, the reader, in to whatever topic or anime I am discussing in that review. This time, none of that. This time, I have to come out and say from the beginning, that One Punch […]

Dororo Anime Review – 55/100

In the modern anime sphere, getting a complete story, start to finish, is a rare thing. As is getting an adaptation for an older work. Dororo however has, through the grace of Twin Engine, managed to get both of these. Based on the 1967 manga of the same name by legendary Mangaka Osamu Tezuka, Dororo […]