Kakegurui: Compulsive Gambler (Summer 2017) – The Art of The Deal

Gambling is no longer a taboo thing in society. Everyone can do it in real life even in video games. For me, there is some uniqueness when I see how gambling is so exciting that the bet is at stake. Sure, the design of the gambling game consists of five or more people. They try to fight, cheat, and concern each other. For example, poker which is one that I love within the scope of gambling. It’s not a game that you don’t have to understand. There are many ways to get lots of chips depending on how you can adapt to such a table.

Simply, “Kakegurui: Compulsive Gambler” is one of the anime that uses gambling as its concept. Previously, there was “Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor” which used the same theme. “No Game, No Life” is also like that regardless of the gambling, not the main concept. It’s one of those ‘edgy’ shows according to fans. They consider it to be one of the psychological anime, the most unique thriller of the season. This anime makes gambling not only as itself. It combines something with characters to use it as a fetish. They are high at the point of risking their lives. It’s one that I think isn’t one of those mainstream anime for the audience. Except, if you love something about edgy or something and this is for you. Simply put, “Kakururui: Compulsive Gambler” turns a gamble into a ridiculous twist and characteristics. It turns into a game that makes them drive insane.

It takes place at Hyakkaou Private Academy which I consider the most stupid school I’ve ever seen. Being a school made gambling as the main subject in the school. I just thought how could a teen be who still spend money on gambling? Anyway, the school prioritizes a natural law where the weak are slaves and the strong are above all. In order to survive, you must be able to master your opponents. You have to take bigger batches if you want to be able to adapt to the system. You use an unhealthy, psychological mind, and a strategy to adapt.

Then, came Jabami Yumeko who had just joined the academy as a transfer student and the main protagonist. People will think of earning a lot of money or giving up the status of slavery. Jabami does gambling because… she likes it. She sees gambling more than someone normally but gambling is her main food of Jabami itself. Smartly, she able to understand her opponent, to become one of the people who shook the academy. An unpredictable and so overpowered when it comes to gambling. But what makes her so unique – from all the characters in this anime – that… gambling is her fetish. Every time she plays gambling, she always gives off an orgasm reaction when she hears the words gambling. From here, I found irregularities where I didn’t really understand the character.

Just like other overpowered characters, she isn’t given too much background to us to be able to see her characteristics not just from one point of view, making us think of being female characters who orgasm when playing gambling. In addition to her vague background, each episode doesn’t allow her prowess to play gambling which makes this anime seem so ambiguous. Why and what makes it like that? We don’t really see it as a character in general or you can say, almost all the characters in this anime are like that. Besides Jabami, all the characters in this anime are psychopathic-like characteristics.

The second character we see besides Jabami is Mary Saotome. Just like Jabami, her madness makes her character seems predictable. However, the anime seems trying not to be impressed by showing all the psychopathic characters but we see from two specific points of view. In addition to giving an exaggeration of expressions of these characters, sometimes we see them as normal characters. A few seconds, everything changes both the character of your first impression looks normal but turns out it’s a psychopathic thing like.

Honestly, the first episode is exceptional because it’s quite impressive and promising so I keep wondering who else will be defeated by Jabami. But, the farther it feels, the more predictable it is that it raises thousands of questions from one scene to another. Every gambling starts, we don’t see how this anime is trying to explain the rule. We just forget in an instant because it’s just too dense to understand. Some scenes really make me able to see this anime a bit interesting because there is some twist but sometimes, it’s just predictable especially the ending which I guess one of the most memorable things at the beginning but I just didn’t really see any interesting thing about it.

There aren’t many normal characters in this anime except only Ryouta Suzui. In fact, his presence doesn’t need to be there to be able to make this anime even crazier than others. Aside from being a side character which I think is the main character, he can be said as human beings in general. Indeed, the law of the pyramid where the strong will survive and the weak will be under while being a slave isn’t something so complicated for Suzui besides always relying on Jabami alone regardless of his role at the end is quite important.

The thing about this anime, again, besides doesn’t really explain why Jabami can be overpowered is that almost all characters don’t have any background at all. Where do they get the money? Why can they go to school there? Is this only for rich people? We don’t really see it, but just look at it from one perspective, namely madness characteristics. Besides that, the system in this school I think is very ridiculous. Kirari Momobami as the leader of the Student Council explains if this system changes the order of human’s life. Like, an aquarium that contains lots of small fish but can be defeated by just one big fish with one appetite. That’s how the system in this school works. Regardless of which, she didn’t give a definite impression of why.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend. That’s what I can get when I try to understand all the characters in this anime, that’s, nobody can be trusted. There is the betrayal, and there are two-faced. There is one thing that’s so promising to “start” in this anime is the battle between Jabami and Ikishima. Ikishima might be the craziest character in this anime, crazier than Jabami, crazier than Momobami, crazier than all. She is violent, which means that pain is a worth-stake rather than money according to her.

She sometimes imitating a Russian Roulette where she points a gun containing one or two bullets at her head and relies on luck. This is what I found unique in this scene between Jabami and Ikishima because life is at stake. Now, this is something I like besides the Russian Roulette from “The Deer Hunter” or any lethal game. Turns out, it didn’t really fit with my expectations because it ruined with a goddamn ridiculous twist.

The art is impressive and excellent. It gives you some aesthetics with its own artistic value ranging from color selection, character design, and details, even I like with that expression character expression because all of them have their own unique impression. At first, this anime gives us a lesson that playing gambling can make you orgasm or make you a psychopathic-like. I mean, “Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor” does it in a unique way because the anime knew how they depict the psychological beside the anime reminds me of the “Saw” movie.

The anime and the movie both have such a big consequence. If you lose, then you die. Both material always gives such intense impressions that we never know what the characters would be like after that. Meanwhile, “Kakegurui” doesn’t seem like that. Besides giving the impression of a ‘psychological’ element, we don’t really see the consequence even though some characters make their lives at stake I don’t feel it too much. Although, the two anime are indeed different from any point of view.

Besides the art style which is so stylized for aesthetic impressions, I love the music in this anime. It’s one of the best anime soundtracks I’ve ever heard of the piano impressions, beat, and tempo played in a way that is so unique as to remind me of the opening theme song of “Death Parade.” The opening theme song is one of the best for its jazzy impressions. Sometimes, it gives an intense scene because it fits with the music and scene, especially at the gambling scene.

The voice acting is impressive too and almost everybody because they are sometimes out of character. Saori Hayami is probably the best in this anime because she portrays many personalities with different voices in every characteristic of Jabami itself. Likewise, Mariya Isei for her psychopathic madness voices, Mayu Udono who sound cute characters but it turns out you know well what’s going to happen, and Yuu Serizawa who is the same.

“Kakegurui: Compulsive Gambler” put gambling in a low-stakes. Besides I also like this anime because of several reasons, it’s one of those shows. Too promising at the beginning, but the more distant it is, the more predictable because the story seems flat. The art gives aesthetic impressions which I love that so much as well as the soundtrack and voice acting in this anime, it’s so impressive.

The characters may not be the worst because it’s the main point which makes this anime has an interesting impression too. There are so many twists which I don’t think are too exciting even more ruining to the scenes. Turns out, “Kakegurui” is one of the most memorable for me even I’m glad this anime got its second season. However, it’s just a bit of April joke out of season when changing gambling as the weirdest fetishes ever. The doorknob and flash drives are one of them.

3 out of 5 stars.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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