‘Kakegurui’ anime review
By Lauren Kelly, Graphics Manager
If you want an anime that’s unlike anything else on the air, check out Kakegurui. The title loosely translates to “gambling maniac,” and it’s entirely appropriate.
The anime takes place at a private school with a social economy completely based around gambling. Those who perform well have power, and those who fail and go bankrupt become “house pets,” entering a form of servitude to the other students. Above them all sits the student council, made up of the best and most manipulative gamblers.
We enter the school alongside newcomer Yumeko Jabami, who initially seems to serve as our everyman character. Like a regular high school anime, Yumeko meets new students, turns some rivals into allies, and navigates the troublesome student council. However, Yumeko quickly reveals that she is addicted to the high she gets from risking everything at gambling. This leads her to challenge tougher and tougher opponents, putting herself in risky situations just to chase this feeling.
People who are fans of gambling will find a lot to love here. While some of the games they play are more typical—such as poker, rock-paper-scissors, and memory—there are always interesting twists on them. For example, Yumeko’s first showcase gamble is a game where fellow students draw images of rock, paper, or scissors on pieces of paper and Yumeko and her opponent, Mary, receive a random selection of three choices to throw. With limited options, the strategy changes completely. The stakes are always incredibly high, and cheating is rampant, adding extra tension to the matches.
The show’s art and love of dramatics elevate this anime beyond any others I have watched. Although I haven’t watched Hellsing, I have seen many comparisons between it and Kakegurui in terms of their art styles and dramatic protagonists.
Still, Kakegurui is an anime that is difficult to recommend. It’s full of stunning, entertaining animation and exciting plot twists, but some of the sexual content might be off-putting to certain viewers. One character in particular who is featured in a few mid-season episodes, Midari, takes a joy in self-destruction that could be triggering for some. In addition, the pleasure that some of the characters experience in gambling is shown in the same way arousal would be.
If you’re fine with these kinds of mature themes, then give Kakegurui a chance. The show is a bullet train without brakes. The first season is available now on Netflix, and the second season began airing in January.