March 18, 2018

If you think Kaiji was too dangerous in its gambling theme, you haven’t seen Kakegurui yet. Equally as dangerous because it is a high school setting where students are allowed to gamble and winners triumph over losers. Money rules. A gambler’s paradise or a gambler’s hell, depending on which end your fate throws you. So if you can’t stomach any form of risk, don’t even think of earning any quick cash if you can’t afford to bet a strand of hair on the table. Why bet something so small and insignificant when you can bet your entire life! Oh sh*t…

Episode 1
Ryouta Suzui is in a gambling game with Mary Saotome. He lost. He believes the rest of his life is doomed until Yumeko Jabami becomes the new transfer student in his class. As he shows her around Hyakkaou Private Academy, she notices his ‘dog tag’. He explains this school’s gambling tradition in which if you lose and is unable to repay your debts guys will be tagged as dogs and girls as cats. Basically, house pets AKA slaves. Yumeko seems excited to receive an invitation to gamble but wait no more because Mary throws her that invitation. In this version of rock-scissors-paper, classmates will draw one of the three before putting it in a box and each of them will draw 3 cards from that box. They will pick one those cards to play. If no clear winner after 3 cards, the game is a draw. As they place their bets, Yumeko starts small and wins. In the next round, she makes a daring jump to bet highly. She lost. Then she reverts to betting small and wins. Then high again. But this time 10 million in cash! You scared, Mary? Cocky Mary takes on her challenge because she knows the game is rigged. Many of the classmates are on her side. All she needs to know is what kind of cards most of them will draw and pick that one that will guarantee her win. To Mary’s shock, Yumeko suddenly accuses her that her classmates are collaborating with her. Mary thinks it is her way to nullify the match if she is found cheating. On the contrary, Yumeko relishes that the true gambling starts now. Confident that the match is hers, Mary puts forth her winning card… And loses! Not only Yumeko has reclaimed the amount she lost to Mary but now Mary owes her 8.8 million! Mary has no way out left as she pleads for some time to repay her.

Later Suzui asks how Yumeko saw through Mary’s trick. Yumeko knew Mary was manipulating the game but needed to know which card would be voted the most. However it would be hard if there was no one to orchestrate which card to draw. She was observing Mary and she did not give any visual or verbal hints. Then she notices everyone’s eyes not on her but on somebody else. The person who would decide which card to draw. And that person is Suzui who was standing behind her. How does Yumeko know that? A handy hand mirror. But as for how Yumeko drew that winning card, it was really down to her luck. Is it because she enjoys the thrill of the risk? Certainly having too much risk or too high advantage isn’t fun. Suzui plans to drop out of this school because of his debt. He tried to earn money to repay his debt via gambling but fell even further. To his shock, Yumeko pays him the amount needed to clear his debt. This is her way of thanking him for introducing him to this school’s gambling and was able to enjoy a great game. Even if he was Mary’s slave, Yumeko hates game she knows she will win or lose. Today’s experience was the kind of thrill she wanted in gambling and it’s all thanks to him. Suzui can tell from that smile of her she isn’t just a gambling addict but loses herself gambling.

Episode 2
Mary is now a cat. Yesterday she is one of the elites. Today she is a slave and everyone is mocking her. Truly a quick fall from grace. Suzui explains that is the norm in this school as many children of politicians and businessmen are sent here and gambling is a way to pick up negotiation skills so that they can perform under pressure and take advantage of others (?!). The student council monitors all gambling and a hierarchy system is updated frequently. Of the 3000 students, the bottom 100 become house pets. Previously the discrimination wasn’t strong until the current student council president, Kirari Momobami defeated the previous one and now the body consists of the school’s strongest gamblers. This didn’t scare Yumeko and this makes her want to gamble more. Speaking of which, she’ll have her chance with Itsuki Sumeragi, the daughter of Japan’s most famous toy maker. She is also part of the student council although she bought her way in. Never lost a card game? Even better for Yumeko… They’ll be playing this memory game. But using 2 packs of card, the numbers and suit must match, therefore only making only 1 possible pair. Both start off equally well. They have never missed a card that has already been opened. Sumeragi wins in the end and with Yumeko betting 20 million, can she repay it? Yumeko emotionally pleads for another game and this is when Sumeragi starts to get creepy. She shows her nail collections that she has collected from losers. It would have been easier to buy them but it’s much more fun to tear them out! Suzui doesn’t want Yumeko to accept this but if she doesn’t, how else will she repay her debts?

Of course we all know why Sumeragi is so confident is because the cards are rigged. There is a small portion that will reveal a mark at certain temperature. She only has a few seconds to remember all those marked cards before those marks fade. With no proof, she’ll never be caught. Or so she thinks. So when Yumeko mocks her for betting so small compared to the market value of her family’s corporation, Sumeragi starts panicking if she knows this secret. Because it will be bad for her company as this means they have been selling cards for cheating. Too bad Sumeragi will never have a chance because Yumeko pairs it all on her first go! She has noticed the markings and they are the same as the pack before. Had they been different, she would have lost. Thank goodness, right? Sumeragi realizes Yumeko may have memorized the cards during the first game and pretended to be desperate to let her guard down. Yumeko is addicted now to continue gambling. This time they can tear the loser’s fingernails and toenails. Come on, let’s play! Too bad Sumeragi is so afraid that she starts crying and can’t do it. She regrets it but this only further disappoints Yumeko. No fun. Apparently after school, gambling stations pop up everywhere so you can bet Yumeko is going to visit them to gamble more. This leads her to the traditional culture research society. They see Mary in a desperate gamble against the society’s president, Yuriko Nishinotouin who is also on the student council. Mary lost. Further spiralling into debt. Screaming will not erase your debts…

Episode 3
More explanation how house pets have the right to challenge official matches but only once. As long as the wager is reasonable, it cannot be refused. Therefore they usually go after the student council in hopes of erasing their debts quickly but often fail. You bet Yumeko wants to play Nishinotouin. She explains this special roulette game known as Life or Death. 10 swords are thrown in a cup so they will land on a board with 30 numbers and holes. They bet their chips in hopes of the sword would land on the number. However if the sword lands face up, you win 30 times the amount you bet but if the sword is face down, you lose 30 times that amount. They play until all their chips are gone and the loser must pay the difference. Yumeko starts betting small to test waters. Neither lost. Before their next game, Yumeko starts mocking Nishinotouin as a despicable woman. She is referring to Mary’s game in which she was given a glimmer of hope but people like her only drive them to despair. Then she continues to make fun of Nishinotouin’s name because it sounds like a combination of numbers and thought the swords would have landed on them. This angers Nishinotouin but she keeps her cool and proceeds with the game. Before the swords are revealed, Yumeko apologizes for offending her because she just was just saying what’s on her mind to bet all her chips on this number, 24 (a combination pun of Nishinotouin’s name). That’s because she is cheating. Yumeko notices that all the members in the society has some sort of metal piercings on their hand. She believes one of the swords is magnetic and it will take the dexterity of the dealer to control the sword and land it face down in a hole.

Nishinotouin argues that if she was cheating, she would have won all the time. But Yumeko knows the best part of this trick is that she doesn’t need to win all the time. The success rate is low considering the magnetic sword might not fall into a certain hole or there are other swords blocking the hole. All she needs is just a slight advantage. That is why Yumeko provoked her to ‘cheat’ on this game. So if the sword actually lands face up on that number, Nishinotouin could stand to lose almost 3 billion in this single game! Nishinotouin is really panicking. She is in deep trouble because if she loses she will be kicked out of the student council in addition to the debt she cannot repay. She will lose everything she has built up. Thinking of negotiating, suddenly Kirari barges in and wants to watch the rest of this interesting game. So please reveal the swords. It didn’t land on 24 but it did land face down on a number Nishinotouin bet. It is Yumeko’s loss and Nishinotouin’s small miracle win. In the aftermath, Yumeko explains to Suzui about the old trick where Japanese houses usually has spaces below and this is perfect for accomplices to cheat in gambling via a very small hole. Yumeko deduces the sword did land on 24 but Kirari somehow managed to magnetically pull it out from the space above. She is excited and wants to gamble with Kirari. Yumeko is now a house pet as her classmates ridicule her. However Yumeko finds cats cute and starts acting like one! Those mockers freak out and leave since Yumeko wants to gamble them and absolve her debts. No takers?

Episode 4
Suzui pays some money back to her to cover her debts but she declines since the student council has not asked her to repay them. Instead, like him, she has a booklet called Life Programme. Mary also has this so she confronts student council member, Runa Yomozuki about this. Seems her entirely life is planned out. From who she will marry to how many kids she will have. Have a problem with it? Then repay your debts… Yumeko is then called by Jun Kiwatari who wants her to strip. When she declines, he is going to rape her. But then Midari Ikishima of the student council wants in and settle this via gambling. She wants to play Russian roulette. Only 1 bullet in the chambers of 6. She will fire and if it is empty, he gets her way with her or else he dies. When he isn’t interested, she makes it more interesting that he should pull the trigger on her instead. However he refuses and leaves. Ikishima is disappointed since the odds were not stacked against him. So she tries it on herself. And lives! She enjoys this thrill and starts masturbating herself. She will make good on Yumeko’s gratitude. An event is held. Student council secretary, Sayaka Igarashi relays the rules for this Debt Exchange programme. They will be divided into groups in which the group winner will take on the lowest debt in the group. But what if the one with the lowest debt wins? Full exemption of the debts. Mary is wary of Yumeko and hopes not to be grouped with her. Too bad fate screws with her and ends up in her group. In that case, there is no choice but to collude with her.

The game is Indian poker. Players are allowed to see their first card but their second card is placed over the forehead. The strongest is a pair followed by same suits. Different coloured chips are provided for each player because the value of the chips are 1/10 of the player’s debt. Also, the student council who will referee the game will turn a blind eye even if there is cheating unless it is brought to their attention. In Yumeko and Mary’s group are Kiwatari and Nanami Tsubomi. Kiwatari is not a house pet but he does owe a small amount to a friend so he is eligible to participate. He is just playing for some pocket money. The game starts off with Kiwatari being confident. Mary folds but Yumeko goes ahead and loses. Next round, Kiwatari also wins after everyone folds. Next round, Yumeko calls a raise and Kiwatari follows suit. Yumeko wins. Mary realizes that if she wants to win, she needs to move in. Her Life Programme is indeed a cushy life. An ultimate life that every woman dreams of. But she doesn’t want it as she doesn’t want others to tell her what to do with her life. When she calls for a raise, Kiwatari is still confident. A single loss to Yumeko will not deter him. After all, he knows they are working together. Because why so confidently bet high when they cannot determine the other card? Unless. He folds but Mary unveils her cards and has a dud.

Episode 5
For the next few rounds, when Kiwatari calls, they fold and if he folds, they have duds. Yumeko and Mary know Tsubomi is obedient to Kiwatari and by the way she places her cards, it signals to him what suit she has. Yumeko even tells Tsubomi a fool proof trick to use hand signals beneath the table. With Kiwatari panicking and telling Tsubomi how to play her hand, it only lets the duo know what kind of cards he has. On the penultimate round, Kiwatari wins and jumps into first place. On the final round, Kiwatari just needs to fold to win it. However Yumeko and Mary get into an argument to bet more chips. At this rate, they will overtake him. When he tries to force Tsubomi to fold, Yumeko talks to Tsubomi if she is okay being used like this. This is her chance to break free from her house pet status. Unless of course she is scared of rebelling and wants to stay one her entire life. This has Tsubomi remember the traumatic time she became a house pet. Kiwatari cut her long beautiful silky hair and she has been ‘dead’ ever since. All her pent up anger and frustration released, Tsubomi rebels and bets a chip instead. Kiwatari is mad but he wonders why Yumeko would do this unless she is sure she would win. The round ends with Tsubomi winning. The total balance is summed up and winning this game is Mary followed by Tsubomi, Yumeko and lastly Kiwatari. Kiwatari is not happy since he has 5 Yumeko chips and this should be worth almost 60 million each. Yumeko and Mary start laughing at him and it seems the duo swapped their debts. It was stated in the rules that you play with whatever debts you reported. The difference Mary handed a cheque to Suzui. Kiwatari is now resorting to violence but Igarashi tasers him out. Now that Kiwatari has incurred the highest debt in the group, he will become a house pet if he cannot repay it. Although Tsubomi is still a house pet and still has her debts, she is no longer angry and thankful to Yumeko for giving her a chance. Mary retrieves her cheque back from Suzui. He isn’t going to cash it in, right? Yumeko is quite happy with their splendid act and gets all touchy with Mary. She wants to be her friend! Does she have a reason to say no?

Episode 6
Now that Mary has cleared her debts and no longer a house pet, those b*tches are being friendly with her again. Mary talks to Suzui about Yumeko. She actually has more than enough money to clear her debts but yet she chose not to and remained a house pet. She believes Yumeko wants to officially challenge the student council. Igarashi has done some research on Yumeko. It seems she has a very vast fortune. Her parents are deceased and her only living relative is an older sister who is in a hospital for treatment. The kind of treatment that needs enormous amounts of money. Yeah, we see her making paper cranes with money! Thinking that Yumeko’s intention is to gamble with Kirari, Ikishima panics and needs to find her first before Kirari ruins her. Hence she quickly ‘arrests’ Yumeko and Suzui for a gamble. In this ESP game, the players and the dealer will be placed in separate soundproof rooms. Only a surveillance monitor connects the rooms. The dealer will deal the cards face down. The players will do the same. Once done, all will reveal their cards. Whoever has more matching cards with the dealer wins. The difference the winner gain as points. But it seems Igarashi will not wager money. She wants to use guns. The winner gets to pull the trigger for every point they have! Both of them will fill up a gun’s chambers with any amount of bullets they want. Be it none or all 6. They put it inside a chute as they will later randomly pick it up. The first player to get shot loses. Don’t worry about getting killed. The president will usually do something to cover it up. Suzui doesn’t want to play this game and leave so this makes Ikishima mad that he is trying to ruin their fun. Kirari won’t play with her so her only chance left is Yumeko. If he insists, she will shoot him! Of course Yumeko intends to play this game as Suzui is horrified how both perverts are on the same psychotic level.

Meanwhile Mary is summoned by Kirari. It seems she wants her to join the student council since she was able to do a rare feat of clearing her debts. Mary tries to decline but Kirari intimidates her by wondering why she would refuse such an offer. Being on the student council has lots of perks. She allows Mary to defer her answer and likes people like her whom she can’t understand. Yumeko sets her conditions to play. They will play for only 3 rounds, Suzui is the dealer and the loser will lose a billion yen. Ikishima is okay with it since she doesn’t care about money. In that case Ikishima adds a condition that she cannot miss if she has the right to shoot. Suzui panics as all he could see is Yumeko’s death. Besides she did tell him that all they need to do is collaborate and win. Just do a sign. What sign???!!! He believes Yumeko wants Ikishima to think they can win with a signal and hence she won’t be so reckless if she knows if she is going to lose. He does some hand signal. Whatever that means. After Suzui places his cards, the girls load up their gun. Ikishima goes for the maximum 6! The big reveals sees Ikishima matches 3 cards while Yumeko only matches 2 cards. Ikishima quickly pulls out a gun and is going to fire at her but Yumeko warns her not to pull that trigger on that gun.

Episode 7
It seems she loaded it with her lipsticks and it might misfire. Ikishima doesn’t care so Yumeko admits she lied. It isn’t loaded. Before they begin the next round, Yumeko asks why she invited her to play this game. The thrill of life and death. She doesn’t care if she wins or lose. Then she shows her missing left eye. Flashback shows gambling didn’t make her happy. So when she lost to Kirari, the latter notes Ikishima is the kind who would rather pay with their lives. She suggests paying back her debt with her left eye because she is curious to see how the back of it looks like. Oh, she’s too lazy to read up on it too. She will prepare for tomorrow’s surgery but Ikishima quickly stabs her own eye! Now that Kirari has seen it, she lost interest. The thrill of pain has Ikishima wanting to gamble with her again. She’ll bet her other eye. She is then invited to join the student council. At first she wasn’t interested but after Kirari says she will kill her someday, she agreed. Suzui is racking his brains on how to line up his cards and decides to go with Yumeko’s first order. Thanks to that, Yumeko got all correct and Ikishima only 3. Ikishima relishes being shot at. She even orgasms before Yumeko pulls the trigger. However Yumeko knows it is her own gun and all the chambers are empty. Well, because Ikishima loaded hers full, she can tell the difference of the gun’s weight. Before Suzui could start the final round, he notices Ikishima is cheating. He is forced to deal his cards now or she will shoot Yumeko right away. With no time, he just deals them. After that, Yumeko pulls her loaded gun on Ikishima and is disappointed in her. Ikishima likes it and believes she is the kind who gets her kicks exploiting others rather than bearing risks. She matches Yumeko by loading only 2 chambers.

When the cards are revealed, Ikishima gets all wrong. Yumeko then reveals she knows Suzui is right handed and previous footage shows him dealing with his left. Also, one of the card patterns is reversed and this means the video is horizontally mirrored. Only the final round he played with his right. This also means Suzui’s feed also shows the girls in mirrored positions (the cheating Suzui claimed). Hence Yumeko accounted for this and he played his cards like she expected. From the first round, Yumeko can tell Ikishima doesn’t care of her own wellbeing and her conditions for victory is being killed. Yumeko reveals her cards. She got them all wrong too. Yumeko couldn’t have loaded none and got it all correct but by doing so and loading only 2 bullets, if someone won by 5 points, it would certain fire. Ikishima thought it would be impossible to tie if she played all her cards wrong. But if she decided to play 1 or 2 correctly, there was a chance Yumeko might be shot. She views this as an insult to gambling. Gambling is interesting because both parties suffer. Ikishima is only interested in suffering herself. She is not gambling and just wants to die. She hates this kind of people the most. Ikishima is turned on by her craziness and wants to be her slave! Please shoot her! Politely declined. Kirari is still waiting for Mary’s answer so the latter asks about the house pet system. She talks about the strongest of the fittest in her aquarium but if you put all the strongest together, they can only be one who is the strongest. Sometimes the weak steal from the strong too. She is interested to see what happens if it is applied to humans. Mary refuses to join and is not obliged to give an answer. Mary is upset inside that Kirari tried to make a fool out of her. She doesn’t view house pets as humans and only objects below her. Her view of justice is warped. She is going to make her pay for that. Yumeko asks Suzui why he continued to play the same cards despite knowing the trick. He didn’t have time to think and hoped she didn’t realize he didn’t know what to do. He was just praying for the best. His answer makes her feel better.

Episode 8
Yumemi Yumemite is the school’s top idol. She is on course to be the world’s best idol. She has a crazy fan club and it is expensive to be a member. When Kirari decided to take leave from school, Igarashi didn’t hear anything about it and begged her to stay. She told her to f*ck off. It has been a week since and Igarashi is growing worried that without her presence, things may fall apart. Especially the treasurer, Kaede Manyuda who is craving for power. Why is Igarashi so scared of him? Yumemi plans to take care of Yumeko and Manyuda agrees to support her and do the necessary preparations. Sumeragi is trying to be friends with Yumeko. It seems her dad has warned her that it is her job to be part of the student council (too bad she got fired) and make political connections. If she cannot do that, she will get disowned! As Yumeko’s rounds of defeating student council members become more prominent, this has given hope to many house pets who believe she is aiming for the president’s seat. In that case, Sumeragi is planning to support her all the way. Yumeko isn’t interested in the seat but as long as she can gamble that is good enough. Besides, she already considers Sumeragi her friend. Only, if she didn’t have to rub her fingernails… Remember your place…

Yumeko soon receives an invitation to meet Yumemi. She is thoroughly checked by her manager, Saori before entering. Yumemi shows some variety show they will be appearing after her next concert. This show is to help select the next new member. The wager is 50 million and enough to clear Yumeko’s house pet status. But if she fails, she will form an idol unit with her. From the way Yumemi describes the glamorous idol life, Yumeko then shoots her mouth. She hates her fans, right? It seems Yumeko has collected and pasted back ripped fan letters for her. Yumemi admits she hates them but Yumeko wants to know her goal otherwise she cannot find a reason to gamble with her. Yumemi wants an Academy Award. She dreamt of getting one since young but the rate she is progressing, she will never ever get it. So what better way to rise up fast in this school and be an idol. Becoming a world class idol would be easy with this school’s power. This is why she is able to put up with the fans and continue her job. She continues to badmouth them like shaking hands with her with their sweaty palms. Yumeko is amazed of her dream and can carry on despite hating her fans. But it won’t be fun if they do not bet their livelihoods on the game. Yumeko has recorded their conversation and will make it part of their wager. Of course she will not make a copy of it. See you on the day of the concert. But it seems Yumeko didn’t intentionally have those ripped letters and recorder. Somebody sent it to her. Yumemi also believes that only someone with a master key could have got into her room where she shredded her letters. The concert is here and after it, Yumemi introduces Yumeko to start their idol championship.

Episode 9
They will play a series of games in which the winner gets a mark they will put on a tic-tac-toe board. You know how to win this, right? It starts off with singing. Yumemi sings an idol song and scores high. Yumeko sings a boring school anthem and she almost scores perfect?! As the game drags on, we hear Yumemi saying winning and losing is all part of the plan otherwise it will be too easy. But don’t bet that Yumeko doesn’t even know. In a game that has them guess a random fan’s birth month, Yumemi thought she would win this and everything since she knows every damn fans’ birthday. And that lucky random fan called is… Mary! Who the f*ck is she?! Yumemi panics. She watches Yumeko’s writing and can tell what month she is writing. But wait. Could this be a trap to lead her on? In the end, both got wrong but since Yumeko’s is closest, she wins. Too bad, Yumemi. You were just overthinking. Yumeko didn’t lose this on purpose. She really didn’t know Mary’s birthday! As Yumemi has lost, it is time for her to pay up. Suddenly Saori slams the money wager on the table. She is willing to give more so as to have Yumeko keep quiet about the recording. However Yumemi says to play it. If she needs to be an idol, she has to have luck. Losing here means she isn’t meant to be one.

The recording of badmouthing the fans is played. The fans are confused. Yumemi confirms it is her. Just as she resigns to her fate, her fans suddenly declare their love and support for her. They have loved her from the start and even more now that she has come clean with her feelings. Renewed hope for Yumemi. You think everything is nicely over now that the dream girls are singing a duet on stage. Not for Yumeko. The torn letter was also the wager as she reveals somebody anonymously sent it to her. With the fans angry and wanting the culprit to show up, Yumemi thinks that because everything was resolved nicely, this would be meaningless. But this is a matter of their pride so she too calls out for the culprit to own up as she calls out to Manyuda. After all, he is the only one with power who can change this event to fans-only and assured them of winning. Manyuda coolly takes to the stage and brushes off all allegations. He has done nothing of that sort and swears on his position and ambition to take over Kirari’s seat. There is lack of evidence so there is nothing Yumeko can do with her accusations. Well, they are not in court so she doesn’t care. In fact she wants to gamble him. He quickly shoots her down that there is no merit in doing so and reminds her of her position as house pet. Speaking of which, she invokes that special right to play an official match.

Episode 10
Manyuda agrees to gamble her. She is a compulsive gambler and doesn’t care about winning or losing. He’ll just have to factor that in. Igarashi is in a bind. If Yumeko wins, 2 of their student council members would have lost in the same day. If Manyuda wins, he will be a step closer in taking Kirari’s seat. The student council vice president becomes the dealer of this choice poker game as she explains the rules. In this version, one cannot fold or call but only raise a bet. After changing their required cards, they are to bet. The one with the higher bet wins the right to choose if the round is won via strongest order or weakest order. There is no bet limit but must play to their fund limit. This of course puts Yumeko at a disadvantage as she has limited funds. The first round goes as Manyuda calculates the reasons and chances of Yumeko doing so and the cards she most likely have. Yumeko wins the bet and calls for the weaker order. She wins. Manyuda is now confident after witnessing her actions as well as hers from previous student council battles, he knows her character well. In the next round, Yumeko not only throws away her pairs but bets all her chips! Of course Manyuda matches hers and raises by a chip. The results: Yumeko has nothing. Manyuda wins. Sumeragi is f*cked because this means all her dreams and hopes she put on her are dashed. Yumeko then calls out to Sumeragi. Could she borrow some money? I mean, they’re friends, right? Friends should help each other out at times like this.

Sumeragi is definitely in a bind since Manyuda notes that she has joined Yumeko’s side after being kicked out of the student council. He badmouths her as having no skill and no right to walk the path of rulers. Yumeko disagrees because who is he to decide Sumeragi has no value. Only she herself can determine that. In order to obtain something, something else must be sacrificed. So either she choose peace as an incompetent or risk her own destruction to reach the top. Sumeragi thinks hard. Manyuda’s path seems to be the safest and she can get what is needed of her. Yumeko is riskier but she gets everything she wants or lose it all. Flashback shows Sumeragi talking to Itsuki and wanting to join the student council. She thought of putting in more money if that is what is needed but he tells her to give up. Being part of the student council also means shouldering a great responsibility. Graduates of their school make up the backbone of Japan and they all have their eyes on it. If their trust is betrayed, it is the end of them. Does she have what it takes to be part of it? She declares she wants to be the student council president. This gets his attention as they both share the same ambition. He will personally recommend her to join and they will both take the throne together. Sumeragi was happy when she was accepted and that she had a secret partner in crime. She realized too late that he was only using her as a pawn. She was despised. Now she is going to pay him back as she personally places 100 chips for Yumeko. She’ll take the throne herself.

Episode 11
Yumeko changes her pair of queens! Manyuda thinks she is going for the same trick again. So when they start betting and raise each other, of course Manyuda is going to win. But Sumeragi decides to help sponsor Yumeko and uses her funds to help raise for Yumeko. Even so, Manyuda is the treasurer and he has billions in his account. When Sumeragi is at her limit, Yumeko suggests they bet everything. Yumeko can bet her Life Programme and Sumeragi who stands to inherit everything from her father’s empire, can bet her life too! The astronomical amount has Sumeragi shivering in fear. However with Yumeko reminding if this is as far her resolve will go, Sumeragi decides not to run anymore and bites off her nails to show her resolve! She’s betting her life! Manyuda rubbishes all that because they are supposed to bet money and betting one’s life isn’t an accurate collateral. But Yumeko reminds him that whatever school rules, the one holding the power is the dealer. And so she allows it! Manyuda objects but she reveals her mask: Kirari! Look at the shock at his face! Didn’t see this coming. Manyuda is in a pinch as he thinks the combined bet of Yumeko and Sumeragi is at 12 billion. If he loses this, his influence and goal will be over. Flashback sees Manyuda’s dad telling him about money is king and the path he must achieve to get all that. What if he fails? Then he is worth nothing. Manyuda then decides to bet his life. Sumeragi panics. His net worth is definitely way higher than theirs. She thinks of having Mary and Suzui chip in their lives too but Kirari tells her they aren’t even worth millions. Ouch. With Manyuda winning the bet, he chooses the strongest and shows set of 8’s. Sumeragi starts to break down. Manyuda thought he has won it but Yumeko lecturing him about how he lost his path, it turns out Sumeragi was just acting all along. Yumeko shows her cards. 3 pairs too. But jacks rank higher, right? In short, his loss is because he underestimated Sumeragi. Manyuda becomes devastated his life is over that he collapses and his hair turn white!!! Truly his world has come to a crashing halt. But looks like the big showdown is on the cards. Yumeko vs Kirari. Supernova explosion indeed.

Episode 12
Sumeragi puts down all the trick tools and equipment for Yumeko’s gamble. Of course she is not going to use all of that. Where’s the fun without the risk? They go meet Ririka and Runa will oversee their match. First they lay down what to wager. Because they consider this school as utmost important, the loser will forever leave Hyakkaou. Mary protests because there is nothing for the winner. Kirari disagrees because if you think about it, gambling bears no fruits and only leads to loss. Even so, people indulge in so because such risks are entertaining. The game they’ll play will use ta tarot cards. They will pick 3 cards from it. But if it is faced up, it is a positive score based on the card’s number and inverted a negative one. Yumeko will be positive while Kirari the negative. Whoever has the most score on their side win. All except for one card called The Fool. Its value is zero. If upright, Yumeko wins. Otherwise it is Kirari’s win when inverted. The duo will pick a card each and they select Suzui as the third picker. At first he sees this another big role too much to shoulder but thinking back, there is something he wants. Yumeko goes first and only gets a +1. Next is Kirari. First she talks about predetermined fate and then flips her card. A -21! Looks like the pressure is on Suzui. He laments his fate because what are the odds of pulling out The Fool? Yumeko assures him the loss is only hers to bear. However he disagrees. He reminds her he wants to watch her play and be with her more. Thus this is also a risk for him! Is that a confession? Suzui thinks hard which card to pick. He notices that there is a marked card. One that Kirari pulled out when she told them The Fool card was the joker. Could it be Kirari set it up so he would pick it? However he won’t flip that card because it is a huge risk. He will not leave that best part to someone else. Yumeko is so thrilled at his words and climaxes?! He leaves it to fate as he picks a card. +20! A draw! This means neither would have to leave! Wow. Everyone so relieved. Especially Igarashi. She can continue to be with her beloved. Sumeragi and Mary get into opposing arguments why Suzui didn’t pick that card. Had it been The Fool, why didn’t Kirari pick it? Perhaps it wasn’t because when Kirari showed that Fool card, she might have stacked another card behind it. But they’ll never know as Runa takes them away and runs. In the aftermath, Kirari does a shake up to the student council and Yumeko continues to gamble at her pleasure.

God Of Gamblers
Looks like fate has it that both Yumeko and Kirari will continue to stay on and meet again one day. This means another season, right? After all, Yumeko hasn’t fully taken down the entire student council and there might be new additions to the body, right? Yumeko hasn’t exactly gambled everyone and dominate the entire school, right? Oh man. I’m getting too excited that there should be more! Am I getting addicted to this series? Sure, it is good and amazing. Having a dozen episodes isn’t merely enough! Need more! But for now, looks like I have to be contented with this season. What to do? No more money, can’t play.

Even if the gambling games are not as creative as I expected, they are still interesting in its own right. In fact, the more interesting aspects are the psychological mind games the players are engaged in. Like the first rock-scissors-paper with a slight twist and variation isn’t much but an interesting concept and variation if you would like to think of it. Sumeragi’s memory game isn’t anything special or out of the ordinary that the focus isn’t on the game itself. Even the poker match between Yumeko and Manyuda is just a freaking normal poker match. Just with an added variation of either you want the strongest or weakest combination to win. Even if you have not heard of Nishinotouin’s roulette game before, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t lose much. You can learn on the fly and it isn’t not as complicated as it should be. After all, the idea is to gamble and not to make complicated rules for, uhm, pure fun and entertainment?

Hence like I’ve said, what makes this a good series is how they execute the psychological mind games among the players. We delve into their mind to see how they think. Usually, many who challenged Yumeko would mostly underestimate her. Even if they don’t, they still are. The problem is they don’t really know much about her. And it really bites them back when she counters it all like they’ve never seen it coming. It really hits them hard. It is those parts perhaps we love to see, the panic look on their faces when Yumeko turns the tables on them for being too overconfident and cocksure that they have it in the bag. Well, always be prepared and expect the unexpected. For now, the plot doesn’t look like it is going to pull off something suspenseful or a mind blowing twist unless more is revealed about Yumeko or Kirari’s home issues. Let’s hope it doesn’t turn out to be something like Yumeko is Kirari’s long lost sister!!! No way!

Yumeko as the main character is as enigmatic as she is interesting. We don’t know much about her except that she is filthy rich and has this love/habit/addiction for gambling. Gambling is like sex to her. What makes her a frightening character is how sharp and observant she is. And she plays it cool enough that you won’t even think she has noticed it. To rub further insult, she acts like a ditzy dumb fool at times. You know what they say about being clever to hide your cleverness. Sometimes I think Yumeko is like the devil reincarnated. She might seem going around to defeat the evil student council body and mostly does so. Even if she losses, she has other ulterior motives. Her sharp observation may awe you and sometimes dumbfound you. Because like I’ve said, it’s like as though she is the devil reincarnated and can read the minds of her opponent. Like as though she has the series’ script and has read it beforehand! Yumeko is even ‘superior’ than God in the sense that she doesn’t need to pray to Him like most other low level desperate gamblers do when they need luck. Heck, many of the characters here do not need to even do so. They all depend on their luck and skill and only have themselves to blame if they fail. I mean, it is you who is gambling, not God, right?

So think thrice if you think you can beat her in any form of gambling because I’m sure if you really want to cheat, you would have automatically have lost. So to have a chance of winning, you’ll have to leave that chance to gambling. That is, play fair and by the rules. But in this school where the high stakes are everything, you’d think everybody would be such a goody boy and goody girl and play fair? One must think if Yumeko is such a talent to see through her opponents or she must have gone through a lot of hell and practice to attain such skill. I think it is plausible to believe the latter. After all, Yumeko is no angel or God (that’s why I call her the devil) because it might seem she is going around and helping those who are in dire need like Suzui but in actual fact she hasn’t done anything for them and is just happy to just gamble. Nothing more. Nothing less. It is more fun to gamble and beat those with bad intentions rather than those who are struggling just to purely stay out of debt, right? Where’s the fun in taking down those who are cornered?

Not surprisingly when you have a school that allows such rapid gambling, there are certainly many other weird characters too. Especially the student council body. They’re all a bunch of freaks, right? You’ve got the cruel Kirari to the lollipop sucking carefree loli Runa to the extreme masochist Ikishima who should be locked up in a mental asylum to the manipulative Manyuda (still out in coma, poor guy), the all-that-glitters-is-not-what-you-see idol Yumemi and the Japanese ghost clone Nishinotouin. I’ll say that the ‘worst’ one is Igarashi because she looks like Kirari’s lapdog. Always concerned about her, the moment she is seemingly away, she starts to descend into some panicky state. Like as though her head will roll if the student council loses its reputation. Maybe. We don’t know what Kirari is capable of. But to see her in that jumpy shape in contrast to when she first appeared and coolly refereed the Debt Exchange programme, it really feels she just went downhill. With Yumeko going around defeating them one by one, I’m not sure if there is a pattern for those she has defeated because some become her ally after that. I guess those people who have lost to her know better which better ship to jump. I wouldn’t say that Mary and Sumeragi are her allies but they have the same common enemy. The enemy of my enemy is also my friend.

Having said all that, the most normal of all is Suzui. He considers Yumeko his saviour and follows her around as a friend. And hence my theory is that so he plays the role to ramp up the dramatization effect. In a game of high stakes where no normal people would have placed such high bets, they would often go into that shocked and flabbergasted expression. Despite believing in Yumeko, he can’t help fall back to being pessimistic at times. After all, the odds are usually stacked against Yumeko. It is not like Yumeko has a 100% record of winning. Therefore Suzui as a spectator must be having a roller coaster ride of emotions and his heart must be real strong to see Yumeko make bold decisions. But usually the outcome turns out in her favour. He gets more prominence in the final episode because the fate of both heavyweights now fall on his shoulder. For once he wasn’t a wuss or a follower but a man of his own. Did he finally get a taste of the thrill of gambling after following Yumeko long enough? But still a long way off if you think there is going to be Suzui x Yumeko romance. I wonder if being in that kind of relationship is riskier than gambling.

In true human spirit, we see how one can actually fall from grace the moment you are in an undesirable position. Mary’s case is a great case study as you could see she was one of the top elites and had control over almost everyone in her class. Then it took a humiliating loss for her to drop right at the other end of the table. Typically we can see how others turn on her and treated her the same way as she treated them. Tit for tat. Just desserts. Karma. I guess this served as a good lesson for her because now that Mary has experienced herself what it is like to be a slave, looks like her eyes are opened and she is going to do something about the school’s system. She can’t do it alone. Wild cards like Yumeko are always a good start.

The setting of this anime is particularly interesting and disturbing in the sense that when you think how the entire backbone of Japan’s government and large corporations are run by such manipulative people. I guess in this dog eat dog world where survival of the fittest counts, you have to start them young and ‘train’ them to be ruthless and manipulative-cum-calculative people. I mean, if you can’t succeed here, how are you going to succeed in an even more cutthroat environment? Therefore to think that Japan in this world is built on such foundation, it is quite troubling indeed. Like as though all the good people are dead or they only helm low level jobs. Why can I only see Suzui as a normal salaryman? Japan being a ruthless nation built upon such people may be a cruel thought because who would ever think of Japan as so? Wait till you see the other crueller atrocities in other countries…

One thing to note are the dramatization of certain visuals. The characters may look normal in every other normal scenes, but during gambling or other scenes that require some sort of ‘baring of the teeth’ to the opponents, this is where the dramatization goes several notches up. For instance, you’ll start seeing the characters having this very evil appearance and expression. Like as though this is the true colour of their soul. Could be my imagination because when you’re on the losing streak and the other person is dominating, it would seem the other party is like the devil, eh? Like when Yumeko teamed up with Mary or Sumeragi, when they expose that they have been in cohorts, you see them in their devilish lesbian mode. Seductive or eerie? Not too sure if this can be considered as horror because Yumeko looks like some sort of ghost when she goes into her gambling ecstasy and orgasm. Ghosts might even be afraid of seeing her!

The other visuals to note are the eyes. The zoom in on the pupils also ups the dramatization effect because look how real they are. So even if Yumeko has those dead fish eyes, when she is in crazy gambling mode, her eyes change to this surreal. Also, sometimes their eyes glow in red like as though they are Terminator or something. I thought they would just burst out of their seats and start gunning everything down with their machine guns like a robot but that is just me fantasizing too much.

Saori Hayami did a very excellent job in portraying the gambling crazy Yumeko. At times she is in delirium, lost in her gambling addiction. That sometimes make her sound as scary as she is interesting. Long ago I once considered Saori Hayami as Mamiko Noto’s clone. With her voicing Yumeko, it is like as though this is her horror character to Mamiko Noto’s Jigoku Shoujo’s Enma Ai. The other crazy one is Mariya Ise as Ikishima. I don’t really recognize her voice till this day but to think she was the voice of Fairy Tail’s Levi and The Reflection’s Eleanor, I didn’t think she would sound this crazy. Kudos. But this isn’t really her first time being casted as an unconventional character. There was that time she did Medaka Box Abormal’s Unzen and can you consider Stocking from Panty And Stocking With Garterbelt to be one too? Other recognizable casts are Miyuki Sawashiro as Kirari, Tomokazu Sugita in full serious mode as Manyuda and Yuka Iguchi surprisingly as Tsubomi. The others are Tatsuya Tokutake as Suzui, Minami Tanaka as Mary (Minami in Wake Up, Girls!), Yuuki Wakai as Sumeragi (Miton in Mahou Shoujo Nante Mou Ii Desu Kara), Ayaka Fukuhara as Igarashi (Lugh in Trinity Seven), Yuu Serizawa s Yumemi (Tenma in Mushibugyou), Karin Nanami as Nishinotouin (Kojirou in Duel Masters VS) and Mayu Udono as Runa (Elza in Nyanko Days).

Adding to all the craziness is the opening theme, the aptly named Deal With The Devil by Tia. The song catches you with its very playful tune and the way she sings it. It might sound a bit out of place because with all the jazzy music and fanfare like as though this was a song for Broadway in the 30’s or 40’s. Weird but unique. Even more so its animation is like one big weird dream. Fish, fruits, feasts, dancing… Lesbianism? The ending theme, LAYon-theLINE by D-Selections is just okay, heavy on the bass beats. But the animation feels like as though it is going through Yumeko’s mind. We see her walking through the rain and strange flashes of lights while petals flutter all around. Looks like she is enjoying the feel of it all. Is this what she feels when she orgasms from gambling?

Overall, this is quite an interesting anime. On par with Kaiji but better than other gambling themed anime series out there. Looking at you, Rio: Rainbow Gate. If I could even consider that anime to be of the gambling genre. Heck, those are the only gambling themed series I have watched and I have ever known. But those who aren’t into the psychological mind play and drama might find it a turn off because this is where all the ‘action’ is. I believe this show isn’t meant to encourage one to go into gambling. Too bad and my condolences if you are. Yumeko’s character should be a big warning never to go into gambling unless you are willing to risk your entire existence for the sake of this thrill. I would love to bet for this series to have another season but since I am not willing to go so far to stake my life, I guess I’ll just be silently hoping. Praying to God then…

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