Kakegurui - A Gambling Anime With Peculiar Stakes

By Gemma | 23 May 2018

What does Kakegurui mean?

Kakegurui pretty much stands for a compulsive gambler and that's exactly what this anime is all about. Not just one compulsive gambler, but a whole school of them which is unique in itself. The school isn't just unique due to its compulsive gambler mentality, but also to its strangely peculiar hierarchy and its psychotic classmates.

Initial Thoughts

Going into this anime I had no idea what to expect. What drew me in was a few glimpses of scenes and the open picture on Netflix. Kakegurui is a new anime on Netflix that has recently released a live action. I'm very much into anime and the more peculiar and strange anime. The ones that are a bit odd and not your regular kind of anime. The split personality ones, the psycho ones. The anime that have huge amounts of effort put into their characters. I was pleasantly surprised by this anime. It piqued my interest completely. It had just the right amount of crazy but also mixed with scenes of innocence. There's not too much of a story. It's more character backstories along with our main protagonist trying to cause chaos in the school, by decimating the school hierarchy.

It's More Than Meets The Eye

So how does this unique school work? Well, during classes it's your normal average school. Nothing peculiar or special there. If you looked in a classroom window, you would think it just your average high school. But when break time happens, that's when the true horror of this school comes out. Any disputes are solved through gambling. This school is full of children with influential and wealthy parents making themselves rich beyond their wildest dreams, using their parent's wealth to gamble. They don't do this in small measures either. Any gamble is always to a high extreme and if you can't pay yours, you are in trouble. You essentially become a slave to whoever you lose, although being rich, they fancy a nickname. Rather than call you a slave, you become what is known as a house pet, for males they become a dog while females become cats. You're at you owner's every whim, this doesn't just end when they leave school either. If they have not managed to pay off this debt by the time they graduate, they are forced onto a path by their owner which depicts who they marry, their career etc. Basically, their whole life is planned out ahead of them so the stakes are not easy or something to take lightly.

The Madness Ensues

So the madness gets more apparent throughout the anime. Our protagonist gets increasingly more psychotic throughout, but also shows small innocent tendencies that just increase her craziness and also can be seen as sultry. She doesn't gamble for money or for the sake of gambling, but for the pure thrill of it, and the 'heat of the moment' feeling when there is everything to gain or lose. She participates in a lot of gambling. The most peculiar and strange matches she competed in, are her match against Itsuki whose father owns a toy company and she insists on using her own set of cards.
She challenged our protagonist to a game known as the double concentration which is a matching game. You turn 2 cards over. If they match you get a point. If they don't, you turn them over and it is the other player's turn. This continues for some time but ends up in our protagonist losing. While playing, she catches on to how Itsuki is able to win and challenges her again, this time upping the stakes. Itsuki is a very peculiar girl; she loves to collect people's fingernails, (yes you read that correctly.) This young and innocent looking school girl collects fingernails, which in itself is very odd and creepy and makes you see this girl in a whole new light.

So, with the opportunity to collect our protagonist's fingernails to add to her collection Itsuki agrees and ultimately loses this gamble. This due to our protagonist working out how Itsuki won the last time and essentially beating her at her own game, utterly humiliating her. Then the other strange match is her Russian roulette game with Midari, who is completely insane. She took her own eye to please the president and everyone who knows Russian roulette knows the stakes. Our protagonist and her friend are taken to the depths of the school. He goes into one room, she into another. He must draw cards and she must say what the cards are. Midari gets off on violence and craves it to the point, that even after losing her eye to pay off her debt to the school president, she remains by the president's side and loyal only to her, because the president offered to kill Midari in the future and give her the ultimate pleasure of feeling all that pain. You can probably see why I feel Midari is completely insane but then so are all the characters in this anime. There are a lot of gambling stories, but I'm only mentioning my most memorable and favorable two. This to keep your interest high and to make you want to continue this anime and see what other strange and peculiar games and stakes people can come up with.

Our Protagonist

Our protagonist is called Yumeko. She starts off seemingly innocent but quickly becomes aware of the gambling that ensues at break time and continues to involve herself in the gambling. She makes the stakes as high as she possibly can, to receive the highest thrill available and maximize her pleasure, no matter the risk. The greater it is, the better for Yumeko. She proceeds to make a few friends along the way. One through the use of him helping someone to cheat and she caught on, one through a lost gamble and the loser becoming Yumeko's house pet but a later friend, and another from a gambling loss. She continues gambling at any cost, challenging as many of the school council as she can, in order to bring herself closer to the president and ultimately challenge her. Humiliating and dethroning all the council members, in her attempt to dethrone the queen herself; the president. Yumeko has crazy and mental tendencies throughout the anime, mixed with a few innocent scenes in which she's attempting to be innocent, but comes off as more sultry than anything. I adored Yumeko and she made a brilliant protagonist trying to destroy the hierarchy and just her entire character is amazing. Her craziness can be hidden when needed, but in full force when required, giving us the opportunity to see two very different sides of her.

Other Gamblers

The other characters in this anime all have wonderful backstories and they are spoken about in great detail. Rather than me spoiling those here for you, why not watch the anime and see their stories unfold. Revel into their lives and enjoy the moments like I did and not hearing it second hand.

Final Thoughts

My final thoughts on this anime were just: "Wow!". It was such a great anime to watch and so enjoyable. I found myself craving each new episode, wanting to see what happened next. What crazy game would happen next or which strange and weird things people would stake next. I would thoroughly enjoy seeing another episode. Even though there isn't much story to it, the pure drama to the games makes it well worth the watch. If you enjoy odd anime or disturbing anime then this is definitely one for you to check out. If you're just after a new anime and your curious to try something else then I would definitely give Kakegurui a watch. Being only 12 episodes long, it's not going to take a while to get through this anime and you definitely won't regret giving it a chance. I know I didn't.

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