Kakegurui: Compulsive Gambler (First Impressions – Episodes 1 to 4)

Author: Kawamato Homura, Naomura Tooru

Genre: Game, Mystery, Psychological, Drama, School, Shounen

Episodes: 4/12

Production Studio: MAPPA

 

Introduction

So with all the hype about Kakegurui and all my favourite cosplayers cosplaying Jabami, I couldn’t wait to start watching this gambling-based anime. I personally think it’s quite unique, the dark vibes coming off the very essence of this anime itself is incredibly intriguing to me. Well time to see what all this hype is about!

 

Storyline Premise

The plot is based in a school where gambling is incredibly prevalent. It seems, as of where I’ve left off, that every single student openly participates in gambling and some are left in humongous debts. Those that are will wear a metal pendant around their necks, being labelled doggy for males and kitty for females.

Ryouta Suzui is first seen as a “doggy”, the cause vaguely being shown as Ryouta having lost to Mary Saotome. Eventually, Yumeko Jabami transfers in and things start to look up for Ryouta. Things will escalate from then on and stuff will happen.

What I really like about Kakegurui is that despite Yumeko being the protagonist of this series, her winning or losing is completely unpredictable. Yes, they do explain how opponents cheat but it never affects her being able to win or not. Gambling is a game of chance after all and cheat methods aren’t always 100% efficient.

 

Art and Animation

Before anything, I just like to state how I think the visuals in the OP sequence look absolutely fantastic. Intoxicating may almost be the right word to describe it.

I can definitely feel the “Prison School” vibes coming from the animation. Same animation studio, so I’m not too surprised. The way the faces are visualised when portraying a threatening look really brings the point across. It’s straightforward, so you’ll know exactly when things are about to get real and I like that.

Beautiful.

Despite that, I find that happiness is quite difficult to decipher when it comes to close up shots of faces. If it wasn’t for the voice acting I wouldn’t have known if the look was meant to portray happiness. I’m still not sure if it’s just in the nature of the character but we’ll see in the final review!

 

Sound and Music

The OP, Deal with the Devil by Tia, isn’t exactly what I would say is catchy but it has this jazzy, sleazy feel to it that I find incredibly fitting for an anime like this. It’s not something typically heard as an anime OP but I quite like it.

The voice acting is also something I can commend. The hostility is undeniably clear and the emotions in general are portrayed quite well.

 

Characterisation

Yumeko Jabami

Yumeko is first shown as a seemingly normal, innocent looking transfer student but as soon as she is informed about the compulsive gambling issue her new school has, she makes a 180 degree turn and turns out to be completely crazy and unafraid.

She foiled the dirty plans of Mari Saotome and exposed her cheating ways, completely ruining Mary’s reputation and placing her social standing to bare butt zero. It’s shown that Yumeko isn’t a bad person when she gifts a large sum of money to Ryouta after having known that he’s in a huge dept.

 

Ryouta Suzui

As I’ve mentioned before, Ryouta was a “doggy” by the time the series started. He’s a character that is easily manipulated but has a strong sense of justice. It’s shown when he bows to Yumeko and sincerely apologises when he had done something he shouldn’t have against her. He’s earnest too as shown when he initially refuses to accept Yumeko’s offer to pay off his debts.

 

Overall

So far, Kakegurui seems like a very promising anime and I really look forward to continuing it. There’s also a crap load of fanservice which I feel fairly neutral towards. The concept is unique and so is the execution of it. Animation and art seems to be well rooted with consistent quality. Although I like the anime a lot right now, I can’t say how I’d feel towards it by the end of the series. If I were to take a gamble though, I’d say I’ll love this anime but we’ll never know so stay on your toes for the final review!

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