“At Hyakkaō Private Academy, the sons and daughters of the wealthiest of the wealthy engage in a unique curriculum geared to teach them to how to read their opponents. Specifically, students have a rigorous curriculum of gambling where the winners live like kings, and the losers are put through the wringer. When Yumeko Jabami enrolls, she’s decides to teach the students what a real high-roller looks like.”-Kakegurui (manga)
Don’t let the colorful and smiling characters and fun gambling games fool you, Kakegurui is a, quite frankly, a “do-or-die” type of show, where each participant in a game could have their life destroyed within a couple of minutes. With the stakes as high as they can get the simple gambling games that are played seem much more terrifying and entertaining than they normally are. That being said, the main plotline doesn’t have an “end goal”. The character of Jabami Yumeko is as eccentric as it gets and she jumps from opponent to opponent as she likes, which is entertaining in its own way but lacks satisfaction after a few games.
Artwork & Animation:
Probably the best thing about this show is the amazing artwork, the facial expressions were always something to look forward to. It can go from a three-color palette for the mouth and within the next five frames, you can see the shine of the gloss of the lipstick, the number of teeth in their jaw, the texture of the tongue, the wrinkle of skin from their smile etc. This abrupt change in the amount of detail gives the character these eerie facial expressions. Eerie enough send shivers down your spine, but that’s the thrill of the show!
Our main heroine, Jabari Yumeko, as an eccentric is both a good and bad thing. Her lust for a greater challenge makes the story unpredictable, each gambling match more amusing than the next. But that amusement can only go on for so long, at some point it would just be “another match”. If Yumeko had a higher ambition rather than wanting to feel the “thrill” of gambling, the story would’ve had a lot more foundation and be more engrossing.
Sound (OST & Voice Acting):
The soundtrack has this wonderful classy vibe, with string dominating most of the soundtrack. There is also a good amount of dark electronic music that gives the show that eerie vibes as well. The opening, in particular, does an excellent job of showing you that high-class vibe with the use of jazz elements.
Kakegurui was one of the favorites in the season, despite its lack of more concrete story elements. the characters and artwork had me coming back for more and more. The gambling games were also interesting to learn about!
Overall: Score 8
The interesting world of gambling comes to life in Kakegurui. With a variety of menacing character and artwork that will have your skin crawling, Kakegurui will have you clenching your teeth from beginning to end.
Best Girl: Mary Saotome
Though she is a pain in the beginning, after getting herself together she becomes a powerhouse along with Yumeko in the second half of the season. Also, I have a soft spot for blonde twin-tailed tsunderes……