kakegurui 1

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I’m all in on the fanservice fetish gambling anime.


“Entrusting your life to a game of chance is no feat for the sane.”

If you told me that there’s an anime about gambling high school students, I would fully expect the show to be about rolling quartz for waifus and husbandos in Fate/Grand Order. I did not expect Kakeguri to be No Game No Life with sexual fetish elements.

The backdrop is a gambling high school, but that’s just there to gather a bunch of kids into a terrible, terrible, dystopic hellhole scenario. The high schoolers gamble against each other, and they mainly seem to do it because they get off on it. Not like a mild dopamine rush when you roll a Gilgamesh, but more like a Berserker-class sexual release. It’s like Food Wars‘ culinary orgasms dialed up to 21. The games aren’t also standard games but with games and scenarios with a twist. They’re not just playing blackjack or Mahjong but games that can feature some way to perverse the rules and cheat. That’s where the No Game No Life element comes in where guessing and subverting the cheats is part of the fun. I also expect Jabami’s crew to win and keep winning much like Blank. Kakegurui is a fun show that celebrates the darkness and futility of gambling.

Whereas No Game No Life provided haremettes in fetish costumes or appearances as far as the fanservice goes, there’s more, uh, interesting “topics” in Kakegurui.


“Jabami’s a pretty weird name.”

Yes, yes it is. It’s not as cool of a name as “Ralph Taj Honda” though. Jabami seems like a normal girl and for the most part acts like a proper upper-class beautiful raven-haired girl… that is until she starts gambling and transforms into a batshit crazy devil. It’s almost like she was sent to this school to punish all the gamblers as a Jigoku Shoujo.

(My favorite random moment of the show is when Jabami first walks into class and a student goes, “I’d smash–” before getting interrupted by the teacher. I also liked how the teacher wasn’t an overly sexy teacher nor a mousy 25 year old teacher who is still single. An actual teacher-looking teacher.)

(The school uniforms remind me of second tier casinos in Vegas. I assume they were going for that look– and they succeeded.)


My main complaint thus far is that the male protagonist seems more like background character F than an integral member of the plot thus far. Maybe that will change later on. I can see a setup where he gets swindled but then is bailed out later by Jabami.


The OP, from the team that did Yuri on Ice‘s opening, is fantastic. Cannabalistic self-cest, toe licking, fingernail fetishization, a gun montage that screams “MURICA!”, panty shots, and symmetrical docking– if there’s an opposite to well-choreographed figure skating, it is this opening. This one and the opening to Virgin Soul are just really well done and make a case for MAPPA over Shaft for anime opening sequences, at least in the past few years.

(The ED… boing… boing… you just have to watch for yourself.)


You know what makes a fun anime even more fun? Emo facial distortions. They’re great when randomly inserted into a show, but, for Kakegurui, they are also used to show how ugly the “beautiful” girls are when they are gambling is just the cherry on top. No matter how hard the characters try to conceal their true natures, it just comes out during the euphoria of gambling.


The eyes. The eyes– there’s just something about how MAPPA draws the eyes. The eyes are rarely consistent, changing to suit the mood and disposition of the character, but always detailed. The eyes. The haunting eyes.


The teeth. The teeth– the clenching and grinding of the teeth sends shivers up any dentist’s spine. MAPPA put a lot of emphasis into the facial features of the characters, maybe to the detriment of the backgrounds and uniforms, but it pays off in showing the emotional stress of the characters. The teeth. The grinding teeth.

(MAPPA is on a roll. They have three series airing now, and all three look fantastic. It’s difficult to argue against them for being the top anime studio right now. They have 2016’s Anime of the Year, and they show quite a diversity in genres between Virgin Soul, Kakegui, and Altair right now.)


Three MVPs…


2. Jabami.

3. Netflix.

One Response to “kakegurui 1”

  1. Just watched an episode and came here thinking ‘No way Jason’s going to pass on emo facial distortions’ and MAPPA-being-SHAFT. Shit, it’s been a long time since Oharuhi-sama, killer lolis, and Sunrise train wrecks like Mai Otome and Code Geass R2.

    Kakegurui is almost like Kaiji, One Outs, Maria†Holic, Subaru’s despair, and a sprinkling of inappropriate sexual overtones for the suffering of others rolled into one neat bow-tied package.

    Ballroom e Youkoso is great too and goes all in for expressive faces and poses. If only more anime wasn’t afraid of showing personality.

    “Not like a mild dopamine rush when you roll a Gilgamesh”

    Playing Grand Order as well now that it’s in English, but it’s no Hearthstone or Overwatch and really needs a bit of work on balance (no I don’t need dozens more craft essences and low ranked servants) and battles. Looking forward to seeing how it develops over time though, and I’ll keep hoping Nasu gets back to actually writing full visual novels or books eventually… I know he’s probably rolling in that Pay2Waifu money right about now, but finishing the other Mahou Tsukai no Yoru games they were making half a decade ago would be great about now. Or the Tsukihime remake, and Girls’ Work projects announced back in 2008. Or a Kara no Kyoukai sequel. Or maybe even something new… dammit Nasu, nobody really wants more fate/extella given all the other superior options – leave the random Fate spinoffs to other decent authors you can hire unless you want to get serious and write a spiritual sequel.

    (This reminiscence has made me check up on Gen Urobuchi since it’s been awhile… Thunderbirds anime… I mean Thunderbolt Fantasy basically looks like Fate Zero with stop-motion Chinese puppets and cg effects. It starts with archer summoning loads of self-propelled arrows and sacrificing himself for the princess who throws herself off a cliff while the prince of darkness shoots mana bolts like Rin Tohsaka. I’ve had a few beers and it’s well-received so I’m going to investigate further.)

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