Netflixing: Kakegurui

in tv •  2 years ago 


It is always disappointing to encounter a show with so much potential, only to have it squandered through pandering to the lowest common denominator.

But before we make a full evaluation, let's review the facts.

It's Like Hogwarts, if Hogwarts was a Casino

Ah, the magical school trope.

It's often overused, but in the right hands it can make for a compelling story. Whether you're learning to become a wizard at Hogwarts, training as a demon hunter at True Cross Academy, or even honing your ninja skills in Konoha, magical schools are a great way to live out your power fantasies.

And they don't even have to be magical. Some "magical schools" are more scientific in nature, such as in Ender's Game or other popular stories.

Or, sometimes, they're all about gambling.


Kakegurui is about a fictional high school in Japan where the students are high stakes gamblers, and their entire lives revolve around games of chance and skill. The best students can achieve riches beyond their wildest dreams, but a terrible retribution awaits those who lose.

The Story

One day, a new girl named Yumeko arrives at Hyakkou Academy, where all students are beholden to a strict hierarchy depending on their gambling skills.

Since Yumeko is a compulsive gambler who enjoys losing just as much as winning, she immediately upsets the social order, taking on all comers and racking up a surprising number of wins.

Her winning strategy comes from her irrational behavior. The top-tier gamblers at the school have attained their position by learning to anticipate their opponents, but Yumeko's actions cannot be anticipated, as she often acts against her immediate interests.

But she inevitably draws the attention of the student council, which at this school is an Illuminati-esque cabal of power players who secretly control all aspects of the students' lives.

At Hyakkou Academy, any student who gambles themselves into debt are thereafter designated "class pets", and are treated as beasts of burden who must perform any chore required of them by the "human" students.

As Yumeko craves greater and greater risks, she will face off against each member of the student council and raise the stakes to billions of yen, all in her quest to battle the student council president in a game with the greatest imaginable risk.

Character Dynamics

One noticeable flaw of this series is the way other characters are shoved aside in favor of Yumeko.

Granted, some of this is just a natural consequence. Yumeko's personality is so imposing that it kind of squashes everyone all comers---which is in keeping with her storyline of overpowering the powerful.

But because of this, the other characters are largely forgettable, especially the other sympathetic heroes, such as Ryota, who functions as the audience's viewpoint. After Yumeko rescues him from being a class pet, he follows her around like a little lost puppy (ironic, isn't it?).

And while Ryota does have an arc, it is an arc that, like the curvature of the Earth, is barely registered to the viewer's eyes.

Other support characters, such as Mary and (later) Itsuki, are even more forgettable.

Yumeko's opponents, however, tend to leave a more permanent impression. The student council is made up of the kind of rogues' gallery you would expect to find in a shounen anime. Each one has their own special skills and poses a unique threat. It is a genuine treat to see each one of them taken down.

But then There's the Panda Ring

Every now and then, Kakegurui takes time away from being a legitimately interesting show to do something shallow and stupid.

I am talking about the way the show tries to pander sexually implicit imagery to the viewer.

In the show's opening and closing sequences, as well as in several episodes, the animators pose the academy's schoolgirls in highly flattering positions.

Any follower of this blog knows that I am not fond of this kind of pandering. And it is even more infuriating in Kakegurui because it has literally no reason to be there. None of the show's storylines are at all sexual. The characters never actually have sex or even get involved with each other. Kakegurui is a series without romantic subplots (an astonishing rarity), yet it wastes the viewer's time with implicit sexual posturing that serves no purpose whatsoever, other than to use as a marketing gimmick.

I am not fond of fetishising characters, but if you must do it then at least make it relevant to the plot!

This is, by far, the biggest strike against the series. And if these shots were subtracted from the runtime, the show would be better off for it.

One Redeeming Quality: the Games

There is, however, one area where Kakegurui lets its creative chutzpah shine, and that is in the gambling itself.

The show is not content to merely use existing games from the real world. At Hyakkou Academy, gambling is a way of life, and one way students show their chops is to invent new games with which to challenge each other.

The series introduces a host of made-up games, all of which could be played in real life. Many of them are fresh takes on old favorites, such as poker, concentration, or, in one extreme case, Russian roulette.

That the show puts so much creativity into inventing new forms of gambling demonstrates that it was written by a great intellect. To have that intellectual appeal interrupted so often by pandering is my primary gripe with the series.

My Judgment


Under different circumstances, Kakegurui could have become one of my top five animes. That it wastes so much potential is reason enough to keep me from watching it again.

Yet the drama, intellect, and high stakes of the shows story are certainly attention grabbing. They would also be worthy of emulation for those wishing to write a story about the insane world of high-stakes gambling.

It is on Netflix right now, if you can stomach it. Otherwise, you may just want to fold, cash in your chips, and go home.

Previous entries in the Netflixing series:

Past Years

TV Shows

  • Planet Earth II
  • Fullmetal Alchemist
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 2
  • Revolting Rhymes
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 1
  • The Polka King
  • Little Witch Academia
  • Movies

  • Jaws
  • Phantom Boy
  • The Boss Baby
  • Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
  • Strictly Ballroom
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    In some ways, Kakegurui has all the ingredients to be a successful anime. The visuals are great, the soundtrack excellent and the actual gambling and various games depicted are interesting and rife with tension. With a lack of characterisation, a breathtaking pace and a distinct lack of motivation for many of the characters, Kakegurui’s flaws ultimately outweigh its positives in an anime that could have been great had it improved the characters and pacing of the series. There’s certainly parts of Kurugurui that stand out but they wind up lost from the numerous issues holding this anime back from being as good as it so easily could have been.

    Waoo sir story is looking so good .i am glad to see this anime series .even i am the big fan of anime series thaks for shearing . Your post is always amazing .

    I like read your points of view i mean you talk about the key points and it's really easy understand what will you find there. Regards

    Another smart post by @talanhorne sir....
    Kakegurui offers plenty of characters. Almost each episode reveals a new set of rules, gambles, characters, or obstacles to overcome. But the whole series focuses on the characters. They’re intellectual, witty, and will do whatever it takes to erase their debt and come up on top. What I really love about Kakegurui’s characters is that it doesn’t hesitate to change point-of-views, nor the dynamic character changes. Yumeko is a complex character to begin with. She’s completely genuine and sweet, yet on the inside, she’s wild, erratic, and cunningly compulsive. The young gambler lives for the thrill of it all, but doesn’t show that side of her unless provoked in a gamble against a tough opponent. Multiple moments, Yumeko is seen acting completely crazy, which shows when she tries to offer a defeated opponent another chance. But after you play Yumeko, your life changes. Which brings in the dynamic changes that resulted in the gambles becoming too serious for an actual academy. Even after, Yumeko allies with her former opponents she conquered such as Mary Saotome and Itsuki Sumeragi. The character development starts off a bit shaky with the many introductions of characters, but it’s truly something to watch. The audience get to view characters from previous episodes come back to either go against or with Yumeko. We also see a bit of connection between them, especially with Ryōta. He’s a plain school-boy character, but he’ll do anything to make sure the compulsive gambler stays out of trouble. Which contradicts lots of the stereotypes, in a way. The characters mesh really well together, and it’s nice seeing them talk so calmly despite their past history. Kakegurui’s characters are one of its strongpoints, especially in a series where they’re especially vital.
    Thanks for sharing this review...

    That's excellently writing about movie series @talanhorne. I appreciate your fulfill effort. I didn't watch this yet but see now nice description.

    @talanhorne - Sir I do understand your disappointment... But you reviewed it without taking a side... Thank you Sir... It's very rare to find professional reviewers... But you are one of those rare ones...


    @talanhorne sir...
    Wow. Just wow. I wasn’t sure if I’d like the animation initially. I believed that it would be a typical, high school anime that went Episodes by episode with a boring plot and an expected outcome. And boy, I was wrong. The animation is vivid, and looks extremely inviting. I wish I lived in a world like that, honestly. Kakegurui is a beautiful piece of art, right down to the architecture and characters. The scenery is amazing as well. It has a sort of edge to it, but it has plenty of detail regarding the main characters and set up. One of my favorite parts are the skin of the characters. Which sounds pretty absurd and crazy, but studio MAPPA makes it look glossy and smooth. This probably can be looked upon as ‘wtf Mika’, but you’ll understand sooner or later. Another thing I love about the characters is their hair. It’s animation is so pretty. It just is. There’s also details that differentiated Kakegurui from any other anime, and I can’t explain it. All I know is that the animation is bomb! Especially the shadowing. The gambling series definitely has some great minds and artists working behind it, that’s for sure...
    Happy steeming...keep it up post...

    Another wonderful and interesting tv series review by @talanhorne sir...
    Kakegurui.....At Hyakkaou Private Academy, a school for the rich, gambling is everything. A caste system separates the high rollers from the impoverished masses, and when bourgeois Suzui loses a game of poker, he drops to the lowest ranks of the school hierarchy and ends up as the personal slave of his opponent, Mary Saotome. All that changes when he meets Yumeko Jabami, a beautiful transfer student. On the surface she’s mild-mannered and friendly, but roll a die or draw a card and Yumeko transforms into a compulsive gambler (a kakegurui) with an insane grin and a sadomasochistic delight in putting life, limb, and mutilation on the line. Dragged along by Yumeko’s risk-taking obsession, Suzui can only watch in awe as she plays games with names like “Voting Rock Paper Scissors,” “Double Memory,” and “Life or Death” against ever more sadistic opponents, with millions of dollars riding on each game!

    1. publisher: Yen Press
    2. story: Kawamoto
    3. Art: Toru Noamura
    4. rating: 16+

    Wel done sir..

    This is really amazing.
    Thanks dear for sharing.

    I am not a good anime lover! But if I get a free time I will watch this series! You made a perfect review as you do always! Amazing work my friend!


    @talanhorne, I'm not much interested Kakegurui movie. I watch some movies when you shown us via your reviews. But this one 50% interesting to me. Netflix series most good. However your review awesome.

    Another outstanding Netflix review. Hope Netflix team'll recruit you to them for this good service

    This is valuable post. very Netflixing movies and good think.
    Have a great day.

    Very interesting and wonderful story, thanks for your sharing to us, i like your post and have upvote and resteem your post to more than 1640 my follower, thanks for your kind and support to me, success always for you brother @talanhorne

    Thank you for your efforts. it is interesting tv series and great work.And you are very good at writing articles.
    100% like and resteem

    It's true sir,magical schools are a great way to live out our power fantasies and fantastic Netflixing movies.

    Thanks for sharing with us

    This is valuable post and excellent writing with hopefully tv series .thanks for sharing.
    Upvote Resteem

    I completely agree with you, for gamblers there is something to see and what to look for, but in general a lot of extra passion and for a simple spectator to become not so interesting. Thank you @talanhorne

    Good job my friend, success always,,

      ·  2 years ago (edited)

    Wonderful tv series.@talanhorne
    Its a fantastic story and your writing style
    Also briliant
    Upvote and
    #resteem it

    Interesting story obout a girl who loved to gamble and ...One becoming rich, other becomes slave to pay of his debt. I could feel based on your review, how disappointed you were.
    Anyway, great review about disappointing Netflix movie!

    You brief the story & made a nice review. Excellent writing skills of yours helped to create this interesting review of Kakegurui~

    Hello @talanhorne,

    Extraordinary good & a professional review that you made to review of "Kakegurui". Based on the conclusion of this article, I'll not going to watch this Netflix series.


    This is very interesting article and this is a great netflix.thanks for sharing.

    ((((((( Resteem Service )))))))

    Wow! This is really an awesome movie.
    Actually, my exams are over so am planning to watch anime movies with my friends.
    I completely agree with your point of view.

    Thanks @talanhorne sir for sharing this post.

    Upvoted + resteemed your post. 🤗💙💚💙

      ·  2 years ago (edited)

    I always enjoy reading you reviews, even though this one was not one of your favorite nflx shows.This is where our generation has come to. Kids watching movie about other girl gambling every way she can including “implicit sexual posturing”. Not what would our ancestors be excited about at all.
    Very well written @talanhorne!

    nice view
    images (45).jpg


    well great review first of all but will not be watching hahah thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one

    wow your amazing.great research but this time in entertainment sector,you are doing such an amazing job.

    Great TV series . wonderful experience @talanhorne..
    I like it keep up it...

    For your post propagation.
    #Upvote & #Resteem

    As someone who has been keeping up to date with the manga, Kakegurui was an anime I've been looking forward to this season. However, knowing that this is going to be a Netflix show made me pretty frustrated, but I went on to watch the show through other ways.

    What do I think about Kakegurui? It's very faithful to the original source material. Kudos to MAPPA for getting much of what made the manga great, with the art and character expressions being accurate. Though not as interesting and suspenseful like other gambling anime, the show still keeps it entertaining throughout. Characters add so much emotion to the anime and basically carry it through predictably boring gambling scenes. This show is great gateway material and its good and exciting enough to hold up as one. Possibly the best OP of the season (and maybe the entire year), Kakegurui's OP is fantastic. It has so much symbolism and connection to the manga that it contests any JJBA anime openings. BGM isn't really something to write home about, but it does well to build up the tension and atmosphere. The ED might seem like fanservice at first, but there's a sort of hidden symbolism in it, representing the change of Yumeko as a character.

    If you read the manga, you should definitely watch this. If you're coming in blind, I would recommend reading the manga first and watch it later (which you can actually do, since there's no legal way to watch it with english subs yet), since you won't be able to appreciate much of the what anime is doing right. Overall, if you're looking for an anime to watch this season, this definitely should be something that you need to consider.

    a well written review of a nice anime series. impressive article & added another good review. @talanhorne

    reteemed & upvoted

    I agree with your assessment, for the most part. I wouldn't call the series bad, just very mediocre. It is this mediocrity that makes it so forgettable.

    But beyond that, I more or less agree with your sentiments.

    Congratulations @talanhorne
    Now you are in the MinnowsPower Loyalty Member List...!!!

    Exceptional review of Kakegurui TV Series...!!!

    100% Upvoted by @MinnowsPower

    I'm impressed
    images (2).png

    that is very honest review!
    i m not a fan of gambling, but I do love a good revenge story, and this has some nice ones as Yumeko unmasks the cheaters one by one.

    Excellent tv series, Great post. @talanhorne


    Really awesome post.I like so much Netflixing movies.Phantom Boy and The Boss Babby are really amazing.
    Thanks @talanhorne for sharing.

    interesting post @talanhorne , always share with good stuff thanks for sharing with us i really enjoyed, all the best

    Great TV series . wonderful experience @talanhorne

    For your post propagation.

    Oh.. great to see a review of anime.
    Not many anime lovers on steemit.
    I haven't watched it yet, I will have to . There are some good points from your review as well

    This is amazing blog post in the whole entertainment world,you have done amazing research sir.You are my greatest inspiration on steemit.

    I watched whole series and i have to say.. it was good idea of anime about gambling etc but the main character was too overpowered and you knew already she will "win" anyway etc. The good thing is that they shown a true nature of most humans on the world like madness,greed, using own status to bully weaker etc. This show is much better than most nowaday animes.

    That would be amazing story and great purpose has main character of Yumeko. She controlled every students minds. Just awesome. I like much this story with amazing fighting.

    I am enjoying your Netflix movie series review..... it’s really’s so helpful and also inspired me to see animated movies in Netflix.... thank you so much for sharing.

    Oh wow..magical story tale indeed there. Kakegurui is great movie to me of Netflix. Yemuko act best character here. Require to watch very soon. Before find it. Thank you sharing @talanhorne.

    good story should take an anime out of these ..

    Wow amazing post really great

    I agree with your assessment, for the most part. I wouldn't call the series bad, just very mediocre. It is this mediocrity that makes it so forgettable.

    Hi dear @talanhorne..
    How are you?..
    Dear @talanhorne....
    Thank you for your efforts. it is interesting tv series and great work.And you are very good at writing articles.
    [email protected] and @resteem

    Good jop friends

    Characters - In addition to Yumeko in Kakegurui, there is basically no one to look at. Well, the rest of the characters are very predictable.
    The plot is dynamic, but uncomplicated and very monotonous.
    Risovka - Stylish and beautiful only a lot of emotion-bent faces.
    Music, although simple, but diverse, and with the creation of the right atmosphere. So I agree with you in general unsatisfactorily.Thanks for the full review.

    Interesting and excellent anime
    Netflix really awesome
    Wonderful sharing👍 @talanhorne

    excellent post,Great TV series,
    my dear friend @talanhorne,
    thank you for sharing with us,Anyway, great review about disappointing Netflix movie!

    Kakegurui really awesome.
    I like anime movie.
    Wonderful sharing dear
    Resteem your post and waiting for another story @talanhorne

    Wooow very intresting and amazing t watch your post aweome series thanks for sharing just waiting for upcoming post

    But the whole series focuses on character. They are intellectual, intelligent, and will do anything to erase their debt and rise to the top. What I love about Kakegurui's character is that he does not hesitate to change the point of view, or change the dynamic characters. Yumeko is a complex character to start with. She was genuine and sweet, but inside she was wild, uncertain, and very compulsive.

    Amazing TV serial. Its very awesome. Thank you so much for sharing sir @talanhorne. Upvote and Resteem done sir.

    wounderful story Thanks for sharing great job you are doing first time see your post andd follow you

    Nice and very interesting story. Thanks for sharing

    if you ask about ** konoha **
    ** I will not retract my words, because that is my ninja way "(Uzumaki Naruto)**

    I really like Naruto cartoons, because many story lines that can be made into insights and life experiences of this film about friendship,determination, conviction team, community, mutual cooperation and more. surely you will also think the same @ talanhorne
    thanks for a great article today @talanhorne

    i like all movie and tv series of netflix ,,thanks for sharing

    wow this is amazing sir i really love the baby boss movie its an awesome movie.thanks a lot for sharing your ideas.

    great tv series
    thanks for sharing

    wow @talanhorne great creation and corriography by netflix,,,thanks a lota for sharing this one

    wow nice post ... yes Your post is always amazing .

    nices posts i like your posts


    Well I am a great fan of anime's myself and the plot does indeed looks pretty cool but as some facts does indeed makes me not wanna watch it !

    While thanks for the review buddy !

    love it......:-)

    i' am the Samouraifl th digital nomad and I' am a anime addict like Yumeko Jabami who loves game =) . this anime is great and i wait the season 2 on 07/02/2018

    I love your post <3 <3 i wanna learn how to write like that... being new its hard.... some help with ST maybe im the worst saying that....... is so frustrated