Kakegurui: Took Netflix Long Enough

OH hey look. Here is yet another late release from Netflix. Kakegurui originally aired last year during the summer and I really don’t get why Netflix would have to wait some long to release it. It’s only a twelve-episode series after all. Did it take that long to dub it? I do admit that Netflix has a lot of anime to dub on their plate now and are adding more as time goes on. Maybe that’s it. Anyway, it was interesting to finally watch this show. Especially since the seasonal hype around it is long gone now. So what was left was watching this without everyone in the world saying “this is the best show ever” stuff. My opinion is now left out in the open and can be hype less. I don’t usually get this chance for newer shows So anyway, let’s get this review thing going.

What is Kakegurui about you may ask? Well, the premise of this show is simple. Kakegurui takes place at Hyakkaou Private Academy where some of the richest people in the world go to school. Unfortunately, gambling addiction has taken over its student body. Ever since the current council president took over, the world of Hyakkaou Academy is now a dog eat dog, survival of the fittest kind of world. People who go into debt are considered less then human. Enter our protagonist, Yumeko Jabami, who just transferred to this school in the first episode. She starts gambling her way across school to eventually face the student council president. Yeah, that’s about it. The gambling games are fun and unique though.

So I know that this is the part where I describe characters and stuff, but I don’t think I can do that. Yumeko Jabami, to me at least, is more of a plot device then a character. The case I make for this is the only way to describe her is that she is crazy and somewhat intelligent. All of the actual characters are those people that Yumeko gathers through her craziness. Still, I can’t call them anything but cookie cutter because their motivations and their developments are incredibly basic. The student council people that Yumeko faces along her way are nothing by stereotypes too with the Student Council President being nothing but a plot device herself. Kakegurui is not a deep show with deep characters and I guess that’s ok. Something tells me that character development isn’t the focus of the show.

Besides, the opening sequence, there aren’t any major stand out animation and artistic moments in Kakegurui. There are a lot of repeated cuts, characters standing around, some easy to spot cg shotsand a lot of easy decisions animation wise and I think all of that is completely ok. Kakegurui is not an action show, it’s a show about gambling. What do people usually do when they gamble? Sit around a table and play some sort of game. That’s what Kakegurui is about, besides seeing characters orgasming about getting their gambling freak on. Yeah, that doesn’t require the largest amount of production values either. I do think that each character’s crazy face is fun though. Then again, 2017 was a big year for Mappa from the anime production side. They produced too many shows for their own good and while the animation hit is acceptable for this one, it didn’t help with production values for their other shows. Oh well.

So some complaints that I have about Kakegurui is that it doesn’t seem to have any point to it. So what if Yumeko wins against the student council president in some sort of gambling event. She isn’t going to change the school back to the way it was before. At least, that’s the feeling I get when I see her praise the school’s environment to the student council president. Yumeko enjoys Hyakkou’s setting and how people fight for survival. In the end, what is really going to change? All Yumeko wants to do is maintain the gambling chaos throughout the land.

The second complaint I have is that the gambling isn’t the best written things I’ve ever seen. In fact, it might be worse those Yugioh card game things where people pull out the right card to solve problems at the right time. The games are interesting and unique, but their execution seems to be about the same every episode or so. You would think that being able to see the thinking process of Yumeko behind each game, so we can see more of her character, but there isn’t that much in that way of what is going on either. No internal monologue or anything that would give us some kind of hint of who she truly is or how she thinks is ever given to us. Instead, we also get character development in one form or another from our resident speed wagon (the exposition character from JoJo part 1 and 2) stand in. He either tries to explain what is going on or how he wants Yumeko to stop going insane. Look, we all know that insane part isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

I guess their insane faces are fun to look at, but that’s about all I got from Kakegurui. That’s all just really disappointing to me. Why was this show hyped up again? Gambling waifus that may orgasm during gambling stuff? Yeah, ok. Not my thing. This show wasn’t meant for me. I still needed to see why it was hyped up a while ago though. I did get some entertainment out of Kakegurui, but I don’t think I need anymore of it. If there is a second season, which was recently announced, I don’t think I am going to watch it. That’s about it. If you’ve enjoyed this show because it’s your thing, that’s fine. Just know that not every single anime is going to click for everybody. That’s about it.

14 Comments Add yours

  1. ospreyshire says:

    Good review.

    I actually think reviewing something after the hype is gone can be a huge benefit. If you give something enough time, a show can be better or worse in hindsight. That’s one reason why i review a lot of older stuff whether it be a few years or a few decades old.

    Sounds like Kakegurui was a mediocre show. If the main charcater tried to change the status quo, then the plot would’ve been way more effective instead of just gambling to make everything the same old thing. That’s why change is more interesting of a storytelling concept than keeping everything static.

    Also, thanks for checking out my reviews of Your Name and Jungle Emperor Leo: Hon-O-Ji.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      Yeah, it was a pretty mediocre. I didn’t pay attention to what anytime was saying about it during it’s run, so I didn’t know what to expect from all of it.

      You’re welcome!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ospreyshire says:

        I bet. That must have been a bummer. I even had it on my queue for future reviewing purposes.

        Sure thing, Scott.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Scott says:

        Nah, that doesn’t mean you should at least give it a look.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. ospreyshire says:

        Fair enough. I guess my old habit of taking reviews as gospel reared it’s ugly head. This is coming from a guy who used to be obsessed with Rotten Tomatoes until after finding out how flawed that site is in different levels. Haha!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. railgunfan75 says:

    Yeah it was entertaining but nothing special. I agree that basically all of the characters had no point except to bring commentary to what was happening during the games. I did find Yumeko’s split personality fun to watch but none of the characters were interesting at all. The series is a definition of missed potential- this could have been an amazing series- explore the sides of gambling, good and bad, give the characters different motivations for succeeding, etc. But this series really didn’t do any of that. Is it worth watching if you want to turn your brain off? Sure. Is it among the elite series of last year? Absolutely not.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this series!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who was lukewarm on this show. Even if this show was something special, it’s 2017 competition is too huge for it too make some headway.

      Thank you for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Karandi says:

    Two things definitely killed the show for me. One was the long wait before it came out on Netflix. I’ve already read a million reviews of this show (slight exaggeration) so I already knew what the story was and what would happen with the characters and I already knew I wasn’t that interested in the plot. The second thing was watching the first episode, it all just seemed really silly and so I quit.
    If this had come out when it first aired week to week, I’d have probably given it longer to get going and would have given it more of a chance, but as a catch up show it just didn’t interest me enough to keep watching.
    And yeah, I’m really not getting the hype.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      That’s the difference for me, because I did read anything on this one at all, so I didn’t know what to expect. I’m glad I’m not the only one who is disappointed by Kakegurui though, because everyone else seemed overwhelmingly positive on it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Karandi says:

        Just not my thing. Admittedly, I’ve only given it one go and I was in a pretty awful mood so it is on my list to try again at a later date. Still, I’m not overly optimistic for this one.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Scott says:

        That’s all ok then.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Waiting for the hype to die down is certainly a bonus, especially on shows that were overhyped and come off a bit vapid people will try to come at you with the whole “Why are you watching it” angle and slap on some ad hominem. That being said I tried a few episodes and it is exactly how you described it. Crazy reactions with a Speedwagon character without the sense of style and really boring gambling. It is like Kaiji if you removed the interesting character of Kaiji out of the show. It is just meant to be entertaining, yet I don’t understand the notion of crazy reaction faces being at all tantalizing on their own. I mean it wasn’t insane enough to have that be its only sell.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      I think I might have to try watching Kaiji one of these days then.

      Liked by 1 person

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