Noob Reviews: Kakegurui (Season 01)
Please be advised that during the review, I have tried to avoid a lot of spoilers. However, there may still be a few included helping explain specific points.
What is Kakegurui?
Kakegurui (also known as Compulsive Gambler) is an anime adaptation of the manga written by Homura Kawamoto and illustrated by Tōru Naomura that was first published in March 2014.
Currently running two seasons on Netflix, the first season was released in the UK in 2019, two years behind most other countries that received it in 2017.
Kakegurui itself is set within the sprawling campus of Shiritsu Hyakkaou Academy. The academy is one of Japan's most prestigious schools whose doors only open to the rich. Because of this, it is infamous for creating many current business and trade leaders that rule Japan's business sectors today, however, it also has a darker lesser-known secret. A secret that sees the school thrive off of student gambling. The high rollers live the lives of celebrities while those students who find themselves on a losing streak are destined to become pets (servants) who serve them. Being a pet is not all bad; however, as the pets can still gamble and challenge anyone to a game - meaning with the right hand, they can see themselves free of the servitude.
Season 01 introduces us to the main characters for the series, such as the school's student council who run the gambling and enforcement of debt collection. Yumeko Jabami who is a second-year school transfer that always seems to have a card up her sleeve, even when loosing and in dire straights, time and time again she can turn the tables on those she faces. Ryota Suzui who is a bottom tier pet who becomes close friends with Yumeko after welcoming her to the school and apologising for his part in scheming against her in a rigged match of cards. And Itsuki Sumeragi who after losing a high stakes game, sees Yumeko as her way back to popularity and riches - throwing in her lot with Yumeko and Ryota.
Season 01 is a fantastic snake pit of plots, subplots and backroom deals that once you delve into, you will find it hard to escape. Whether it be the revolution of the pets. The lustings of a school enforcer by the name of Midari over Yumeko. Or the mysterious hold the school's student council have over the school's student populace. There is something for everyone.
Do you have a trailer to show us?
- Official Trailer -
You can also find the official trailer and listing on Netflix here.
When did it come out?
Season 01 was released in March 2017 for many countries, with its UK release been 2019.
How many episodes are there?
Season 01 has twelve episodes, with each running for twenty-four minutes.
A second season has also been released that also has the same amount of episodes and run length, which we will be reviewing too very shortly.
Although no official details are out just yet, a season 03 is very likely due to the immense popularity (and demand) expressed by the show's following.
Who are some of the actors and actresses in the series that we might know?
Ayaka Fukuhara (Sayaka Igarashi)
Karin Nanami (Yuriko Nishinotōin)
Mariya Ise (Midari Ikishima)
Mayu Udono (Runa Yomozuki)
Minami Tanaka (Meari Saotome)
Miyuki Sawashiro (Kirari Momobami)
Saori Hayami (Yumeko Jabami)
Tatsuya Tokutake (Ryōta Suzui)
Tomokazu Sugita (Kaede Manyūda)
Yū Serizawa (Yumemi Yumemite)
Yūki Wakai (Itsuki Sumeragi)
What did you think of Kakegurui (Season 01)?
When first seeing Kakegurui’s intro the impression I got of the anime was it was going to be very high brow, with foot fetishes, flashes of underwear and a very artsy delivery to a fun jazz soundtrack. It was steeped with innuendo and flirty scenes between the characters. In all honesty, I thought it would be borderline hentai and was not that interested, but I am glad I stuck it out for the rest of the episode!
The way each of the characters is brought into the bigger picture is fantastic. Each with their own tale of who they are. Why they are out to prove themself. And even the aftermath of what could happen if they lose. The script is well written, the anime well directed, and everything comes together for a high level of immersion. Whether it be an investment in the stakes for the games, the characters or even trying to work out how exactly Yumeko will thwart her next opponent. Through cunning? Misdirection? Or simply outsmart them with a battle of words? The twists and turns were thrilling, with many been ones I did not see coming.
With regards to the art style, I really like the art style too as it is clean-cut and smooth with very few over the top traditional anime eccentricities that stimes come into play and ruin the vibe.
Although there are not many negatives or downsides to Kakegurui, there are a lot of innuendos and heavy flirting/provocative moments, and at times the dialogue can seem very long-winded when a simple yes, no or pass would suffice. I thought it was just worth a mention as it might be a bit unexpected for some.
Overall very fun and dare I say it - a very unique intellectual property too. Unless there is a whole genre of gambling anime out there, I am yet to discover, this is definitely a breath of fresh air, and the delivery is on point.
What rating would you give Kakegurui (Season 01)?
I would give the first season of Kakegurui a 5 out of 5 bananas.
I would definitely advise giving this a watch to any anime fan and even new entrants to anime in general. Admittedly, the intro can be very… Weird… When seeing it for the first time, but bear with it, watch a couple of episodes and guaranteed it will be worth a watch. What do you have to lose?
Thank you very much for checking out the review, and if you are interested in Kakegurui (Season 01) and would like to check it out for yourself, to form your own opinion, you can check it out here.