In March of 2014, Homura Kawamoto and Tōru Naomura began serializing their manga Kakegurui. Since then, the manga series has been published by Square Enix and has spawned multiple film and animation adaptations.
In order to hone their leadership and professional skills and to create a pecking order among themselves, the students of Hyakkaou Private Academy engage in a series of skill and gambling activities. Yumeko Jabami, our protagonist, is a transfer student who quickly begins advancing through the ranks by eliminating her more senior classmates.
The series’ central premise is what keeps audiences coming back, whether they’re enjoying the manga, the anime, the live-action movies, or the video game.
A straightforward method for enhancing narrative
Since the principle of gambling is universally understood and everyone has some idea of what gambling games entail, they have long served as fodder for fiction. Gambling games, for instance, feature a stake (often money), a measure of chance, and, in the case of some, an element of skill (through games like poker). There is an element of competition in some games, especially those that put players against one another or the house.
The impact of gambling games, of course, is determined by the specific rules and stakes of each genre. Slots, for instance, offer real money games that are completely arbitrary and can be played by anyone. With this as the story’s focal point, readers will be rooting for the protagonist to win the lottery. This is due to the fact that winning the progressive jackpot is the ultimate goal in games like Lucky 8 and Plentiful Treasure.
The concept changes drastically when card games like poker and blackjack are used as examples. Both involve the use of playing cards and a bit of chance, but the presence of player choice elevates them to the level of games more typically associated with skill. Despite the inherent element of chance in any given deal, movies like “21”, “Molly’s Game” and “Rounders” all portray these games as needing exceptionally high levels of intelligence. Kakegurui relies heavily on these factors to propel its set pieces.
The third season of the anime Kakegurui has begun
The 12-episode first season of Kakegurui premiered in Japan in 2017 and was made available worldwide via Netflix in 2018. Yumeko’s adventures at her new school, including her participation in many gambling games against her other classmates. Tarot Cards of Fate is the climactic showdown game, and failure to win could result in expulsion. Kakegurui XX, the sequel season, premiered in 2019.
Yumeko is an endearing protagonist. She’s a tenacious underdog with a lot to lose socially and monetarily yet relies on her wits and cunning to triumph over her rivals. Midway through the year 2022, Kakegurui Twin premiered on the streaming service after a successful two-season run. In Twin, the brilliant Mary Saotome gets involved in a conflict with the student body president before Yumeko’s story begins.
Anime fans who enjoy mind games and high-stakes showdowns between brash protagonists should add Kakegurui to their queue.