Essay · Review

Manga Spotlight Week: Kakegurui

Manga Spotlight Week Intro

Manga Spotlight Week: Yotsuba&! | MSW: Wizard’s Soul ~Holy War of Love~ | MSW: Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure | MSW: Devil’s Line |MSW: Komi-san wa, Komyushou desu | MSW: Mousou Telepathy |MSW: Koi wa Ameagari no You ni 

  • Alternative Titles: Kakegurui: Compulsive Gambler
  • MAL: Kakegurui
  • Triggers: bullying, abuse, implied homicidal thoughts

“Gambling is fun because it’s insane” … [the protagonist] alone makes the story page turning.

Everyone has their vice. Mine is gambling (when I have disposable money). So, when I stumbled across Kakegurui, I was hooked.

It recently got an anime adaptation, so if you’re in the anime scene you may have heard of it. I watched the first episode, but besides the audio it’s pretty much the same as the manga save for included motion. So I just kind of skipped to the sweet, sweet justice porn.

The story follows Yumeko Jyabami (or Jabami, spelling varies across translations) and her thus far unknown goal. It’s obvious from chapter one that she gets a sexual thrill out of gambling everything she can offer. In her own words “Isn’t madness the essence of gambling? In a capitalist world, money is life. The fate of your life isn’t dictated with order or fairness, yet people gather in casinos because humans feel pleasure in this madness of betting their own fate.

“Gambling is fun because it’s insane.”

Screenshot_20170706-213450

I can’t say I agree, as I have enough sense to quit while I’m down or ahead, but I like her drive. It’s not a sob story, she’s not interested in becoming ‘the best,’ and there isn’t a pot of gold at the end of her journey. It’s just Yumeko and the love of gambling.

Kakegurui is like a sports anime, such that it’s a constant onslaught of enemies to defeat, but with so much more at stake. Instead of natural talent or special moves, Yumeko bests her opponents with intelligence and trickery.

She alone makes the story page turning.

The artwork has wonderfully graphic faces of people losing. It’s a series full of justice porn that makes you rub your hands in delight and snicker at the idiots who tried to trick Yumeko. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many faces that expertly captured “rug pulled out from under you.”

Screenshot_20170706-214250
TFW you lose 8.8million yen

Kakegurui has a lot of women in their main leads. In fact, there are four(? maybe less??) men max who are plot important. Best of all, Yumeko rarely relies on the main male to beat her opponents. He’s actually kinda weak and often relies on her. Good work mangaka! #Femaleempowerment

The only problem is the numerous, unnecessary panty-shots and cleavage groping. The latter is usually Yumeko just feeling herself up (because of the aforementioned sexual thrill of gambling).

Another small issue is that the Kakegurui manga looks a bit off. I believe this is because of a 3D modelling software the mangaka uses on backgrounds and furniture. But, if it means they can save time to produce more chapters, I’m not complaining.

Screenshot_20170706-215035
The furniture and the girl does not mesh well

For anyone looking for a thriller where it’s money and livelihoods on the line instead of a person’s life, check out Kakegurui.

  • Best for those who like: gambling, strong female protagonists, justice porn, explaining the trick post-execution, comeuppance
  • Worst for those who dislike: lengthy exposition, sports anime dynamics (e.g. new arc = new opponent), objectification of women, annoying yanderes, not knowing MC’s overall goal
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