When Netflix sends you an email telling you that they’ve added a TV series or movie you might be interested in, you at least take a look at it, right? Such was the case with the arrival of the new (to the platform) anime series Kakegurui: Compulsive Gambler. We glimpsed a teaser for the series last August, but that’s the last we’d heard of it. The premise sounded good, the animation looked solid, and if it was anything like the platform’s recent release of DEVILMAN: crybaby, then it’d be worth a watch. But after binge-watching all 12 episodes, Kakegurui is very clearly for certain audiences and not others; I’m squarely in the latter camp.
If you like schoolgirls in short skirts, high stockings, credit-scene up-skirts, and lots of overt sexualization masquerading as strong emotion without much characterization behind it, you’ll like this show. Or, on the other hand, if you like an episodic mystery series in which the hero figures out the tricks that the antagonist is employing only through sheer intuition or something off-screen that’s impossible to pick up on by the audience, you might enjoy this. And if spending most of the roughly 24-minute runtime of each episode listening to increasingly complicated and detailed rules of various games of chance seems like fun to you, you’re going to like Kakegurui. For me, the sexiness factor goes to 11 on the creepy scale real quick without any romantic or relationship anchors, the exposition dumps wear thin just as quickly, and the mystery element is uninspiring since there’s nothing there for the viewer to actually figure out, you just have to sit and wait for things to play out. So even though I took a chance on Kakegurui, Netflix now owns those six hours of my life. The house always wins.
For more on Kakegurui, here’s the official trailer and synopsis, should you be so inclined to check it out:
Live. Bet your life on it.
There is one absolute rule in gambling — at the end of the day, there is a winner and a loser. The winner gains riches and prestige, while the loser is branded a failure and left with nothing. In the silence leading up to the moment that separates winners and losers, instincts are sharpened and desires reach the point of ecstasy. This is a harsh microcosm of life in a capitalist society. Why are people captivated by a world filled with risk? What lies beyond the madness? As the class system of modern society crumbles, an unprecedented adrenaline-pumping anime sweeps the world.
Based on the manga by Homura Kawamoto and Toru Naomura (Serialized in Monthly Gangan Joker published by Square Enix), 12 episodes of the series are being produced by MAPPA. Kakeguruistars Saori Hayami, Minami Tanaka, Tatsuya Tokutake, Yuki Wakai, Karin Nanami, Mariya Ise, Yu Serizawa, Tomokazu Sugita, Mayu Udono, Ayaka Fukuhara and Miyuki Sawashiro.