Anime Review: Kakegurui (2017)
Director: Yuichiro Hayashi
Runtime: 300 minutes
Availability: streaming exclusively on Netflix in Japanese, English, Spanish, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese
Ryota Suzui is a student at Hyakkaō Private Academy, a prestigious school where teenagers from rich families gamble in order to prove their superiority. Ryota is a “house pet”, someone who is in debt because of losing to much money gambling. He meets the new transfer student, Yumeko Jabami, young woman who is a compulsive gambler and all she wants to do is gamble.
This Story is as Stupid as You Think it Is:
If you thought that the story was stupid when you read it, then yes, it is that stupid. This anime has a ridiculous premise and yes, you shouldn’t take it seriously. And if you think it’s a stupid idea and that everything about this story is implausible, you are not wrong.
Despite the fact that this story is so ridiculous it’s hard to take it seriously, it’s a lot of fun, and while I’ve seen other critics say it’s a bad gambling anime when it comes to the gambling they aren’t wrong either.
It’s not a story that you can take seriously because of the premise and setting are so over-the-top. Yeah, it’s a stupid story, but you can enjoy a story that you think is stupid if you don’t take it seriously.
Kakegurui | Trailer [HD] | Netflix:
The Animation is Nice!
Studio MAPPA did a fantastic job considering how over-the-top and ridiculous this story is. The art can get kind of ugly because of all the “horse face” expressions that are stupidly ridiculous, I like to call them “derp faces” because they look ridiculously stupid.
The other art is visually appealing and well done when characters are not sporting ridiculously stupid facial expressions. The animation is also very nice but it’s not really an action-oriented anime with fight scenes. They put the animation into the over the top gambling moments or character’s faces.
Audio and Subtitles:
The English Dub is Ridiculous and Great!
The English dub is something else. Kakegurui (2017) is not really an anime that’s the shining star on a voice actor’s resume when it comes to the anime’s content, considering how adult and explicit it is when it comes to the content, it’s not going to make ADR director’s go “Oh wow!” (maybe for the wrong reasons), but it is definitely a great thing for the anime voice actors when it comes to being cast in a Netflix Original exclusive that will be seen by millions of people, even if it is something like Kakegurui that is “special” kind of anime.
Erika Harlacher is having way too much fun as Yumeko Jabami. She’s a fantastic voice actress and I’ve loved her work in Persona 5 for the PlayStation 4, and Fate/Apocrypha (2017) and this is the most ridiculous role she’s voiced that I’ve seen, but it’s quite clear she’s having a blast and I can’t fault her for that.
Griffin Burns is great in his role as Ryota Suzui. He’s not nearly as over-the-top as the other cast members since he’s the only sane character in this entire anime. He was a good choice for this role and I enjoyed his voice acting. He’s a nice contrast to Erika Harlacher’s bombastic performance.
Kira Buckland went full ham as Mary Saotome. While she’s not as full ham as Erika Harlacher, she still did a great job voicing her character. She was having way too much fun but she was excellent in this role.
Michelle Ruff was fantastic as Kirari Momobami. I’ve always liked her voice acting, but I’ve never really seen her in the role of a villain. She did great voicing this role. It’s nice to see her in a different role than what I usually hear her voice acting for, and that’s a nice surprise.
Sarah Anne Williams was ridiculous as Midari Ikishima. This is a complete contrast compared to her role as Sayaka Miki in Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011), but she was ridiculous in this role and she did a great job in this role, even if this isn’t the highlight of her resume, she still gave a great vocal performance.
Faye Mata was a nice choice to voice as Yumemi Yumemite. She does both the cute girl and the angry irritated celebrity very well. I have heard her in B: The Beginning (2018) and she’s a very excellent voice actress. It’s nice to see her in a different role and one that’s different from some of the other roles I’ve seen her in, like Fate/Apocrypha (2017).
There are a lot of excellent voice actresses in this English dub. Christine Marie Cabanos as Nanami Tsubomi, Austin Lee Matthews as Jun Kiwatari, Lauren Landa as Saori, Chris Niosi as Kaede Manyuda, they all did a fantastic. They got a great cast for an anime that isn’t one of the best Netflix exclusives that they’ve picked up.
The English dub cast is a lot better than this anime deserves, but they all did a fantastic job voicing these characters.
I don’t know how good this anime is in Japanese but it should be decent, if not more over-the-top than the English dub.
Kakegurui: Compulsive Gambler Opening:
The Music Is Nice:
TECHNOBOYS PULCRAFT GREEN-FUND is the group that composed the music for this anime.
The music is nice, but it’s not an amazing soundtrack or anything. It does sound nice and fits the anime very well, but it’s not like this is the most amazing music or anything.
The opening is "Deal with devil" by Tia. It’s bombastic and fitting for this crazy gambling anime.
The ending is "LAYon-theLINE" by D-Selections, except for Episode 9 and the ending is "Koi no Russian Roulette" (恋のロシアンルーレット; Russian Roulette of Love) by Saori Hayami and Yū Serizawa.
The soundtrack is good, but not the most amazing thing you’ll hear, but it fits the anime and it’s something that’s nice for background music.
Yes, this Premise is Stupid:
This entire premise is stupid, and if you don’t find this to be ridiculous then you’ve gotten used to seeing the ridiculous aspects of anime. But yeah, I’ll be happy to acknowledge how stupid this series is. This premise is so unrealistic and ridiculous that there is no way you can take this seriously at all.
This is not some masterpiece or some wonderful work of art; this is just a stupid premise and a stupid plot with a stupid story. But there is nothing wrong enjoying something that you acknowledge as stupid.
I enjoyed this anime despite this over-the-top premise and ridiculous plot. There are complaints that the gambling isn’t realistic because there was no real risk because all the characters are super rich, but that’s the entire point of the anime that it’s so ridiculous.
The Characters Aren’t Very Likable:
It’s hard to find likable characters in this anime, because everyone is crazy, and I’m not exaggerating. Almost all the characters are crazy and it manifests in different ways.
Still, it’s hard to find likable characters, because they just aren’t written to be particularly likable, but if you watch and see them develop, you might find someone to like, but everyone starts off being very unlikable.
This is for a Mature Audience:
This anime is for a mature audience because of the TV-MA rating and explicit content, while there isn’t really about violent content, but rather the sexual content. While characters don’t exactly have sex they get off to gambling, a lot. It’s definitely not for anyone under at least 16.
Will you watch Kakegurui (2017)?
This is Stupid Anime, and you can Revel in the Stupidity:
Kakegururi (2017) is a great timewaster; it’s not one that I’d recommend just watching on a whim if you don’t know what you’re getting into. It’s one of those anime you’ll find browsing Netflix looking for something to watch.
It has a stupid premise and it’s utterly ridiculous and the gambling is totally unrealistic and over-the-top. This anime is not at all a masterpiece; it’s just ridiculous fun if you’re into this genre of anime.
What Doesn't Work:
Interesting story and characters
The plot can be stupid and the premise is ridiculous
Some of the characters aren't very likable
Excellent English dub
The audience might be annoyed with how crazy everyone is
My Grade: B-:
Kakegurui (2017) is stupid and dumb on so many levels. The story is unrealistic and the premise is stupid. The setting is unbelievable and not many of the characters are very likable. It has great production value because of the animation studio, the voice casts in English and Japanese and the music, but production values aren’t everything.
Despite having great production values, the story is the most important thing to me. And while I will say that this story is stupid, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have fun with something stupid. It’s stupid, but that’s what makes it fun.
I only recommend this anime if you want something that is dumb fun to watch. It’s not the best thing I’ve ever seen, it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever seen, it’s just stupid fun, and you can have fun with stupid.
While this is definitely a stupid anime and I know not everyone will enjoy it, it is popular enough for it to be given a second season that will be released in June 2019.
I only recommend streaming on Netflix if you’re interested in the anime’s premise and if you can take how ridiculous the story plot and premise is.
It might not be worth everyone’s time, but if you’re interested in the story, you should give it a shot at least, I don’t love it, and I didn’t hate it, I had fun with it, but it’s only worth it if you think it’s something you’ll like. Only buy it on blu-ray/DVD if you really enjoyed the anime.
It hasn’t been licensed for physical release yet, but if you have to buy it, try to find it on sale, but I will update this article when it is licensed for home video.
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