This is one of the strangest anime I have had the luck of seeing. Mostly because I did not really see any gambling anime. Even as it is far from perfect.
The story has the weakest links in trying to make the characters actually seem relatable instead of right out of the asylums. Apart from Ryota, all the others are insane in their own way. I mean it.
Yumeko is the one which takes the cake. She is kind one moment but the moment you give her the chance to gamble she turns into something. To her she simply enjoys gambling for the like of it, the thrill rather than any other motive.
And the story does a good job of setting up the character motivations. Even if it is wholly unrealistic when you consider the setting even if it happens to be the school where the richest all enroll. This will have been better in a story of adults, it will make more sense than with teenagers.
One thing that did really get me was the way the stakes were raised. Even with every episode or two the villain changes, but the gambles still remain fresh because she is going against different opponents. The most outstanding one I could say had been against the the student council’s accountant, Manyuda Kaede.
Mostly because of how he could read Yumeko and her movements in the first place. And actually predicted how she could counter. His was the most interesting as unlike the others he simply changed his way and tried to defeat Yumeko by seeing her past matches.
And the way it is played has plenty of excitement and suspense to it. Mostly because if Yumeko did lose, the things were really really terrible. Later on, the stakes were her life and how she will lead it. And it felt suitable since the games changed each time, so there is always an element of surprise to the suspense.
Kalegurui does have its moments, even as I admit the character writing is not good for most of the characters. Yumeko was the only one of them which did get good development and acted accordingly to what is known about her.
And I am curious to see what they will do with her back story given that it seems pretty clear that Yumeko is paying for her sister’s hospitalization and still has an obscene amount of money after that. And her sister was seen folding origami with money.
And whether her past included her being a gambler at the beginning to help her sister, but eventually grew to to love it or even saw it as her only escape from the hellish life she will lead otherwise. Given what I know this may all be speculation or hold a bit of truth.
Either way, it is an anime which managed to catch me when I was incredibly bored. And well I’m looking forward to the next season.