Kakegurui — Powerful Ladies in Charge!!  Compulsive Gambler Character Analysis

Kakegurui — Powerful Ladies in Charge!! Compulsive Gambler Character Analysis

Kakegurui is a twisted anime with
characters that made me go, “Yeah! Give me
more of THAT!” If you like your anime
girls helpless and demure, this show is
not for you. But if you appreciate women
who are powerful and in charge this
series might be right up your alley.
Today I’ll be analyzing the psychology
of the show’s characters, especially the
main two boss ladies, Mary and Yumeko.
I love when a movie includes awesome women
and the ladies of Kakegurui
definitely fit the bill.
Usually in anime if there’s a cool
powerful woman her strength lies in
physical violence and she’s ultimately
under the thumb of a male character. But
these ladies’ strength lies in their
willpower, ambition and social
manipulation. Sure, they’re all really
hot but this is an anime: We already
knew there would be short skirts and
fanservice. But I love that they’re
allowed to get a little ugly once in a
while. Their faces contort with raw
emotions, something I usually only see
from powerful male characters. It shows
just how passionate and unhinged these
characters really are. As a lady viewer
who never really related to the fluffy
“waifu” types, this was a refreshing
Finally some strong-willed ladies I can
relate to. Though, maybe that’s not a good
thing… I also appreciate how these
characters were actually fleshed out and
developed. You can tell each gambler
apart by her personality, weaknesses and
goals instead of just what hair color
she has. Thank you, writers. Ya done good.
Kakegurui takes place at a private
academy for wealthy kids who will grow
up to be the nation’s political and
business leaders. The student body is
obsessed with gambling as a sign of
social status. The theory goes that if
you want to rule over people one day, you
need negotiating skills, the ability to
read others and to balance risk and
Apex gamblers become members of the
powerful student council with nearly
limitless wealth and power. The losers
who rack up the most gambling debt
become the school’s house pets and are
the degraded servants of the rest of the
student body. This power hierarchy
represents the real stakes of the show,
but more about that later. The first time
we see our male lead, Ryota, he’s the pet
of a student named Mary after getting
deep into debt with her. She’s bossy,
cocky, and I’m sure some people are
instantly gonna hate this character for
it. She’s a polarizing character like
Asuka from Evangelion. But if you like the
Asuka type and her domineering
relationship with Shinji you’re probably
gonna like the dynamic between these two.
But this time Mary’s met
her match. She challenges the new
transfer student named Yumeko to gamble
thinking she’ll be an easy mark. Little
does she know that Yumeko is the best of
the best and came to this school
specifically to get her gambling freak
on. Mary doesn’t have gobs of money or a
famous family name like some of the
other students; her strengths rely
entirely on her wits and her ability to
manipulate people
She’s got Ryota and lots of other
students under her control who help
her cheat. Usually a character who cheats
like this would be portrayed as an
amoral villain but at this school
cheating is fine as long as you don’t
get caught. After all, gambling is just a
symbol for how good someone is twisting
circumstances in their favor. Mary takes
an early lead but she extends herself too far
and ultimately loses. Instead of Yumiko
becoming a house pet, now Mary is one. At
this point if Mary was simply a villain
we could say she’s been put in her place
and justice has prevailed but her story
continues throughout the series and I’m
gonna argue she was actually a pretty
complex ethical character. She matures
and changes more than most of the other
characters now that Mary is a pet, her
old friends suddenly turn on her but she
holds up well. Unlike Ryota who resigned
himself to his house pet fate Mary
refuses to quit. She doubles down and
challenges a member of the student
council to another high-stakes gamble.
You could say this is foolish but I
think it’s pretty gutsy considering
she’s just been burned. It also shows
that Mary doesn’t just pray on gamblers
she thinks her weaker; she’s got the guts
to take on the best. But the
councilmember cheats and instead of
regaining her status Mary finds herself
drowning in debt. No shame in losing to
this particular councilmember though.
Later in the same episode even the
talented Yumeko loses to her. Now Mary
is in so far over her head she’s
assigned something called a “life plan”.
Since she can’t pay her debts, the
student council is making her pay with
her future life. They’ve determined
everything about Mary’s future from the
politician she’ll marry how many kids
she’ll give birth to. Yumeko is in the
same boat. Geoff from “Mother’s Basement”
asserts that there isn’t much tension in
the life plan as a punishment. for you
Mako losing means that she’ll get
bullied a little and one day she’ll have
to marry a rich guy who the student
council president wants to control and
who’s kind of weird and creepy but
otherwise she’s still rich and married
and rich but you know rich and married
doesn’t mean happy right she’s basically
being sold off as a child sex slave and
choosing a spouse as
the most important decisions of your
life wouldn’t you want to pick based on
chemistry and attraction rather than
being assigned some Rando creep I’d
further argue that Yumiko is more than
just bullied a little on her first day
as a house pet she was nearly raped on
campus but even if you think that
marrying some rich creep is in that bed
the life plan still doesn’t sit right
with Mary she will be free and take her
life back no matter what honestly I
think this says more about Mary’s
character if she was sure to marry a
monster then she’s pretty much forced
the fighter fate in this case she’s
offered a gilded cage but she still says
no her personal freedom is more
important than financial security to win
her way back out of debt Mary
temporarily teams up with Yumiko which
shows up forgiving mary kanby
after all unico was the one who landed
her in debt in the first place she could
have easily held a grudge and refused
the alliance but together they both win
their freedom you Mako offers her hand
in genuine friendship and Mary accepts
not only that but Mary also forgives the
classmates who bullied her earlier she
would be justified in holding a grudge
and treating these girls like crap but
she does forgive them it’s water under
the bridge down the drain the student
council president is impressed by Mary
and offers her a position on the student
council which would come with unlimited
power money and prestige but Mary turns
it down this echos her defiance of a
life plan earlier even when offered
financial security she’d rather be free
to forge her own path than live
comfortably as someone else’s pawn
contrast her with kirari
the student council president who
enjoyed setting up twisted social
experiments she created the house pet
system to turn the whole Academy into a
fish tank a closed system where the
strong devour the weak visually she’s
portrayed in cold blues in contrast and
you Makos fiery Reds
her fingernails resemble fish scales and
she’s often framed along aquariums as a
symbol for the big fish eat the little
fish system she’s created her personal
presence inspires both fear and worship
in the student body the spider for
cruelty several students are madly in
love with her it’s that kind of show
some viewers object to the protagonist
Yumiko is being too perfect but I think
that description really belongs to
both women have almost unlimited
financial resources but kirari also
holds unlimited power we never learned
what makes curare so talented she just
is she never fails or even falters and
that’s pretty dull when compared to a
whole cast of other characters who have
something to lose and they frequently do
Yumiko also has nearly limitless wealth
which some critics objected to Yumiko is
as flippant about throwing away a
billion yen as she is ten thousand or a
hundred it doesn’t do much to get us
invested in whether she’ll win or lose I
completely agree that money is made
irrelevant in this show but I’d argue
that’s a strength rather than a weakness
I don’t find fictional characters
fictional money especially interesting
and it’s certainly not necessary to make
an emotionally compelling story for
instance Batman is super rich and he’s
still an interesting character then his
adversaries aren’t motivated by greed
there’s plenty of drama to be found in
the psychological rather than the
financial after losing an eye to
gambling would you be crazy enough to
gamble the other one would you take a
position of wealth and power from
someone who sees you as less than human
would you put your own finger nails on
the line when money isn’t enough the
stakes here aren’t about the poor
becoming rich or vice versa and cocky
guru everyone’s rich which makes for an
even playing field instead the stakes
are about losing or reclaiming one’s
humanity everyone’s born equal but
social hierarchies are what degrade or
elevate people money might be more
tangible than loss of humanity but it’s
not as personal or is emotionally
intense after all people love money
enough to kill for it but they also
commit murder over issues of dignity and
self-respect as a viewer I found it more
engaging to have money removed from the
equation it left me with more
thought-provoking questions like how do
I respond to oppression or what would I
actually do when I’m in a position to
oppress others so yes Yumiko is
incredibly wealthy but it’s her
personality and unique world perspective
that makes her so interesting
Ryota clearly idolizes her and he’s not
the only one even though she’s skilled
único occasionally loses sometimes it’s
intentional as part of a larger strategy
but sometimes her enemy just outsmarts
her where she has bad luck and Yumiko
likes it that way
gambling losses all thrill for her when
the outcomes already decided even if
it’s in her own favor
unlike flawless characters like kirari
characters that occasionally fail are
interesting because we can see how they
respond when Ryota fails he feels
ashamed and wants to withdraw when Mary
fails she becomes furious and defiant
and when you Mako fails she completely
owns it after all no one can make you
feel inferior without your consent when
she’s been outfoxed she accepts the
outcome and plays the part to the
fullest in this sense her personal
philosophy resembles stoicism which
encourages a stoic to accept things as
they are instead of how you wish they’d
be especially things outside of your
control through this radical acceptance
you make oh can be defeated but never
truly crushed she never gets upset but
it’s not because she doesn’t face
hardship she just has a unique way of
dealing with it
unlike president
we can see a host of skills Yumiko
employs to win she has strong
memorization skills the ability to
manipulate dice and calculate odds but
her greatest strengths lie in reading
other people and making allies rather
than enemies she reminds me a little of
Griffith from berserk a natural leader
who attracts allies almost effortlessly
driven by unquenchable desires both have
a calm exterior with plenty of craziness
under the surface he both takes
sickening risks and put everything on
the line to get what they want but with
Griffith he’s wearing a mask using a
sweet facade to trick people into
thinking they’re friends when he’d
really sell that person out in a
Yumiko on the other hand wears her heart
on her sleeve she’s a strange person but
she genuinely is who she appears to be
she has moral lines she won’t cross and
she genuinely cares about her friends I
didn’t find her to be an especially
relatable character but I’m not sure she
was meant to be she’s more like a
legendary hero who inspires others
around her and helps other characters
find themselves for instance yumiko and
Mary team up against another duo some
jerk and a house pet under his thumb
named tsubomi the guy keeps browbeating
tsubomi to bet and fold – the game
always tips in his favor and she always
obeys out of fear while they’re playing
Yumiko starts asking this girl some
valuable questions what are you getting
out of this are you gonna suck up to
this guy for years hoping he’ll be nicer
to you are you gonna live your entire
life like that with your head down this
again made me think that you Mako
follows a stoic philosophy stoicism
points out that nobody gives away their
money for free so why are people so free
to give away hours and years of their
lives to people who don’t deserve it
tsubomi thinks about you make those
questions and decides she’s tired of
sacrificing her life to the jerks of the
she’s taking back control I find these
philosophical themes a lot more
interesting than the trite follow your
heart kind of message you get in other
shows it’s actually thought-provoking
for the viewer I mean I try to avoid
conflict as much as possible and I’m
sure many of my fellow introverts do too
but this episode brings up that
people-pleasing has its own price and
sometimes it’s not worth paying the
fingernails obsessed sumeragi is another
character that you make ho influences
with her philosophy she has more money
than skill and tends to be indecisive
about taking big risks Yumiko tells her
the bigger her ambition is the greater
risk she’ll have to take an Olympic
athlete might have to
about their entire youth to training and
after that still not win at the games
this metaphor comes straight out of a
stoic philosophy text the bottom line is
to count up the cost then go for it but
don’t claim you want big results if
you’re not willing to put in a big
investment you may cause self-indulgence
proves she’s not a perfect stoic but
there’s a lot of method behind her
madness even when she manipulates her
enemies it’s usually for their benefit
as well as hers for instance she ruins
this guy’s prestigious political future
but in a glimpse of his childhood we can
see he never wanted that future it was
just what his parents chose for him by
defeating him
Yumiko has set him free to find his own
path she also beats a teen idol at
gambling revealing her contempt for her
own fans in the process but it turns out
her fans still support her so now she
doesn’t have to resent them throughout
the series Yumiko also takes the lead
with Ryota who acts as a right-hand man
he’s a sweet beta guy mmm my favorite
who helps único however he can she takes
Rio to under her wing and brings him to
private gambling matches where no one
else is allowed and lets him share in
her successes he didn’t seem too
thrilled about being controlled by Mary
but when it comes to Yumiko being in
he’s pretty into it her reckless
gambling makes him nervous and he tries
to warn único about especially risky
moves but he never tries to stand in her
similarly Yumiko likes Ryota for who he
is and doesn’t try to change him but she
does set him up with opportunities to be
bold and take risks she puts him in
tense situations where he has to take
action and overcome his fears but if
things go wrong she’d be the one to pay
the price not him she nudges him to grow
without forcing his hand I really liked
these two as a duo so if you’re a fan of
feisty female characters and twisted
thought-provoking psychology I highly
recommend cock a guru and if you prefer
your ladies more passive and unemotional
what the heck are you doing on my
channel a play to make boss ladies an
ongoing series so if you’ve got a
favorite female you’d like to see
featured leave a suggestion in the
comments below I absolutely do use fan
suggestions to decide what to do next so
don’t be a stranger

43 thoughts on “Kakegurui — Powerful Ladies in Charge!! Compulsive Gambler Character Analysis”

  1. I thought everyone was evil and crazy-wacko in this anime so I avoided it.

    Might watch it for Yumeko and her male partner now.

  2. Eyyyyy, it's been so long! Another great video! This anime seems so good! But …, I got a whole list of stuff I gotta watch first already 😅 I'll get to it when I can 🙇

  3. Been waitin for a new release from you.  You know I kept seeing this anime but passed up on it because it was about gambling (something I try to avoid, for reasons).  But now I'm gonna have to take  look at it, looks more interesting than the description on Netflix.

    Also if you're going to be talking about boss ladies there's one I think get's overlooked a lot.  Nariko from Heavenly Sword.  The game not the "movie".  Hear me out on this.  In the game Nariko is not only a badass fighting machine, but she is a very kind and generous person, she's intelligent but hot headed, and she's loyal.  She also has a great friendship with Kai, and becomes quite the leader to her clan.  However they kind of butchered the tale when they made it into a movie.

    In any case you still have to old standbys of Ripley, Sarah Connor, and Princess Leia.

    Gald to see more awesome content from ya, and have fun.

  4. How about Dirty Harry : Part Three (The Enforcer!)
    way back in 1976- how does super macho Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) deal with the feminist movement and the reality of being a cop? Does it reflect badly of the era? Or is Harry right? Does Kate Moore (Tyne Daly) do a good job as a new but eager front line policeman officer lady. 
    (Molly Weasley is obviously the most bad ass strong female character ever put to film.)

  5. Interesting. I tried to watch this but couldn't get past the intro : all the unnecessary panty shots and boob shots just left a really foul taste in my mouth. I don't mind the occasional fanservice but that intro was just too much.

    As for boss ladies, hmm, that's a tough one. I wanna say Lara Croft 'cause that woman kicks ass and she was an inspiration to me when I was young. But I also can't deny that she is often portrayed in a very male-gaze pleasing way and it'll always bother me how the movies/game insist on giving her daddy issues.

  6. Not really a concrete suggestion, but maybe you could talk about feminine characters that are strong? Like, I often see in media that girls that are strong have some sort of disgust for traditional feminine characteristics (like a caring personality or not being able to fight)

  7. It's interesting that you mention the dramatic facial expressions being uncommon. It's more like it fell out of fashion. In the late 80's and early 90's it was used more frequently, Perfect Blue is a good example of this technique and even the antagonist in Sailor Moon utilized it. With the rise of moe this style of expression just got put on a back burner outside of shonen stuff. – good video as always. I'm really surprised that people don't understand how monumentally huge losing ones agency is. I'm glad you pointed out that having money and status isn't everything.

  8. Thanks for introducing me to this series. I loved itso much that I've watched all the episodes in one day.

  9. I would love a video of the boss ladies of Kill Bill. Or the Major from Ghost in the Shell. Also Cowboy Bebop has Faye, and Julia. And my favorite Boss Lady, Lisabeth Salander from the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Noomi Rapace is exceptional. 🙂

  10. It's nice to see the role of the dominant male character taken up by woman (I know Photon definitely appreciates it 😏). Great video Doc, can't wait for the next one

  11. I absolutely loved this show and so excited for the next season. Haha I have a whole list of boss lady characters I'll put down some suggestions later. 🙂

  12. I love this review, I really hadn't thought of these characters in this way before! If you're interested in more perspectives on Kakegurui, I actually did my own review of it on my own channel where I talk about how I actually do really sympathize with Yumeko and how her behaviour actually really speaks to me as a person on the autism spectrum. If you have time, I'd so appreciate a listen! :Dhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHVV_FPkIm4

  13. Hi yes hello. I love this and am so happy I found this channel! May I suggest the ladies of FMA: B? Riza especially 😊

  14. eheh. If its not a good sign that you can relate to these Characters, then I have similar red flags. Something about strong willed social master characters have always appealed to me strongly, And I suspect The stoicism philosophy is something Ive always sort of admired, though I will have to do more research.

    Im going to have to give this a watch, especially since you have so much praise for it!

  15. While I think this series is predictable and the ending is rather disappointing since it felt really rushed, it is SO. MUCH. FUN! I'm so glad I came in here without listening to the loud and contradicting haters and gambling anime/manga elitist. This is the most fun shonen I've read in a long time. I'm not kidding.

  16. Boss ladies series and also not boss men series. Just something to point us in the direction of some top notch passive boyos. Pls and thank you.

  17. Whilst it's not a great gambling anime, I still liked the show for what it is, just mindless self-indulgence, even though it felt rather rush, I highly recommend the manga more and you should ( if you haven't already seen it ), if you have free time, watch Black Lagoon, now that has powerful women in it, you will love Revy, Balalaika and Roberta.

  18. Thank you so much for making this critical character analysis video for Kakegurui! This is definitely a good reminder about the complexity and how well thought out the anime is. After watching this, I am totally more hyped going into season 2!

  19. Rin Tohsaka from the fate series is a good lady in charge, even when she isnt technically in charge she bosses the male main around and is even described as the real protagonist of the various timelines. There is also a emale that is a traumatized kid thad is vunerable, but has a will on her own and is also powerful. There is also meduasa technically a summoned servant, hut her male master is devoute to make her happy. Yes, it has a male main character, who gets developed in blade works, and two main major villains, but rin is the one really in charge.

  20. Xena has awesome badass ladies like xena, who is even admired by the god of war and callisto and other impressive female figures, and some males too, but her female advesaries are more highlighted.

  21. For all that MB talks about being a woke male feminist, that he brushes off forced arranged marriage like it's no big thang is pretty damn telling.
    QUESTION: Is there anyone at that school that isn't into gambling?

  22. This anime is interesting, and I really like your review of it! And I'm ALL about strong female leads! But… did you say Ryota is the main protagonist? That's a HUGE turn off for me. It feels too harem themed, which I'm not ashamed to admit that I absolutely hate. Honestly, I just really don't like male anime characters in general. So, while I really like this in depth review on the greater themes at work, I think I'll give this one a pass.

  23. You know you kind of remind me of someone with your reviews the way you sound with your voice I know you remind me of that guy from foundflix are you two related because you two have the same snarky reviews of movies and TV shows and I really like that snarkiness you two should do a collaboration together especially you can't have a review without old good old photon

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