Kakegurui Dorama Review: Twisted Yet Faithful & Charming

Twisted, Yet Faithful & Charming

  • Episodes : 10
  • Genre : School, Drama, Thriller, Seinen
  • Airing Date : Jan 2018 – Mar 2018
  • Producers : TBS, MBS

Contains Spoilers

Kakegurui Dorama Introduction and Story

Most anime fans know what Kakegurui is but just in case you didn’t know, Kakegurui is about gambling. At Hyakkou Private Academy it’s not the jocks that rule the school. It’s not the popular kids either. What makes or breaks you at this school is one’s ability to gamble. Those who succeed rise to the top and are filthy rich. No one is gambling 5 or 10 bucks here; you gamble hundreds of thousands of dollars (tens of millions of yen) at the drop of a hat. The winner gets the money and the loser has to pay up. However, if your school ranking falls in the bottom 100, you become livestock and have to follow the orders of those around you without question. One auspicious day, a mysterious girl named Yumeko Jabami transfers in. She seems naive but what hides beyond that façade is pure, terrifying insanity and darkness. As she arrives, Yumeko not only makes unlikely alliances, but she crushes power members of the school one by one, but of course, only on her own terms.

What We Liked About The Kakegurui Dorama

Honestly, with the reputation that live action movies have, seeing Kakegurui of all shows be chosen for a dorama adaptation did have us taken aback. Then again, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? The visuals released were subpar at best and you could surmise that the network did not plan on sinking much money into the adaptation.

However, that couldn’t have been farther from the truth. The kakegurui dorama was honestly a fantastic show that hinted at just how this series might play out in real life. Minami Hamabe (Yumeko) does seem a bit too cute from the visuals, but her mood swings were absolutely perfect for the role, and we could not believe that someone could capture the degree of intensity that Yumeko possesses. Other great castings were Aoi Morikawa as Meari Saotome who did an excellent job as the bratty blonde (now brunette in the series), Ruka Matsuda (Itsuki Sumeragi) who perfectly captured that dangerously cute nail fanatic that still haunts our nightmares, and oddly, Yuma Yamoto (Jun Kitawari. He was in the four-way betting round to shuffle debt onto the loser.) did an excellent job as the bully. At first, he was beyond grating and came across as an adult trying to play a child’s role, but as time passed, his commitment to the role won the viewer over until you were laughing along at his antics. While not all of the same emotions can be evoked via anime and via dorama, Kakegurui came very close to evoking all of the same emotions we felt during the anime and there was not really too much that we didn’t enjoy. Heck, even Yumeko’s rapid fire speeches that she gives when she knows she’s got someone were even a fun buildup to watch.

Discussion Time

Now, it’s time to break down why you really should give the Kakegurui dorama a shot. Note that we are covering the events of the dorama itself and not the anime. There will be some differences including a major one at the end. So be sure to read on!

Why You Should Watch The Kakegurui Dorama

Coming off the coattails of what was arguably anime of the summer, the kakegurui dorama does have a lot to live up to. There are a wide variety of characters to be portrayed, but can it pull it off successfully?

1. It’s More of What You Love

While it is the exact same story that you can get, for the most part, from the manga and the anime adaptations, the Kakegurui dorama itself is a rather enjoyable watch from start to finish. There are moments when you can vividly recall scenes from the manga or anime but watch them played out with real people making it all the more fun. Some great moments to relive were the four-way betting event as well as watching Yumeko get so close to crushing Yuriko Nishinotoin but insulting her name. Natsumi Okamoto did an excellent job of portraying the uptight heiress and keeping up expression after expression all with her eyes closed.

2. The Opening Sequence

Normally, openings are something that I skip through and Netflix made it even easier. This time though, the openings are well-worth watching as they actually change! The initial one released shows Yumeko, Ryouta, and Meari lip-synching along to the song while the school is in full chaos behind them in different scenes. After a few plays, while it was perfectly suiting, I was bored until I let it play and noticed that there were all new faces singing along! In fact, you can see Itsuki, Yuriko, Jun, Nanami, and Midari (crazy gun girl) all singing along to the opening at different points foreshadowing what is about to come. It was very enjoyable to watch each time and see that when one foe was gone, the next appeared.

3. Well Thought-out Characters for the Most Part

We have mentioned this already, but other than one main character, every other character that we encountered really did a great job of embodying the insanity that has to come with their roles for this show. Of course, we could go on about Minami as Yumeko and Aoi as Meari, but the actors and actresses for the student council members really did do an excellent job of capturing each of their characters down to the core. Even Miki as Midari was really trying hard and it showed through her role. She really did try to keep up as much of the loud, obnoxious personality with a gun fetish as she could. Another one to offer up is Yurika Nakamura as the concerned and apprehensive Sayaka Igarashi. She too, really had the whole nervous, obsessive character down pat.

Why You Should Skip The Kakegurui Dorama

It wouldn’t be fair to you the readers if we did not talk about the negative points and only gave a glowing review of the series. Sure, it had some negatives, but they most certainly are outweighed by the positives. There is a lot that can be learned from the Kakegurui dorama that Japanese producers of both regular dorama and live action movies could take note on both the good and the stumbling blocks. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some rough patches in this dorama.

1. It’s Not the Anime Entirely

Full stop. It’s not the anime. In fact, this series actually ends where episode 7 of the anime ends. We see Yumeko tell Midari to piss off and Meari turns down Kaede Manyuda’s invitation to join the student council. It seemed to be about two episodes per gamble with the story sprinkled in-between. As mentioned previously, Meari is a brunette here. However, seeing how the anime ended on a high note and we have a second season officially confirmed, it’s only a matter of time before Yumeko is back again meaning we could get a second season of the dorama as well. All in all, if you are a purist, or will be mad that the series ends before getting too far, we recommend that you stay far away as nitpicking will only diminish your viewing experience.

2. Mahiro Takasugi as Ryouta Suzui

There are very few things that make me want to punch a wall violently and the acting, if it could even be called that, from Mahiro Takasugi was it. His acting was nothing like the Ryouta in both the anime and the manga to my recollection. Holy Cow, he was so bad, I was watching this with others, and you could hear a collective groan when he would dive into these terrible, overacted asides of how Yumeko was not going to win or how she had just won. Now I understand that the character of Ryouta was a bit apprehensive and nervous about all of the risks that Yumeko would take, but the only thing that Mahiro did was make exaggerated faces the entire time while reciting lines and flailing. An actor in a children’s play can do the same thing, so I don’t really see how anything he does here is different. I can surmise that he possibly could have been trying to make Suzui come across like he does in the series, but all we got was dead eyes, flailing, and clearly someone who was put in this role for a pretty face, not talent, which is a shame because he has been acting since 2010, but it seems as if maybe he has not progressed skill-wise since his debut.

Final Thoughts

When it’s all said and done, Yumeko’s run through Hyakkou Private Academy was realized in a manner that was enjoyable, watchable, and made you want to know what was going to be presented next. There is just something about how realistic the characters came across in the school setting that had to be what really drove it home. Hyakkou does appear to be a normal academy; just everyone is really going to the max and doing the most. There was a slight cringey moment that should be mentioned when Yumeko would say “let’s make a bet” while acting creepy, as her eyes, and eventually Meari’s too, would flash a computer-generated color, but if you are going to try and be faithful to the two sources, you have come to the right place.

We already miss the Kakegurui dorama and really hope that it does get a second season where we get to see a whole half or even full season dedicated to the Yumemi and Kaede matches. The fever pitch in the anime was par-none meaning that the drama would have a tall order to fill, but we are sure that if it is the same team at the helm, then there is a good chance we would get a good return on our investment. Just, you know, someone get Mahiro some acting lessons or something or diminish his overall presence. Have you caught it on Netflix yet? If you have, be sure to let us know down below what you have thought of the series and if it has done both the anime and the manga justice. Till next time!

Kakegurui-dorama-Wallpaper Kakegurui Dorama Review: Twisted Yet Faithful & Charming


Author: Nagareboshi

American by birth; international by choice. I am trying to bring attention to one of my favorite causes; me. I translate by day and write by night. Aspiring polyglot. My dream would be to be the personal translator for Amuro Namie. Other than that, my hobbies include languages, weightlifting, sleeping, karaoke, GOOD coffee and music. When I’m not doing any of the above, I am most likely laughing hysterically at Willam Belli videos or EV farming. I ain’t gunna Rupologize for it neither. Waifu are Shirai Kuroko & Euaerin.

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