Second Season of Kakegurui
Genre(s): School, Game, Psychological, Drama, Shounen
Age-Appropriateness: 16+ (Profanity, violence, suggestive themes)
TheAwersome Rating: 7.3 / 10 (About the same as first season)
Premise: The current Student Council President, Kirari Momobami, has dissolved the student council and is hosting school-wide elections. Each student is given one vote that can only be transferred via gambling with other students. At the end of a month, whoever has the most votes is the new Student Council President and will also be the new leader of the Momobami clan, a powerful underground family that controls much of Japan’s finance and power. Upon this announcement, students from competing families transfer to the Academy for a chance to gain control.
TheAwersome’s Thoughts: Our psycho girls are back at it again in another delightfully stressful season of Kakegurui. There’s more of a focused storyline going on this season than just “Yumeko plays games against a bunch of the student council because yay gambling” but there isn’t much new brought to the table this season as far as what Kakegurui offers as an anime. More of the delightfully crazy faces and eyes, more of the insane risks taken that are NOT worth the rewards, and all that jazz. I do feel that this season goes more into the methods and tactics of the various games and has less character growth (not that there was much first time around), but it still is worth watching if you enjoyed the first season.
It does end a bit more awkward than first season though, and on an equally anticlimactic note, so that’s one thing I wasn’t too pleased with, as the arc doesn’t finish. But if Japan’s hype for this franchise tells me anything, there will be a season 3, seeing as in 2019 Kakegurui got a 2nd season of the Anime, 2nd season of the live-action drama, AND a live-action movie. It’s not leaving anytime soon.
TLDR: More of what we loved in 1st season, new characters.
While I only rate this show a 7.3, that’s more of an objective look at it. Personally, I enjoy the snot out of Kakegurui, but like I said in my previous review, it’s in the same way certain people enjoy a potently bitter or spicy food. I recognize that there isn’t a whole lot of substance to the series, but Boy Howdy do I get a kick out of the gnarly rush it gives. There are only maybe two characters in this entire series that aren’t in desperate need of therapy, but that makes it even more intense.
Something I love about Kakegurui is that despite a predominantly female cast set in a High School anime, it isn’t a constant romanticization of “cute high school girls, uwu” or any of that. This is the farthest thing from moe that you’ll see, and a good train ride away from ecchi (at least regarding attitudes of characters, etc.). Kakegurui presents the eternally glorified “Anime High School Girl” and then shatters it into disturbing pieces. There are no cute pouts, comical tirades, or the dreaded “shonen funnies” here. Instead we get ugly, snot-faced cries and what Kakegurui does best: Glorious discomfort. In your usual anime when a cute girl eats something that’s too spicy there’s the cute, comical chibi art style with fire coming out of their mouth, etc. Kakegurui takes the realistic approach of cough-hacking to almost puking in a display of refreshing, unattractive realism.
This whole premise is actually touched on in the anime itself. One of the battles in the first season deals with a student, Yumemi, who is a “YourTube” idol sensation. We see her cutesy, idol performances with accompanying song and dance, and how gracious and kind she is to all her fans, thanking them for their wonderful support. We later see her voice her true opinions backstage about how tired she is of putting on the face; how disgusted she is with their uncomfortable obsession and gross sweaty hands asking for handshakes, pictures, etc. I feel Kakegurui is just that: an exciting presentation of the “High School Girl” fantasy accompanied with the backstage look that drastically contrasts the presentation.