Kakegurui took the summer season by storm with its great animations, soundtrack as well as a very exciting plot. However, with its ending episode, many have yet again bashed the anime just because of its anime original ending. Was it really worth the criticism? In this special review of the final episode, I’ll try to explain the many things surrounding it and give a more or less stand on how I feel about anime original endings.
Of course, this means spoilers so do not read on if you have not watched Kakegurui yet.
In this episode of Kakegurui, we have a bet that doesn’t happen in the source: a bet between the student council president and Yumeko. This already has many people bitching, and to top it off, they had to finish the bet in one episode, which means it was a relatively short bet. Because of that, there wasn’t many mindgames involved and many were disappointed with the anti-climatic ending.
But, was it really as it seems? Or perhaps this was for the best?
First off, let us review the circumstances of the anime as of the last episode. We have just finished the idol arc, with Yumeko defeating 2 student council member at once. The next arc will be a pretty long bet(no details to avoid spoilers) if its to be based on the manga still. The anime only has 1 episode left to give a proper closure and at the same time there is no season 2 confirmed as of yet, meaning this could be the only season of the anime.
What does all this translate to?
- Only 1 episode to finish and give a proper conclusion.
- Next arc is too long to adapt into a single episode.
- Nobody is sure about possibility of more seasons.
The author for Kakegurui was behind the writing of the story for this particular anime original ending. Why? Obviously, it is to give the viewers enjoyment while not leaving us hanging. We managed to get a semi-closure type of ending that on one hand gives a (hopefully)satisfying ending to those who have only watched the anime and on the other hand does not close the opportunity for a season 2 should there be one.
The author had only 1 episode’s worth of time to work with and I would say he did pretty well. Not only did this episode bring out the personality of the absolute neutral loving freak Yomozuki Runa, they have also made more character development for the almost non-existent main character Suzui Ryouta. Why is that important you ask? Well, obviously, in the manga the story continues and eventually they will play their part in the story as well.
Anyways, in the bet, we have Yumeko VS the student council president, in a showdown match of… tarot cards?!
It may look ridiculous at first, and requires basically only luck, but that’s only on the surface. There is a deeper meaning to this particular bet being played, much like what the president repeatedly states: Destiny.
By having Yumeko open the card for the present, the president for the past, and Suzui for the future, we can see a nice line of inheritance here: The inheritence of will. Throughout the anime/manga, we have repeatedly seen how much of a kakegurui(roll credits) Yumeko is, and it is also pretty obvious that the president is also one big compulsive gambler. But how does Suzui relate to this? I’m sure it is probably hinting at how Suzui has inherited the will of the Kakegurui through this match, eventually even showing the same willingness to take risks even though he was the only sane person throughout the whole show. This means that in the future, Suzui will be inheriting the will of the gambler from Yumeko somehow and I really have to hand it to the author for hinting at that.
Secondly, tarot cards are not exactly meaningless things. I’m sure that when we talk about tarot cards the first thing that come to our minds would be the meanings that they represent, or the hidden fortune-telling they provide. It is also used pretty often in story telling to give a sense of impending events. What was it used for in this particular bet?
Well, if we recall the match itself, we will see that they have essentially separated this whole bet into 3 sections of tarot card telling: for the past, for the present, and for the future.
Being the nerd that I am, I went to search up on the cards that were flipped over by the 3 people and lo and behold, they actually represent the situations in each time period pretty well.
First up, we have the past, with the World. Here is a small excerpt of what an reversed World card means:
When reversed, however, the World suggests that you are trying to achieve completion in your life but you may not be taking all the steps necessary to achieve your goals.
The reversed World can also indicate a time when you are close to reaching completion but for whatever reason, you lose focus and slack off right at the end.
What was the situation in the past for the academy? The president took control, did many reforms, and turned the school into her personal aquarium. And whadaya know, the one who was the past was the president herself. What’s more, the card suggests that something was close to completion for the president but she couldn’t quite complete it. What is that something? We don’t know. But we do happen to know that the president was very happy that Yumeko has come to her academy.
Next, we have the present, being represented by the Magician. Here’s a small excerpt from the meaning of an upright Magician card:
The Magician Tarot card typically appears in a Tarot reading at a time in your life when you have the creative power and energy to create a new life cycle for yourself. You have the ability to take the power of the Universe and manifest your desires.
With the Magician Tarot card, you are inspired to apply skill and initiative to accomplish all your goals. You have a strong desire to begin something new, to ‘do, act, or go forth’.
Ohohoho… a very good fit for the “present” Yumeko, you would say. She was able to dominate her duels, and she has the skills to do so as well as the passion to back it up. What’s more, she is trying to achieve something big: win a duel against the student council president. Don’t you think this card is a perfect fit for the present situation for Yumeko?
Lastly, we have the future, represented by an upright Judgement card:
The Judgement card suggests that you have had a recent epiphany or an ‘awakening’ where you have come to a realisation that you need to live your life in a different way and you need to be true to yourself and your needs. You have opened yourself up to a new possibility – to lead a fulfilling life that serves your higher needs and that offers inspiration and hope to others. You feel as though you have had a ‘calling’ in life, and you are getting much closer to the point where you need to take action. Something that was lying dormant within you, some unconscious knowledge or truth is finally being awakened and brought into the light.
The Judgement card often indicates that life-changing decisions are required but unlike those associated with the logical Justice card, these decisions require a delicate blend of intuition and intellect.
What’s this? Isn’t this exactly what Suzui did in this episode? He embraced his own feelings, and decided to step up finally, despite reeling in fear from bets at the start of the anime/manga. What’s more, it says that he is going to live life in a different way now, and he does do just that. He had now inherited the will of the Kakegurui and although it still lies dormant inside of him most of the time, we can see through this duel that indeed, Suzui does have the power to take risks if he is feeling it.
Through these tarot cards, we are given a glimpse of the past of the president, the present for Yumeko, and the future for Suzui respectively. What’s more, with these exact 3 cards, the duel was tied and as a result no one has to leave the academy, meaning that the source material is not completely trampled on.
With this, we can see that Kakegurui has managed to do a very meaningful ending episode that gets the job done, however anti-climatic it may be. I would give the ending a 8/10, just from how it made me search up on tarot cards out of curiosity.
And I definitely believe that is it not deserving of the amount of hate it gets just by simply being an anime original ending. By doing this anime original ending, we get characterisation, we get a possibility for a season 2, we get glimpses at what’s to come, we also get an amazing confession by Suzui.
And besides, I don’t see the point of hating on the ending just because it is an anime original. It’s still written by the author after all, so I really appreciate the effort taken to try to satisfy anime-only people while at the same time I had fun finding out the hidden meanings behind it.
I’ll probably talk more about the hate on anime original endings and such in the future, but for now, I would say Kakegurui ended in an excellent way. I’m definitely looking forward to a possible season 2 and at the same time I will continue to savour the manga.
Hopefully, through this post, you are able to learn more(hey, I learnt about 3 tarot cards, that’s something right?) about Kakegurui and it’s characters, as well as this particular ending, and that you will be back for more bets.
-A satisfied Plyasm