Archive for the Kaiji Category

12 (Nice) Moments of Anime 2011 No. 9 – Kaiji of the Revolution

Posted in 12 Moments, Kaiji with tags on 12/17/2011 by Shinmaru

It’s definitely safe to say that the second season of Kaiji is not as good as the first. Where the first had four distinct arcs that could keep up interest and hold up in the face of Kaiji‘s deliberate pace, the second season has two arcs over 26 episodes, both of which drag on too long (particularly the second arc). However, Kaiji‘s second season is still a good series, and there are some interesting strides made with Kaiji’s character.

One of the dominant themes of Kaiji is that the titular hero has the potential for greatness within him, but for various reasons — some inherent within society itself, and others in Kaiji’s personality and work ethic — Kaiji cannot unleash his true potential unless his life is on the line. The second season pushes this idea further: When Kaiji sees Endou at the beginning of the second season, his eyes noticeably brighten and his mood skyrockets. He wants to erase his debts, but he also wants to throw himself headlong back into the world of gambling. He’s addicted to the high that living on the edge brings him.

But that’s not what this post is about. What I really like about this season is that, for a brief moment, Kaiji takes a stand and becomes someone who can start something. He rallies a group of losers, nobodies and failures in this forced-labor camp and helps them regain a bit of their humanity by standing up for themselves against the dudes at the top who are taking advantage of them and acting like big shots in their own filthy, miserable world. In that time, Kaiji comes alive: He’s thinking of plans, he’s raising morale, he’s giving these people someone in whom they can place their hope.

It’s not secret whatsoever that Kaiji as a whole is dead set against greed and hedonism in a capitalist society gone mad. By the time the second season begins, Kaiji has grown to actively undermining the games he plays to achieve victory. When he tries to play by the rules set by the oppressors, there’s no hope for victory; instead, he rewrites the rules to give his side the most advantage. In this way, Kaiji becomes like a revolutionary leader picking away bit-by-bit at those at the top in the hopes that eventually the empire will crumble.

It’s a cool role for Kaiji, and my biggest disappointment with the second season is that it doesn’t build that up a bit more.


Posted in Kaiji, Random Shit, Shameless Whoring with tags on 08/31/2011 by Shinmaru



Kaiji 4 – Rallying the Losers

Posted in Kaiji with tags on 05/12/2011 by Shinmaru

I haven’t been huge on the new style of zawa zawas so far this season (I really liked how chilling they are in the first season, and they’re kind of missing that this season), but they are fucking AWESOME in this scene. The cool background music, Kaiji giving a rousing speech and the zawa zawas building in the background like a tribal chant, a call to arms. Absolutely sold me on this scene.

But, yeah, Kaiji is basically a revolutionary in this scene — he’s gathering the lowlifes and the downtrodden to strike against the money grubbers. Of the Kaiji episodes so far this season, this one is definitely the most overtly, “Dudes, this capitalism thing kinda sucks sometimes, y’know?” Guys dropping from overwork, lungs being ruined, the guy at the top screwing over the bottom feeders and hauling in the profits for himself, loans that fuck over those who take them, no health care available if folks can’t pay for it, etc. Good times.

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Kaiji S2 3 – Devious Bastards

Posted in Kaiji with tags on 05/04/2011 by Shinmaru

Because you’re a greedy motherfucker, Kaiji. Not that I can blame him for going along with a flow of “good luck”; I totally would have done the same thing and been burned . . .

I don’t know if anyone aside from Kaiji had any doubt that the foreman was cheating, but this episode should erase it. Yeah, the foreman and his partner just happen to get the two dice rolls that will crush Kaiji right at the point that will cause him the most possible pain. Uh huh. The funny part, of course, is that Kaiji knows it’s a con and knows that everyone is in on it somehow, but once the money flashes in front of his eyes, it corrupts his way of thinking and has him believing he can beat a system that is set up to screw him over from the start.

And it’s all just as planned, of course. Continue reading

Kaiji S2 2 – Oh, Kaiji …

Posted in Kaiji with tags on 04/26/2011 by Shinmaru

I’m waiting for the crazy, overwrought visual metaphor where Kaiji sticks a needle full of LIQUID GAMBLING in his veins.

This is the Kaiji who has been waiting to burst out from the moment the season started. Really, exploring Kaiji’s gambling addiction could be an interesting route to travel — it’s definitely an impediment to him at points, but in his situation, it could sometimes be a positive as well. After all, Kaiji is at his best in the first season when his back is against the wall, and the firing squad is aiming right at him. He needs that sense of danger, that rush of adrenaline that runs through him when the wave is crashing down. Kaiji’s plans always have this weird sense of practicality mixed with recklessness . . . his grand plan in the final game of the first season is proof of that. It’s perfectly conceived and play, but . . . well, those who watched the first season know well what Kaiji did to make it happen.

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Kaiji S2 1 – Just One More Beer …

Posted in Kaiji with tags on 04/15/2011 by Shinmaru

Been slow going so far this season because nothing I’ve watched as of yet has interested me enough to write about it save Fireball Charming (but that’s just one-shot post) . . . nothing, that is, aside from Kaiji. I’m a big fan of the first season, and while writing about the second may get frustrating at times due to the show’s notoriously slow pace (which is on full display in this episode), I’m sticking with it because Kaiji is just that awesome.

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Kaiji May Have a Better Series, But Akagi Would Whoop the Shit Out of Him in Gambling

Posted in Akagi, Kaiji, Random Shit with tags , on 04/03/2010 by Shinmaru

Kaiji and Akagi, both adapted by Madhouse from Nobuyuki Fukumoto manga, share many surface similarities — the art style is the most obvious, but they’re both also filled to the brim with scumbags who derive great pleasure from inflicting physical and psychological torture on any human who stumbles onto their path; shady mob underworld settings; and a focus on gambling through heavily psychological games. However, these elements lead both series down wildly different paths — this is most apparent with the protagonists.

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The Role of OPs and EDs

Posted in Baccano!, Cowboy Bebop, Eden of the East, Eureka Seven, Fullmetal Alchemist, K-On, Kaiji, Random Shit, Wolf's Rain with tags , , , , , , , , , on 02/22/2010 by Shinmaru

After posting about some inappropriate EDs last week, I thought a bit more about the subject, specifically about what the hell we expect from OPs and EDs. And it probably isn’t a shocker to know that OPs in general have a fairly defined role (with leeway on execution), while EDs are a different story altogether.

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Twelve Moments in Anime No. 8: Kaiji’s Drill in the Ear

Posted in 12 Moments, Kaiji with tags on 12/18/2009 by Shinmaru

Kaiji is an incredibly intense experience from start to finish, with a good plot, lots of twists and a fantastic protagonist. But what has consistently stuck with me about the series from the moment I completed it is this issue brought up by Baka-Raptor in this post by ghostlightning.

The comment: “It’s ok (and often preferable) to watch anime detached. Kaiji is a story about a guy who isn’t you, your mom, or the guy next door. It’s a story about people with problems being forced into crazy situations and doing crazy things. “That was awesome!” is a much more relevant reaction than “I totally relate to him!” If there’s anyone we should feel connections with, it’s the rich guys watching Kaiji’s struggles for their own amusement.

(Emphasis added by me.)

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