Kakegurui’s heroine Yumeko Jabami is a lot of fun to watch, even if the viewer can’t identify with her at all.
Kakegurui puts a new twist on the concept of “elite high school” in the anime. A spin on the roulette wheel, that is. In this series, the prestigious Hyakkaou Academy teaches the sons and daughters of the world’s business moguls how to gamble, evaluate the odds and strike when the opportunity for fabulous wealth presents itself. However, the school is turned upside down when the new girl, Yumeko Jabami, arrives. She is here to make waves.
In everyday life, Yumeko is an educated, friendly and enthusiastic student who can easily make friends and get along with others. But it has a monstrous side. Yumeko is absolutely addicted to the terrifying thrill of the game, and doesn’t feel alive until she plays everything On the line. She is not understanding this way, but she is absolutely captivating, and that is exactly what Kakegurui, and maybe more series like this, needs.
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The Yumeko Jabami Show
Yumeko Jabami despises most of the classic shonen protagonist tropes, like the power of friendship, training montages, and a tragic story. Instead, his backstory is largely mysterious, as his origins don’t even matter. The important thing is what Yumeko will do nowAnd in fact, Yumeko tends to live in the moment. He does not stop in the past or dream of the future. Instead, Yumeko is starving for the next thrill of the game, accepting any challenge and taking the highest stakes. It is the only time she feels truly alive, which leads to some serious and demanding competition. In some ways, he’s more like a wandering antihero or villain, someone looking for a worthwhile challenge rather than an opportunity to save the world. After all, in Kakegurui, students aim to protect their pockets and their reputations, not the fate of humanity.
Yumeko is clearly meant to be a show, like a circus performer, rather than a sincere hero. And in the cruel and mind-boggling world of Hyakkaou Academy, that’s just what Yumeko needs to be. She is completely driven by her carnal desires, and she doesn’t even have an end goal in mind. What’s more, Yumeko steals every scene with her outlandish (and almost grotesque) expressions, bloodthirsty gameplay and taunts, adding flair to each scene and increasing the stakes more and more.
Yumeko performs not to connect the audience, but to offer them the performance of her life. Very little of what Yumeko does, says or wishes is intended to be comprehensive, but that is entirely by design. But even with that in mind, the antihero Yumeko does they have some redeeming qualities, which are important in keeping the narrative balanced. She is a firecracker, not a monster.
Yumeko’s noble side in a sea of game sharks
Regardless, Yumeko has her soft side and is not afraid to show it. One of Yumeko’s most notable attributes is her strong sense of sportsmanship, as she values the game as a way for two parties to give their all and fairly determine who is stronger, smarter, and bolder. For Yumeko, a manipulated or one-sided game doesn’t make sense: she can’t stand bullies of any kind. If the opponent has no chance against her, Yumeko won’t play at all, as crushing an inferior only serves to provide cheap perk to the bully, and that’s not what Yumeko craves.
On the contrary, he won’t bother playing an impossible-to-win game, as there is no tension in whether or not Yumeko can win. Ideally, a game of chance involves great odds and narrow but real routes to victory. Yumeko’s spirit of play is only satisfied when she follows the narrow but attractive path to victory. If she can pull it off, it is left to chance. She does her best, then lets the odds take care of the rest.
Yumeko has also acted kindly more than once, especially in regards to Hyakkou’s “pet” system. In this school, indebted students are treated more like cats or dogs, and are humiliated day after day. Yumeko finds this highly distasteful and sabotages the system by cheering on her pet friends and giving them the courage to face her tormentors. When Yumeko herself was (briefly) a pet, she tried to lean on her and soon gambled to get out of debt.
Yumeko also admires and befriends the school’s most capable and noble-hearted students, extending the hand of friendship to the proud and ambitious Mary Saotome, for example. Mary found this strange at first, but learned to view Yumeko as a valuable ally. Yumeko also loves her friend Ryota Suzui very much. More than once, he empowered these friends, from Suzui to Mary to Itsuki Sumeragi. That, combined with Yumeko’s sporty sense, makes her more balanced as a hero and offsets her wild side. Although not entirely identifiable, anyone can understand Yumeko’s discretionary kindness and sense of justice, even if they’ve never visited a blackjack table before.
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