The premise sounds surface-level and appealing, but the world of Kakegurui Twin is sinister-feeling and deadly
This review of the Netflix anime series Kakegurui Twin (2022) season 1 does not contain spoilers.
Welcome to the wonderful but absurd world of Kakegurui Twin, a spin-off and prequel to Kakegurui – Compulsive Gambler, for those who are well indicted to the manga world. The first thing that strikes in this original net anime series is how wonderful, quirky, and absurd the premise resides. The Hyakkaou Private Academy is home to a school gambling system driven by the students, causing a ranking level amongst them. The school’s engine is gambling, and at the center of the story is the smart and nowhere near innocent Mary Saotome (voiced by Minami Tanaka) — a newcomer to the school who is desperate to rise to the top.
The premise sounds surface-level and appealing, but the world of Kakegurui Twin is sinister-feeling and deadly. The Hyakkaou Private Academy reeks of sorority and fraternity-like principles, seeping through the characters that group themselves based on secluded gambling dens and financial connections. Students in debt have to announce themselves as “mittens.” They are succumbed to as pets of the student society until they have graduated. Once you have become a “mitten,” it’s almost impossible to climb out of that ranking using gambling.
Kakegurui Twin proposes the idea of power-hungry human beings in a desperate setting. The new and upcoming prospect, Mary Saotome, befriends a mitten called Tsuzura Hanatemari (voiced by Rina Honnizumi); together, they have an all-encompassing mission; for Mary, it’s to be the leader of the gambling system, and for Tsuzura, it’s to be removed of the “mittens” status.
The Netflix anime series is varied in style and pace, as these two characters navigate a crazy-fuelled academy based on power struggles and an abundance of dishonesty. For instance, in this gambling world, cheating is permitted — it’s up to your opponent to figure it out. Mixed with solid themes of sexual threat and a dystopian-style lifestyle, Kakegurui Twin is easily an anime series to keep an eye on (that’s, of course, if there are further plans to flesh out the story, leaning towards the sequel).
Whether canon is followed is something I cannot discuss; I haven’t delved into the manga deeply enough to understand if this original anime series will appeal to the loyal supporters of the story. However, after investing in its six chapters, there’s something memorable about this story. The characters gel well, and the enemies are well-marketed to the viewer.
It has been a while since an anime series truly grabbed my attention. Maybe it’s the sensationalist style of storytelling or the murky world it resides in. Either way, Kakegurui Twin is worth turning Netflix on for, so let’s hope it surpasses season 1.
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