Kaiji season 2 episode 11 – Gambling! Ambition! Madness!
June 16, 2011
Episode 11 of Kaiji season 2 begins Sakazaki’s battle against the main-eating Bog, a demonic pachinko machine. I enjoyed this episode, first getting anxious while watching the balls drop, then getting hopeful when it turned out that Sakazaki’s plan had some potential, and finally getting angry as everything went to hell, but Sakazaki refused to acknowledge that a change in plans was necessary.
I love the colors on this image, BTW. The limited, red-dominant, palette gives it the look of a religious illustration, depicting the wicked sinner Sakazaki’s descent into hell. Sakazaki’s plan was pretty good, but it is tough to cheat a cheater, and it turns out the house has set Sakazaki up big time. They fed him the info so that he would come in and blow his cash, thinking the machine was on its loosest setting. Things don’t turn out to be that simple, though. The house has some sort of “block” that they can apply, which will prevent him from winning, no matter what. When Kaiji tries to convince Sakazaki to cut his losses, Sakazaki refuses and heads back into the Bog, with no change in strategy.
Beyond the tension of the game, and the cheats and counter cheats (and counter-counter cheats) which Kaiji is always good at portraying, this episode was a study in one man’s obsession with winning, to the point that he couldn’t see when he had over-played his hand. As I suspected, Sakazaki was not clever enough to come up with a fool-proof way to beat the house. Now he looks like he will dig his heels in, and lose all his capital, including the money he “borrowed” from work. The risk:reward ratio is rapidly changing against Kaiji. My feeling is that Sakazaki is a sinking stone that he would be better off cutting loose.