Kaiji Season 2 episode 12 – the worst possible thing that could happen
June 24, 2011
As I feared, Sakazaki was swallowed by the man-eating Bog, but the extent of his humiliating defeat was more than I had anticipated. We are introduced to a new character, and left with the slim hope that Kaiji has a plan that can still turn things around before he is captured and tossed back into the pit. This episode was strong on showing just how unfair the game they are playing is, and chronicling the destruction of Sakazaki. It also gave us our first glimpse of a new villain, the manager of the illegal casino.
Watching Sakazaki was kind of disgusting. By the end of the last episode, he had already lost, but he refused to accept that he had been beaten, and he continued to make things much worse. We are given several views of Sakazaki’s futile battle against the Bog, a rigged pachinko machine that he should know he has no hope of beating. From Kaiji’s view, Sakazaki is somewhat heroic, risking almost certain death in a desperate attempt to better his future. From the perspective of the casino management, Sakazaki is a useful fool, out of control, and throwing away his money.
From the perspective of those crowding around, Sakazaki is a welcome spectacle. I’ll admit to getting sucked into the excitement as well, but the ironic thing is that there was ultimately nothing of interest to watch, as the result was a foregone conclusion. Sakazaki never had a chance.
And last we have Sakazaki’s own perspective. Here we see a man who believes he can can have the happy life he once knew, if only a single ball will drop in the right hole. Despite knowing that he was set up, lied to, to convince him to spend his money on this fixed machine, despite seeing his finances getting sucked into the Bog, despite the warning from Kaiji about “the block” (a sensor which, turned on, enables the machine to prevent every ball from dropping), Sakazaki persists in his futile pursuit of a quick return to happier times. As his chances dwindle he loses control of his body, which oozes various liquids, and eventually fails him almost entirely.
One of the great things about Ichijou, the manager of the casino, is the way he refuses to hide the fact that he has the upper hand. He starts right away by letting Kaiji know that he is aware, not only that Kaiji is working as Sakazaki’s partner, but that he knows who Kaiji is, before revealing his own name and position.
He then calmly reveals that they have stocked the machine with brass balls, thus their “magnetic beer” trick was completely ineffective. They truly never had a chance of winning. He then taunts Sakazaki, a man who just dumped 43.6 million yen into a pachinko machine to, “Go on, chase your dreams,”. This kind of arrogance, combined with a guaranteed winning hand, should make for an effective adversary for Kaiji.
Some of you might recall from my Bakuman posts (and others) that I have a thing about process representation. I think artwork (including animation) that attempts to depict everyday processes, such as fixing coffee, or the activities of professionals, is really interesting. I even hold the radical notion that TRUE “slice of life” would dwell more on the representation of these everyday activities, not on the humorous interactions of fictional chaacters.
In this case, these images of pin maintenance tools and process seem to be hints about how Kaiji will defeat Bog, the demon pachinko machine, and its master, Ichijou.