Kaiji. It's all over now.

Episode 26 finishes off season 2 of Kaiji. This post covers my final thoughts about Kaiji, rather than focusing on the final episode itself. This is intended to be a spoiler-free post, to those concerned about such things. I really enjoy Kaiji, especially season 1, and would continue to recommend it to people who want an unusual, gritty, psychological thriller. For a general introduction to Kaiji, see my season one review, for more thoughts on season two, continue reading beyond the jump.

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Ichijou can't take the tension any longer.

Kaiji season 2, episode 25 shows what appears to be the end of the Bog arc. Next week will presumably be an epilogue, although, the way Kaiji works, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was one more twist. In truth I think they could have sped up the Bog arc somewhere along the way. It is too early to give my final impression, but this last half was not as brilliant as the first, and that might have been avoidable by speeding up the pace. Individual episodes often were full of tension, and several episodes flipped back and forth rapidly in my expectations of who was winning, but the length of the Bog arc kept individual plot twists from seeming like substantial progress.

It looks so easy! Just sink the silver ball in the red-rimmed hole, and get 7 trillion Yen.

The incredible part of these closing episodes of the Bog arc of Kaiji is that it is up one minute, and down the next. Episode 23 of Kaiji season 2 continues in this fashion: now the machine is unbeatable, then Kaiji has a surefire plan, then that plan falls apart … and so on. In a sense, the whole purpose of watching Kaiji is not the plot, as much as it is the adrenalin rush. Which, I guess is a perfect representation of the gambling experience.

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Kaiji and his moe-moe opponent, Ichijou.

Kaiji continues his pachinko game, which means more head fakes, devious plans back-firing, and manly tears. Kaiji believes that, “even a fool or scum has a chance to win”. Now that Kaiji’s last trick has been exposed, is it all over? Truly this episode was intense, as it swung back and forth between Ichijou’s and Kaiji’s favor. And now we are at the final, final moment. Ichijou or Kaiji? Who will be blessed by fate?

Yet another new deck!

Due to continuing circumstances, this is another batch update with very brief comments on each series.

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Kaiji crashes through the gate.

Another great episode of Kaiji! In episode 18, Kaiji crashes through the gate set up by Ichijou, that is the block.

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That man knows how to throw a party!

In episode 17, time and money is running out for Kaiji, and the impenetrable block is still refusing every one of his pachinko balls. Meanwhile the game gains an unexpected audience. This is one of those episodes that almost has me wishing Kaiji never gets out of debt — unfortunately this show won’t go on forever, so tune in now before it’s too late!

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Hammers and gauges.

Episode 16 of Kaiji season 2 sees Kaiji starting his final assault on the bog. Unfortunately by episode end the most obvious part of Kaiji’s plan has been discovered. The details were pretty interesting, including a false lead in which Ichijou falsely accuses Kaiji, before he discovers how Kaiji has juiced the machine. Of course after Ichijou confirms that Kaiji is cheating he applies the block. The question now is, does Kaiji have a plan for dealing with this new obstacle? And, of course, conquering the block will only get him to the first of three pans. Further, Kaiji has only a few hours to pull off a victory.

Wrong on so many levels.

Kaiji Season 2 continues! Apparently episode 14 was a recap episode, so we get moving again with episode 15. Here Kaiji’s plan to take on the Bog is set into motion. Sakazaki, as you can see in the screenshot above, enters the casino dressed as a buddhist monk, declaring that “his mind is clear”, and sits down at the Bog. This episode involved misdirection on many levels, as well as some grisly violence.

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There's been a wrinkle in the plan.

Episode 13 of Kaiji season 2 starts off with the discovery of a bit of a problem. The last episode ended with what looked like one of those classic moments of Kaiji putting together a plan, but this episode starts off with Kaiji discovering that Sakazaki hasn’t finished screwing things up. :face-palm:

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