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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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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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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Simply put, no, they didn't beat the Bog.

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.

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Evil people prey on the weak and gullible.

Kaiji is a story of gambling, but it’s even more a story of what happens at the margins of society. It is about the desperation of those without money, and the selfishness of those who have lots of it. Make no mistake, this is not a comedy, nor is it a “feel good” story. Most episodes had me feeling like I wanted to punch someone. This review is based upon seeing the entire series (26 episodes), but is spoiler-free.

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