Gonna talk about Kaiji. There’s gonna be spoilers.
This show is fucking insane. It’s so fucking insane that I’m going to give you a traditional anime blogger style blow-by-blow of the events so far since nothing else can convey such insanity short of telling it to you straight.
So, Kaiji made it through GAMBLEBOAT, survived the Human Derby, but still has no money. The Yakuza, being the nice guys that they are, give Kaiji yet another chance to pay off his debts in the form of E-CARD. E-CARD is, as you may have guessed from the name, a card game. There are three types of cards– Slave, Citizen and Emperor. The Emperor beats the Citizen, the Citizen beats the Slave, but the Slave can beat the Emperor. The reasoning is that since the Slave is at the bottom, it’ll do anything in desperation and kill the Emperor. Also, if the Slave wins, then the person who played it gets five-times the amount the opposing player bet. This game is a perfect representation of society, according to Yakuza thug Tonegawa. Each side is given five cards– four Citizen cards each, and one side gets the Emperor, the other side gets the Slave. The sides change between Emperor and Slave each round.
Kaiji, having no money to bet is given a choice– bet either one eye, or one ear. He bets his ear, and thusly a device is fixed onto his ear to do the dirty work. See, this device is something of a drill. Between its starting point and Kaiji’s eardrum is 30mm, and he is allowed to make his bet in mm, each mm being worth 100,000 yen. There’s a few other details to the game, but I’ll skip them for the sake of length. You can Wikipedia it if you want.
Kaiji wins for the first two games, but then starts losing constantly. Tonegawa, his opponent, informs Kaiji that he can tell what cards Kaiji is going to play by his body language. Kaiji gets very nervous and almost paranoid, thinking Tonegawa can read his mind. It isn’t until near the end of the game when Kaiji, on the Emperor side, at the last minute takes back his decision to play Emperor and plays Citizen. Tonegawa is shocked, as he put down Slave, confident he would win. Watching over this whole thing is the big bad boss of the Yakuza, and he beats Tonegawa for losing. Kaiji finds this is far too harsh a punishment for a game in which winning is not 100%– but that’s when it hits him. Tonegawa must have had a way to win 100% each time– in short, he was cheating.
This is where it gets crazy. Kaiji comes up with a crackpot theory that the device in his ear is actually a monitoring device for all his vitals, and that the information is displayed on Tonegawa’s watch. Kaiji, knowing this (he’s convinced it’s true), devises a sure-fire way to kill Tonegawa (TONEGAWA-GOROSHI screams the best narrator ever.) He asks what the maximum extension of the drill is, which is 45mm. He has 18mm left before the maximum length. However, if it extends past his eardrum, he risks death. Not quite sure about betting that much, he goes to the bathroom to think things over. While in the bathroom, one of the various other victims of the Yakuza’s cruelty (they’ve been watching the game, too) asks him if he’s sure about betting 18mm. Kaiji is convinced he needs to, and puts his plan into action by smashing up a mirror with his fists, then with his face. Tonegawa is well aware of this, since it turns out Kaiji’s theory was right, and he’s watching Kaiji’s vitals go crazy on his James-Bond-Spy-Watch. Kaiji comes out of the bathroom bloodied, holding a towel over the ear he wagered.
Back to the game, Kaiji makes his bet of 18mm on the Slave side. Tonegawa notices some of the readings on his watch aren’t working, and figures Kaiji damaged the device. He is however not too worried, since he still has enough data to work off of. They put down their cards and… Kaiji wins! Tonegawa is now super suspicious as to what Kaiji did. He pulls Kaiji’s hand from over his ear (he’s been holding it the whole time) and to everyone’s shock…
HIS EAR IS GONE!!!
Yes, he cut it off in the bathroom. Tonegawa figures it all out there on the spot, and sends some goons to the restroom. Turns out the guy who visited Kaiji in the bathroom earlier was still there, and he was holding the device… WITH KAIJI’S EAR ATTACHED. See, the device can detect most everything so long as it is touching a living organism, thusly Tonegawa was getting that guy’s readings, rather than Kaiji’s.
Ok, summary over. That was the worst hour of my entire life.
If Akagi was all about marveling at the man’s utterly insane genius (hence, The Genius Who Descended Into The Darkness) then Kaiji is all about the insane lengths that he’ll go to in order to survive (hence, Ultimate Survivor.) The main entertainment value of Kaiji comes from him being placed into a seemingly impossible situation, then watching how he works his way out. Up until now it’s been pretty tame– with GAMBLEBOAT it was mostly clever number crunching, and with the Human Derby it was pure will power. But this… this is a whole new level of insane. Personally, I didn’t see it coming, and when it happened I cackled like a mad man. This is the kind of insanity that I crave out of my entertainment. This kind of batshit insane Kazuo Koike piss in my eyes to wash out the blood reasoning is totally crazy and amazing.
Though, now, I can’t take the show seriously at all. Not like I was in the beginning, but it crossed the line from filling meal to junk food. That said, it certainly is a tasty candy bar.