Kakegurui Twin Season 1 Review
A girl named Mary Saotome
A targeted girl
A treacherous girl
an honest girl
A tough girl -| Review Rating – 3/5
If you liked Kakegurui, chances are you’ll enjoy this prequel spin-off. If you didn’t like the anime or manga, you’re unlikely to find much to grab here. In its simplest form, Kakegurui is a brief 6 episode series that follows the character of Mary Saotome. It’s a year before Yumeko’s arrival in Hyakkou and Mary herself has just enrolled in the school for gambling addicts. She is immediately seduced by the environment and decides to jump headfirst into this world, with many matches against different students.
If the story sounds familiar to Kakegurui, you’re right. It’s basically a retelling of the same plot, but this time leaving Mary in the newbie’s shoes. In doing so, Mary’s character is very different from the one depicted in the original, which is going to irritate some people. While you could argue that allows time for character growth, I guess there’s a pretty big shift happening off-screen for that because what we’re getting here is almost a completely different character.
All 6 episodes have a fairly simple archetype and feature a “rags to riches” story for Mary as she fights her way through various competitors to reach the top. There’s a different game every episode, ultimately culminating in a final showdown with Full Bloom member Sakura (more on that in a second). While the ending includes the usual “gotcha!” twists and turns along the way, there’s a constant sense of deja vu watching this.
It’s something the original series also had trouble getting right, with each chapter’s structure relying on last-minute manipulations, cheating, and pretense to surprise audiences. While good when used sparingly, Kakegurui has always gone a little overboard with how he uses them.
The mystery around Full Bloom is the real meat of the story and sadly these 6 episodes don’t do enough to bite into the tasty potential within. With more episodes exploring this group, there has perhaps been a much more intriguing departure from the original series, fleshing out parts of this world that have been left undeveloped. A good example of this is the character of Mibuomi Aoi. He appears in Episode 2 and remains an integral part of the story, establishing himself as the antagonist but never really showing his hand to see what he’s planning.
Visually, the show is stunning, and the main theme of the series matches the tone perfectly. It’s not quite the banger used for Kakegurui, but it’s still a decent instrumental. Linking this to the unpredictability of jazz music is a good idea.
The hand-drawn animation is also largely on the money, with the lighting and overall aesthetic really reveling in the myriad of colors this show bursts into with each chapter.
Ultimately, Kakegurui Twin is a pretty average prequel series to an anime and manga that’s garnered a pretty healthy cult following over the years. With lots of repetition and some questionable character changes for Mary, Kakegurui Twin retreads familiar ground – for better or for worse. It’s hard to shake off the feeling of deja vu while watching, but if you’re looking for the same, die-hard fans should find enough to enjoy here. Everyone else will probably come away a little indifferent to this one.