Going All In
While I still haven’t gotten my dream anime where Texas Hold ‘Em is turned into a ridiculous Prince of Tennis-esque tournament series where poker hands are turned into super moves that level civilizations, I think Kaiji might just satiate that lust for awhile.
I’m not sure why it’s taken me this long to get around to watching Kaiji. It seems like the sort of shit I’d love. I’m only, like, two or three episodes in and I’m already digging it.
I’ll admit, I’m taking a certain amount of sadistic glee in seeing our little buddy Kaiji suffer. I dig that he’s one of the few anti-authoritarian main characters I’ve seen in an anime (Other than the endless stream of generic delinquents we see, whose rebellious nature is mostly window dressing.), but I also like that his attitude is being taken down a peg or two. He’s a disenfranchised youth, out of work and broke, and I can sympathize with that. At the same time, he’s a punkass bitch that takes out his frustrations by letting the air out of people’s BMWs while saying “No one with such a car can be a good person.” This is the sort of real youthful angst that we don’t see much in anime– the angry youth who strikes out against authority in largely impotent ways– the sort that wants to change the system and tries to do so but has no clue what he’s doing. Hey, I was like that in my late teens and early 20’s as well, so I get you Kaiji.
At the same time, I realize that he needs to be stepped on so he can realize that his brand of idealism is a fraud, just as much as the fraud that’s gotten him into this surreal game of high-stakes gambling. He’s made some really stupid mistakes all in the name of his misguided ideals. Not only did he stupidly co-sign a Yakuza loan, but he’s gone out of his way to refuse to do anything about his own financial situation. It’s one thing to be an out of work dude who has a hard time trying to get by, and it’s another to gamble away one’s days when one has jack shit for cash. He’s on a self-destructive path that’s fueled by his anti-establishment ideals, and he needs those ideals crushed a bit so he can get himself on the right path.
So while this cruise of death might be a big con job that’s trying to scam away his very freedom and livelihood, it’s obviously the very thing this dude needs to right himself. He needs to be shown just how destructive this lifestyle can be, he’s just unfortunate enough to have that kick in the ass take the form of an elaborate game of Rock-Paper-Scissors. I almost wish I had someone come along when I was a punkass teenager and told me “You can eliminate all of your college debt if you take a cruise out onto the Gulf of Mexico and play High Stakes Kick the Can” or something like that.
So yeah, Kaiji pretty much deserves what he’s getting, but it’ll make him a better man. Or a better slave. Something like that. Awesome stuff so far.
There we go. Some positiveness. I can get back to bitching about stuff now.
Also: Just wanna say that I love the art style in Kaiji. Love the angular faces and thick, dark outlines. And I bet Kaiji totally hit Terry Bogard over the head and stole his jacket. Probably because Terry was driving a BMW.