Kakegurui Twin Season 1: An average-at-best prequel – Review

Kakegurui Twin review: A great psychological anime worth seeing

If you’re a fan of Kakegurui, you’ll probably enjoy this prequel spin-off. However, if you didn’t like the anime or manga, you won’t find much to grab onto here. Kakegurui Twin is a short 6-episode series that follows the character of Mary Saotome, set a year before Yumeko’s arrival at Hyakkou. Mary has just enrolled in the gambling-addicted school and becomes fascinated by the environment, diving headfirst into this world by engaging in various gambling matches with different students.

The story may sound familiar because it essentially retells the same plot, but this time from Mary’s perspective as a newcomer. As a result, Mary’s character is significantly different from the original, which may bother some people. While it allows room for character growth, it feels like there’s a major shift happening off-screen because the Mary we see here is almost unrecognizable.

The six episodes follow a simple archetype, presenting a “rags to riches” story as Mary gambles her way to the top, facing different competitors in each episode. The series culminates in a final showdown with Sakura, a member of Full Bloom. While there are twists along the way, there’s a constant feeling of déjà vu while watching.

jabami yumeko, saotome mary, momobami ririka, juraku sachiko, and  hanatemari tsuzura (kakegurui and 1 more) drawn by kuuky | Danbooru

This repetition issue was also present in the original series, relying on manipulations, cheating, and last-minute surprises to keep audiences engaged. While it can be effective when used sparingly, Kakegurui tends to overuse these elements.

The mystery surrounding Full Bloom is the most intriguing aspect of the story, but these six episodes don’t delve deep enough to fully explore its potential. With more episodes exploring this group, there could have been a fascinating departure from the original series, providing more development for the underexplored aspects of this world. For example, the character of Mibuomi Aoi, introduced in episode 2, serves as an antagonist but his true intentions remain concealed.

Visually, the show is impressive, and the main theme fits the tone beautifully, although it may not be as memorable as the one used in Kakegurui. The hand-drawn animation is well-executed, with vibrant colors that enhance the overall aesthetic.

Kakegurui Twin | Kakegurui Wikia | Fandom

In the end, Kakegurui Twin is an average prequel series to an anime and manga that has gained a dedicated cult following over the years. With its repetitive nature and questionable character changes for Mary, it treads familiar ground, for better or worse. It’s hard to shake off the feeling of déjà vu while watching, but diehard fans of the series should find enough to enjoy. Others may feel somewhat indifferent towards it.

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