There was no doubt that Yumeko was going to be the better idol in this contest. The gambling itself was neither thrilling nor exciting in Episode 9 of Kakegurui, but the idol duet made up for it. After all, this was an idol contest, not a casino face-off. We wanted our dance and our lights and our singing and our scary faces and threats and crazy fans, and we got them all.
Japanese Title: 夢見る女
True to the academy’s principles, the two girls with the kanji ‘dream’ in their names, Yumeko and Yumemi, face off in a special two-hour television program that resembles a variety show: the two idols have to play several games that involve dancing and singing.
We miss most of the first games, with the first singing contest being reduced to a number of stills and a 2-second intro to Yumeko’s song. The only game we get to see in full is the one that determined the outcome. The 6th game had the two girls guess the birthday of a person from the audience. Since Yumemi had memorized all of her fan club’s birthdays – and since they were only allowed to get tickets to the show – she believed that winning was going to be easy. But the audience member chosen was Mary. The selection was clearly manipulated by Yumeko (she knew how to roll the dice to get the numbers she wanted) Mary’s birthday was a mystery to both. Yumeko wins out of luck and makes Yumemi play the recording in front of her fans.
After a scene where the fans ‘forgive’ their idol for being a complete dick (typical fandoms) the true purpose of Yumeko rose to the surface. Her goal was neither to humiliate Yumemi (whom she probably added to her harem) nor to win the money of the bet. It was to create the circumstances in which she could challenge another Student Council member. That member is Kaede Manyuda, whom Yumemi accused of sabotaging her.
False Ending? When the credits started rolling during the duet, I thought that was the episode’s ending. And it should have been, because the next part and the preview felt a bit disconnected. Yet, I have this feeling that the next episode is going to be amazing.
Who sent the letter? I don’t think it was the gamer girl from the student council nor the glasses guy who is a bit too ambitious for his own good. I don’t have a theory, but the show is good at making plot twists. I can’t wait to see who was behind this game.
MAPPA: The animation studio is known for its amazing choreography scenes since producing Yuri on Ice.
Pure Luck: This is probably the first time Yumeko won out of pure luck. I think it is clear that Yumeko expected Yumemi to either copy her six or turn it into a nine, but she could have easily lost if Mary’s birthday was closer to September than June.
D10: Those dice reminded me of the endless D&D nights I used to spend with my campaign friends. If you have no idea what I am talking about, the tabletop game Dungeons & Dragons is using the 10-sided dice in its dice system. It also uses D20s, D6s, D12s, and D4s.
Commercial Break: The idol battle was a two-hour television show and the commercial break added that extra bit of realism. It was a shame that we didn’t have a two-hour episode to go through all the games!
Themes & Trivia
The Way Up the Ladder: As much as we would like to believe that the road to fame is paved with hard work and skills, that is not always the case. Yumemi was a little blunter than it was necessary, but the truth is that sex is a powerful motivator. The star industry is full of sex scandals, and many idols in Japan find an easy way to fame and money through the AV industry. Yumemi wanted Yumeko to be the dark side of their idol duo, and it seems that sleeping her way up the ladder was part of the plan.
Fandoms: Popular culture fandom has been in the sociologist’s spotlight for some time now. Since the advent of television and comics, fans have been gathering around franchises, sometimes obsessing over the tiniest detail. Their psychology is so diverse that otherwise absurd behaviors, as the one we have witnessed with Yumemi’s fans are considered normal and attributed to a distorted worldview that comes as a byproduct of unhealthy fixation.
Saori Hayami: The voice actress is no stranger to anisongs as she played the passionate singer Nino in last season’s Fukumenkei Noise. She performed most of the insert songs and the OP/ED themes. She was also Takagaki Kaede in Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls.
How about an official match?
Yumeko is so adorable. Megane-kun can’t reject an official match and that ‘pet’ tag is certainly paying back the money Yumeko owns in thrill and excitement. Next episode seems like one of the most thrilling so far. Yumeko is paving her way to the President with defeated members. Some of them also become allies. I wonder if after this little stunt, the idol will join #TEAMYUMEKO…
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NEXT TIME: Selecting Woman (選択する女)
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