“Kakegurui – Compulsive Gambler” is writer Homura Kawamoto and artist Toru Naomura’s 2014 series about a strange school where students wager more on manipulating luck than education.

Children of some of the richest families attend Hyakkaou Private Academy in order to learn how to beat the best in gambling. While they have a student council and separate classes like typical Japanese schools, students also live under a harsh hierarchy where the winners punish the losers heavily with ways worst than debt. Those demoted to the lowest tier are “house pets” to the school and Class Representative Ryota Suzui is one of them. Misery follows him as his peers take what they want from his and abuse him. However things change when new student Yumeko Jabami arrive to his class. He worries about the newcomer and how she will fare against the vicious gamblers of Hyakkaou. It is not long that Mary, the student that defeated Ryota, invites Yumeko to play rock-paper-scissors (card version). It seems that Mary always win, however Yumeko keeps increasing her bets to the point 10,000 yen is on the table. Ryota sees no chance of the new girl being the victor but Yumeko reveals the way her opponent cheats. With the last draw, Mary loses and Yumeko shows her true face as a compulsive gambler. It seems that she will be a perfect fit for the corrupt campus.

This dark and twisted manga is the debut piece of Kawamoto and Naomura is the perfect artist to turn his writing into visual form. Naomura’s art style has a clean and crispness that matches the high society the students come from. However, there is no detail spared to their expressions when disgust and hate fill them. This story definitely deserves its “Older Teen” rating from Yen Press especially with some of the random panty shots and Yumeko’s masochistic love of gambling. The activity itself is one that can be highly addicting and many people do fall into large, crippling debt.

“Kakegurui” currently has a 12-episode anime adaptation that premiered in Japan Summer 2017 and now available on Netflix with English subtitles.

Interested readers can pick up the first four volumes of the series as Five will arrive in April 2018. For more information on the manga, visit Yen Press’s site.

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