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Characters That Made My Year – Kaiji Itou (Twelve Days of Christmas: Day Six)

December 19, 2011

We’re midway through now, so it’s time to bring on the manly tears with Kaiji Itou from Kaiji S2.

Kaiji isn’t your typical lead character, being utterly pathetic for most of the time with brief moments of dizzying awesome firmly tempered with idiotic tendencies and a willingness to risk everything on one last big gamble.  Kaiji is so completely flawed as character that it’s pretty amazing he can carry the show on his own – the man just takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions as he does the most amazingly brave/idiotic things with startling regularity.  The thing is that Kaiji may be a complete loser, but when he’s up against all the odds he shows remarkable creativity and actual intelligence – it’s just a pity he needs to be in life or death gambling situations involving massive amounts of cash before he gets the motivation to use that brain of his!

This year gave us season two of Kaiji’s stuggle with debt & gambling addiction, and in classic Kaiji style it was often a nail-biting, frustrating thing to watch full of zawa-zawa & manly tears.  For me the episode that stood out best was episode 22, as it gave the viewer the full spectrum of emotions as it see-saws between Kaiji having the upper hand and Ichijou clawing the advantage back.  We get the ‘FUCK YEAH KAIJI!’ moments, the moe manly tears and full on ZAWA-ZAWA with our over-excitable narrator as Kaiji battles the Bog with his and his friends freedom on the line – it’s an amazing episode that had me on the edge of my seat throughout – Kaiji at both his finest and worst.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. December 19, 2011 12:56 pm

    Kaiji vs Ichijou was awesome, especially because the one who seemed to have the upper hand changed so frequently between the two, whereas in most of Kaiji’s other gambles he was far behind until the end then made an epic comeback (or didn’t, in the case of that stupid tissue box idea of his).

    • December 19, 2011 9:12 pm

      The see-saw of power was one of the main reasons why the Bog arc was both painful & awesome to watch – nail-biting stuff!

  2. December 19, 2011 3:52 pm

    Why the FUCK is Kaiji not in Saimoe.

    • December 19, 2011 4:10 pm

      I’d definitely have voted for him! At least they had Mikoko this time around. 🙂

    • December 19, 2011 9:13 pm

      Absolutely appalling oversight on the part of the Saimoe people – Kaiji’s levels of moe are second only to Natsume’s, and that boy is made of moe!

  3. December 19, 2011 7:41 pm

    The fact that Kaiji is flawed is I think what made it work so well. I couldn’t predict whether he’d succeed or fail, but even when I predicted he’d somehow find a way out I was still on the edge of my seat every time. He was a loser at first but gradually wised up and started to acquire this uncanny gambling mojo. During the first season he was a bit of a laughing stock, but his tenacity earned the viewer’s respect.

    Thinking about it, that show was far more effective than it seemed on paper. The way the plot was drawn out (I think the Bog arc was a bit over-long, but I still enjoyed it), the character designs, the hammed up narrator…and yet it was genuinely fun and full of suspense.

    Easily one of my highlights of the year…zawa zawa indeed.

    • December 19, 2011 9:15 pm

      It’s really remarkable just how well Kaiji works as a show – it shouldn’t be half as awesome as it actually is. The ridiculous levels of OTT that the anime employs just make everything feel even more adrenaline charged – as if the stakes weren’t high enough already.

      Brilliant show.

  4. December 20, 2011 11:45 am

    cant remember which ep it was but “Ichijo ;_;” …kaiji is moe :3

  5. December 21, 2011 3:06 am

    I would really like to see the live-action Kaiji movies some day. It is so difficult to believe that it would work that I just have to see what happens with my own eyes.

    • December 27, 2011 4:55 pm

      I’ve seen the 1st Kaiji movie – it’s watchable, although really runs through material at a breakneck pace & they turn Endo into a woman………didn’t really have the same nail-biting excitement that the anime has though.

  6. December 26, 2011 7:38 pm

    I haven’t seen Kaiji (DON’T SHOOT ME), so… what’s this whole zawa-zawa business?

    • December 27, 2011 4:57 pm

      ‘Zawa-zawa’ is just the sound effect that plays in the background during tense scenes (which in Kaiji means it plays constantly).


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