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