This episode marks the true beginning of the ‘Bog’, or ‘Numa’ arc (numa numa YAY!), named after the pachinko machine introduced at the end of episode 9. This machine uses pachinko balls worth 4,000 yen each. Every ball that enters but doesn’t win ends up in a giant container underneath the player’s feet – and the lucky guy who wins the jackpot gets the lot! However, only two people have won in the last decade…
Considering the fact that the machine empties all its money in a single win, it wouldn’t be profitable for the casino to run unless there was a trick to it. Sakazaki (the guy who took Kaiji to the casino) believes that it is rigged to be impossible to win, the portraits of the ‘previous winners’ providing people with false hope. It seems that Sakazaki isn’t just another Endou (i.e a guy who convinces idiots to take part in life threatening games) as I thought he was, he is actually another gambler looking to take down the Bog. And he’s certainly done his research on the machine…
Using information from an acquaintance working for the casino (surely Teiai wouldn’t employ someone so stupid?), Sakazaki was able to make his own mini version. A porta-bog if you will. He has studied it , and claims to know the trick to make it pay out. But he needs an accomplice, and is willing to pay 5% of the jackpot for the help. Just a reminder, the jackpot is about 600 million. 5% would be enough to free Kaiji, but not the 45s. A worried Kaiji manages to talk him up to 10%, arguing that his life could be at risk if they are caught cheating. So far, so good. So there really is just one big question remaining:
Sakazaki refuses to answer, however. He claims he will let Kaiji know only on the day they challenge the machine. He claims this is just his way of doing things, telling Kaiji not to look that far into it… bet that’ll be relevant later though! He is willing to tell Kaiji his life story though… he is currently a security guard, having lost a bigger job at a contractor following the recession. He drowned his sorrows playing pachinko, and ended up divorcing his wife. She also took their daughter with her:
What’s even scarier is Sakazaki’s thoughts on the subject…
I don’t know if all that was meant to make us warm to Sakazaki or what, but it does tell us a lot about the guy’s position. After the divorce he still has 20 million yen to put towards the gambling, but that is everything. He only has one shot at this. Kaiji reluctantly agrees to let Sakazaki keep his plan a secret and wait for the big day. Still, Kaiji doesn’t have long to spend in freedom, and asks Sakazaki whether he has a date in mind. The man agrees to let Kaiji in on a small part of his plan:
This turns out to be a schedule for the guy who maintains the machine (Sakazaki knows a guy, remember?). A, B and C represent different pin patterns. Sakazaki explains that the C pattern results in 1 0ut of every 100 balls falling into the jackpot zone, for pattern B it is 1 in every 60. But for pattern A, one in thirty will make it, and even with the jackpot itself rigged the casino seems reluctant to offer these odds more than once in that whole month. That is the day they plan to make their move. Once Kaiji is finished with the paper, he hands it back to Sakazaki, and another scrap falls out of it:
Now this is something that Sakazaki DOES NOT want Kaiji seeing, as he makes clear by snatching it back from him and checking whether Kaiji understood it. Then the night before the pachinko, Sakazaki returns to his house in tears of happiness. This weird behaviour is all explained the next morning, the day of the challenge, when Sakazaki reveals a huge 50 million yen – 30 more than he claimed to have before. Turns out the note was the coded combination for the safe of the company where Sakazaki is working as a guard – he stole it from the president with the intention of unlocking the safe and taking some more money for the gamble, but he still needed the key, which he found only the night before. Of course, he plans to return the money after they win.
Initially reluctant, Kaiji is soon convinced into accepting Sakazaki’s methods after he shouts about how they both need the money, and fast. After this disagreement is settled, Sakazaki finally reveals his plan to Kaiji… but not to the viewer. Wouldn’t want to spoil the surprize! All they do reveal is that the plan is a very simple one, so simple that Kaiji can hardly believe it.
Armed with a package I assume is key to their plans, Kaiji heads into the casino alone. Sakazaki shows up later, and asks to use the machine. He is scanned to ensure he has no magnets or other devices, given the all clear, then provided with a 10 million play card. Then he sings… THEN he begins his challenge. The episode ends here though, no epic gambling today!