Kaiji S2 Episode 11 + Brief Thoughts on the Live Action Movie

I watched the live action Kaiji film a few days ago (WOO! Sequel in November! BOO! Long wait for English translation). As far as live action adaptations go it was pretty good, though they HAD to throw in a major female character didn’t they… Still, I’d have forgiven them for genderbent Endou if the character’s personality had been kept the same, but they couldn’t even manage that. They made him/her Tsundere FFS. “I’m not a nice person! Here, have loads of money to pwn Tonegawa with, but I’m not doing this for you!”. Made me want to impale her on Kaiji’s nose… except live action Kaiji’s wasn’t the least bit pointy. 😦

Think I’ll stop my rant there as this can’t be helping to sell the movie… It included the restricted janken arc, which was cut down from 4 hours to 30 minutes playing time, removing a lot of the anime material while adding a greater sense of urgency, which worked well. E-Card was also cut down, but wasn’t as good since they were betting money instead of ears. They also randomly threw in the intro for chinchiro, up to the point where Kaiji spends all his wages on beer and snacks. The real reason to watch this movie is for the bridge crossing. That was undeniably awesome.

So, episode 11. In which Sakazaki’s great but simple plan to defeat the bog is finally revealed: magnets. So simple it’s boring. Since Sakazaki himself was searched before approaching the machine, it is Kaiji that has the magnet, hidden inside a beer can. The first stage of their plan is for Sakazaki to throw a few balls into the machine, knowing full well that he cannot win, but acting agitated and angry in order to fool the crowd and (most importantly) the casino workers. After a particularly near miss, the ball making it as far as the last tray before losing, he strikes the machine, which angers said workers. But he apologizes, casually lighting a cigarette… and asking for a beer to help him calm down.

The beer he is given isn’t Kaiji’s magnet – that would be too obvious – but at a later stage he passes this can to Kaiji (who’d been shifting his way towards the machine inconspicuously) to hold onto. It is at this point that Kaiji quickly switches the real beer can for the magnet can, passing the latter to Sakazaki.

Magnet in hand, Sakazaki throws away a load more pacinko balls before one finally falls through the first and second trays, into the ever-elusive third. At this point he moves his can towards the glass in a movement that, if I were a casino worker overlooking the game, would have seemed very suspicious indeed. But the staff don’t respond… and the magnet doesn’t work.

Soon, Sakazaki’s first 10 million is spent, and the staff ask him whether he wants to continue. He is of course determined to beat the machine, so opens his bag and pulls out a further 10 million. This is where the staff begin to act weird. Upon seeing the amount of money Sakazaki has, one of them slowly makes an exit, while another provides Sakazaki with his next set of balls. Kaiji, suspicious of their reaction, follows the first guy and overhears a troubling conversation:

Kaiji realizes that the casino workers are already onto them, having checked Sakazaki out beforehand to find out how much money he had. No doubt the pin maintenance rota and detailed info used to build the portabog were also deliberately leaked… my faith in Teiai has been restored, they know what they’re doing! They also mention a ‘block’, saying that there’s no need to put it into place just yet. I’m guessing this block can only be bad for the two gamblers, and Kaiji almost certainly agrees on that, heading back to the pachinko machines so that he can signal Sakazaki to stop playing. But he refuses to stop. His faith in his plan, coupled with his obsession for gambling, holds him in place until his second 10 million is all gone.

Finally taking a break, Sakazaki blames his bad luck on Kaiji for distracting him, and ‘messing with his flow’. Kaiji breaks the news to his partner in crime; it’s all a trap, and they’d be better off giving up there and then. Initially worried, Sakazaki realizes that not once have the workers mentioned magnets, so they probably don’t know what his exact plan is! Reminds me a lot of Ohtsuki’s train of thought… Kaiji tries once more to talk him out of it, bringing up the ‘block’ – the unknown factor which could screw them over if the staff decide to activate it. Sakazaki’s argues that since the block isn’t in place yet, why worry? They still have a chance! But Kaiji still won’t back down. He tries to convince his partner to walk out, return the 30 million he ‘borrowed’, and keep his freedom if nothing else. However Sakazaki is having none of it.

For him, winning is the only option. And so he’ll be resuming his challenge in the next episode. Ciao until then!

P.S. Decided to change my blog header for the first time since the February before last. Not sure if the colour goes with the theme though, so a more drastic re-design could follow. But don’t worry, Jun will more than likely return once my Kaiji blogging comes to an end.

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