Assuming that S2 will be the same length as the first series, we’re nearly half way through! Although there have been delays (some unavoidable, others due to laziness) I’ve kept up with Kaiji better than I did with Shukufuku no Campanella’s 12 episodes. Of course, with the new season ahead I’ll be breaking up the usual string of Kaiji posts before long. Could be a few weeks though, what with Qwaser’s web release airing so much later than everything else…
Episode 11 saw Sakazaki decide to keep challenging the Bog despite Kaiji’s advice. It’ll be fine as long as they don’t activate ‘the block’, right?
The block turns out to be a sensor just above the flippers guarding the entrance to the three trays; once activated, the formerly random moving flippers bounce every single ball that passes the sensor away from a ‘chance’ at the jackpot. Many manly tears were shed. But Sakazaki doesn’t give up there – he figures out he can bounce the balls underneath the flipper and into the trays from the right hand side of the machine. Needless to say the odds are far lower than the conventional route before the block was activated, but the chance is still there. The casino staff are shocked by Sakazaki’s tactics, suggesting they hadn’t thought of that, giving Kaiji even more hope.
But before long, Sakazaki has spent a further 20 million, and is down to his last 10 million. Reluctantly, he bets this as well. By this point he can’t even watch the machine, going into autopilot as he tries and fails to bounce the balls under the flippers… until one finally goes in. As usual it clears the first two trays without difficulty, wouldn’t be any fun otherwise. 😛 Once in the final tray, Sakazaki uses his beer magnet again…
Naturally, this ball fails to hit the jackpot. The series is called Kaiji after all, he’ll be the one to beat the Bog (or lose a few organs trying)! Seeing Sakazaki’s backstory makes me fear Kaiji will end up wanting to win money for him as well as all the 45s… Seriously, look after yourself first! Anyway, knowing that this ball was likely his last chance at victory, Sakazaki breaks down and can play no more.
At this point the manager makes his appearance, calling Kaiji by name – clearly he’s something of a celebrity among Teiai group these days!
He nonchalantly walks over and lifts up the beer can, causing Kaiji and Sakazaki to panic, but *strangely* no balls are lifted up along with it. Because they’re made of brass… Now that he knows this, Sakazaki finally calls it quits and (with some help from Kaiji) leaves the casino with just over 6 million remaining. One day passes, and while Sakazaki is waving his jacket at Kaiji to avoid being tainted by his bad luck (bit late for that!) he shakes loose a singe pachinko ball, probably from his pocket. Upon seeing this, Kaiji is hit by his usual flash of inspiration.
Back at the casino, Kaiji circles and stares at the machine which sucked up Sakazaki’s money barely a day before. Eventually, he is approached by Ichijou once again. Apparently one of his jobs as manager is to alternate days with the pin maintenance guy, adjusting the machine to increase or decrease its success rate. While tapping the pins gently with a hammer, he checks that the gaps are wide enough for the balls to pass through by using a ball on a stick.
As Kaiji watches this maintenance closely, Ichijou taunts him by reminding him the machine is virtually always adjusted to setting C, with a much lower ‘success’ rate than their recent challenge. Since Kaiji hasn’t got long left on the surface, he has no time to wait for setting A to come around again even if he could come up with the money and a better plan.
Morning duties attended to, Ichijou returns to the staff room… and Kaiji soon barges in after him. He throws the pachinko ball at Ichijou’s feet, and demands 4,000 yen for it, which Ichijou agrees to. While these arrangements are being made, Kaiji scans the room, picking up on ‘things’ which will no doubt be useful later on. I can only guess what those ‘things’ are, but the focus seemed to be firstly on the hammer and balls-on-sticks used for Bog maintenance, and secondly on an air vent in the ceiling. Surely he’s not thinking of simply breaking in there and doing some ‘maintenance’ of his own!?
Ichijou gives Kaiji a friendly piece of advice: try another game. The pachinko is completely under their control, so why waste money? He then goes further, telling Kaiji to give up his gamble for freedom altogether and live for the moment, offering him entry to a bar where he won’t have to pay for anything. Kaiji’s response is to tear up this invitation.
Finally leaving the staff room, Kaiji then heads upstairs. He searches for a room (no doubt the one directly above the staff room, so he can enter via the vent or something), and finds it. Discovering it to be empty, Kaiji’s confidence increases even further. He thinks he has the machine beaten… but does he? Find out next time!