Kaiji S2 Episode 18

This latest episode of Kaiji was released as a 10-bit encode. While I don’t understand the technical stuff, this means high quality files at lower file sizes. Which is great news for my hard drive space! The file size for this episode was 277 MB, which I thought was a decent reduction from episode 17’s 363 MB… then I realized that the first 8 episodes of this series were all around the same size. Again, since I have no technical knowledge of encoding, I have only been able to come up with two possible reasons that satisfy me: This difference is either due to the fabulously bright colours of The Bog, the casino in general and character’s clothing etc. compared with the dark, dingy underground Chinchiro arc (coinciding with the file size jump at episode 9); or, the sub group have been bulking the file size up gradually over the past few weeks in a similar fashion to Kaiji’s ball-on-a-stick tactic, in order to make 10-bit encodes look more impressive. If anyone has any other amusing ‘explanations’, I’d love to hear them!

Continuing from last week, Kaiji decides to face the machine’s second barrier (the block-activated flippers) head on, by firing all his balls directly down onto them. This causes the gathered crowd to lose interest, Sakazaki and Endou to lose hope, and Ichijou to regain his confidence in the machine’s indestructibility. Then, the sign Kaiji has been waiting for begins to appear…

It begins with the balls bouncing directly upwards after hitting the flippers, as opposed to the right or the left. These balls don’t make it to the trays, but this odd movement is still enough to excite both Kaiji and the remaining onlookers. Ichijou fails to see any difference, however, until this happens:

Caught directly at the opening to the trays, this ball is held there a while before the flippers automatically move backwards… dropping it into the jackpot zone. This one falls foul of the trays, but that’s besides the point – the flippers not closing properly was no fluke, and they continue to flail around uselessly, possibly even helping to position balls for entry to the trays! The reason for this?

Flashback to when Kaiji and Endou first discussed the strategy in detail. Kaiji reveals his plan to have Sakazaki destroy the flippers (revealing them to onlookers as rigged was only one reason why they did it – clever!), then switch the parts at some point during the repair/replacement for their own custom built flipper made from delicious candy, spiky balls and iron powder. Really.

By making the shaft out of easily melting candy, as well as sticking a tiny vacuum-pack of iron powder (the stuff used to produce heat in hand warmers) and a spiked ball in it, they’re left with a device that, after taking a good pounding for an hour or so from the metal balls, will melt and warp out of shape. The delay is necessary for the parts to withstand the casino’s daily machine testing, of course. And since Kaiji was caught looking for the safe when Sakazaki smashed up the machine, nobody would have expected them to have an ulterior motive for doing so other than as a distraction. Damn, I wish I could come up with ideas like these!

Back in the present, Ichijou is now very worried, while Kaiji has used up his latest set of balls. He is just about to buy another 10 million’s worth, when the manager calls a stop to the game, accusing Kaiji of cheating. But of course, he has no proof that Kaiji was the one who tampered with the parts. In addition, the flippers are meant to let one in three balls enter the trays, while in reality none passed once the block was activated. Ichijou’s cheating was just as blatant (though difficult to prove) as Kaiji’s, and the crowd of onlookers (now relatively large once again) demand that he be allowed to keep playing. Before Ichijou can respond, though, he receives a phone call. From Hyodo.

The boss’ message is clear – Kaiji must be allowed to continue to play, otherwise Ichijou’s obviously unfair methods would damage the casino’s reputation (and that of Teiai as a whole). But while the pins and the flipper are down, the rigged trays remain. Since they were not damaged in Sakazaki’s rampage, there’s no *obvious* way they could have been tampered with by Kaiji’s group, and they were also tested that morning with several balls, none of which made it through. So its still possible for Kaiji to lose. And judging by Hyodo’s conversation, Kaiji must lose, or else Ichijou will be in big trouble!

The manager has one trick left up his sleeve, however, and changes The Bog’s settings from 5-5-5 to 7-7-7. What does this mean? Guess we’ll find out soon!

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