Turns out I was given the wrong date for the trip to Reading – I leave tomorrow, which meant I could watch and post about episode 21 beforehand. Thankfully, this episode was a lot of talk and not much action, so I can cut to the main points quickly and still have time to pack. 😛
So in the last episode, the double tilt was providing too much of an obstacle, making the first two trays virtually impassable, and as a result Kaiji was reduced to just 500 shots. And at the beginning of this episode, those 500 shots are used up in a matter of minutes. Just before he runs out of balls, however, Kaiji notices something which he believes to be a guaranteed way of beating The Bog! As usual, the details of this flash of inspiration will have to wait for another episode, but Kaiji’s attention seems to be focused on the bottom-left of the machine:
This revelation is all well and good, but Kaiji is now totally out of money and shots. Watching him on screen, the people in the underground cry manly tears, while Hyodo happily applauds. In the casino, Endou and Sakazaki look worried, while a relieved and seemingly victorious Ichijou heads over to make fun of Kaiji.
Kaiji isn’t going back to hell that easily, however. He responds to Ichijou’s taunts by claiming that he still has money, and that the game isn’t over yet! He leaves The Bog for a short break, insisting that nobody touch the machine while he is gone. Then he, Sakazaki, Endou and one of Endou’s men (who happens to be carrying a large bag) meet up to discuss what action to take next. Turns out Endou still has 10 million in the aforementioned bag, which he was keeping in order to make his escape if the epic gambling didn’t go according to plan. It is this money that Kaiji plans to use in one final shot at the jackpot, but first he must convince his reluctant accomplice to give up his lifeline.
Firstly, he explains whatever his new idea was, but while Endou agrees that victory may be certain if you have the right amount of shots, he is unsure whether 10 million’s worth will be enough. So in a final, desperate push, Kaiji convinces Endou that life on the run from loan sharks isn’t any better than life in the underground hell, and that he might as well risk everything on one final chance at money and freedom. Failing that, he promises to buy Endou two beers a month if they end up underground. 😛 Ever the stingy loan shark, Endou asks that this be increased to three beers a month, and also makes Kaiji sign a contract before finally handing over the money. And so they return to the casino floor…
A whole new 2,500 chances for them to hit the jackpot is enough to shake Ichijou once again, since he’s convinced that only luck has prevented any balls from entering the third tray so far, and that luck may not hold. But there is still a chance that his men may find the remote that activates the ‘obvious trap’ referred to in the last episode. With that in mind, he stalls for time by searching Kaiji for magnets, and personally checking every single note of the 10 million yen provided by Endou. Just when he is about to run out of excuses to stop Kaiji playing, one of the casino workers does run up to the manager, but it isn’t to give him the remote. Instead, the man claims to have noticed something about The Bog while watching Kaiji play from the side, and whispers his observations into Ichijou’s ear…
Again, nothing is revealed for certain, but scenes of the ball constantly rolling to one side of the first trays were played while Ichijou collected his thoughts. My guess is that the machine (and most likely the building) is tilted to the left as well as backwards, possibly due to a difference in the softness of the ground on each side or something, but that’s just my thoughts. I can’t wait to find out the truth though, *hopefully* in a week’s time.