Back from Reading, which was great, aside from the lack of internet access. But while I tend to view the internet as a welcome distraction, a distraction it still is. From other important things. Such as anime. Over the course of three days away from the internet (well, I couldn’t watch much on the days I traveled too/from Reading, so to be completely honest it was three days plus a couple of hours either side), I watched 80 episodes from 5 different series. With the internet and various other distractions at home (like my dissertation…), 10 episodes a day is about my average. Now I’m back, episode 22 of Kaiji is one of my ~10 a day, and writing about it here is a perfect example of a welcome distraction. 😛
The first few minutes of the episode are more of the same; Kaiji shoots balls into The Bog, some make it to the first tray, fewer make it to the second tray, and none pass beyond it due to the double tilt. It is padded out by having Ichijou’s inner monologue explain how the first tray is the easier to pass due to the fact that any ball with enough momentum to avoid the hole at the back will then fall into the next hole, which is the winner; with the second tray, both the back hole and the one after it are losers, so it is virtually impassable. Meanwhile, time speeds forwards, and Kaiji is again reduced to 5 out of 10 million’s worth of balls!
However, when Ichijou approaches Kaiji to taunt him once again, the epic gambler seems pretty confident, and promises the manager yet another trick. Bizarrely, he sticks a few 10,000 yen notes to The Bog with some tape, completely obscuring the three trays from everyone’s view. Because I hear that the yen is the currency they use in Japan, outside of underground hells at least.
Anyway, this blind isn’t very popular with the rest of the people gathered around Kaiji. The random onlookers complain that all the fun of watching has been taken away, while Ichijou’s fragile nerves can’t take the fact that balls are entering the trays, but he can’t see for himself that they’re being swallowed by losing holes. Eventually, he pulls it down… and sure enough, Kaiji has made good on his promise:
It turns out that hole in the bottom left of The Bog is where the balls that fall foul of the trays *should* be discharged from… but nothing has been coming out of them for a while. This is because the double tilt has resulted in the tube no longer sloping downwards, which means that the losing balls simply clog it up, and eventually this blockage reaches the trays themselves, rendering the losing holes completely useless.
Now, any balls reaching the first tray roll around continuously, the momentum being kept up by collisions with newly entering balls, until they finally beat the tilt and fall into the second tray. The same thing happens there… but as no balls have reached the third since the double tilt was put in place, the pitfalls there still work, so even now victory is far from certain for Kaiji. And needless to say, Ichijou isn’t just going to sit there and let this happen. He does the only thing he can do at this point – reverse his remote controlled tilt once more, in an attempt to unblock the discharge tubes. Kaiji estimates that (since the change in tilt occurs slowly, to avoid being too obvious to onlookers) he has about 3 minutes to take advantage of this situation.
Upon seeing his boss in a sorry state, that henchman whose whispered words restored Ichijou’s hopes last week speaks up again. By this point I’d assumed my side-tilt theory was miles off, as it had yet to be mentioned, but that may not be the case afterall:
The manager’s confidence (and Kaiji’s despair) return yet again when it seems that all balls reaching the third tray, even with the now helpful backwards slope, fail to enter the winning hole, instead falling into the losing hole to the left. 5 million is far too much for Kaiji to have left over, after all. And so the arc is prolonged even further! Who’d have thought you could fit so many plot twists into one pachinko machine? And assuming the remote that Ichijou’s henchmen are still searching for is found (not to mention Kaiji’s answer to these challenges), there’s a lot more still to come!