My dissertation is now in full swing – I have data (albeit not great data), I know roughly what I’m doing with it, and plan to have a full first draft ready soon. All this means I haven’t had much time for anime over the past 4 days; in fact, between Monday and yesterday I only watched the latest episode of Steins;Gate. I’ve allowed myself a mini-break today though, and blogging Kaiji remains a highly welcome distraction!
So, The Bog has been tilted backwards by Kaiji’s water containers. It has been tilted back and forth by Ichijou, as he tries to counter all of Kaiji’s plans/lucky breaks as they come up. At the beginning of this episode he is tilting it forwards, in an attempt to clear the discharge tubes from the losing holes. But in the time it takes for them to clear, several balls *should* have gone into the winning hole, but didn’t. This is soon revealed to be the result of ANOTHER tilt, this time to the left, as a result of Kaiji’s water storage room being on the corner of the building. FAIL.
This means that most balls fall into the hole to the left of the winner, while the rest fall into the other losing holes, just to add insult to injury. Kaiji is no stranger to relying on slim hopes, however, and explains to a (once again) frustrated Endou that balls should still roll towards the jackpot if it passes through the gap between the two holes to the right.
It is now just a question of which will happen first – the pipes unblocking, or a ball taking this route. In usual tension-building fashion, both happen at the same time; just as balls start tumbling out of the discharge hole at the bottom, one of the balls already in the tray approaches the jackpot from the right side. The ‘last ball’, as Kaiji calls it, because even though he has 4 million yen in balls left, his free pass to the third tray is gone. Still, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, that seems a lot too many balls to have left over…
Kaiji cries manly tears, Endou slaps him about a bit, Ichijou… is still alive, and Hyoudou (watching on screen) just laughs at the whole thing. But just as suddenly as Kaiji’s defeat had seemingly come about, things are turned upside down again when another ball makes it to the third tray. And another. Why? Because the other trays are still blocked! While the backlog of balls in the main discharge tube has been cleared, the tubes leading from the trays to the main tube are jammed, completely by chance.
So Kaiji STILL has a free pass to the third tray. And so many shots remaining, he might even get past the left tilt. Ichijou is fully aware of this – his mental state has seemed to deteriorate quickly over the last few episodes, and he finally snaps, running towards Kaiji and The Bog. Exactly what he was planning to do, however, we don’t get to find out, as Endou knocks him out of the way. Hyoudou didn’t seem to like that part of the episode… Ichijou really does have a lot riding on this!
As if mocking Ichijou for being so pathetic, The Bog gives Kaiji another lucky advantage: in the short amount of time between the first two trays being rendered useless and Ichijou tilting the machine forward to clear the tubes, enough balls fell into the losing holes of the third tray to cause a blockage… and now the losing holes there are all clogged up as well!
BUT… Kaiji still has over 3 million yen worth of balls, and this series isn’t over yet. Somehow, even an easily accessible third tray with no losing holes isn’t enough for Kaiji to be guaranteed a win. He doesn’t know why, I certainly don’t know why, and judging by his panic neither does Ichijou, so you’d think this would have to be either chance or another, unexpected side effect of all this tilting. But whatever the cause, no balls seem to be able to enter the winning hole – they roll either side instead!