The promised delays did indeed come to pass, but not for the reasons I expected – I’m actually doing very well on my dissertation. Instead, a combination of slow/nonexistent internet connection and a lack of releases by Nutbladder left me waiting. But the end of season is approaching, I plan to have a summary post up late this month or early next, and it’d help to have watched Kaiji 2 and finished these posts by then. So Doremi it is!
At the end of the previous episode, Kaiji *should have* defeated The Bog; the losing holes were clogged, he had plenty of balls in the tray, and two were heading right towards the jackpot… only to be repelled at the edge. They didn’t waste much time before revealing this was the result of the elusive remote control that the casino workers had been searching for – Ichijou’s underling Murakami activated it, hence why the manager himself had no idea until now that he was still in with a shot at beating Kaiji! But what exactly is this final trap?
It takes Kaiji a while to realize anything is wrong, or to be precise, he’s convinced himself that nothing CAN be wrong. Surely he’s beaten all their tricks with his own? Ichijou’s pathetic face was proof enough that they had nothing left up their sleeve… right?
Before long, Kaiji has to face the facts – balls are bouncing away from the winning hole repeatedly, you can see why they hid this remote away, because it is just that obvious. Kaiji even hears the air himself eventually! But that means nothing by this stage, both sides have messed with the deceptively simple looking pachinko machine so much that anything goes now. And so the tables turn again. Kaiji is just about to fall back into despair, when this happens:
The chances of a ball jumping like this must be ridiculously low, and it would have made for a fitting ‘miracle’ to end the arc on, giving Kaiji his long awaited victory… it would have, that is, if the ball had actually gone in. Instead, it falls short and is blown back into the tray. In a moment of anger, Kaiji tries to hit the machine, but Endou restrains him – not only is it against the casino’s rules to do so, but a hard knock might be all it would take to clear the blockages in the trays! Endou reassures him that there is still hope, and the crowd calls out his name in support. And so, Kaiji builds up his courage for another shot at victory!
Five minutes later:
What led to his sudden decline in determination? Well, aside from the fact that he is now down to 30 BALLS, the black suits have moved in to take both him and Endou away the moment he runs out completely. This results in the crowd going quiet, and any morale that may have lingered until now is completely crushed. Faced with a desperate situation, Kaiji tries to negotiate with Ichijou. Technically, Kaiji could still win after all, so he asks that his remaining balls be sold back for 4 million each (bear in mind they’re usually worth just 4,000 yen). This would leave enough to clear both his and Endou’s debts… though he’d be abandoning those waiting for salvation in the labour camp. In return, Ichijou would hold on to the jackpot, his job, and (possibly?) some of his reputation. The manager’s response:
Ichijou insists that Kaiji keeps playing, hopeful (but not entirely convinced, I’d wager) that victory is already his. Tearfully, Kaiji plays on, telling Ichijou that he’ll regret it. The last few minutes of the episode are mostly balls falling foul of the pins and bouncing aimlessly in the trays, while Kaiji cries and Ichijou looks increasingly manic. Then FINALLY, the earlier miracle is repeated, and a ball is bounced up and over towards the winning hole… but the part where it falls short stayed the same. Kaiji continues, but is out of balls in no time at all. The black suits get ready, Ichijou taunts, and Kaiji… doesn’t look so well…
After a cliffhanger like that, of course I’m desperate for the next episode. And the advantage of waiting a couple of weeks is that I CAN move straight on to the next episode, as it is already out! Expect a post for Episode 25 in the next couple of days as a result; if I don’t post, chances are it’ll be because I have no internet. 😛