(Spoilers up to episode 4 in this post)
Recently I’ve been spending a lot of time playing BlazBlue CentralFiction. It’s my first anime fighter game (but not my first fighter game), which means I had to read up on a lot of things.
One of the things I (re)discovered recently was the concept of yomi.
A Japanese term, yomi essentially means “knowing the mind of the opponent”, and is considered an integral part of fighting games. You, the player, are able to act appropriately because you know what the opponent is going to do. This can be achieved by conditioning or by experience or by observation or by getting into his or her head – the bottom line is that you read the opponent’s mind and play him or her like a fiddle.
I believe the concept of yomi can be readily applied to what has happened in Kakegurui thus far. However, it isn’t a perfect fit due to the obvious luck factor involved in gambling as opposed to a fighter video game.
In episode one, Yumeko was able to figure out how Mary was cheating thorugh keen observation and sharp intellect. From there, she made use of yomi – she knew that Mary would accept one more bet because she knew Mary thought of her as easy prey. However, the end result was heavily dependant on luck due to the nature of the game; she might have seen the symbol Ryouta was making behind her back with her make-up mirror, but she didn’t know for certain which card Mary was going to play.
In episode two, Yumeko knew that pleading for another chance with Sumeragi Itsuki would work. The wounded gazelle gambit is simply irresstible to some people. She then proceeded to win through superhuman senses and memory, which I feel is needed to be really, really good at fighting games, but what do I know? I’m just a scrub.
Yumeko switches things up in episode three, however, and opts to provoke Nishinotouin Yuriko to the point that Yuriko loses her cool and accepts Yumeko’s insane wager. Taking advantage of Yuriko’s tunnel vision, Yumeko makes it such that either girl will win big or lose big. Unfortunately luck (or potentially an unseen interloper) causes Yumeko to experience defeat, but she still managed to get Yuriko to do exactly as she had wanted.
As for episode four, the gambling game of the week, is two-piece blind man’s bluff. Players receive two cards. They get to peek at one card, but they don’t get to look at the other card they receive, which they place on their forehead for the others to see. Using this limited information, the players have to bet their chips and compete to see who has the best pair. This is occuring, by the way, at a special event that allows debt to be shuffled around or erased altogether.
At any rate, both Mary and Yumeko were able to know what was going through the thug’s mind in the fourth round. He suspected that the two of them were in cahoots over Yumeko’s behavior in the third round as well as in the fourth round. As a result, he opts to fold, thinking that he’s minimizing his losses and preventing Mary and Yumeko from winning big. However, Mary was bluffing and was able to swipe up 5 chips since everyone else folded. If he had called, he might have caused her to lose altogether, but the thug was essentially outplayed.
The series continues to shake things up. I was initially worried that Kakegurui will format an “Obstacle of the Week” format where Yumeko will battle a new(ly introduced) member of the Student Council every week. But while the viewers learned a bit about Midari this week, this episode wasn’t her time to shine (her fingers surely glistened after what happened in the stall, though). Instead we get a two-parter!
On an unrelated note, both Yumeko and Midari are confirmed to be compulsive gamblers. But it seems like Midari enjoys bodily/death risks whereas Yumeko is looking for someone who is intellectually sharp yet insane enough to make big wagers. Someone who can actually make use of yomi and not just be read like an open book. Yumeko currently believes the Student Council President is such a person. Midari doesn’t seem to fit the bill for Yumeko, but Midari does seem at least slightly interested in Yumeko.
I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next!