You gotta know when to hold’em and when to fold’em. We have another anime adaptation this time. Tournament arcs are not limited to sports or physical combat. In this case, the game is gambling – sanctioned by an entire school. For the students, gambling determines their social standing and it’s a stressful life-or-death situation. For the audience, this is going to be fun to watch. Place your bets.

Kakegurui was directed by Tsutomu Hanabusa, based upon the popular manga by Homura Kawamoto and Toru Naomura which is also a successful anime TV series. The student council rules Hyakkaoh private academy with an iron fist, using gambling for the students to advance, to gain wealth, to determine their social status or to condemn them to a life of servitude to pay their debts.

Student council president Kirari (Elaiza Ikeda) forces everyone to play the game. An anti-gambling resistance group known as the Village starts collecting the poor indebted students telling them to rise up, led by the silent-brooding-type Amane Murasama (Hio Miyazawa). But as a new gambling ladder is started and everyone is forced to compete for the right to rewrite the rules, a new student named Yumeko Jabami (Minami Hamabe) will challenge the order pairing herself with the most nervous student in the school, Ryota Suzui (Mahiro Takasugi).

It doesn’t make sense but who cares, this is fun! The dynamic between the calculating and deceptively cute Yumeko and the panic-attack-prone Ryota is just comedy gold. Add more crazy characters and over-the-top confrontations (rock-paper-scissors anyone?) with extreme zooms and eyes glowing blue, yellow and red and you have an anime made live-action with all the trimmings to enjoy.

Highly recommended for the live anime adaptation fanatics, and all the otaku fans with one reservation. Perhaps the casual viewer might grow tired of the over-the-top reactions and supposed machinations of these calculating masterminds, but the fans of the sub-genre will eat it up. I certainly had fun from beginning to end without being overly familiar with the material. If anime is not your thing, this might not be the movie you want to bet on. If it is, this is a sure win.

That will do for now.