Friday, January 22, 2021

#IReadsYou Review: KAKEGURUI TWIN Volume 6


[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

STORY: Homura Kawamoto
ART: Kei Saika
TRANSLATION: Kevin Gifford
LETTERS: Anthony Quintessenza
ISBN: 978-1-9753-0343-3; paperback (May 2020); Rated “OT” for “Older Teen”
242pp, B&W, $15.00 U.S., $19.50 CAN

Kakegurui Twin is a manga produced by writer Homura Kawamoto and illustrated by Kei Saika.  It is a spin-off and prequel to Kakegurui – Compulsive Gambler, the manga series written by Homura Kawamoto and illustrated by Toru Naomura.  Kakegurui Twin began serialization in Gangan Joker in 2015.  Yen Press is publishing an English-language edition of Kakegurui Twin as a series of paperback graphic novels.

Kakegurui Twin focuses on Mary Saotome (a character from the original series).  As a first-year student of the renowned Hyakkaou Private Academy, Mary knows that her future is assured; it is set for a one-way cruise to the top...  Then, an encounter with an old classmate introduces Mary into the world of gambling.  Can Mary survive in a world where being in debt means that one might have to be a “housepet,” (more or less like a servant) to other students.

As Kakegurui Twin, Vol. 6 (Chapters 23 to 28) opens, Mary is down a whopping five million yen.  She is sent flying into debt and her pride as a gambler is in shambles.  As she resigns herself to being a housepet, however, Mary finds a lifeline in the form of another housepet.  It is Mikura Sado, the housepet of Juraku, who will soon have Mary as a housepet.  And Sado wants to be an only housepet!

So, Mary and Sado take on the ultimate, gambling dream team, the Ougatou sisters, Naoko and Houko, in a card game to earn the money that will keep Mary out of involuntary servitude.  But a fifth player wants to join the game, and Ouri Shimotsukiuri's demeanor should not be taking at face value.

The Kakegurui Twin manga is about students at an elite school who essentially run a gambling ring.  I have to admit that I was initially shocked when I discovered the series' premise, although I have previously read manga featuring all manner of scandalous subject matter.

Kakegurui Twin Graphic Novel Volume 6 is the first volume of the series that I have read (thanks to a review copy).  Even starting at Vol. 6 is not much of a barrier to understanding the narrative.  It is simply, really.  Don't lose.  Don't fall in debt.  Don't end up a housepet.  Writer Homura Kawamoto and artist Kei Saiki make a lot of fun out of their gambling concern.

Translator Kevin Gifford captures the black humor and the naturally cattiness of this concept.  The dialogue sparkles when it has to, and menaces in the moments when that is needed to convey character or mood.  I would like to read more of Kakegurui Twin before I pass some kind of final judgment, but I can say that Vol. 6 does suggest that the entire series is a fun read.

7 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

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