How many times have you heard someone say, “The book is better than the movie,” only to confirm later on your own that is the case? Fans of the popular manga series, Compulsive Gambler, which is known in Japan as Kakegurui (賭ケグルイ) will soon get a chance to judge for themselves.
Beginning March 26, Amazon Prime Video in Japan will release the big-screen adaptation of the prequel called Kakegurui-So Twin (賭ケグルイ双・ツイン). There will be a total of eight episodes with two programs made available to Amazon Prime Video subscribers in Japan every Friday for a month beginning at the end of March. You can watch the official trailer in Japanese on YouTube.
Compulsive Gambler depicts the trials and tribulations of the students at the ultra-exclusive private school, Hyakukao Gakuen (百花王学園). The children of Japan’s political and business world elite attend this fictitious school which was founded over a century ago. It is, however, not a normal school.
The students are not evaluated based upon either their academic or athletic prowess. What matters is only whether they are any good at gambling. The competition is intense. The losers are made to suffer and are treated no better than farm animals.
The plot revolves around the fierce gambling battles of female high school students known simply as “JK” in Japanese (abbreviation for the Japanese term, joshi kosei (女子高生)). The main character is a mysterious transfer student named Mary Saotome who is a compulsive gambler. Those familiar with the manga will also recognize the main character’s side-kick and occasional adversary, Yumeko Jabami.
In the prequel, we learn about how Mary Saotome establishes herself at school and how she becomes both Yumeko’s rival and also, her best friend.
Behind the Scenes
There are many people responsible for this latest edition of the Compulsive Gambler series. The original manga was written by Homura Kawamoto and illustrated by Tōru Naomura. It launched in print format in March 2014. The prequel spin-off was first published in September 2015.
The cast is a virtual who’s part of a new breed of up-and-coming actors and actresses. The main character, Mary Saotome, is played by Aoi Morikawa (森川葵) who is a rising 25-year-old actress, model, and former “Miss Seventeen”.
She is joined by a famous singer from the idol group, Nogizaka46.
24-year-old Japanese idol singer, Erika Ikuta (生田絵梨花), from the Nogizaka46 group, plays the character, Sakura Miharutataki.
Aficionados of Compulsive Gambler are also eagerly anticipating the performance of male characters.
22-year-old heartthrob and member of the boy band, “M!LK”, Hayato Sano (佐野勇斗) plays the character, Mibu Omiaoi. He is certain to attract the attention of many fans.
Putting aside the curiosity about how well a big-screen version will stay true to the original manga, marketing efforts in Japan have gone into over-drive to promote the theme song called “Running Counter” or Gyakko (逆行) in Japanese.
It is from 18-year-old sensation, Soshi Sakiyama (崎山蒼志).
You can hear one of Sakiyama’s most recent hits, “THE FIRST TAKE”, on YouTube to get a taste for the new music.
Fans cannot wait for the release in a couple of weeks.
Ryo tweeted, “The newest Compulsive Gambler starring ‘Wild Speed’ Aoi Morikawa is going to be terrific…I cannot wait to see Hayato Sano, Erika Ikuta, Mirei Sasaki, and others in the additional cast.”
— リョウ_O81069 (@oh_rock81069) January 30, 2021
It appears as though many of the cast members were selected based upon the extent to which they resemble the characters in the manga.
ALES tweeted, “Compulsive Gambler will soon be made into a new drama. I cannot help but look forward to seeing the wonderful performance from the main series perfectly reproduced–even as twins!”
Given the escalating hype in Japan, the coming release of the prequel to Compulsive Gambler, called Kakegurui-So Twin, may rival the original manga. It just might turn out to be one of those rare occurrences when the movie is, in fact, just as good–if not better–than the book.
So, feel free to roll the dice and be certain not to miss it on March 26.
By the way, it is not clear whether the new drama in the Compulsive Gambler series will be made available by Amazon Prime Video outside Japan.
Link to Japanese Source: https://dengekionline.com/articles/69942/
Now a self-declared "lifer" foreigner in Japan, Mark is the founder of the Real Gaijin Substack (https://realgaijin.substack.com/welcome). Now based in Oita Prefecture in Kyushu, Japan, Mark is currently self-employed as an independent contractor focused on management and marketing consulting in the healthcare field. He had a long career at an American medical device manufacturer based in Chicago. Mark helped to found and ultimately run its wholly owned subsidiary in Tokyo. He completed a year-long Fulbright grant at Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan. Mark is also a 1990 graduate of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, U.S.A. where he earned a BA in both History and the Japanese language. During college Mark was an exchange student at both Waseda University and Nichibeikaiwagakuin in Tokyo where he studied intensive Japanese. Mark speaks business level Japanese and intends to remain in Japan indefinitely where he has lived for a total of more than 20 years. He likes to write about his experiences and has been a frequent contributor to the on-line media resource Japan Insider (https://japaninsider.com/) for which he typically writes about business-related issues, the unique culture of Japan, and travel. Mark likes the outdoors and is passionate about hiking, bicycle touring and marine sports—particularly sailing and windsurfing.