One of Netflix’s hottest anime is about a rather peculiar subject: Teenagers gambling.
Kakegurui follows the lives of Japan’s elite as they attend Hyakkaou Private Academy. Unlike most private schools, Hyakkaou is a school for the privileged that bases its class ranks on how much its students win in gambling tournaments. Winners get fame, fortune, and money while the losers get sent home. When Yumeko Jabami transfers in though, she’ll turn the school on its head with her compulsive gambling habits.
Interested in catching Kakegurui? Here’s what you need to know about its main characters.
Yumeko Jabami is a new student at Hyakkaou who has some gambling tricks up her sleeves. Unlike her peers, Yumeko doesn’t gamble at Hyakkaou for social standing. She does it for the thrill.
From her introduction, Yumeko is admired by her classmates for her beauty and charisma. But what really impresses them, maybe even scares them, is her ability to tell when her classmates try to cheat her. She enjoys gambling for her own sake, she loves exposing cheaters, and she wants her friends to experience the same high as her. Don’t let her kind demeanor fool you: She’s as intimidating as they come when the chips are down.
When first introduced, Mary Saotome is a sadistically insane student who is known for winning any matches she sets her sights on. She mocks her opponents and even mistreats those of a lower class than her, namely Ryota Suzui, her indebted “housepet.” In the first episode, Yumeko bests Mary by revealing how her opponent has been cheating. Mary takes the loss hard, and from then on, her only goal is to get back to her top position.
Alongside Yumeko, Ryota Suzui serves as Kakegurui’s other protagonist. After losing a gambling match to Mary Saotome, Ryota is dubbed her personal “housepet.” He is the first to meet Yumeko and shows her around the academy, prompting their series-long friendship. Ryota is relatively level-headed when compared to the other characters, as seen in gambling matches against the student body. Granted, Yumeko’s thrill-seeking attitude rubs off on him over time, making him both a better gambler and a fan of the practice.
Itsuki Sumeragi is a first-year student who bought her way into the student council. She’s the typical “queen bee” who starts off sweet as honey, but quickly reveals a sadistic side with her love of painted human nails. This is quite literal, by the way: Itsuki collects other peoples’ fingernails, especially wanting those of people she likes.
Itsuki comes from a wealthy family and has been taught that money and power is everything, which is how she keeps her status at Hyakkaou.
Another member of the student council, Yuriko Nishinotouin can come across as one of the nicer members of the student council. But like her peers, this is only a facade. She’s just as manipulative, and she has no problem ignoring those of a lower class simply because they’re below her.
Yuriko is the head of the Traditional Culture Research Club and expresses her love for her nation’s culture by wearing a white and red kimono instead of the school’s uniform.
Midari Ikishima is a second-year student as well as a member of the student council. Unlike many of the other students on the council, Midari is open about her psychopathic ways. She’s shown to have suicidal and masochistic tendencies, especially in the gambling games she plays. Along with money, Midari is known to bet body parts and even have games end in someone losing their life, which helps her “get off” on the thrill. She goes out of her way to look for risks, somewhat like Yumeko, but in a more dangerous way.
The student council’s head of Public Relations and a part-time idol, Yumemi Yumemite’s dream is to win an Academy Award. She shows off a cheerful exterior to the world, wanting them to love her so she can become famous. However, she’s just as two-faced as the rest of her student council members; Yumemi only cares about the end goal of winning an award, and she regularly calls her fans “pigs.” Yumemi doesn’t take criticism well and even gets violent when confronted, trashing her dressing room in fits of rage.
As the former treasurer of the student council, Kaede Manyuda can be described as cruel and calculated. He’s a talented gambler, and because of his attention to detail, he tends to win. Kaede proves a formidable opponent to Yumeko, but similarly sets his sights on Kirari Momobami’s control over the school—mostly to gain power for himself.
While a member of the student council, Runa Yomozuki doesn’t take her role as seriously as the others. In fact, she comes across as cheerful and friendly, being a snack fiend and almost childlike. But don’t let her cutesy personality fool you. She also has a sociopathic streak, delighting in a cruel, sadistic side that celebrates when other characters are hurt or injured.
Runa does, however, hold honest gambling close to her heart. It must be a fair game in order for her to play.
Sayaka Igarashi is the secretary of the student council, as well as the president’s personal assistant. She is invested in the school’s success and takes her role in the council very seriously, believing it to be her calling. She comes off as quiet and reserved, and she actually hates gambling. She’s in love with the student council president and will do anything for her. Jealousies arise when the president takes an interest in Yumeko though, and Sayaka’s anger shows itself for the first time.
Finally, we meet the elusive student council president: Kirari Momobami. She is responsible for the hierarchy at Hyakkaou Academy and proud of it, especially the housepet system. Kirari presents a ladylike front, being raised in a rich family to be a proper lady. Of course, her true nature is far from how she presents herself. Kirari is the true definition of a narcissist, caring about no one else and enjoying the pain and anxiety the social hierarchy causes at school.