KakeGurui vol 1 by Homura Kawamoto
Illustrated by Tōru Naomura
Students at the elite private school, Hyakkaou Academy, aren't interested in getting great grades or joining clubs. The Academy prioritizes the ability to manipulate people, and the most popular past time at the school is gambling. There's a very strict caste system that ranks students based on their winnings and how good they are at gambling. Suzui finds himself in the lowest of casts after a disappointing lost to Mary - he becomes a "house pet" and has to do everything Mary says. Then, transfer student, Jabami, surprises everyone by coming in and destroying Mary in a special game of Rock-Paper-Scissors. Jabami then challenges several other students, including some powerful members of the Student Council, and Suzui goes along for the crazy ride.
The different gambling games are all really clever and might be fun to play in real life, without all the way that folks cheat, of course. Jabami susses out the tricks in every game, and it's impressive to see the way she figures things out, but also interesting to think about how Kawamoto orchestrated these games and how to cheat them. There are a few problematic things about this title for School Libraries. There are several up-skirt shots of Jabami that basically spotlight her underwear. It's also clear from the beginning contest that several students, especially the female gamblers, derive sexual arousal from besting someone in a game.
There are a lot of sharp angles and straight lines in Naomura's illustrations. Many of the games involve cards or other straight objects, and students are often drawn rigidly and highly organized in rows or lines. This may be to create high contrast with the students who are the focal point of the illustrations while they play games; Jabami and Mary are both extremely fluid characters with expressive body movements and hair.
Yen Press rates this as Older Teen, and includes all of their content warning letters - L, N, S, V. The nudity in this volume is not supremely detailed, more silhouette than anything definite, but one of the illustrations is the color feature photo right inside the cover of the book. Because of the sexual arousals more than anything else, I would recommend this title more for adults than for inclusion in school libraries.
Sara's Rating: 7/10
Suitability Level: Adult
Publisher: Yen Press
Publication Date: July 18, 2017
ISBN: 9780316562898 (Paperback)
Tags: Rating: 7/10, Suitability: Adult, Manga, School Life, Suspense, Yen Press
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I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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