In this article:
- A list of 10 Kakegurui characters ranked based on how interesting they are.
- How these Kakegurui characters are related to each other, especially the characters that come from the Hundred Devouring Families.
- A synopsis of the arc and backstory of each Kakegurui character up until season 2 of the anime.
Kakegurui is pretty weird.
That’s not an insult towards the show, but anyone who has seen Kakegurui likely won’t be surprised to know that looking up “Why is Kakegurui so…” gets search suggestions like weird, sexualized, and bad. This is mostly because Kakegurui characters, pardon me for saying this, seem to get sexually turned on by the idea of gambling. The show’s lead character, Yumeko Jabami, is especially guilty of it.
But you know what? That’s what makes it so fun to watch. Kakegurui‘s characters are so unbelievably over the top and uncomfortably sexual that they come across as campy. Their exaggerated reactions and interactions are what make the anime fun and they do a fairly good job of conveying the thrill that comes with putting your life at the mercy of RNGesus.
Having said that, not all Kakegurui characters are made equal. As with any show, some characters outshine the others because of how interesting they are compared to the rest of the cast.
10. Yumeko Jabami
Let’s start with the real protagonist of Kakegurui, Yumeko Jabami.
Yumeko is related to many of the anime girls on this list by virtue of being part of the Hundred Devouring Families. In case you haven’t watched season 2 yet or you’ve forgotten, the Hundred Devouring Families is the name of the Momobami clan which includes not just Kirari Momobami, but every -bami surnamed character in the show.
The first Momobami clan member we meet is Yumeko Jabami, a compulsive gambler who doesn’t care much for winning or having reasonable stakes. What drives Yumeko is the thrill of being able to gamble against someone who’s cutthroat and willing to do whatever it takes to win, as long as they don’t cheat because cheating makes a game boring for her.
Frankly, though, Yumeko got boring fast. She’s fun to watch whenever she’s on-screen simply because of how obviously unhinged she is compared to the other characters. But you can only watch the same protagonist keep winning without experiencing a real setback before it gets stale.
Yumeko’s lack of a real background, emotional shallowness, and carefree attitude make her a pretty low-stakes character because we know we never have to root for her to win. She almost always does and when she doesn’t, she doesn’t care. We don’t know anything about her either so compared to the other Kakegurui characters on this list, she seems one-dimensional.
9. Kaede Manyuda
Kaede Manyuda is one of the few male anime characters in Kakegurui and is the only male member of the student council in the show.
We first meet Kaede in episode 2. At first glance, he seems to be an oujidere type of male character. Think knock-off Lelouch vi Britannia. While this is true in some ways, we quickly learn that Kaede isn’t as confident and self-assured as he seems. Underneath his ruthlessly calculating facade, he’s deeply insecure about his self-worth.
Kaede’s understanding of his own limits is what led him to reject Yumeko’s challenge to a game in the first place. But after invoking her right as a house pet to gamble against him, Kaede had no choice but to accept. Kaede loses the match against Yumeko and Sumeragi, both of whom he gravely underestimated.
After losing to Yumeko, Manyuda lost his will to live. Recently, though, he’s been regaining his sense of self, which begs the question: will he side with the council, fight for his interests on his own, or try to take down Yumeko? Honestly, it would be cool to see how his relationship with Sumeragi pans out.
8. Miyo Inbami
For someone with such a cold personality, Miyo Inbami is one of the more human Kakegurui characters.
Miyo pretends to be polite and friendly, but her ladylike manners hide a monstrously cruel attitude towards the people around her. It’s clear that she doesn’t really like gambling or believes in it the way her relatives do. Miyo would rather solve problems with violence which, as messed up as this sounds, makes her one of the more sane characters in Kakegurui.
What makes Miyo so interesting is how hard it is to decide whether she cares about her sister, Miri Inbami, or not. The Inbami sisters were separated as children by the other -bami clans which is why she resents them and longs to reunite with her sister. Still, during a game of Nim Type Zero, Miyo appeared to have no problems with putting Miri in danger.
7. Yumemi Yumemite
Who would have thought there was more to this pop star than meets the eye?
Yumemi Yumemite is one of the Kakegurui characters we meet at the start of the series. Despite her laidback and sweet appearance, Yumemi is a member of the student council and serves as the Head of Public Relations. We only learn why she managed to become part of the council when we finally see her angry.
Yumemi is revealed to be a very sadistic young woman who only sees her fans and “friends” as necessary annoyances that she has to deal with to achieve her dream of becoming a famous celebrity, just like Sumika Warakubami, whom she idolizes.
Though her story is what you’d expect of an idol character, Yumemi subverts the sweetness of the trope. The only reason she realizes she doesn’t need to be an actress like Sumika is that her fans show her how fanatically devoted they are, to the point that they don’t mind when Yumemi treats them like garbage.
Oddly enough, Sumika grows to respect her for her determination. Yeah, it’s messed up, but that’s Kakegurui for you.
6. Rei Batsubami
If you thought Yumemi was a plot twist, buckle up because no one saw Rei Batsubami’s reveal.
Rei Batsubami first appears in the 2nd season of Kakegurui. Audiences were led to believe that “he” was just a servant for the other -bami clan family members. But it doesn’t take long for Yumeko to figure out that “he” was her cousin, Rei Batsubami.
Rei had disguised herself as a man so she could plot her revenge against her relatives who she hates for abusing her as a child. Rei Batsubami’s grudge isn’t rooted in only her abuse. A greater part of it is because she sees the other clan members as heartless sadists who are willing to destroy anyone in their path.
Is she wrong? Absolutely not. But her flashbacks revealed that Yumeko had a sister who lost her mind due to a gambling addiction. Rei cares deeply about the other Jabami girl because she was the only one who was kind to her.
Rei comes to terms with her abuse and Yumeko’s sister’s fate after learning Yumeko’s philosophy in life: that life is a gamble and the ability to make the choice to risk it all is what makes life worth living.
It’s bizarre, but it’s as close to heartwarming as Kakegurui gets.
5. Sayaka Igarashi
Sayaka Igarashi is the #1 simp among all the Kakegurui characters and you’ll understand why in a sec.
Sayaka shows up several times throughout the series, but she starts as a harmless side character who helps facilitate the student council’s official activities. Sayaka becomes more important towards season 2 after the arrival of the other -bami clan members who all came to gamble for the position of student council president and Kirari Momobami’s right to inherit leadership of the clan.
We see Sayaka acting intensely protective of Kirari. The first instance was when Yumeko played the Tarot card game against Kirari. Later, she repeatedly threatened other clan members with a taser for being aggressive towards Kirari.
Everything comes to a head when Sayaka challenges Yumeko to a gambling game, hoping to take her out before she can pose a greater threat to Kirari. Kirari takes charge of organizing their game, sending the two to solve a series of puzzles at the Tower of Doors.
Sayaka is distraught after losing to the Yumeko not because she has to jump from the tower and die, but because Kirari said whoever lost the game would be a stranger to her.
To Sayaka’s surprise, Kirari jumps with her, and the two land on a net under a field of lilies together. Kirari offers Sayaka the chance to be her secretary again, seemingly implying that she feels the same way about her.
But Kirari is Kirari, which makes it interesting to wait and see how far Sayaka’s devotion to the student council president can take her.
4. Ririka Momobami
Ririka Momobami was one of the surprise reveals of Kakegurui. We didn’t know much about Ririka at the start of the series as she often does nothing but stand quietly next to Kirari Momobami despite her status as student council vice president.
Ririka rarely acts on her own but she does have a stomach for cruelty as shown in the scenes where she poses as Kirari.
That said, Ririka appears to be the most benign of the -bami clan members. She shows genuine concern for other characters when she isn’t wearing her mask or pretending to be Kirari, which is also a kind of mask for her.
3. Midari Ikishima
Midari Ikishima is often treated on the show as a gag character, but she stands out among the other Kakegurui characters and among other female anime characters in general because of how out there her personality and image are. She’s allowed to not be elegant, cute, or seductive, and most of the time Midari is seen doing outright repulsive things.
Midari is part of the student council but it doesn’t win her a lot of respect because her masochistic tendencies scare other students out of gambling against her.
Ironically, Midari’s impulsive and bizarre nature makes her one of the safest Kakegurui characters to be around because you can trust her to be more upfront about her motives.
2. Kirari Momobami
Kirari Momobami serves as the antagonist for most of the Kakegurui series and the “conflicts” she has with characters like Yumeko and Midari make up a good chunk of the drama in the show. Not that they mind.
Like Yumeko, she finds gambling itself thrilling, but that’s the only similarity the two have. Kirari actively puts people in harm’s way and against their will if she finds that it will be exciting for her. For perspective, the whole house pet system was her idea.
The only people Kirari seems to care about are her sister Ririka and Sayaka, though her feelings for Sayaka are more dubious given that we have reason to believe Kirari is actively encouraging Sayaka’s obsession with her.
1. Mary Saotome
And the winner is Mary Saotome!
Mary Saotome may not be the main character of the show, but she’s the only one who is constantly growing and changing as a character. Because of this, it’s only natural to find her more interesting than other Kakegurui characters.
At the start of the show, Mary is a bully who actively antagonizes Ryota and Yumeko to show off her superiority. When she’s beaten and turned into a house pet, we witness her determination to return to her old status. In the process, we learn her true reason for fighting so hard against the student council and the system is because she wants to determine her own destiny, not because of the thrill of gambling or for power over others.
After the big middle finger she gave Kirari by refusing to play the president’s games, Mary Saotome is easily one of the most complex Kakegurui characters.