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Old 07-06-2018, 11:24 PM   #351
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You reckon we should post our reactions in the Kaiji thread?

Spoiler: show

I didn't do any research into the original manga, but it seems to me like this is mainly supposed to be a comedy rather than a dramatic thriller like Kaiji proper. It seems like the main joke of the show is: "Hey! You thought that Kaiji suffered a lot and has lots of problems? Well, so does Tonegawa! He has to put up with Hyoudou's ridiculous demands and survive the problems of a middle manager; remember all those nameless, interchangeable goons in black suits? Well, they're real people, and he has to remember who they are! So hard!" That's why they hired the obnoxious new narrator who sounds like a boxing announcer introducing the fighters. They're intentionally over-dramatizing Tonegawa's problems and likening it to Kaiji's as a joke.

My expectations were already low due to this not being an authentic Fukumoto work (maybe he had SOME consultation role? I don't know), but despite the weak first episode, as you said, the jury is still out. I'll give it a chance. There has to be a reason why Madhouse chose to make this show instead of something that seems like it would be way better, like another season of Kaiji proper or a Kurosawa anime ... right?
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Old 07-07-2018, 07:37 AM   #352
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100% agree.

Spoiler: show
I feel like a) this is an appetizer for a Kaiji S3 main course, and/or b) they may have some insider information that post-yakidogeza Tonegawa makes his appearance in an upcoming chapter or story arc of the Kaiji manga. For it to be neither just seems very, very strange. Why put so much time and effort into a (possibly) lackluster comedy spin-off when you could instead be doing something greater? Like you've said, within the Fukumoto universe alone their choices are many. Kaiji S3, Kurosawa, Zero, Ten, the one prison manga ... Then, if you want to look outside of Fukumoto offerings, there's no shortage of B or A-rank light novels and manga right now for them to adapt. Or at least I believe there's no shortage -- I'm very out of the loop, but even so I can brainstorm a few project ideas for them that must be better than a lackluster spin-off that goes nowhere and does nothing.

If Tonegawa isn't an appetizer for a Kaiji S3, nor is it a warm-up for Tonegawa's reintroduction in the manga, then it has to be a strong comedic showing in its own right, one worth adapting into a 12-episode miniseries. Otherwise? It doesn't make a lick of sense why they'd bother with it as a full-length TV series rather than opting to produce a 60- to 120-minute OAV. What we saw in Episode 01, I can't believe has twelve episodes' worth of legs. There's got to be something more to it than this.

I also agree with your thread location thoughts. Yuki! Can you please relocate these last three posts to the Kaiji thread? Sorry and thanks.
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Old 07-08-2018, 12:04 PM   #353
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Oh wow! So, apparently CrunchyRoll picked up Tonegawa and so we can expect timely (same-day) releases of subbed episodes. :o

Spoiler: show
I'm very surprised CR thinks this was worth picking up. Kaiji is already such a niche property, masterpiece though it may be. For CR to pick this one up, there has to be something more to the situation ... This bodes well for us, I'd wager. Either Tonegawa is going to be great on its own, or else it's definitely a warm-up act for a Kaiji S3. Either way, we win. Hopes: officially high.
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Old 07-08-2018, 12:37 PM   #354
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Alright. Just finished watching Episode 01 subbed. New thoughts!

Spoiler: show
I really enioyed it. Edge-of-my-seat enjoyed it. I think for me, personally, a ton of what detracted from my experimentation with the raw was so much missing information. I understood enough to get the general gist throughout, but there is much to be said for the ease of enjoyment facilitated by knowing every single word spoken.

Despite the glowing review that words like "edge of my seat" might have, I guess I'd assess the episode's overall value at something like a 7/10. And even then, only if you're a Kaiji fan. If you're not a Kaiji fan, and you're coming at this as a complete newcomer, then I dare say the episode could only be a 5/10 at best. A lot of the enjoyment here comes from one of two sources:
  1. the origin story: getting to see the origins of the Espoir, human horseracing, etc, etc. (This most specifically refers to the scene between Tonegawa and Hyoudou in Hyoudou's office, where he charges Tonegawa with the task of creating an entertaining death game.)
  2. the comedy: getting to see the behind-the-scenes struggles that Tonegawa goes through, knowing him as a very different sort of character from Kaiji.
I look forward to seeing how much temporal ground this series will cover. We know it can't go past the start of human horseracing, as from there Tonegawa is pretty much bam-bam-bam in Kaiji's life non-stop right on up until the moment he kneels on the barbecue platform. But I'm interested to see if the series will be entirely pre-Espoir, or if it will eventually reach the territory in between Espoir and human horseracing. We'll see.

Still a little skeptical that this series has enough legs to get us to twelve episodes. But a lot more optimistic now than I was after stumbling through the raw.
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Old 07-08-2018, 06:57 PM   #355
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I'm surprised by your dramatic change of opinion after seeing a subtitled version. I still maintain that the episode was rather weak, though amusing. Hopefully the second episode will be better now that they've got all the recap stuff out of the way.

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  1. the origin story: getting to see the origins of the Espoir, human horseracing, etc, etc. (This most specifically refers to the scene between Tonegawa and Hyoudou in Hyoudou's office, where he charges Tonegawa with the task of creating an entertaining death game.)
If I remember correctly, didn't Hyoudou already explain why he wanted to create the entertaining death games in Kaiji proper? Maybe not the part about Tonegawa being tasked to do it, but I remember him explaining his reasons for wanting to see people risk their lives and betray each other for money.

When the narrator starting saying, "Despite Tonegawa having this many men under his control, he is dominated! Hyoudou's happiness always takes priority! He knows this as his status as middle manager!" I actually thought we'd see some intrigue about Tonegawa resenting Hyoudou deep down and plotting some Darth Vader-esque ambition of overthrowing "the emperor" as leader of the Teiai group, but it looks like this was mainly used as a gag about ruining his weekend golfing plans. It doesn't look like we'll be getting much drama like that, and it's mostly going to be a light-hearted look at Tonegawa's daily struggles of pleasing Hyoudou and managing the business.
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Old 07-08-2018, 08:31 PM   #356
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I mean, I definitely think that that was what was hinted at. If anything, I think the comedy gag at the tail end of it was a sort of faux red herring, a ... how to put it ... something to lighten the mood and de-narrative an otherwise heavy and narratively-rich scene. Sort of like an FMA:B moment where it's drama-drama-drama-drama-CHIBI GAG. I dunno. I think your first interpretation is the correct one.

Spoiler: show
My biggest problem with Tonegawa the series -- and with Tonegawa fans in general -- is, Tonegawa Yukio is not a good man. He may have good attributes, attributes likes his intelligence, perception, and perseverance. But he is not a good man. He is not a kind man, no matter what kindnesses he may have shown others at times. That he may love his wife, that he may be kind to his daughter, does not erase the horrors he has done, the atrocities he has committed, all with a smile on his face. So I don't much care for what feels like whitewashing of his character here. I knew it going in, and because of that I somewhat forgive the series it. I don't knock points off the series for it simply because ... well, you knew this was what you were likely going to get signing up. But at the end of the day, yes: I will be astonished if this series does not whitewash the character for thousands, as it already seems to have begun doing in its opening episode.

This of course leads us to your Darth Vader comparison. Were it not for Tonegawa the series, I would say that this comparison was somewhat rather off the mark. Going off of S1 and S2 alone, I would say that Tonegawa's participation in the yakidogeza had only as much to do with (if not less to do with) his survival, his self-preservation, has it had to do with his demonstration of loyalty towards Hyoudou Kazutaka. That was the impression I got from the scene all those years ago in Winter 2008. That we were bearing witness to a monstrous fealty to Hyoudou, one simultaneously spectacular and horrifying. Here we had a man who would sooner subject himself to painful first degree burns to his legs, palms, and forehead, subjecting himself to permanent disfiguration and scarring, than to tell his boss "No" and leave. Now, sure: one can say Tonegawa had no alternative, that he was literally between the barbecue and execution. "You can either lower yourself onto the grill of your own volition, or I can force you onto it and roast you alive. Which will it be?" That sort of thing. Sure. But like ... I don't think it was entirely that. Or even primarily that. My S1 impression of that scene was, "Wow: now this is a man who would die for his emperor. " There could be the Darth Vader-esque angle of "I have to do this or else he'll come after my wife and kids," but there could also be the fealty angle of "This is a man to whom I owe everything: my wife, my kids, my house, my car, my very life. I am forever in his debt. Even with my very life, I could not hope to repay my debt to him. So if he asks of me this small demonstration of loyalty, it is only a trifle."

What I worry is, Tonegawa the series is going to cross this possibility off the list. I don't much mind if it ultimately comes from the mouth of God himself, Fukumoto-sensei, but like ... I definitely feel like, in whitewashing the character of Tonegawa to make him more sympathetic to us, they are taking the character irreversibly in the Vader direction where:
  1. he has ever aspired to topple Hyoudou, not remain subservient to him in eternity
  2. from the day he yakidogeza'd, he has privately sworn vengeance against this man
and so we're building up to Tonegawa's "Return of the Jedi moment" where he'll "pick Hyoudou up" and "toss him down the shaft," even if at the cost of his own life. Where he will either be Kaiji's unlikely ally ("the enemy of my enemy is my friend") or else he will be one of Kaiji's newly-joined and bonafide allies in the quest to take down Teiai.

Written well, I can accept a Tonegawa re-debut where we explore the above. But in my head, I think the more realistic angle to take with a Tonegawa return would be to have him be a scarred, perhaps disheveled transmogrification of his former self, someone who returns not to assist Kaiji but to settle the score -- someone who hasn't blamed Hyoudou for what happened to him (nor sought vengeance upon Hyoudou) but who has blamed Itou Kaiji for it. "I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack~ ..." That sort of thing.

If they opt to go for the former (scarred Tonegawa returns but ultimately teams up with Kaiji), there's a lot of precedent for it in fiction. Off the top of my head, you have the Winter Soldier in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Gray Fox in Metal Gear Solid, and Jeremiah "Orange" Gottwald from Code Geass. Each are men who start off by fighting the protagonist in their new cyborg form, going so far as to attempt to kill him, but who ultimately take his side and become a loyal friend and partner.

But if they go the latter, which is what I think would have been more natural in a pre-Tonegawa the series world, then there are examples of this, too. Examples of a villain (or sometimes even a former but abandoned/lost/left-for-dead ally) who later returns in a monstrously altered form. Be it facial scarring, loss of body parts, being turned into a robot or alien or beast. Examples like Darth Maul (in the Star Wars media that portrays him as surviving Episode 1), Eddie Brock as/after he becomes Venom, Kerrigan in StarCraft ... Characters who begrudge the protagonist for what happened to them (e.g. "YOU LEFT ME FOR DEAD!"), and who are now villains (if they weren't already to start with) and who are determined to see the protagonist killed/defeated.

It would make more sense to me that Tonegawa blames Kaiji for everything he lost, not Hyoudou. Hyoudou may have cruelly punished Tonegawa, but Kaiji is the one who dealt Tonegawa the defeat that led to it. Hyoudou may be psychotic and cruel, but his exorbitant wealth is also responsible for every material gain Tonegawa had made in the last 20+ years. Kaiji, on the flipside, by costing Tonegawa his position as No.2 in Teiai (if in fact that has even occurred) has cost Tonegawa his fortune, his inheritance, everything he's worked so hard to achieve.

I dunno. We'll see.
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Old 07-16-2018, 11:11 PM   #357
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Just finished Episode 02 of Tonegawa. Thoughts:

Spoiler: show
Once again, I was spellbound, captivated, "on the edge of my seat" as it were. And yet once again, despite that, I feel like it was a 7/10 episode. Good! But not great. Despite, uh ... great ... captivation? ^^;

It was a really lovely nod to see in the ideas list:
  1. past survival games from Kaiji (e.g. rock-paper-scissors)
  2. games from other Fukumoto franchises (e.g. "mahjong where you bet your own blood", NICE AKAGI REFERENCE! )
  3. future survival games from Kaiji, ones the manga's introduced but ones we haven't seen in the anime yet (e.g. ???, but I am sure some of them were those)
But it was equally disappointing/frustrating to see Tonegawa shoot these same ideas down. It begs the question of how/why he will justify returning to them later when he's already shot them down as unacceptably below the standards expected of this committee.

I dunno. *shrug* What can I say but this? I enjoyed the episode, but I don't think anyone could possibly like this show if they didn't already adore Kaiji. It's a weird and unintentionally back-handed compliment, I guess, but it is what it is. The series has had me on the edge of my seat two weeks in a row, and yet I still can't fathom how it's going to have legs enough to get us to 12 episodes, much less beyond.
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Old 07-18-2018, 09:21 PM   #358
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I liked this episode a lot more than the first.

Spoiler: show
An amusing conflict where their successful brainstorming session was ruined with Hyoudou coming in, then Tonegawa pulling out the brilliant Kaiji-esque move at the last second to save himself (the only way to win the game is to not play at all!), only for the whole spectacle to be pointless because Hyoudou had fallen asleep.

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But it was equally disappointing/frustrating to see Tonegawa shoot these same ideas down. It begs the question of how/why he will justify returning to them later when he's already shot them down as unacceptably below the standards expected of this committee.
I don't think Tonegawa actually hated the ideas, though. Remember, he was just trying to read Hyoudou's body language and suck up to him by praising/insulting ideas that he seemed to like/dislike, only for him to be mistaken about the body language because Hyoudou was just struggling to not fall asleep. And Tonegawa erased the board and said all the ideas were bad because it was the only way he was able to dodge the question of picking the idea that would please the chairman the most. Now that he's put the chairman to bed, I assume they'll be back to the drawing board and expanding on the (good) ideas that they came up with during the brainstorm session, now that Tonegawa know Hyoudou didn't actually dislike them.

It will be funny in the next episode to see Tonegawa explain why he lashed out at his goons the way he did. Will he tell the truth or make up some excuse? They were good premises but you need to explain how they actually work?
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Old 07-19-2018, 10:41 PM   #359
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Tonegawa Episode 03:

Spoiler: show
Another week, another me being on the edge of my seat the entire time. (I literally ran out of beverage about eight minutes in and gave up on eating dinner, allowing it to get cold, because I didn't want to pause the episode to get up to refill my glass.) And yet again, it's not like I felt this episode nor the series overall were a 10/10 or anything near it. But ... at the same time, I think with three back-to-back "Edge of my seat! " reviews, I have to cautiously bump Tonegawa up from a 7 to an 8/10. At least for now. Because just because I can't explain the magic, doesn't mean the magic isn't there.

This episode was pretty hilariously horrifying. In the same way that Rick & Morty S1E06's ending is hilariously horrifying, this episode does a masterful "OH NO YOU DIDN'T! " around 14 minutes in and there's just no coming back from it once it does it. I'm speaking, of course, about the yakidogeza grill being discovered by a Tonegawa blissfully unaware of his dark future connection with this device, and his subsequent use of the grill to serve Kobe beef to himself, his men, and one poor soul in the know -- a poor soul whom the episode won't allow to escape without eating steak the man knows to have shared indirect contact with grilled human beings. Poor, poor Yamazaki. ^^;;

lol @ the one dude who asked about bowling and beer. The bowling, I saw as a more innocent gaffe. But the beer, man!

Glad to see the episode address at least some of our questions/concerns from last week. Hopefully the next episode will revisit the "scrapped" survival games that we saw introduced in Episode 02 and which we know from Kaiji to be eventual winners.

Also nice to see the suits starting to get personalities that really do set them apart. Namely Yamazaki and Doofus. Perhaps before long we'll have a sense of all twelve or so of them.

As we get deeper into the series, I'm curious to know what Fukumoto's thoughts are on this series. Is this a Fate/Zero case where the original author canonizes the fanfic?
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Old 07-20-2018, 01:31 AM   #360
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Another thing about the black comedy bit with the roasting kneeling grill making an appearance: I remember them saying in Kaiji that a lot of the punished people pissed their pants and then passed out from the pain (steam rose up from the grill when scenes of this were shown). Urine and human flesh remnants, yum!


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As we get deeper into the series, I'm curious to know what Fukumoto's thoughts are on this series. Is this a Fate/Zero case where the original author canonizes the fanfic?
I do know of at least one other fanfic manga, "Hero," which is a spinoff of a character in Ten. That didn't present any canon issues since Fukumoto didn't chronologically continue that story, instead making the Akagi prequel.

I guess the Tonegawa manga isn't too big of a deal since it deals with Tonegawa's backstory. It could serve as the origin of certain things but wouldn't affect future events, although it could reveal a lot about his personality. Already he's a way nicer guy than I would have imagined. Since I haven't read ahead in Kaiji, I don't know if Tonegawa re-emerges later in the story (manly burn mark on forehead and all). It would be unfortunate if Tonegawa did his thing and then was relegated to the history books, but it also wouldn't surprise me since there were a lot of characters in Akagi who disappeared never to be seen again (e.g. Nangou-san, who I initially thought would be Akagi's best buddy sidekick for the whole story).
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Old 07-30-2018, 01:01 PM   #361
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Just finished Episode 04 of Tonegawa. Thoughts:

Spoiler: show
Once again, spell-binding. One of the best episodes yet. The 8/10 ranking continues!

What impresses me so much about this episode is its excellent combination of originality and prequelness. Much like Fate/Zero, another excellent prequel, this story presents new ideas and information in ways that not only connect to what we know to be the final outcome but does so in an entertaining and original way.

Specifically, I am very impressed by the author's original concept of Human Mahjong. It works so very well in this context!
  1. It bears a lot of resemblance with Restricted RPS, something it needs to do if we're to believe that Restricted RPS and Human Mahjong can't share the same space.
  2. It's an excellent idea, something required of it if we're to believe that it'd be Tonegawa Yukio's divinely-inspired idea.
  3. The reasons it loses to Restricted RPS ... are among the very reasons early Kaiji fans trumpeted Restricted RPS's genius. (E.g. "Everyone knows how to play RPS but not everyone knows how to play mahjong.")
Furthermore, it's such excellent fan service. Every fan watching Kaiji and Tonegawa not only knows how to play mahjong but adores it. Indeed, it would not be a stretch to say that, the same way as a state may have a state bird or a country may have a national flag, mahjong is the Fukumoto Nobuyuki game. So natural did Human Mahjong feel that I required only seconds to accept that Human Mahjong must surely be one of the games from Arc 3 onward that I have yet to personally see. Sure, I didn't recall Kaiji's flirtation with mahjong that I have heard so much (and yet at the same time so little ) about having anything to do with human tiles. "Minefield", I recalled, and yet no minefield ever came up in Tonegawa's presentation. Fine. Doesn't matter. Human Mahjong felt so naturally at home in the Kaiji universe that I only briefly questioned it and then didn't question it again until Saemon-Saburou spoke up.

That's impressive. =O I am genuinely impressed that this Tonegawa author was able to come up with an idea that was all three of:
  1. so novel
  2. so similar to a pre-existing game in Kaiji
  3. so at home in the Kaiji universe
I am genuinely excited now to see how this author will approach the genesis of Human Horseracing, E-Card, and so on. And I am increasingly onboard with an idea that I once found distasteful, even heretical -- I kinda want this to become Kaiji canon. =O Not entirely, mind you! I'm not 100% sold on the notion just yet, and even for the parts that I might be sold on there are other parts I'm less keen on. But I can definitely feel my attitude shifting from "Ugh! Stupid fanfic! " to "WOO! EPIC FANFIC! " as time goes by. And as this shift takes place, it is amplified by the confidence that legions of fans, including Madhouse themselves, had enough confidence in the property to think it deserved a television adaptation.

One thing I especially love about this episode is the nod to the fans who love mahjong. First you have it in Tonegawa's presentation, filled with mahjong examples like the pond, chis and pons, and various hands like tanyao and chanta -- I think I even saw a kokushimusou at one point. But second you have it in how they attack the idea. It feels like a ... not so much a "love letter" as a love apology to the fans. "Not everyone knows how to play mahjong." *ZING!* (arrow to the heart) "It might be hard to find enough people to play." *ZING!* (arrow #2) The latter idea isn't superficially directed at mahjong fans -- contextually, they're discussing an inability to scrounge up enough debtors -- but reading between the lines it's like ...! The former, they continually revisit throughout the episode. Hell! The episode even ends with it, with Tonegawa overhearing a woman propose to her lover that they settle something through mahjong and the man replies that he doesn't know how to play. This is something that, as Fukumoto fans, we Fukumoto + mahjong fans have had to put up with for years. You have so many people who you try to sell on Akagi but they say, "... But I don't know how to play mahjong. " You have so many people who get into Kaiji who exclaim, upon discovering that Arc 3 concerns itself with mahjong, "But I don't know how to play! D:" To be a Fukumoto fan is to be someone who is constantly surrounded by complaints of not knowing how to play mahjong. So for this episode to meta reference that was just ...!

Sublime.
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Old 07-31-2018, 03:26 PM   #362
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This was, without a doubt, the best episode so far. You explained why perfectly, so I have nothing else to add to that.

Instead, I'll just point out a funny little nitpick. There seems to be an anachronism in this episode: At the start of the episode, Tonegawa is looking at a picture from the employee vacation on a very modern looking smartphone with a huge screen. The Kaiji manga began in 1996. Season 1 of the anime aired in 2007; okay, fine. Let's say the anime modernized the setting, and it takes place in 2007, not 1996. This Tonegawa prequel therefore must take place sometime before that. The first iPhone didn't come out until 2007 (and probably even later in Japan), so how are there such modern-looking smartphones in this show?
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Old 08-02-2018, 10:58 AM   #363
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Old 08-06-2018, 10:26 AM   #364
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Just finished Tonegawa Episode 05. Thoughts:

Spoiler: show
For me, this was the weakest episode of the series thus far, and the first one to noticeably be so. That's not to say it was "weak" ... but I'd be lying to myself and to you if I insisted it was nearly as good as the others. It's not. It's a full letter grade lower, I think, but that's mostly due to two disappointments:

Disappointment 1: Lack of Advancement
This episode felt largely like a filler. And when I ask myself why, my answer is that it not only felt like we didn't advance -- it felt like we spun our wheels in place. Which feels like a worse sin -- like we had the opportunity to advance, but instead we just spun our wheels and went nowhere.

Now that's not to say we went utterly nowhere! We obviously advanced the plot somewhat! But like ... I dunno, it's hard to put into words. This episode just didn't feel as advancey as its four predecessors, whether in terms of character development or plot development or anything.

Disappointment 2: Lack of Payoff
I had really been looking forward to seeing Hyoudou's conversation with Tonegawa when Tonegawa proposed Restricted RPS. And I think that's something the chapter, in retrospect cruelly, advertised with its earlier portion. Here the writer is, building up so much tension and excitement over how Tonegawa is going to hand in the proposal ... and then whoop! Super anticlimactically, it's just handed in to Hyoudou off-screen, in Hawaii, to great success. What little we got to see of Tonegawa in Hawaii, I loved -- lol @ the palm tree w/ harness and binoculars, lol @ Hyoudou in the jacuzzi with the Hawaiian babes. But I really wanted more than snapshots. And we didn't even get enough snapshots, at that! I really, really wanted the full-on conversation between Tonegawa and Hyoudou. I wanted to see Hyoudou's fiendish grin as it dawns on him what Tonegawa is proposing. I wanted us to segue from what the episode did deliver -- a scene where Hyoudou laments his boredom -- to one where he, perhaps in a milder version of Washizu's rongasm, giggles with glee, literally salivates, slams his cane into the ground with a mighty thump of approval, and declares "YOKAROU!" or "OMOSHIROI!" or something. Anything to show he was delighted with what Team Tonegawa had come up with.

Hell, I even expected things to go one step further! Tonegawa hands in Restricted RPS, the president is super pleased with it, Tonegawa is smirking to himself and internally monologues that he's succeeded ............. and then Hyoudou breaks the silence with a curt, "And?" And Tonegawa's caught offguard. And Hyoudou soon makes clear that 1) if this is all the team has come up with, then he's disappointed -- he wants more! And 2) whatever the team next proposes, it will have to be even better than Restricted RPS -- proposing anything lesser will result in automatic rejection, no matter how good the idea.

But we didn't get that. We didn't get any of that. We just get an off-screen approval and Tonegawa then telling his subordinates "Mission: Accomplished off screen. Now enjoy some expensive hors d'oeuvres on the house."

Despite these complaints, I did enjoy the episode. There was much to be enjoyed. Further examination of Hyoudou's fickleness and brutality. The face mask scene, after the eyebrows had been so thoroughly discussed. The aforementioned palm tree. The men shaving their heads. Kikuchi pulling that shaver out and proposing they go full bald as if that would fix it. And smaller details, too, like Yamazaki and Saemon-Saburou being depicted in this episode's first half as Tonegawa's two closest/most trusted subordinates at this juncture, something which makes a lot of sense after the events depicted in Episodes 03 and 04.

Overall, I'll say this: Episode 05 was forgivably weak. It was weak. But its weakness is forgivable. Now, Episode 06 has no excuse being weak! If Episode 06 is weak, then we will have a problem! The series can't start losing steam now. If it does, then this is the very problem we worried about at series' beginning. We've had a good thing going Episodes 01 through 04. I am willing to forgive Episode 05's comparative weakness, but if 06 goes down the same track then I'm going to sense we're in trouble. Much like its central character, it will be up to Tonegawa the TV series to now claw its way up the cliff of adversity and prevent from falling into the abyss below.
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Old 08-09-2018, 06:55 PM   #365
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This episode was okay.

Spoiler: show
The eyebrow angle thing was hilarious, as was Tonegawa's horror at finding out that Hyoudou was wearing a face mask, but like you said, it had a really anti-climactic payoff. "It's okay. I went to Hawaii where he was relaxed and accepted it without a fight." That's it??

I am glad that Tonegawa finally got pissed and chewed out his men. He has been way too nice in this show. Buying your men a feast for a job well done? Is this the same ruthless sociopath who puts a monetary value on people's lives? I suppose that his displays of affection could simply be calculated moves to manipulate his men into optimal performance. This would be no different from any corporation, though. They're not holding that staff Christmas party because they love you. They think that your happiness will make them more money than what the Christmas party costs.
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Old 08-11-2018, 01:21 PM   #366
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This episode was okay.

Spoiler: show
The eyebrow angle thing was hilarious, as was Tonegawa's horror at finding out that Hyoudou was wearing a face mask, but like you said, it had a really anti-climactic payoff. "It's okay. I went to Hawaii where he was relaxed and accepted it without a fight." That's it??

I am glad that Tonegawa finally got pissed and chewed out his men. He has been way too nice in this show. Buying your men a feast for a job well done? Is this the same ruthless sociopath who puts a monetary value on people's lives? I suppose that his displays of affection could simply be calculated moves to manipulate his men into optimal performance. This would be no different from any corporation, though. They're not holding that staff Christmas party because they love you. They think that your happiness will make them more money than what the Christmas party costs.
I'm enjoying the show.... it's definitely not one of the best things im following, but as I've told Talon: "I hope it's better than a Kaiji version of "Better Call Saul"... which is what the newest episode was. I read that apparently this is supposed to be a 26 episode deal, which is WAY to long. 13 would be fine to tell us the back-story of a secondary character, a few others, and how these games came into being. The final scene was gold, I hope to see more like it- they should focus on humor more than a serious story.
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Old 08-11-2018, 07:32 PM   #367
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"A Kaiji version of Better Call Saul" is a great way of putting it. Just like with Better Call Saul, I'm sure there are some knuckleheads out there saying that this Tonegawa show is also better than the original show it was spun off of.
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Old 08-12-2018, 12:40 PM   #368
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Tonegawa Episode 06. Thoughts:

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This episode had a sad ending! ^^;; Poor Ebitani! Poor Tonegawa. ^^;;

I had not expected any of the suits to be cut. With Ebitani now out, it begs the question: will others be following suit? Will Ebitani manage a miraculous comeback? Or will we simply stay put here, with Ebitani the sole termination throughout the series' run? ONLY TIME WILL TELL!

Once again, this writer does a brilliant job of writing a believable plot that both 1) doesn't contravene what we know to come later and that 2) leads into it. For us to believe that this is "really happening" in the Kaiji universe and isn't just some shitty fan fiction, the ideas that don't come to pass have to not come to pass in a believable manner. Whether because they're crappy ideas but it makes sense for the person proposing them to propose them, or whether because they're great ideas but some outside influence prevents them from crossing the finish line.

That's what we get here in Tonegawa Episode 06. We're given a character with great enthusiasm but who is badly off the mark. We're shown the various interactions that will ultimately lead to the episode's ending. They all make sense. And ... Ebitani's idea was actually solid. That's key to the tragedy here, as well as to the believability of the writing. We might furrow our eyebrows if Ebitani's idea had been too stupid, like cards with Pretty Cure mascots on them. There also would be little to no tragedy seeing him go if his idea had been so bad. No: the tragedy only works if the idea is good yet rejected; and the idea must be rejected if it is different from the Espoir proposal, as we know the Espoir to be the ultimate outcome.

So how do we reject it? Why, a well-written interplay of character (Ebitani's, as established this very episode) and plot (Hyoudou's eyebrows and bad temper, as introduced in the previous episode). Ebitani has a brilliant idea ... but, in his eagerness, proposes it at the worst possible time. His eagerness makes sense. Hyoudou's reaction makes sense. Ebitani's shocked reaction makes sense. All of it makes sense. Tonegawa is nothing if not cohesive.

I felt bad for Ebitani that he got fired. Though you could argue he's better off for it: he managed to get out of Teiai in a way that didn't cost him or his loved ones any money, limbs, or lives. Tonegawa won't be so lucky in a few months. Neither will many other Teiai employees and affiliates. Still, though: he not only worked hard, he came up with an idea that would have been pretty solid. "The very hand of God smiting the wicked!", one might argue, of a Hyoudou-handprinted Rock or Paper that sends a man to his death in a slave labor camp. Such is the selling point of Ebitani's idea.

But it's reasonable why Hyoudou would have reacted as he did, too, given his already foul temper and (both Kaiji-established and Tonegawa-established) character. Here you have an underling who approaches you with such an intimate and forward request. A, just what does he plan on doing with my hand prints? B, he wants me to dirty my hands? C, he's bothering me first thing off the plane? D, he dares to speak to me directly when he's so beneath me? And I could keep listing off reasons for Hyoudou to be upset. Then of course you have his in-character but out-of-proportion response. Termination! He doesn't just beat the man with his cane. Or, less severe, he doesn't just tell him to get the fuck out of his face. No! He fires the guy! This works perfectly well with what we already know about Hyoudou: when he's in a bad mood, his severity ramps up. The flight had already put him in such a bad mood that he wanted the pilot fired for failing to eliminate all chance of turbulence. So of course he now fires Ebitani -- poor Ebitani! -- for coming to him now like this and requesting his hand prints.

If the episode gave me one disappointment, it's that Saemon-Saburou is 2 for 2 so far. I didn't mind him having the winning idea of Restricted RPS -- somebody had to! But I do sort of mind that he not only genius's that one up but that he also untouchably comes up with the idea to host the event on the Espoir. It now makes Saemon-Saburou into something of a prodigy -- something the series seems happy to embrace in Episode 06 -- and possibly closes doors on others of the suits' abilities to come into their own and become full-fledged characters.

Worse, I'm worried it means we might be losing Saemon-Saburou next. Or in the not too distant future. Despite what I just wrote, I like Saemon-Saburou. I'd be sad to see him go. I don't think it's worth the laugh of "Ha! The guy who proposed Restricted RPS and the Espoir got canned! " to have him fired by Hyoudou in a fit of passion over something stupid. But at the same time, I am super suspicious (now that Ebitani has been fired) that the writer has gone out of his way to power up Saemon-Saburou like this. It definitely feels like he's preparing Saemon-Saburou for the fall. And that's sad.

How's this for a dark twist, though? What if the reason we don't know any of the suits come Kaiji ... is because every suit on Tonegawa's team is going to be fired come Kaiji Ep01? *gulp* What if that's the author's reasoning behind why Tonegawa is building so many relationships right now in Tonegawa that we aren't going to see in Kaiji? Hmm ... Has anyone actually gone through Kaiji yet and compared the suits against the ones we've met in Tonegawa? I am curious to know if the Internet has already verified whether the suits we're seeing in Tonegawa are Kaiji recycles or if they're brand new.
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Old 08-14-2018, 06:45 PM   #369
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I thought the big ending to the episode would be Ebitani's idea being SO GOOD that he pleased the chairman even though he was pissed and his eyebrows were at the worst possible angle. That would have been such an awesome comeback story for Ebitani.
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Old 08-14-2018, 07:16 PM   #370
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Aw, man! D: That would have been! Now I want your version!
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Old 08-15-2018, 05:27 AM   #371
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Episode 7's out already!

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At first I thought this was a lame episode, but the ending was great and touched my heart. It was nice to see the men in black rally around the pitiable guy who had never done anything noteworthy in his life and gave him his time to shine. Furthermore, Tonegawa had planned to put a weakling in charge the whole time so that the men would finally be forced to rely on themselves.
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Old 08-16-2018, 12:04 AM   #372
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Quote:
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Episode 7's out already!

Spoiler: show
At first I thought this was a lame episode, but the ending was great and touched my heart.
Took the words out of my mouth -- literally minutes before reading your post, I told AK2:

Spoiler: show
I thought the first two-thirds of the episode frankly kinda SUCKED ^^; but that the final third of the episode almost made up for it entirely.

Where I think this series has proven it shines best is with the suits. Looking back on it now, I think it has to have been deliberate that the series opened with the "LUL, LOOK AT ALL THE MEN IN BLACK, WE CAN'T TELL THEM APART EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE DIFFERENT PEOPLE" gag. Because ever since then, Tonegawa has given us episode after episode after episode that depicts who these men are as people, who they are as individuals; and it is in these character treatments that the series shines brightest.
Yamazaki with Episode 03 and the barbecue. Saemon-Saburou with (primarily) Episode 04 and the one-upping Tonegawa's amazing human mahjong concept with Restricted RPS. Ebitani with Episode 06 and his termination. And now Episode 07 with Gonda and the team leadership assignment.
Looking back on these episodes, how can we not now think that Tonegawa is anything but a character-driven story? One which aims to look at each of the black suits in turn and establish for Tonegawa a fanon (and, perhaps with Fukumoto's blessing, one day a canon) retinue of subordinates fiercely loyal to Teiai's now-disgraced former No.2? (as of where we are in Kaiji currently)

Gonda's bit was really good. Made you feel really sorry for the guy. One of our first -- indeed is it our first? -- MANLY TEARS moments in Tonegawa. I hope there are many more to come like it. It ain't Kaiji if there aren't MANLY TEARS!

I still think the bulk of the episode kinda sorta sucked though and that it was a shameless filler.

Though I did get a decent chuckle out of Gonda telling the one dude to order 10,000 decks of RPS cards. Pared down to a "mere" 9,000 shortly after. Poor bastard's gonna get chewed out by Tonegawa so bad. "Now just what the hell are we supposed to do with all these cards?" *Tonegawa and subordinate stare at warehouse full to the brim with Restricted RPS cards*
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Old 08-31-2018, 07:28 PM   #373
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Tonegawa Episode 08 (latest episode out is 09):

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This episode was pretty marbled. It wasn't all great or all bad, and it didn't have super clear-cut great chunks or bad chunks. It was like a marbled steak, with the good and the bad all kinda spread throughout and constantly present. Overall I enjoyed it -- I'd even say it was an overall good episode, 7/10 -- but it sure did make for a weird viewing experience.

For starters, this is our first episode which revisits and re-focuses on a previously-focused-on grunt. Well, if you don't count how Saemon-Saburou has been a young star in multiple appearances. Our repeat focus? None other than Ebitani, fired two episodes ago. It was pretty surprising to me that we're already re-focusing on grunts before focusing in on others for the first time. And it was even more surprising to me that the focus would turn to a guy who got fired for his incompetence. But hey! What can I say? It was often times endearing, and I was pretty entertained throughout.

I like how Tonegawa continues to establish strong, identifiable characteristics for the various grunts. We already knew Ebitani was a bit of a happy-go-lucky bad-luck lightning rod, but this episode further cements his indomitable spirit (which Tonegawa even remarks on) and his utter incompetence. His actions aren't entirely illogical; they make sense to Ebitani, and (when explained) to us as well. But boy if they aren't properly thought through! The purchasing hundreds of pounds of lobster, for example, "because it's cheaper to buy in bulk" and saving pennies on the dollar is important when you're poor ... but also when you're poor you can't be affording to spend thousands of dollars on lobster in the first place. Ebitani is also established as incredibly gullible / hoodwinkable, a characteristic we hadn't quite had established for him previously. We see how he's duped by the pyramid scheme guy. We see how he's duped by the prison inmate. While these are negative character traits, they're still character traits. In an era where an anime character is made to stand out to the audience by their physical traits more than anything else, it is incredibly refreshing to see a real effort at character writing being made here. We've only had two episodes focusing on Ebitani, around 40 minutes of footage tops, and already Ebitani feels like a real person. Per the ol' Red Letter Media Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace test of "Without describing their appearance, describe this character for me" test, I feel like Ebitani passes in ways that Padme Amidala badly fails.

The part with the pyramid scheme struck close to home. IRL, after I had graduated from college, my parents and I were the Tonegawa and a childhood friend of mine was the Ebitani. Embarrassingly, my friend invited my parents to one of his pyramid scheme seminars at his house; my dad, like Tonegawa, politely asked a few pointed questions meant to make my friend (as much as the other people in attendance) open his eyes and realize what was going on, but to little avail and soon after they excused themselves and left. Later, he called me one day on the telephone while I was making a bank deposit. I still remember it vividly, parked in the bank parking lot and in utter disbelief that a once-good friend of mine was trying to scam me into becoming involved with a pyramid scheme he had gotten roped into. Like Ebitani, he was desperate for income, and (to my own surprise and dismay) I guess also like Ebitani he was simple-minded enough to have fallen victim to the scheme. Anyway, enough story time. The point is, I could relate to Tonegawa throughout this episode. Kinda sorta made the scene painful to watch ŕ la Watamote, but oh well. ^^;

I assume this was the point of the setup, but ... man, I saw that painful crunch coming from a million miles away. ^^;; The moment Ebitani took the lobster out of the oil and just plopped it onto the wrap ...! >_< Man, that would be painful.

Doushita gets his first bit of character development -- apparently he's the Snorlax of the group and will eat anything. Anything besides Ebi Rolls, that is.

Nakata also gets some subtle character development here -- where the others are mostly donating $100 to Ebitani's cause and some a bit more, Nakata alone squeaks out that he'll contribute $50. So either he's poor, a tightwad, or both.

Knowing that Ebitani wasn't written out of the show entirely with Episode 06's ending, I now have to wonder if he's still not gone with 08's ending either. I think he's not. I kinda think we're not only going to see him again, but that maybe -- just maybe -- they'll focus in on that indomitable spirit of his as what helps the team to hone in on one of the remaining survival games, be it Human Horseracing or E-Card.

The part with everyone openly laughing at Tonegawa for his "old-fashioned thinking" even though we the audience are in the know that Tonegawa is hugely successful while they're all impoverished fools ... it kinda felt like a decent jab at / social commentary on the trending philosophies of commerce and entrepreneurship today. A lot of focus is paid to which careers or job opportunities pay the best, but at the end of the day hard work and determination can see you rise to the top (and to higher paychecks) in just about any field. Also, a lot of the youth today waste a lot of time on web surfing, television, and so on (uh oh! ) without doing any self-betterment projects, be they weight lifting or writing or studying a foreign language or what have you. We all ooh and aah at our colleagues who know how to draw well or play a musical instrument, but I feel like a lot of the modern youth are ... bereft of talent less multi-talented than our parents' and our grandparents' generation. Many in our grandparents' generation still didn't know how to draw or play an instrument, but they at least knew how to repair a tractor and cook a five-course meal. No one's born multi-talented. Even if you're born gifted, you still have to put in the work to acquiring skills and leveling them up.
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Old 08-31-2018, 08:23 PM   #374
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Tonegawa Episode 09 (latest episode; thoughts on 08 in previous post):

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This was a fun episode, but a filler at the same time. :') First half is the interview story, second half is Tonegawa vs. the eating challenge.

Interviewing at Teiai: This was a fun little side story, but one that seemed to mostly pat itself on its own back re: its own canon and inside jokes. I dunno. Not much to knock, not much to commend. I enjoyed it fine.

The eating challenge: This story, for me, highlights the "Tonegawa is insidiously endearing us to Tonegawa Yukio" problem with Tonegawa. ^_^; I really enjoyed the story, and was cheering for Tonegawa to succeed ... but like ... this is a demonic man that we're not supposed to like. So I feel conflicted about stories like this one, 'cause like ... they make Tonegawa seem so cute and comically lovable, but like ... no! He's a bad man! Allow me to be the first to say that "perhaps he's not evil" and "we all have capacity to do good and evil" and other such moral relativist arguments ... but! The canon of Kaiji S1 leaves little wiggle room! Once we reach E-Card and see Tonegawa vs. Kaiji, there can be no other conclusion than that Tonegawa is a bad man.

But yeah, good for Tonegawa clearing the eating challenge.

Also lol @ the portion sizes. I'm not sure if the author was joking about how comical such a notion would be or if he was commenting on portion sizes' increase in Japan, but ... I can say with confidence that in America, what they were depicting WASN'T WRONG. We have restaurants in America that do stuff like this, where they call the large a "regular", they call the regular a "kids size", and they don't offer a kids size proper.
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Old 09-04-2018, 07:38 PM   #375
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Tonegawa Episode 10:

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It was kinda interesting, but Episode 10 was also one of the biggest filler episodes we've had to date. An odd mixture of disappointment (rare for Tonegawa =\) and intrigue.

I thought with Endou's "reprogramming" of the new hires that the episode was possibly headed in the disastrous (for Teiai) direction of all the new hires being ruined / turned into bonafide losers, Tonegawa having to fire them all, and Teiai having to do another hiring cycle stat. But the episode doesn't end up ending like that, so the entire idea of them being turned into bums by Endou seems like a pointless dead end.

Similarly, the episode presents the idea that Endou is going to teach them how to think like a bum -- but it then portrays the new hires as having actually become bums, not simply playing a part. It's a weird conflict of presentation, one which might have worked if {the above} had happened. But since it didn't, we're left in a very weird spot.

Endou is strangely calm throughout, too. Why would he be any happier with this result than Tonegawa? Surely he'd be worried he just transformed 30+ of a powerful underworld company's employees into worthless losers. Surely he'd be worried Teiai would have his head!

What was up with the tongue-in-cheek nod to Ebitani ("E.B.I." and what the narrator said about them) but then not going further to acknowledge it?

Why would Teiai employees be waiting in the wings on Endou's command without Tonegawa's informed consent?

I think things sadly went to shit with this episode once we arrived on the boat. Before that, the episode was doing okay. Not supremely well! ^^; But better. I enjoyed Saemon-Saburou's solution to the problem of no card reader technology installed in the tables and/or cards. It was fun to get the little tour of every man's capsule hotel / miniature net cafe, even if the cat one was stretching things too far for belief. And since this solution was only required for the rehearsal -- not for the main event which is still some ways out -- I didn't even mind the implication on Kaiji canon. Because what implication on Kaiji canon? So long as the table technology is sorted out before the real night with the Espoir, nothing's any different from how we've ever imagined it in Kaiji. (That stated, boy oh boy is it funny to consider the low-tech solution put forward in Tonegawa and to imagine it being what was happening in actuality in Kaiji! )

Glad to see Endou was finally introduced. But strangely I don't want to see him ever again any time soon again. ^^; Really didn't care for how badly he derailed shit in this episode. Am more looking forward to meeting Ichijou and (if the OP is to be trusted) Mikoko's father.
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