Now, Kakegurui was probably the wild card when it came to anime I enjoy. Like, yeah Yumeko might like Ryota or not, but I didn’t care for that when it came to the series. Oh no, I enjoyed it because it is, quite literally, insane. It is simultaneously every trope I hate in anime while still being enjoyable to a fault. As a standalone series you don’t take seriously, Kakegurui delivers. But what about as a semi-romance anime?
Now, if the question was whether Ryota Suzui likes Yumeko Jabami, the answer is an instant yes. His inner voice has confessed that he is very attracted to Yumeko, back in Chapter 30 of the manga. But does Yumeko like Ryota back? That’s where things get muddy. Not because it isn’t apparent that Yumeko does like Ryota, a lot. After all, she appears to be very happy when he is around. But Yumeko is so invested in gambling that it feels like she has no room left to even address any romantic feelings.
However, it is likely that Yumeko knows that Ryota likes her. And maybe the two will end up together whenever they get the time to, you know, do normal teenage things instead of literally gambling away their lives at any given moment. And I think that is the very nature of Kakegurui. Despite its, well, suggestive art style, it is severely lacking in any romance. Really, the main ship is Yumeko X Endangering Her Life For An Adrenaline Rush. But I think we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.
Dissecting the relationship between Ryota and Yumeko is an interesting thing, because it is so unlike other Shounen pairings we’ve seen before. Yumeko here is the Top Dog while Ryota subverts the Underdog trope we’ve seen. So, if the two do end up getting together, it will be intriguing to see how their dynamic changes. Today, let’s discuss what it would look like if Yumeko returns Ryota’s feelings in another segment of Lore Analysis!
Yumeko Likes Ryota (As A Partner?)
So, we already know that Ryota likes Yumeko, despite the latter being a literal menace to society. But what does Ryota mean to Yumeko, in retrospect? Well, for that, we need to dive into how their friendship even started. It wasn’t just because the two singled each other out from the crowd, that’s for sure.
In a weird way, their bond is a product of the circumstances they are placed in, which are wild. Like, maybe it’s pretty on par with other absurd high school anime we’ve gotten, but a high school whose hierarchy is built upon gambling is still a lot to deal with. Hyakkou Private Academy prides itself with teaching those from the upper echelons of society, and it shows. Here, students that can gamble well rule, and those indebted to them are known as ‘housepets’.
So, when Ryota enters school, he immediately becomes the housepet to Mary Saotome. But he is taken out of his misery by Yumeko Jabami, who plays against Mary and ends up winning. From there on out, Yumeko becomes the talk of the academy, thanks to her tendencies of being both absolutely ruthless with her opponent and even more careless with herself. And Ryota is the poor schmuck who has to be along for the ride, considering he’s her first true friend.
And, honestly? It’s hilarious to see how much he fears Yumeko, but also falls for her in the same breath. Ryota is aware there is something not quite alright with Yumeko and that, for her, the thrill of gambling will always rank first. But outside of that gambling fever, Yumeko seems to adore Ryota as a friend. She genuinely likes it when he participates in things with her, and he likes supporting her back.
So, the natural progression between these two is romance, right?
Why Yumeko And Ryota Make For The Strangest Pairing:
Yes, I’m talking stranger than Yumeko X Kirari Momobami. It’s because Yumeko is such a chaos gremlin, that Ryota ends up feeling ‘boring’ in comparison. However, that’s also why they would make a good couple. It’s because they balance each other out.
Yumeko is far too callous with herself, when it comes to gambling. Ryota keeps her from flying too close to the sun, while Yumeko helps him gain more confidence and let loose a little. And, can I be real here? I enjoy that chemistry between them a lot. It’s so unexpected to have this scaredy cat ‘narrator’ and his menace of a love interest who absolutely dominates every space they are in.
And the best part is that Yumeko isn’t doing any of this unwittingly. She is clearly very smart, with almost inhumane senses. But it’s because Ryota was kind and took interest in her before any of personality traits were revealed, that makes him such a sincere person iend to Yumeko. And honestly, you don’t often see a strong female protagonist with a supportive male character behind them. Usually it’s the opposite.
Okay, look. I’ll be the first to admit that there is a lot that is problematic with Kakegurui. It’s not one of those series that you watch for the plot. But for what it is, which is mindless entertainment, it does a great job. And sometimes, we need unhinged female characters that make no sense paired with hamster boys who are just trying to get by.
So, if Yumeko likes Ryota back? I’m not going to be mad at it!