Kakegurui: Why Momobami Ririka Wears a Mask

Kakegurui: Compulsive Gambler is a popular shonen thriller series taking place in a highly unusual high school, Hyakkou Academy, where the sons and daughters of society's elite learn how to win it all in high-stakes games of chance, from roulette to poker and everything in between. And the mighty student council is always watching.

The student council is made up of Hyakkou's most skilled, influential and wealthiest students, such as the calculating president Momobami Kirari and the masked girl known as Ririka. For years, no one knew what Ririka looked like under that mask, until the heroine Saotome Mary found out for herself -- and realized just how far ahead Kirari had planned for this.

Why Ririka Wears A Mask

ririka and kirari

For the longest time, the student council offered no explanation as to why Ririka always wore a mask at school, and most Hyakkou students simply learned to accept it as a fact of life. The truth is that Kirari and Ririka are identical sisters in the powerful Momobami family, and under that mask lies the same face as the student council president, with only the twins' hairstyles setting them apart physically.

Interestingly, no one seemed to pick up on the fact that Kirari and Ririka had the same height, build and even hair color, which could have helped give away their identical twin status. Even the insightful Jabami Yumeko was taken by surprise when the truth was exposed partway through the story of Kakegurui, since the Momobami sisters don't want people to know that they are identical. It's their best weapon.

A lot is expected of the Momobami sisters, Kirari in particular, but they can outmaneuver their allies and enemies alike by taking each other's places, and no one ever sees through it. Since Ririka's face is a mystery, no one would ever suspect that Kirari and Ririka can and often do swap places and go by each other's names, and taking off Ririka's mask would ruin this strategy of theirs. Anyone looking to intimidate, manipulate or use either sister may end up dealing with the other one without realizing it.

To name one example, Rirka often assumes Kirari's place when conducting business with the Momobami family, while Kirari, wearing Ririka's mask, can continue to function as Hyakkou's president without anyone realizing it. All they have to do is swap the mask back and forth and modify their hairstyles, as everyone associates Kirari with her braids and Ririka with her loose hair.

When Ririka Outgrows Her Mask

ririka unmasked

When posing as Kirari, complete with the appropriate hairstyle, Ririka projects the same smug confidence as her twin sister, and this can fool anyone who sees this in person. However, Ririka's true personality is quite different from Kirari's, with Kirari being the cold, calculating type and Rirka being more like a dandere anime character.

Ririka may be a skilled gambler and a member of the esteemed Momobami family, but she is modest and timid when speaking as herself as opposed to posing as Kirari. In fact, Kirari seems to look down on her identical sister, despite Ririka being slightly older and having similar social standing as her, and Ririka never seems to have the nerve to defend herself.

That is until Ririka and Mary became allies during the story of Kakegurui. During the student council mega-election tournament, Ririka challenged Mary to a simple game and Mary tore off Ririka's mask, only to behold Ririka's true personality. By then, Mary had already learned that Kirari and Ririka were twins who could swap places, but Mary was surprised at how different the sisters were on the inside. Mary then impressed Ririka with her shonen-style resolve, and they became teammates during the election. Slowly but surely, the meek Ririka learned to stand up for herself and assert herself as a true gambler, even when going up against members of branch families of the Momobami family, which is saying a lot.

As of the current manga storyline of Kakegurui, Ririka is learning to fight as an independent gambler who doesn't need to live under Kirari's thumb, but she still has a long way to go, mask or no mask. Now she has to unmask her heart and show everyone what it's truly made of.

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