Mary Saotome (早乙女 芽亜里) is a deuteragonist of Kakegurui and also the main protagonist of the spin-off series Kakegurui Twin. She is a second-year student at Hyakkaou Private Academy, and she is also a classmate of Yumeko Jabami and Ryota Suzui, who is the first character in the entire series that challenges Yumeko and loses against her.
Mary is a girl of average height with long blonde hair that is styled into two ponytails where they are tied with black ribbons and dark-yellow eyes.
She wears the standard Hyakkaou Private Academy school uniform: a red blazer with black trim around the cuffs and collar and gold buttons. Beneath the red blazer, she wears a white button-up shirt and black tie. She wears a gray pleated skirt, black-colored stockings, and regular brown loafers with black soles.
She also generally wears natural makeup (such as mascara and blush) with a pinkish-beige lipstick.
At first, Mary is shown to be incredibly sadistic and twisted. One example of her personality is how she treats her classmate Ryota Suzui after he turned into a "housepet" due to his low social status within the academy. She is shown cruelly taunting her opponents during their gambling matches. She's also shown to be extremely egotistical both in and out of matches, often being confident in her victory. Mary also possesses a habit of mocking her opponents and laughing at them, especially when match seems to be her win.
After losing to Yumeko Jabami and experiencing the life of being a housepet, Mary, having no other goal in mind, became desperate to regain her status within the academy. Soon after being humiliated, Mary eventually loses her pride after she has a mental breakdown during a match against Yuriko Nishinotouin and falls into the state of grief and shame. After regaining her status, she seems to be no longer be as arrogant and cruel as before. Still, she is sometimes slightly nettled by Ryota's cowardice or Yumeko's reckless behavior; but she still cares deeply about them. She also developed a huge hatred towards the student council, and wished for them to pay for what they had done to housepets.
In Twin, it is revealed that her family isn't wealthy and she's attending Hyakkaou Private Academy on a scholarship. Her goal has always been to become a true winner in life, which is an important case even to her own parents, who were encouraging her from a young age to make friends with richer children. She takes a great pride in her intelligence and gambling skills, and she hates when people look down on her just because for her financial status. During the prequel, she is also noticeably less ruthless. Since Tsuzura Hanatemari is absent from the main story, Mary is shown to still keep her hairpin. She seems to be upset about whatever happened to her friend. Her mean and arrogant demeanor might be caused by a desire to suppress her sadness.
Kakegurui - Compulsive Gambler
Mary is seen at the start of the series winning a poker match against Ryota Suzui, who ends up owing her a debt of 5 million yet. Unable to pay it, Suzui instead becomes her pet in the end, and she treats him in an inhuman manner, such as commanding Suzui to bring her food and using him as a footstool when she says that her legs are worn out. When Yumeko Jabami transfers into their class, Mary is instantly jealous of her popularity and her getting close to Ryota. She pretends to challenge her to a simple friendly game she called Vote Rock-Paper-Scissors, but Mary was actually cheating and wanted to turn Yumeko into a housepet.
Yumeko bet only small amounts and left the results up to chance. But when the stakes got higher, she used her cheat to win. She was amused by how naïve Yumeko was betting and looked forward to destroying her. However before they played their final cards, Yumeko revealed that she figured out how she cheated. Although Mary was a bit unsure now, she was still confident enough to win. But Yumeko managed to win against her. Mary is extremely desperate and states she can't repay her. Yumeko says it's fine and she gives up the debt, since the game was so fun. But everyone already lost some respect towards Mary. Unfortunately for her, the rankings of how much each student donated to the council were revealed the next day and Mary ranked in the last 100 due to her recent loss.
So the next day at school, Saotome's desk is seen ruined with graffiti and has a broken doll on her on top of it that resembles her. Concerned, Jabami asks what happened, to which she tells her to shut up and that it all happened because of her losing to Jabami. She is still full of anger, but already gets ordered around by her former friends to clean up. She feels pity for herself and cries why this has happened to her. As a last effort Mary gambles against Yuriko Nishinotouin, hoping to be able to repay her debt. Near the end of the game, Yumeko just happens to come by, angering Mary even more. But she loses and owes the Council even more money which has now completely ruined her. She knew that she probably would have been able to repay her previous debt, but just had to take the risk.
She also receives a lifeplan, which the Student council arranged for her. It states that she must marry a politician. When consulting Runa Yomozuki about this, she just laughs. Mary is furious and doesn't want to accept it, but has no choice. Mary then enters the Debt Settlement game. Although the pairings for the game (Two-Card Indian Poker) seem to be random, Mary curses that her assigned partner is Yumeko Jabami, who recently became a housepet in one game. However the two concoct a plan to get out of debt by switching their declarations and working together during the game itself. During the game against Jun Kiwatari their plan works perfectly and he didn't look through it until the end. Mary wins and is able to free herself from her position.
After the game, Yumeko calls Mary her friend and tells her how much fun she had. At first she is embarrassed to admit that she too had fun playing with her, especially when Yumeko gets a bit too close to her. She is surprised by the sudden friendliness of Yumeko, but starts to accept it. But she does start to like her even if she still believes her risk-taking to be reckless. She later meets her old friends, who bullied her when she was a housepet. They were embarrassed and apologized. Mary shrugged it off, but was still annoyed. However she couldn't put them at fault, only the student council.
She then bumps into Ryota and asks him where Yumeko is. He doesn't know, but mentions how she wanted to gamble against the president. Mary wants to stop that and goes looking for her. Before she can get to her however, Kirari Momobami approaches her and tells her to come drink tea with her. During the discussion she invites her to join the student council. Mary is unsure and Kirari asks if she's scared of the other members. Mary then declines, and expresses that she wants the housepet system to be removed. But Kirari points out that she hasn't always been thinking that way, and used to treat other housepets badly before. This angers her and she leaves. Mary thinks about Tsuzura and is angered that Kirari refuses to see "housepets" as human.
When Itsuki appears and offers gifts to Yumeko, Mary points out how obvious it is that she's just trying to get something from Yumeko. Mary is also surprised that Itsuki has financial troubles, since she believed it would be easy for the daughter of a big toy group. During Yumeko's stage game against Yumemi, Mary is pretty bored and didn't initially want to go. During the birthday guess game, Mary is selected as the random audience member. She is annoyed it had to be her. Yumeko's guess was closer to Mary's birthday (March 8th).
When Kaede Manyuda and Yumeko started to gamble against each other, Mary was once again amazed by Yumeko's recklessness.
During the Tarot game, she worried about Yumeko and hoped Ryota would make the right choice. When he picked a random card, she almost fainted. She was so relieved after the game and was happy with her new friends. But she still scolded Ryota about how close it was. She argued with Itsuki whether the marked card really was The Fool or not. Before they could pick it up, Runa collected all of them and they proceeded to chase her around.
Yumeko is excited about the election and Mary tries to warn her about the Momobami Clan and how they are probably dangerous. She also states that all of their names end with "-bami", just like Yumeko's. But Yumeko doesn't listen, which Mary expected. Mary later bumps into the Vice-president in the hallway. Ririka wants to gamble with Mary and tells her to follow her. She explains to Mary how she wants to join forces with her. Mary doesn't want to, because she believes Ririka just follows Kirari's orders, whom she still hates. When Yumeko is in trouble however, she is forced to accept. Mary realizes that Ririka's plan was to get Yumeko poisoned. She then wins and gains Ririka's votes.
Mary helps out Ryota and Yumeko in the Nym Type Zero game. In the first round, she tells Ryota to show them his cards. That's because Mary noticed the shuffling pattern Runa used and by knowing two sets of cards, she can also deduce the cards of Miri and Miyo. Ryota trusts her and "drops" his cards. Mary then bets all of her 100 votes. This impresses the others, so they try to convince Ryota to ditch Mary. Mary tells them off however. Due to knowing what cards the sisters must have, she could prevent them from defeating Ryota.
Miri lost and they gained some votes. During the last round, Ryota again shows his cards. When Miri and Miyo are confused, Mary explains the shuffling pattern and how she was able to win. The others lose, and Yumeko is quickly rushed to the hospital. While she is still unconscious, Mary leans over to her and whispers that she will become the new president.
Ririka now follows her around wherever she goes, much to Mary's annoyance. Mary wants Ririka to act out of her own will for once, and not just because of her sister; she is bugged by Ririka's lack of self-esteem. Mary wants to gamble with her, and only if Ririka wins will she accept her as a partner. She did win though, much to Mary's dismay. But steadily they do develop trust in each other to the point where Ririka actually takes her mask off in front of Mary.
Mary is also invited to the auction and takes part in it. At first, she thought it to be stupid to bet at all, since you lose more than you gain. When someone already bet 20 votes, she got upset, but she later got into it. Mary also spoke up and announced that she will bet 99 votes no matter what. That way, no one else dared to bet anything, and she won by betting only a few votes. She is determined to win even more votes, and also figured out that Rei is secretly participating. In the second half of the auction, all of them discuss what they should do. Ryota tries to calm them down, but Mary tells him to shut up, since he has no votes anyway. Mary realizes Yumeko's strategy and also manages to win by betting only 1 vote. When Yumeko challenged Rei to a final gamble, she realized there's no point in stopping her. But she too was relieved when nothing happened.
Later she discusses with Ririka about Nozomi's game. She finds her to be quite pathetic, but empathizes with her later on. When she hears about Rin, she is excited to fight that jerk. But she wonders if Ririka can take him on. On the way there, she is also exhausted from carrying two of the cash-filled suitcases. When arriving there, she is very surprised to see Anzu, Aruka, and Midori. Mary watches during the War game and notices Rin foul play. Mary realizes how Ririka's move can be read so easily and thinks she will surely lose. After Ririka finally makes a move, she is impressed but wants to leave. She also promises Ririka, that she has proven herself enough and she will now accept her as an ally and friend. But Ririka gets serious and Mary is then awed by her actual skills. After the game, she introduces Yumeko to Ririka, who didn't recognize her without her mask on.
When she is invited to play Rock Paper Scissors Poker, she speaks with Yumeko beforehand and states, that she will see her as a rival. During the tournament she then has to play against Yumemi. At first, she can't compete with Yumemi's bets and folds and discards her cards. She is unable to read her and struggles, but then decides to call and manages to win. During the next round, she also wins, since she has so many scissors. She then thanks Yumemi for all her votes. Yumemi pretends to be a good loser, but actually is really angry at her.
Right after Mary joins the academy, she runs into one of her old classmates from elementary school, who is now a "housepet". She used to dislike Tsuzura in the past, but after seeing what happened to her she starts feeling sorry for her state. Mary quickly learns the rules of the academy, and secures her first gambling victory against another student who tricked and humiliated her. Later, she takes control of Yukimi Togakushi's gambling den by beating her in a gamble. She also piques the interest of Sachiko Juraku, the Public Morals Committee chairwoman at the time, who soon becomes her main enemy in the school. Together with Tsuzura and Yukimi they get the den running, and are already successful. Mary is concerned about Tsuzura being a possible target of bullying and her goal is to free her of her rank.
Student council executive, Aoi Mibuomi, finds out about Mary's talent and recruits her in taking down the president Kirari Momobami. Mary is unsure, but Aoi exposes the simple trick they were using in their gambling den, making them lose all the money they had worked for. Mary is thus forced to accept Aoi's offer and takes part in a gambling event hosted by Sachiko where she teams up with her friends and other two girls against five male opponents. She quickly realizes one of the girls is a traitor and suspects Tsuzura at first, but she finds out it was another girl. They expose the cheating and only have to go to lunch with three of the guys.
After her brilliant performance at the party, Aoi introduces her to his group called Zenshoukai, a secret association whose goal is getting rid of Kirari's tyranny. Mary is cheered on by the rest of them, but is somewhat unsure and does not want to join yet. Aoi's fiancé does not like Mary being around him so much and challenges her to a gamble. Thanks to her friends' help and her wit, Mary wins. Aoi insults his future arranged wife; this leads Mary to realize that he isn't that good of a guy, actually. She angrily rejects his offer to work with Zenshoukai.
Later in the library, Ouri Shimotsukiuri introduces herself to Mary and Tsuzura as they study together. Kokoro then organizes a game, planning to make Mary win and through that socially destroy her. However, Mary sees through it and beats Kokoro. When everyone starts mocking her, she stands up for her, although she denies her good intentions when questioned by Tsuzura.
Mary starts to really care about her friends and their gambling den is still thriving. After the accident with Aoi finding out the secret about their game, she has invented a different type of gamble called Doubt Poker. Mary has made a name for herself, so a lot of students want to challenge her. The boys from the couple game show up, but along with them appears Sachiko. She quickly defeats all the guys and then takes on Mary herself in the same game. Mary is sure she is cheating, but Sachiko assures her she is not. Mary is therefore crushingly defeated and has to chose between becoming a housepet or join Zenshoukai. Because she doesn't want to help Aoi after she witnessed his true colors, Mary gives Tsuzura and Yukimi what was left of her money to save themselves and decides to give up on her pride and serve Sachiko.
She is, however, stopped by Mikura Sado, Sachiko's housepet, who is jealous of her master and doesn't want Mary to submit to her. For this reason, she offers to help Mary gain some money and save herself from the impending threat of becoming a housepet.
For this reason, Mikura leads Mary to a gambling den where she can play without betting money. The place is owned by the Ougatou twins Naoko and Houko, who are members of Zenshoukai but are in conflict with Aoi. Initially, the situation is quite friendly but Ouri's sudden arrival ruins the mood, as she was spying on them and is ready to report them to Aoi. The twins are then forced to challenge her as well, choosing a special game they invented. Ouri reveals herself to be a very good gambler thanks to her prodigious mnemonic skills, and makes her opponents anxious by announcing that the losers will have to obey her. Her twisted idea is to make them victims of harsh bullying to highlight how cruel the housepet system is. But Mary wins, helping Mikura guess the rule thanks to something that only she could have known: the suit she chose is the same as the cards she had when she was defeated by Sachiko. Mikura proves to be extremely devoted, remembering this detail. Ouri is therefore defeated and Mary befriends Mikura.
A girl from the couple game, Kurumi Kurume shows up and wants to join their gambling den in order to get closer to Mary and find out about her. Mary rejects her at first, since she believes she is too much on Aoi's side and she still dislikes him. But Kurumi bribes her way in and Mary's friends immediately accept her. The school festival is taking place and Kurumi wants Mary to come with her. Mary is annoyed but gets dragged along to Kurumi's friend, Nadeshiko Rurichou. She plays against her and when the stakes get too high, she is about to leave, but is convinced to continue.
She then wins and goes back to her den. There her friends, Eneru Rokujou and Shimizu wait for her and they play together. Later two other members show up and play against her. When Aoi starts his attack and sends the Full-Bloom members to gamble, Mary approaches him. She is unhappy and challenges him to a gamble with the condition that she will take over leadership of Full-Bloom if she wins.
In the live action, Mary is played by Aoi Morikawa where her hair color was changed to brown to give her a more natural look.
Kakegurui - Compulsive Gambler
- A Girl named Yumeko Jabami
- Boring Girl
- The Slit-Eyed Girl
- The Girl Who Became a Pet
- The Girl Who Became Human
- Tempting Girl
- Refusing Girl
- Love-Dancing Girl
- Dreaming Girl
- Selecting Girl
- The Girl Who Bets Her Life
- The Girl Who Gambles Compulsively
- Gambling Girls Again
- The Girls of the Momobami Clan
- Do Not Touch this Girl
- Communicating Girls
- The Girl who Changes
- The Hollywood Star
- The Girl by her Side (non-speaking)
- The Girl who Bears the X
- The Null Girl
As soon as Mary met Yumeko, Mary wanted to take advantage of her through a gamble. Hoping to win, she eventually lost despite cheating, and began to have a certain resentment towards her. However after the events of Debt Swap game, they became close friends.
- "The resolve to pick out one hopeful path from uncertain and unlimited possibilities with your own violation. That resolve is the core of gambling."
- "We will stand above the rest. We will not be fooled again. If we have to bet to make it happen... Then we will bet, and we will win! We will defeat all the rich brats in this school. We will be winners!" - To Tsuzura Hanatemari
- "Tzuzura, we don't have time to hesitate right now. If we want to win, we have to consider every possibility. We'll stay on top... Then we can be winners!" - To Tsuzura
- "If I lose here, my life will go according to that ridiculous life plan . I'm going to marry a politician, I'm going to get pregnant and I'm going to become a sort of trophy. My husband will become minister of the education and I will have three very successful and independent children. I will spend my last years of life surrounded by a husband who loves me and with my children and grandchildren. I will have a long and happy life. Me, Mary Saotome, I will have the ideal life for a woman. I'll have a perfect life without challenge... fuck this life! no one will be able to steal my life! no one will disturb me! And I will get my life back!" To herself
- The name Meari means "bud, sprout" (芽) (me), "second, Asia" (亜) (a) and " village" (里) (ri).
- Her first name has no determinable reading as the kanji were used simply for their pronunciations of her name.
- Mary's family name Saotome (早乙女) means "woman who plants rice" or "young girl". This name is also similar to Sao Tome in São Tomé and Príncipe.
- Mary likes very honest boys.
- Mary is the only character in the entire series to have her birthday revealed.
- Mary's name and appearance could be a reference to the Tom Jones song "Green, Green Grass of Home", specifically alluding to the lyric, "Down the lane, I walk with my sweet Mary. Hair of gold and lips like cherries, it's good to touch the green, green grass of home".