Honestly, youngsters these days. No sooner have you waved them off at the gates of their exclusive, overpriced, pompous colleges than they’re winning and losing millions of yen in extracurricular, high-pressure, rite-of-passage gambling showdowns. In the universe of Japanese anime, anyway. The animated antics of Kakegurui – Compulsive Gambler , on Netflix, poke breathless fun at the real, developed world’s obsession with losing all its money in games of chance and believing the odds, and the cheat sitting opposite, can be beaten. Hyakkaou Private Academy, favoured by wealthy parents, is the setting for Kakegurui . It’s a school for peculiar children whose talents lie in gambling, especially while playing card games, and the crazier the stakes – Russian roulette, or ripping fingernails from a defeated opponent – the better, not least for sinister new girl Yumeko Jabami. Living for the exhilaration of risking it all (and never mind the millions of yen in her school satchel), Yumeko, much more than the demure schoolgirl she seems, derives some steamy thrills from just the thought of a wager. Her arch-enemy Mary Saotome, vanquished by Yumeko and dethroned as card-table queen, oozes venom as she plots to bring her nemesis down; violent intimidation is visited by school bullies on the lowest losers (“house pets”) in the school league table, who serve as slaves to the best players; and a shadowy student council gathers “donations” from all pupils to exercise its power over the whole establishment. And everyone, with a flash of anime magic, can turn a coy smile into a deathly, eye-bulging rictus. Only in Japan. The 12 episodes of series one are available now, as is the live-action version – a spin-off from the anime but not nearly as fast-paced or fun. Series two is coming soon, plus a live-action film; put your money on the former. Ballers takes a bow with fifth and final season Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson , the world’s highest-paid actor, is well acquainted with disaster flicks. And unless it springs heroically to life soon, his latest television series might be joining the club. Ballers , with new episodes on Mondays on HBO and HBO Go, is set in the combative world of what Americans call football and stars Johnson as Spencer Strasmore, a retired hall-of-famer who is now an agent-manager for today’s mollycoddled, shoulder-padded helmet-heads. So far, the eight-part, fifth and final series of the drama-comedy hasn’t featured much on-field action – which would ordinarily be considered a bonus. Instead it has featured lots of unfunny talk about deals and counter-deals; bored or injured players in drive-by shootings or video-game challenges; and more yakking in the offices of a sports cable channel. It’s enough to make you crave American football. But not so fast, naysayers. It’s debatable whether ex-wrestler Johnson would have pulled off his spectacular career switch if he hadn’t had shoulders as wide as an aircraft carrier, but at least Ballers doesn’t load all the responsibility for credible acting on said shoulders, however sturdy. English satirical comic Russell Brand brings his signature quirkiness to deputy management at the SportsX channel, where even he is outshone by the radiant, steely glamour of American-Korean Hawaii Five-0 stalwart Catherine Haena Kim. And just when Ballers is starting to taste like a pie crust without filling, Spencer somehow finds himself in the running to buy a professional team and become “the first black majority owner in league history”. Aha! Substance. That filling may still contain traces of cheese – “Life isn’t a straight line” and “I’m a lot more spiritual these days”, intones The Rock – but at least it’s something to chew on. There may not be a spectacular touchdown at the end of all this, but field goals are guaranteed.