Sabagebu stars Sonokawa Momoka, a high school girl who has transferred schools often enough to know the ‘new student’ song and dance like the back of her hand. She has just transferred to a new all-girls school, but she is sick of pretending to be nice, and wishes she could find something interesting to do. On her way to school, she’s ‘rescued’ from a molester on the train by a strange gun-toting girl, a chance encounter that will end up introducing her to her new school’s Survival Game Club – that is to say, a club focused around Airsoft. And thus begins Sabagebu…
I think Sabagebu’s greatest asset is these girls’ imagination. You see, their survival games are embellished heavily within their minds… they play out as brutal deathmatches rather than simple survival games. You get better gunplay here than most actual gun-based anime, to be quite frank. They don’t make any effort to make it make sense… it is simply not supposed to make sense. A mad max style vehicle-chase game against a team from a retirement home, aerial gunplay between an angel and a demon, etc…. you name it, they’re not afraid to spoof it. Over the course of the season they become progressively more absurd and hilarious, which is all to the good because it is by embracing this absurdity that the show gets better. There are a few moments that feel like they stray in the wrong direction, but for the most part the show’s insanity seems to have a method to it.
Each episode contains 3 separate story arcs, often slightly related to one another, but you can pretty much pick up anywhere you want and not feel left out as long as you watched the first few episodes – since those are the introductions for the characters and you’d be kind of lost without that basic understanding. Because of the way it’s oriented though, this show is fantastic for watching in the mornings while getting ready for work, or during short downtimes because it’s fairly high pace, good humour, but not going to overwhelm a sleepy or distracted mind. And you can’t really miss much.
Girls with Guns
This show’s cast is predominately the 5 girls who make up the Survival Game Club… these girls are so extreme in their personalities they almost seem like parodies. But that’s what allows them to make the show what it is. We have an extreme otaku, a masochist, a dumb hot girl, and a character who borders on mary-sue territory. But the most interesting is Momoka herself… she’s a real character. Selfish, spiteful, vicious, and a natural marksmen, she is the catalyst that makes this show work. She’s the final piece of the puzzle that just makes it all come together.
There are no normal people in this show… there are the main characters, their victims, and the narrator. The narrator isn’t just a narrator, as Momoka is able to hear him as well sometimes. He has a deep, commanding voice and is one of the driving forces behind the show’s humour. This is one of only a very small handful of anime I’ve seen make use of their narrator as more than just a plot device. The narrator provides information, reveals ulterior motives, and makes sure you never forget that these girls are crazy. As if you ever would…
One trend I’ve noticed a lot lately that I’ve been really enjoying is opening and/or closing themes that are sung by the cast of the anime, especially when they do it in character. Sabagebu’s ending theme is one of my favourites from this season, and the voice actors do such a great job of staying in character. It makes for a fun and fitting little treat at the end of each episode.
Sabagebu recognizes what it is and doesn’t try to be anything else. It offers absurdity, action, humour, and fun… and it just piles more of all of those things into each episode. Glorious excess is the name of the game in Sabagebu. Nothing is done in moderation, and that is what makes this show so incredibly entertaining.