Sabagebu! – Survival Game Club! – – Anime Review
Synopsis: The story of Hidekichi Matsumoto’s original Sabagebu! manga, which is running in Kodansha’s Nakayoshi shojo magazine, revolves around Momoka Sonokawa, a girl who transferred into a certain girls’ high school. The club she ended up joining at school was the “Sabagebu!,” a club that conducts survival games. (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Sabagebu takes the concept of girls playing airsoft and dials the craziness to the max. It starts with fourth wall breaking humour and then continues onto even crazier gags every episode outdoing the last. Every character has their own brand of humour and the show features a narrator who acts as the reality check/voice of reason/straight man only adding more humour to the proceedings. DO be aware that some of the comedy and plot points can be a little dicey, stuff that could potentially bother more sensitive individuals. For example, the premiere involves a train groper who’s shameless enough to keep insulting the girl he just harassed when he gets caught, saying he doesn’t want to get into trouble over harassing a girl who isn’t even that pretty. Or a later episode that involves a group of perverts who use every technique in their arsenal to try and get up skirt shots of our main character, Momoka.
Tom: While the comedy can often times end up pretty low brow, it’s still incredibly fun. What really sells Sabagebu! is its wide range of characters. From Momoka, our rather bitchy and mean spirited lead, to Maya the well-endowed, part time, gravure idol, to Platy, the platypus mascot of the series. The series manages to keep much of its fan-service pandering relegated to Maya, choosing not to sexualize the rest of the girls nearly as much as compared to other all girl slice of life/comedic anime.
Linny: Every girl has their own unique shtick and personality, most of them a bit twisted or outright weird so as to bring the laughs. The show utilizes their quirks and personalities well, milking each for as much comedy as possible. That said, the personalities of the girls aren’t all that unique or multi-faceted but seeing as Sabagebu! is more about ridiculous comedy than character depth, it’s not that surprising nor a huge flaw. As Tom touched on, for those concerned about fan service, as this is a female only/heavy cast, there is SOME level of it provided by Maya Kyodou as she ever so often flaunts her goods. Beyond that, the show’s main focus is comedy. While you shouldn’t expect too many pandering shots, it’s still not a show you could watch casually in public or with more uptight friends/family.
Tom: Focusing on the characters, there’s no two ways about it, our lead Momoka is an outright bitch. But as she’s so self-serving, so squarely invested in herself over anyone else it makes her hard not to love. Her personality rarely changes through Sabagebu!’s short run, even with an effort made in the finale to instill some kind of depth and development. That’s perhaps something certain audiences won’t be able to look past: Not a lot changes. Sabagebu! remains stagnant, always returning to the status quo it first set out on, with little hold over episode to episode. This also means certain remembers of the cast often feel underused, like Kayo, our resident cosplayer of the group. She barely gets any focus through the twelve episode run compared to Momoka, Miou the club president, or Urara, Momoka’s love struck masochistic. It’s not a significant detractor however, as Sabagebu!’s gags generally hold up quite well over its twelve episodes. And it’s because of that staunch consistency I can’t help but recommended Sabagebu! It remains one of the 2014 anime that best stood out from that year.
Linny: Sabagebu! is an over the top, reality challenging laugh fest that’s sure to please fans of absurd anime comedies, such as Daily Lives of High School Boys. It has a kick ass female cast that execute ludicrous gags that will have you roaring with laughter and feature minimal fan service. My personal favourite of the show is episode 5, where we get a story about how Urara, a club member, accidentally breaks a school toilet and then decides that saving face and avoiding humiliation is more important than saving her own life. So if you do decide to try this show, I hope you manage to at least make it to that episode and are able to see why I personally love this show so much, and I also hope that it ends up as one of your new favourite comedies too.