It is once again my sincere pleasure to welcome a brand new Guest Reviewer to the Okazu family! I want you all to please welcome Elizabeth V and give her your full attention. The floor is yours, Elizabeth!
Sabagebu – Survival Game Club!, is a madcap, sometimes hilarious series that doesn’t take itself too seriously, despite some actual violence.
Momoka Sanokawa, a new student at an all-girls school, is coerced into joining the school’s survival game club by its president, Miou, a pretty and popular upperclassman with a wide violent streak. As the series progresses, Momoka, Miou, and their friends in the club undergo a series of wacky adventures ranging from fighting off upskirt photographers to an all-out road war in the Australian outback against a senior citizens’ survival club. Other members include the beautiful model Maya, the quiet cosplay fanatic Kayo, and the bubbly but ultimately violent Urara, whose obsessive crush on Miou is speedily transferred to Momoka in the first episode.
Animated by Pierrot+ and airing on Crunchyroll (regional restrictions may apply) this past summer season, the series’ pacing is speedy and each episode after the first has two or three stand-alone stories. An unseen, adult male narrator helpfully offers additional, often sarcastic remarks which occasionally cause the characters to break the fourth wall. The seemingly sweet Momoka is swiftly revealed to be rather cold and ruthless, undermining the common “innocent, good-hearted moe heroine” trope. She violently reacts to Urara’s extreme advances, often punching and slapping the younger girl (who always returns with even more fervent, masochistic devotion), but while this relationship is mostly played for laughs, it doesn’t come across as homophobic or demeaning, and by the end we are led to believe that in spite of it all, Momoka doesn’t actually find Urara that objectionable.
One thing which might bother some viewers is the amount of violence in the series. Although the narrator reassures us in the first few episodes that the bloody gunshot wounds and subsequent “deaths” only occur in the characters’ imaginations as they play their games with pellet-firing replica guns, the gory visuals might be upsetting. I have to admit, at first I was not at all interested in this series after seeing a screenshot from the first episode in which a character lies “dead” with bullet wounds in both breasts, but I reconsidered and started watching Sabagebu in earnest. I’m glad I did, however, the imagery might be too off-putting for some, so view at your own discretion.
Overall, although the humor of a few of the stories fell flat, the series was funny and enjoyable. Fanservice was mostly concerned with Maya’s generous assets. The characters’ outrageous adventures kept me laughing throughout, despite my initial reservations. Aided by side characters such as a stereotypical otaku called Fried Chicken Lemon, Momoka’s bizarrely cheerful and equally violent mother, and the club’s danger-prone advisor Miss Sakura, the Survival Game Club managed to keep me entertained despite my initial doubts, and gave me a new appreciation for pretend weaponry and the “magical gun-toting girl” transformations that accompanied it.
Art – 7
Story – 7
Characters – 7
Yuri – 5
Service – 6
Overall – 7
Thank you, thank you Elizabeth for the terrific review – and for the reminder that I should watch the rest of this series. I quite enjoyed the manga volumes I read. ^_^