The Infinite Zenith

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Tag Archives: Kayo Goutokuji

The Sabagebu Specials: A Reflection and Review on the OVAs

“The dumber people think you are, the more surprised they’re going to be when you kill them.” —William Clayton

A glance in the blog’s archives show that the last talk on Sabagebu! was made back in October 2014, nearly ten months ago. Released between October 2014 and February 2015, the Sabagebu! OVAs were bundled with the BD releases; there are a total of six volumes and consequently, six OVAs, each dealing with a variety of situations that wind up being remarkably entertaining to watch. I had a separate talk for the first OVA and was intending to do separate talks for each, but my own schedule precluded a proper review. However, with the summer fast drawing to a close, and my frequent promises to write about the remainder of Sabagebu!, it’s time to actually buckle down and discuss the OVAs.

Given that I’ve already viewed and reviewed the first of the OVAs, this talk will deal primarily with the remaining five OVAs and their contributions to Sabagebu!. This contribution appears to be insubstantial prima facie, given that all five of the OVAs are purely comedy-driven and do not serve to extend Sabagebu! further. However, Sabagebu! capitalises on the unique freedom offered by the OVAs to present Sabagebu!‘s characters in a variety of situations, using a variety of formats. Each of the individual OVAs thus stand out from one another, and possess a memorable aspect: the second OVA deals with April Fools’ jokes and energy drinks, the third with an unexpected sleepover at Momoka’s place, the fourth give Miou and Yayoi a chance to bounce off one another and the fifth turns things as simple as lunch and hanami into comedy gold. The final OVA represents the pinnacle of humour, making use of meta-humour to send off Sabagebu! in style. Together, the Sabagebu! OVAs demonstrate the series’ talent for executing black humour in new and refreshing ways without ever making the show tiresome to watch. Anime such as these are quite rare in this age, so it’s always welcoming for such shows to make it onto the market.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Sabagebu!‘s OVAs follow a very whimsical pattern and manages to pack in a great deal of humour into a short period: each OVA is roughly eight minutes long (if the opening and ending sequences are omitted), and the first of the Saba-Shorts opens with April Fools. I noted in the above passage that I had originally intended to do a separate talk for each OVA. However, I soon realised that doing a single post would save me around 60 percent of the effort (one post with twenty screenshots, rather than five posts with ten screenshots each). Unless otherwise informed, I’ll stake the claim that this is the largest collection of Sabagebu! OVA screenshots on the ‘net at present.

  • Here, Miou’s background means she’s unable to lie, and she turns her considerable resources towards making true certain things (such as her initial lie to Maya about the presence of cheesecake, which reminds me of a delicious chocolate cheesecake I had earlier this month). Both Saba-shorts are broken up into small segments: in Japanese, they’re called さばよん, and in this case, よん refers to the formatting, which takes after the four-panel (yonkoma) comics. As such, each segment ends with an outrageous joke or reaction, acting as the punchline that is seen in comic strips.

  • The second half of OVA 2 deals with energy drinks after Momoka comes to club one day in a sleepy state and the others recommend various energy drinks for her. I’ve never felt the need for excessive consumption of such things: the most I’ve relied on coffee was during the second term of my graduate studies, where I drank a mug of coffee during the mid-afternoon prior to my evening tutorials.

  • This term, I’m hoping to be a TA for an iOS development course, which ends at six in the evening. Hopefully, this means I’ll have office hours instead, so there won’t be any evening tutorial sessions. Returning back to Sabagebu!, decause this is an OVA, the narrator reasons, it’s possible to get away with more; the choice of image here reflects that notion, but on the whole, the Sabagebu! OVAs manage to be quite disciplined with respect to how much fanservice there actually is.

  • Maya, Urara, Miou and Kayo arrive in Momoka’s room through unknown inter-dimensional means to kick off a sleepover. There’s a shout-out to Yuru Yuri here: Kayo is wearing tomato-themed pajamas, which mirrors that of Kyouko’s during the first season’s finale. Of all the characters, Kayo seems to be directly inspired by The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi-chan‘s incarnation of Nagato Yuki, being into cosplay and all things anime while retaining excellent academic performance and a quite manner.

  • It was quite refreshing to see the Sabagebu! cast partake in an event that is frequently depicted in the west, right down to pillow fights, card games and love stories: refreshing because here, Sabagebu! has its own spin on things, which allows their variant to be quite memorable and distinct from the countless other iterations seen elsewhere. Apparently, this is supposed to be a rite-of-passage of sorts for youth as they develop connections with others.

  • The third OVA thus ends on a high note after an episode that, despite being a little zany at times, feels the most normal. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, and as Kazue finds the next morning, the girls do end up exhausting themselves and sleeping soundly.

  • Yayoi Isurugi was only mentioned once during the season review as the student council’s president whose misfortunes lead her to dislike Miou. Sporting braids during the anime, I prefer her appearance with her hair down, and here, she slips on a banana peel that Platy left behind. It turns out that Platy’s voice is not generated entirely by an electronic means: a special contraption and some skill is how they do it.

  • Yayoi’s personality is quite hot (in the sense of creating a flaming aura around her, that is), and she decides to stick close to Miou with the intent of having her ill-luck transfer to Miou. It turns out that Miou herself is having a “bad” day. Unverified claims suggest that Yayoi’s gradually becoming infatuated with Miou, although one might have to pick up the manga to ascertain whether this is true our not.

  • Yayoi’s fate at the end of the fourth OVA is somewhat unfortunate: after carrying her out of a classroom blaze (created when Yayoi slips and knocks over enough cooking material to create a small fire), Miou uses her as a cushion of sorts to safely land and seemingly kills her in the process. Thankfully, death is cheap in Sabagebu!: we recall that Urara was toasted by sharks in the previous OVA but returns nonetheless for the remainder of the OVAs.

  • The fourth OVA returns to the super-deformed styles seen in the second OVA: similar to Lucky Star, a fair section of this episode deals with a single conversation topic. In this case, it’s Obento, the packed lunches common in Japan. After recollecting her experiences, Momoka feeds Urara the items she didn’t like before going on a hunt for food, only to find that Miou and Maya have some unusual propensities.

  • I’ve no idea what motivates Momoka’s dialogue here, but shortly after, feathers begin flying as birds flock to Sakura, whose eating habits result in crumbs being dropped. It seems random, and that’s the point of the Saba-shorts, being able to turn a nonsensical series of events into something reasonably structured for animation.

  • Miou’s bourgeois background means that she’s somewhat unfamiliar with eating more conventional food items: dango are dumplings made from rice flour and served on a skewer. Downing the first two with no difficulty, Miou tries to eat the third one in the same manner and winds up impaling the roof of her mouth instead.

  • After seeing an alleged drunkard in the sakura trees, Miou breaks out a rifle to shoot them down. It turns out this is Sakura; much humour ensues from both Sakura’s irrational logic and Miou’s decision to shoot her (which understandably results in Maya and Momoka’s reactions here).

  • After reaching a standoff when a disagreement regarding the leaf on their sakura mochi, the girls see Miou sucking the insides of her mochi out and decide that’s more offensive than discarding or keeping the leaf, subsequently proceeding to plug her, demonstrating yet another instance where the unexpected outcome of a moment lends itself to hilarity.

  • The final OVA is probably the best one in a collection of already-excellent OVAs: making extensive use of meta-humour to reference the customers’ Blu-Ray purchasing patterns. The girls thank the audiences for having bought the entire collection, but Momoka wonders if it’s possible that some of the audience may have simply picked up the final volume, leading Kayo into a long-winded spiel about customer loyalty.

  • From what I know, the sales for Sabagebu! were not bad, and viewers did hold out hope for a second season. While not unappreciated, a second season would also be quite difficult to market on the basis that there is a limit to what one can reasonably do with black comedy of this sort (even if the manga itself is ongoing). Consequently, I personally find that the decision to end Sabagebu! here would be a wise one.

  • The final OVA deals with ōsama gēmu (King’s Game), where participants must draw pieces of paper, of which one is labeled as the “king.” It’s similar to the American game of truth or dare, the king gets to give out orders to any member of the group to which they must follow. After the order is carried out the pieces of paper are drawn again and a new king is appointed. Miou’s command is a bold one: she orders the system to swap Urara’s voice with that of the Narrator’s, yielding two minutes of solid laughs.

  • To top that, Maya’s clothing gets shot off yet again for no reason: even as it’s happening, the narrator reminds audiences that this will be the last bit of fanservice that will be present, implicitly justifying why it’s to happen. It’s pleasant to behold, and one imagines this is why Maya is even in the anime to begin with. Maya’s clothing damage is temporal; a few scenes later, when Maya herself takes on the king’s role, her orders are for a shoulder massage.

  • It’s appropriate that an anime about survival games ends with the cast preparing to engage in yet another thrilling round against one another. For those who’ve already seen the entirety of Sabagebu!, this final OVA acts as the proper conclusion to the entire anime, as it portrays a club whose members have accepted one another and are quite passionate about their club activities.

While there is not much in the way of themes and motifs that can be realistically explored in an anime about Momoka’s time in her high school’s survival games club, Sabagebu! manages to stand out from other comedies in being able to capitalise fully on the notion of airsoft, in conjunction with an anti-hero protagonist and a colourful cast of characters that, together, yield an anime that never fails to deliver hilarious moments: the OVAs succeed in doing so to the same extent that the anime did. The final OVA explicitly states that there will be no more animated adaptations of Sabagebu! for the foreseeable future (i.e. “never”), and knowing that Sabagebu!‘s OVAs act as the swan song, I find that as a whole, Sabagebu! earns a strong recommend for audiences looking for a comedy that’s something different, perhaps even a little macabre, to try out.

And Then Someone Was Gone: Sabagebu! OVA Review

“Let’s face it, comedy is a dead art form. Now tragedy, that’s funny.” —Bender, Futurama

The first Sabagebu! OVA was released on September 24 and follows one of the Survival Game Club’s summer outings. Despite a seemingly-ordinary train ride and Urara’s perversions appearing, things appear quite normal. However, this summer outing is no ordinary one: Miou has devised a fiendish assault course over the lake that the girls must traverse using all of their ingenuity and cunning. After a gruelling effort to reach the end point, Urara is knocked into shark-infested waters and promptly consumed, to Momoka and the others’ horror.

  • After three days and three nights, my cold’s finally disappeared, and with my spirit mostly restored, this weekend was productive as it usually is. This blog post was actually quite unexpected: this morning, after having woken up from a normal sleep free of illness-induced dreams, I finally decided to check out the first of the OVAs.

  • With my “cold weather’s coming” cold passing, the skies today turned a moody grey and snow began falling. I typically get sick twice a year for around three to four days: once before the weather switches from cold to warm during the spring, and once before the weather switches from warm to cold during the autumn. It’s accurate to within a week, and as it stands now, it’s time to break out the long-sleeves and autumn jackets.

  • I was wondering what was the factor behind the limited discussion of the OVA was, and after seeing it for myself, it’s not difficult to imagine why no one out there has provided a discussion, or even screenshots of the OVA. Maya’s presence in the cabin is actually quite restrained compared to what Urara and Momoka are doing, and Momoka will have none of Urara’s antics.

  • This assault course, though a watered-down version of TheRadBrad’s Wipeout in Trials Evolution, looks quite difficult to complete, bringing to mind some of the challenges seen in Japanese Gameshows. Individuals who take the time to follow the link will be treated to some seven minutes of some of the most amusing Trials Evolution gameplay I’ve ever seen, and in fact, this was probably the video that inspired me to actually purchase the game.

  • I have yet to actually beat Trials Evolution, despite having purchased it in December 2013. I think I have most of the Terminal Velocity maps unlocked, and records show that the last time I played was back when I wrote my SoniAni halfway point reflection post, which was some eight months ago now.

  • Despite Momoka’s reservations about the school swimsuit look, the others convince her to continue onwards with the obstacle course. The first portion consists of an inclined plane of 100 percent grade, which Urara attempts to take advantage of and consequently, is knocked back to the starting line.

  • While Kayo painstakingly tries to make her way across the horizontal bars, Miou bypasses it by walking over top the bars. Doing arm-over-arm on horizontal bars is quite difficult, and even though I train to keep my fitness up, doing the bars still leaves my arms and shoulders a small amount of soreness. When I was in elementary school, I was able to swing around on these bars without any difficulty, and even though I’m absolutely certain I can lift far more than I did back then, it is a little interesting to see the differences in endurance.

  • The inclusion of eels in the pool toes the line for what can be acceptably shown here. Because this is an OVA, certain details are paid to here that were not present within the TV series, and if I had chosen to take the screenshot a few hundred milliseconds earlier, I’m sure this blog would go straight to the 14A category (as of late, it’s been inching towards the PG-13 rating). Again, Maya succumbs to the eels while the others make it through that section of the obstacle course without too much difficulty.

  • The final section of the obstacle course features sharks, and although everyone makes it across in once piece, Momoka and Maya’s swimsuits suffer some structural damage and failure, respectively. However, Urara’s depraved tendencies means that Momoka kicks her back into the shark pools, where even her super-strength cannot save her. The OVA ends on a shocking note, and while I realise this post is essentially a spoiler for the OVA’s events, I’ve chosen not to include screenshots for those specific moments.

  • One does wonder if Sabagebu! has applied Bender’s claim that tragedy is a greater comedy than comedy itself to the OVA. With that said, the OVA marks a welcome return by Ssabagebu!, and thus, my reservations about the next OVA is outweighed by the fact that Sabagebu! delivers comedy exceptionally well. Regular programming resumes after this post, with a talk on Shirobako coming out before October draws to a close.

Clocking in at around ten minutes, the Sabagebu! OVA is in the same vein as the TV Series, although becuase it was intended to be for the Blu-Ray release, the OVA is decidely more risque than the TV series, turning Urara’s crush on Momoka into something that’s off the charts. Sabagebu! has been finished since late September, so the OVA does bring back the humour that had made the TV series particularly entertaining to watch. With that said, the ending is macabre, even by Sabagebu! standards; Urara’s fate is ambiguous here simply becuase Sabagebu! has never drawn the line between fantasy and reality, allowing characters to respawn freely. While the episode’s title suggests that Urara might be finished off, Urara is also known as the “Unkillable Twintail”, so my money’s on her returning to the second OVA, which is set to release on October 29. My money’s also on a month-long wait to see said OVA.

Sabagebu!- Final Reflections

“Humour is the weapon of unarmed people: it helps people who are oppressed to smile at the situation that pains them.” —Simon Wiesenthal

This season’s most unusual and amusing comedy comes to a close. Sabagebu! is an anime that I had entered with no expectations: beyond the basic understanding that Sabagebu! was about survival games, I was not sure which direction the anime would take. Previously, I had been anticipating something not dissimilar to that of Stella Women’s Academy: High School Division Class C³, where a new student joins the school’s survival game club and subsequently learns the value of friendship and teamwork over victory. However, even after just one epiosde, Sabagebu! makes it clear that things are not so cut-and-dried. The anime is simply not meant to be taken seriously, and Sabagebu! goes to great lengths to remind audiences that it is not intending to take itself seriously. The end result is an anime that goes against convention; anime veterans will be surprised to be continuously told that the combat sequences are elaborate figments of the girls’ imagination, and the narrator will often mention that any incredulous moments in the anime can exist because this is fiction. In other anime, such moments lead to ceaseless discussions about whether or not certain things made logical sense, but Sabagebu! immediately encourages viewers to simply enjoy the scenes as they happen, rather than attempt to analyse or interpret it.

  • Momoka reacts to her decision after conceding a game to Lemon, an obese otaku she challenges at a local arcade. The terms of the challenge were simple: if she had lost, she would agree to have her photo taken with Lemon, although in a rare instance of good sportsmanship, Momoka decides to have her photo taken anyways. Though not shown here, Lemon makes several appearances in later episodes and acts as a source of comic relief, knocking the humour factor in Sabagebu! up to twelfth gear.

  • Voiced by Kikou Inoue (best known for her roles as Ah! MY Goddess!‘s Belldandy and Chobits Chitose Hibiya), Kazue Sonokawa is Momoka’s mother and an even more skilled marksman than Momoka, defeating the latter after she tries to weasel out of eating her broccoli.

  • Momoka is entranced by the sight of a rare airsoft gun, and after finding it, her conscious engages in a gunfight of their own to determine whether Momoka should sell it and keep the profits for herself, or else return it to Miou. Despite her good side winning out, Momoka overrides her conscious but succumbs to forces beyond comprehension.

  • One of the running jokes in Sabagebu! is Maya’s propensity to be taken out first out of anyone, regardless of which team the Survival Game Club is facing, sometimes, without getting any kills. I am reminded of my tendencies in Battlefield 3: because I prefer the run-and-gun style gameplay, I do not maintain long killstreaks and as such, do not have any combat efficiency ribbons.

  • Jealous of Miou’s constantly one-upping her at Student Council meetings, Yayoi Isurug tries to take down the Survival Game Club but is ultimately unsuccessful in all of her attempts, ending up hospitalised in several of her attempts. Such events would be unthinkable in other name, but by nature, Sabagebu! can pull this sort of thing off without troubling the viewers.

  • After seeing a village’s plight, Miou decides that the Survival Game Club will obtain hunting licenses and aid in wiping out the vermin consuming the aforementioned village’s crops. However, after weeks of study and familiarisation with hunting rifles and shotguns, it turns out that everyone is too young (the minimum age is twenty, and firearms are strictly regulated under Japanese law).

  • Miou unleashes her mini-gun’s fury against a purported stalker on campus grounds after learning that Maya and Urara were taken out. The comedy builds up once it is realised that the intruder was Kazue, who had shown up to give Momoka her lunch.

  • In what was probably the most fanservice-heavy episode, the Survival Game Club goes up against “The Immaculate and Pure Ladies Academy”; while they wear Santa outfits, the rival school is decked out in full combat gear and quickly eliminate the others with the intent of getting their mittens on Maya and proceed to do questionable things to her.

  • While Maya is quickly taken out in most fights, this is the only time that Maya is not the first to be eliminated. After being pushed into a tight spot, she manages to escape her pursuers and winds up in a heated barrel bath. Subsequent dialogue and execution was almost certainly taken straight from Yuru Yuri, including Urara commenting it would be better if the barrels were smaller, and Maya subsequently rolling over and landing in a distant body of water in the same manner as Akari Akaza had.

  • The things that happen to Maya this episode are downright cruel, but Sabagebu manages to pass these moments off as comedy. Perhaps in part out of sympathy for Maya’s predicament and near-certain probability of being eliminated first, as well as being the most kind-hearted and hottest member of the Survival Game Club, Maya is one of my favourite characters. The other is Kayo, who strongly resembles The Melancholy of Suzumiya-chan‘s Yuki Nagato in terms of mannerisms and interests.

While Sabagebu! might defy all convention and is purely driven by black comedy, after twelve episodes, it becomes clear that even in such an outlandish anime, participation in high school clubs (in Japan) is meant to be a beneficial activity for students, enabling personal growth. Momoka’s experiences with Miou, Maya, Kayo and Urara leave her with a stronger impression of what friendship is. Assuming the narration holds truth, Momoka was not particularly sociable previously, but by the finale, in a firefight against the National Survival Games organisation, the others reveal that her presence in the club adds a unique spice to things and the club wouldn’t be as lively in her absence, even for all her faults. Thus, the typically self-centred, vindictive Momoka is presented as being capable of sincere emotion as well, in contrast to her usual personality. This depiction probably stems from the motivation behind most clubs in Japanese high schools, which are to foster mutual cooperation and trust by means of sharing a common activity. Numerous anime depict after-school clubs (including K-On!, Haruhi, Girls und Panzer, Tari Tari, Tamayura, OreGairu and Haganai) as activities that bring club members closer together and/or aid them in rediscovering themselves. The fact that even something like Sabagebu! ultimately is able to do the same, is a reminder of how clubs are viewed as a positive aspect within the Japanese education system.

  • Urara and Yammy (an idol) fight over Momoka after the latter manages to help Yammy view unrequited love in a different light and regain her confidence.  Previously, Yammy was jilted and over-ate as a coping mechanism, leading to massive weight gain. However, Momoka’s advice manages to help her recover (she suggests that Yammy focus on herself and disregard her love interest entirely). Despite being excessive and self-centered, Momoka’s suggestions are, in actuality, more extreme variants of advice given in real-world cases.

  • For my amusement, I will include an image of Maya stripping down after chancing upon a jungle pool; while this was originally intended to be a training event of sorts, the Survival Game club finds themselves pursued by mysterious beings.

  • Momoka’s selfish, vengeful manners makes her remarkably difficult to sympathise with: she sacrifices Kayo and lies through her teeth to Miou, and even after the mysterious beings, cat-like aliens, praise Momoka’s underhanded methods, she merely shoots them. Here, we have a character who is even more of an anti-hero than Bender, and similarly, is equally amusing to watch.

  • A communications error leads Momoka to accidentally get Miou’s gun decorated, rather than maintained. Strangely enough, the addition of decorations manages to improve performance, adding weight to reduce recoil and even providing an impromptu set of iron sights.

  • So impressed is Miou with the improvements, she takes the entire Survival Game club to get their weapons decked out, much to Momoka and Urara’s embarrassment. Kayo and Maya, on the other hand, seem perfectly fine with the new enhancements. Over the summer, I was experimenting with different weapon customisations in Battlefield 3, and I found that the holo sights, plus a heavy barrel, wasn’t so bad.

  • I’ll doubtlessly have mentioned this before, but I am a huge fan of seafood, especially prawns, crab and lobster. I was once asked what my favourite food was, and after returning those items as an answer, was asked what my favourite commoner food was. That would probably be poutine.  This segment turned out to be remarkably funny after the centerpiece, a crab, goes AWOL, after the Survival Game club tries to cook it.

  • Platy demonstrates a great deal of concern for the crab and engages the Survival Game club in a massive firefight, bringing a bottomless supply of Škorpion vz. 61 submachine guns and even an AT-4 to the fight. While the Survival Game Club ultimately comes out on top, they decide to spare the crab after a game of rock-paper-scissors (by choosing to let the crab win). Moments of kindness, though rare in Sabagebu!, are not unwelcome.

  • The Sabagebu! finale strangely brings to mind the current Ebola outbreak, turning an epidemic into a comedic matter. Elsewhere, an action such as this would be considered to have been done with poor taste, but this was probably unintentional. In Sabagebu!, Momoka develops an illness from a mysterious virus and is pursued by government containment forces, which turns out to be the National Survival Game club.

  • Despite her tendencies, Miou, Urara, Kayo and Maya decide to stick it out with Momoka; even though Momoka’s personality is vile and she isn’t all that friendly, the Survival Games club views her as a friend for keeping things interesting, and fight to the last individual. As the battle progresses, the Survival Game club and its reinforcements are eventually overpowered, but a ceasefire is declared after the National Survival Games club’s head learns that overnight, a cure was developed, and the virus was not an airborne pathogen, leaving everyone in shock.

  • Even though it was late summer when Sabagebu! finished, the anime decides to, for no good reason (as alluded to by the narrator), take things to Christmas. Urara’s birthday happens to fall on the same day and thus, usually remains uncelebrated. After deciding on what to do for her birthday (and experiencing several hilarious screw-ups in the process), the club finally settles on the best gift: Momoka. Her ultimate fate seems befitting as an ending, and what exactly happens to her will remain an exercise for the imagination. Justice is balance; following all of the stuff Momoka subjects everyone to, one may consider them even. Up next is a talk on Glasslip, and Wolfire’s Reciever

Any talk about Sabagebu! cannot ignore the overwhelming presence of over-the-top, often macabre comedy that is present in the anime. Consisting of a number of shorts, each segment has limited continuity with the others, and although some things do carry over (most memorably, Lemon and Momoka’s weight-gain, for the most part, the things that happen (whether it be alien survival game participants, the downed helicopters from a botched attempt to save Urara from the edge of the school, or the Survival Game Club’s effort to gain hunting licenses to save a village) tend to stay within the episode. Sabagebu! follows Fry’s paradigm about good television: “at the end of the episode, everything is always right back to normal”. In doing so, the sheer ridiculousness of each moment drives home the fact that, yes, Sabagebu! is meant to entertain and that having a logical flow is by no means necessary or sufficient for an anime to bring a smile to the viewers.

Sabagebu!- Review and Impressions After Three

“You know, my dad owns a gun shop, but, you know, he doesn’t like to admit it, but I think it makes him real nervous when I work there, ’cause anytime I get a gun in my hand, it just automatically points to somebody’s head. Sometimes I think, maybe I wanna join the army. I mean it’s basically like FPS, except better graphics, but what happens if I get lag out there? I’m dead! I mean, I even heard there’s no respawn points in RL. What do you do, when you’re person like me, when you’re born to play FPS? There’s just nothing left to do but play FPS!”  —FPS_Doug, Pure Pwnage

Sabagebu! (Survival Game Club!) is another one of this season’s offerings, following one Momoka Sonokawa and her recruitment into her high school’s Survival Game Club. As previously noted in the season preview, I decided to follows Sabagebu! for what appeared to be a series not dissimilar to that of Stella Women’s Academy: High School Division Class C³, but after three episodes, it becomes immediately apparent that Sabagebu! is far removed from ; black comedy dominates Sabagebu! in all of its moments, and by the presence of an in-show commenter, clearly presents itself as an anime that’s driven by whacky, cruel humour one cannot help but crack a smile at. Such an approach, though unorthodox, is remarkably refreshing and fun to watch. With this said, some moments do come across as rather excessive, despite being presented as a comedy, and as such, the brand of humour in Sabagebu! might not be for everyone.

  • I’ll start by introducing the main characters: from left to right, Momoka Sonokawa, Maya Kyoudou, Urara Kasagono, Kayo Goutokuji and Miou Ootori. Sabagebui! looks like just another survival game anime with moé, but those coming in might be surprised, and Momoka even tells viewers to sleep if the show isn’t to their liking in the opening cue.

  • Miou’s equipment, though suitable for desert combat, stands out in urban Japan. She’s carrying a SCAR-L, an assault rifle that is characterised by its lower caliber and shorter barrel compared to its cousin, the SCAR-H. I’m not sure if I’ll have the opportunity to crack too many references to Battlefield 3 here: it’s been a while since I’ve played properly, so much time have I spent within Deus Ex: Human Revolution, to the point where I’ve now got muscle memory problems and end up meleeing when I make to aim down the sights (I bound the middle mouse button to melee for Battlefield 3 and Deus Ex: Human Revolution has the middle mouse button for aiming down sights).

  • After Momoka’s words lead to misunderstandings, she gets bullied by her classmates. It takes Miou’s intervention to sort things out, but Momoka unearths her twisted side here. For some reason, it is ridiculously entertaining to see Momoka’s revenge sprees. Nothing is taken seriously at all in Sabagebu!, leading to moments of pure comedy.

  • Momoka is taken to a gun shop by the others to get her a weapon after she joins the Survival Game Club (against her will); the Beretta M92F becomes her weapon of choice, and despite being a sidearm, Momoka uses it to great effect in her earliest battles. Miou uses the Desert Eagles, while Maya prefers the M4A1. Urara uses the Glock 26C, and Kaya walks onto the battlefield with MAC-11s.

  • As a gravure model, Maya is not afrait to flaunt her assests, constantly incurring Momoka’s wrath and envy. Whether or not this indirectly leads to Momoka’s unnatural performance in her first battle is left ambiguous, although the fact that Maya is the first to be downed may be indicative that Momoka  won’t be getting past Maya’s appearance any time soon.

  • A EOTech 512 holographic sight can be seen on Maya’s M4A1. From my perspective, I typically never run with a holographic sight in Battlefield 3; even though it has a slightly higher magnification, the sight zooms in more slowly and results in a loss in the field of vision owing to its size. I typically roll with a Kobra RDS or the reflex sight to accommodate for a more aggressive play-style at close quarters.

  • Urara “enjoys” a moment with Momoka; in trying to remove her from the Survival Game club, she accidentally triggers a misunderstanding during the second episode that leads the others to believe that Momoka is setting them up for an ambush exercise.

  • In an unexpected turnaround, Momoka makes to shoot at a praying mantis and somehow downs everyone else. She later gets her revenge on Urara, but unintentionally brings out Urara’s masochistic tendencies in the process.

  • Kamo is a platypus who acts as the club’s mascot: after being brought there by Miou, he hangs out at Momoka’s house more often, indulging in breakfast on a few occasions. It seems that previously, Momoka had very few friends: her mother makes note of this after Miou visits earlier on, and when Urara visits, is similarly pleased that Momoka is getting along at her new high school just fine. At home, Momoka is referred to as “Mokarin”, which clearly evokes memories of Girls und Panzer‘s Saori, who calls Miho “Miporin” and Yukari “Yukarin”.

  • The sort of ‘training’ Momoka subjects Maya to in preparation for a natto commercial crosses the line twice. The scenes are simultaneously hilarious and cringe-inducing at the same time, leading one to wonder how Momoka manages to get away with half the stuff she does. She may be the series’ protagonist, but anti-hero would probably be a better descriptor.

Now that I’m three episodes in, it’s clear that Sabagebu! has not let up with its dark spin on survival games and, in particular, the colourful cast of characters. The first things that comes to mind is Momoka’s fiery temperament; Momoka’s vindictive side is sociopathy at its finest, but rather than detracting from her character, it adds to her distinction from most transfer students. Rather than shying away and looking to gain new friends, Momoka upfront about dispensing vengeance on all those who cross her, pulling no punches in exacting justice. This unique personality, paired with her natural ability with BB guns, makes her a perfect fit for the Survival Game Club. In particular, Momoka’s inclination towards solving problems via excessive force has also has one unintended side-effect: after fragging Urara Kasugano in revenge for the latter mistreating her, Urara develops limerance for Momoka. This brings to mind Ika Musume!’s Sanae: both girls develop a macabre love of having their faces remodelled by their respective crushes. Besides Momoka and Urara, the Survival Game Club also has a boisterous president, Miou Ootori, who was held back for an alledged misconduct. She is widely respected at school for her personality, but expresses a keen interest in Momoka. Maya Kyoudou is another member who works part-time as a gravure idol, while Kayo Goutokuji is a taciturn individual who joined to further her cosplay interests and in fact, brings to mind The Melancholy of Suzumiya-chan‘s Nagato Yuki-chan, who has a similar personality and love for cosplay. Armed with such a diverse cast, Sabagebu! excels at allowing the characters to bounce off one another.

  • Momoka misinterprets Kaya’s desire to talk to about cosplay and winds up engaging her in a firefight. The two are so caught up in their battle that when Miou, Maya and Urara join, they are wiped out instantly. Momoka brings her vindictive side to the table again here, shooting down Kaya after the two reach a stalemate and the latter declares a draw.

  • Sakura-sensei is the Survival Games Club’s advisor, and despite her clumsy, easy-going demeanor, is feared amongst the Survival Games Club for her unnerving talent to bring disaster wherever she goes. The build-up to this scene is clever: viewers are anticipating something scary, which contributes to the humour once it’s revealed that the daemon is hardly intimidating from a matter of appearances. Her assignment for the Survival Games Club, on the other hand, puts me to fear.

  • Back during June, a wasp queen decided that the light fixture in front of my house was the perfect place to make a new colony and began building a nest there. For a while, I was wondering why guests and visitors were so hasty about entering and exiting, but once we caught on, we had to remove the nest. Thankfully, at that point, the nest was still small enough so that we could remove it using a plastic bag, ending the wasp’s colony before it even started. Here, the Survival Games Club shows us how wasp removal is properly done; Kaya’s mask evokes a similar feel to the masks from Call of Duty: Ghosts.

  • Sakura’s mannerisms, though cute, epitomise the sort of behaviour that leads to a spot on the Darwin Awards. While the wasp nest we took out was about two inches across and only held the queen (plus its larvae), the basketball-sized one Sakura is holding looks mature and houses anywhere from three to ten thousand individuals.

  • Despite how spectacular it may look, setting fire to a wasp nest is not the best idea, since the fire won’t likely kill all of the wasps at once, leaving a bunch of angry wasps who will seeking revenge with the same intensity as Momoka. In keeping with Sabagebu!‘s mood, the girls do succeed in wiping out the wasps, but also burn their clubhouse down in the process.

  • My weekend was spent relaxing: this post was originally supposed to come out two days ago, but on Saturday, I was out for Dim Sum with the family, then went to Kilkenny’s to celebrate a friend’s birthday. After that, I was invited for tea and decided to try Darjeeling tea. Yesterday, I spent most of the day practising for my advanced license, then went out in the evening to The Keg, where I ordered the steak and half lobster. The steak was very flavourful, and I was somewhat surprised, though impressed, that “half a lobster” was indeed half a lobster, which went great with the garlic butter.

  • It somewhat bothers me whenever a high school student is forced into a showdown with an elementary student: here, Momoka squares off against Roselia Haguro of Chino Elementary School, who wields a G36C. The two reach a stalemate, and Miou decides to end it by challenging both to retrieve the club’s platypus after a battle-hardened crow makes off with it. In what is a hilarious equivalent of the Goldberg machine, Momoka somehow wins.

  • In a flashback, Roselia was denied a prize during a summer festival. Miou intervened and used her sharpshooting skills to win everything, but was not generous enough to give Roselia the prize she had sough, a stuffed bear. Since then, Roselia has held a grudge against Miou and sought to challenge her, but wound up angering Momoka by insulting her.

  • After Momoka wins, Miou decides to give Roselia her bear, and shoots a real bear, who pursues them. The narrator mentions how absurd the whole situation is, adding to the feel that yes, this is a comedy and things aren’t necessarily supposed to make sense, or be taken too seriously. Looking back, the past weekend has been quite taxing on my eating patterns: on Saturday, Dim Sum saw a lot of fried shrimp dishes, while I had a Shepard’s Pie dinner. Then yesterday, there was the aforementioned sirloin and half-lobster; I’ll be resuming my normal schedule tomorrow and shouldn’t have too much trouble lifting the weight gain away.

  • The bear Miou shot doesn’t even have any malevolent will towards anyone and is seen in an outdoor hot springs with Chino’s survival game club, Momoka and all of the animals involved in that well-crafted Goldberg machine sequence. After three episodes, I’m going to continue watching Sabagebu!; I’ve decided to change things up a little for the next while for the blog, and do a “after-six” for both Aldnoah.Zero and Sword Art Online II. Both anime are holding my attention and entertaining me quite nicely so far, but as I am keeping up with them somehow, I feel that knowing what happens after three episodes, but restricting myself to three episodes’ worth of discussion, may make writing a solid discussion more difficult.

As with Rail Wars! and Futsū no Joshikōsei ga Locodol Yattemita, Sabagebu! is a series that has enough positives going for it to hold my interest; here, the interplay between its black comedy and characters lends itself to the anime’s strongest point. There are moments where characters are bloodied by the physical abuse they subject one another to, as well as the delusions the girls appear to indulge in whenever they engage in survival games. However, beyond bloody scenes, everything in Sabagebu! is done in good humour (or at least, good humour for the viewers). Momoka’s cruelty streak alone is enough to motivate me to continue watching this series for how over-the-top it is, but between the comically overdone combat scenes and colourful characters, Sabagebu! is probably the Battlefield: Bad Company 2 in its genre, representing a welcome change of pace from existing anime about survival games.