226th G-View: Sabagebu! Survival Game Club

Looks like the old saying, “third time’s the charm”, applies to this show. This is Sabagebu!

Sabagebu Cover

Genres: Action, Comedy, Girls with Guns, Yuri

Themes: Military, Airsoft, milsim

Number of episodes: 12 + 6 OVAs

G-Rating: 8/10

Plot Summary: Momoka Sonokawa is an (initially) average high school girl who wanted her high school life to be as “normal” as possible. All that changed one day during a train ride when she was “rescued” from a pervert by an awkward girl named Miou Ootori. She is later coerced into joining the Sabagebu, thus begins Momoka and the other four club members’ days of playing airsoft and whatever other survival games pop up in their heads.

Funny faces

Before Sabagebu there were two previous attempts at showing an anime about a group of girls playing airsoft. The problem is both shows flopped because they tried being serious by applying “Cerebus Syndrome” to their plot when it was not necessary in the slightest. Upotte!! failed because it needlessly integrated advancements of sexual harassment, inferiority complexes, ego trips and gang wars along with pointless teacher drooling. The underaged fanservice didn’t do it any favors either. There was some yuri but it felt like pandering and was bland. Stella Jo-Gakuin C3-Bu fared somewhat better than Upotte by removing any male involvement, toning down the fanservice and delivering more focused airsoft battles. Unfortunately it too failed to reach its full potential by once again implementing cerebus syndrome in the second half. While the message was appreciated and internet critics masturbated to its “epic storytelling” the whole 180 turn came out of left field and was better suited for a military drama than a slice of life girls club show. Sabagebu has NONE of that stuff (much to paid reviewers’ chagrin) and remains an oddball comedy from beginning to end. That was all I (and hopefully more people) asked for.

Sabagebu combat gear

The one disadvantage to the show remaining comedic in nature with very few “dramatic” moments (I think there were only one or two instances of drama but they were quickly brushed off by the end sketch punchline) is that several sketches, the airsoft matches in particular, came off as formulaic. Despite the different settings  each fight took place in, the end result would usually be the same with few exceptions. This also means continuity is scarce. Sometimes past events are brought up and changes that took place one sketch prior are carried over to other sketches but they are again brushed off. The writers were aware of this and made sure that the girls took advantage of each setting they were in and parodied as many classic media as they could such as Aliens vs Predator, James Bond and even Mad Max.

KO

They also borrow Stella C3-bu’s fantasy warfare presentation as an excuse to slightly ramp up the violence by including fictional blood and headshots that’s all in their heads.

Momoka's -nice girl- routine

When the girls aren’t busy gunning each other or their opponents down they engage in other “survival games” or whatever they deem qualifies as such like 12-hour meditation or salvaging one’s womanhood.

One would wonder if the show’s sketches have any noteworthy morals…I guess there are some but I doubt anyone would pick this show up to have their lives forever changed.

The animation quality is decent but the soundtrack, save for the cool OP, excellent ED and main battle theme is forgettable.

Might as well go over the main cast next.

Momoka's life mantra

First up is Momoka who was seen as a breath of fresh air for some as far as female protagonists are concerned. I personally think it’s cool to get occasional female protagonists like her in comedies but I’d prefer her archetype be occasional rather than common. See, Momoka is self-centered, egotistical, greedy, vengeful, merciless, crude, rarely kind (when she pities someone but mostly when it benefits her), deceptive and an all-around jerk. She will however use her “nice girl” facade with other people she doesn’t know unless they too insult or threaten her. Basically she’s self-absorbed and an egomaniac.

Mio Ootori

Miou can be best described as a young adult woman who is both a role model and extremist at the same time. She’s a respected bishoujo to her peers but when she focuses on something or makes a vow she will follow her words or actions to the very end and only breaks them if it messes up her mojo or gets the other members in trouble.

Maya Kyoudou

Maya, unsurprisingly, is my favorite character on the show. The nicest girl of the bunch. Unfortunately that means she is the weakest member of the club. She is also very sensitive leading to occasional emotional breakdowns.

Kayo Goutokuji

Kayo is the resident quiet girl of the show. She only gets serious (meaning reacts to something) whenever an opportunity arises for her to cosplay, discussing anime or when upset. Otherwise she’s just there reading manga or working on her latest costume, which she can change into in seconds.

Urara's reactionChinatsu's last chance at bliss this week

And then there’s the girl I assume is the fan favorite (unless it’s Momoka), Urara. She is known for three things: Being deceptively cute, a masochist and a lesbian. The second trait is what, for the most part, defines her love for Momoka. Think of her as a less adorable but more dangerous Chinatsu.

Overall Sabagebu is what I was looking for in both Upotte and Stella C3-bu. Although usually formulaic and lacking of a general storyline it is not meant to have one, instead focusing on several amusing short sketches with a beginning, middle and end that sometimes have continuity. I am not certain who to recommend this show to other than viewers who shared my disappointment for the previously two mentioned shows. For everyone else check out the first episodes and see for yourselves.

Platypus vs Crab

PS: Platy is boss!

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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43 Responses to 226th G-View: Sabagebu! Survival Game Club

  1. cirno9fan says:

    Is the 12th episode already out…?

    Like

  2. elkat4 says:

    Honestly, Maya has to be my favorite character. I guess, as G pointed out, it’s because she’s nicest girl in the anime. While I’ll admit, I’ve been rather forgiving of more “bitchy” girls (Ume Shiraume, Seraphim), that’s usually because I enjoy them watching beating the male protagonist to a bloody pulp (these aforementioned male protagonists generally taking a worse beating than these girls put them through), I’ve always had a soft spot for nice girls (and woobie dark magical girls like Fate or Homura, but that’s a different topic).

    While Momoka’s less than pure personality is an interesting breath of fresh air, it’s a kind of air that can quickly grow stale if breathed too much.

    Miou has never been all that interesting to me. I find her antics, amusing, but I’ve never cared for her (despite her mad charisma score).

    I find Kayo’s quiet stoicism to be rather underwhelming. Stoic characters can be interesting, but only in more serious anime. In a comedy series like this, she just doesn’t stand out.

    Urara’s only real redeeming trait is that there is more to her running gag than just being a lesbian (comic relief lesbian characters are worth a dime a dozen). Sadly, the fact her lesbianism isn’t treated all that seriously combined with her pursuits towards a girl that will never return her feelings just makes it hard for me to root for.

    As for the minor characters, I have to say Yayoi is my best. Normally I find the tsundere routine a bit tiresome or enjoy a tsundere more when they’re being tsuntsun than deridere, but I find Yayoi an acceptable level of tsundere particularly because she doesn’t try to be a tsundere. Her every attempt to sabotage Miou winds up with her getting into trouble and having to be saved by Miou, much to her chagrin. It just happens that her peer’s gossip has mistaken to being Miou’s girlfriend and Miou’s oujosama that causes her to react in such a tsundere manner. It may also help that she’s the only character in this anime with a hime cut. ;p

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      The more I read your character opinions the less I get what you look for in stuff. To be fair I’ll try my best to understand. Let’s see.

      -We both like Maya.
      -We both agree that jerky protagonists should not be frequently used.
      -You don’t like Kayo or Miou. Okay.
      -You dislike yuri being treated as a joke. Neither do I so I get your disdain for Urara.
      -The last paragraph is you going back and forth on Yayoi.

      Like

      • elkat4 says:

        I believe I should clarify my opinions on certain characters a little better. WARNING! My opinions of certain characters are in consistent state of flux and are bound to change a moment’s notice without warning. Trying to understand my train of thought may lead to immense confusion and splitting headaches. You have been warned.

        Miou. My biggest issue with Miou is that they introduced as having the affection of almost every girl in her school and this aspect of her character is almost completely dropped after the first episode until Yayoi was introduced. This likely due to the fact Miou is rarely seen interacting with any outside the survival game club (other than the members of other survival game clubs). My low opinion of her is more likely a skewed perception of her role within the plot and setting, than a dislike for her personality.

        Kayo. Thinking about her a little more, my opinion of her is that I fear she is too much like myself. Even though she’s a member of a club, she keeps to herself unless another club member embarks upon a topic by which she takes interest in where she will happily join in the conversation. If she is anything like myself, she is likely an introvert who only spends time with the other members of the survival game club out of desire to be sociable, even if that means not directly interacting with them. I’m relatively curious if she has friends outside of the survival game club and if she does, what she’s like around them.

        Like

  3. r0nkun says:

    “Psychopath: a person who is mentally ill, who does not care about other people, and who is usually dangerous or violent” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary

    Need I even say it?

    Like

  4. Greenlightning says:

    I am ashamed that it took me till episode 8 to realize that Urara and chinatsu have the same voice actor. Loved the show by the way

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      They’re both purple haired girls who have dormant dark sides though their lust for the girl they like differs, especially since Yui’s more likable than Momoka.

      Like

      • cirno9fan says:

        *pink-haired

        And, Chinatsu is kinda having a chance with someone else, but I don’t want to get too far into Manga spoiler territory.

        I do like Chinatsu more, but not by a huge amount. Urara’s very honest in what she does, and I don’t see what’s wrong with that really. Plus, after episode 12, she really has more of a chance than Chinatsu has with Yui. Probably helps she’s going after someone who’s also a bit of a mental case. Whereas Chinatsu is going after someone who is completely level-headed.

        Like

      • Overlord-G says:

        Fine…magenta colored if you want to be precise.
        Urara’s fine. Pitied her more as the show progressed though but I suppose the end gave us hope that she might still have a shot.. Besides Chinatsu’s cuter.

        Like

    • And I realized it only when reading your post! I’m handing over my yuri-class anime license…

      Like

  5. cirno9fan says:

    Well, after seeing episode 12, I can safely say that was a way better finale than I had anticipated~ I really freakin loved the episode! And Urara was just amazing in every way and in her completely best form throughout! She didn’t take advantage of Momoka in her completely defenseless state (excluding her birthday gift, but that was a gift, and it wouldn’t be nice to turn down the gratitude of the Survival game Club). Oddly, while Akari is the antithesis of Momoka, her and Momoka share in that no matter how much they see of Chinatsu/Urara’s dark side, they don’t seem to actually hate them.

    So many awesome scenes in this episode though! Was glad they brought back the loli! Hopefully another season would bring more of her, and the crazy lady. She’s hilarious xD

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      At least Urara’s love is super serious (going beyond masochism) and the writers acknowledged it, so that’s a plus.

      There’s still the OVA so maybe she’ll return there.

      Like

      • cirno9fan says:

        Maybe so.

        And I always felt her love was ‘serious’, but glad that others feel the same now. My cue was back after she attacked Momoka. The attack itself wasn’t the kicker, but how she genuinely felt regret over what she had done. A super perverted girl that wasn’t looking for anything serious wouldn’t really care, and would just ‘wait it out’. But, Urara did not just ‘wait it out’. She felt horrible over what she had done. There probably other moments too, but that was the scene where I suddenly saw her in a new light.

        Like

    • yurimylove says:

      what you just said (“didn’t take advantage of Momoka in her completely defenseless state”) reminded me of another similar masochistic character — Sanae in Squid Girl. I really love Sanae, despite her being a gag character much like Urara. As a yuri fan you probably already knew this, but like Urara Sanae also did not take advantage of Squid Girl when she was weakened/defenseless (due to fever I think). But in the off chance you haven’t watched Squid Girl you should check it out!

      Like

      • Overlord-G says:

        I’m pretty sure he did see Squid Girl (It has a loli protagonist after all) and you are correct about Urara and Sanae being similar in masochism and their love being serious despite their lust taking over more often.

        Like

      • cirno9fan says:

        i have most certainly! And I continually wait for a 3rd season!
        Sanae is awesome~
        She’s got way less of a chance than Urara though xD

        Like

      • Overlord-G says:

        Especially because her love interest isn’t exactly human, only human shaped. Besides Squid Girl has other girls she sadly prefers over Sanae.

        Like

  6. yurimylove says:

    I also scored this 8/10. I got plenty of lulz out of it, with subtext as bonus, hey what more could a yuri otaku ask for right? Good character summaries by the way!

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      It was a pretty good show indeed.

      The show was self-explanatory and the characters did not nor needed to go beyond their character traits.

      Like

  7. Cyan says:

    I really liked this anime, the narrator said it all. They are totally mocking Stella c3 and it was hilarious till the end. The protagonist was a nice change from the typical stereotypes, but you are right it’s only fun to have a protagonist like that once in a while.
    Momoka being a jerk suited her role in this comedy, Miou and Maya are so sexy. Hahaha and the comparison of Urara to Chinatsu is funny.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Overlord-G says:

      They only references C3-bu in the first episode and went their own way after that, though they did kindly remind us that this show has little to no drama in it later on.

      Agreed with your thoughts on Miou, Maya and Momoka.

      They have similar hairstyles, demeanor and seiyuu so the comparison is pretty accurate.

      Like

  8. anoncpm says:

    I’m glad that Urara got her way in the end!

    Like

  9. mutopis says:

    guns + girls + yuri + comedy = gold. Sabagebu did not disappoint. I wish more shows were like this. I hope this show was good enough for future seasons, otherwise I would be disappointed.

    Like

  10. Excellent review as always G-man, like you said my favorite characters was Urara and I was happy that she got the perfect “present” for christmas.
    I think i’m going to check Upotte!! for the all anthropomorphized guns stuff, it picked my interest

    Like

  11. rishi1998 says:

    Um so hey i have loved this show a lot
    But it seems to be similiar in base as to this following anime
    Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C3
    Its pretty amazing but has some minor diffrences as it is not limited to pistols and micro uzi’s ,also cuz it jas guns from my fav games apb for pc and respawnables for android namely the pdw-57 ,star 556 from apb and the rookie machine gun ,thats one of The reasons i like it but on many ways its similiar to subagebu! Especially the survival game club is known as c3,and the gameplay is diff many-a-times but its pretty awesome hope u like it.
    Regrets for this show ending wwiting for the ova though,
    Regards finally
    Gdknight aka martle signing off

    Like

  12. kracensc says:

    Momoka is easily one of my favourite characters in anime, a nice difference to the usual main characters in anime, was nice to see someone self-centred and self-interested that wasn’t really annoying about it, but instead very funny.
    There were plenty of moments in this anime where I had to stop and wonder… “Is it really in their heads? ‘cos I’m pretty sure those people just died…” but that just made it funnier.

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      As I mentioned a protagonist like Momoka is fine when used sparingly.
      It’s a jab at more serious Girls with Guns anime f date so the “deaths” were often intentionally questionable.

      Like

  13. I got some serious deja vi form Platy, I SWEAR I’ve seen him before somewhere!

    Like

  14. There could be a “milsim” tag. (Look it up)

    Like

  15. Pingback: 363rd G-View: Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online | The Yuri Nation

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