Anime: Sabagebu! – Survival Game Club!
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: September 22nd, 2015
Retail Price: $59.98
Gamers are extremely prevalent in society today, with gamers spanning all over the world portraying serious dedication to their virtual reality, and even animes enjoy getting in on the fun. The anime series Sabagebu! -Survival Game Club tells the story of Momoko, a teenage girl who is a transfer student to a new high school. While on her way to her first day, Momoko encounters a random pervert on the train and is recued by a gun toting purple haired girl named Miou. Miou has a standoff with the train-creep, and instantly proves she’s one badass female who can take care of herself and others. From there, Momoka learns that Miou is additionally a student at the same school, and is the president of the school’s Survival Game Club. A curious Momoka watches the group meeting initially, and is asked by Miou to join the all girls gamer club. Momoka doesn’t show any interest in the beginning, despite their attempts to recruit the tough exterior Momoka, until Miou hilariously drugs Momoka and signs her up against her will. Momoka’s enrollment in the Survival Game Club sets up a series of countless laughs and nonsense that is highly entertaining.
The episodic formula also differs from the usual anime series that use it, with certain episodes providing multiple random storylines as if they were mini-sodes of their own. The one thing that ties it together is the occasional reference to a joke or gag used earlier in the episode, reminding us that there is an actual structure to the series. I’ve seen a few separate game related anime series both good (D-Frag) and bad (Hyperdimension Neptunia, .hack// Roots) but Sabagebu Survival Game Club manages to separate itself from the pack and find an amazing balance of action and comedy. The strongest point of the series is its comedic elements, often due to Momoka, her mother Kazue, and Miou. They series references otaku culture in general with certain members loving cosplay, gaming, anime, and even referencing doujinshi’s. The series is a pop-culture savvy series primarily embracing anime/video game references along with others, always finding new fun ways to remind us of the goofy character’s addictions and vices.
The dynamic among the women changes often, with a primary example being Momoka and Urara. When Momka initially joins the survival game club, Urara is protective over Miou and holds anger directed at the newcomer. After Momoka gets more settled and exhibits her strong and merciless attitude towards others (including her own teammates) she becomes infatuated with Momoka. The series has many different female pairings and innuendos, with some fan-service moments as to be expected. These moments don’t actually overshadow the series successes – and there’s a lot of success here. Sometimes with comedic series I don’t become as attached to characters depending on how well the series plays out, and this was an anime that I found myself wanting to see how things played out for each of them, mainly Momoka who was a stellar character to use as a lead. Though Momoka was full of revenge and constant rage, the series would have not been as excellent if it weren’t for her involvement.
The animation in Sabagebu Survival Game Club is an example of rich and colorful art. Each character has an appealing design, and the color choices are something that I enjoyed continuously for the 12 episode run. Using gorgeous pastels to complete each character’s individuality was a fun choice for the multi-genre anime. The animation is the action scenes were phenomenal, and though it was always in their mind, I looked forward to each gun fight. It had moments reminiscent of Noir with the epic fights in between a bullet spree, and showed that it intended to rival some great action anime series in addition to being a chuckle worth comedy. Part of me almost wants to see another season down the line just for the impressive fight sequences. What made the action even better was that it was all in their imagination. The characters imagine themselves in these life or death battles like the film Sucker Punch without the trauma, I mean who hasn’t imagined themselves as a bad-ass warrior as a child, right?
Some standout moments of Sabagebu Survival Game Club include Platy, the mascot and peculiar platypus, as well as the young famous celebrity Yammy who struggles with her appearance, and the hilarious nerd named Fried Chicken Lemon who is infatuated with Momoka. The conclusion of the anime treats itself like a climactic final bullet blazing battle, (in the funny context of the series) and between the action and constant barrage of humor, you are left wanting more to the survival game club! If you have an appreciation for pop culture centric comedy stylings, tough gamer girls, or all out showdowns, you definitely need to pick up Sabagebu Survival Game Club, available for purchase on DVD and Blu-Ray now!
Overall Grade: 9/10
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
-The supporting characters in Sabagebu Survival Game Club are a riot, with each of them filling a comedic purpose to the series.
-Momoka is so evil and selfish in so many ways, and yet she’s the best addition to the anime as a lead role.
-One of the funniest animes I’ve seen in a decent amount of time.
-The action used in Sabagebu Survival Game Club is incredible, and other action based animes could take a few notes from it.
-There isn’t a single episode that felt unnecessary, and Sabagebu is extremely entertaining all the way through.