Review: Sabagebu! Survival Game Club! – Episode 1

Perhaps with a title like “Survival Game Club” my hopes were too high. It sounds like an awesome idea and if was comical and yet serious it may have been wonderful. Instead it was kind of boring and strangely apologetic. It wasn’t exactly violent, but what little violence there was, was constantly explained and the fact that it was fake was reiterated whenever possible. It strange because I’ve seen far more violent animes and when you add the fact that fake guns are being used… well it doesn’t translate I guess. The concept is that Momoka Sonokawa is starting at a new school yet again because of her father’s job. She’s doing a nice girl act so that life is easier for her. After a chance encounter with a third year student on a train, she followers her to discover a bunch of beautiful girls playing with guns in what they call a Survival Game Club. They’re pellet guns as Momoka quickly discovers. She asks what the point is and the leader that she met on the train shows her how to fire a gun. After that she is relentless in making her join the club. Finally Momoka is drugged and ends up joining.

Sabagebu PosterThe characters were nothing new and that’s what really breaks the story. It could be funny or charming even, but the characters aren’t strong enough to support it. They’re cookie cutter characters, but towards the end of the dough when it’s thin and breaks too easily from being rolled too many times.

The narration starts off funny, but then it never lets up which kills the effect of the humor it’s supposed to bring. Momoka in particular is annoying. She intentionally puts on a good girl act, but then when it’s found out and she has the opportunity for revenge she goes bat shit crazy. I didn’t find it funny I just thought that she kind of sucked. The story asks you to feel sorry for her and respect that she goes through it all without breaking and then when the switch is flipped and she shows how terrible she can be I had to wonder if she was a character I wanted to invest time in.

I might, and it’s a big might, give the second episode a shot. It was a letdown for sure and what wasn’t a letdown was average at best. I totally understand that formulas are used for certain genres and they usually work on me, but when it’s bad it’s just bad and no formula can save it.

Score: 2/5

Director: Masahiko Ota Writer: Takashi Aoshima Studio: Pierrot+ Distributor: Sentai Filmworks