First Look: Sabagebu!


Manga Adaptation by Pierrot
Streaming on Crunchyroll


Momoka Sonokawa is a high school student who has recently transferred schools. However at her new school, she meets the eccentric Mio Ootori, an airsoft fanatic. One thing leads to another and she’s dragged into the schools Survival Game Club.

Gee’s verdict: Mission Parameters Set, Proceed

As resident military and firearms enthusiast on the Glorio blog, I suppose it was inevitable that I’d get saddled with this show. However, I must give credit where it’s due. Sabagebu brought the laughs when needed, kept things light, and delivered on its premise. While I’m not a fan of fiction that rely too heavily on breaking the fourth wall, I actually appreciate how frank the show was about its intents. This isn’t going to be a remotely realistic portrayal of airsoft, so the ardent former airsoft fan in me knows what’s ahead. If Sabagebu attempted to make any claim to realism, then my ire would be completely justified. But no, from square one I knew what to expect and as a result the show was infinitely more enjoyable.

For a show so dumb, it relied on some smart meta plays. Directly addressing the highly fantasized version of airsoft portrayed in the show literally seconds after I uttered, “Wait are those fucking shell casings?!” was a high point for me, if just because of its ability to predict the likely reaction by people such as myself who are well versed in the hobby. That said, I’m not confident that the show has enough content to actually sustain a full cour. For all its insanity, C3 introduced some genuinely fun and surreal plot developments down the line, whereas I’m not sure Sabagebu has anything to bring to the table beyond its humor. Mio was a fun character, if only because she reminds me of airsoft fans who genuinely are a bit too into the hobby. Still, she’s no Sonora so hopefully the rest of the cast can bring something to the table. For now though, Sabagebu has done its job to at least earn itself a few more episodes of viewing.


Jel’s verdict: Comedy Bullseye

This felt like a show written for people who are sick of “new girl joins weird club” comedies. To go even further with Gee’s point, they not only predicted where the airsoft fans eyes would roll, they pre-emptive struck anime comedy fans in general. I’d argue they might have abused the fourth wall breaking just a bit too much, but the narrator stayed consistently funny enough to keep it tolerable. I particularly loved the bit where he called shows taking a dark turn out of nowhere – perhaps a shot at similar premised airsoft girls anime C3-bu? – and generally acted like a grumpy old man stuck in a very silly anime.

Along with the solid humor, I really liked the characters as well. Mio is delightfully overzealous and Momoka is no timid, pushover new girl. Maybe that’s a result of this actually being based off a shoujo manga, which was another interesting discovery the narrator made sure you didn’t miss. I’m not sure the other girls will amount to much but I did laugh pretty hard at girl with the monster ghillie suit. I suppose I could just keep rattling off jokes I liked but I guess the fact that I can should be a good recommendation for comedy fans. I do worry about its long term appeal, and the conspicuously divided three parts of the episode make me wonder if Sabagebu! would have been better off as a short, but for now I’m sold on checking out more.


Marlin’s verdict: Straight Shooting

This show was fun in all the right ways. I love that it didn’t dwell too long on the typical high school trappings, instead either going through those scenes quickly or lampooning them as we went a long. The kabuki ninja act to get her in the club was probably the best joke, and was where the show really started to turn from okay to hilarious. I think the best method to handle something like airsoft fights is to just kick any kind of devotion to realism to the curb. Whenever I play paintball, I try to imagine it as an actual war scenario. Having that kind of logic translate into what we see in the show was a great way of getting that idea across. I’d say it would have been better if they didn’t even address it, but the Narrator was worth a few laughs himself. The over the top way everyone “died” was simply fun to watch, and made accepting the entire show’s ridiculousness really easy.

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