Sabegebu! - Survival Game Club! Episode 9
by Paul Jensen, Aug 31st 2014
Sabagebu! – Survival Game Club! has been a series of highs and lows thus far, and this latest episode is no exception. Two solid comedy routines bookend a less effective middle segment, balancing out to a reasonably solid effort. Like a band planning a concert setlist, the show opens and closes with its strongest material.
The first segment, set in a pet café, lets Momoka do what she does best: wreak havoc through a mix of bravado and outright aggression. A simple afternoon outing devolves into a chaotic mess of pet tricks and fire hazards, and the gradual descent into madness moves at just the right pace. Momoka's love-hate relationship with series mascot Platy makes a welcome return to the spotlight, and their one-sided conversations carry much of the segment. It certainly doesn't hurt that we get to see a belligerent platypus reluctantly dress up as a dog.
While the first part succeeds on the strength of Momoka's personality, the middle section makes the mistake of relying too heavily on the supporting cast. Maya, Kayo, and Urara provide a passable amount of humor while trapped in the school pool, but their antics lack the unpredictable absurdity that Momoka and Miou regularly deliver. They aren't necessarily dull characters, but the whole club needs to be on screen for the chemistry to work. The segment's ending is easy to see coming from a mile away, but a handful of side jokes help pick up some of the slack. Sabagebu! has done far worse, but it can and should do better.
The episode's final third continues the series' habit of referencing classic action movies, this time with a twisted take on the vehicular battles from the Mad Max films. From a comedic standpoint, it's a home run. Swapping out post-apocalyptic bandits for high school girls and cranky senior citizens makes for several minutes of solid entertainment. It's the kind of setup that allows Sabagebu! to operate at its boisterous and absurd best. The production values prevent the scene from working as a genuine action sequence, but it's tough to complain between fits of laughter. Less character humor and more parodies like this, please.
Sabagebu! continues to be an uneven series from segment to segment, let alone week to week. It can be a great deal of fun when it hits the mark, but too many ideas end up being merely average in their execution. This episode was one of the show's stronger entries to date, which helps to relieve fears that it might be running out of good material. As long as it doesn't stray too far from its strong points, Sabagebu! should be on the right track for the remainder of the season. After all, it's hard to get tired of a cosplaying platypus.
Survival Game Club! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Paul Jensen also covers anime and manga at SharkPuppet.com.
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