#1 Niche sports anime
Sports anime have never been a rarity, though some types of sports are certainly more represented than others. You’ll find plenty of soccer, tennis, and baseball anime out there for sure. If you want to watch a show about airsoft though, you can count the options on 1 hand. Today’s review is for Sabagebu. An anime that tackles this very niche subgenre of sports anime.
For Momoko Sonokawa, acting like a normal high school girl is just that; an act. She makes herself look nice, friendly, and approachable, but is actually a violent bitch with a sketchy sense of morality. One day her antics get her tied up (literally) in the daily life of her school’s airsoft club. She is tricked into joining the club herself, though any ill feelings over this vanish quickly the first time she gets to shoot things. This hobby will suit her just fine.
Sabegebu balances its runtime between actual airsoft activities and tertiary storylines about the club members’ daily lives. Some chapters are about big matches or skirmishes between the club members, while others can be about trying to lose weight or dealing with creeps. Even when the story isn’t strictly about airsoft, you’d be surprised how often pulling a gun on people helps jog such side-plots along.
#2 Imagination over realism
While Stella Women’s Academy could be action-packed at times, it was at least somewhat attached to realism. Sabagebu has no such attachments. In fact, being wildly unrealistic is its pride and joy.
Any time the club gets into a shoot-out, their imagination takes over. Their guns are suddenly real and being hit means actual death. This then gets ramped up to 11 with explosions and all kinds of absurd action. To the point where there’s no way to even imagine what these scenes would look like without the “imagination” filter on.
Even if it isn’t a very realistic depiction of airsoft as a hobby, it is incredibly fun to watch. Everybody gets murdered in ridiculous ways and then just gets back up to do it all again tomorrow.
#3 Eccentric cast
Helping the comedy land is the anime’s cast of resident weirdos. We already addressed the amoral disaster that is Momoka, but her “friends” are no less strange.
The club itself is led by the fabulously wealthy Miou Ootori. Thanks to her vast resources the club can afford to go on exhibition matches in exotic locales, but that’s about all Miou is good for. She is dense, makes drastic decisions entirely on a whim, and is prone to developing random obsessions.
Maya is a professional model whose raison d’être is mainly fanservice. That and to be the person that gets killed first every single time. Kayo, meanwhile, is a cosplay fanatic who is frequently praised for being the smartest person in the club. Just a shame that her vast intelligence only pertains to topics that aren’t useful to anyone. Lastly, there is Urara. A girl who, like Momoka, keeps up a veneer of normalcy. She plays the role of a cute, bubbly girl to hide that she is actually a barely-functioning masochist.
There is also a platypus.
Put together, this cast is a chaotic bunch. Their personalities clash in interesting ways, which makes those story arcs where airsoft isn’t involved very enjoyable as well. You end up with weird stories like Urara falling in love with Momoka because of her abusive tendencies. Or Miou dragging the entire Sabagebu crew off to a temple to become Buddhist monks for reasons only clear to herself.
Stella Women’s Academy: Anime about airsoft.
Asobi Asobase: Cute-looking protagonist with a toxic personality.
Phinear & Ferb: Platypus