Sakugan (First Impression)


Sakugan
  • Source Material: Novel
  • Studio: Satelight
  • Genre: Sci-Fi, Mecha
  • Synopsis: “Far in the future, the human beings were pushed into the deep underground world called Labyrinth and they are living shoulder-to-shoulder. The Labyrinth has several colonies with severe settings such as one having an insanely high temperature, while another is full of gold and silver. Among those, in a colony of Pinyin, resides a curious nine-year-old girl named Memempuu and her father Gaganbar. As “workers” aiming for survival, they live with the lowest profession of riding a working robot to dig ore. One day, Memempuu pestered Gaganbar, a cave examiner who makes maps of the internal part of Labyrinth, to go travel together with her to find her mother. As a “marker,” Gaganbar holds the most dangerous yet attractive profession. One step outside the colony is already deemed to be a dangerous area and meeting a huge mysterious creature that loiters the cave, one’s chance of living will be cut down to five percent. Since it is a dangerous racket to explore the unknown world, the map they hold is valuable and can be sold at a high price. However, is the price for their curiosity higher? What could be the cruel truth that is hidden among them? What awaits at the end of the test? In this travel story between a father and a daughter surrounds adventure with family love.” -MAL News

First Impression:

Sakugan is my most highly anticipated show of the season for a number of reasons. First the plot is incredibly interesting, this idea of society fully functioning underground is pretty neat! Second, is the character and mech designs. While it’s no Gundam the bulky nature of the mechs have a more rugged and dynamic feel. To be honest, Sakugan feels and looks like a combination of Gurren Laggan and Made in Abyss. The world building is going to be crazy, at least that’s what my gut tells me! Let’s DIG in!

Like I said above, Sakugan takes place in an underground city. A radio show that our characters listen to gives us a casual breakdown of how society works, from describing the state of the city to the dangers that lurk beyond! We know that this is a colony and that within the underground there are other colonies that are all linked by the “labyrinth” which are areas that need to be navigated by explorers known as “Markers”. Within the labyrinth are endless dangers, such as terrorists and kaiju! I wonder what the kaiju look like, and if a random Ultraman or Godzilla will make an appearance in the show lol.

It seems like this colony that our main characters, Memenpu and Gagumber, live in is a mishmash of a bunch of different cultures. There are distinct architectural styles and it makes me wonder if there is some retention of cultures above ground. How long have these people lived underground and do that even know what lies beyond?

The brighter one of the father daughter duo, Memenpu is a 9 year old girl that is a genius inventor (and apparenlty she’s already graduated college?!) and will be the main driver of this adventure. Being so young, she dreams of adventure and discovering the unknown. This sense for adventure conflicts Gagumber’s interest, as her father, to keep her safe. Memenpu is very expressive and blunt which makes her a fun character to watch, and she will no doubt encounter hardships on this journey so I’m curious to see how she grows!

Sakugan is easily the best animated show this season. The fluidity and dynamic perspectives pack a punch and really make the entire first episode pure eye candy for anime fans. It’s hard to capture in a few screen caps but you get a small sense of how incredibly articulate the animation is from this scene where Gagumbar is caught by Memenpu’s trap and is whipped upside down. The animation style uses a lot of sketchy lines and blobs of colors to emphasize fluid and organic movement.

Recommendation:

YES

This is an absolute yes in my book. There’s almost too many good things happening and I’m very excited to see where the story takes us. There has to be some big plot twist to the secret of the underground and why society decided to leave the surface, but what is it!? Ah, I just can’t contain my excitement!


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