Genre: Sci-fi, Mecha
Sakugan (or Sacks&Guns!!) is a futuristic dystopian show, where humans have taken to living underground in caves. Our series protagonist, Memempu, is a nine year old girl and together with her father (a cave examiner called Gagumber), they set out to explore what’s out there and search for her missing mother. Along the way, they find danger, adventure and perhaps… the truth as to what is really out there on the surface?
This was a series which drew me in right away from it’s initial promo images and trailer – from it’s zany animation and colour style reminiscent of TRIGGER show Gurren Lagann, and the premise itself which gives me Made in Abyss vibes. The promise of an adventure show which deals with an interesting world, potentially heavy themes and central protagonists who are father and daughter really appealed to me. It’s rare we get to see a combo for the main cast, and I for one, am excited to see their dynamic throughout.
The episode begins with a fast-paced and funny intro which perfectly introduces our father and daughter protagonists and their offbeat relationship with one another. You really get a feel for them both straight away and their unusual family relationship – she calls him by his first name rather then by Father and their relationship is shown as both tempestuous but also heartwarming. Memempu (try saying that ten times fast), is a precocious and smart child, something of a techno genius. She’s determined to leave and explore the Labyrinth as a Marker, whereas her father is content with his role as a worker and clearly worried about his child being out in the dangerous world. We’re also introduced to another father and daughter pair who are friends of our protagonists and live out their lives as Markers. Despite the short run time of the episode, this anime manages to pack an awful lot into it, and felt like I understood the characters fairly well and warmed to them greatly. Both Memempu and her father have very different perspectives but are also very relatable in their own ways – from the daughter’s desire to seek out what’s beyond the walls of her home, to the father’s very real fear about losing her to what could be out there. The voice actors give off stellar performances for them both, really bringing the two to life. Plot events move fast and a devastating climax sets the two off on their adventure proper and showcases that this anime isn’t afraid to hit some dark moments along the way.
It’s a fun, rollercoaster ride and the soundtrack perfectly compliments this too, with fun and playful music for a lot of the time but then shifting tone for the serious moments. The character designs are colourful and the visuals of the mechas and a certain creature that shows up towards the end are decent, if not entirely original. All in all, this was a really fun first episode which perfectly introduces the world and the characters who live within it. I was surprised by how quickly I grew to like and understand our two main protagonists and their relationship looks to be at the heart of the show, which is a good sign for where the anime will go moving forward. Definitely a show to check out, even if you’re not a big fan of mecha series, Sakugan is off to a brilliant and explosive start!
A fun thrill ride of a show, Sakugan is off to a great start with our father and daughter duo exploring the underground world together.