The second episode of Sakugan picks up exactly where episode 1 finished with Gugumber and Memenpu trying to get his old vehicle moving. The two are still bickering but it is clear Memenpu is in a bit a shock about the violence and death that has just intruded itself upon her life. Despite her earnest desire to explore, Gugumber has done a decent job of protecting her from these harsh realities up until now so seeing them come crashing down upon her emotionally added a bit of weight to this sequence.
However there isn’t a lot of time for emotions as the fight is still ongoing and for whatever reason the kaiju that broke into the colony seem to be targeting the pair. Seems likely it is because of the mysterious map that the unknown person left Memenpu in the last episode but we aren’t going to get any kind of answer from this episode. This episode of Sakugan seems to want to hit the accelerator on the action sequences and really not let up until the end.
Sakugan is balancing comedy, action and raw emotion in one explosive sequence involving giant monster and mechs.
The series of action set pieces could have become quite dull as really it is just Kaiju chasing after a blue tank-like-robot and destroying buildings with dust and rubble flying. This continues for the vast majority of the episode. What keeps the audience engaged though is the focus on what is happening inside the mech with Gugumber clearly falling into an old role but still maintaining his presence as Memenpu’s father.
We also learn more about the world of Sakugan as we learn about the Kaiju having cables that tether them to the ground. While a lot of these rules seem to be explained to us just so we can be impressed when these Kaiju break them doesn’t change the fact that are knowledge of how this world is going to work is expanding. Then we find out about the sheer bureaucracy at the heart of the colony where Gugumber can’t even get a gate opened even though his intent is to lead the giant kaiju out of the colony and probably save a lot of lives.
The fight moves throughout the colony, we encounter the other Markers who were waiting for Walsh’s return and we get to see the emotional impact of a death that occurred last episode. That’s something that doesn’t happen often enough in anime. Too often characters die and nobody really brings them up again or at least supporting cast members don’t seem to really acknowledge they died. Here the death had real weight and not just on the young Memenpu.
Then Memenpu and Gugumber lead both of the Kaiju out of the colony and at this point we see what makes this father-daughter team so good. While Memenpu is still in a little shock, Gugumber has finally got her calm enough to employ her usual stellar mind to the problem at hand. With Memenpu directing, Gugumber executes a plan that is suitably spectacular to end such a set-piece and brings the fight to a decided close.
Again, the reality of this world is enhanced when we find out through listening to the DJ that their actions weren’t without consequences. Such a bureaucratic society wasn’t going to just let their actions pass without some kind of penalty.
However, Gugumber and Memenpu are now both kind of ready for the journey that Memenpu has wanted to take. Gugumber wasn’t emotionally ready to take a risk and move on before. Memenpu had no real understanding of the dangers they were going to face. Both of them are now in a place where a journey is possible. And the episode ends on that note with the two setting out leaving us to wait for episode 3 to really start the exploration beyond the colony.
And you know what? Sakugan has done a really decent job of making me want to see that journey. I’m looking forward to episode 3. I am loving the father-daughter dynamic that has been established and the way that relationship isn’t stagnating but rather continues to be build on and fleshed out. The action was decent but we never lost emotional connection with the characters throughout. All things considered, I’m really hopeful that Sakugan will remain solidly entertaining.
Images from: Sakugan. Dir. J Wada. Satelight. 2021
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