Sakugan episode 6 begins with a narration by Gugumber detailing how he came by some money after their last job and invested it before things went wrong. This is played over a dramatic montage of images of him standing in the wind looking out over a colony before we cut to scenes of him blatantly gambling the money away.
Like many perpetually broke characters, at least when they are played for laughs, Gugumber brings his ill-fortune upon himself through his own poor decision making. Which makes it harder to take him seriously when he wants to act as the voice of reason for others when his own life-choices paint him as the perpetual optimistic child.
Sakugan gets political, but not really.
Throughout the episode we see that Gugumber and Memenpu are captured by a character named Yuri because the girl who claimed Gugumber owed her money has asked Yuri to complete a hacking job for her and has said that the money Gugumber owes her can pay Yuri. That we never really established the validity of her claim that Gugumber owed her money doesn’t seem to play into this situation at all. In fact, Gugumber never once protests owing her money even though she kind of decided that on her own.
Anyway, all of that is set up for Memenpu and Gugumber to be brought into a new colony where they hear the local politician speaking about equality and helping orphaned children (so we know he’s evil) before Yuri and his gang lead them into the under-belly of the colony where those who haven’t succeeded end up. Here the episode established a pretty soft ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality as we get yet another montage of Yuri and his gang, accompanied by Memenpu and Gugumber, pull off some basic heists stealing food and money.
The problem Sakugan has is that we have no attachment to this colony and the shallow over-view of the situation we are given barely sketches in enough for us to care. Even the politician announcing they will close all the orphanages because of complaints that not all orphans are helped equally if only some are in orphanages is just kind of there as a catalyst to push the climax of the episode rather than something that seems plausible.
Weirdly, no one seems to ask where all these orphans will go or what the impact of a massive increase in homeless children could be to the colony. Nor does anyone seem particularly willing to ask why there are so many children without parents in the first place in this colony.
Without background or context, its Sakugan becomes bad politician must be taken down vs more lovable under-dog whose own ideology gets a little twisted along the way until Gugumber, our weird source of wisdom, manages to show him the error of his ways.
I guess, compared to episodes that focus more on Memenpu and Gugumber’s relationship, or even episodes where its more focused on survival in the labyrinth, this episode just didn’t quite hit the mark. The story felt shallow, the new characters barely got time to be more than just a name and one personality trait, and honestly the resolution here was pretty ordinary.
Yuri’s struggle and anger could have been a really decent plot point to build a story around if handled a little more deftly but honestly it all just kind of happened.
About the only thing of significance is that Gugumber and Memenpu aren’t leaving the colony alone at the end of the episode and I kind of hope that without all the extras that the characters who have joined them on their journey will now get some decent fleshing out. Otherwise, this could be quite the step backwards for Sakugan this season.
Images from: Sakugan. Dir. J Wada. Satelight. 2021
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