Sakugan episode 7 is kind of hard to talk about because essentially it feels like a filler episode that exists only to contrive a reason for Gugumber to have to return to a colony he’s been to before (and probably connected with his old partner) next episode.
At the end of episode 6, Yuri and Zacrettu both joined Gugumber and Memenpu on their journey through the labyrinth, for fairly non-logical reasons, but this episode contribute little except occasionally a different voice. Basically, the plot would have worked the same if Memenpu had initially picked the flowers, rather than Yuri, and Gugumber was the only one sick.
All of this leaves me feeling that Sakugan peaked in its first two episodes and since then its been on a steady decline unable to really excite or enthral and this journey through the labyrinth is less one of eye-opening wonder and more one of tedium for both the characters and, sooner if the plot doesn’t contribute a bit more, the audience.
Why is Sakugan losing its way?
The plot this week is both simple and repetitive (by design). The group are roaming along following Memenpu’s directions, though those directions seem to simply be follow the pipe or road so not so much exploration as driving straight down a path with no obstacles. Along the way we realise all of them have pretty red flowers in their cabins and we learn that Yuri has collected these flowers as they’ve travelled.
Soon the characters are acting increasingly drunk and disorderly at rest stops, repeating the same conversations they’ve had before though it isn’t until after they’ve turned the flowers into potpourri that Memenpu draws the conclusion that they are causing the ill-effects.
Then Sakugan doubles down on this by having the characters make a cure using a cactus but it turns out they used the wrong cactus and symptoms get worse.
It isn’t particularly funny or tense. It’s just kind of there and one particular rest stop has all of the characters other than Memenpu walking just behind something on screen to vomit. The scene drags on and contributes little other than filling the requisite time for the episode.
Outside of the flower crisis, Memenpu is continuing to dream of the tower but under the effects of the flowers her dream begins to change and as we repeat the sequence again and again we eventually see Gugumber dying in the flower at the foot of the tower. What this means is anyone’s guess and who the glow-eyed person in the dream is (or who the person who is following them is) remains a question unanswered.
About the only reason for this is to create conflict between Memenpu and Gugumber as she wants to get to the scene as quickly as possible and he actually wants to get to a hospital to seek medical attention after all the flower/cactus mayhem.
Weird that earlier episodes of Sakugan managed to really sell the relationship between these two as a grounding point but this episode really just has them going through the motions. Memenpu’s point makes no sense and Gugumber reflecting that he’s bad at team-work, when he’s literally the only person here wanting to seek help during their crisis, just feels shallow. There’s no chemistry or humour to be found in the cast this week.
All and all, the shine very much seems to have come off of Sakugan and I’m just kind of hoping it picks up again because this episode was pretty meh, and that’s about all that can be said for it.
Images from: Sakugan. Dir. J Wada. Satelight. 2021
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