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Let’s Go On a Father-Daughter Mech Anime Adventure With the First Episode of SAKUGAN

It's bring your father, daughter, and mech to work day!

Promo for SAKUGAN

SAKUGAN is set to premiere its first episode tomorrow at Virtual Crunchyroll Expo, giving fans a chance to check out the anime series before it starts in October. I got a chance to watch the episode ahead of time, so here’s a spoiler-free write-up of what you can expect to see in this father-daughter mech adventure.

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Synopsis

In the distant future, humankind lives shoulder-to-shoulder in a cramped “Colony” divided by bedrock. Outside the colony extends a dangerous undeveloped area known as “The Labyrinth.” Those who risk their lives to explore the Labyrinth and mark undeveloped areas are known as “Markers.” Memempu is a young girl who wants to become a Marker, and Gagumber is a man who quit being a Marker. This rag-tag father and daughter team is about to take on the Labyrinth! “If there is no path, then dig one!”

Review

Right off the bat, SAKUGAN pulled me in with its father-daughter duo. Memempu is a precocious nine-year-old with big ol’ dreams and her father, Gagumber, is all that stands in her way. Well, that, and the extraordinary amount of danger that her father is stressing about. The dynamic between the two is immediately charming, ranging from “oh my GOD dad LEAVE ME ALONE” to Memempu giving him the silent treatment when he interrupts her plans.

That, combined with a catchy soundtrack and vivid animation makes for a fun first episode. If you like a dash of wacky hijinks in your mech anime, you’ll probably like this series.

It’s all fun and games until you have to run away from a horrifying creature, but let’s be honest, anime finds a way to keep the humor going in life or death situations. There is no better time to address your father’s unclean socks and inability to do laundry than a chase scene, right?

Much like any good familial adventure anime, this series touches on themes that add a lot of heart to the mech vs monster battles. Memempu wants to follow her dreams and is around others who are doing exactly that, so she feels like her dad is holding her back. It can be frustrating when people around you are doing the thing you want to do, the thing that you feel very ready to do, but your family keeps stopping you from moving forward.

However, Gagumber has every right to be concerned for the safety of his daughter since she wants to pull a Pokémon and “travel across the land” at an incredibly young age. There are monstrous creatures beyond the town they live in and you get the feeling that Gagumber has firsthand experience of how deadly those monsters are.

I don’t think he’s worried because of what he’s heard, I think he’s worried because of what he’s gone through himself.

So do you let your daughter follow her dreams?

Do you do your best to protect her from the viciousness of the world?

Ooooor … do you go with her?

The trailer already shows Gagumber’s answer.

This first episode serves as a way to build on the father/daughter dynamic we can expect to see throughout the rest of the series. I very much expect the concerned single father vibe to be a constant element of the story, Memempu coming to terms with her dad’s feelings while Gagumber realizes that it’s okay for his daughter to reach for the stars. Of course, the whole killer monsters thing is gonna make the lessons quite difficult to learn, but I feel like these two working together will lead to some incredible moments.

Or extremely comedic ones that echo throughout the night sky.

(Image: SAKUGAN Project)

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Author

Briana Lawrence
Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)

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