Sunabouzu is an ongoing manga started in the late 90s and written by Masatoshi Usune. In 2004 it was adapted into an anime by Gonzo, a Studio we’ve looked at quite a bit with series like Bakuretsu Tenshi, Basilisk, Gantz, Brave Story &, most recently, Strike Witches. Let’s look at Sunabouzu and see how well it compares.
In a post apocalyptic future the vestiges of civilisation subsist in various cities throughout a great desert. It’s relatively lawless with might and money deciding things. In that desert, there’s a group of handymen who take mercenary jobs and our protagonist, the titular Sunabouzu, is considered one of the greatest of them. The series follows him as he takes a variety of jobs and shenanigans ensue.
What little story there is is beyond weak. It’s cliched, full of contrivances and ends on a really stupid note. It’s a lot like a Michael Bay film, with over the top action sequences replacing anything of substance. But, this is largely a comedy. So, we can forgive the terrible over-arcing story if it’s funny, right? So, let’s examine the humour a bit, shall we? The “comedy” of this series hits pretty much every single lowest, most base, mean-spirited point it possibly can. It uses a lot of rape jokes, usually with our protagonist threatening someone with rape and the joke being his pursuit of her and how she tries to escape. It also has a few gay jokes, because every horrible comedy feels that it’s hilarious to point out that gay people exist. Those jokes that aren’t horrible are just supposed to be funny because the characters are acting like idiots or because something over the top happens. If there’s a single “joke” that works in this, then the sheer stupidity of the series must have caused me to drone it out because I didn’t notice. I watched through all twenty four episodes without so much as a brief smile.
The characters aren’t so much one-dimensional stereotypes as they are over the top presentations of one-dimensional stereotypes. Because making characters who are just one-dimensional stereotypes is too subtle for this series. So it decided to make them more annoying. The only character who even develops in some small way is Taiko, who has a pretty typical character arc of going from a student to standing on her own. It isn’t much and her personality stays pretty stagnant throughout, but it’s more than anyone else gets.
The art is the best part of the series. It’s not good, it would be pretty mediocre if not for the rather poorly done action sequences and the ridiculous boob physics that even Team Ninja would consider excessive.
The actors give performances that are absurdly over the top to the point of being really obnoxious. Saito Chiwa is normally very skilled, but she’s one of the worst offenders and that ridiculous, overly squeaky laugh she does is just ear-bleedingly painful to listen to. The music is over the top as well, but not quite as bad.
There’s a gay side character who shows up in one episode and in some flashbacks later, because the series wanted to do some gay jokes. They just thought it was very important for building this bland post-apocalyptic world with its single type of terrain. Clearly, the whole thing would have just fallen apart if they hadn’t made fun of gay people for daring to exist.
Sunabouzu is one of the worst comedies I’ve ever seen. It’s a bunch of overblown, loud, flashy spectacle with a sense of humour that ranges from downright nasty to just unfunny, poorly done action sequences and nothing passable in terms of either story or characters. It’s tripe that tries to appeal on the grounds of being flashy and exaggerated. My final rating for it is a well deserved 1/10. My next requested review is Glass no Kamen, but it’s going to be a while before I can finish it. So, next week I’ll look at the second series of Yuru Yuri.