Just when you start to think that anime shall produce no new kinds of stories, something like Sabagebu! jumps onto the screen. The show is essentially a zany comedy, but episode 7–if this fact has not struck the viewer beforehand–makes it manifest that this show is meant to introduce Japanese teenagers to the gun culture. They have referenced gun laws throughout the show, especially in regard to airsoft guns; but in episode seven, they explained how to obtain a hunting license in remarkable detail–even giving the web address of the Japanese Hunting Association! Rare does an anime with such a conservative worldview appear.
In addition, the show argues that hunters are desperately needed. Wildlife causes millions of yen in damage to farms, which may increase due to animals losing all fear of man. Also, Japan has an aging population of only 100,000 hunters. I will say, of all the shooting sports, hunting is the most difficult and expensive to enter. People’s ignorance of what hunting involves gives them a feeling of trepidation: how many of us grew up in a household where our father guided us through the ins and outs of hunting? But after watching this episode, I felt my own desire to try my hand at hunting rekindle.
Episode seven of Sabagebu! brings up something people often overlook: modern man’s withdrawal from the sport of hunting has effected nature sometimes for the worse. For example, wild boars run rampant in parts of the South and cause much property and crop damage just like one saw in Sabagebu! Also, Sarah Palin is famous for permitting aerial wolf hunts because hunters noticed that it was becoming more difficult to bag moose. (Though this article reveals that bears might have been more to blame than wolves.) Basically, hunting–as long as animals are not overhunted–has beneficial effects for ecosystems and people whose living is tied to the land.
And so, I applaud Sabagebu!’s efforts to introduce people to the joys of firearms. I have not watched a show which felt this conservative since Blassreiter, and that was a religious conservatism.