Time Enforcer Anubis here with a fresh review!
Depth and story are great, and make for some great anime. Sometimes, however, an anime can be great just by being really fun. A lot of highly enjoyable anime follow this formula, and the one I have today has a lot of potential in particular.
Upotte!!, produced by studio XEBEC, is a 10-episode original net animation based on the manga of the same name. The premise is as follows: At the Seishou Academy, the students (and teachers) are guns. If you’re looking for an explanation, you won’t find one. The students look like people, but are guns, and each character represents a different firearm. The series focuses mainly on a group of girls in Seishou’s middle school: “Funko” (The Belgian FN FNC), “Ichiroku” (The American Colt M16A4), “Shigu” (The Swiss SIG SG500), and “Eru” (The English Enfield L85A1), in their various schooltime escapades.
Since the girls are guns, however, “schooltime escapades” for them entail not only skipping schoolwork to have tea, and preparing for the school festival, but also target practice and live-fire wargames. However, even seemingly-normal school activities, such as the aforementioned school festival, have a more military spin put on them. It gives the show a lot of personality and separates it out from other slice-of-life shows.
The other thing that separates Upotte!! from other slice-of-life shows is the fact that almost half the series is comprised of gun battles, in stark contrast to the show’s more slice-of-life parts. Upotte!!’s combat manages to capture the intensity and urgency that most action anime go for, without compromising the moé qualities of its characters. As such, the action scenes Upotte!! creates have the added dynamic of the characters having been endeared to the viewer, pulling the viewer further into the scene.
As far as moé anthropomorphization series go (Hetalia is an example, as well as Strike Witches, to an extent) Upotte!! is exciting and funny while at the same time being very accurate. The L85A1 is known for being a fragile, defective rifle. As such, Eru is sort of a klutz and doesn’t talk much, for fear of breaking. The M16A4 is a well-known, world-famous rifle. As such, Ichiroku works part-time as a model. It even goes down to the subtleties: The L85A1 is a heavy rifle with a large handguard, so Eru is depicted as being thicker around the thighs and waist, and having a larger bust than the other girls.
The character designer, Akio Takami, known for his work on Ladies Versus Butlers! and Kanokon, seems to have taken a less exaggerated approach to his designs for Upotte!!. The result, however, is that the girls end up looking very similar in body-type when in their school uniforms. Don’t be fooled, though. The differences in body-type are much more pronounced in more revealing clothing, and there’s plenty of ecchi to go around.
Some people might say that Upotte!!’s potential fanbase is extremely limited to only moé fans who are also into guns. I disagree. If you’re a moé fan, check out Upotte!!. It’s got cute characters, a fun and unique take on slice-of-life, and you might learn a thing or two about guns along the way. If you’re a gun otaku, you should also check out Upotte!!. Its facts are quite accurate, there are plenty of in-jokes for gun fans, and you might just enjoy the cuteness and ecchi.
And if you’re a fan of both: What are you waiting for!?
‘Till next time!