Well there anime vice community, It is I, M, here again for another review. Short off the heels of Madoka Magica, one of the most artistic animes I’ve had the pleasure of watching, and Steins Gate one of the most interesting stories I’ve seen in an anime. I admit I was a bit at a loss as to what I should watch next. However, a while I remember a conversation with a few of my friends about an Upotte!! and as the hot blooded gun totting America that I am I decided to give it a shot, if you will excuse the god awful pun.
The fairly recent anime Upotte which, by the way, I still don’t know what that means, surrounds the story of four guns going to an school for guns where they all learn how to be guns forever…I think… When a new human teacher unwittingly becomes part of this staff for this once again gun school. These guns taking on the likenesses of mostly females, (male guns do exist but only in the background.) The main character is the sweet and kind hearted Belgian FNC called funco and her friends: the American hyperactive and popular M14A4, the partially retarded British L8, and lastly the Swiss super smart and blunt Sig (SG 550). The school itself is divided into Battle rifles (high school) Assault rifles (Middle school) SMGs (elementary) building up an arsenal that would make Homura proud, on a side note I assume handguns go to day care or something. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I like guns and I like anime right? So clearly this should work or something right?
I got to say if that synopsis makes you interested upotte is probably for you, I think, but if you have any other reaction I think for the most part I have to turn you away. While Upotte is funny at some level all of its jokes almost require some predisposition to firearms (something I find odd being a Japanese anime) and while it does an alright job explaining things to the audience, an explained joke is as we know makes for a poor joke. That said when upotte hits it hits pretty well, I found myself chuckling a few times when that is a rarity for me. I especially love the jokes based around twisting your expectations of the only male in the show, who the environment of the show makes you assume is a pervert only to always be reminded he’s just a regular teacher in every scene is much more concerned with making sure Funco does her homework then doing something R rated to her behind the bleachers.
Upotte bills itself as a comedy, but I assure you it has many other themes to it. Ecchi for one being VERY prominent. Something that I am use to in anime and for the most part I tolerate, but there is a level of especially weird when it’s guns being hyper sexualized. Especially one scene where while not shown clearly it is obvious a Finnish Sako is playing pocket pool with herself in the middle of a fight over thoughts of Funco. Oh by the way(I almost but btw and wanted to punch myself in the face lack of professionalism), most of the guns are Lesbians, it’s got more yuri then most yuri anime. Watching these extremely hyper sexual middle school aged guns running around makes me more disturbed then pleased, and not disturbed in a interesting way, just off put by the weird nature of the whole idea that apparently when I fire a gun I’m having sex with it.
Aside from the comedy and the disproportionate Yuri there is an unsurprising amount of action in Upotte considering the premise being about, oh you know, guns. Filled with small skirmishes culminating in a big east verse west battle to the death, except not because their guns not people so they can’t die. The action segments are pretty well done and don’t fail at being entertaining something that gives a little more life to the overall product that would have otherwise been bland. This action all ends with having a bad guns don’t kill people, people kill people message that makes this feel like weird political cry for gun legalization in a way, kind of like high school of the dead manga was. Something I may agree with but seems like the wrong place and time to have it.
All in all Upotte is both saved and crippled by what it is, a show about gun girls in middle school, for gun nuts alone its somewhat creepy. For anime fans it’s got be at least a little disjointed and confusing, but perhaps if you’re a fan of both you’ll get a pretty good time with this short ten episode series. Funny with a little bit of action definitely puts it over the copy pasted harems that seem to pass for comedy in anime putting it a decent 3.5 Cat Russian gun things out of 5.