In the 1980s, Tommy Shaw released a popular song called “Girls with Guns”. Does anyone remember the song? Does anyone remember Tommy Shaw? Does anyone remember the 80s? Am I that old?
Anyway, “Upotte!” takes place at a school known as Seishou Academy. Unlike your average school, all the students are actually anthropomorphized guns, training to one day become a useful weapon, and is divided up into submachine guns (elementary school), assault rifles (middle school) and battle rifles (high school) classes. All students in Seishou train to shoot their target (literally) using live ammunition.
Our four middle-school heroines (Riflettes? Assaultines? Armamentrix? Can you be sexist towards a weapon?) are, from left to right, starting with the bun head, Sig, who is a Swiss SG 550. She is an excellent shot, but can be a bit diffident. The blonde is Ichiroku, a kind of leader, as the rest look up to her, but she would say otherwise. She is the American M16A4 assault rifle and is highly photogenic, appearing on the covers on numerous magazines.
The taupe-haired beauty, brandishing the weapon is Eru and is the lemon of the lot, despite her determined attitude. She is a British L85A1 assault rifle. Shy and clumsy, she has an unreliable nature and the habit of breaking a lot just like her namesake gun. (The brown-tressed girl with the blue ribbons is just a classmate or ‘background people’. Pay her no heed). The last is Funco, the main lead of this show. She is a BelgianFN FNC, who is often displeased to be nicknamed Funco. As the real FNC has a skeleton stock, she wears a thong instead of panties, much to her embarrassment and occasional anger.
We see their daily school lives (in a strictly girls-only school; I never saw a single guy weapon student) as they prepare themselves to be useful. Now that shoulder in the picture is the “Japanese Teacher” (I’m not kidding; we never learn his real name, so he is called that) who is the only human in the show. Even the rest of the teachers are some caliber of weaponry. Now, WHY he was hired is a mystery and he has zero clues as to what it going on, so it is as much a learning session for him, as it is for the girls.
You also get a rather fine lesson in the history of weapons, although it can drag on a bit too long, as we see the girls put through their paces. There is also a training session of sort with some rivals, featuring Sako and Galil. The former is a Finnish SAKO Rk 95 Tp, but she sports major elf ears and has a very condescending attitude, as she wants to take over everything. The latter is an Israeli Galil AR, but is very neko in her approach to things and eventually comes around to being a nice person.
The series concludes with some kind of assault from unknown rivals, lead by the mysterious AK-47. After proving their point, that the girls have lost focus as to what they are, the assault group……..leaves? And so does the show. All this in 10 episodes?
A problem I had was with the girls as guns. For the most part, they look and act like regular folk, except they are guns. It’s not like there is some kind of bizarre transformation sequence (like in “Soul Eater”) and they become the weapon; they ARE the weapon. The other thing is they cannot be killed. They are weapons, so they don’t die. They break down (as Eru is doing this all the time), but a short stay in hospital is all you need to be better.
I just had a hard time wrapping my head around a lot of what was going on, so I dropped ‘understanding’ that aspect of it and treated it like any other girl’s boarding school anime. The upperclassmen (women) are snotty and puffed up on their self-importance and the middle schoolers are just learning about what it means to be a friend, so it that aspect, it’s a school comedy. The relationship between Funco and Teacher is handled well, as the teacher puts his foot in it all the time and Funco detonates with disastrous results. Still, I can’t fully recommend the show, as there is something lacking. It tries to be too much and falls short in all areas. Back to the practice range for some more workouts.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Good artwork, but it gets odd in places)
Plot 5 (A bit dry)
Pacing 8 (Can turn frenetic fast)
Effectiveness 5 (I don’t really understand the point)
Conclusion 2 (It stops and that’s all)
Fan Service 4 (A similar show would be “Gurren Lagaan”)
Overall 6 (The fall short hurts a lot)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Is that thong underwear?