Japan loves to anthropomorphise things – if something can be represented by a cute high-school girl, then Japan will do it. Next in line for the treatment: guns. As in the sort used by soldiers in warfare. If your initial reaction to that is along the lines of “WTF!?”, you’re not alone…
What They Say:
Kiss kiss, bang bang! The arms race takes on a startling new development when the arms come with heads, legs and very feminine bodies attached! It’s going to be difficult for newly recruited human instructor Genkoku to adjust to working with a living arsenal of high caliber cuties with tricky names like FNC (Funko,) M 16A4 (Sixteen,) L85A1 (El,) and SG 550 (Sig,) especially since many have hair triggers and there’s no bulletproof vest that can stop a really determined coed! Get ready for explosive situations, armor piercing rounds, cheap shots galore and one VERY shell shocked homeroom instructor in UPOTTE!
Seishou Academy is a school for very unique girls – girls who are actually anthropomorphized weapons. Just how much fun can an assault rifle be? Well, their new homeroom teacher is about to get a crash course lesson in just how special they are, from model numbers to underwear. If he can find his way to the school first, that is…
Our new teacher (who never really gets a name) finds himself on the wrong end of a spray of bullets from the rather shy Funco (a Belgian FNC rifle) when he finds himself unable to resist commenting on the thong pantsu she’s wearing. These are apparently a side-effect of the FNC having a skeleton stock – and that’s the first of many little pieces of firearms trivia that make it into the series. Eru is based on the British L85, and is therefore rather unreliable. The series is filled with little inserts that humourously explain the foibles of the various rifles, and how they’re represented in the girls’ personalities and biology (you can probably figure out fairly quickly where the girls’ ‘triggers’ are). It’s…. strange.
Whether that’s strange in a good or bad way seems to vary. Personally, I don’t have any particular problem with the whole girls-as-guns thing – with girls-with-guns being perennially popular, I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner, and even if you’re not a gun nut the background information that the series keeps throwing out is actually quite interesting. Educational, even. It’s also unexpectedly light on the fanservice – it’s not completely without it, but what there is is fairly low-level stuff.
Where it falls down, though, is that it doesn’t really seem to know what it’s trying to be. The core group of girls and their senior-year siblings all fall into the “cute girls doing cute things” idea that’s so common these days, and while the series sticks to that it’s a passably fun little comedy. But there are two story arcs – one mid-season, one to close it off – where new girls / rifles are introduced. In both arcs, the new girls are seen as rivals to the core cast, and that rivalry is exposed by way of extended gun battles between the two groups – and the series goes out of its way to just be downright nasty.
And not in a good way, either. There’s potential that there’s a message being given here – at the very least there’s a clumsy “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” undertone (which makes me uncomfortable), but depending on interpretation there could be more than that. The gunfights make it very clear that there’s no glamour in war – which in itself isn’t a bad thing, but when it’s set against the show’s more usual lightweight comedy it feels very out of place. You can almost hear the needle scraping across the record when the tone changes. If you’re old enough to remember what that sounds like, anyway.
Overall, it’s all just a little strange. There is some fun to be had here, as witnessed by the fact that the series did make me smile from time to time and never did anything out-there enough to make me drop it. But it’s really hard to recommend, too, on account of it really being something of a strange mess. If you’ve got a Crunchyroll it may be worth a look, but don’t be expecting too much.
Content Grade: C
Streamed by: Crunchyroll, Anime Network
This article originally appeared at Anime Vision where Bryan writes about the UK anime market and the world of anime itself.