Continuing on with girls with guns month, Upotte is an ongoing manga that started in ’09. Written by Tennouji Kitsune. In 2012, Xebec, the studio behind Bakuretsu Hunters, Bottle Fairy, Mnemosyne & Rinne no Lagrange, to name a few, released a ten episode ONA based on the manga. I have no idea what to expect from it. So let’s just take a look and see how it compares to their other works. At the very least, it’s probably better than Mnemosyne but that isn’t saying much.
Our tale takes place in Seishou Academy, a school where all the students are guns who can wield their more literal forms. Our protagonists are FNC (nicknamed Funko,) L85A1 (Eru,) SG550 (Shigu,) & M16A4 (Ichiroku.) Things get strange for them when they get a human teacher who doesn’t know much about guns or what to expect. Shenanigans ensue.
Let’s start with the big flaw with the series. It comes across as someone’s fetish project. There’s a lot of heavily sexualised stuff based around the girls being guns. And by a lot, I mean that this anime is almost on the level of Strike Witches. Which is odd both because the girls are guns and because the main cast is in middle school. I’d kind of like to converse with Tennouji to hear them try to justify themselves. But I also don’t because I get the feeling they’re the type who breathes heavily and drools for no discernible reason. Another issue with the series is that there are a bunch of segments that just talk about gun specs. Which is going to be boring unless you happen to have a major gun fetish like Tennouji. The humour itself is pretty lacklustre. While it has some funny moments, they’re over-shadowed by a lot of dumb, predictable jokes. Like FNC shooting at her teacher because he mentions her undergarments. Which he kind of deserves since no teacher should be fixated on that to any degree.
About the best I can say about the series is that it has its aforementioned funny moments. It also has some nice, cute moments here and there. Usually involving Shigu and her feelings towards Funko.
There’s not much to say about the cast. In spite of the “twist” of them being guns, they’re a blatantly bog-standard batch for a slice of life series. The interactions with the teacher do get annoying quickly, and the interactions in general aren’t as good for comedic purposes as certain better written slice of life works though.
To its credit, the character designs are pretty distinct and there’s a lot of detail put into the guns. Unfortunately, it also suffers from a lot of excessive, tasteless shots of the girls in a state of undress and shots that put the focus firmly on their bums and bosoms. Learn how to have class, Xebec. The backgrounds also gravitate towards lazy.
The voice acting is pretty average. They aren’t brilliant, but they aren’t bad either. Which may be more the result of the characters being archetypes without much to them than the actresses themselves. The music was handled by Hashimoto Yukari, who also worked on the composition of Yuri Kuma Arashi, Mawaru Penguindrum & Strike Witches. All in all, it’s decent enough.
There is quite a bit. Shigu is heavily implied to have romantic feelings for Funko, Ichiroku gropes other girls. There are several other girls who are shown to have romantic interest in other girls including Galil AR towards AR18 & both AUGA1 and SAKO RK95 towards Funko.
So, how does Upotte ultimately hold up? Not particularly well. It suffers from a lot of tasteless, sleazy moments. The comedy is pretty weak. The characters are stock. Ultimately, there’s just not much to recommend it. My final rating is going to be a 3/10. Next week I’ll finish girls with guns month with a look at El Cazador de la Bruja.