There is this special academy where the gun girls go, where the elementary school students are submachine guns, the middle school students are small caliber assault rifles, and the high school is large caliber assault rifles. The students are all mentioned as being modern firearms.
Just like any 4-koma moe series, each character is a basic archetype with some defining traits added on to make them fit in this story.
However, this is a review of the anime, but that luckily applies to the anime as well. Naturally, there simply is no plot. The girls attend the gun school and participate in average school activities, as well as dangerous adventures in the legally required beach episode. I have lost track of how many series put the characters in some sort of danger where they must avenge their friends against some unknown enemy, but they will inevitably win, because it is just that kind of show.
Well, now to the problems. The biggest issue is that for a series that keeps saying the girls are guns, they, well, aren’t. Look at Like Life for a moment. See how the girls that are things are still those items, just in human form? In Upotte! the girls as people retain characteristics of the guns(for comedy effect only, such as skeleton stocks), but never actually are the guns. For a series that states X is X, having X not actually really be X is somewhat of an issue. Again, unlike Like Life where the girls are the items, all the time, when the Upotte! girls want their guns, they just appear in their hands. They aren’t the guns themselves, despite being billed as such constantly.
Now the other problem: Most of the firearms presented have some factual problems. Specifically, for a series that is still being released on crunchyroll, and is a part of this season’s anime shows, you would think they know what the modern guns are. In other words, most of the guns there are somewhere between obsolete and no longer in production.
The most obvious is the 7.62mm assault rifles, as those remain in use pretty much only in third world countries, where an AK-47 or a clone of one can be had for $6, or traded for a chicken or bag of grain.
Listing this would make it easier. The high school contains the:
FN Herstal FAL (known in British service as the L1A1): replaced by the SCAR-H. may still be in service in some countries.*
M14: became obsolete in Veitnam. Was replaced by the M14 EBR (Enhanced Battle Rifle) and adopted by the US Navy
G3: replaced by the G36, HK416, and HK417. may still be in service in some countries.*
In the middle school, it gets worse:
FN Herstal FNC: Replaced by the F2000 and SCAR-L. may be in service in some countries.*
M16A4: Currently in the process of being replaced by the M4
L85A1: replaced by the L85A2. Will discuss this more later.
SiG SG 550: replaced by multiple subsequent versions. Newest replacements are the SiG516, SiG522LR, SiG551-A1, SiG556, and the SiG716. Will discuss this one also later on.
AR-18: production stopped in 1980.
SAKO Rk 95. Tp: production stopped in 1998. Potentially still in service in Finland.
Galil AR: In use currently in Colombia, Botswanna, etc. Replaced in service in Israel by the Tavor TAR-21
Steyr AUG: Still in production and service in Austria and other countries. Does have two interchangeable barrels, one for use as an assault rifle, the other for use as a squad support weapon. Depicted factually.
T91: Still in production and service.
Okay, now let me explain the *. Those guns were determined as no longer in production by their companies by the simple process of checking their websites. Yes, viewing what assault rifles Heckler and Koch makes is as easy as going to their website. The same goes for companies like FN Herstal (sometimes referred to as FN, Fabrique National, Fabrique National d’Herstal. Correctly referred to as FN Herstal or Fabrique National d’Herstal.) SiG is also correctly written with captial S, little i, and capital G. It is also pronounced as each letter, instead of combining. So you correctly pronounce it as S-i-G, not as SiG. The above information as determined by the simple process of how the companies state they want to be referred to as, or refer to themselves as.
No, you can’t buy them in the US, due to a combination of the Hughes Amendment and the fact that some of these (likely due to the amendment) won’t sell you one.
Okay, I also said I would talk about some of the guns later on, so here goes. First, the SAKO and the Galil show up to take over the school (surprise, surprise) and the M16 sees that as an excuse to rekindle the old rivalry between the M16 and the AK-47. One of the girls then comments and complains that westerners are copying the AK. Well, the issue with that is that the SiG 550 is also copying the mechanism of the AK.
Straight from the company at 00:49, “This is like the AK-47 system.” followed by an explanation of how it is similar to the AK-47 system. Because the author didn’t do quite enough research, or simply didn’t care, they missed out on the potential mess and all the other fun they could have had by revealing that the 550 was also taking design ideas from the AK-47. That would have made the subsequent story a little more interesting.
Now for the other gun, the L85A1. In Upotte! the L85A1 is portrayed as a bit worse than it was. No factual references can be found as to the guns breaking or being abandoned after only 100 rounds. Not only that, but the stance taken by the armed forces of the more powerful nations (the US, China, Russia, the UK, and France to name the top five by expenditure) frown heavily on discarding an issued weapon. And by frown heavily I mean there will be some pretty severe punishment, as well as the likely requirement of the soldier to pay for a replacement of their duty weapon.
Now for the other problem: the L85s in service are upgraded to the L85A2 version, while most cadet and training rifles still remain as L85A1 versions, likely due to there being no need to upgrade the rifle someone trains on but won’t be issued for duty. So if L85 is, like the other girls, the military rifle, then she would be the L85A2 variant. Which brings us to another issue: the M16 is not the most reliable weapon on the planet. The M4 is four times less reliable (due to the complex way the gas system works, shortening the barrel and moving the gas block with a system designed for one gun results in it not working as well.) The L85A2 variant? THE single most reliable assault rifle made today. The M16 has a mean round between failure in desert conditions of around 3,100. The L85A2 has a mean round between failure in desert conditions (same as the M16 test) of 7,875. The average mean round between failure of the M16 is fairly low, with the averages going between 12,000 to 16,000 rounds. The average mean round between failure of the L85A2 is 25,200.
In other words: Actual battlefield tests have found the L85A2 to go longer between stoppages and longer between failures than any other modern assault rifle. Needless to say, Heckler and Koch did a good job fixing the L85A1 variant.
In other questions, Upotte! has the AUG, the L85, but why not the FA-MAS? France factually has one of the most powerful military forces (they are in the top five) and yet the Austrain weapon appears, along with several weapons that are no longer made by their parent companies or other publicly viewable companies (they may still be made in state owned factories in some countries.)
What else…Well, in one scene, let’s just say that the SAKO was sued for fanservice in a way that makes me even more scared of moe fanbois, and probably because they are loving that scene. Then again, she is a gun so it was probably gun oil. Oh wait a moment…Yeah, that was not needed.
Well, in the end, it is a
fun simple anime with gun girls who aren’t, a plot that doesn’t really exist, and some things that I would rather have not witnessed (the SAKO comes to mind.) Couple that with facts that consist of minimal research and hearsay, and you have something that doesn’t live up to the potential.
Pros: tries to be funny. At least one scene that should have all the moe fans really excited.
Cons: the plot is so recycled, they could be arrested for laundering. Characters are said to be girls who are guns, but are just girls who have guns. States stuff to be factual, but facts consist of hearsay, rumors, and almost non-existent research.
All in all, this looks like an attempt to combine people who have firearms and people who like manga and/or anime into one big pile of money. I can complement them on that idea, since people who have and shoot firearms tend to have some disposable income. Making a series to try to appeal to them so that you can get in on that action makes sense. Too bad it doesn’t live up to those intentions.