After a few minutes of the anime starting, I was already mocking its total shittiness. “Oh look” I joked, “It’s like Hetalia except with cute girls and not funny”. But then the anime stopped trying and failing to make jokes out of racial stereotypes and moved on to its central premise, and something amazing happened. I started to enjoy it.
In case you somehow haven’t heard the premise of Upotte before, it’s about girls who are guns. Not girls with guns, although there certainly is a lot of that too. The girls are actually guns. Don’t ask how that works, I’m not entirely sure. Neither is the show itself for that matter, which adds to the bizarre humour of the entire thing. The girls all go to a school for guns to learn how to one day grow up and become the best assault rifles they can be, while also being turned on by the thought of a big strong person welding them. It’s this bizarre mix of perverted, cutesy and seriously dark humour. The series never once glosses over the destructive power of guns, which leads to this fucked up approach to depicting school shootings. And yet I kinda love it for that.
If I may come back to my post on Polar Bear Cafe, my point there was that animals being humans is only one joke. It has nowhere to expand the joke beyond that central premise. That’s why I felt unenthused by the whole thing. Girls as guns has far more scope for expansion with the premise, and Upotte does expand out that premise out. Some of it doesn’t work, most notably its racial stereotype humour falls completely flat, but the gun humour is legitimately funny and inventive. It was like the entire idea of the story came from a discussion between two nerds on twitter over what part of a gun corresponds to a part of a women’s body, and it spiralled out of control from there. As a bonus point too, I’m someone who knows somewhere between ‘fuck’ and ‘all’ about guns, but the jokes were well explained and told enough for me to still find them funny. In fact, I’m actually learning shit about guns. Upotte is Educational.
The animation is laughably horrible, Xebec at their worst. Character designs are hideous, with that whole lack of noses thing and skirts that remind me of that episode of Nichibros where the girls pull their skirts up to their chests. From a production standpoint, Upotte is woeful. But the central premise has such inherent amusement behind it, and is developed upon well enough to capitalise on that, that I ended up legitimately enjoying this. For whatever reason, I haven’t found moe anthropomorphisation dull yet. Take anything and turn it into cute girls (or cute guys, or manly guys, or whatever people, I’m honestly not picky) and I’ll probably enjoy it.
Huh, that probably means I should watch Akikan then…