Final Review: Upotte!!

Upotte!! is a 10 episode title based off a 4-koma panel manga. It aired during the Winter 2012 anime season, was simulcasted on CrunchyRoll, and is licensed by Sentai Filmworks for US distribution. The original net animation (ONA) is expected to receive a TV broadcast this July. The story follows a school full of girls who’s names are not only gun names but are actually gun themselves. Now you may be wondering, how the heck is that possible. Basically, long story short, thing Strike Witches except anything that happens to the guns the girls are/own also happens to them (less the magazine). An OAD is also planned for release later this year.

The school premise really hurts the series as it ends up being a school-life, ecchi, comedy show rather than an interesting war setting. The show is more about gun “history” than anything else at times. However, it does have its fair share of action. Character wise though it’s incredibly weak. Characters themselves are not interesting at all despite being guns. The show doesn’t fully explain how things work in this world.  It’s unfortunate since it has a unique concept and solid action, but fails to ever follow through with a majority of what it tries. It ends up being half-hearted 80% of the time.

Art and animation were both decent overall. Designs weren’t overly generic but they weren’t overly detailed either. For a gun specific show, I had expected some greater focus and quality on the guns the girls were holding. They got the inner components of the guns detailed but the exterior lacked the fine details that the interior had. What’s the point if we don’t see the interior 90% of the time?  Unfortunately, we also don’t even get to see detailed magazines or shots like what was shown in Hidan no Aria or even Black Lagoon. And no, I’m not confusing this show with the ongoing Jormungand. Regardless, animation is a strong point of this show with Xebec continuing to show signs of improvement. In this past year alone, they have shown step ups from their previous works (mostly To Love-Ru) with titles like Rinne no Lagrange and Upotte!!

OP/ED themes were both okay at best. I personally prefer the ED theme a little more but neither are really all that good when this season is filled with a lot of good themes. Seiyuu wise, the show is mixed with moderately experienced seiyuus such as Iori Nomizu and Mizusu Togashi as well as less experienced ones such as Misato and Kaori Sadohara. It would have been more appealing to have accents brought out to match the origins of the guns (kind of like Hetalia). Mizusu did a fine job as Sixteen with the attempt at accents but the rest of the cast was rather dull.

Enjoyment? The series does have a few noteworthy episodes worth watching, mostly when the girls duke it out with each other. I will say, however, that are far better in basically every other aspect Upotte!! tries to get good at. If you want girls with guns, Madlax, Black Lagoon, and Gunslinger Girl are more noteworthy titles. If you want a similar premise, Strike Witches definitely does this better.

Overall, despite all the negativity towards this show, it’s not an unwatchable show but requires some serious patience to watch. The moeblob aspect really detracts viewers and the addition of ecchi only makes it worse. It’s more “interesting” than I gave it credit for but it’s not something that one should really get excited over. It’s by no means a good show. It will likely be forgotten not too long from now.

 

Story and Character:

  • Premise (0.5/1): The girls all as “actual” guns was an interesting concept. The school setting was dumb though. Would be more interesting if it was Strike Witches like.
  • Character Personalities (0/1): None of them were particularly interesting except Sig. They were all ditz or klutz.
  • Character Development (0.5/2): Little to none. We barely learn anything about the characters (i.e. gun history) despite being guns.
  • Character Usefulness/Presence (1/2): Presence was there. Cast kept growing and adding on useless characters who all appear for roughly 1 episode. Considering it’s 10 episodes, they are kind of memorable, but generally a waste of space.
  • Pacing: (0.5/1): The show is up and down every episode. One episode is good followed by a low/poor episode.
  • Reasonable/Plausible (0.5/2): Nothing made sense regardless of how ridiculous this show was. The concept is poorly explained overall.
  • Conclusion (0/1): The blood went back into the teacher after being shot? Guns from the girls don’t kill?
  • Total: 2/10

Art and Animation:

  • Backgrounds (1/2): Generic but detailed. Nothing stood out as exceptional.
  • Character Designs (1/2): Character designs are different and represent the respective countries they should…or at least to some degree they tried. The guns exterior could be more detailed despite getting most of the inner parts detailed.
  • Fluidity (2/2): Fine and nothing that would really scream failure.
  • Visuals/Special Effects/Flashiness (1/2): Gun shots could be a little more detailed. Felt cheap.
  • Art and Animation “Expectation” (1.5/2): Given their recent works on To Love-Ru and Rinne no Lagrange, this is pretty average for Xebec standards now. Overall, they have improved over the last year or two.
  • Total: 6.5/10

Sound and Music:

  • OP/ED/Insert Themes (1.5/3): OP/ED were both okay at best. I enjoyed the ED a bit more but neither were really all that great in a season with a lot of surprisingly good themes.
  • Background Music (1/2): Okay musical score, but nothing really memorable.
  • Sound Effects (2/2): Accurate gun noises is really what stands out in this series.
  • Seiyuu (1.5/3): Mediocre all around with the exception of Mizusu as Sixteen. Did not attempt to match origins of guns.
  • Total: 6/10

Enjoyment:

  • Amusement (0.5/2): Concept was interesting, jokes were lame.
  • Weekly/Next Episode Anticipation (1/2): The alternating pattern of the show derails interest quickly. Rarely does the show have plot continuity.
  • Presentation: (1/2): Weak overall. It requires one to sit through the boring episodes occasionally to understand flow of events. Opening act does not really catch attention
  • Re-watchable (0/1): It’s a long show, but likely more re-watchable than even the original Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters (not Season 0) series.
  • Recommendation (0/2): Bad show to watch for (girls with) guns. There are also better moe-blob shows than this. Strike Witches and Gunslinger Girl are recommendations instead.
  • Value (0/1): Not a gem and I doubt this show will be missed.
  • Total: 2.5/10

Preliminary Score: 4/10

Final Score: 4/10

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