Rifle Is Beautiful

April 5, 2020

Oh yeah. It’s time for another anime about girls with guns. Uh huh. Time to see those sexy hot chicks with their pistols or duel wielding guns akimbo in pure high octane gun action. Bang! Bang! BANG!!! Pew! Pew! PEW!!! Let the blood splatter and the body count intensify! Oh… What’s that you say? You mean Rifle Is Beautiful isn’t that kind of girls with guns anime???!!! SAY WHAT???!!! So if you are one of those who have been trolled like yours truly, indeed this technically an anime about girls with guns. However it’s not like what you’d expect from the likes of Madlax, Noir or even Canaan. Or even Upotte whereby guns are anthropomorphized as girls. This is a rifle shooting sports series. Oh… Oh… Oh…Oh well, I guess that’s okay as long as there cute girls shooting their guns…

Episode 1
Hikari Kokura is eager to join the rifle club of Chidori High. Due to her bad sense of direction, she can’t find the club but thanks to her friend, Izumi Shibusawa, they make it. Only… The club is closed! The teacher reveals that because of the lack of interests of girls and guns, the club was recently closed down. Is Hikari’s dream over? Is this the end of the anime? Not quite. Not if they can find 4 members and revive the club. Then they remember somebody who is most likely to join. Erika Meinohama laments her loss to hen unknown Hikari during some middle school shooting competition. Suddenly Hikari pops up before her. What? Didn’t know you enrolled in the same high school? Erika thought she is here to rub it in but with Hikari praising her exceptional skills, you bet Erika is going to join. Don’t bother finding a fourth member because here she is. Uhm, Yuki Nagato? Nope. Yukio Igarashi. She claims they have seen her before but they can’t put her finger on it. I suppose it’s not Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu or that spinoff series of hers either… With the rifle club back in action, we see the girls practising. Don’t worry, they won’t be using live bullets but laser beams. Yeah, don’t want the whole neighbourhood to jump hearing gunshots. We also learn a little bit of the girls like Izumi loves reading and Erika is half Russian who loves Japan (but of course). Also some explanation how this whole rifle beam thing works as well as introducing to us the very hard protective coat and suit they wear. Because Hikari’s coat can’t fit anymore (is it because of her growing boobs?!), Erika invites them to her mansion where they can pick coats from her collection. Basically it also feels like hanging out with a rich girl. Hikari chooses a pink coat and Yukio fools around with a bigger coat that belongs to Erika’s father so much so she gets stuck. More girl hangout time when we see them go to the convenience store to grab some snacks and then head back to celebrate the revival of their rifle club. We see Yukio’s misinterpretation of Erika supposed to be a clichéd tsundere and dojikko while Hikari’s jokes are pure lame… All this friendship bonding somewhat gives them motivation to aim for the Olympics! Oh well, got to dream big while you’re at it.

Episode 2
A brief intro on the shooting format before the girls resume their practice. But it becomes a test of endurance since the ventilation isn’t really good, the girls are feeling the heat and sweating underneath their coat. Nothing like a break to freshen things up. Hikari takes the last shot and hopes to make it count but she sneezes and misses entirely. In the end, Erika tops with the most points but surprisingly Yukio is dead last. She was doing so well at first but gradually tumbles. What’s this about her allergy medication ran out? And then it hit Hikari. Midterms are coming up! Oh sh*t… With the tests over in a flash, Yukio tops the grade. Erika and Izumi did well too. Hikari? Somewhere at the bottom! With that, she has to take remedial tests and Izumi becomes her Spartan trainer to watch over her study. Thankfully she passes them. Time to take time off shooting and focus on a different sport: Softball. We see Hikari and Izumi having no stamina. Then some showdown between Erika and Yukio in which the former wins. Then Hikari falls into depression. What’s eating her? Olympics are coming up and they’re nowhere world class material. Oh well, there’s a reason why we all dream big. But nothing like a big distraction when Izumi has her calm down and eat some apple pie. What was it that she was worrying again? On a serious note, the qualifiers for the Nationals are a month away and at the rate they are shooting, obviously they won’t qualify. I know, practice, practice and more practice, right? But Yukio has a better suggestion like practising with other schools. The problem now is who to contact who. Hikari and Yukio try to get Hikari to contact other rifle clubs but she doesn’t want to do something so troublesome. No kissing up is going to trick her into doing it. With Izumi willing to research some of the other schools, Erika relents and will contact some of the girls she knows.

Episode 3
Chidori will play against Asaka Academy. Yup, runner’s up of last year’s Nationals. The moment they arrive outside their school and see all their accolade banners, Hikari and Izumi turn around and walk home! Don’t run away now! They meet the club’s president, Akira Shinonome and the vice, Misa Kuroi. How is Erika related to Akira? They’re cousins! The girls are divided into groups for the line-up. Yukio is in the first group and she fires a high score that shocks everyone. Hikari and Izumi are in the next group. During practice, Hikari tries to adjust her rifle but it seems she just can’t get it right. But when the actual competition starts, she starts hitting the target. So happy that she lost focus on the next one. Izumi finishes her rounds first. She didn’t do very well so Erika tries to console her that at least she didn’t make any big screw ups. Hence she is largely consistent. Unfortunately Izumi takes it the wrong way like as though there is no improvement. Meanwhile, everyone thinks Hikari will flop during her closing shots. However she seems to be hitting target after target. Maybe her win over Erika wasn’t a fluke, huh? This has Akira note that perhaps she is one who does better in competition where everyone drives her. But she might need to take that back a little since Hikari flops in the last round. Hikari clicks with Asaka’s Karen Sakashita since they both got lousy scores! When Asaka talks how good Akira is, Hikari decides to watch and learn from her. Yeah, such amazing aura now. Besides, the final group pits Erika against Akira. In the end, it is Yukio who takes first place while Akira close behind her. Erika is 4th, Izumi in 12th and Hikari in 21st. Hang in there girls. Practice makes (almost) perfect!

Episode 4
Yukio follows a black cat and ends up in a rapid service train. How did it even get to this? Oh boy, it’s going to be a long journey. Hikari and Izumi hang out together while Akira visits Erika. When school resumes, everyone is shocked that Yukio is so tanned. A couple of girls heard about the rifle club and wants to sit in. This doesn’t make Hikari happier. Yeah, they even shoot better than Hikari! But I guess they’re not really into shooting although they’re happy that Hikari and co are doing well. Sorry, no new members. Hikari is worried that they might not qualify for the qualifiers simply because they don’t have an advisor. Because they share theirs with the shogi club, he is too busy with shogi activities to attend their qualifier. But relax. Erika knows they just need an advisor on paper and that they can just ask another teacher to do it for them. And we know that advisor is going to be Yuuko Tsurumaki. She isn’t an advisor of any clubs because of her meek behaviour and introvert. Then fate has her bump into Yukio. At first she gets shocked thinking she took out her rifle to shoot her! But it’s just to check for damage. Tsurumaki feels the need to improve herself so she sums up her courage to ask to become the rifle club’s advisor. Don’t mind the stammering. At least she tried. Also, Tsurumaki has interests in girls with weapons because when she was young, she used to watch lots of animes of that genre. She offers to make a poster to help recruit members but WTF is this badass poster?! Looks like some movie or something?! To fight is our destiny???!!! And the irony of the girls needing to teach Tsurumaki all about shooting because she knows nothing. Nothing! One thing led to another as Tsurumaki somewhat invites them all to her apartment. We’re going to expect it’s messy but not this messy! Yup, boxes everywhere! Is this what a hoarder looks like? The girls help clean up but I guess she finds everything too precious to be thrown away. I don’t know what happened to those stuffs but her place is so clean now. Then they talk more about the sport as well as the other schools in their area whom they need to defeat to get to the Nationals. Apart from Asaka, there’s the veteran Iseaoka and the rising Kiritani First. Yup, that’s about all of them. But only 5 members can go through. After the girls leave, Tsurumaki is all motivated to do what she can to help them. Meanwhile Asaka just finished their joint practice with Kiritani. Damn snobbish French wannabe b*tches…

Episode 5
The qualifiers are tomorrow and some are nervous the night before (like Izumi) and some over prepare (like Yukio). We are introduced to some of the potentials like Iseoka’s club president, Kozakura Konno and senior, Chiyo Satou as well as Kiritani’s club president, Rei Asakura and sophomores, Komachi Enomoto and Ushio Sanada. Rei and Erika have the same goal of taking down Akira! The qualifiers will be divided into groups and to qualify for the Nationals, 610 points is needed. Going first in the first group is Hikari. Nervous, isn’t she? From her practice score, she isn’t ready to qualify but everybody is shocked that she has been hitting high scores! So they really think she couldn’t make it, huh? It’s all thanks to her stable posture in supporting her rifle. Of course as the match drags on, the heat and tension has some losing focus and their target. Even Hikari is falling into this trap. And then finally she nailed good shots that has her in second place in the provisional standings! Currently on top is Misa. In the next group is Yukio. Komachi throws down a challenge to her that by beating her is the same as beating Asaka. Yukio dares her to try. Because nobody is going to beat her. That’s the spirit.

Episode 6
I guess Hikari is so free now. She wanders around and becomes friends with Rei. They click because they are both very bad at physical sports. With Yukio doing well, Hikari is worried that she will be knocked out! In the end, Yukio shoots to a record high and this leaves Komachi embarrassed and having to eat her words. The next group after this has Izumi’s turn. However she shoots to a mediocre score. It wasn’t anything near Nationals quality. So you bet she is a bit depressed. Tsurumaki tries to cheer her up and take her for a drive. But WTF she got too worried and ended up driving into somebody’s hedge!!! WTF???!!! They have to run the whole way back… In the final group, we have Erika and Akira going head to head with each other. In the aftermath, the results are tabulated and the top 5 (in descending order) who qualify are: Yukio, Rei, Akira, Misa and Erika. Oh damn, Hikari in 6th place just missed out… But wait. Because Rei and Akira are going for the air rifle, this means Hikari as well as Kozakura who is in 7th place, qualify for the Nationals! And because Chidori wins the overall team points, I guess this means the entire team gets to go the Nationals. Yup, Izumi is in too. Wow. Everybody in Chidori in. Hooray! Sorry to interrupt your celebration but just for the record, Karen got last placed… :’(…

Episode 7
Naturally, the Chidori girls go out to celebrate their achievement. Since it is Erika’s treat, can’t complain where she picks to eat. Oh wait. Since Akira and Misa are there, change of plans. Too bad they are invited to sit with them so that’s that. Since they are noisy, Rei who is sitting in the next table has to show her face. She warns the Chidori girls not to get this victory to their head because there were many girls who failed to make the cut and cried. Hikari doesn’t know if they can win but they’ll do their best and have fun. In school, Hikari doesn’t have anybody else to talk to about this rifle sport. But the moment she mentions her club is going to the Nationals, everybody becomes excited and starts talking to her! Wow. She’s like the star. But they still won’t go so far as to join the club. Bummer. A few days before the test, bad news hits. If they fail more than 3 subjects, going to the Nationals is off because of remedial classes. Tsurumaki should have told them earlier but she forgot… I guess that car wrecked incident got to her… Anyway, we know Hikari is in danger of missing out. So Erika hosts a study session. If you’re wondering why Yukio is also here, her grades are also sh*t! Double bummer. Izumi is like the kind mother who tutors Hikari and yet the latter still so blur. Erika is like the Spartan trainer lashing out Yukio so much so the latter seeks solace in the bosoms of mother Izumi. The study session goes into the wee hours of the morning but they completed it. In the end, the girls pass their tests. Only Erika is displeased because Yukio outranked her?! Tsurumaki seems to be asking her girls which one is more feminine. Oh, is it that time of year when she thinks she needs to snag a man before she pasts her expiry date? Not sure about this delusion of trying to make Yukio smile, though. Hikari and Izumi put some thought into marriage too but because they don’t know who, they think they’ll marry each other! I don’t think that’s how it works… In the end, Tsurumaki seeing the quartet happy together, she decides to go for the harem route. So screw men? Later the girls are talking about this rifle sport not given enough coverage. I mean, they are heading to the Nationals and yet nobody comes to interview them. Yukio didn’t say much but she has the best answer: She does want to be valued but they have to change things themselves. OMG. Everybody so speechless…

Episode 7.5
OMG. This anime too needs a recap?! I guess they need more time to prepare for the Nationals, huh? Narrated by both Hikari and Izumi, if you’re too lazy to go watch the last 7 episodes of what happened, they condensed all you need to know that has happened so far. From the introduction of the club members to the gear to the point scoring system as well as the competitors they face in the qualifying rounds up till the results of those who qualify for the Nationals. This recap is also ‘special’ as it introduces other strong schools around Japan whom they will face in the Nationals. They include last year’s champion, Hozumi High (competitors to watch out for: Maho Kogomori the club president, Sayu Kaijima and Serena Nitta) as well as Saiga Girls’ School (Ruri Hachigou) and Akita Third High (Tae Nakagawa). Now you girls prepared for Hiroshima calling?

Episode 8
Our Chidori girls are discussing how even height can change everything in shooting. That’s why everyone has their own style in shooting. Hikari tries to compliment Izumi’s body and I don’t think she has any ill intentions nothing how much squishy she is… We see the girls practice hard before the Nationals. Hikari is in a slump unlike her pals who are consistent so she thinks they betrayed her?! I don’t think that’s what it supposed to mean when she said friends are always with her. Not shooting scores, definitely. The day before the big tournament, we see everyone taking the train or plane to Hiroshima. The Chidori side takes the train as they discuss last year’s results. It is surprising that despite Asaka being quite good in their prefecture, last year they ranked only 12 out of 26 teams. Of course last year’s champion to beat is Hozumi and don’t look now because they’re on the same train as Chidori! Is this some sort of premonition or something? Everyone arrives safely and coincidentally the teams of the same prefecture stay at the same place. This means the Asaka side easily going over to Chidori’s room to talk about love stories! Yeah… Girls need to have that, right? So we have Akira asking the type of guys the Chidori girls like. You’d be surprise at some of the answers. They want to skip Hikari thinking she won’t be much of an answer. Insulted? Karen gives her a chance and you know, she definitely has to most ‘surprising’ answer: Her dad! Oh well, time to hit the sack. Wait. Give her another chance. Think hard. Somebody who shares the same hobbies, etc… Aha! Izumi’s dad! That’s not even funny! Is she into older men???!!! Father type figures???!!! So all this love talk is just to calm nerves before the Nationals, huh? Oh well, shooting > love. You can fail at love but not shooting! Haha! The Chidori girls can’t sleep so they go out and watch the stars. Except for Yukio, they forgot to put on bug spray and came back all itchy. Hope they sleep well because morning is here and it’s time for the Nationals.

Episode 9
We’re here at the Nationals. Is Hikari going to say hi to everybody that passes? Kozakura feels lonely since she is the only one here. Until she meets an online forum shooting buddy. Not so lonely now. With the first day being just practice, you bet everyone will have to wait for their turn. Erika must be so bored that she tries to draw on Akira’s sleeping face. That’ll show her… On the day of the competition, Tsurumaki explains the reasoning for Chidori’s line-up. Well, it wasn’t thought out that well and serves for some comical and drama that’s unnecessary. As we can see that most of the rifle shooting girls are weird. Even Akira makes a comment about this. So when Misa points out she is in the same boat, she really thought deep about this. Hence she reasons that the sport itself is weird and not her! In that case, would everyone be weird then? Ah, Akira just gave up… Yukio is in the first line-up. We are focused to some of the other teams too. Especially Hozumi who is the top gun and Serena as the reigning champion. She also analyses the performance of other schools. She feels the burden of carrying Hozumi’s name. She would have been the perfect shooting beauty had not her senpai always keep sexually harassing her. And then there’s also Ruri who loves gardening. Like, WTF this got to do with anything?! While Serena shoots well, looks like somebody is also shooting even better: Yukio! And we hear her narrate how she finds her own name weird. Her parents probably named her after winter but she never liked that season. Her favourite is summer and I suppose that’s why she could do so well now. In the end, Yukio tops the standings! Woah. Yukio and Hikari doing an epic handshake! Hikari motivated by her performance and Yukio humbled by her victory, crediting her friends for being there. So touching. Because of that, Hikari wants to marry Yukio! Wait a minute! Wasn’t it supposed to be Izumi???!!!

Episode 10
Izumi is playing Hikari’s substitute mom. Without her, Hikari could’ve wasted her allowance and bought everything! Like this very expensive coat. But since Hikari’s argument also makes sense, they end up flipping the coin. Well, what do you know? It lands perfectly upright! Not even sure what this means but Hikari didn’t buy the coat either. With the next round starting, it is Erika’s turn and she’s nervous. Akira wants to give her a hug to calm down but is ignored. Akira tries to force one on her so Erika runs. You trying to make her even more nervous? Eventually she catches up and gives a big one. Sayu seems to be doing her homework by observing her participants rather than wasting time practising. She believes Erika is the one to watch and you thought it was her skills she was referring to but actually was just her beauty! No wonder Serena so angry after being trolled. Even neat freak Touko Yosomiya from Yaginuma wants to cleanse her. Despite her pervy nature, she is one of the top shooters and she has an elegant form thanks to her traditional dance background. Then we got some long drama on Erika’s thoughts. Basically Yukio’s comment of her being a drama queen fits the bill because she should have showed her exceptional skills from the start if she was this good to begin with. When the round is over, we can see Erika trying to put up a tough front. Her last few rounds were bad and this contributed to her overall lousy score. So much so her scores in the preliminaries were better. Then the smile turns to tears. Time for a comfy hug. As Hikari will be in the next round, she buys that coat. Don’t want to regret it now, eh? The provision standings has Hozumi leading a comfortable margin followed by Ayaka and then Chidori. If they are going to close that gap, Hikari needs to shoot a score that is on par with the record high score in all of Japan. Hope it’s going to be her good day. Or maybe not, because she’s WTF singing out of tune whatever. And then WTF moment when Tsurumaki tries to make Hikari wear some inner shirt so her boobs will stand out. She has no boobs!!! Tsurumaki so disappointed!!! WTF???!!! Because Hikari seems chirpy, Erika wonders if Hikari’s dream of going to the Olympics is real. Her friends believed her. Erika, better believe it if you know what’s good for you.

Episode 11
It is Hikari’s turn. You know how first impressions count, right? She does the impossible by shooting the max points on her first shot, shocking everybody. Well, it’s Hikari we’re talking about. You’d think she would then falter away but nope. She’s darn consistent for the rest of her shots! Also in Hikari’s group is Maho who is of course last year’s runner’s up in the individual tournament. We hear Maho’s tough mentality and all until Hikari’s ribbon caught her attention. Did that distraction prove fatal because it’s like she shot badly then. I guess it’s to tell us some flashback that Maho and Hikari both met before many years ago. Even then, Hikari still harboured dreams to go to the Olympics. At the end of the day, Hikari’s tremendous performance pulls up Chidori’s ranking. They climb up second but still not enough to dethrone Hozumi who is clearly the team champion for the second year running. The Chidori girls are so in shock that you wonder they are sad or just speechless. Hikari feels sad because she hoped to win, only earning the wrath of the other girls for being greedy. Then they start to lecture her on this and that but eventually still praise her for a job well done. Even Maho personally comes to thank Hikari. That says a lot about her future. All the tired shooters retire to their rooms. Our Chidori girls soak in the outdoor bath. Some girls who don’t know Hikari realize that she actually has big boobs! She just keeps them under wraps because it gets in the way of shooting!!! OMG. Is that supposed to be an insult to flat chests everywhere?! Because tomorrow is where the individual tournament begins, nothing for everyone to hang out and have fun playing sparklers by the stream.

Episode 12
Tsurumaki feels abandoned since the girls didn’t invite her to the hotsprings or play sparklers. Hikari is brutally honest that they forgot! She can say that with a smile?! Oh Tsurumaki, there goes your harem route… In this individual tournament, it is one big battle royale in which the top 8 will advance to the finals for the final shootout. Hikari rallies and hope all those in her prefecture will make it. Kozakura is so touched she is included in the pack that she joins in getting loud with them. Desperate? Misa is in the first group. It ends with her taking third provisional spot but her total score is still below the average that is needed to qualify. Erika is in the next group that has Serena. She tries to make a statement that based on her observation, the first person in their team who goes first always does the best. Well, she was waiting for some clever comeback by Yukio but none. Is she trying to jinx her team???!!! It ends with Serena taking provisional top spot and Erika in second place. Misa is pushed down to eight… Oh dear… In danger… Hikari is in the next group. But some foreshadowing drama shows that this time she really had a disastrous performance. Well below any level at all! What happened?! Safe to say that Hikari is so shocked that she disintegrated! Oh man, even Thanos’ snap reached this far?! Safe to say, Hikari’s first wife (Izumi, who else?!) talks to her and provides a shoulder to cry on. Uh huh. Time to listen to her rant how her performance might have been flukes all the while. Once she is done crying, time to rush back and watch the finals. Damn, it already ended! WTF Hikari?! You cried too long???!!! No regrets now… Maho wins the tournament with Serena in second place. Erika was the only one representing their prefecture in the final 8 but she finished a dismal 7th. As for Yukio, she finished 10th in the group and didn’t make it. Wow. Really jinxed, huh? Also, Akira didn’t win her air rifle and got 4th. Tsurumaki tries to cheer up the girls that their summer has just begun. But we can obviously see that it is going to take some time for Hikari to get back on her feet. Of course in the end when she reflects back in retrospect, she had lots of fun. She couldn’t face Maho in the finals but hopefully she will face her on the bigger stage. Yeah, keep dreaming of that Olympics dream. For now, it’s back to more practice.

Shooting Blanks & Way Off Mark!
Oh damn. Can’t they even shoot this right? I mean, they delayed the damn final episode for 2 weeks! Like, what the heck went wrong? You thought an earlier episode was delayed and hence a recap episode was bad enough. Delaying the final episode like this? Looks like somebody’s heart is not in there just to finish this. And when it ended like that, with none of our main characters winning everything, I guess they really end it on some bitter note. Hey, it is Chidori’s first appearance at the Nationals so that already itself is an achievement. It’s going to be unrealistic if they win the championship at their first go and topple more established and experienced veteran shooters. Yeah. Losing at this stage helps build characters. Until next time, girls. If this series ever gets another season. But I’m so sceptical right now so 99% chance it won’t have a sequel. Yeah, if this is the treatment of the final episode of this series, might as well just end it here.

Being an anime series that focuses on a group of high school girls in a shooting club, there is only so much room and direction one can go with this very limited plot. To be honest, the story here is pretty boring and pretty much predictable. From the establishment of a club to finding its members, having target practice with the local powerhouse and then competing in the Nationals and coming face to face with the national champions. That’s pretty much it. Sad to say that because of this very basic formula the series follows, there is nothing really exciting to follow in the story. Unless you are a real shooting enthusiast, there might be something that interests you but even so, shooting pros would have done something better than to watch this mediocre series. Say, practice their shooting? Heh. I wanted to say that this series probably wants to introduce and get people interested in the rifle shooting sport but unfortunately no matter how much I try to look at this from a positive point a view, I just can’t. It’s just too boring to be considered as something introductory. Therefore this series comes off more as cute girls doing cute things, rifle version. Even during the tournament, we are not shown 100% the girls in shooting action. Sometimes we see those not in turn shooting, goofing off outside and doing unrelated fun stuffs. It feels unnecessary but everyone will be bored out of their wits if they are to sit and watch through the scenes of girls shooting. Want to see that? Go watch a real rifle competition live!

The other sad part is that the characters aren’t anything interesting either. Sure, you have the basic weirdoes in the small shooting club of Chidori. Each has their own quirks in personality but sometimes it feels forced because the show is already boring, then they have to put in their quirky behaviour that sometimes look like the running joke of the series to distract from the boredom. I think I hardly know anything more about the Chidori girls at the end. Thus I don’t feel the connection and they are not the kind of characters whom you feel like want to throw your support with behind. You just do so just because they are the main characters, the dark horses who are supposed to follow the cliché script of doing their best and thanks to the plot convenience, they surprise many and end up in a very good position. Something that is way beyond their expectations. Even if Chidori didn’t manage to win the tournament, finishing second in the team standings already says a lot. Of course the individual tournament was like the reality that brought them all down to earth. Man, what a gloomy end, if I should say. I guess this show needs some sort of character development and to show that the Chidori girls aren’t perfect, that is why they didn’t do well in the final individual tournament. They’re just human beings. Not perfect. Still got room for improvement. And it’s like God telling them to get off their high horse and boom! Here’s your reality. High school dream might be over but don’t forget the Olympic dream. That door is always open if you consistently level up.

The only best character that is my favourite is Yukio because of her deadpan sarcasm and jokes. I believe she is the most realistic among the group and because unlike the rest, she doesn’t say much and when she does, it speaks more volumes. Sometimes I wish we had more screen time of her instead of the retard Hikari. Uh huh. No offence but she’s one of those cliché main characters who looks dumb and not really knowledgeable in the things she loves. But when the time comes for her to shine, she’ll shine through very brightly alright. Like as though there is some sort of trade off with prodigy geniuses and their common sense. And something about her having this weird unconscious fetish for older men. Is father figure the right word? Just weird. Other than old men, if Hikari continued to accumulate ‘wives’, I would have nicknamed this series as Waifu Is Beautiful!!! HAHAHA!!! Sighs… And then you have the rich halfie Erika (because every groupie needs a snobbish oujo-sama) and Izumi being the big sister of the group (because every groupie needs somebody who is kind and gentle). Tsurumaki feels like she is just hanging in there. It feels like she might be falling into degeneracy because you notice her strange yuri harem route that she wants to take. But of course, the only memorable thing about her is how she crashed her car into the bush! She better drive straight before trying to even learn to shoot straight!

If those are my sentiments for the Chidori girls, what about the other girls from other schools? Yup, they feel much worse. And there are so many of them that you might lose count. Okay, that may be a little bit exaggerated but it’s true. When you have a few schools and each school has a few notable shooters in their ranks, at least try to make them stand out. As of now, I think I don’t even remember their names when this anime concluded. They may serve as future rivals but like they say, first impressions count and since I’m not really impressed with them, they can forget about having another season. But for those in the same prefecture as Chidori, the usual my pace happy go lucky Akira and her assistant Misa who feels like her own personal rebuttal machine. Misa is another realist but she feels a lot more sceptical compared to Yukio. Also another rich girl prodigy and somewhat Hikari’s ‘ally’, Rei. Not sure if she is an overlapping character with Erika but less tsundere. So many top shooters, who is going to be at the bottom? That’s you, Karen. That’s you…

Because shooting is the main theme for this series, it is also regrettable to say that they didn’t make the shooting scenes any much exciting. It is a good thing that they do not add any dramatic effects or fantasy-like exaggerations just to make it all look interesting and unbelievable. Because of that, you have girls standing in a row just aiming and shooting. And aiming and shooting. And aiming and shooting. And then more aiming before shooting. They hardly even move. Where’s the excitement in that?! This is why during tournaments, we are being ‘distracted’ by drama monologues by some of the characters. Flashback on this, back story on that. Their thoughts and their future, blah, blah, blah. The struggle they faced, yada, yada, yada. Oh wow. So insightful. There. An anime episode is over thanks to all that. Heck, the rifles they hold aren’t even real rifles with real bullets. They’re modified and shoot laser beams. So heave a breath of relief that there will never be an incident of a stray bullet killing another participant! Phew. Don’t want that kind of drama here anytime! Playing safe is the best. So carry on aiming and shooting like you always do. And then aim and shoot. Aim and shoot. Aim and shoot. Aim and shoot… Rinse and repeat at its best.

Art and animation lean toward the cute side. Everything is so bright and colourful and even the characters have this cute looks that is a few steps close of being chibi versions themselves. Speaking of the characters, I thought some of them look like characters from another anime. As I’ve pointed out earlier, Yukio looks like Nagato from Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu. Then there is Rei whom I thought is Neon Genesis Evangelion’s Asuka and Tsurumaki a grown up version of Kodomo No Jikan’s Rin. Hikari’s trademark ribbon keeps reminding me of characters like Gotoubun No Hanayome’s Yotsuba and Yuika from Kawaikereba Hentai Demo Suki Ni Natte Kuremasu Ka. The other characters I’ve probably seen them from somewhere too but I’m too lazy to think hard now. So if you know, please let me know too, okay? In addition to the 2D animation, there is also 3D CGI but this is only reserved when the girls are in their shooting position. Visually they don’t look any different. Until they start to move then you will notice. It is good they keep this only to this part because if there are any more movements outside this, my guess is that it would be horrible. It’s a good thing those suits are stiff. This anime is done by Sudio 3Hz who also did another girls with guns anime: Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online. They also did Princess Principal and Sora No Method so if you see the art style similarity in the cute girls, now you know why.

For the voice acting, I didn’t really recognize anybody and I wouldn’t have any qualms except maybe for Hikari who is voiced by Machico (Teio in Uma Musume: Pretty Derby). She’s too f*cking squeaky in her voice and it’s somewhat annoying! There is only a certain limit high pitched squeaky voices sound cute. But not this one. In some ways, makes her sound fake. Really. At first I thought Kana Hanazawa was behind Misa’s voice but it turns out to be Reina Ueda (Shiori in Sakua Quest). Damn, I must be losing my touch with her voice. The other casts are Saki Minami as Erika (Yuuki in Hachigatsu No Cinderella Nine), Akane Kumada as Izumi (Eren in Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken), Anna Yamaki as Yukio (Saki Tennouji in Himomaru Sumo), Yukiyo Fujii as Tsurumaki (Latifa in Amagi Brilliant Park), Natsumi Fujiwara as Akira (Dimaria in Fairy Tail) and Mao Ichimichi as Rei (Bada in ClassicaLoid).

The opening theme is Let’s Go! Rifling4 by, uhm, Rifling4. That’s the main quartet of Chidori if you don’t know. Remember what I said about Hikari’s voice being too squeaky? Yup, she somewhat ‘ruins’ the opener with her squeaky voice here. I don’t know, I just didn’t really like it. And now it keeps getting stuck in my mind! Get it out!!! The rest of the song feels like your generic lively anime pop idol piece. The same quartet sings the ending theme, Yuuyake Friends. Goes to a much slower beat and slightly more bearable than the opener. Except when Hikari sings her lines, that is. There is one BGM that happen to attract my attention. When this BGM first played, I thought it was a pretty cheap knock off of Girls Und Panzer’s Panzer Vor! The marching styled fanfare was sure close enough but overall it sounded more comical than the aforementioned epic one.

Overall, this comes off as boring and uninspiring. I wanted to say this is a calming anime but I decided not to go that far because it’s still just plain boring. Some cute and funny moments but it isn’t enough to warrant it close to passable. Since I’m still not sure of the scoring system, I’ll give it a 3.1! Did I get it right?! Sometimes it is also hard to see that this is a rifle sports anime because I don’t see how the sport is promoted or even introduced. Even if this was the intention to expose and give this sport more attention, it wasn’t done in a good way. Also, this isn’t really a yuri series and because there are lots of female contact, the characters are too boring for anybody to make us see this series generally this way. Hikari wanting to marry Izumi or Yukio (make up your mind!)? And a certain senior keeps sexually harassing Serena? Still not enough yuri to make me consider this is yuri. Speaking of which, where are all the guys?! Probably the real men take their real rifle and go hunting for real bears and other dangerous creatures in the wildlife. I know this sport isn’t as easy as it seems but thanks to anime, it might have shot itself in the foot portraying cute girls having a great time doing this sport. RIB (Rifle Is Beautiful), RIP.

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