Upotte!! 04 – Vietnam Edition

It took a ridiculous number of pen strokes to sign that.

The 4th episode of Upotte!! actually goes in a plot-relevant direction as multiple episodes actually go into this latest plot arc. M16’s modeling career is the starting point of this episode and others covet the attention that she gets. However, it comes at a cost as her relationship with L85 hits a new low right as they need each other in a match involving modified AKs. SG550, FNC and the high school rifles try to help out, but it’s to no avail as of yet.

AR-18 gets another look in this episode, she has a rather tragic history

After last week’s utterly shambolic episode, it could only get better from there and I felt this was a fairly good episode. The exposition dumps on characters were really limited, and as a result the emphasis was more on the characters than about gun fact sheets. Ultimately, it comes together as a fairly standard story of friends falling out before realizing that they need each other when it matters. I knew the writers could at least put a story together like that.

It really is like giving your measurements on the first date just blurting out simple facts that can be looked up

As far as interesting points in this episode, I did like the bit about modeling where M16’s friends were talking about what really went into it. SG550 really got to the point when she criticized FNC’s attempt at an interview which was nothing more than reading off a list of facts on the gun she was based on. It needed more substance, even if that came in the form of moé long-distance shooting.

If it didn't kill me, I'd let you shoot me, etc.

The essential point is that an audience wants more than mere fact dumping for entertainment. They want a narrative to go with it. FNC succeeds in her second attempt by portraying herself as something that helps the Belgian economy because she was built by a (formerly) state-run manufacturing company. Then again, SG550 had to put her back in her place at the shooting range. Which I guess was the point of this segment, you have to compromise between having good basic material and telling a story about a subject in order to make a good piece that will entertain an audience. Why did they not know this for the first 3 episodes?

L85 was driven to this by M16 calling her a failure. Not a bad result.

Now on to the 2nd important piece of this episode, the actual ability to tell a story for the rest of the episode. As I said earlier, it’s a nuts-and-bolts dispute among friends coming together, at least in the next episode. Where this story should really be judged is in how compelling it is to get from the initial clash between M16 and L85 and the ultimate result at the end.

The pair of modified AKs, you can tell they are modified because they in no way look like normal people.

M16’s nervousness comes from having to face a pair of modified AKs (Galil AR and SAKO RK95 from Israel and Finland respectively) which is of interest because there is history between the M16 and the AK47. M16 lashes out at yet another failing of the lovingly hopeless L85, who then retreats into hiding and the loving embrace of the high school rifles. The back story going back to Vietnam as unsettled business did a good job of a high-level overview of the rivalry between the weapons without getting bogged down by facts. Now that story has entered a waiting phase until either L85 arrives and/or M16 and the modified AKs meet in battle.

That great sense of British irony in creating something that is loved only because it's so bad at what it's supposed to do.

Next week is obviously going to be about this resolution, but there was one more thing I did want to know. Is there something about having one’s origins in Vietnam that makes these girls speak Kansai-ben? It would at least address the point from the first episode that essentially passed it off as “for some reason.”

2 thoughts on “Upotte!! 04 – Vietnam Edition”

  1. Incidentally M16’s accent was brushed off in the manga too, but people have mentioned that it’s something to do with AR18 (which one of the manufacturers was a Japanese firm, hence why she’s supposedly half-Japanese), and how M16 was “adopted off” after AR18’s branch of the family didn’t work out (the AR-18 failed miserably marketing wise, with the biggest buyers being, you know, the IRA).

    1. I brushed that off the same after the first episode as just a joke. It was the fact that the modified AKs also had an accent from the same region that got me more interested in where that idea originated. Also, the irony of the IRA having better weapons than the British Army.

Comments are closed.