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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.”