As you can probably tell from watching anime, the Japanese sometimes obsess over guns and gun culture more than a little. Some of anime’s most iconic characters, from Lupin III to Golgo 13 to Spike from Cowboy Bebop, are defined by the famous guns they carry, and there are dozens of series (Gate, Upotte!, Aria of the Scarlett Ammo) that focus on firearms. Sometimes I wonder, is anime obsessed with gun culture?
There are not one but two anime series that fall into this camp in the current anime season, so I thought I’d introduce both of them in today’s post!
First up is Rifle is Beautiful, a slice-of-life show based on a 4-koma manga about cute girls
doing shooting cute things. It follows Hikari, who has entered Chidori High School specifically to join its shooting club, but is disappointed to find that the club has been disbanded. Acquiring three other members, she’s able to restart the club, and the four girls go about improving their skills with competition rifles. The anime is supported by the National Rifle Association of Japan and a seiyu idol unit called Rifling 4, because idols with rifles is apparently a thing now. If you like shows about cute girls, give it a watch!
Then we have the dark and gorgeous No Guns Life, from a manga serialized in Ultra Jump, about a gritty future in which there are cyborg ex-soldiers known as Extended who were created by the evil Berühren Corporation. The story follows Juzo Inui, a private detective who’s trying to discover who erased his memory and turned him into an Extended cyborg with a ridiculous-looking giant gun for a head. It’s a fantastic exploration of noir and cyberpunk, like Blade Runner and Neuromancer rolled into one, and I’ll definitely keep watching it.
Questions about Gun Culture in Japan
As I often do, I like to ask J-List’s Twitter followers if they have any questions about guns in Japan.
What guns are legal in Japan?
When I first got here, I assumed there were no guns in Japan at all. Imagine my surprise at making friends with a Japanese man who ran a bicycle shop called Reminton [sic] who had a large collection of classic Remington rifles. Hunting is legal in most parts of Japan, and an American friend of mine even went through the process of getting his hunting license, which involves a background check by the police and proving you’re of sound mind and good character.
Handguns are illegal in Japan, and the only ones who use them are yakuza crime lords, who generally are polite enough to only use them against other yakuza, never against average citizens. When a hit against a rival crime lord caused three innocent bystanders in a bar to be killed, the courts handed down three death penalties against the gangsters responsible for breaking this very important rule.
Who’s the cutest “military otaku” in anime? Of course the only answer could be Umiko Ahagon from New Game. pic.twitter.com/tvlxEV9Fnd
— J-LIST 🎃 (@jlist) October 18, 2019
Are there “gun otakus” in Japan?
There certainly are military otakus, who love to obsess over military hardware and gun culture, even if all they can own are airsoft guns. Certain anime series, like Gate, Patlabor or Zipang, are known as jieitai anime since they’re aimed at fans of Japan’s Self-Defence Forces and of gun culture in general. The cutest military otaku is naturally Umiko from New Game.
Got any questions or comments on today’s post, or any topics you’d like us to cover in this blog? Let us know on Twitter!
Great news! We’ve got a super nukige (a visual novel that’s focused on naught stuff) coming out soon, and you can preorder the game and/or the sexy dakimakura now! Called Amayakase: Spoiling My Silver-Haired Girlfriend, it’s the perfect game to relax with after a stressful day!