I shamefully admit the fact that, as I work in a retail world that increasingly takes up a lot of my time, I may have become a bit lax on watching anime, and in a general sense, television. It also doesn’t help that I am the owner/operator and main contributer to this site. The ironic part about it is the simple fact that I built this site because I watch a lot of tv, anime and movies and want to share my knowledge and thoughts with the world but the more time I spend on it, the less time I have to watch said things that allow me to have content in the first place to post on this site. Crazy right? Basically, the more time I spend posting movie, anime, and television reviews the less time I have to watch them and the less I have to post. It is a tough thing to manage and I am still trying to balance everything. On a related note, I have decided to create a posting schedule where I post specific things on specific days– so here is to hoping that my schedule works out!
Anyways, one of the few shows that I have gotten the pleasure to watch was Aoharu X Machinegun. This was a show that I was hesitant to watch mostly because of the premise. The show revolves around characters that fight in epic battles that seem like they’re sort of “death matches” without the death? They fight with BB guns. That’s right… BB Guns. And I know what you’re thinking… Japanese anime does tend to stretch the imagination a lot and make mundane things seem pretty epic– like cooking shows (Shokugeki No Soma) or biking (Yowapeda) but surely there is no way that they can make people fighting with toy guns seem awesome, right? WRONG. I was pleasantly surprised by this show for a number of reasons, most of all– how they are able to make a ridiculous premise like this work for them in the first place.
The show follows Hotaru Tachibana, a high school girl who dresses like a guy (and is often mistaken for a guy), who has a strong sense of justice and refuses to let evil-doers go free. When her best friend, Kanae Yajima, loses all her money to what Tachibana believes are unsavory characters, she resolves to make things right. She storms down to meet the evildoer only to find out that he (Masamune Matsuoka) works at a host club that entertains females. Tachibana challenges Matsuoka but he says that he will only fight her in a deathless death match with BB Guns. However, if Tachibana loses, she must pay his price. During the battle, Tachibana is completely outclassed and outmatched– but Matsuoka sees her potential and, after beating her, forces her to join his team called “Toy Gun Gun” in hopes that they can be the best in Japan. There is only one problem, their team does not accept females– so Tachibana must keep her gender a secret from everyone including Matsuoka.
I enjoyed this series way more than I thought I would. There are tons of amazing action sequences and funny moments for everyone to enjoy this series. Tachibana’s character can be a bit annoying with her random sense of justice coming off a bit like a “Holier than thou”-type of disposition, but it balances well when you consider the fact that she may be the most sadistic and potentially evil character of them all in the series. You get snippets of her character going from innocent deer-in-the-headlights girl to “You fucked with my friends and now I am going to tear you limb from limb” girl. Its pretty awesome and I found myself getting hyped up every time this would happen.
But, funny enough, her character is still cute and girly enough in the show to make her likable even if she is mistaken as a girl the entire series. Like… literally only one dude figures it out. She, in spite of acting like the hero-type, is actually very innocent and often naive. I pointed out in the synopsis that she went to a host club to get revenge for her friend– what I left out was the fact that, and Tachibana finds this out later, her friend willingly spent all of her money there– so no real foul deeds had been committed and she ended up being the one in the wrong. Anyways, I really enjoyed Tachibana as a character– she as some flaws in that she is super powerful and uses that as a crutch– but the show points that out frequently, so it is not like the protagonist is overpowered…she still has a long long way to go.
The art work and action sequences within the show are extremely well done also. The animation is super clean, bright and colorful and doesn’t slouch compared to other series. It came out around the same time at series like Charlotte and Gate and i would say, arguably, the animation might be better than both. And man, let me tell you, this show delivers on some serious action despite the fact that they are battling with toy guns. Characters still feel a sense of dread, not because they face death, but because what they are fighting for is truly important to them and losing, to them, might just mean the death of their dreams. Setting up the show this way adds a lot of gravity to the matches that could have otherwise been a sort of arena-style fun-show.
Hell, I even like the unneccessary love-thing they have going between Tachibana and Matsuoka simply because it is sort of awkward? Matsuoka has these small moments of loving feelings for Tachibana, but believes that she is a he. And since Matsuoka fancies himself to be a ladies-man, he can’t understand why Tachibana makes his heart skip beats every so often. So I look forward to seeing more of this play out in the future and i [hope] maybe to see them go on a date? WILL TACHIBANA WEAR A DRESS? ADORABLE!!!!
There is some weirdness in the show, however, in that there is tons of awkward tension. Like the show doesn’t outright say it but they do set up characters in weird ways. So for instance, Tōru Yukimura who is childhood best friends with Matsuoka, has an obsession with Matsuoka and a devotion that borders on weird and creepy. And in turn, Matsuoka has or had a similar relationship with the main antagonist of the story. An antagonist, I should point out, that has someone else crushing on his throughout the series the same way Matsuoka did originally. It can play weird on-screen because much of the time, these characters and cool and collected– but when faced with the object of their love, another dude, they are incapable doing anything of real use. I am not against this or anything– it just sets up for awkward tension is all.
The only other downside is that, so far, this is only a 12 episode series and it definitely leaves you wanting to see more. So I really hope there is more to come because, given the shortness of this season, there is a lot of unexplored territory and you get the feeling that Tachibana has only reached a fraction of her real potential. If you want to see an action based show, or just want to see really interesting characters, I definitely recommend this show! I would say that out of the summer anime releases, this one might be my favorite as I thoroughly looked forward to seeing each new episode.