OP: 「Let`s go! ライフリング4!!!!」 (Let`s Go! Rifling 4!!!!) by Kumada Akane, Machico, Minami Saki, Rifling 4, Yamaki Anna
「What are Beam Rifles?」
America has entered the chat for Rifle is Beautiful, a slice-of-life that tackles the topic of carrying guns in schools. Well, actually, it’s about a Rifle Club in school that uses bean rifles to fire lasers at their respective targets in class, prepping them up for airsoft tournaments and other gun-related hobbies in Japan. But in its attempt to incorporate the slice-of-life formula into a Rifle Club, it doesn’t do enough to differentiate itself from other school club anime that once saturated the market about a decade ago. And unlike your warm and welcome throwback anime, Rifle is Beautiful doesn’t have the charm or cast to compensate for having material that doesn’t break the mold beyond having beam rifles as the anime’s hook.
It’s hard to be able to look at Rifle is Beautiful from an objective point-of-view when many of its components feel worn out at this point. Our club is comprised of the cheery slacker Hikari, the sensible best friend Izumi, the cocky tsundere Erika, and the shy girl with short blue hair Yukio. There have been several slice-of-life anime that have pulled this off well, but these girls don’t do enough in the episode to have them stand out aside from Erika having more to her than meets the eye as a wealthy half-Russian student and Yukio having a goofy streak that takes her friends by surprise. Hikari’s infantile tendencies such as her ditziness or her bunny jokes never manage to connect and Izumi’s taste in snacks is the only thing that keeps her from having a blank slate personality that most of the lazy “best friend” characters in slice-of-life anime are guilty of having. Some of the beam rifle trivia and airsoft trivia is nice but doesn’t nearly get into enough of it as many of the hobbyist anime that have popped up in recent years that show how much love they have for their obsession-of-choice. It’s also impressive to see that most of the girls aren’t newbies and are well-versed enough in guns to hold their own and know what they’re working with. Hopefully, as the show continues, their expertise and prowess will come in handy for more interesting events that can come about like competitions or opportunities for trivia.
It is an unfair assessment since it’s the first episode, but unless the show ends up changing course, Rifle is Beautiful would be best served as time filler for if you want an anime on in the background. It’s not terrible by any means, but it wouldn’t be controversial to say that you could definitely do better if you wanted to watch a slice-of-life show about Gun Clubs in school. Perhaps I’m being cold about the series because I put the unrealistic expectation on it to have the level of humor that Sabagebu had, but it is an apples-to-oranges comparison that places far too lofty expectations on Rifle is Beautiful for being your standard high-school club anime. If you’re looking for a cute and charming way to pass the time, Rifle is Beautiful might just be the show you’d be looking for.
ED: 「夕焼けフレンズ」 (Yuuyake Friends) by Kumada Akane, Machico, Minami Saki, Rifling 4, Yamaki Anna