what even is this character design

In the future? Present? Past???, a huge nuclear war ended up halving the earth’s population, and it was decided that everyone should surrender their weapons to the World Empire so that it wouldn’t happen again. But when the big evil World Empire had everyones guns, they could now freely oppress the people, who had no means of fighting back. However, they didn’t bother taking the antique rifles of varying degrees of historical importance, who have through some magical means been given human form – the ‘Musketeers’ – who form the Resistance. There’s historical guns of all nationalities here, all with gacha-ready designs and fangirl-pleasing personalities.
In the first episode, a batch of newly recruited gunboys receive a rescue mission and organize a surprise attack on the enemy soldiers, in potentially the least thrilling action scene ever animated.

gun boys gun boys whatcha gonna do

Even as a non-American theres a certain degree of eyebrow-raising I have towards the plot of Senjuushi – indeed, pretty-boy rifle gijinka aside, it’s fascinatingly close to an NRA nuts masturbatory persecution fantasy. But given that its produced in very…uh, different climate surrounding gun culture, it’s easier to see that its just a thinly veiled (although hilariously stupid) excuse to turn something else into shippable boys. That aside, I went into this already knowing it was a transparent ripoff of Touken Ranbu but I didn’t expect it to be this transparent. (Also it made me remember Upotte!, which was still stupider, although that one at least had better animation.)

The cast is a little more international of course, but I swear that you could swap out any of these boys for a corresponding Touken Ranbu character and absolutely nothing about the episode content or character dynamics would budge an inch. There’s even a part where they talk about how happy they were to be given human form for this important mission. But what makes it much, much lamer than Touken Ranbu could even dream of being is that there is some vague sense of elegance in sword fighting. Even if its animated badly, you get some sense of action. The scene with the boys shooting guns at the incredibly boring faceless government enemies from afar was, as I said, unbelievably dull, and no attempt was made to even try to make it look cool. The enemy’s also just fall over when they get hit and apparently vanish, like in some kind of bloodless kids video game. (although the bad animation is probably why). I’m not saying they should be exploding into blood and viscera, but it makes the enemy’s look so completely and utterly non-threatening or even existent at all, rendering the entire ‘fight’ devoid of any suspense or thrill.

There’s also a hilarious bit where one of the gun boys activates his Super Noble Powers (or something to that effect), which is very obviously the big powerful once-a-battle command in the mobile game, which makes him glow and run fast, and changes absolutely nothing else about the suspense in the confrontation.

Also similar to Touken Ranbu, there are approximately 8 million characters, and the first episode decides to dump as many as possible on us. There are some characters who literally only appear to say a single line and then never appear again. Is that ever particularly exciting to fans? Speaking as someone who tried to watch Touken Ranbu solely for the one character I cared about, it honestly isn’t that rewarding to see a character appear and speak one line, just so the producers tick them off a checklist and say ‘look, fans, your best boy is in it!’ It’s actually just frustrating. And all it really does otherwise is bloat the episode even more.

To its credit, they have to advertise the game somehow I suppose. I had never heard of it until this anime, although doing some research it apparently only came out in March. While I don’t think it would compel me to play it, I’m sure it’d entice someone. Everything aside, some of the character designs are attractive enough and the artwork in the game is a lot nicer than the frequently subpar animation here (why does the ED look that bad…??). The key word being ‘some’. There are at least two characters in this episode alone that look, dress and act like female characters, but have obviously male voice actors that I am still trying to figure out whether or not are intended to sound like borderline offensive transgender stereotypes. It’s kinda hard to tell when this show’s approach to characterization is to just shrug and rely on assumed fan knowledge. Flesh a handful of characters out so the audience knows something about them? But if we devote time to that, we lose that valuable time we have to use to insert all these other guys who speak a single line and then disappear! Or the most pointless training montage in the world that was also in here presumably only to pad out episode time!

I’m beginning to think that maybe we don’t need to make an anime out of every single moderately successful mobile game.


Out of 5,