Note: Before we begin let us get the obvious out of the way. This is a grounded sports anime unlike Saki. Yes, rifle shooting is not an interesting sport to watch for non-competitors (The show mentions this early on and jokes about it) so do not bother repeatedly pointing it out as a flaw in the comments. “Don’t waste time” is all I am asking.
This show held a special place in my heart from start to finish so already I am giving away how I feel about it so all that is left is tell readers who I enjoyed it so much as we take a look at Rifle is Beautiful or Chidori RSC (Rifle Shooting Club).
Genres: Comedy, Sports, School, Tournament
Themes: Rifle Shooting, 10 Meter Air Rifle, Yuri
Number of Episodes: 12
Plot Summary: Hikari is a big fan of the rifle shooting (10 meter air rifle) sport and is eager to join the Chidori High School target shooting club. However, it was disbanded. She searches for three potential club members to compete in the National Tournament and one day the Olympics.
That club recruitment part of the episode was over with in the first half of the premiere, meaning RiB holds the anime world record (as far as I know) of “quickest club formation” in any Girls’ Club anime. This gave our heroines plenty of time to be cute, do cute things, develop their characters and of course train/compete. I mentioned Girls’ Club because although this is a sports anime, like Anima Yell! it is more about “cute girls doing cute things” with their main goal being sport related. Let us first go over the sport part of the show and then the rest.
Like every sports anime (Japanese sports media in general) viewers are taught about the fundamentals of the sport, events and anything else related to it. 10 Meter Air rifle is a sport that requires balance, body strength (not just arms), concentration, good posture and precision. It is similar to golf in that regard. That main goal is to shoot the bullseye as precise as possible in the time given. These being air rifles viewers do not see any bullets, only the target flashing and points based on accuracy. As mentioned this is a sport usually more interesting to the competitors than spectators but that does not mean the show does not do its best to convey the passion the girls have to aim for the top.
I mentioned this before in another sports anime review but the overall enjoyment of them in my mind depends on two things:
- Investment in the sport.
- Investment in the competitors.
The most important of the two in my opinion is the second. More often than not whether the sport is fun to watch or not it is the likability of the competitors that determines how far the viewer is willing to go with it. To me the cast of Rifle is Beautiful are some of my all-time favorites. Yes. I loved seeing them being cute, funny and competitive that much.I was so invested in them I did not care about them being fictional characters. I adamantly cheered them on along with their rivals. My investment easily made up for the simplicity (Lackluster to many). Like most female centered sports anime the girls made it feel exciting to me.
When it comes to the humor jokes are usually retorts to other characters, some sass and based on their respective personalities. Similar to comedies like Asobi Asobase and Joshikousei no Mudazukai viewers will either feel the simple jokes or not.
The presentation is simple. The character designs are the best part of the animation while the rest is straightforward. This is not a flashy over the top sports anime. The soundtrack gets the job done with its charming tunes and tense enough tracks during rifle shooting. The OP and ED are cute and upbeat.
To give a better idea of the humor on the show let us go over the main four.
Hikari is the lead cutie and a super ultra mega fantastic precious cinnamon roll. She is a cheerful airhead with a squeaky-ish voice. She is very talented when motivated. The key is figuring out how to get her motivated, which is a big mystery. Lastly she is one of those “Don’t judge a book by its cover” girls as shown early on.
Izumi is the down to Earth member of the group and Hikari’s childhood friend/fiancee. She is intelligent but not the most skilled rifle shooter. Hikari is her everything.
Erika is the tsundere. She and the next member are the most proficient at the sport.
Yukio is arguably the best rifle shooter in the group. She is also the most quiet member with her poker face that rarely changes. She speaks little but says a lot, especially when thinking.
Oh and as our good friend Rory mentioned Erika and Yukio bearing a striking resemblance to Asuka Soryu and Rei Ayanami is surely not a coincidence.
The rest of the cast are all very likable with their own amusing traits though one character has a poor sense of humor. She is related to one of the protagonists.
While most of the yuri comes from the fluffy wuffy main couple there are other ladies among the cast craving to touch the female body. Some ladies even more than others. Like most Girls’ Club series there is yuri to be had here and it is delightful.
Overall Rifle is Beautiful/Chidori RSC is a fun show with a cast of lovable puffballs who can go when it is time to fire and one of my favorite anime of 2019. It is one of the best examples of the athletes’ charms making the sport, simple or cool, worthwhile. Should the viewer be fine with the simplicity of the sport and enjoy watching the girls having fun or going for the gold then by all means give it a watch.