Rifle-shooting sports are competitive activities testing accuracy and precision using a rifle. In Japan, carrying firearms is prohibited, so most of the participants are members of the defense force. When the use of rifles using a light beam instead of real bullets as ammunition became common, rifle-shooting competitions became accessible to the younger population, giving way to school contests. First-year high school student and marksmanship enthusiast Hikari Kokura has just transferred to Chidori High School. She tries to join the club of her choice, but finds out that the club no longer exists due to the low popularity of the sport. Distraught, she tries to restore the club and somehow manages to recruit three other members: her childhood friend Izumi Shibusawa, the half-Russian Erika Meinohama, and the stoic Yukio Igarashi. This marks the beginning of the Chidori Rifle-Shooting Club, who have only one goal—to compete on the national stage! [Written by MAL Rewrite]
Japan has possibly the most restrictive gun control laws among all democratic countries, but that hasn’t prevented series specifically focused on gun use from being a regular occurrence in anime over the years. (And I’m not even counting series where guns are commonly-used as part of a bigger action scenario.) Chidori RSC, which is based on the manga Rifle is Beautiful, is 2019’s entry in that class, and it’s definitely taking the familiar “cute girls do guns” route.
To be clear, the title doesn’t refer to actual rifles or even the airsoft guns which have been featured in previous series like 2013’s Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C3 or 2015’s Sabagebu! It instead refers to a type of laser-target rifle which would probably be commonly-associated with Laser Tag in the West. The first half of the series provides a primer for what is apparently an uncommon but developing sport in Japan, where the lasers are aimed at targets which electronically score on accuracy. The episode even explains the particulars of the uniforms used in the sport and uses their characteristic stiffness for some of its jokes.
For all of that attention to detail, the first episode is much more a sketch comedy than anything else. Though it starts with the premise of the Rifle Shooting Club being shut down, the writing wastes no time on the set-up; the four members of the club are assembled within the first third of the episode and they’re already getting down to club business by the 7:30 mark. That’s probably because the series has no interest in the drama of club formation; it just wants to get to the jokes as soon as possible. It uses its standard complement of personalities – the Ditz, the Tsundere, Level-Head Girl, and Emotionless Girl – for all sorts of light, playful humor, some of which involves the sport but a fair amount of which would fall into the normal “cute girls do cute things” realm. Some of it is pretty funny, too, especially the scenes where two other characters imagine what Erika is actually like based on her archetype. The humor isn’t totally innocent, but what little it has in the fan service vein is very mild.
Beyond the fine attention to equipment detail, the artistic merits are nothing special, so this series is going to ride mostly on the cute/comical interactions of the girls with each other and the sport which gathers them together. The opener suggests that rival teams will pop up eventually, but on the whole the series looks like a light-hearted diversion with enough humor to make it work. You can free Rifle Is Beautiful anime watch online and free download.