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In a lot of ways, 14-year-old Akari Aruga is like a lot of girls her age. She likes watching anime, enjoys the theme song from Attack on Titan, and says lollipops are her favorite food.

But you know what’s not par for the course for an adolescent girl in Japan? Being a crack shot with a pistol in target shooting.

At first glance, the popular anime series Aria the Scarlet Ammo sounds like exactly the kind of time-wasting escapist fluff parents wring their hands over. Its story focuses on a boy who gains super strength when he becomes aroused, goes to a high school filled with aspiring weapon-wielding vigilantes, and is surrounded by a bevy of young ladies whose feelings for him run hot or cold as the plot demands.

Still, young Akari saw something she liked in the 2011 anime TV series: handguns. “I thought the pistols were cool, so I started to get interested in them,” she explains.

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▼ Skip to the 2:15 mark to see Aruga in action.

Unlike the thousands of kids who watch Dragon Ball Z and suddenly decide they’re going to become the world’s strongest martial artist, then immediately see their dedication melt when they realize there’s a new episode of One Piece on, Aruga’s anime inspiration led her to actually join the Kanagawa Rifle Association, which also handles pistol shooting.

Since then, the eighth grader from Yokosuka’s skills have only improved. In 2013, Aruga accomplished her most impressive feat yet, when she won the championship at a nationwide tournament for elementary and junior high school competitors in beam pistol standing shooting.

▼ Sadly, “beam pistol” just means the competitors use a light gun, and not a Gundam-sized laser cannon.

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Shooting isn’t Aruga’s only extracurricular activity, either, as she’s also been doing rhythmic gymnastics since a young age. The balance and control over fine muscle movements the sport requires seem to have also contributed to her success at the target range.

▼ We imagine this synergy runs both ways, as it’s got to be at least a little intimidating competing against someone who has the skills to shoot you during your floor routine.

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But despite her two sporting endeavors, Aruga still finds time to sneak episodes of anime into her busy schedule. The teen says she’s a big fan of voice actress Marina Inoue, known for her roles as Yoko in Gurren Lagann, Alicia in Valkyria Chronocles, and Rei in High School of the Dead.

▼ We’d say Aruga has a thing for boobies if she were a boy, but it seems she’s just really into guns.

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Aruga even says her hope for the future is to go into voice acting herself. The head of the Kanagawa Rifle Association, though, has another goal he’d like her to shoot for: the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where he thinks a gold medal isn’t out of the question thanks to Aruga’s stoic concentration during competitions.

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The 14-year-old is waiting on approval of her application for a license to compete with the air pistols used in the Olympics, and says she’d like to realize both of the vastly different dreams of climbing up the Olympic podium and stepping into the recording booth. Really, when you stop and think about it, it’s not overly ambitious. After all, a story about an earnest young teenage girl striving to be the best pistol sharpshooter in the world is practically an anime script already, and who better to play the lead than someone like Aruga who knows what that feels like first-hand?

Source: Hachima Kikou
Top image: YouTube
Insert images: YouTube, Anime Noticias, The Anime Gallery, Rakuten