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Senkou no Night Raid – 02 »

Senkou no Night Raid – 01

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「救出行」 (Kyuushutsu-kou)
“Rescue”

Coming off the completion of their first project, So-Ra-No-Wo-To, Anime no Chikara follows up with their second original series — an espionage anime involving secret intelligence agents who can use super-human abilities. As a collaboration project between TV Tokyo and A-1 Pictures, the studio remains the same as before, but they’ve brought in Persona -trinity soul- director Matsumoto Jun and writer Onishi Shinsuke to spearhead it this time around. Much like So-Ra-No-Wo-To, it seems a lot of research and planning went into this one’s development as well. The end result is a series fairly different from your typical anime, which I found very refreshing due to its serious nature and political-filled plot line.

Be that as it may, the first thing that caught my attention in this premiere episode was how dark everything was. By that, I literally mean how dark a lot of the scenes were in terms of contrast. While I didn’t have any major qualms with the animation itself, I would’ve like everything to be a bit crisper, simply because I feel they have something unique going on here and it would be a shame to lose out on potential viewers for visual reasons. The lack of immediate “wow factor” will surely disappoint some people, but I didn’t mind so much once I got settled into the story and was busy reading the Japanese subtitles for the surprisingly abundant amount of Mandarin dialogue.

Now with regards to the story itself, this first episode actually covered everything that I outlined in the Spring 2010 Preview. Having read that summary off the official website, I was under the impression that the covert mission to rescue a Japanese conglomerate president from the hands of a small Chinese military faction (known as the Ryuusoubu) was going to be the foundation of this series, but it turns out it’s merely the starting point. Because of that, I’m starting to wonder if they’re going for a more episodic approach with this series, with plans of stringing together a bigger story in the latter half. I wouldn’t be opposed to that if it were the case, as it’s pretty much the same format that Darker than BLACK used in its original season. Also, it seems somewhat appropriate since there are some obvious similarities between the two series, namely secret agents with super-human powers and the political circumstances that they act under. Evidently, this is no Darker than BLACK, but it does entail conspiracies as well, much like they’ve shown us in the first episode with the Japanese president Kaburagi secretly selling weapons to the Ryuusoubu faction and using the whole kidnapping as a means to get ransom money out of the Japanese government.

It’s hard to tell where the story will go from here, but this episode did help introduce the four “Sakurai Kikan” secret agents and the abilities they possess. First up is the nonchalant Miyoshi Aoi (Yoshino Hiroyuki), who has what appears to be telekinesis, allowing him to deflect bullets and toss people around. Second is the more serious Iha Kazura (Namikawa Daisuke), who can teleport large distances but chooses not to use his ability unless he absolutely has to. Next is the calm and composed Kagiya Natsume (Hoshino Takanori), whose eyes can peer through anything and has seemingly infinite range. And finally, there’s the only female of the group, Sonogi Yukina (Ikuto Yoshiko), who’s telepathic and uses her ability for extracting information and acting as a scout on missions alongside Natsume. A diverse bunch to say the least, whom I’m interested in seeing more of as the story progresses.

Overall, this wasn’t a terribly strong first showing, but it’s different from the usual stuff and Anime no Chikara has me believing that it’ll improve along the way. Music-wise, it featured some really good background tracks, which really helped set the mood for some of the scenes. Given the series’ somewhat niche genre however, I suspect this won’t be for everyone.

Note: There was no opening sequence this episode, but the series’ opening theme “Yakusoku” (Promise) by MUCC was used in the credits.

 

ED Sequence

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ED: 「約束」 (Yakusoku) by ムック (MUCC)
Watch the ED!: Download, Streaming ▼

April 6, 2010 at 3:12 am
52 comments »
  • April 6, 2010 at 3:21 ambeekay

    Keep up the good work Divine!

  • April 6, 2010 at 3:30 amayumikat

    It seems like this could be an interesting premise so I ‘m going to give this series a watch.

  • April 6, 2010 at 3:32 amRei

    Ah, been waiting for this one :D Can’t wait to watch it. I’ll be looking our for the main and the girl with double moles :3 I won’t set my standards too high just in case it falls short.

  • April 6, 2010 at 3:42 amBlaineo

    Looks interesting. Might pick this up.

  • April 6, 2010 at 4:02 amhaseo0408

    Indeed it loosks promising as the best action-mytery series of this season. My expectations are a little high since Ienjoy persona trinity soul, but we’ll have to wait and see.

    • April 17, 2010 at 11:36 pmdarkman3177

      my history’s a little rusty but wasn’t the 1930′s the period when the Rape of Nanking happened? and didn’t japan join hitler and the nazis a few years after that? i mean it wasn’t exactly a golden time in japan’s history. and now they’re making an anime on it? wow. i’m surprised they’re even touching on the subject. and i hope they don’t twist history to make it seem like japan was somehow saving the world during this time. because in real life they weren’t. aside from that, this looks like a darker than black / baccano knockoff. it’s been done already. pass.

      • April 17, 2010 at 11:38 pmdarkman3177

        whoops didn’t mean to reply

  • April 6, 2010 at 4:02 amNestor

    And here I thought somebody would actually make a non-mumbo jumbo anime series; no lambda driver, GN Particles, psychic powers, geass and others. Guess I’m expecting too much, considering even Requiem of the Phantom has those pseudo-ninja movements. Thank God I still have my Band of Brothers collections.

    Still, the anime actually looks nice even with the ESP stuff, enough to make me watch at least two more episodes. Btw, is the story background really the thirties or just styled that way, because I can’t imagine they would actually make the story without ignoring the “war crimes” their ancestors commit there?

  • April 6, 2010 at 4:10 amSirMuffin

    Divine, you are God among men. Thanks for keep the blog up and running.

  • April 6, 2010 at 4:16 amSunRise

    Whoa Divine are you really going to blogged all these anime this spring…
    There is like 10+ anime you just blogged!
    You just got me interested in most of the anime:)

    • April 6, 2010 at 9:30 amdivine

      I’m only covering their first episodes for now. I have no idea how many I’ll actually keep up with after that, though it’s likely going to be a fraction of them.

  • April 6, 2010 at 4:36 amewok

    Hmm I expect this to hit a stormy waters soon as 1931 was the year of major escalation of Japanese military presence in China:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mukden_Incident
    how the anime will deal with that, IDK

  • April 6, 2010 at 4:48 amyunafanel

    Thanks a lot Divine ^^
    I was waiting for this show !
    And it looks awesome >__<

  • April 6, 2010 at 5:33 amKerfirou

    so, psychokinesis, Teleport, Clairvoyance, and telepathy user.

    • April 6, 2010 at 9:24 amdivine

      I guess you could classify Natsume’s ability as clairvoyance, though it’s not so much a sixth sense as it is X-ray vision. When he’s working with Yukina, she’ll read his mind to see exactly what he’s seeing, akin to using a super powerful scope that can see through any terrain.

  • April 6, 2010 at 5:56 amHm

    better check it out

  • April 6, 2010 at 6:16 amjsmith1a2000

    thanks for this sneak peak Divine although i hope you’ll slow down a bit so you don’T overexert yourself.

  • April 6, 2010 at 6:25 amIHM

    This is one of the bunch I was expecting. I´m waiting for my subs, this one looks really cool!

  • April 6, 2010 at 6:26 amKuroir

    Now this one seems like a good option instead of all those fanservice animes..

  • April 6, 2010 at 7:05 amKoeix

    Hmm interesting superpowers eh? and here i thought this was gonna be some requiem of a phantom

  • April 6, 2010 at 7:25 amSora no Kaze

    I shall watch and comment later! Looks interesting

    • April 10, 2010 at 1:23 pmSora no Kaze

      I must say… the Chinese was absolutely ridiculous in good and bad ways. I could say atrocious but I’m not going to say it was that bad either. At least they hit the damn tones (yeah one could mess up the tones and say something totally wrong, in so many ways) which many speakers tend to forget. The action was a bit mediocre I admit. However it was a good introduction to all of them and a nice way to tie events together. I also think the music could use a bit of work. Also, the whole time thing may not be clear to people since they did not hit on that deeply (don’t get me wrong, I understood what they meant with watches… since well it should have logically been linked to his power since he wouldn’t need 3 clocks to figure out the timing of a bomb).

      Good episode over all, weaved with potential around the first episode such as the relations between characters. I’m wondering what will happen as well with only 2 fighters as well as the inventive use of the powers. I also wonder if eventually all 4 will become fighters as their powers manifest.

  • April 6, 2010 at 8:03 amleo

    k-on! in 30 min

  • April 6, 2010 at 8:09 amKalliente

    Sigh……waiting on subs can be torture…

  • April 6, 2010 at 8:27 amMeh

    Japan trying hard to distort history as usual.

    • April 9, 2010 at 10:52 pmStarshade

      They used superhumans exactly to avoid that.

    • April 10, 2010 at 4:44 pmqntiria

      No, it isn’t their ancestors- the Rape of Nanking occured 6 years after this series and the Invasion of Manchuria should occur during this series…

      if the Sakurai Kikan ends up going against the Japanese army while being disgusted at the atrocious things they did to the Chinese, I would admire the people who produced this forever.

      I love Japan and all for the kingdom of anime- But JUST BLOODY OWN UP argh *ranting from a Chinese person*

      Oh yeah, I’m following this series to see incidents from a different perspective- looks to be interesting :)

      • April 10, 2010 at 4:46 pmqntiria

        oops replied to the wrong post… =_=;

      • April 10, 2010 at 11:13 pmsynkronized

        I’d agree with you there. The 1930′s era setting leaves that apprehensive feeling about how this’ll pan out. I’m praying they actually man up and at least avoid glossing over or even worse, white washing Japan’s actions during that era.

        Seriously, Code Gaess had the whole jingoist thing going where it’s Britannia (US) oppressing the poor Japanese and putting up with that was nauseating.

  • April 6, 2010 at 8:31 amleo

    i am using TBS live

  • April 6, 2010 at 9:17 amgnomtastic

    It looks kinda lame action that isnt action dunno and to many male chars i think its lame but K-ON today so yay for the mini vaginas

  • April 6, 2010 at 10:55 amKyuusei

    It’s interesting to say the least, but I’ll hold judgment for at least a couple more eps.

    On another note, I’m glad to see you blogging up a storm Divine I just hope you don’t burn out.

  • April 6, 2010 at 11:01 amhellishdude

    Watching hehehehehe

  • April 6, 2010 at 1:26 pmJD

    This looks slightly interesting…I may check this out soon, depending on how well it develops.

    Well done on the amount you’ve covered so far, even if your not going to cover all of them it’s impressive as I can imagine it’s tiresome work :P

    I have to say thanks for blogging the season starters though, helps me know whether an anime is for me or not, and I look forward to seeing what you choose to blog about :) Keep up the good work Divine!

  • April 6, 2010 at 2:54 pmBaki

    Looks mighty intriguing… will probably check this one out.

  • April 6, 2010 at 4:55 pmMeery

    I think this is a very cool era to work with, perfectly suited for espionage, mystery and the like. The darkness of the scenes go well with the whole peuedo-noir (with powers!) feel.

  • April 6, 2010 at 5:11 pmkuriboshi

    This looks pretty good.. MUCC!! ahaha. From what I see this is a pretty different theme compared to Sora no Woto.
    乙, Divine! XD

  • April 6, 2010 at 7:26 pmArtur

    Hey guys, now that mininova is dead, where are you guys downloading the new releases from?

    I´m criyng tn despair over here T_T!

    thanks!

  • April 6, 2010 at 7:49 pmSaya

    The first episode really wasn’t that strong but it has a lot of potential so I believe it will be a good watch. I had a good laugh with the mandarin btw. Luckily they had actual mandarin speakers for the soldiers. XD

  • April 6, 2010 at 9:11 pmN

    Different is good. I think I’ll watch this.

  • April 7, 2010 at 3:55 pmSecsuey

    they reminded me to blood plus :D

  • April 7, 2010 at 4:04 pmBruce

    Haha, and I thought Engrish was bad! I’m surprised those guards didn’t recognize the main characters when they were sneaking in solely by their heavy accents. The side characters’ Chinese was good at least.

  • April 7, 2010 at 9:47 pmHorus

    Is it just me or is Yukina stunningly cute?

    • April 8, 2010 at 2:38 amdivine

      I think so too, especially after seeing her in this shot.

      • April 8, 2010 at 9:12 amHorus

        Yea, that picture is what got me too. I need to watch this ^^

  • April 8, 2010 at 6:09 amProoof

    urgh the Chinese is so hard to understand lol

  • April 9, 2010 at 1:33 amnanon

    Urgh. Not a minute into the show and I was cringing away from that horrible Chinese. Hopefully they’ll do less of that as the show continues, because I definitely want to keep watching.

  • April 10, 2010 at 8:57 pmTokki

    Omg,….I love Aoi. Im like obsessed with him and cant wait to see him in the next epi.He reminds me of myself. As for the chinese,…it was diff to hear that in a Japanese anime. Kinda funny to hear actually.

  • April 12, 2010 at 10:00 pmDandos

    So, I’m curious… What did they do wrong (or right) in delivering the Chinese dialog?

    I could tell it was a bit inexact some of the time, and it seemed like Aoi’s seiyuu had a definite Japanese accent. But I only have a vague feel for how Chinese is supposed to sound, and I don’t actually understand a word of it.

    Anything I missed?

  • April 17, 2010 at 11:39 pmdarkman3177

    my history’s a little rusty but wasn’t the 1930′s the period when the Rape of Nanking happened? and didn’t japan join hitler and the nazis a few years after that? i mean it wasn’t exactly a golden time in japan’s history. and now they’re making an anime on it? wow. i’m surprised they’re even touching on the subject. and i hope they don’t twist history to make it seem like japan was somehow saving the world during this time. because in real life they weren’t. aside from that, this looks like a darker than black / baccano knockoff. it’s been done already. i’m going to pass.

  • May 18, 2010 at 8:52 pmUnknown Dude

    This show will certainly get Chinese viewers up in uproar for obvious reasons. Mass propaganda from both the Red Armies and Japanese government aside, the atrocities the imperial Japanese army committed in their invasion of China were undeniable. And it’s about time Japanese own up to their actions like Germany did. *Somehow I doubt that will ever happen*, considering such a show is still being made. What’s next? Japan saves the world from peasants?

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