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Senkou no Night Raid – Special Chapter

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「預言」 (Yogen)
“Premonition”

So as I mentioned last time, airing on television this week is a recap in lieu of episode seven that will be streamed online. However, that didn’t stop them from slipping in some key story at the very end, namely how Japanese militarists bombed their own South Manchuria Railway and blamed it on the Chinese to provide a pretext for war. I won’t go over the details since I already covered them last time, but those who have been following this series in some way will know what a big deal this is. Known as the Mukden Incident, the prevailing view from worldwide historians is that the Japanese staged a precursor for war because the Chinese weren’t allowing themselves to be provoked into one. Since the cause is still heavily debated in Japan, including whether or not the alleged Japanese officers were acting under the orders from Tokyo, it’s a pretty bold move for an anime to clearly portray it as a Japanese conspiracy. Aside from the inclusion of the fictional Sakurai Kikan and their super-human powers, Senkou no Night Raid has been pretty faithful to the historic timeline date-wise, so on September 1931, we have a group of Japanese soldiers bombing a small section of the railway on the outskirts of Fengtian (奉天, Houten in Japanese), the northeastern region of China now known as Liaoning.

While I was fairly confident this is the direction that Anime no Chikara was going for and why it ultimately led to the actual episode seven being taken off television airwaves, it was still surprising to see it actually happen on screen. As Japan continues muddling over the details of the Second Sino-Japanese War in their history textbooks — with some thinking they were liberating Manchuria from China or doing what was best for Asia in light of the Western powers — the controversy over this is no laughing matter as it negatively affects international relationships with China to this very day. Because of that, a Japanese piece of work portraying Japan as the ones at fault is pretty significant, regardless of whether it’s fictional or not. As I’m far from being an expert in the area, I don’t plan to get into a heated debate about this any further, but it’s important to note that one exists and that Senkou no Night Raid has chosen to portray the view of the rest of the world, which of course includes China.

In terms of the episode itself, it mainly highlighted the events that happened so far (outside the lighthearted episodes) from the perspective of our narrator — Aoi’s lover who was presumed to be dead. After the official site announced that this episode would be told from the point of view of a key character to the series, I figured that it was going to be her since she’s also voiced by Kawasumi Ayako and was shown alive last time. Granted, I wasn’t expecting her to be a prophet of sorts and appear before the scheming Japanese militarists and warn them that the decision they make here would determine the future of Japan. I humorously hoped she’d follow that up with, “Don’t do it!”, but evidently history can’t be changed that easily. Joking aside, her appearance did emphasize how this was a key junction in Japan’s history and one many will probably agree is where they took an unfavorable turn for all of Asia.

Overall, I found that this recap episode was really well done from a compilation standpoint with the narration and use of music. In addition, it featured some new scenes depicting a bit of everyone’s pasts and why they joined the Sakurai Kikan. This includes how Kazura is from a family of proud military men and a master of Aikido, how Yukina volunteered to join in hopes about finding what happened to her brother, how Natsume grew up as a poor farmer and became her servant/bodyguard, and how Aoi spent some time studying abroad in Europe before (which may explain his easygoing personality). There was also an extra scene between Kazura and Aoi when they were on the airplane back in episode one, where they talked about novelists Saint-Exupéry and Edogawa Rampo and why Kazura won’t use his ability unless he absolutely has too. (He feels beating an opponent is meaningless unless it’s on even ground.) The narration also went into detail about each of their abilities, in case there was any uncertainties over them at this point. However, the best part of the recap portions of this episode is that I got to see Yukina in a sailor outfit for the first time. She looked so cute in it that I wish she’d dress feminine-like more often.

Anyway, the online stream of episode seven should be out sometime today, so I’ll likely cover it today or tomorrow. The official site has already posted a sort synopsis on it, indicating that it will revolve around two young newspaper reporters who are riding on the South Manchuria Railway and run into Ishihara Kanji, the Lieutenant Colonel of the Kwantung Army who helped devise the bombing so that Japan could attack Manchuria out of “self-defense”. I can only see Japan coming out of this story in a negative light, but I can’t wait to see Anime no Chikara’s take on the Mukden Incident for that very reason.

* Note: Scenes with dialogue in other languages were replaced with their Japanese equivalent for this recap, which is also an audio track option on the DVD/BD releases.

 

May 18, 2010 at 1:36 am
15 comments »
  • May 18, 2010 at 1:43 amProoof

    not hiding things or “reinterpreting” what happened is good

  • May 18, 2010 at 3:35 amxxxholicwing

    Those new scenes might show up in the DVD later on.

    Anyway, things are heating up most especially Aoi’s lover entering the stage.

  • May 18, 2010 at 4:00 amNestor

    I’ve been restraining myself from watching this series because I’m afraid of getting hooked up to it only to see them rewriting history, what with the protagonists being espers and all, but now I think I’ll take another look. This season lacked war-themed series after all. Bit of funny actually, since I’ve just finished 7 episodes of The Pacific and now I’m going to see an anime where the Imperial Japanese Army has some (but probably not all) bad guys in it…

  • May 18, 2010 at 5:09 amAuroraFlame

    Subs are three weeks behind. :\

  • May 18, 2010 at 7:23 amAnon MKII

    I’ve been restraining myself from watching this series because I’m afraid of getting hooked up to it only to see them rewriting history, what with the protagonists being espers and all, but now I think I’ll take another look. This season lacked war-themed series after all. Bit of funny actually, since I’ve just finished 7 episodes of The Pacific and now I’m going to see an anime where the Imperial Japanese Army has some (but probably not all) bad guys in it…

    Post implying all Japanese are historical revionists, the ones he encounters that don’t are presumed ‘exceptional’.

  • May 18, 2010 at 7:33 amfrom /a/

    @ Anon MKII

    The poster has no objection to watching the “Pacific” which is made by the Americans and is bound to have American/Allied biased perspective, but have objections when the Japanese make a movie about the war. Clearly he is not of reasonable character.

    Then again, we who watch anime are psychologically unbalanced/immature so who’s to say such an opinion was not expected?

  • May 18, 2010 at 7:34 amartaxarta

    @Anon MKII

    The poster has no objections to watching ‘The Pacific’ which is bound to have American/Allied biased perspective but has objections to Japanese media portraying the war. Clearly he is of unreasonable character.

  • May 18, 2010 at 8:48 amark nori

    japan, the asian Nazis.

  • May 18, 2010 at 10:55 amsynkronized

    There is an inherent difference between bias and flat out historical revisionism guys. In any case I’ve seen plenty of US made media that condemns what we’ve done in the past and our own political positions now.

    I think it’s something else entirely when a government, with views generally supported by the people, insists on ignoring the international testimony of what they’ve done and continues to push their own gilded story.

  • May 18, 2010 at 11:00 amChen^2

    Calm down people, it’s one thing to get mad at revisionists, but it’s another to call a whole country names. I feel bad involving Divine on it last time, considering how busy he already is. Let’s not start another debate war or insult other people. Just enjoy the episode.

  • May 18, 2010 at 11:36 amcurious one

    can anyone see the streaming episode in their country? it doesn’t appear to work in the US?

  • May 18, 2010 at 12:22 pmdivine

    The stream for episode seven appears to be region-restricted to Japan.

    Also, Anon MKII, from /a/, and artaxarta all seem to be the same person talking to himself/herself… ?

    • May 18, 2010 at 12:35 pmcurious one

      that’s sad on both accounts. i guess the episode will still make its way onto the internet at-large sooner or later.

    • May 19, 2010 at 3:38 amxxxholicwing

      Damn, I can’t watch episode 7 too because it doesn’t work in my country. I don’t know how will the fansubs groups take it.

  • May 18, 2010 at 1:34 pmewok40k

    kinda expected it after anti-war previous anime of the studio (Sora no woto)