「ビッグフォーに影は落ちる」 (Biggu Foo ni Kage wa Ochiru)
“A Shadow is Cast Upon the Big Four”
Despite the somewhat episodic nature of Senkou no Night Raid, I’m rather enjoying the mission-style progression and the overarching character subplots that come with it. In fact, seeing as this is an original series where the script probably isn’t set in stone yet, I like how the door remains open on various possibilities the story can branch off into with these self-contained episodes. There’s just enough foreshadowing in each to allow things to culminate to something big later on, and not knowing what that is is half the fun. In this particular episode, the focus was Yukina and her brother Takachiho Isao (Hirata Hiroaki), who disappeared without a trace along with the platoon he was in charge of (as mentioned last episode). Confusion naturally results when Yukina receives a letter from him out of the blue, saying he wants to meet her, but overshadowing all that is the much more immediate bomb threat involving the four department stores in Shanghai known as the Big Four.
In this case, it wasn’t so much of a mission as the Sakurai Kikan being led around by someone who turned out to be one of Isao’s men. Oddly enough, as the one responsible for planting all the bombs, he chose to telepathically leak that information to Yukina, giving her and the others a chance to disarm the remaining three bombs. He also had ample opportunity to take out both Aoi and Kazura in some cases with his own superhuman teleportation and telepathic abilities yet chose not to, which made me question exactly what Isao is after by sending him to pick up Yukina this way. Evidently, bringing Yukina to her brother was his reason for coming, but the whole bomb threat and the balloon filled with poisonous gas at the end made it seem like he was testing the Sakurai Kikan. For what purpose, I have no idea, but all the questions raised here regarding the mystery behind Isao’s disappearance, his reason for sending a soldier to bring back Yukina in such a fashion, and why his men also possess superhuman abilities sure as hell makes me want to find out. I mentioned before that I love conspiracies when it comes to stories, so this is just the kind of stuff I like getting into.
Seeing as Isao and his platoon are now considered enemies of the Sakurai Kikan, Yukina didn’t meet up with him at the appointed time and place. However, I could only imagine what was running through her mind as she’s left wondering what her kindhearted brother is plotting. Judging from what Shinichirou said at the end, I get the feeling that Isao will play a fairly significant role in the overall story. My gut intuition says he won’t be the ultimate antagonist in the series, but things should get interesting from here on in regardless.
Finally, I should mention that a lot of big name seiyuus seem to be doing narration lately, with Furuya Tohru in Gundam 00, Hayashibara Megumi in RAINBOW: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin, and Kawasumi Ayako here. I always enjoy Ayako’s roles even when they’re loud and somewhat obnoxious, but it’s pretty cool hearing her in a serious one from time to time.