OP Sequence

OP: 「Golden Life」by (AKINO with bless4)

「File 1: コー​​ド No. 538」 (File 1 : Kō ​​do No. 538)
“File 1: Code No. 538”

Anime future police sentai. It’s as flashy as it sounds.

The Deets

Active Raid: Kidou Kyoushuushitsu Dai-Hakkei depicts a bright and futuristic Tokyo that has become plagued by criminals of increasingly impressive technological power, engendering a more powerful and effective policing system to keep them in check. Perpetrators and enforcers alike now don “willwear”—suits of mechanical armor which bear dangerous strength. Assistant inspector Kagari Asami (Ozawa Ari) has been freshly assigned to the 8th unit of the 3rd Mobile Assault group of the 5th division of the Special Public Security Section—an unruly and reckless bunch of officers, infamous for excessive collateral damage and various protocol violations, and assigned to a particularly troublesome sector of the city. Her official task is to report whether the unit merits continued existence, but personally, she aims to shape ‘Unit 8’ into a competent and worthwhile force for good.

Initial Worries

What immediately strikes out about Active Raid is its stylistic similarities to Sentai series (essentially Japanese Power Rangers, to the uninitiated). The bright robotic suits of power, the flair of attacks and action—hell even henshin sequences—all reminiscent of the neon spandex, explosive spectacle, and morphing scenes of classic Sentai. However, Active Raid relays the fun with a less in-your-face attitude hey-look-at-me-aren’t-I-cool aesthetic, for perhaps a more mature audience. As a big fan of the mechs and suits of Sentai that could never get past the tone of the kids shows to be bothered to watch, this is especially welcoming.

My greatest issue with Active Raid’s debut episode, though, is its lack of substantive exposition. The episode begins with quick and snappy snippets of narration and monologue introducing the basic gist of the narrative, right before violently thrusting the viewer into the fray. A show’s premiere installment should provide at least a somewhat coherent grip on the main cast, their motivations, their relationships. Though we were introduced to some basic character quirks and dynamics, they were very hastily depicted. There was also little telling of the general plot going forward. The only indication of where future episodes could be headed came in the form of an incredibly brief segment featuring what is presumably the big baddie for the season? The episode failed to introduce some greater task or end to which the plot could build towards.

Really, more time should have been spent establishing this world in an organic manner—both with the setting and its characters. For example, we should have witnessed the frequency of crime in this bustling metropolis, instead of just being told it. We also should have gotten a good feel for each character’s unique personality and general incentives, rather than being inundated with new face after new face, before cutting straight to the heat of battle. Hell, we should have gotten a more in-depth explanation for how these badass suits work

Luckily, though, all these problems are easily amendable. I can see this episode existing mainly to establish the tone and excitement of the series—drawing in viewers with the promise of dazzling spectacle—before taking time in subsequent installments to better affiliate the audience with the characters and greater plot.

Flash and Bang

The action sequences were certainly exciting, fun, and well-framed, though. I’m usually repelled by the use of CG for humanoid robotic or mechanical characters within a 2D show—I’m aware that, financially, it’s certainly a wise way to go, but I can’t help but feel that action scenes resemble two actions figures smashing against each other for minutes on end. However, I found its presence here acceptable (despite that feeling coming up every now and then). The technology has come a long way, and I feel it was better integrated with the 2D landscapes and characters more so than in any recent shows (save for Buddy Complex, which blended 2D and 3D renderings of the mechs for a near seamless viewing experience). The models used in Active Raid aren’t overly glossy or especially awkward in movement, and though 2D is always the better way to go in these cases, Active Raid’s implementation of CG is a step in the right direction.

However, the best part of the presentation by far is the music. Arakawa Naruhisa, writer of various Kamen Rider and Sentai series lends his talents in scripting and composition for Active Raid, and damn are his tracks funky. Many of the episode’s songs take inspiration from jazz and funk, granting a level of class and smoooothness to the action, reminiscent once again to the kind of stylish charm of classic Sentai.

Hopes Going Forward

I’m going to be frank, I’ve always wanted a quality Sentai-type show for a more adult audience. I’m in love with the shamelessly ostentatious designs of Sentai suits, mechs, and so forth—I just wish it was wrapped around a show of greater substance. A few series have attempted to fill that void, but none—I feel—have quite gotten the job done. Active Raid: Kidou Kyoushuushitsu Dai-Hakkei is hopefully something that will. Now, those are high expectations, I know, but Active Raid shows a lot of promise despite a somewhat underwhelming debut. Sure it’s sparse on in-depth exposition and character development, but these are flaws which can easily be resolved in the coming episodes. So far, the presentation has proven impressive enough, and the intention for a mature, Sentai-inspired show is certainly there. This series is certainly worth giving a chance, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store.




  1. https://randomc.net/image/Active%20Raid:%20Kidou%20Kyoushuushitsu%20Dai-Hakkei/Active%20Raid%20Kidou%20Kyoushuushitsu%20Dai-Hakkei%20-%20OP%20-%20Large%2001.jpg

    Active Raid’s character designs are by Saeki Shun/Tosh, artist of the Shokugeki no Souma manga series. Some of you may notice how Kuroki Takeru looks like a older, cockier cousin of Yukihira Souma.

    The anime’s scheduled as a split 2-season series, meaning the next half airs in Summer 2016 (similar to Asterisk War).Director Taniguchi Goro (of Code Geass fame) says Active Raid’s made to be a fun, wacky series, so things may not get very serious.

  2. (lacks) substantive exposition…

    I like to think the story was told, more or less,
    from the point of view of Kagari Asami, and that’s
    how her first day on the job (aka 1st episode) felt.

    For a meccha (which I don’t usually watch), it was
    very entertaining – I think I’ll continue watching…

  3. So far, the presentation has proven impressive enough, and the intention for a mature, Sentai-inspired show is certainly there.

    I think those expectations aren’t going to be met, the director himself this is just a “fun for the sake of it” show.

  4. If there’s anything that I’ve learned about this show…

    “Fuck bureaucracy and red tape.”

    They sure went an extra mile in portraying how every action of Unit 8 needs permission from the top brass, the city mayor, etc.

    1. For me this show feels like Patlabor except with Kamen Rider(s) or Super Sentai, add in some dash of Working’s crazy way to handling bureaucracy… (cannot recall whether or not Patlabor went and bend the red tape as well).

      Anyway…(it’s on my watch list for sure)


      Anyone else thinks that Haruka got shoved to the side into the fire for being an overachiever? (also she must be thinking that she can’t marry anymore after she see half-naked males…/joke)

  5. What about Garo? The first series was good, aside from some meh episodes in the middle, and much more substantive and mature than the typical Sentai show. Unless you don’t consider a Sentai show, which would be odd as it is based on one. The currently airing second series is not as good though.

      1. Garo isn’t a Sentai show, it’s a tokusatsu show. Sentai/Super Sentai specifically refers to Bandai and Toei’s franchise that began with Goranger.

        Also, you should totally give the shows a watch! They are shows made with the entire family in mind, so many of the plots skew towards an older audience. This happens moreso with Kamen Rider but Sentai have stories that absolutely pay off if you stick to them. (I would personally recommend something like ToQger or Gekiranger)

  6. There’s no way they could have included enough exposition and characterization in a mere twenty-something screentime. The most important thing here is to establish the premise and key concepts, and arresting the two minor does that.
    Btw the character design is amazing, among other things (uniforms and sentai suits) I love how haircuts are neither bland nor over-the-top. As for charater I love the carefree middle-aged guy who likes to interrupt and the newbie acting by-the-book. Now this is a show I’ll be looking forward to.

      1. Ah, but that’s the thing. I don’t think this anime wanted to come across as very substantial and that was, more or less, the underlying message of the episode.

        In practice, the mission was just an excuse to take the know-it-all newbie and throw her into a wacky situation where she would be confused and ultimately told to settle down. In other words, she had to stop being so serious since her comrades aren’t too strict.

        Which I think was also a signal meant for the audience at large, given that the fourth wall was almost bending a little in a couple of places, like when they talked about the anime company.

        Now that this has been established, the show may gradually introduce more interesting aspects of its world and characters, but on the whole this strikes me as a production created for the sake of having some silly fun and not for any deep analysis.

  7. Just not my kind of thing (Mecha) unfortunately. I loved Code Geass but that was because the Mecha action wasn’t the centre of attention having a strong plot to bring things forward. I can say i’m probably not going to continue with this show :/

  8. I think the episode tried to pack too much in less than thirty minutes, which explains the relative lack of exposition, but it’s easy to see that within one, two or three additional weeks we’ll probably get more information and characterization.

    I agree with the interpretation that this first episode was trying to focus on entertaining the viewer and simultaneously told us to not take the series too seriously. In other words, we shouldn’t be like Asami, who was getting constantly angry and mad at how disorganized the situation was becoming.

    It worked for me, but I can accept that some folks didn’t find it too funny. In my case, all the talk about red tape was pretty amusing, so I wasn’t bothered by that. Hopefully they will still talk about such topics in a manner that more people find easy to swallow.

  9. Ah, the first day at work. When your preconceived notions about rules, details and your self-image crashes against the chaos of reality, the needs of the moment and the experience of veterans who at this point could be either fountains of wisdom or walking disasters. Or maybe both.

    I think that’s what the first episode was about. It was with mecha as it could have been in any other setting.

  10. Maybe more of Metal Hero than Sentai.
    Unless theres more Active Willwears.

    Hmm.. the lady did say she is charging hers when they first wanted to sortie Oscar 2.
    Then the maintenance man said he would integrate the specs part to the Willwear.

    So there could be 2 more Active Willwears?

    Ok theres 3 for now:

    And we have the crime network, LOGOS.
    With just one guy called Mythos.

  11. A lot of Tiger & Bunny Vibes here. An special Unit that need to gain Permission to do this and that. Are they not Police? or just an sponsored Company Unit?

    1 of 3

    Passed but still in the Yellow area

    1. This Permission granted on the Fly for everything is stupid, and also this overuse of “All Green!”.. Okay for the Pilot episode this is acceptably, but you should get rid of that

      1. There’s a lot of people to ask for permissions for every action that can affect the district the 8th division is operating in at the time (ie. the damaged infrastructures aren’t free. And someone has to take up the responsibility if anything is trashed)

        I think you’ll cringe a bit more since we’ll be seeing a bit more of that. 😮


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *