OP: 「セルリアンスカッシュ」 (Cerulean Squash) by Aisaka Yuuka
「西から来た男」 (Nishi Kara Kita Otoko)
“The Man from the West”
Active Raid is back, and it’s still goofy.
Shaking Things Up (Or Not)
Active Raid remains a strange beast. Part sentai-style mecha action with its Willwears, part SWAT procedural with Unit 8’s missions, part political drama along the Inagi axis, there aren’t many shows like it. It all sort of makes sense within the context of the thing, but I have trouble figuring out what’s working and what’s not, because the whole setup is so odd. If Active Raid is anything, it’s a work of flawed genius, or if genius is too strong of a word—it probably is, on balance—then flawed effectiveness. It works, more or less, but I’m not sure which parts of the secret sauce are flaws, and which parts are integral to its continued success. I haven’t got a clue.
With that rather large caveat stated, this first episode features a partial status quo reset. Kazari Asami (Ozawa Ari) is now the leader of Unit 9, which is apparently something that exists, while Sena Souichirou (Sakurai Takahiro) is the CEO of a garbage company, which means there are openings for two brand new characters in Unit 8—enter Edelman Emilia (Tamura Yukari) and Kaburagi Marimo (Tanaka Aimi). Which, initially, I was all set for! Not being afraid to shake up the cast is cool, even if I would have missed the other characters. Only Sena ended up getting roped back in by the end of the episode, making the whole diversion feel like a waste of time, like having Hoshimiya Haruka (Ishigami Shizuka) suit up and do precisely squat. It feels like relationships were reset, not changed and built upon from the first cour, which would have been my preference.
I say all that, but there’s no sign that Asami-chan is coming back to the team, and it’d be weird if she did when she’s apparently the leader (I think?) of Unit 9. If that provides an interesting new avenue, I’ll be pleased. I will miss her if she’s just been demoted to a tertiary character, though.
Criminal of the Week
Once again, I’m not sure if the first cour’s criminal-of-the-week format during the middle episodes helped it or hurt it. For me, it probably hurt it, but the sentai flavor permeates the finished product, and it feels like villain-of-the-week is in the sentai genre’s DNA. Now we have a new conspiracy of some sort, though Mythos
(Hanae Natsuki) was still pictured and namedropped, so maybe we’re not done with him. The plot this week seemed to mostly be an excuse to rope Sena back in and show a high school girl in her underwear, which, you know. Had to be done. (The former, that is.) I would expect more criminal-of-the-week plotting going forward, at least for the next few episodes.
Active Raid is as Active Raid does. If you haven’t watched the first season, you should do that before getting into this, because not much has changed so far. I don’t have any plans to blog this series weekly, though I’ll probably keep watching it (erratically, if last time is any indication). Hopefully it can elevate itself over the formula struck by the first cour, even if this episode didn’t add fuel to that hope. I’ll probably keep watching it either way. Whatever else, it’s fun.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Big changes are in store . . . which are partially reset as we revert to the status quo #activeraid s2e1
- Most of the coolest hints had to do with Inagi Koutarou (Midorikawa Hikaru), now the mayor, and his reports on space elevators and whatnot. Plus I still ship him and boss HARD. Just go out on a date already!
- Asami-chan’s ridiculously short skirt and red thigh-highs are ridiculous for a working professional, but I love it. What? She’s 20, it’s fine.
- “Boss, there are no f**king Japanese people here but you.” BWAHAHAHA! Thank you Abigail Martinez (Arai Satomi), the breakaway star of this premiere. I’m always up for Arai Satomi being amazing.
My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel novella. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: I love sales jobs, Good realism is character realism, Dying idols, and Frictionless routines.
ED: 「Field Trip!!」 by Kurosawa Tomoyo