OP Sequence

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.

Looking Ahead

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

Random thoughts:

  • 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 Sequence

ED: 「Field Trip!!」 by Kurosawa Tomoyo

Preview

17 Comments

  1. Sometimes you get second seasons to awesome shows like Log Horizon despite the ratings, and sometimes you get garbage like Activate Raid for two seasons despite the ratings, i like the idea but i also don’t

    Hero
    1. I’m pretty sure that Active Raid was a 2-cour show from the start (with it being split as is so often nowadays) so this is not really a second season but continuation of the first. And since the second cour was greenlight from the start, TV ratings and such never mattered.

      Nayrael
      1. @Danpmss:

        I would point out, however, that the original poster (Hero) probably wasn’t even speaking about TV ratings in the first place. The others might have reached an incorrect but understandable confusion.

        In fact, I think it’s more likely they were talking about the scores on online sites like MAL and so on.

        Which is frankly irrelevant, given that the only opinions that would really matter to the production staff are those of the Japanese audience, not foreigners.

        To be quite honest, the Japanese do seem comparatively more receptive to Active Raid so far.

        Madonis
    2. Television ratings are irrelevant, the anime of anything on TV is basically an advert for the BDs/DVDs/LNs/Manga. Also, Log Horizon was lucky(Because it sold pretty badly on BD/DVD) in the way it was funded. Which will certainly get it a third season when there’s enough material.

      Lyfe
      1. Don’t be silly, the TV ratings matters a lot for some anime (we call them “audience anime” in the forums). Anime like Naruto, World Trigger, Reborn!, Log Horizon, Kingdom, Uchuu Kyoudai and Rinne for example, normally funded by the TV station for its content (in the case of NHK titles for example, those that have at least some educational content, like Log Horizon’s economy-related aspect) or just as a children entertainment that has their transmission scheduled between 5:30 AM to 10:30 AM or 4:30 PM to 8:30 PM, which gives the channel an amazing boost on views due to how many people in Japan are watching with their family in those specific hours.

        Going by your logic, anime like Crayon Shin-chan, Sazae-san and even Detective Conan would ahve been long gone.

        Danpmss
    3. Hey, I thought Active Raid was alright. It did decently enough back in Japan too.

      Definitely not a great show, but still perfectly watchable if you can embrace Super Sentai.

      Which, as things have turned out, isn’t what most English speakers care for.

      Madonis
  2. There were so many fun episodes last season, especially the Poker one, and the episode after it. You know, the one that had the classic giant robot type duel at the end!

    I hope however that they have a better final bad guy this season. I thought the previous was underwhelming to say the least.

    You can see why this was a two cour series, it doesn’t take itself seriously.

    Lyfe
    1. Pretty much. Fun show for those who can sit back and relax.

      Mythos wasn’t all that much of a villain.

      I am not expecting an excellent replacement, but some variety would be nice.

      Madonis
  3. I should have put a “mostly” infront of irrelevant and anything. That would have saved you the trouble of writing all of that. Because my comment applies to pretty much 95 percent of anime produced. I’m not sure what the point you’re trying to make with that part, because it would fall under your original point that it applies to “some” anime.

    Lyfe
  4. I thought Active Raid season one was O.K. I think I like the idea of it more than the actual show and it wasn’t as good as one of the better Sentais but it was decent. I hope they manage to improve it a bit in the second season though.

    Jetman
  5. random viewer
    1. Don’t worry. Based on the first season, a new OP sequence will eventually show up.

      Part of the reason for this, other than perhaps not finishing the animation yet, would be in order to avoid spoilers about future events (including which characters will get a new Willwear and so on).

      Madonis

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