Couldn’t find a great cap, so here’s a bunch of power suits.

That was technically a resolution, even though it didn’t resolve any of the stuff I cared about.

I’ve never been able to adequately explain my enjoyment of Active Raid. It probably comes down to my love of light-hearted stories, even though Active Raid can sometimes feel more of “airheaded.” I call it a baka of a series, and talk about how goofy it is, but I can’t hate it. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t disappoint me on occasion. Usually at the end of a season.

Active Raid 2nd’s problem is the same one it’s always had: it tries to do big things at the end without building them up ahead of time. Oh, the groundwork is there, sort of, but it’s not given enough time or focus to emotionally resonate. The series is obviously concerned with other things. Think of it like this: compare Active Raid to another show that has plot episodes and character-building “fluff” episodes. Avatar The Last Airbender has always been my favorite example, since it has so many episodes and it’s so clear which is which, but many two-cour+ anime have them too. Think of your examples. Notice how a lot of them scatter the character-building episodes among the plot episodes, so the plot is never far off even while it’s doing something fun?

That’s Active Raid’s problem. It doesn’t do that. The plot episodes are clustered at the beginning and end of each cour, and the middle is all criminal-of-the-week. And yes, I know those crimes are all linked to the main baddie of each cour, but those major villains don’t resonate much because they’re always completely unreachable and our of danger until the last three episodes. It never feels like the protagonists could maybe capture them partway through, so there’s no danger to the villains, which means there’s no tension. They only really tangle with the protagonists once each, at the end of each cour, where they’re damn near destined to lose.

If Active Raid were more interested in having its main villains really struggle with the protagonists throughout the season, and not depend on late-breaking reveals in the last few episodes that “change the game” but don’t really land because of it (the Inagi reveals at the end of 2nd being the most recent example), it could have ascended to higher heights. Its lack of desire in doing this limits the story, but is also integral to what makes it what it is. Active Raid is silly enough to be endearing, even if it handicaps it.

Honestly, what annoys me the most is the complete lack of resolution in anything I cared about. Oh, they caught Hachijou and he got punched, which is cool, but as noted above I was never really invested in any of the villains. Mythos/Jirou actually got off best out of everyone, because I was legitimately happy that he seemed to have gained nakama and was rehabilitating—he was much better as a reluctant protagonist than he ever was as a villain. Though he retained the bulshit Hollywood hacking ability that Hachijou had as well.

No, it’s all the character stuff. Was Inagi-kun’s vision realized? Whatever the damn hell it was (space elevator city-focused politics mumbo jumbo). Did he go to jail? More importantly, did any of my ships sail!? (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ Kuroki x Asami, Sena x Miho, Kyoukai-sama x Liko, Haruka x Trains . . . Hell, I shipped Boss x Inagi longer than anyone else, so it sucked when that was all but confirmed and then shattered in favor of a clichéd villain turn. Grumble. You couldn’t have given me Sena x Miho in exchange?

Active Raid 2nd was a weird season. It continued the first season’s penchant for complicating matters seemingly for the sake of complication, such as making Sena a civilian contractor, shifting power to city governments, the space elevator, or the addition of Unit 9—and before I go on, Asami got mad weird as soon as she took over Unit 9. Getting demoted from main character to supporting character and having your entire personality flanderized is rough. Poor Asami-chan. On the other hand, we got a season of Arai Satomi shouting hilarious obscenities. That ain’t nothing, you scumwad d**ks.

In the end, Active Raid is still a kind of stupid series. It’s always been its own unique blend of baka, and it’s endearing despite its flaws. That’s why I’m still fond of it, even if I wanted to rant—i.e. don’t read too much heat into my words. I just needed to get that off my chest so I could go back to being mildly mystified, but otherwise content with my time with Active Raid. Which is probably a better title than the one I used, but f**k it, you wh*re-eating pencil d**ks. Go go go!

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  1. Overall I think Active Raid pretty much sits squarely at “good” for me, not great or amazing but still a lot of fun.

    It really did feel like the show was suddenly in a huge rush right at the end, maybe another episode would’ve helped things breathe a little. Sometimes I do wish the series had been a bit more “police slice of life” in the vein of Patlabor and such, instead of trying to do season-long narratives, but it still worked pretty well.

    And really now, the TRUE best ship is actually Haruka x Small Plastic Giraffe. I mean, come on.

  2. You pretty much hit every point on the series, though personally, it being as fun as it was still made the 2nd most enjoyable show of the summer season for me.

    Incidentally, I ship Kuroki x Emilia, due to episode 2. So yeah, I would’ve liked something in regards to that. I don’t really ship Asami with anybody, though I did enjoy her interactions with Funasaka (who may or may not be old enough to be her dad; why is she the only one with a specified age?). I want to ship Haruka with somebody, but I don’t think she really has any strong interactions with anybody (then again, when has that ever stopped anybody? Heck, Haruka x Kuroki x Emilia seems as good a ship as anything to me). And then there’s Madoka…Sena x Miho, well, the former seems really intent on not getting back together, but we all know how that’ll work out.

    Oh, almost forgot: Jirou x Hinata!

    P.S. It’s weird, but I really, really liked the opening theme for 2nd. I feel like the first opening can’t even compare (even though I love bless4).

  3. I think the reason I find this show endearing is because it’s so easy to see how it could be pretty good if the writing was just a little bit smarter and tighter and it’s ambitions were a little bit higher. As it is, it’s a show the individual ingredients to be good, but put together they’re just O.K. Kind of reminds me of Hai-furi in that way (or Ninninger, to go along with the Sentai connection)

    1. That’s exactly what mystifies me. If it were close to amazing but screwed it up, that’s liable to frustrate me . . . but it doesn’t. I mean, it does, but it’s not the overriding feeling. It’s a goofy series through and through.

  4. This is why I love this series: IMO, this show looks to be geared towards people who watched anime in the 80’s-90’s (i.e. people like me), as well as (old school) tokukatsu shows. It feels like a homage to shows like “Your Under Arrest”, “Burn Up”, and “Bioman” (and even Patlabor, to a much lesser extent), which are also set up in a similar way.

    And that is why I think this show was skipped by many people: it simply doesn’t jive with the tastes of most anime viewers today, which prefer something more cohesive.

  5. IIRC director Taniguchi Goro said he wanted Active Raid to be a fun, silly series akin to live-action sentai shows. I think the anime succeeded in this regard.

    I think Inagi’s vision was akin to the power structure of ancient city-states – cities should be independent from a central administrative government and instead be fully responsible for handling their own defense (and other affairs).

    1. True if the former is correct, and I did think about the latter. I just didn’t see why an administrative change like that was worth committing murder for, and why anyone would think it’s especially compelling.

      1. Perhaps Inagi felt murder was worth it because he felt was the only way to get his vision past the conservative political old guard of Japan.
        It would match up with how the show was lampooning and pointing out various conservative aspects of Japanese bureaucracy which some people think need a major overhaul.

  6. Thanks for this final impressions post, it’s always interesting to see what people thought of shows that weren’t blogged on a weekly basis. Can someone do Kuromukuro please? *puppy eyes*

    Honestly I was pleasantly surprised by the character beats scattered here and there in the final episode. But it’s also a reminder of how much potential remained untouched. For example the newbies didn’t get much focus or development. The same goes for the bunch of interesting ideas thrown at us without any follow up : bureaucracy, being restricted by rigid rules, modern technology being silly at times (remember Asami having her vision obstructed by the myriad of norifications? I think that was in the first episode of season 1).
    So it looks like they had other priorities… that I can respect. The launching into space sequence was legit awesome. If I were a 12-year old boy I’d be blown away. Maybe this is who this show is aimed for, instead of adults with higher demands writing-wise.

    The 3 best episodes for me were the ones about 1) Funasaka and the giants robots 2) Sena and Miho’s relationship 3) Sena and the immigrant guy. There was a coherent narrative

    Jon Oscar
  7. I loved this show so much. I’m not even a giant robot/robot fan either, it’s just so fun. It’s one of those underrated gems that very few would appreciate I think. I’d love a third season.

  8. This is just an alternate “power rangers” (except there’s no fusions) or tech/silly anime that kills time for me. It certainly didn’t waste my time when I enjoyed how each character’s contribution to bring peace & justice to futuristic-looking Tokyo.

    random viewer
  9. Me too! I also liked the series but couldn’t quite put my finger on WHY. Now that you said it, the series indeed makes things complicated for the sake of complication, that’s its main problem.
    I think ‘air-headed’ is an understatement here. There are so many things wrong with Active Raid.

    For me, I like all the main characters, I guess? I wanted to know more about Kyoukai-kun, for example.
    My main reason for watching the series was Kuroki though. You know, your ordinary good but goofy guy. I think, he for one, was quite realistic. Apparently I miss this kind of person in my life right now.
    I really wished they’d elaborate more on the plotline where Kuroki almost had his memories erased, like at the end of the episode he had a hallucination. I personally would love to see that turn serious.
    But all in all, I’m not really sure what the creators wanted to show us.


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