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!
My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Now in print!) (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Sign up for my email list for a FREE prequel short story. At stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: What happens when you work 80+ hrs a week, Re Zero: The hero who strives, I have four jobs right now, and Radical transparency. I’ll try.