Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Senkou no Night Raid - Episode 1

Following the relative success of Sora no Woto, the second offering as part of A1-Pictures Anime no Chikara deal brings us to 1930s Shangai and a world of Japanese secret agents in China in the midst of unrest between the two countries.

However, Senkou no Night Raid isn't just your bog-standard spy story, instead having us following a handful of individuals each with their own special powers, taking in the usual "superpower" traits such as telepathy, mind-reading, teleportation, manipulation of time and Geass. Okay, I lied about the Geass bit, but you never know.

In this first episode, our intrepid heroes (assuming they're heroes of course, which may not turn out to be the case) go to work rescuing a kidnapped company president named Kaburagi, who it is later revealed has used his kidnapping to his own business advantage, giving the team an extra dimension to concern themselves with during their rescue. However, this entire scenario sets us up for action aplenty, as we see first an abortive attempt to rescue Kaburagi before we get the real thing, both of which involve fighting, explosions and bullets as well as the occasionally liberal use of those special powers.

I have to confess that I found it a little difficult to get a precise handle on things from this first episode of Senkou no Night Raid, but then again I get the feeling that was perhaps the point - To launch us into this world of action and intrigue first and foremost before explaining the exact details later in the series. To be fair, this decision works for me, as there was enough going on here to keep my attention and leave me wanting more, even if I can't help but be a little concerned that those special powers of which I speak will be used once too often as a deus ex machina to get the main characters out of tight spots every week. Still, this is a very different take on 1930s China versus Japan to what I was expecting (which of course helps it to neatly sidestep any inconvenient truths in the name of utter fiction), so I can only welcome the possibility of it bringing something fresh to the table; only time will tell whether it can do something outstanding with the obvious potential that it holds.


JW said...

There is a bit of a danger about using their X-men skills as a cop-out, but early on it seems that they're not invincible.

Especially the one who can move quickly. The manner of his ability reminds me a lot of the dragons of the Dragonriders of Pern book series. The beasts can jump through space and time, but their minds have to focus on something or else they'll be permanently trapped "between" places/times or end up embedded in a rockface or something like that.

That girl almost gets killed (telepathy doesn't save your life. Shards of glass don't think) Longrange/Xray vision doesn't work from behind.

I bet there's some detriment to Mr. Telekinesis too. Haven't seen it yet.

I'll have a little faith.

JELEINEN said...

The telekinetic has a time limit on his power. That's why he keeps using the stop watch.

I'm giving this series a chance, but I'm dropping it like a rock the first sign of it making appologies for or trying to cover up what Japan did in China.

Anonymous said...

Could someone explain to me what Japan did to China. I know very little about the history of East Asia during that time.

Anonymous said...

I've heard a lot about it but never read the details until I saw your comment. I usually hear about it when the president visits a war shrine/memorial...

Yongho Kim said...

I thought the anime was set in an unnecessarily dangerous conundrum. In the intro section of Ep 1 I saw the narration say "The Manchu Kingdom was set up by Japan to further its ambitions of dominion over the Chinese continent", which is historically accurate & fairly neutral in the history wars between China and Japan, but as far as I know conservative Japanese would not admit to (conservatives would say Manchu was a favor to the underdeveloped Chinese) which sets the Japanese Empire as the "bad guys" of sorts.. and then the main protagonists as Japanese special agents? I'm super intrigued.

Now I watched the anime with Korean captions, so this all may have been made up by the Korean subber.