Sunday, 25 April 2010

Senkou no Night Raid - Episode 2

After introducing us to its core concept and characters for its first episode in an action-packed fashion, this second instalment of Senkou no Night Raid proves to be a relatively sedate and slower-paced affair in comparison.

Slightly removed from its main plot, this episode does find time to give us a little more history regarding the region and the main players that this series deals with, and also delves into the back stories of a few of the characters to varying degrees, giving us snippets from their pasts which don't always make absolute sense in the grand scheme of things right now, but are clearly designed to snap into the wider story as the show continues.

That aside, this particular episode sees our quartet of "super-powered" individuals tasked with confirming and stopping a spy - A guy named Sergei Krainev, a violinist who is suspected of providing information against the Japanese, and a man who has a fantastic ability for memorising information which makes him perfectly suited to the task. So, as the episode progresses, we see the group using their powers to discover the truth about whether Krainev really is a spy, before putting a halt to his plan to share some important but otherwise unknown information with his employers.

The trouble is that after the spectacular rescue depicted in the first episode, there's far less action to be enjoyed here, with brains overtaking brawn in this particular case to win the day, while even then their victory in stopping Krainev's plot can hardly be considered flawless. This slower pace isn't helped by the fact that the story also unfolds rather unevenly while we stop to take in those aforementioned back stories and the like, meaning that although we're supposed to be left feeling sorry for Krainev and his circumstances we never spend enough time with the man to really get any genuinely feel for either his character or his plight.

Still, at least thematically this proved to be quite an interesting episode, with the violin operating as a centre-piece which tied a number of characters together, while the question of whether a special ability (be it supernatural or otherwise) is a blessing or a curse also raises its head. However, this second instalment of Senkou no Night Raid never really managed to rise above mediocrity to stand out in any particular fashion, but there's still potential in the wider series as a whole so it would be unfair to write it off on the basis of one less stellar episode.

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