It's been a while in coming, but as we hit the sixth episode of Senkou no Night Raid we finally find ourselves delving more deeply into the political mire the surrounds the series and, more importantly, the time period in which it is set.
These politics leave us with a conflict between two very different ideas - On the one hand, you have a Japan buoyed by recent military successes who are looking to capitalise on their rising stature by extending and embracing Western ideals to increase their own power in Asia, whilst on the other you have rival Asian nations and groups (even from beyond Asia indeed going by this series) who want to see Asia as a whole come together under the umbrella of Pan-Asianism to create a serious rival to the West based upon their own ideals.
Away from all of that, our team of "super-heroes" find themselves tasked with finding and infiltrating a meeting that will involve a number of individuals who subscribe to the Pan-Asianist ideal... Not least Yukina's brother, Takachiho Isao, who is clearly heavily involved with this particular political movement. However, Isao is more than just a mere man and former soldier, and so Aoi and his colleagues find themselves one step behind throughout this episode, while even their particular powers prove to be more limited than those of their direct rivals who possess abilities of their own, setting the scene for even more difficult times ahead... although of course they could always defect and join Isao's own group.
While the movement towards the real meat of Senkou no Night Raid's story is a welcome one, to be perfectly honest with you this episode was a mess - A jumble of scenes and stories that jumped around in a stuttering and stilting fashion that only succeeded in making the entire endeavour almost completely inaccessible. As a political drama this episode had no teeth, lacking the kind of depth or insight of, say, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, while the action side of the episode occasionally teetered dangerously close to being funny rather than exciting or stylish. Add to that some moments that almost fell like plot holes in the way that they sat unsteadily within the episode, and come the end of it all I was left with eyebrow raised and a feeling of intense dissatisfaction. There is so much on show here that could have made for a good series, but at this juncture it seems as though it's almost all been wasted entirely.