Eva’s First Impression
I am struggling to pin-point how I feel about Active Raid’s premiere. It was quite entertaining, but the primary problem was the incredibly fast pace, making it extremely difficult to keep track of what going on and what was being said. Now while I am sure they will explain everything more clearly as the story goes on (and they usually do), I still consider it a major flaw to have made it so difficult to keep track of the simplest and most basic information being said- and forget the names, it was almost impossible to keep track of them all. One could argue the pace was justified due to the nature of the scene and the mission taking place. And yes, I can agree with that interpretation. But at the same time, how will the audience know what is happening if the knowledge we require to understand just flies by like the wind? And when that happens, sometimes it can become frustrating to watch.
But luckily for Active Raid, while I found myself lost on the information highway, it was its humor and the characters’ dynamics that kept me engaged. It was fun to watch the team actively shut down Kazari Asami every time she tried to take authority of the mission, and of course and her random English (Not sure why she throws it here and there, is it to make her sound intelligent (from her character’s perspective)?). The gist I had after falling behind her introduction was: This girl completely misunderstood the actual purpose of being assigned to the Special Public Security Division 5, Third Mobile Assault Unit 8, (holy shit, what a mouthful). She has a ridiculously big ego for someone who was previously an intern. And damn, this girl got ambition, “I’ll take over Japan’s ACTIVE Project”! It was because of her ridiculous ego was why I enjoyed seeing her be shut down as often as she was and more, because without it- her arrogance alone would tick me off. But at the same time, I would say another flaw of hers (and it likely related to her ego), is how much she overthinks. For example, she was appointed to SPSD 5, Third Mobile Assault Unit 8 as an inspector. It is her duty to determine what is happening in Unit 8, and report whether it merits to continue existing. Her second and following interpretation on the other-hand, is undoubtedly her ego’s mindset: To personally shape Unit 8 into a force of good (since they have a terrible reputation for the mess and damage they cause around the city) – after-all, she considered Unit 8 to be, ‘a unit of garbage men, or they just trash themselves’.
Finally, I believe many Tiger & Bunny fans like myself can agree there were countless striking similarities with this show. Of course these similarities happen to be some of the things I liked the most about Tiger & Bunny. From the Willwears gear (which too features a time limit for use), the dynamic between Kuroki Takeru and Sena Souichirou (Oscar I & Oscar II), along with the humor, I already know I will probably enjoy this show, almost or as much as I did with Tiger & Bunny, but for its own unique qualities of course. So knowing this along with the problems I had with this episode, I am on the fence of whether or not this series is right for me to pick up. If they can adjust their pacing properly, I believe I can do it, but if they don’t- well it will be a lot more difficult for me to do. For now, I will give Active Raid three episodes to determine whether or not I will pick it up.
And if I don’t, well you know I will still be watching it.
Possibility of Blogging: Moderate
Possibility of Watching: Guaranteed
I’ll start off with a ramble: Last season I took a hiatus to go to a new art school and found myself contemplating my life as a blogger. I missed writing a lot while I was gone and eventually realized that I feel very connected to the Angry Anime Bitches site and love to be with everyone- and I’m happy to report that the first anime I’ve watched in a season is actually one I found incredibly charming! Eva was right to compare it to Tiger and Bunny because I got that feeling from this show almost immediately.
I think the best way to describe Active Raid is if Kotetsu was younger and more brash, and partners with Barnaby, in Tiger and Bunny. There is of course a dissonance in this show and Tiger and Bunny: It’s really the suits that act as mini-mechas to empower individuals and not super powered characters. While a lot of Tiger and Bunny left me wishing for more characters I connected to I already love seeing some of the characters in Active Raid a little more. Hearing the sorted trash line made me grin over the sheer stupidity. Who can’t snerk like a moron when they hear how this stupid bishounen is going to perfectly recycle you? He literally recycles.
The reason the characters are so good is that they’re all essentially genre savvy. Where shows like Tiger and Bunny feel like a satire they did so with characters who were essentially unaware that they were in a satire and the show succeeded because of this. The opposite of this is true in Active Raid, a show in which a character literally responds to the fervor of the main character by simply stating that ‘this is just a job’. Justice doesn’t matter because we got quotas to meet mmkay?
While Eva struggled with the pace I found it energetic and exciting. There was nothing like the engaging feeling of knowing I didn’t need to skip thirty seconds to get passed a needless dialogue or talking about the feelings within my heart for 7 minutes without actually talking about them and instead referring to some needless analogy about cats. Sometimes I think anime is guilty of taking itself so seriously that it becomes absolutely unbearable: sometimes an anime has to acknowledge how it works and how it doesn’t. Shows like Active Raid aren’t going to slow down, and shouldn’t, because they know they’re caricatures of anime that don’t need to harp on specific themes.
I am interested to see how this show handles the concept of development. Will it make the characters all a joke or manage to make them compelling? I am hoping that while the show may not take its theme completely seriously, it will still have a heart for its viewers to appreciate. Here’s to this new season!
Possibility of Blogging: ABSOLUTELY