First Impressions – Active Raid: Kidou Kyoushuushitsu Dai Hakkei

Stop! In the name of the law! …And speedos!

A buddy cop duo show…but with mechanized exoskeletons! I’ll say what everyone else is saying that it’s reminiscent of Tiger & Bunny, except I’ve yet to see a moe middle-aged man. Anyways, I’m here as a “buddy blogging duo” to let you know what kind of show we have on our hands here.
My, my, my….Active Raid, how shall I address thee? I’ve had expectation whiplash before, but I don’t know if I’ve ever had to reshape my expectations so rapidly as I’ve had to with this rather generic and yet altogether unorthodox series.


Minor Restrictions May Apply

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Overcooled// It’s nice to see Active Raid try and break the rules…by following the rules. In most superhero shows, the heroes in question may end up remorselessly decimating entire blocks while trying to defeat villains (…or entire cities in the case of One Punch Man). Collateral damage just isn’t the kind of thing most superheroes think about when they’re sticking their neck out to try and save people. It’s either they save society from a huge threat or they bust up a corner bakery. The choice should be obvious as long as they aren’t killing pedestrians. So, in most cases, superheroes go about destroying buildings in fights and not even taking the time to comment on it. In Active Raid, the heroes must strictly abide by the rules – even the dirty ones. So when a dangerous criminal is on the run, no one can even think about shooting them if they’re in the vicinity of a politician’s expensive mansion. It put some interesting restrictions on Takeru and Souichiro that force them to use some unorthodox methods to save the day.

I especially liked when the heroes themselves had to use blackmail to be able to have their way. It’s pretty ridiculous that they had to threaten closing a private club just so they would be allowed to stop two criminals on the loose. But what other choice do they have? Corruption is everywhere and these heroes are just squeaking by in whatever way they can. Frankly, I’m amazed they follow the rules as well as they do. Not only do they have to abide by the selfish requests of people in power, but they have to deal with civilians so desensitized to crime that they stand right in the middle of a heated battle just to capture a good video. Superheroes getting distracted by toddlers being threatened due to the goodness of their hearts is a common thing. Superheroes groaning in disbelief as a bunch of rubbernecking idiots get in the way of catching a criminal was a twist that left me smiling to myself.

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Unfortunately, I don’t know much about law, but it seems like the superheroes are also restrained by actual laws that the police have to follow from what I can tell. They sound legit to me! So they can’t just strongarm their way in like a vigilante and do whatever, they have to be law-abiding citizens just like the rest of us. I thought it was pretty ridiculous Souichiro had to actually wait for two villains in obvious need of an ass-kicking to attack him before he could even lay a finger on them. So they can’t destroy buildings, they can’t show their identity, they can’t hurt civilians, and they have to follow a strict set of codes that often puts them at danger. If I were them, I’d be anything but relaxed…


Just Spray It

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Irenesharda// This is one of those series where I have yet to make up in my mind where it lies with me. From the first few moments, I knew I had to reshape my mindset about the series, but as events became more and more ridiculous with each turn, and Kazari became more and more annoying (oh gosh, was she beginning to grate on my nerves) with every sentence of obstinate commands mixed with unnecessary Engrish, I just knew this was going to be my first dropped series of the season!

And yet, in spite of all its silliness and on-the-nose cliches, something about it, started to charm me by the time the second half rolled around.

Nothing in the summaries or the PVs had suggested that this series was going to be so….comedic. It was less of my usual anime fare and more “Saturday Morning” in nature than I’ve had in a long time. There are essentially two types of characters in this series so far. Those who are a member of the Eighth Unit, and those who aren’t. All of the characters of the team that are introduced are pretty standard and introduced at such a rapid pace that neither I nor Kazari can keep up. I began to have flashbacks to the Soul Society Arc of Bleach where I could tons of characters were introduced at such a rapid pace that I began to just give all the characters nicknames in order to compensate. Here, we basically have our two main male cops, “Lt. Blue Oni” and “Maj. Red Oni”, the unit’s leader, “Mother Hen Chief”, the engineer that I just dub “The Mechanic”, the other two girls were “emo computer girl”and “transportation girl” and of course, the ever awesome, “Oji-san”.

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I couldn’t really tell you much about each character beyond the generic characteristics that hang on their sleeves. There are characters that haven’t been introduced yet, a couple of maybe villains who I gave the names “not-Seto Kaiba” and “female pink haired Mokuba” that we see in the beginning, and if it was just left up to those characters, I probably would have dropped this series before it was even over. However, it’s when the cliche members of the 8th Unit, who work together like a well-oiled engine, clash with the ever prim, ever proper, ever arrogant genius new recruit Asami Kazari (aka “Saturday Morning Akane Tsunemori”) AND then shoot down every one of her pretentious comments and demands, all the while tap dancing around the overabundance of procedures and red tape, that I found myself chuckling and enjoying myself.

What about the mecha aspect of the story?  Well, honestly as a mech connoisseur, I don’t really consider the Willwear of the series “mechs”. That would be like calling Iron Man’s armour a mech. It’s really a pretty cool tech exoskeleton that is put together in a very “Iron Man-esque” assembly sequence, after our boys (and soon our girls too) strip down to their speedos and have their undersuits literally spraypainted onto their bodies. It’s going to be a sequence we’ll be seeing over and over again throughout the series, but it’s not as long and tedious a transformation as it could have been. The railgun, train, and fighting sequences were also more after-school afternoon fare, but I have to give it to the show that at least it keeps it’s tone consistent and then runs with it! Now where it’s running too, is the question to ask.


Final Thoughts

Active Raid takes the superhero/cop thing and makes it fun by adding a ton of restrictions that force the heroes to think creatively. How will they catch a duo of underage criminals while not destroying a rich dude’s house or impeding the transit system? The odds are really stacked against them in these situations, giving them huge handicaps that make catching even the most hare-brained of criminals a true feat. Oh, and it also has robot suits and speedos, which is always welcome. It seems like it’s a great concept so far that tackles the more cynical side of law-enforcement.

I will admit that the first half had me a little bored however, as Asami was so desperate to be competent that she just ended up being the opposite. I also feel like every character was trying a little too hard to show off their quirks, so their dialogue was more like a string of catchphrases than informative insights to their personalities. All I know about Souichiro is that he likes to sort trash and is probably a big dork. In the end, they’re all quite likeable though. The only outsider to that for me is Asami. Her hard-ass attitude isn’t very pleasant and she tries to interrupt people far too often. However, I do sense that she’s open to critique. At the end of the episode, she seems genuinely impressed by the group despite their lackadaisical personalities. She also sighs and admits that yeah, she totally got pickpocketed. So while my initial reaction to her was negative, I think she’ll grow into an interesting character to follow as she gets to know all the other members.


So will I be staying with this series? Well, now that I know what to expect, I think I will go into the next episode with fresh eyes. I will also give it the three episode try to see if it’s really a series that I want to stick with. Active Raid is already signed on to being a split cour series, and right now I want to see what kind of ongoing plot might come up as it goes along, or if it will continue to be episodic. While none of the characters are deep, and nothing really happened that took my breath away, in the end, I did find the episode enjoyable, and I can go for at least two more rounds. Will Kazari shape up the 8th Unit team? Or is it her that will learn a thing from them? (Answer: Well, if you don’t know the answer to that one, you need to get out more.)

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10 Responses to “First Impressions – Active Raid: Kidou Kyoushuushitsu Dai Hakkei”

  1. zztop says:

    Nothing in the summaries or the PVs had suggested that this series was going to be so…comedic.

    Active Raid’s director, Taniguchi Goro (of Code Geass fame) mentioned on his website that this series is meant to be fun and wacky, so try not to expect too much seriousness. It’ll also be a split 2-cour series, with Season 2 airing this Summer 2016.

    I couldn’t really tell you much about each character beyond the generic characteristics that hang on their sleeves.

    I can tell you that character designs are by Saeki Shun/Tosh, artist of the manga Shokugeki no Souma. Notice how Kuroki Takeru looks like Yukihira Souma’s older, cockier cousin.

    • sonicsenryaku says:

      well let me tell you i had no fun watching this series. I was soooooo boooooored and annoyed. How could such an entertaining premise be botched up so fantastically? it’s beyond my comprehension

      • Madonis says:

        I think it’s really a matter of how funny do you find the dialogue, because not every person shares the same humor.

        It seems you didn’t find anything entertaining, but I was amused by a lot of the little phrases the characters exchanged and the action sequence was funy too. The gags came rather quickly and kept my attention.

        Thus it didn’t seem boring at all to me. I get the feeling a lot of people were expecting something more focused on world buidling or characterization, rather than throwing the characters right into an operation, but for me that was not much of a problem.

        Too bad not everyone will enjoy it, at least based on the first episode, but I have to say the creators did appeal to my own preferences.

        • IreneSharda says:

          It really comes from the expecations that come with the director, the tone that the summary/PV suggested, and the overall expectation of mecha in general.

          I also don’t think it’s wrong to expect world building and characterization. ANY story that’s doing its job should be able to do that. I do think that was a weakness of the writers and was lazy. However, we’ll see what they do next. I don’t mind suddenly getting thrown in with characters as long as they eventually take time afterwards to begin to give them more depth than generic character cutouts.

          Also, welcome to Metanorn! I hope you enjoy your time with us! 😀

      • BlackBriar says:

        I think it’s because you built an overabundance of expectation and preconceptions solely on the premise that you can’t accept the show for what it is and what it’s done. That’s what’s making you so salty. It’s best to go in without them so it won’t disappoint you so much.

      • IreneSharda says:

        I did start off that way, however something about the way they were going around all of not-Akane’s demands and all the red tape sort of got a laugh out of me, and so I had to give it at least another try.

    • IreneSharda says:

      Hmm, maybe I should have read all that beforehand. However, I generally only use summaries and PVs to give me an idea of what the series will be. Maybe we should blame the PR department?

  2. akagami says:

    For me, while it has some promise, the CGI bits annoyed me a fair bit, and that spray on superpower suit just didn’t click with me. I feel like there was some recent show that had a similar premise but I’m blanking on it at the moment.

    And what’s up with the bikini bottoms? If you’re going to strip, why not all the way? They need to be fair to both genders and make it full frontal tan spray Willwear.

    While the gags weren’t bad, the random Engrish phrases had me cringing. Although the whole launch sequence was great. “We got this awesome base and launchpad, and…… let’s wait for a local train to tow us along”. =D

  3. BlackBriar says:

    Hmmm… This wasn’t so bad. Honestly, “enjoyable and refreshing” are how I’d describe this first entry as I went in without expectation due to not being filled in on anything. It was like a more mechanized and policed version of Power Rangers with an atmosphere that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Moderately serious with campy amusement injected in. Such a setting isn’t necessarily a bad thing and the characters presented so far are cool.

    The new girl, Asamil Kazari, was, in my opinion, what I’d call the “reverse” Akane Tsunemori Instead of being a reluctant blank slate newbie waiting for instructions that will mold her, she’s ambitious, arrogant and overconfident, looking to push her way to get recognized. That also, in a way, is reminiscent of Mika Shimotsuki. Hopefully, she won’t press on that part too much and the influence of the group will instill a change in her attitude. She might even become as laid back as them.

    All that aside, I’m curious as to who tied up the pickpocket girl. Whoever did it is obviously into S&M.

    Overall, an average first run and might possibly maintain that sense until the end but this may turn out to be a likable series I can use to kill some extra time on my hands. And given that it’s a split cour, to my great surprise, I’ll stick around to see what comes next and how it’ll fit in with what came before.

  4. HannoX says:

    I don’t find the lack of world-building (or more accurately the minimal world-building) or lack of depth of character a problem in this episode. This is the introductory episode letting us know what the show is about and introducing the characters. World-building and character development can follow in later episodes and I hope that it does. Even without much of those it looks to me to be a fun action comedy. But it would be better if the characters and the world they inhabit are given some depth.

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