Anime Review: Senkou no Night Raid Episode 3

(Originally published on Livejournal on 6/27/10)

Anime Review Second Chance:
Senkou no Night Raid Episode 3

tl;dr review: Surprise letter from Yukina’s brother draws her to the site of a planned terrorist strike; the Sakurai Kikan scrambles to contain three bombs and uncover the culprit.

About The Series: Shanghai, 1931: As tensions are building up to full-scale war, a group of four secret agents, the Sakurai Kikan, are tasked to gather intelligence and go on special missions in support of Japanese military. However, these are not any ordinary agents; included in the group are a telepath, a clarivoyant, a teleporter, and time-manipulator. It’s high espionage set in one of the most turbulent times in the region’s history.

In This Episode: Yukina receives a letter from her long-lost brother out of the blue, asking her to meet an agent at one of four big department stores in downtown Shanghai. While there, a bomb explodes in one of the other stores, sending everyone running. In the chaos, someone brushes past Yukina, and projects images of where the other three bombs are located. The other members of the Sakurai Kikan rush in to find the other bombs, but meet up with a mysterious armed man at every turn, who immediately disappears after each attack. Using their extra-sensory powers they are able to prevent the bombs from causing any damage, and end up in a showdown with the rogue agent on the store’s roof. His goal all along was to take Yukina to meet her brother — or so he says — and plays his trump card by threatening to release poisoned gas from balloons if she does not go along. By using the enemy’s own powers of ESP against him, they manage to trick him and he disappears, defeated. In the end, they are left with more questions than answers, other than a new realization they are up against an enemy potentially as powerful and skilled as they are.

My Thoughts: Better. Much better. We finally get a sense that some greater plot is unfolding, and are left wondering what is in store for the future, just as the characters themselves are searching for answers. Also, we see the team’s skills in action, unlike the previous episode where their super-powers were more of a sideline to the story itself. Although, I still don’t really get how the timed-telekinesis skill really works. Frankly, I don’t really get what’s going on, but expect it all to be slowly revealed, piece by piece, as the show unfolds.

I was initially worried that this whole show would turn into some sort of Monty Haul Campaign, following the first episode when the four super-powered agents were able to take on an entire Chinese army brigade (with ease!) – how can anyone go up against the Sakurai Kikan when they are working together as a well-oiled machine? Naturally, the only people who can go up against them are people who are equally as extra-sensory skilled as they are. Suddenly, the Sakurai Kikan do not seem as invincible as before.

Yukina is ridiculously cute in her thirties-era clothes. But more interestingly, she’s not just a wallflower added for eye-candy to the show. Nope, she’s just as skilled, quick-witted and bold as the rest of them. Hooray for strong-willed, competent female characters instead of weak, wimpy moe girls! Hoping to see more of the former and less of the latter in the future — it’s about time for this whole moe-moe trend in anime to die in a fire.

The Verdict:

Up Next: Arakawa Under the Bridge (7-9) and The Tatami Galaxy (7-9).

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