Active Raid – Episode 5

Active Raid had another episode in what is turning out to be its usual pattern – fairly boring episodic thriller, reasonably compelling worldbuilding/thematic background details. These procedural plots just wholly lack the creativity, narrative momentum, or aesthetic execution to sell their own stories, but the most of the ways they reflect on this show’s world are pretty interesting. Active Raid isn’t really a good show, but it’s the kind of mediocre show I don’t have any trouble watching, because the stuff it’s bad at is the stuff I don’t tend to prioritize anyway. It’d be nice if all these neat little ideas had a story that could actually support them, but I wouldn’t be watching anime if I didn’t like broken stories that still have glimmers of beauty in them.

You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my episode notes below!

Active Raid

Four years ago!

“Poker Face of Erasure”

Finally talking about the criminal organization Logos, which the head of Public Safety is telling them about

Rin thinks they’re “stirring up mischief”

Asami comparing her boobs, great

“All hail the passing of the casino bill!”

Bloody Mary, a famous gambler from a few years back, when gambling was illegal

Apparently that’s how the old boss Funasaka got into this department

Asami tailing Madoka, the quiet teammate

Talking about whether she’s a spy with Internal Affairs

“Extra spicy? Deducing entry into the Chinese restaurant would be dangerous”

Asami is so damn conspicuous

Madoka coordinates some secret meeting at the chinese restaurant

They need to win a poker match, apparently. It’s a weird hostage situation

“Did you know Asami actually trailed her?” lol

Onodera is the school teacher who keeps having to play

“Vodka martini. Shaken, not stirred.”

It’s a very simple form of gambling, but that’s good – we can actually follow it

Of course, Madoka is visiting an underground gambling club

“Who would have thought legalizing gambling would change so much?”

Wow, this is some awful “as we both know” exposition

And yeah, Madoka is Bloody Mary

The teacher has a very good poker face

“I can fool a polygraph with ease”

And the teacher knows about the missiles

“It’s the casino’s fault for blacklisting me out of fear of my skills”

Logos gave him the missiles

They fake a message from his mother

But his mother’s actually the one who taught him poker

“I’m prepared to get caught. If I have to live another dull day, I’d rather have one last match.”

“This is a rare case of accurate self-introspection, but…”

The classic “great poker players somehow get great hands” trick

“It’s like two dead people playing against each other”

And then she switches to her Bloody Mary outfit

They really aren’t able to make the poker interesting for its own sake

“This hand will decide it!”

“You’re just a corpse that drowned in darkness.”

“The end of one game is the beginning of another. Let’s meet again.”

“Moderation is key with any hobby”

One thought on “Active Raid – Episode 5

  1. From my point of view, Active Raid is very much in the spirit of a lot of classic Tokusatsu shows, which don’t have very high production values most of the time and can go through plenty of relatively formulaic procedural contents each week. They may eventually emphasize some sort of character drama and build up to a larger theme or underlying story arc. But obviously the main target audiences for those types of shows are existing fans of the genre and children, who tend to be easily amused most of the time.

    It’s worth pointing out that the main writer (Naruhisa Arakawa) comes from that world and the guy who wrote episode 5 (Toshiki Inoue) also has a similar background. I don’t think that’s inherently bad, not for Tokustasu shows in general and not for Active Raid either, because entertainment doesn’t necessarily require more ambitious aspirations. It’s entirely valid to make something like this.

    In fact, the other staff responsible for the show basically said they were making something chill and relaxing. The story might come around to some slightly more interesting material, when the main plot actually moves forward, but at the end of the day, we won’t be seeing a series that deserves an award for creativity or originality.

    Admittedly, if Sunrise or a better animation studio were handling this instead of Production IMS, which isn’t exactly known for its visual expertise, then the aesthetic execution would be a lot stronger even if the scripts weren’t all that different.

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