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Chibi Review: Senkou no Night Raid

History + Bad Ass + Boom = Senko no Night Raid

 Anime: Making clocks look cool for decades.
 Anime: Making clocks look cool for decades.
Title: Senkou no Night Raid
Animation: A-1 Pictures 
 
Set in 1931, little is "clear" about the story, but it seems to center around a special group of people. Working for some sort of "agency," these people were brought together due to their unique qualities. The main character, for instance, seems to be a powerful telekinetic, yet he can only use his powers for 3'ish minutes at a time. Their motivation is unknown, but currently do special ops for "the agency."

 
 Boom!
 Boom!
Just to get this out of the way, the first episode was really good. Granted, I'm large on ambiguity and this series had it in spades. Currently, I have no idea if our protagonists are heroes, villains, or something in between. This is in part due to strong direction and a great soundtrack. The tone seems to be a dramatic look at a "sorta historical" period. 
 
By historical, I mean that the the year is 1931 and the episode's focus is the arms proliferation of an area of China. By "sorta historical" I mean that our characters aren't normal men, but are a group of people with supernatural abilities. Attempting to trade for better arms, the army has takes a manufacturer hostage, and our protagonists are called in to help. 
 
Well, technically they work for some sort of agency, who has assembled them to preform dangerous missions. And, prescribing to the laws of plot, that agency seems more evil than Hitler's mustache, but that's pretty much what you expect.
 

 

Characters and Images

Kazura - The main character. He is headstrong, yet very carefree. He has telekinetic powers, yet can only use them for 3 minutes at a time
Aoi - Respectful and conservative, Aoi possesses the ability to teleport short distances. He is very reserved about using this ability
Yukina - A young girl, she acts as the groups coordinator. She appears to possess telepathy, as well as an ability to "read" the dead.
Natsume - Yukina's protector, he has incredible vision, capable of seeing for miles. This, coupled with the fact that he may be able to see through walls, make him an excellent sniper.



Conclusion

If you needed a one sentence parallel, I'd say the series comes off with the sheen and tone of Darker than Black, with a more historical setting. 
 
Of course, Its hard to imagine that they'll reference world events and not build up to World War 2, but given its more supernatural elements, I can't say I know where the series is going. Distorting historical events and figures is nothing new, but to what end does Senkou no Night Raid tugging at these strings?
metalsnakezeroon April 12, 2010 at 5:37 p.m.
It sure did had a Darker than Black tone to it. Maybe I should keep watching this. 
sotyfan16on April 12, 2010 at 8:07 p.m.

I third the Darker than Black notion. This is a mysterious anime that tugs at me because you aren't sure what the entire premise of the show is and what the endgame is. I dig the animation though and I look to some strong dialogue and a twisting story to bring me in. Senkou no Night Raid ranks 11th in my Spring 2010 list of anime I'm watching.

constanzadellarosaon April 13, 2010 at 6:18 a.m.
I'm so watching this. I love stories that have an historical background (I'm a history nerd).
Karkarovon April 13, 2010 at 6:31 a.m.
Sounsd good, popular rumor is this is one of the shows Crunchyroll will probably get to.  I will definitely keep an eye on it.
sickVisionz moderator on April 13, 2010 at 7:23 a.m.
@Karkarov said:
" popular rumor is this is one of the shows Crunchyroll will probably get to. "
That'd be great.  This show is right up my alley.  I can't comment on DtB because my memory of that show is pretty vague but this one kinda reminds me of Ghost in the Shell: SAC except set in the 1930s and rather than being cyborgs the people are products of an experiment, but their abilities are the same.
Nerxon April 13, 2010 at 8:42 a.m.
Might watch this
JELEINENon April 13, 2010 at 8:56 a.m.

I'm only watching it until they start to justify, gloss over or ignore what Japan did in Manchuria and China.  Given Japan's record for revisionism of WWII, I fully expect to not be finishing this series.
Konandaon April 13, 2010 at 1:26 p.m.
@JELEINEN said:
"I'm only watching it until they start to justify, gloss over or ignore what Japan did in Manchuria and China.  Given Japan's record for revisionism of WWII, I fully expect to not be finishing this series. "

Don't forget Korea they had occupied the country since 1910, in fact in January 1932 a Korean tried to assassinate Hirohito/Emperor Showa by throwing a gernade at him.  
  
I'm curious of how they will deal with the events going on around that time period. The war crimes commited by Japan have been refered to as the Asian Holocaust before for a reason being that pretty much all of East Asia at the time was effected by the brutality of the Japanese army: 
  
be it the mass killings, (ie. Nanking Massacre)  
gruesome human experimentation practices, (ie. Unit 731)  
use of chemical weapons, (ie. Battle of Wuhan)  
mass famines by rediverting food grown by civilians to the Japanese war effort, (in Vietnam about 10% of the population starved to death in a preventable famine in 1944) 
POW torture (the Japanese routinely tortured POWs usually later excuting them because the belief was the Yamato race [the majority of people in Japan, although there are still two indigenous minorities {Ainu and Ryukyu} who still face discrimination from some of the Yamato people])  
Slavery was used by the Japanese army in two forms, the first being forced labour where civilians of the countries that had been invaded by Japan along with POWs being forced to work sometimes until death for the Japanese army and the second being civilian women put into sexual slavery in military brothels for the Japanese army and navy officers. 
 
As mentioned already much of this was particularly around China, Manchuria and Korea but the people effected by the Japanese military stretches all the way out to Indonesia, Vietnam, Burma and everything in between along with POWs belonging to the Allied forces. 
 
I wonder if they are going to touch on any of this and the esculation in tensions and hostilities throughtout the region during the lead up to WWII.

The_Desert_Tigeron April 13, 2010 at 2:34 p.m.

This was the show i was most looking forward too from the Spring Preview, It's sounding to be pretty cool.
John_Martoneon April 14, 2010 at 10:52 a.m.
@JELEINEN:@Konanda: Great historical list of atrocities. I really enjoy the show underneath (currently) but I'm just morbidly curious to see which way they go. I almost expect them to "not" be a Japanese team, and therefore just play a neutral role of highly organized mercenaries. 
Konandaon April 14, 2010 at 7:54 p.m.
@John_Martone said:

" @JELEINEN:@Konanda: Great historical list of atrocities. I really enjoy the show underneath (currently) but I'm just morbidly curious to see which way they go. I almost expect them to "not" be a Japanese team, and therefore just play a neutral role of highly organized mercenaries.  "

Well adding in characters with paranormal abilities makes me think the historical context isn't probably going to be super relevant, which makes me wonder why pick such a controversial location and time  period in the history of east Asia. The only problem I would have with it is if they refrence events that happened during that time period and either glorified it or just ignore the significance of how Japanese imperalism affected other countries.* 
 
*mostly for the negative, although it could be argued a few beneficial things came from it. For instance much of the industrial development of Taiwan was due to the Japanese military building up the island nation as a main naval base to deploy from, that said the Japanese Empire still did awful things to the Taiwanese people during the time period where they were under Japanese control.
John_Martoneon April 15, 2010 at 10:18 a.m.
@Konanda said:
" @John_Martone said:
Well adding in characters with paranormal abilities makes me think the historical context isn't probably going to be super relevant, which makes me wonder why pick such a controversial location and time  period in the history of east Asia.
Yeah, that's the root of my morbid curiosity, though the show underneath it has some polish and fun (so far.)
Karkarovon April 15, 2010 at 10:41 a.m.
@Konanda:@JELEINEN:  Not to split hairs or anything, but I doubt they will go into great detail on all the bad things Japan did at this time.  For one thing even though the show is based in a historical setting it isn't a documentary so I wouldn't be surprised to see some historical facts altered.  For another..... it isn't like everyone else doesn't gloss over their mistakes.  I don't recall being taught in school how America seized hundreds of thousands of dollars in property from Germans living in America in WWII, or how they created their own camps for Japanese citizens for example, lets not even go into what happened to Russian's living in America in the cold war or how the US indirectly started the Korean War.  So would I like to see them address some mistakes or morally reprehensible activities by the Japanese government at the time, sure why not, but I won't be particularly upset if they don't either.
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