Yeah, that’s anime for you. Not since I saw that show about a bugler in alternate history Sweden (the name of which I forget) have I encountered sci-fantasy with a premise as specific as this. See, not only is the series about espionage in interbellum China (or maybe it’s more accurate to say it’s only between World Wars, since civil wars were fairly constant in those intervening years), it also happens to star dashing adventurers with a variety of psychic (?) super-powers.
And, I don’t know… I’m a little torn about that specificity.
On the one hand, I think this particular time and place is an interesting enough setting on its own. Yes, that’s right - - Nationalist-era China is another subject I took a class on back in college. And I continue to find it to be an intriguing subject that’s been left largely unexploited by popular media (the MUMMY 3 is the only major flick that springs to mind, and that’s kind of unfortunate). I can think of few other instances in modern history where a country so large was divvied up in a multi-faction civil war that involved so many independent warlords. I think that’d all be adequate material to fuel a spy adventure like this - - so the supernatural stuff honestly feels unnecessary.
On the other hand, I’m aware that the novelty of this time period largely comes from my perspective as an American. Who knows how many times we’ve seen fantastical absurdities inserted into the American part of WWII - - so who’s to say that applying that same sort of conjecture to this part of Chinese isn’t as fresh of an idea?
I think back to my review of FIRST SQUAD and how, while it wasn’t too dissimilar from HELLBOY, maybe a HELLBOY-style story from Russian imaginations was enough of a twist?
Yes, I've managed to avoid talking about the plot of this at all. I thought it was really gripping stuff. Superbly put together. There are just too many good series available to cover, man!
Watch this episode, "The Rescue” here and decide for yourself.