Rolling Review – Active Raid (05)

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My expression throughout most of the episode

Episode Synopsis: The existence of Logos has become widespread knowledge among the police and government.  Logos’ latest challenge: beat an incredibly strong gambler at poker… or miniaturized missiles will be launched at random targets in the city each day that he isn’t defeated.  Unit 8 is, for some reason, drafted to compete against him, and so various members of the team try their luck… and fail.  Fortunately, Madoka used to be a renowned illegal gambler back before casinos were legalized, and she steps up to save the city.

Episode Review: So it looks like the show has settled into a common groove, that of giving each member of the team their own episode alongside what basically amounts to fluff for plot.  This will, ideally, give us a sense of who they all are when things start to get real in the second half.  First we had the team’s leader, then both of the powered suit pilots (because they don’t really rate their own episodes), and now it’s Madoka “Barrel of Laughs” McBridgebunny’s turn.

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Now, that’s a fine format, if somewhat formulaic… but where they chose to go with this episode didn’t make a bit of sense.  Did you notice how almost every sentence in the synopsis reads like someone telling you their fever dream?  Because that’s what it was like watching this episode.  The immediate first question would be “Why would a police unit devoted to fighting powered suit crime have to stop a gambler?”  The show barely tries to explain by having some government flunky say “well, we’re out of other ideas”.

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Why is the government’s best response to send poker players?  Do we have no real cops?

They also claim that they can’t find where these mini-missiles are hidden, and apparently have no way to shoot them down.  I should note that later in the episode, a missile gets launched anyway (more infighting in Logos), and one of our heroes is able to shoot it down while flying through the air from thousands of feet away, so maybe they just should’ve gone with that.

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Those skis just never look less dumb

So, with no adequate explanation and literally zero backup from any other part of the government, Unit 8 is left on its own to try and beat a world-class gambler at his own game.  Fortunately, the older chief guy has been training for this his whole life.

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Yeah, that’s the guy I want to trust with the safety of the city.  Good choice, Unit 8!  I kept waiting for them to pull out some kind of trick, or hack something, or try anything clever, but they play it straight, and it’s time for some poker.

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Time for an aside to complain about a minor part of the episode.  Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know a lot about playing poker, and especially about the different variants.  The version they’re playing in the show, though, seems ridiculous.  Basically, each player is dealt two cards, one face up and one face down.  Then they bet or call, then another card, bet or call, etc. until they have five.  One last chance for bets, and then the hidden card is revealed.  And that’s it.  There isn’t any opportunity to change out cards, so the entire game is 100% whatever you got dealt.  The whole thing comes down to the two players bluffing each other about what the fifth card is. (Aside within aside: Readers, let me know because I don’t want to go research all the variants of poker – is this a real version of the game?)  And yet, “better” gamblers are always shown getting better hands – we’ve got straights, flushes, and full houses almost every hand, on both sides!

The chances of being consistently dealt these kinds of hands is vanishingly small, but here they’re commonplace.  No one even has to bluff most of the time, because they’ve always got one of the strongest hands in the game. Also, old dude, you are not James Bond.

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Why, of course there’s random fanservice of one of the cast.  It wasn’t even worth mentioning.

All right, rant over.  Now, at this point, I didn’t think things could get any dumber, and was ready for the team to finally take some kind of action beyond playing along with the bad guys’ scheme.  And take action they did, sending their powered suits into action!

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Into action… to play poker while in the suit………?

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Why is this happening?  Why does that robot have a bow tie? Why is there a hologram lady?

Guys, your show is about powered suit users fighting powered suit crime.  You made the stupid decision to change it into a show about playing poker.  Don’t try and force the powered suits back into it now for no reason.

Anyway, Madoka gets wind of this and comes in to save the day.  She’s having trouble, until she leaves and reappears as Bloody Mary, the Empress of Illegal Casinos.

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I promise you I did not make a word of that up

Then, having the costume on allows her to get a straight flush somehow, she defeats the evil gambler guy, and teaches him a valuable lesson about the right way to enjoy the game… or something.  Since Logos launches the missile anyway (Dog, a newly introduced member of Logos, gets bored and fires), the whole setup is pointless. Defeating the gambler obviously won’t stop the missile launches, but everyone pretends like it will and the episode ends with them celebrating success.  I am rapidly losing hope in this show.

Oh well. At least I can always take joy in poking fun at some low animation quality.

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Whoa there, wanderin’-eye Jack – maybe lay off the vodka martinis

Also, WHAT’S YOUR GAME?

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What’s your game?!

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