Rolling Review – Active Raid (09)

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Episode Synopsis:

With the individual character episodes at an end, it’s time at last for the show’s plot to start moving – which it does, with gusto.  Dog, the Logos member who always seems to take things a bit too far, does so again.  This time, though, Mythos and Bird (who are apparently the only other members of Logos) aren’t having any of it, and call in a mafia hit on him.  They fail (since trying to injure someone in Willwear using only small-caliber guns has never worked, ever), and Dog is out for revenge.  He attacks the governor to learn more about Logos, since he knows the governor used Logos once already, back in the train episode.  In a surprise twist, the governor knows nothing – it’s his aide that has been contracting Logos, but only when they contact her.

The governor is having his own troubles – Inagi, the staffer to the politician that died of a heart attack (and was planning to run against the governor in the upcoming election) has somehow acquired a hard drive full of incriminating evidence against the governor and is having it decrypted.  The governor makes a deal with Dog to retrieve the data in exchange for information on Logos (though he immediately decides to send the regular police after Dog in an attempt to get rid of him and the data).

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Attention Japanese governors: Google “Richard Nixon” and take some notes on what NOT to do.

Into this whole mess steps Unit 8, who naturally want to stop Dog’s rampage… but they now have a more personal motivation to assist Inari after witnessing what happened to him and his now-dead boss.  By the end of the episode, the data is recovered, Dog is defeated and in a (self-inflicted) coma, Inari has decided to run for governor himself, and the current governor and his aide are busily digging themselves an ever-deeper hole that will probably push them into the arms of Logos.

Episode Review:

This was a very busy episode, but things are definitely starting to get interesting, with a number of elements from previous episodes being woven into what is sure to be the show’s final arc.  It couldn’t have come at a better time, either, as the parade of seemingly unconnected character backstory episodes was starting to wear on me.  This episode points the way for the tone of the rest of the show, and I’m cautiously optimistic.  We’re back to a feeling closer to that of episode 1, with a lot of moving parts to the plot (and bureaucratic challenges for Unit 8) that still manage to come together and tell a story that I can both follow and which is keeping my attention.

For one thing, the various factions have finally started to firm up.  Of course, we’ve got Unit 8, who wants to uphold the law, though they also now tacitly support Inari in his bid for governor.

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We’ve got the current governor, who is an opportunistic sleaze-bag who’ll do anything to get ahead… but is kind of a dope, and would be hopeless without his much smarter (and more devious aide).  He is definitely opposed to Unit 8, who seems to keep foiling his plans for burnishing his image (and now directly threatens his re-election by helping Inari protect that data).

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We’ve got Logos itself, which turns out to be only three people (two now) in a loose affiliation dedicated to some as-yet unknown nefarious end goal (though we know it has something to do with that public database computer thing they’re trying to hack).

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I… I’m sorry, Active Raid, but Evangelion did it first and did it better.

Most puzzlingly, there’s also Haruka’s sister and that other guy on the student council, who often discuss the latest moves by Logos and always seem on the cusp of telling Unit 8 their suspicion, but never do.

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Although this episode does give us a major surprise by revealing that one of Logos’ members (probably Bird) is none other than student council guy himself!

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Dun dun DUNNNN!

And then there’s the military, who (while not present this episode) hold a position of much greater combat ability than any other faction… but their intentions and position relative to Logos are completely unknown.

Finally, there’s always… whoever this is.

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I’m sure she’s going to be just… vital to the conclusion of the show.

With this hard drive full of information on the corrupt governor in play, the governor doing everything in his power to suppress it (and stop Unit 8), Logos starting to come apart just as their plan begins to unfold, and Unit 8 taking an ever-more active role (and finding more and more clever ways around the bureaucracy), the stage is set for some pretty intense and fast-paced future episodes.  I’m engaged again, and interested in seeing where the ride goes.

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Pictured: a clever (and ridiculous) way around the bureaucracy  (in this case, the governor’s prohibition on using roads).

The episode also does a good job of trying to tie together the events of the past several episodes, revealing some of the background details on why things happened the way they did.  I’m glad they gave us this context, as it lets us know that the writers are planning things out to some degree.

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Of course, not everything is great in Active Raid land.  Dog is insufferably irritating, and the other members of Logos aren’t far behind him.

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So… punchable…

There are also a few moments of… fairly dramatic drops in animation quality.

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Sweet criminy cripes!  You should have that looked at.

Episode Summary:

Let’s hope they can keep it together and deliver on what should be an interesting and very busy showdown between all of these various sides.


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