First Impressions: Night Raid 1931

Guns, plots, and spies with strange powers.

Welcome to China in the Thirties.

As soon as I read the title for this series I knew that I’d check it out (being the anachronistic time traveler that I am) and episode one was a pretty good start.

Our fearless foursome.

At the opening we meet Aoi Miyoshi, (who has the same English voice as Kaoru in Ouran High School Host Club, squee!) a spritely fellow who sassily stops a would-be assassin’s bullets from touching him. Uh-oh, hidden power alert! You had me at setting this tale in 1931 Shanghai, but protagonists with awesome powers is an excellent bonus! Then we meet the other members of Aoi’s team: Kazura Iha, Yukina Sonogi, and Natsume Kagiya. After a botched mission to recover a hostage, everyone meets up with Shin’ichirou Sakurai, a frog-faced little fellow who plays Charlie to this team of angels. He instructs them to recover this hostage once more because… something about armies and different countries at war and weapons deals… I dunno, it got kind of fuzzy for me, trying to follow everything and get used to the setting and characters. But I just let it slide and went with it. Their mission was pretty cool to watch, and there it becomes more clear-ish what everyone’s powers are. Aoi can either dodge bullets or actually control them. Or maybe he just creates a shield around himself and anyone with him. I don’t know, it was dark and I was just along for the ride. I’m sure it’ll become more obvious in further episodes. The hitch is that Aoi’s powers run out after a set amount of minutes. No word on how long it takes him to charge up again. Maybe he’s like a rechargeable battery and he just needs to lie in bed for thirty minutes, I don’t know.

Things go 'splodey!

Anyway, Yukina reminds me of Yin from Darker Than Black (actually, a lot of this show reminds me of Darker Than Black, but set in the Thirties). She’s somber and quiet and kind of sits back and tells people what she “sees.” And she likes flowers. Not sure if the two are related. Natsume Kagiya (whose English voice actor I recognized immediately as Guin from Guin Saga) has eagle-eye vision and seems to be an excellent marksman. Kazura Iha is the serious and methodical guy to Aoi’s outgoing and reckless character. Kazura gets all high and mighty about not using his powers unless absolutely necessary because winning a battle without honor isn’t a win and yadda yadda yadda. I’m with Aoi: if you have powers, use them! But I digress. Kazura, predictably, is coerced into using his power near the end of the episode. And it’s a pretty good power, too! (Watch the show to find out what else happens!)

Sooo, after tonight's job you guys wanna hit up Taco Bell?

I liked this episode. The artwork was excellent, and there were enough characters to have variation but not so many that it got confusing (*cough* like Baccano! *cough*). As I mentioned before, some of the details were vague, but that didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the show. What I don’t understand now I trust in future episodes to reveal to me as the series progresses. Some of the scenes are a little dark, but hey, it is called Night Raid, not Day Raid, so you get what you pay for in that sense. I quite like Aoi and Kazura as protagonists. Their extrovert/introvert pairing is classic and has worked in many cases before, so I expect it will be good in this series, too. I’m intrigued by the whole team and look forward to learning more about their backgrounds and powers. Night Raid 1931, while not my favourite opening episode ever, shows a lot of promise. Here’s to hoping that it lives up to that promise.

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