Overall Rating: 3.5/5 moons
When I watched the first episode of Active Raid for First Impressions, it came off as high energy, quick paced, with lots of action to spare. Watching the rest of it, though, that impression dampened somewhat. Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t a bad anime in any way. To put it into one sentence, I guess it could be said that it did enough to keep me watching, but not enough to leave me enraptured.
The story centered around a special unit in the police force known as Unit 8, who don powered “Willware” exoskeletons (i.e. mecha armour) to fight crime. This justice/police aspect of the story, I really liked. It was interesting to see heroes who had to wait for government permission before taking any action (seriously, haha), instead of the vigilante types more stories prefer to focus on.
What the story didn’t do, however, was get me invested in its universe and happenings. Even though the concept was interesting to me, I don’t think it was milked for all it was worth. The plot was relatively predictable, the drama came and went too easily, and the stakes not set high enough. There was political tension, friendship, and so much room for growth, but it only settled for “sufficient.”
On the other hand, I did enjoy the last few episodes when things got more interesting. There were a few twists and turns that kept the excitement alive (thank goodness), although just like the rest of the series, more could have been done. The ending, especially, was pretty anticlimactic and might not be “worth it” to some viewers.
Having said all that, I should probably say that my taste in anime is more serious in general, so something less “complex” like this is not so appealing to me. I can, however, seeing Active Raid being enjoyed by younger audiences since the story line is easy to follow and still “cool”. It’s also good to note that a second cour is being released soon for this series. Hopefully, the development is more complete and satisfying then, although I might not be staying around to see how that unfolds.
I have similar comments for the characters as I did for the story. While interesting and quite likable, they weren’t as fleshed out as they could be. In fact, the development was a little disjointed in places, especially for Kazari Asami. She had had the beginnings of some character development, but after the first or second episode, it seemed to be abandoned.
The other characters suffered similar situations. The development was very “touch and go”, only brought up when necessary then abandoned at the next moment. Because of this, there was no real sense of who the main character was as the development kept shifting from one character to the next. Even though, in the end, each character was likable and interesting enough, it still left overall character development at a mediocre level.