Posted by psgels on 7 June 2010 with categories: Senkou no Night Raid



I just realized something… episode seven still hasn’t gotten subbed, has it? Oh, what a terrible place for this series to get stuck: right before the point at which this series actually gets good. I’ve unfortunately seen a lot of negative comments here and there about this series because of it, and I really want to ask people: please, if you’re going to judge this series, wait until episode seven. It’s a huge turning-point. Series like this one should really be able to get more coverage so that they can keep making more of them. People keep saying that we need more mature series, but yeah that doesn’t work when series like this one hardly get any coverage. It’s thankfully not as extreme as with Mouryou no Hako or others, but still.

Of course, this series is also partly to blame. “Senkou no Night Raid”. A flashy night raid… that’s a terrible title to be honest.

In any case, it’s a bit of a shame, but in this episode you could again see that A-1 took a bit too much on its plate for this season. It’s a relative calm before the storm, and so they chose this episode for some budget cuts, which show themselves in a number of annoying off-models. And yet despite that this episode again delivered for me.

When at the beginning of the series, the superpowers were introduced, I wasn’t too big of a fan of it, however they ended up providing quite a bit of an interesting “what if”-scenario: what if a group of people knew about the atomic bombings beforehand? They won’t be just able to travel to America and stop the development, they also won’t get a lot of people to believe them. How far should they have gone, in such a turbulent time but when the war hasn’t even started yet? This episode is all about making these difficult decisions: what’s more important to you, your country or yourself, your position or your loved ones?

Despite the blocky drawings at times, I love how the creators are using their soundtrack here. The animation may have been flawed, but the pacing and direction still were very good. In fact, this series has the interesting pacing of Persona~Trinity Soul without most of the annoying baggage that made it a bit annoying to watch (the way in which it refused to focus on something interesting). Perhaps it has really helped that the series composition behind The Third has been working on this series. Either that, or the creators behind this series hit a major source of inspiration. I try, but I’m still often way wrong about which people or group of people is responsible for making an amazing anime.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

37 Responses

  1. Bruce says:

    Yes, episode seven still isn’t subbed. At this point subs are FOUR WEEKS BEHIND. My god.

    The worst part about it was how every once in a while, there’s a release by a group… and then it’s episode six again.

  2. AuroraFlame says:

    Still stuck on 6. I have a feeling that when 7 is eventually released, it’s going to be the recap and not the actual episode…. and then they’ll just go on to 8….

  3. binay says:

    I heard that Phantom Subs has the copy of the streamed version of episode 7. But because all of their translators are busy in RL, it’s really going to take a while. Plus, I noticed a lot of people are dropping this series.

  4. chounokoe says:

    You really hit one of the major ironic problems. It’s sad how everybody is screaming for more mature shows, but nobody is covering them.

    I understand that those episodes are a bit harder to translate, because you actually have to research some words, terms and places to get it if your not really knowledgable of the topic.
    I only did the translation for Mouryou no Hako 13 back then, but I know it’s work…still I’d wish instead of 20 groups all doing the same easy to translate shows, some would at least try to get something in this field done.

    And I really love where this series is heading, but I still wonder how far (as in which point in time) they will go.
    So they know that WW2 is about to start and how the idea of a seperation of East and West was ludicrous from the start.
    But will they actually show the events of the war in the final 2 episodes (maybe the beginning in the next), or are they going to go up to the events that actually started it?

  5. anon says:

    It’s not about the series, it’s about the subject matter.

    All you westerners might not know it, but this subject is still a VERY VERY touch subject in the Orients.

    This series is already banned in china, and I think korea too. And general japanese population is pretty much ignoring it. Pretty much everyone in all three country can’t wait for this series to end. It’s already straining the relationship way too much in an already very unstable situation. The situation is very very volatile right now.

    Frankly, the only people that are watching this are westerners that don’t have a clue about the politics in the Orient right now.

    And for goodness sake, it’s not about who’s right or wrong, that’s not it, we orientals just don’t want to talk about it.

    It’s like if one day someone made a show denying the holocaust or showing another version of the nazis. You would want it to end as soon as possible, right? Pretty much the same thing.

  6. binay says:

    @anon: Wait, is there news that this series already banned in China?

  7. wandering-dreamer says:

    But I was under the impression that it was Western groups that were fansubbing it so, provided they can get the RAWs, the cultural problem wouldn’t cause delays. If it being subbed in the East then, well, I have a hard time imagining groups picking up since everyone guessed it might go this way.

  8. Ebod says:

    >>binay

    LOL, banning anime in China means almost nothing. Death Note’s “banned,” but everyone watches it illegally anyways.

  9. anon says:

    First of all, the Death Note ban was only that one region in one province in china where kids were being stupid about it.

    Second of all, you can’t watch without subs. And no chinese guy will sub this. Understand?

  10. binay says:

    Idk but some Japanese viewers are not acquainted with history and yet, they are still watching this.

  11. Troyen says:

    I was guessing that the reason there’s no subbed episode 7 is that the raw quality from the streamed episode wasn’t on par with the other episodes causing some groups to wait until a better source becomes available (DVD?).

  12. Bruce says:

    I suppose if it’s a political thing then that’s too bad and it’s also a shame as well – there need to be more guts in anime production and more of a willingness to produce works that are unconventional, even if controversial.

  13. treble89 says:

    Ya,there was no subbed Senkou on chinese website, too bad,I only watched the first episode on youtube.

  14. chounokoe says:

    @anon: Do films like the Indiana Jones trilogy, Inglorious Basterds or Hellboy ring a bell?
    And Nazis and Nazi Germany have been an existent part of popular culture even before that…

    I think to say that the only people interested in this show are those with no actual knowledge of the political situation in East Asia is pretty narrow-minded.

  15. c160 says:

    To people who think this show is disrespectful,I know they won’t watch it and I can understand why.But saying all those nasty stuff about people who watch it,I can’t agree with.I’m from SE Asia and I’m watching it.And I know about the political situation,and thats exactly why I’m watching,cause I wanna see how the creators handle the situation.So saying only ignorant people watch this show,that’s a bit mean T_T

  16. Nonoy says:

    Don’t forget Valkyrie (starring Tom Cruise) in which it’s all about a Nazi Officer (in RL) and his men who plot to kill Hitler.

    But I just want to say that I’m from one of those Asian countries who are under the Japanese occupation during WWII. And in fact, I don’t like what they did to my country at that time most especially with regards to comfort women. Heck, when former PM Shinzo Abe denied about the issue on comfort women, we are angry at that response.

    But still, I’m watching this series because it’s espionage and moe-less even though they did put the superpowers thing which reminded me of Darker than Black.

    Anyway, let’s just wait for the series to end since there are only 3 episode left.

  17. wandering-dreamer says:

    @anon: No need to get snippy, I wasn’t aware that, as it seems you are suggesting, the majority of fansubs were done by Chinese fans. I know it’s common to work off of Chinese RAWS for manga but wasn’t aware it was a similar situation for anime.
    And you know what? Even if there aren’t fansubs I can still read the reviews here and on another site or two, read the real history, and figure out what’s going on. Plus, the fact that anime has you know, moving pictures helps out quite a bit as well.

  18. Sacchi says:

    I quited this show in episode 5. Are you saying it became an awesome anime? Should I continue watching?

  19. Bruce says:

    @Sacchi: yes, if you can watch without subs.

  20. anon says:

    chounokoe, Nonoy, all those shows you mentioned upheld society’s norm and standard. Valkyrie, Inglorious Bastard, shows Nazis as evil beings that should be killed/tortured. Indiana Jones shows natives as savages that are inferior to white men, russians as evil people(those that were made during the Cold War).

    I am talking about if someone made a show that went AGAINST what people considers acceptable beliefs. What if someone made a film showing that nazi were actually very nice and that the allies were actually way worse? What if someone made a film saying that the Holocaust never happened? What if someone made a show saying that Ann Frank was killed by the allies and later blamed on the nazies?

    Seriously, what we have here is literally a show showing chinese as dumb, inferior creatures that runs around stupid and japanese as smart, cool people that pwns without much effort. How does that make you feel as a chinese person?

  21. chounokoe says:

    @anon: Where exactly in this show do you see Chinese people – or any nation at all – being depicted as dumb and/or inferior?!

    But concerning your comment that Nazis should be depicted as “evil beings that should be killed/tortured”, I am honestly shocked.
    Yes, the crimes commited in the name of the NSDAP and the German Reich were horrible…but your black and white view on such topics is not an ounce better than that of any of the extremist right-wing Japanese’ who you so despise.

    What was done by the allied forces, was maybe not worse, but they did some terrible things as well.
    And there are some movies out there which do not only show a propagandistic view on the evil Nazi. I mean…if everyone involved with the Axis powers was pure evil, why wasn’t every German, Italian or other person living under their rule tortured and killed like you want them to be?!

  22. AKI says:

    Pretty much the same here, I’m from SE Asia myself and I wanted to watch the series for its historic bits and pieces (ironic, since this series has espers all over it). I’m a WWII trivia addict anyway and I’d love to see what will this series portray as a precursor to the war (such a shame that Zipang ended when the arc already arrived in China). Here’s to hoping that the rest of the series will get subbed.

  23. Bruce says:

    @anon

    I suggest you watch Der Untergang (or Downfall, in English). It portrays Hitler as something other than a flaming incarnate of hatred and as a human being. And it was LOVED by film critics everywhere.

    Another example would be Grave of the Fireflies. It shows the horrible fire bombings committed by the United States that devastated Japan near the end of the second world war. The US is the primary antagonist here. Grave of the Fireflies was well received as well.

    There have been films about Terrorists, Soviets, Nazis, whatever, that have all been received well in the United States.

  24. Nonoy says:

    @anon: I was also wandering if you ever watched Letter from Iwo Jima. That movie appeared on many critics’ top ten lists of the best films of 2006. It is just shows the different sides of the Japanese soldiers in that island who are aware that they are going to die.

    And so far, what I’ve seen in this episode, it just shows Isao trying to achieve his Pan-Asianism plan.

  25. Machi says:

    Just nitpicking on examples given… Inglorious Basterds DID offend people, in fact there were film symposiums on film and history in its depictions and re-imaginations that did bring up Inglorious Basterds and acknowledged that it IS offending. However, they also did note that while it IS offending fact is the director given his oeuvre (body of work) as well as his statements has never been politically mature in the first place so while offense is taken it is softened by the weakness on the field by the director. What is notable about the offense though is NOT the fact that he opted to portray the Germans in such a manner but that his work only exemplified the LACK of understanding or conciliating the events and nature of world war 2. Its not offending per se to depict Germans in another,light even sympathetic, after all we’re all still trying to understand WWII and it would be myopic to only look at one side but if you put out a view that blatantly is ignorant when you have all the material right there, well you get the point as to why Inglorious Basterds IS offending.

    In the same way Indiana Jones (the new one) did offend Russians, as it still played on a stereo type from the Cold War. Which unfortunately given prior political events, i.e. Georgia, there was tension in the relations.

  26. anon says:

    “There have been films about Terrorists, Soviets, Nazis, whatever, that have all been received well in the United States.”

    we are talking about Asia here.

    “But concerning your comment that Nazis should be depicted as “evil beings that should be killed/tortured”, I am honestly shocked.”

    no, read the previous sentence. it is what people expect to be shown.

    Seriously, I am using the nazi example to perhaps help you westerner understand maybe a bit of what us orientals are feeling. But it appears to be much to high for your intelligence. Judging by all the responses, especially the nitpickings, it seems that it has all been a waste of time.

    Understand the difference! Nazi apologized, they passed laws banning nazi related discussion, objects etc. And they did NOT enact a shrine for the dead nor declare them as heroes or try to justify their actions or the war in general in anyway. Japan has never apologized nor admitted the killings. They have apologized for the comfort woman but NOT the killings. They have allowed to people to openly deny. They have built a shrine, etc, etc.

    Thus, there has been much tension between the three nations, which gets blown over whenever shit like this happens, a text book edited, a tv show made, etc. Last time a Japanese embassy was trashed. Everybody is trying to avoid straining the tension and avoiding the issue. Do you understand? There is no tension in europe, but there is in asia.

    Try to feel what it is like for each of three nations, and then perhaps you will understand the impact that such shows like this has on an already extremely strained tension.

  27. wandering-dreamer says:

    Did the actual Nazis, people who were firm believers in Hitler and not people of Germany who were forced to act, actually apologize? I don’t recall that and, even if there are laws limiting neo-Nazis, they are still around and there are still well-known people in the world who deny the Holocaust as well. It feels like you’re trying to go “Oh, we’re TOOOTTAAALLLYYYY different, the rest of you just don’t have anything close enough to fathom our suffering!” And I’ll admit, the Japanese government is making an ass out of itself in all of these related cases and it was a number of horrifying events. We’re not trying to make light of it, but when people keep saying “And we still hate them so we WON’T TALK ABOUT IT” it gets bit hard to sympathize.
    Of course, if we had subs for these episodes we might be able to understand what’s going on better as well….

  28. Bruce says:

    @anon

    Okay, I understand the political climate of the orient. I understand that a work such as this can be pretty controversial. But does that mean that it shouldn’t be made? Absolutely not. I listed all of those possibly controversial works to show that this is definitely not the case. I believe that the only way for actual progress to be made foreign policy wise between Japan and the rest of Asia is for there to be actual confrontations between both groups. And it’s not as if these relationships stem from something that hasn’t been experienced in the west. The United States destroyed many cities through bombing, both conventional and nuclear, in Japan during WWII, and afterwards went in and reconstructed the government with little to no regard for Japanese culture. Yet, today the US enjoys mostly positive foreign policy with Japan.

    The only reason why there is still such animosity between Japan, Korea, and China is because everyone is trying their best to ignore that anything happened between 1900-1950 regard Japan’s imperialism. Japan seriously needs to confront and admit what they did during those years, and the only way to do that is through provocation.

  29. Ebod says:

    >>anon who replied to me

    Chinese subs are still being released for this anime, so, uh. Yeah. Yes, it’s ‘banned,’ much like illegally subbed anime is banned in both China and here.

    As in it does almost nothing.

  30. psgels psgels says:

    Anon: you say that this series should never have been made, but as a westerner, I knew hardly anything about the conflict in the east prior to watching this series (our history classes never even mentioned it), and yet right now I know a lot more about what went on during those times. Shouldn’t that be good?

    There are of course those horribly nationalistic series as Kishin Taisen Gigantic formula, but I do feel that Night Raid is fundamentally different here. I don’t really see how the chinese here are portrayed as dumb. In fact, the past few episodes have really stressed that the Japanese were very much the bastards here. The only thing is that the lead characters are all Japanese, so that’s why they get more depth than the Chinese. To me, it just seems like a persective choice than trying to portray them as ‘dumb’.

  31. FPJ says:

    @anon: Honestly, did you even bother to watch the show? So far, there are no Chinese characters who are portrayed as the major antagonists here. Well, of course, there’s a Chinese girl but she only serves as a side character, nothing more.

  32. Kane says:

    Okie… I’m not going to get into the big political and cultural debate going on, but what I will say is that on myanimelist.net, one of the guys who’s part of a fansub group working on this show says the delay is because episode 7 (the online streamed one, not the recap) has a lot of Japanese military lingo that only one of their translators can make sense out of.

    And it just so happens this one guy hasn’t been available lately. So… yeah.

  33. chounokoe says:

    @anon: I don’t know if your lack of knowledge about the Western situation during and after the World Wars is just due to you being blinded by propaganda yourself…or if you just don’t know anything about it.

    Nazis(!) apologized for their actions?! No!
    Right Wing politics is not banned as you describe it, just certain symbols, which just adds a sugar coating to the fact that it cannot be forbidden.
    Germany was almost completely destroyed by the allied forces and the public had to suffer from it. They actually went about so sloppily that most higher personal from the Nazi regime could either commit suicide or go into hiding before they could do much about it.

    And please DON’T come up with the Yasukuni argument again.
    The shrine existed prior to WW2 and WW1 and it’s intention is not to worship soldiers as heroes…

    And the fact that it’s this easy for a Japanese embassy to ‘get trashed’, only because of a depiction of something in popular culture…it shows as much the flaws of the attacker if not more.
    Or would you also excuse it as right, if a US embassy was ‘trashed’ in the middle east, because female US tourists did not cover their face properly?
    Of course such things are ‘understandable’ on an abstracts scale, but to excuse them is just giving in to human weakness.

    Of course somehow we’re forcing Western principles on you here, that problems should be discussed and not ignored until they fade away…but couldn’t it be, that in this case it is something where countries could learn something from another?

  34. Frotee says:

    As it happens, I actually did know something about the Manchuria conflict before this anime started, but only because we prepared some lessons ourselves in the last year of school. I was quite happy when this show started, as I found the historic content really interesting and was eager to see how the whole affair was to be pictured. As far as episode 6, however, I could not see the Chinese being shown as dumb and inferior and the Japanese as rightful and justified invaders – so where exactly is the problem? Why on earth should controversial historic subjects not be depicted at all? I mean, it’s not like it’s going away just because you don’t talk about it…

    On a side note, there are war-memorials for those Germans who fell during WWII – all over Germany, in fact. Just remember – hitler was the head of a dictatorship. People had not much choice but to follow or be executed (if they didn’t go into hiding). Additionally, the young ones were fed the doctrine every day, they had lessons in school about which race was superior and why (Rassenkunde), and were organised in youth camps doing fun and doctrine-following stuff when they weren’t in school.
    I’m not saying you should’nt blame people at all, just that there were reasons why the populace behaved as they did. I do think you can transfer that to the Japanese. If they are not educated in a way that shows them all the sides, how are they to expect something other than what they were taught?

  35. ves says:

    Woah, I haven’t fully caught up with all the shows I’m watching thanks to RL stuff, but the insane amount of comments for this under-radar show was too abnormal for me not to click.

    A quick check with Chinese websites show that there is still at least one group subbing this, and even ep 10 is out. Uh anon, your argument for this doesn’t stand. Neither have I been catching up with anime news, so unless you can provide official links to show that this has been banned in China and Korea, it’s hard to believe.

    Before you jump to the conclusions that only idiot westerners who have no link to this history watch this show – I have innocent relatives who were killed by Japanese army, but I’m still watching this show. Likewise, I want the Japanese to realise their war crimes and not gloss over to make it sparklingly rose-tinted. Indeed, this show has not shown much of what the Chinese can do – but it is about Japanese people in Shanghai, working for a Japan-affiliated company (this part, I need to refresh my memory on), so I’ll look over it for now.
    So far it doesn’t seem like they’re going on the “wow Japan is great! They should conquer Asia!” route. If they do go down that route, or justify the war atrocities that the Japanese committed, I would be definitely drop this show.

    anon is sure evoking lots of responses.. anyway, I like how that the creators haven’t outright made Japan the good justifiable conqueror for now but explored other options as well.

  36. Kalandra says:

    Meh, generally there is less interest in such anime anyway, so there is less subbers. To blame that on anti-Japanese sentiment is rather blah.

  37. Ncrdrg says:

    Personally speaking, I found Episode Seven to be one of the most boring episodes I ever watched in anime.
    Well, thankfully, Episode 10+ seems more interesting.
    But at least, I now understand the sharp divide between your interests and mine : I really loathe when anime is just all talk and no action and no intrigue. As such, I took several naps in episode 7 since it was just blah blah blah and nothing interesting happening.
    But you seem to thrive on that slow-moving stuff when I find it unforgivable to have good material and yet just refuse to mix up some action scenes with it.

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