Summer 2016 in Review: Active Raid 2nd and Orange

Orange:

To start this one off easy, Orange is a very shoujo manga with some time travel elements.  Five friends meeting after ten years send letters to their past high school selves in order to save a friend who committed suicide during that time period.  This all started when they opened a time capsule and Kakeru’s (the long lost boy) letter about how he liked spending time with them.  All in all, it had a very emotionally solid start, but…

In the end, I just hope that this is just a bad adaption of something that is good source material, because I was extremely frustrated by this anime adaption.  The show repeated the same emotional beats every other episode and in the end, nothing felt gained from it all.  What am I talking about?  Well, what about the fact that Naho and Kakeru have the same problems from lack of communication and emotional issues and they also have by the four other members of their friendship group?  Yes, I know that Naho is a shy person who doesn’t how to express herself and Kakeru is depressed because of his mother’s passing.  Still, that is not enough reason why the same event has to happen in a different way all the time.  I won’t ask for a depressed person to automatically get better the first time something happens because that’s not realistic, but does a person need to be constantly reminded that they have friends to share with? One time with a physical metaphor for it right in front of us?  I don’t know if I can provide an answer for that, but If anything it doesn’t make for a good story.  Also, what is going to stop Kakeru from wanting to committing suicide again?   Just because they stopped him during that one time noted specifically in the letter doesn’t mean they stopped him completely.

I know that this is the paragraph that I talk about characters, but I don’t feel like there are any characters besides Suwa.  Since I already talked about how Naho and Kakeru always go through the same plot beats, I can say the same for the others.   The “comedy” between Azusa and Hagita, being that they are fighting like a couple despite not being one also gets old incredibly quick.  I don’t even remember the name of the tall black haired female, because she doesn’t do anything besides threaten someone.  Suwa, the one who is sacrificing his own future so that Kakeru and Naho can live happily, is the only one character I can say is decently fleshed out.  Also, speaking of friends, what kind of friends hide something like a letter from the future from each other?  Friends share everything with each other no matter how strange it is.

Even the animation and art fell from quality in Orange.  This wasn’t a high budget thing to begin with, the large amount of still frames which included characters breaking their necks or having messed up faces didn’t help this series either.  In the end, Orange was either a huge missed opportunity to give the manga a good anime adaption or it was just a large trash heap to begin with.  I don’t recommend this to anybody.  Maybe some other people can find some enjoyment out of it, but in the end there was nothing for me.

Active Raid 2nd:

I am very conflicted about this show.  For most of its run, including the first season, Active Raid has been an episodic show that had thin characters but an enjoyable premise.  A iron man suit police force.  Cool, huh?  Half way through this season, Active Raid got a lot more serious.  I mean, the episode that everything changed felt like something from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.  A politically heavy plot about refuges that had no solid solutions.  This was a fantastic episode that came out of nowhere.  Then the next episodes came around and it kept the same feeling and quality.  Where did this come from?  Why didn’t the show pull this off during its entire run?  If it did, I would call Active Raid one of my favorite shows of this year.  I can’t do that now, because it feels so out of place with the characters that still haven’t been fully developed.

Most of the cast from the first series reprise their roles, so see my previous review.  Besides Takeru Kuroki, none of the characters had any sort of arc.  There were two new charactrs added to this season.  One is the blonde foreigner Emilia Edelman, who is on loan from a police force in Poland.  Besides being too traumatized to fully use her wilwear for some reason, not much else is explored about her besides some female fanservice shots of her.  Marimo Kaburagi, the other new addition, is only defined by the facts that she wears special glasses because she can’t look anybody in the eye and she is one of the smarter characters behind a console.

There have been some great moments of animation in between parts were not much is used.  Also, considering that Active Raid members are still going around in robot suits, cg is still used extremely heavily at those moments also.  It’s still a cheaply produced show and you can see that, but Production IMS does the best they can between budget and staff.

I still see Active Raid for what it is, but in the end I can’t help but feel disappointed from the potential I saw in the later fourth of the series.  I’m not saying that this show could have been another Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, because not many series can, but it could have been its own great politically driven show that happened to have robot suits in it.  Still, I would recommend this series for those who just want a fun time with those loopy characters that fight crime in iron man suits.  Just keep an eye out for when the show becomes more serious.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. cauthan says:

    What?! How could you not like Orange?! It’s a masterpiece of dramatic fiction and you must be bli- I kid, I kid. I thought it was pretty horrible as well, as evidenced by everything I wrote on the subject haha. I agree with your points and you actually brought up something I hadn’t considered which was how rehashed the flow of the episodes felt. While there are some minor developments that affect the story, the general tone of each episode kind of follows the same progression. As for why the group of friends kept the letters from each other… and a bunch of other stuff… I also thought this was a fantastic example of a really awful narrative contrivance. Nice overview.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      Yes, that’s why ending didn’t feel like an ending to me. That was ground that was trodden on again and again.

      As always, thank you for your comments on this….*cough* master piece.

      Liked by 1 person

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