Set in Shanghai in, well, 1931, it’s got drama, action, intrigue, great clothes, cats and psychic powers. What’s not to like? Sure, that sounds like an unusual mix, but it really works, at least in the first five episodes.
“Night Raid” is about a group of four people with varying psychic powers who are brought together to keep an eye on things in Shanghai in the interests of Japan. Years before World War II, Shanghai is a microcosm of global conflict with countries from all over the world exerting their influence in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.
But the show isn’t so wrapped up in itself it can’t have a little fun. Hence, a pilfering cat that instigates a team-building exercise.
I’ll let you discover who all does what, but the abilities range from telekinesis (which for some weird, so-far unexplained reason has a time limit) to reading an object’s history by touch to basic telepathy, plus a few more thrown in for good measure.
And one thing I definitely appreciate about the show is that they’re not perfect. Psychic abilities can easily be too powerful, but even these guys get fooled now and then. It shows they’re human
The first five episodes set up a good mystery to serve as an arc. There are 14 episodes in all, plus two OVAs in this three-disc set. Serving that story are some solid plots that mix historical events with the show’s fiction.
One incident, involving a violinist the team was tasked with watching, was particularly clever, I thought. But I won’t spoil it with too many details.
Another pleasant surprise was that the show is dubbed. Familiar voices such as Greg Ayres and Brittney Karbowski do their usual solid work. I know a lot of people don’t care for dubs, but sometimes it’s nice to take a break from reading subtitles.
The animation is strong, not surprising for an Aniplex show, with pretty backgrounds and nice character designs. And the clothes!
The only thing I’d do differently is get rid of the annoying throwaway character Feng Lan, who works at a Chinese restaurant near the camera shop some in the group use as a cover. Maybe she becomes important later.
With a lot going for it, “Night Raid 1931″ is definitely worth a look.