Genres: Action, Supernatural
A short series set in 1930’s Shanghai, Senkou no Night Raid tells the story of an elite military organization called the Sakurai Kikan. Members of this organization have abilities that set them apart for normal humans and greatly enhance their abilities as spies. Shinichirou Sakurai, the handler for the group, tasks his team with missions that are in the interest of the Japanese empire during this time of technological transition.
The team’s first mission is to rescue the president of a Japanese business empire. A Chinese military group has taken him captive and want weapons so that they can fight against the Japanese. As the situation progresses, their demands change to wanting money for the captive’s return. Suspicious of this turn of events, two agents of the Sakurai Kikan parachute in to the encampment. Iha Kazura, who has the ability to teleport, and Miyoshi Aoi, who can alter time in small increments, blend in with the guards and move toward the prisoner’s location. On the outside, two more agents wait to support them. Kagiya Natsume, who has eyes like a hawk, monitors their actions from afar while Sonogi Yukina, a telepath, coordinates their actions within their minds. It is learned that the company president sold out to the militants and agreed to sell them Japanese weapons in exchange for money and his freedom.
The second mission the team is sent on deals with a musician named Sergei Krainev who is believed to be a spy. Sergei, who has a Jewish-Russian ancestry, is attempting to secure his families safety from the growing German nationalist movement. Unable to secure the intelligence he is smuggling, the team must attempt to decipher his delivery method. It turns out that the song he is scheduled to play is a code destined for broadcast over the radio. The team cuts the power and Sergei plays on in the dark, now free to play his music for its own sake, not for petty human desires.
The mixture of cultures in the post WWI era, as well as the subtle powers used in this series, seem to create a rich platform for a solid story. The powers shown thus far are simple and not at all flashy, well in keeping with the secret group “history forgot.” If they were any more overstated, this would not hold true. The art style is clean and the use of multiple languages in the spoken dialogue show the effort put behind this series.
Overall Hook Rating: A