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"In response to an increase of heinous crimes, a new movement is picking up steam in police and security forces from around the world. This is the story of the services performed by ACTIVE in Japan."

In the year 2035 Tokyo was quickly rebuilt from the Third Quicksand Disaster, during which the city sunk into a quagmire, by using high-output Powered Armor called "Willwears". However, these often fall into the wrong hands, thus the National Police Agency established the Fifth Special Public Security Section to deal with such miscreants, using their own specialized set of Willwears.

However, one particular unit — Unit 8 of the Third Mobile Assault Division, simply known as "The Eighth" — is notorious among the police brass for its reckless tactics and the resulting collateral damage, thus they were assigned to a particularly bad part of the city.

Into the scene comes newly-minted, straitlaced Assistant Inspector Asami Kazari, who officially serves as the high command's eyes and ears on The Eighth, assessing their worthiness as law enforcers, even as she makes it her mission to whip the misfits into shape and truly make them a force for good.

Active Raid: Special Public Security Fifth Division Third Mobile Assault Eighth Unit (アクティヴレイド 機動強襲室第八係, "Active Raid: Kidou Kyoushuushitsu Dai-Hachigakari") is a Science Fiction action series by Production IMS, directed by Gorou Taniguchi (Code Geass), written by Toku veteran Naruhisa Arakawa (Kamen Rider Kuuga and Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger), and featuring character designs by Shun Saeki (Food Wars!) and Asako Nishida (Love Live!). It consists of 24 episodes aired separately on the Winter and Summer 2016 blocks. The series can be streamed at Crunchyroll.

This series contains examples of:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: Liko, the Willwear, Unit 8's train and several cars are rendered in 3D. The mecha in episode 6 mix this with several scenes with traditionally-animated mecha (Which is most prominent during the episode's climax).
  • Alliterative Name: Several of Section 8's Willwear have this as their naming scheme such as Fine Familia and Pantera Primavera
  • Advertised Extra: Liko, who's very prominently featured on promotional pictures, yet in-show is a cute computer app/Mascot , not an actual character.
  • All There in the Manual: Most of the story and terminology is found in the official show website.
  • As You Know: Zigzagged in "Code Number 538". Since Asami just got transferred here, Chief Yamabuki starts briefing her with an overview on Willwears. However, she takes over to show off her knowledge on the matter. But since she just revealed she already knows about it, Yamabuki decides to skip it and focus on their current case, much to her chagrin. Happens again in "Poker Face of Erasure" when Asami starts asking how Poker works, but Kyoukai just emails her a text file and tells her to read it on her own.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Lack of fuel efficiency drove the giant robot industry to be wiped out by the introduction of Willwear technology, and all the mecha fanboys who grew up wanting to make giant robots a reality found themselves without a career.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The first season. Even though Unit 8 was able to arrest Mythos on terrorism charges, Tokyo was forced to release Tomoki/Bird as a gesture of goodwill. Unit 8 doesn't like it, but they have to follow orders.
  • Bound and Gagged: Takeru catches a pickpocket and brings her to the unit's train, and to restrain her they end up tying her up with rope. Apparently handcuffs went out of style in the future.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: When an obsolete Humongous Mecha is hijacked by its original pilot, Funasaka commandeers its brother after a quick repair job by its octogenarian maintenance team.
  • Casting Gag: Not the first time Yukari Tamura works on a show about Powered Armors, only this time she gets to pilot one.
  • Cataclysm Backstory: The Third Quicksand Disaster, which rendered many districts of Tokyo inhospitable.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The first 6 episodes are pretty light-hearted and wacky. It starts getting more dramatic in Episode 7 when the criminal of the week turns out to have a much more sympathetic motive for his actions than the Jerkass losers before him, and he becomes the show's first actual death when Logos hijacks his Willwear, forcing him to commit a Heroic Sacrifice to save Haruka before his Wear destroys itself. The episode ends with Haruka sobbing against Asami.
    • The next episode isn't quite as dramatic, but it did have Souichirou's ex-girlfriend nearly kill him due to her experimental Willwear being hijacked, and her Secret Identity has seemingly been exposed to the public at the end, jeopardizing her career in the military. The episode ends with Souichirou concernedly watching her on the news as she fends off questions from reporters.
  • Cool Train: The Eighth operate from a specialized police train, which also serves the purpose of launching their agents straight into action.
  • Cowboy Cop: Averted! Despite all the bureaucratic tape and legal restrictions the Willwear pilots face in the field, Unit 8 sticks to the rulebook. Even firing their weapons is not done without authorization. The worst they do is grouse about it, but they obey their orders when Mission Control says so.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The three criminals in "Angel and God of Destruction" when they occupied an anime studio and used bombs, Willwears and ambushes to prevent police and Unit 9 from getting close.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Episodes 5-8 each primarily focus on a member of the Eighth Unit and give us some insight into their Hidden Depths, in order: Madoka, Funasaka, Haruka, and Souichirou.
  • Destructive Savior: The Eighth's reputation among both the populace and their superiors in Tokyo. Their reputation improves takes to the Diet's change of laws.
    • Gets worse with Unit 9 when Asami takes command of the unit in Osaka.
  • Ensemble Cast: While Takeru's Oscar II may be the show's "poster boy", the show focuses on Unit 8 as a whole as opposed to a single character.
  • Evolving Credits: The second opening credit begins with shadowed version of the Willwear yet to be revealed only to have them colored in as they were used in the show. The opening to episode 11 adds a scene where all six of Unit 8's Willwear are seen flying together. The ending credits also change, showcasing scenes from each episodes. And episode 11 replaces LIKO with Mythos' apple logo, acting exactly like her!
  • Far East Asian Terrorists: The gambler Ryo Onodera turns out to be the culprit responsible for the missile bombardment threat.
  • Fastball Special: When the two crooks evade capture via a biplane in "Code Number 538", Takeru uses Souichirou as a impromptu projectile to knock them out of the sky.
  • Fragile Speedster: The Oscar V Primavera Pantera unit.
  • From Bad to Worse: Due to Mythos' hijacking of Orochi, Tokyo instituted a state of emergency enforced by the National Police Agency. However, Tomoki's pretense of turning himself in was able to save Unit 8 that their comm equipment wasn't compromised since they were taken offline and reinstated afterwards.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The term "ACTIVE" comes from "Armored Combined Tactical Intelligence Vanguard Element".
  • Humongous Mecha: A pair of them, Morgan and Drew, are used as tourist attractions. They once had an actual purpose as construction and rescue vehicles, but were decommissioned for being too costly compared to Willwears. Until Morgan is hijacked by it's washed up former pilot, and Funasaka uses the opportunity to use Drew in order to combat it.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: The Eight are more commonly seen by the public as a menace, due to all of the collateral damage they cause. However, most people seem to ignore the fact that despite all the damage, nobody actually gets hurt or killed thanks to the Eight's efforts.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: Logos, an enigmatic organization apparently headed by someone only known as Mythos, has been shown dispatching illegally-modified or outright stolen Willwears to create havoc around Tokyo. Their purpose for doing so and their ultimate objective, if any, is unknown. Funasaka speculates in "Ulti-maid-ronde" that they may be setting up such weird scenarios in order to gather data on Willwears.
  • High-Altitude Battle: The Final Battle is set in space.
  • Interservice Rivalry: Between the National Police Agency and the United Self-Defense Force.
  • The Magic Poker Equation: Played extremely straight during episode 5, when every winning hand was full house, flush, straight flush, or three of a kind. Poker "skill" apparently gives players not only the ability to get high value hands, but to somehow know what they had before the final card was revealed, as they would call their wining hand before flipping the last card.
  • Monster of the Week: Each episode, Unit 8 has to face against another gimmicky Willwear-using criminal.
  • Mr. Fanservice: The male Willwear pilots are extremely ripped. Even Funasaka, whose body puts men half his age to shame.
  • Nebulous Evil Organisation: Logos.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The Eighth often has to deal with these, as they can only deploy on the request of the local police force or the government, and sometimes they're too concerned about their public image to risk calling in the Eighth.
    • The corrupt governor even uses this to hinder Unit 8 from arresting Dog.
  • Powered Armor: The Willwear.
  • Private Military Company: Season 2 starts off with legislation allowing private security companies and contractors more power in assisting the National Police Agency. Souichirou and Madoka are examples of contractors working with Unit 8.
  • Real Robot Genre: A mild example. The Willwear pilots are police officers, the units themselves run out of batteries very quickly, and they require a specialized launcher in order to get to their destinations in a timely manner.
    • The giant mecha Morgan and Drew are a more overt example as essentially gigantic humanoid construction equipment; their primary advantage in battle over a Willwear is their sheer mass, they burn through fuel extremely quickly, have tank treads on their feet for more efficient long-distance movement, and their every movement is slightly jerky and shuddering, like actual hydraulic-driven machinery.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Souichirou and Takeru, the two main Willwear pilots in the Eighth Unit. Souichirou is the stern, serious one while Takeru is the energetic loudmouth.
  • Recurring Extra: The aforementioned pickpocket, who manages to weasel in a cameo every episode.
  • Secret Identity: The members of the Fifth Division are all testing experimental weaponry, so making sure their faces are always hidden is very important. Episode 8 introduces a mysterious red Willwear nicknamed the "Ultimaid" whose pilot is completely unknown. It's a USDF prototype piloted by Souichirou's ex-girlfriend Miho.
  • Short Title: Long, Elaborate Subtitle: The subtitle is five times as long as the title.
  • Take That!: The episode of "Angel and God of Destruction" is one towards anyone who has problems listening to anime dubbing done in their native language and not in Japanese.
  • Technology Porn: Whenever the heroes put on their Willwears, the following sequence would make Tony Stark jealous.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: The first opening theme "Golden Life" plays as the group launches Takeru into space for the Final Battle.
  • Transforming Mecha: Mythos' personal Willwear can turn into a motorcycle. It's motorcycle function are still available while Mythos is wearing it.
  • Vast Bureaucracy: Unit 8 has to deal with this constantly. They require vast amounts of regulations to be met before they can even use physical force on already rampaging criminals, and even more regulations must be met before they can even use weapons (which are non-lethal items like nets and sticky guns!). And after the fact they end up having to apologize to all of the different district police chiefs they operate in for the damages caused (despite the fact these district police called them in to handle it in the first place).
  • Wham Episode: Episode 10. Hachijou turns himself into police, claiming to be the leader of Logos. The top brass, convinced they have the Big Bad in custody, decide the case is closed and disband the Eighth Unit. Hinata's world is falling apart since her crush, Hachijou, has now been revealed to be a terrorist, and her sister Rin admits to her that she's been lying to her about her job all this time as she is actually the boss of the Eighth Unit. As all this is going on, the Japanese government is set to unveil a grand new project to begin reclaiming the devastated quicksand district. Mythos finally puts his ultimate plan into action by broadcasting a false earthquake alert, allowing him to compromise the government's Orochi matrix database and seize full control of the national Master Computer.
    • Episode 11 as well. "All devices that have installed LIKO now belong to Mythos."
    • Episode 12. Unit 8 uncovered intel that Mythos' sister is alive and well. The reason why she wasn't able to make contact at first is because she changed her nationality to avoid the publicity regarding the mass suicide.
    • Episode 20 shows Inagi at league with Bird, though the former is unwilling to go along with the latter's destructive nature.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Amu Shinmei, a Idol Singer of all things.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Tokyo issued a directive to kill Mythos, either by the police or by the USDF in order to get admin access to Orochi. His death, while controversial, would be buried as a national secret.