Vividred Operation – 11

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As she’s taken away by the UDF, Rei calls the girls liars. Kenjirou determines she’s from another world and acts as beacon for the alones, leading them to the Manifestor engine. Not happy where they left things with Rei, the girls infiltrate UDF HQ. Akane breaks through to Rei’s cell, and they make up. But the crow arrives and tells Kenjirou its bosses won’t let this world have Manifestor technology. It swallows Rei whole and turns into a giant monster that destroys UDF HQ.

I see what’s going on now…you four were just pretending to be nice to me!

Even if Rei was correct in this assessment (she’s not), what she’s been hiding from them (that she’s trying to destroy their world for the sake of hers) is far worse, so she hardly has the moral high ground. Fortunately for Akane and the other three girls, they’re not so much guilty or upset as they are restless and totally unwilling to let Rei’s misunderstanding…stand. Even before learning the truth – that she’s a pawn with little choice in matters – it was important that they made her realize they weren’t pretending.

Unfortunately, while Rei is a sympathetic anti-heroine, and the girls’ assault on UDF HQ is pretty cool, Rei’s boss the “mediator” crow and the Q/Godlike beings it (she?) represents are pretty one-dimensionally evil and dull. They’re little more than inter-dimensional bullies pushing weaker beings around, only this time their would-be victims won’t go out without a fight, doubtlessly employing more crisp CGI, pose-striking and crotch shots.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • Why exactly are there nude pictures of Rei in her computer profile? Aren’t there laws against that kinda stuff?
  • At the boardroom meeting, a government official calls Kenjirou’s theory of Rei being from a parallel world “a joke.” Mind you, he just received this information from a magical talking weasel.
  • Rei’s apartment is only depressing because of the lack of furniture. When this is all over maybe the girls can take her to Ikea!
  • The crow suddenly swallowing Rei…well now, that was unexpected!
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Vividred Operation – 10

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Rei convinces the bird to tell her when and where the next alone will appear, so she can shoot all of her remaining arrows into it in an all-or-nothing effort to destroy the Manifestor Engine once and for all. She visits Akane to apologize for the tomato, and ends up staying for dinner and spending the night. Himawari and Kenjirou discover Rei’s arrows and devise a plan to track the next one she fires. Droids, marines, and finally Akane arrive at her location, and Rei and Akane both learn who they’ve been fighting all this time…

Well now, it’s about frikkin’ time the truth about Rei came out! The thing is, we weren’t expecting Rei to be as surprised as she was that Akane was one of the “four colored lights” defying her plan to power up the Alones. But that very way of describing the Vividforce points out something we hadn’t realized until now for some reason: Rei has never been close enough to the other four girls while they’re suited up for battle, so she’s never gotten a good look at any of them. Sure, the fact the girls wanting to be her friends have the same color hair as those distant lights, but we guess that wasn’t enough for her to put two and two together; she is under a lot of stress, after all.

When the fog clears and Akane and Rei face each other on the battlefield for the first time, we thought it would be Akane whose heart was broken, but Rei turns it around, making Akane the bad guy, calling her a liar who only wanted to be friends so she could get close to her and find out her secrets. Even though we know that’s not the case, Rei can’t help but feel betrayed, and all Akane has in her defense is her word, which Rei doesn’t believe. A spiral of distrust has been forged, giving Rei more motivation to destroy the manifestor so she can get her parents back. The thing is, she only has one arrow left to fire (one arrow was no match for Vividgreen)…and she’s in custody.


Rating: 7 
(Very Good)

 

Vividred Operation – 09

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When Wakaba takes her to the mall for some shopping, Himawari gets propositions from numerous guys and a popular modeling magazine snaps pictures of her. The next day, Wakaba volunteers Himawari for a more formal photo shoot, but it’s on the same day she wanted to go on a factory tour. Himawari decides to do the shoot if Wakaba is her servant for the day. While she’s asleep, the magazine people change her hairpins, and she panics when she can’t find them, but Wakaba has them. A meteor-like Alone appears in the atmosphere, and Wakaba and Himawari help clear a path for Vividblue to defeat it. Rei arrives too late to shoot her arrow.

Like Futaba confessing to hating tomatoes, Himawari’s freak-out over her hairpins seems like another one of those conflicts that just isn’t deserving of the overblown drama it receives. This is a Wakaba/Himawari-centered episode, which frames their relationship thusly: Wakaba parades her around like a doll and unilaterally decides to kickstart her modeling career; while Himawari makes Wakaba her slave and will make her go on many long, tedious tours of tech facilities. In short, both make little sacrifices for each other, which is that’s what friendship’s all about. That, and magic, natch.

But yeah, there’s not much here. The episode even admits this by inserting a totally boilerplate alone battle to fill the time in the end, complete with full-length transformations and poses we’ve already been subjected to too many times. Kuroki Rei simply reiterates her determination to get everything back, and now has four remaining feathers for the three remaining episodes, but she was utterly useless this week, and the Alone posed no danger whatsoever. We really expected Wakaba and Himawari to merge the way Akane and Aoi do, which would have at least been something, but it didn’t happen.


Rating: 5 (Average)

Vividred Operation – 05

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Akane and her three friends invite their classmate Kuroki Rei to be in their group for the upcoming summer trip, but she refuses. On her way home Rei saves a child from an I-beam, and her master, speaking in the form of a crow, warns her not to waver in her duty. That night she tries and fails to infiltrate the Manifester facility herself. Akane finds her washed up on a beach and takes her home. When an Alone alert sends Akane away, Rei follows her, but passes out before she can fire the arrow. She wakes up again at Akane’s, but refuses to be friends. Akane’s mom tells Akane not to give up on Rei.

By merit of being her grandfather’s granddaughter, Akane ended up fighting to protect the Manifester engine he invented. By merit of becoming friends with Akane, Aoi, Wakaba, and Himawari ended up on her side. They’re the “Good Guys”, but Kuroki Rei is different. She shoots arrows at the Alones to make them stronger. She’s on the side of the “Bad Guys”, and her contact is a sinister crow. Why? Because they’ve convinced her they can restore the world as it was – when her beloved parents were still alive. She’s decided she’ll do anything – including destroying the current world – to bring them back. And yet Akane and the good guys want to be friends with her, and don’t know she’s their enemy, working against them.

On her extremely badass, Mission Impossible-style night raid, Rei frags the robots that snapped her picture. Her incriminating bow and arrow vanish before Akane finds her. When Rei asks Akane if she’d do anything to bring back her dad and get her mom out of the hospital, Akane says sure – as long as it doesn’t end up troubling others. But on her current path, Rei is going to trouble and hurt a lot of people. She’s signed a deal with the devil, and it’s unlikely they’ll let her back out unscathed. And yet even if Akane learned the truth, I doubt she and the others would rescind their offer of friendship. After all, there’s nothing like bringing a Bad Guy over to the Good side.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)