Vividred Operation – 12 (Fin)

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Kenjirou believes the uber-alone to be beyond anyone’s ability to defeat, even the Vivid girls. But Akane refuses to give up, finding Rei’s key washed up on the beach, and deciding to fly to the alone where Rei is trapped inside but alive. The others follow. The alone settles over the Manifestor Core and starts sapping energy. Akane docks with Himawari, Wakaba, and Aoi in sequence to break through the alone’s armor, while the others’ suits fail and they fall to the earth. Before the alone can kill them, Akane docks with Rei to create VividRed, who lands a massive, fatal punch to the alone, destroying it. The five girls reunite  but a strange ribbon appears in the air telling Rei her world has been restored. A door appears, and Akane gives her the key. She says they’ll meet again, and after a little time passes, Rei returns.

Once the character issues were resolved, all four girls became BFFs, and the Rei’s misunderstanding was rectified, the series kinda ran out of things we cared that much about. Sure, the Big Bad was still there, but suddenly swallowing Rei last week turned out to be the most interesting thing it would ever do. This week it simply laughs an evil laugh, boasts and gloats, and talks about judging and erasing, and we simply don’t care because the girls will obviously defeat it. Worse, the peril was mired in technobabble; Kenjirou was trying in vain to explain what was happening whan what was happening didn’t really make sense. An event horizon that threaten’s the entire universe? We ask you.

Dispatching the alone did at least require some unprecedented tactics, including Akane docking with all three of the other girls one by one, which gave them something to do. And we knew if Rei showed back up this week, the series would have her dock with Akane too. She’s purple, after all. The resulting Vividred avatar was a successful melange of the two girls’ looks. And she blowed stuff up real good. You’d think that would be all and Rei would start hanging out with the girls all the time, but then, in the most-tacted on last-minute twist imaginable, Akane just blurts out “They’re going to fix it!”, refering to the alone-makers deciding to restore Rei’s world, which we thought was almost as cheap as Aoi secretly hating tomatoes.

So yeah, while the alone thing needed a resolution, we leave this series thinking it ran an episode too long.


Rating: 5 (Average)

Stray Observations:

  • While Zetsuen no Tempest and Maoyu took great pains to minimize casualties in their latter episodes, this series proves it has little regard for the lives of pilots or the great expense of all those frigates and warplanes. After a while it gets a bit silly.
  • Speaking of silly, both the ships and planes are clearly expelling exhaust of some kind, suggesting they’re independently powered by fuel. Yet when the alone starts messing with the Manifestor, both lose power. This makes…NO SENSE.
  • In the closing credits, we see Kenjirou has transferred back into his human body. Which begs the question: what took him so long?
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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 – 08

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Akane is admitted to the hospital in serious condition. The Alone attaches itself to the Tokyo Sky Tree and builds a cocoon around itself to regenerate. With Akane out of action, docking is not possible, so conventional military tactics need to be considered. However, Aoi, Wakaba and Hiwamari decide to have a go at the alone anyway, destroying it in a way that won’t destroy the city. Their plan nearly works, but Rei shoots an arrow at the alone and it hatches. Aoi borrows some of Akane’s power to dodge the alone’s attacks and defeat it. They then visit Akane, who is on the mend.

This is an interesting dynamic: after a string of victories so easy they didn’t even bother showing one of them, the most powerful Alone yet appears and Akane is quickly taken out of the picture. The military has a plan (with just a 4% chance of success), but it will destroy most of the (evacuated) 23 wards in the process. Not ideal, but if they do nothing, the Incarnate system will go kaput (a lesson in why global power should never be so centralized). So Aoi, Wakaba, and Himawari meet up before dawn, get don their pallet suits, and report for duty. Whatevs, they’ll simply fight a girl down.

Yet even with Akane laid up in hospital, a part of her remains by their side: the love and memories they harbor for her, along with her boomerang, which never de-materialized after her clobbering. Aoi believes a part of her soul is in it, and wisely brings it along for the fight. That choice proves decisive, as it is re-purposed as rocket-powered wings she uses to finish the job the other two girls started, saving them and Tokyo in the process. The only major casualty is the Sky Tree. Poor Sky Tree! Oh, and a bit more of Kuroki Rei’s sanity.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Vividred Operation – 07

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Mizuha informs Akane that her grades are dropping as a result of her busy schedule. Aoi, Wakaba and Himawari organize a Saturday study group at her house. They each invite Rei, who turns them all down, but comes anyway when she learns who Akane’s grandfather is. Unable to take any more “niceness”, Rei leaves, just before a new Alone alert goes off. The girls defeat the Alone easily, but Rei manages to shoot an arrow into a fragment, causing it to regenerate and attack an off-guard Akane. Her Vivid suit overloads and she starts to fall from the sky.

We were a little shocked when we found out Rei didn’t know Akane was the granddaughter of Isshiki Kenjirou. If the name wasn’t a giveaway, the giant satellite dish behind Akane’s house should have. At any rate, this episode starts off with the girls trying to become friends with Rei, not understanding she puts her wish to bring back her parents above everything, including friendship and her own happiness, and with only six feathers left on her tattoo, finally manages to make a dent in the Vivid system, knocking Akane out of the sky and grabbing victory out of the ashes of defeat.

We liked the new alone that generates a continuous EMP that makes electronics go haywire, and it seems a little easy that the girls’ suits are immune to it, and is more evidence the Vivid system is more magic than science. But that’s really okay, because they don’t end up getting home in time for Momo’s delicious home-cooked supper. For once, Kuroki Rei seems to have the advantage, and we’re not sure how the girls are going to get out of this mayo-topped pickle. Catching Akane before she hits the ground would be a start.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

P.S. Rei finding Kenjirou’s human body in the fridge is a great moment of quasi-horror.

Vividred Operation – 04

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While playing softball, Akane’s home run that destroys the camera of the secluded hacker Shinomiya Himawari, whom Kenjirou just happened to ID as the the culprit in the theft of confidential Alone data. Akane, Aoi and Wakaba pay her a visit to apologize, and they end up visiting the site of the Streamer plant, which distributes energy to the world from the Manifester engine. When an Alone attacks the site, the three fly off to fight it, leaving Himawari to shut the plant down. Afterwards, Kuroki Rei powers up the Alone, and Himawari gains and quickly masters the Vivid System, docking with Akane to become Vividyellow and defeat the Alone.

And then there were four. We had a red, blue, and green techno shoujo (our own term for what they are, since it’s science and tech, not magic, that they use), so for completion’s sake, we needed a yellow. She turns out to be the egghead of the bunch, being a total Isshiki Kenjirou groupie and hardcore Manifester engine nerd. He brief backstory illustrates how a former friend she trusted betrayed her and turned her into a pariah, and so she’s been skittish about trusting or even interacting with people ever since. Himawari refutes Akane’s claim she loves the Manifester engine, not knowing Akane is its inventor’s granddaughter.

When Akane leaves her behind to shut down the plant while she fights the Alone, Himawari is convinced she won’t come back, even though she promised, because people have promised her things before and let her down. But Akane doesn’t let her down, and as a result of their newly-formed friendship, Himawari becomes the yellow one. Interestingly, the episode points out how quickly she learns the ropes of the Vivid system, though Saegusa learned it just as quickly last week. Her weapon, which reflects the Alone’s weapons back on itself, are suitably badass, and stuff get blow’d up good, as it should in such a series.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)