So now there’s apparently an anime personification of Microsoft Internet Explorer 11, in the person of 18-year-old magical girl Inori Aizawa, with a Facebook page and everything.
FWIW we’ll probably stick with Chrome for the time being, and her design is fairly generic (at first glance she wouldn’t look out of place in Vividred), but we like the concept.
More companies and products need anime personifications, as far as we’re concerned. We’re strange like that!
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)
Akane is late for her first day of school, so she uses her Vivid power to fly to school. She comes afoul of the school’s pride and kendo ace, Saegusa Wakaba, who attacks Akane as an intruder – and loses. When Wakaba and Aoi end up in Saegusa’s class, Wakaba challenges Akane to a duel on the beach. It is interrupted by a new Alone emerging from the sea. Watching Akane and Aoi fight, Wakaba wants to join them. Akane gives her a key, and they dock to exeute the Vividgreen Operation, defeating the Alone.
In this third episode we are introduced to the third member of the Vivid girls, and she’s an interesting addition. She’s good at everything…except losing. And she’s a very very bad loser. So bad that when she decides to attack someone who turned out to be faster and stronger than her (Akane in Vivid mode), she essentially throws a tantrum and chase Akane around the school. Fair enough; when you’re as accomplished as she is, and not accustomed to defeat, you’re bound to make mistakes. But by the episode’s climax, when an Alone appears, she watches Akane and Aoi run toward – not away – from the danger.
It’s then that Wakaba realizes what her father was trying to tell her about true strength. Being strong isn’t just about winning; it’s about knowing when and how to use the power, when not to, and when to accept that things won’t always go your way…because they won’t. Simple, but good advice. This episode was full of some very nice combat and chase animation, and once the Alone comes, wastes no time bringing Wakaba into the fold. The wooden sword duel between Akane and Wakaba was very slickly done. Again the mysterious girl shot a berserk arrow into the Alone; perhaps she’s testing Akane & Co.?
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
In the near future, Isshiki Akane and her crotch live on the Utopian Izu Oshima island with her sister Momo and grandfather Kenjirou, who invented the revolutionary Incarnate Engine that provides clean energy. On the day when Akane’s friend Futaba Aoi is returning to the island, a powerful “Alone” also approaches, overwhelming UN defense forces.
Kenjirou finishes his latest invention, but as a result his consciousness is transferred into a stuffed weasel. He leads Akane to the Incarnate Engine, atop which Aoi’s plane crashes, and in her flying motorbike, Akane rescues her from falling. Her clothing then changes, and gramps announces the activation of the Vivid Sytem.
This episode does a competent enough job introducing a futuristic world and a brave girl who must get over her fear of heights and utilize her grandfather’s technology to save her island from a fierce baddie the military can’t scratch. When it’s not randomly shoving Akane’s crotch in our faces, that is. Fanservice aside, it’s bright, shiny, and visually arresting at times. There’s no question the production values here are very nice.
We love us some futuristic sci-fi action. But for all its flashy packaging, Vividred feels a bit…routine. Akane is not the most interesting, original heroine (yet). Having watched so much quality sci-fi last year – series that had something to say beyond “girl dresses up fancy/saves world” (They all had that, sure, but that wasn’t all they had.) Vividred will have to find a way to stand out to keep us interested. Less ass shots, more talking weasels.
Rating: 6 (Good)