Vividred Operation [First Impressions]
Genre(s): Action, Sci-Fi
Notable Seiyuu(s): Maaya Uchida, Aya Uchida, Ayane Sakura, Masaki Terasoma
OP: ”Energy” by earthmind
Summary: Vividred Operation has junior high-schooler Akane living an idyllic (isn’t is always?) life with her sister and her scientist grandfather. Living next to the miraculous Manifestor Engine which powers the world, they suddenly come under attack by a quadrupedal machine known as “Alone”. Confronting her fear of heights to save her friend Aoi, Akane turns into a
proto-witchscience-powered magical girl, courtesy of her grandfather’s tech. Ominously, her grandfather announces that it’s time for “Docking”.
DOCKINGU. DOCKINGU. DOCKINGU. DOCKINGU. DOCKINGU. DOCKINGU. DOCKINGU. DOCKINGU.
Right After the Credits…
I was interested in the DOCKING DOCKING *slap*-what was going to happen after that cliffhanger, but I didn’t find the episode totally appealing. I just felt that I’d seen all the motions before in other anime.
As always, I’ll start with Vividred Operation’s strengths first to soften my blow(s) later.
First off, DAT OST. Anyone get goosebumps when Akane was racing to the top of the Manifestor plant? The racing violins did a lot to heighten the tension. Besides that, the “Alone” scenes were also soaked with a sense of foreboding. Other than that though, the OST offered up your textbook “happy” music during more peaceful scenes.
Vividred’s optimism with science was also quite refreshing. Except for Robotics;Notes, it’s rare these days to see science depicted positively in anime, what with shows like Psycho;Pass and SAO airing. Yeah, it is a bit sappy, but I was really happy to see Akane talking happily about this sometimes mundane topic. Can’t wait to see how far they take this “mahou shoujo + science” theme.
Speaking of sci-fi magical girls, did you see that sweet transformation scene? To hell with logic, this was pure fanservice and fun! Robots, parts, armor, clothing-all coming out of nowhere to dress a surprisingly collected Akane for her debut in saving Aoi. On an interesting side note, Akane and Aoi are more than just opposites in terms of hair colour-even their names are opposite. The “aka” in Akane is the pronunciation of the Japanese character 赤, or “red”; as for Aoi, its how you say “blue” in Japanese (青い). Nice punmanship, if not a bit too obvious.
However, that’s about all the good stuff I can muster with Vividred.
One of the first episode’s weaker parts is its generic “Hero/Heroine’s Welcome”. In this much-used formula, we have, in order:
- an intro sequence with the hero/heroine. (HAI, Akane!)
- a trip to the home base/family. (HAI, imouto and weird Ojii-chan!)
- a superfluous challenge/situation to prove how “outstanding” the hero(ine) is. (HAI, hapless bird!)
- a real threat. (HAI, Alone-san!)
- and finally, the hero’s calling. (HAI, mahou shojo!)
It was all a bit too predictable, if you ask me. A few tweaks would have made it much more appealing, but I guess Vividred couldn’t be bothered about that with its butt-o-vision. = ( Also, why does Akane act so nonchalant when a crimson mammoth of a machine is terrorizing her town? And why so ready to accept her newfound powers? And at least register some surprise at your new superpowers!
And about the “Alone”, why “Alone”? Based on the flashback, the red, mysterious object that attacked the ManEng facility was alone, but I would definitely have called it something different. Something like “Unknown”, “Crimson X” , “Red X” or even just “Red Alien”. “Alone” just sounds so contrived, an excuse for the inevitable heroines to use “friendship” or “togetherness” as a counter-weapon. What did you think of poor “Alone”-san? How would you name it if you were witness to a similar “alien”?
Moving on, those EYES. Yes, those flat and creepy eyes on every characters head; almost all of their eyes has something “off” with them. When they move, you can see that their pupils act almost like floating discs in their eyes. It’s subtle, but I definitely saw it. Throughout the episode, I wondered if they were going to lose their adhesiveness and come off cleanly. I really hope they saved something for later episodes besides those eerie CG animations…
Should I Watch This?
Vividred may have the finesse and creativity of a pair of bloomers, butt-*ahem*-but I’m willing to give it a shot because of its impressive OST.
Till then, I’ll be planting my butt here in anticipation of the next episode’s docking. Okay, okay, I’ll stop already! XD