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Jan 14
2013

Vividred Operation [First Impressions]

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tamako market (14)Studio: A-1 Pictures, Aniplex, Aniplex America

Genre(s):  Action, Sci-Fi

Episodes: 12

Notable Seiyuu(s): Maaya Uchida, Aya Uchida, Ayane Sakura, Masaki Terasoma

OP: “Energy” by earthmind

ED: Unknown

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-witch science-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.

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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.

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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.

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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”?

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“Whaddaya mean by “flat”?”

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…

So,

Should I Watch This?

 

Yes

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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

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About

Sekijitsu blogger since '12, anime fan since '06. Feeds on moe, yuri and doujinshi to survive. Will translate for food and knowledge. Contact him on Twitter @nippon_nerd.

/ 5 Commentsleave a comment /

  • There were a few things that rubbed me the wrong way in this show and the main one is how easily she overcame her fear of heights. It's absurd to think that even if you were to jump off the building by facing your fears in order to save your friend. That free fall would mentally kill you and cause your trauma to increase dramatically.

    In psychological terms, it'd be considered as Flooding where for example, a person is afraid of snakes so you put him in a zoo full of snakes and wait till he gets used to it. Totally unethical and can cause serious mental damage or even backfire. This was similar, except she didn't go through multiple tries in order to relinquish her fear of heights, more so she should've been even more traumatized after that unless her body suit is some kind of trauma-healer.

    But even so, I will continue to watch this because I felt the reasoning for wanting to fight back was a more clearer and better reason than what I saw in Rinne Lagrange personally comparing the two first episodes. But I do see myself dropping this soon. Although I do agree the OST is good, I wasn't fond of everything else in particular. There might be potential in this, that is the only reason why I'm following it.

    • Yippy says:

      Hm…I think they already portrayed Akane as a reckless person when it comes to her friends' safety, right? And I think the fear of losing a friend temporarily "short-circuited" her fear of heights. That scene was rather predictable, but I found it okay overall. When all's said and done though, she _is_ a protagonist; they're supposed to be "unstoppable" and all that.

      It's rather early to compare notes on the two shows, but I get what you mean. I really hope they don't meander around like Lagrange did after the first battle.

      Likewise, I'd still keep my hopes a *little* high until they hit a story arc though. You never know…=)

  • Bear says:

    No comment on the stuffed ferret/otter that houses the grandfather's consciousness? His body stuffed in the refrigerator? That just about killed it for me right there.

    • Oh right that scene! Sorry, I deleted it from my memories sub-consciously :P But yeah… that was poorly done. It was obvious they were going for something comedic with it and it failed. All I can say is when you've already got a comedy animal within the season (Tamako Market), you should only copy that concept if you can make it more interesting

    • Yippy says:

      In a show where girls transform spontaneously into magical girls, the otter was kinda at the back of my head. XD

      Still, you're right. Wouldn't the body be useless anyway? Without a beating heart and oxygen to the brain, Oji-san's going to be in that ferret body for a while…

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