First Impressions – Vividred Operation

vividred FUN (2)

Vividred Operation has been on the radar of all Strike Witches fans, being the latest work by that series’s anime director and character designer Kazuhiro Takamura (also did character designs for Gainax’s Mahoromatic) and seeming to feature many of the same themes, such as pantsless teenage girls. Fans of supercell might have heard that redjuice is responsible for the designs, similar to in last year’s accidental masterpiece Guilty Crown, except he is only doing the technology this time. The story of aliens attacking our Utopian world seems awfully as if Strike Witches, but in the future. Which is okay, since it’s been successful before, but it will be disappointing if the show can’t find success in its own way.
Welcome back readers it is time for cute magical Strike Witches to save us from danger! I will be honest and say this series was in my top five of most wanted series for the winter season, but after one episode I have no idea what to really think; however we have plenty of others tagging along for this first episode review.
Vividred is the type of show I generally gravitate towards without much thought, but being burned by action shows with nothing but pretty visuals has happened so often that I find myself being more cautious lately. Guilty Crown and Sword Art Online taught me a painful lesson. Vividred made me afraid that although it looked good, it might be doomed to the same fate. Maybe I’m worrying too much, because it seems to be starting off at an okay pace.

vividred 01 XBox

 Perfect World // We’ve had our share of dystopian or otherwise depressing future science fiction in anime lately, but what about the opposite? Instead of speculating on all the ways that humanity can fail in its quest for a perfect society, why not speculate on if we succeeded? That’s the world of Vividred Operation, a world in which the Manifestor Engine, power plant that sends power through space to the rest of the world (similar technology to the Microwave plants in Sim City 2000 or in real life), has solved all of the world’s energy problems, thus ensuring world peace.

Of course, this is absurd on its face, and for several reasons. One is that an infinite power source doesn’t prevent losses and congestion both in energy conversion and in local line grids. So all electrical infrastructure around the world was improved and perfected (lest a misaligned satellite become a Sim City-like space death ray). The world coordinating to do something like that before the plentiful energy source was completed seems awfully unlikely. Furthermore, there is the question of growing energy demand; even assuming that the Manifestor Engine were effectively infinite, the growth in power demand will stress the infrastructure which is necessarily limited due to the single source from which it must draw all energy.

Then there are the political issues. Assuming such a miraculous power source doesn’t get copied or destroyed by enemies, thinking that solving the world’s energy problems will produce a Utopia within 5 years seems insanely naive, to say the least. First of all, whichever nation or alliance of nations is responsible for the Engine is going to use it for leverage over other nations (if they all came together to collaborate on this project, then it would seem that the world was headed toward peace anyway). Even assuming the source nations are somehow benevolent, infinite energy only solves one (admittedly major) issue standing behind us and world peace. What of the religious fanatics who keep fighting each other over arbitrary tracts of land? They’re the ones most responsible for the possibility of a 3rd World War today.

But all this is okay. This is what we knew to expect from this production. This is not a world built on realism, it’s one built on hope and love and butterflies and rainbows and unicorns. The only thing we need to believe that this world is a Utopia is the main character’s say so and handwavey explanation.

Vividred 01 Magical Science

Characters //The only thing I can say for sure is that Akane sure has a nice ass. If Senran Kagura is to be this season’s source of excruciatingly detailed boob physics (note that doesn’t mean applicable to real life physics), then Vividred is this season’s ode to lovers of butts everywhere. Aside from her posterior, there’s not a lot to Akane and the other characters that set them apart from the usual girl of the magical girl genre. She is peppy, cheerful, and endlessly enthusiastic when it comes to risking her life for friends. Thankfully, these kinds of shows almost always color code their characters in case you really can’t find a damn to give about figuring out their personality yourself. Akane’s color is red, so she’s fiery and adventurous. Aoi seems like she’s already going to be the calm and composed one, therefore her color is blue. The mysterious ones/villains will probably be black – just you wait. Fortunately, this isn’t the kind of show I go to for deep character arcs. I’m here to watch girls go through flamboyant transformation sequences, kick ass, then maybe deliver a cheesy speech about friendship that borders on lesbian romance every now and then. Since Akane wastes no time in invoking her magical powers, and the 2nd episode seems to already begin in the heat of a battle, I don’t think I will be disappointed.

On a side note, I really like Akane’s grandfather. Yes, in a magical girl show I like the old man. He’s got a lot of character, even if it does follow the usual “mad scientist” stereotype to the letter. It’s unfortunate he’s stuck as a cute mascot, because that seems like a decision made just to please people who think all shows of the genre absolutely need a cute furball there to make the show good. I guess small rodents with beady eyes are easier on the eyes than old dudes. I really have no idea how he’s going to get his body back though. They said he wasn’t breathing, which means he should be undergoing severe brain damage (and a bunch of other things generally not good for survival). How will sticking him in the fridge do anything aside from slowing down the decomposition process? Then again, I guess I shouldn’t question him returning his mind into a damaged body when there are girls floating in the air thanks to a shiny necklace. Ah, the power of science in the future is so mysterious…

Vividred Operation 01 (MBS   _2 0067Vividred Operation 01 (MBS   _2 0235

Magical girls gotta have the happy family and the ferret sidekick, both provided by the same person in this case.

 Magical Girls // The world of Vividred Operation follows the common set up of just about every magical girl themed anime as in a small group of girls become heroes; however at the same time, I kept looking at Vividred Operation as more Strike Witches than a magical series just based off the original trailers. That is, until I saw Akane’s grandpa with that stuffed ferret and I instantly thought, Wait isn’t that stuffed toy the same kind of mascot character from season one of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha? If that is not a nod to that series, then I have no idea. I mean if you know how these genres work they will ALWAYS have a random talking animal or fairy type that guide the girls, but that isn’t really a bad thing for me because I really enjoy these types of magical series even though Vividred is not where close to Precure thanks to the heavy use of fan service shots that kind of got carried over from Strike Witches. That said, I am probably going to stick to this series for more mindless fun! Also expect to see more Vividred Operation in the amazing MetaFap with me and lvlln as we chat up the very important plot and back story of these magical children…

Vividred Operation 01 Falling 0303

By my back-of-the-envelope calculations, falling from a 1Km tall tower should take around 15 seconds. Vividred stretched that a bit, but it wasn’t quite as egregious as anime tends to be.

Vividred 01 Red Bloomers Ass

Now it’s time to sit back and enjoy the fighting! Episode 1 ends with a cliffhanger that makes watching the next episode seem almost like a Pavlovian reflex. It just happens unconsciously. It’s a bit of a catchy show in that it makes you want to watch more, yet when breaking it down after the fact, it doesn’t seem like it’s all that special. Vividred follows the magical girl recipe carefully, but it seems to be benefiting from it more than suffering from it. The characters and futuristic world aren’t very deep – but this doesn’t seem to be a deep kind of show. It’s more comedic and lighthearted, preferring to just have fun than really go for a striking deconstruction of magical girls or anything like that. And it succeeds in being fun! All in all, Vividred isn’t an amazing, must-watch of the season but it’s pretty darn enjoyable. Ah, and double the enjoyment if you like booty booty booty rocking errywhere.

We knew to expect something like Strike Witches, and Vividred Operation didn’t let us down. You’d be excused for mistaking Akane for Miyafuji, their Kazuhiro Takamura-designed faces lining up with each other very well, particularly at those soft, rounded eyes. A-1’s influence could be felt as well, in her (and other girls’) slightly chubby cheeks. The setup also felt awfully familiar, with the 14 year old girl (no pants, natch) and the father figure who was responsible for enabling her powers. The “Alone,” who have yet to be identified as aliens, followed a similar design language as the Neuroi, sharing the same red and black color palette along with the conspicuous CG.

But it did also forge a path away from its predecessor in a way. Strike Witches was a sort of a magical girl anime, a very unorthodox one that adjusted that genre’s tropes to fit the mecha musume/World War 2 setting. Vividred Operation was much more traditional, with the science fiction justification reminiscent of the something like Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. Using a contrived but wholly typical mad science lab gag to create the ferret-like mascot character was icing on the cake. It would have been quite the unexpected and intriguing turn of events if the grandfather really had been killed off in the 1st episode of the series.

But that isn’t the style of this show that has played everything completely safe. At least some of the cliche foreshadowing like Akane’s incredible throwing skills or her morning routine hugging her grandfather were nice touches. So was ending the episode right at the climactic discovery of her powers. It remains to be seen if they will be as much a focus to this series as Strike Witches, but the brief dog fight segments displayed the flashes of brilliance that this director is known for, leaving me optimistic for the coming action sequences. If the next episode delivers on that, it would go a long way toward making this all too familiar setup easy to swallow.

Whoa, what an intense first episode, even though the first episode is classic magical girl set up with the main character discovering her powers in the same episode as her introduction, but like the saying goes, “If it’s not broken, don’t mess with it.” So what else did I like? It was laughable to watch the military try their best to fight the monster of the episode? Don’t they ever learn? You can’t do anything until the main characters get their super cool powers! Speaking of awesome powers, that very detailed transformation scene? Whoa that was really cool even though it was like perverted camera angles going here and there, but it felt more like a Star Driver transformation or kind of Iron Man-ish when she was equipping her gloves. Now I we just need to see the other three girls and see some actual combat scenes and weapon usage… so what did you enjoy about the first episode of Vividred Operation?

Vividred Operation 01 0315

If hearing “Docking” for the next episode doesn’t excite you, you’re probably not the target audience for this show.


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86 Responses to “First Impressions – Vividred Operation”

  1. Metalsnakezero says:

    This first episode felt like the first episode of Strike Witches where it is the claim before the storm. However, it is a little odd with this Magical girl stuff where Strike Witches had a reason for the strikers and witches. We’ll see where this series goes down. Also a lot of butt shots.

    • lvlln says:

      Strike Witches was still quite reliant on fantasy and magic to justify its story. They are literally witches, after all. Mixing it with near future science fiction should at least be aesthetically pleasing, even if the world building isn’t the most believable.

  2. Highway says:

    Ugh, trying hard to not engage Dirty Old Man mode.

    Anyway… I liked the show for the action, actually. I think the Energy Rain idea is something very interesting if it could be done (also very Nikola Tesla-ish), and that would get around a lot of lvlln’s objections to the system (don’t need to upgrade power grids if the power arrives everywhere anyway).

    I liked the transformation sequence as well, and the idea of the Techno-Shoujo was interesting. We looked up the names, and they’re all somewhat annoyingly color coded:

    Akane – Red
    Aoi – Blue
    Himawari – Yellow (name for Sunflower)
    Wakaba – Green (name for new leaves)
    Rei Kuroki – Black (name means “Cool Black Knight”)

    Something just strikes me as trying too hard with that.

    • Highway says:

      Hah! They’re trying harder than that, even. The names not only correspond to their colors, but their numbers.

      Akane Isshiki: 一色
      Aoi Futaba: 二葉
      Wakaba Saegusa: 三枝
      Himawari Shinomiya: 四宮

      First color, second bud, third branch, fourth princess.

      • Karakuri says:

        I picked up on Aoi and Akane, but man. They sure have a solid naming system down.

        Maybe since we’ll be staring at their asses for the most part, they wanted easy to remember names. They don’t seem to have fancy coats/underwear like the Strike Witches did to make it easier to tell them apart.

    • Yukarin_YY says:

      Power rangers, err Pretty Cure

    • skylion says:

      Dirty Old Man Mode? Don’t think I’ll be seeing that in the rear view mirror any time soon…..

    • BlackBriar says:

      Dirty Old Man mode, huh? Seems you have trouble with restraint. Hang in there, Highway!! LOL. It can’t be as bad as the epic Dirty Old Man, Master Roshi from DBZ.

      • skylion says:

        …guess I’ll just have to try harder…

        • BlackBriar says:

          Then what’s your current status? Just to be curious.

          • skylion says:

            You’ll just have to be curious my friend. Never ever ever kiss and tell!

            • BlackBriar says:

              We have ways of making people talk. How about throwing you into a room, locked in with a certain pink haired girl by the name of Yuno Gasai? Hehehehe…

            • skylion says:

              Nah. I’ll just mention how awesome Yuuki is….she’ll be to busy in her own mind after that….

      • Foshizzel says:

        Ahahahahah this is the best

        • BlackBriar says:

          Oh yeah, I also forgot to mention the Pervy Sage Jiraiya from Naruto. You can’t forget him and his glory.

    • Highway says:

      The Dirty Old Man part was cause their butts really aren’t the first thing I see…

    • d-LaN says:

      No worries. Just don go into pedobear mode XD Tht or make sure the cops aren’t seeing you doing….whatever you are doing ;P

      • BlackBriar says:

        Sounds like somebody has a guilty conscience. Don’t worry, we’ll cover them while they go and establish an alibi. But it will cost them. Hey, you got to profit from something.

  3. BlackBriar says:

    Anyone getting Symphogear, Guilty Crown and Robotics;Notes vibes from this one show? Anyway, this may be one of the good yet scarce action animes we have this season. Just looking at the character designs was enough to assume that Redjuice was behind it long before confirmation. Having eye for detail is what makes the difference.

    By comparison, this society is complete opposite of how you’d imagine a futuristic city like, say, Psycho-Pass. And being a 12 episode series, I’m hoping the story will be clear and well construction because there needs to be an exception than only having nice visuals (Guilty Crown, Sword Art Online, [K]). The one fatal for all these futuristic animes is linking a planet wide network and other applications onto server/machine to keep society intact. They never seem to consider the consequences.

    Akane’s body structure defies that cute personality of hers, especially that butt. I inspected dat ass!! Her personality screams optimist even the most dire situations.

    Side note: Is anyone covering Mondaiji-tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru So Desu yo? It raised a few eyebrows.

    • lvlln says:

      I believe Redjuice actually only did tech concept designs, for example that hover motorcycle. The characters are Kazuhiro Takamura of Strike Witches fame.

  4. c2710 says:

    symmetrical docking?

  5. Yukarin_YY says:

    I was waiting for this so I could rant, please don’t kill me even if I’m bashing VO abit too hard ;A;

    kay, so for me, Vividred Operation, really really disappointed me. I was hoping it’d be SIMILAR to Strike Withces, not practically the same exact show.

    Main character’s father is dead. [CHECK]
    Main character’s family member invents plot device [CHECK]
    Little girls fighting aliens that shoot lasers [CHECK]
    MechaMahou Shoujo Scifi Action? [CHECK]
    14-year old Ass-shots everywhere [CHECK]

    But the episode was pretty enjoyable I guess, that HENSHIN SEQUENCE was pretty epic I have to say ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

    Tanegashima is getting quite a bit of attention lately, came out in Robotics;Notes too. Also, Akane is like Hijikata’s daughter or something.

    • BlackBriar says:

      Tokyo has been getting most of the attention (about 98%) in anime so they probably thought it was time to branch out into other Japanese territories. Even Kyoto and Osaka aren’t mentioned as frequently.

    • Karakuri says:

      Also, Akane is like Hijikata’s daughter or something.

      PFFTAHAHAHA I was totally thinking that too when she started piling the mayonnaise onto her rice. Why. Why do anime characters do such things. WHY.

      • Foshizzel says:


      • d-LaN says:

        Considering tht sometimes I mix rice with noodles…..

      • Overcooled says:

        Kotetsu from Tiger and Bunny also had a thing for mayo!

        I actually like it on rice, as long as I have some tonkatsu sauce as well. Then again, because I don’t make a giant MOUNTAIN OF MAYO I assume it’s not really that weird :B

    • skylion says:

      I make no apology….but you list my favorite selling points. One other’s junk and all…

      • Yukarin_YY says:

        the list isn’t about things I didn’t like, it’s a list of similarities with Strike Witches. I mean I like that too, but Vividred is basically Strike Witches, there’s barely any differences except different characters and setting :/

        • Foshizzel says:

          I think it is more Nanoha x Strike Witches because the Nanohoa magical girl series is known for their ultra perverted camera angles during the epic transformations! I know the first movie is well full on nudity during theirs hahah

        • skylion says:

          Muck like K-ON, Strike Witches is a franchise I will always chomp at the bit for.

        • Highway says:

          Being just a touch pedantic, I have to say that characters and setting are the main differences in most anime from others in their genre. I mean, if you wanted to come up with more of a similarity, mention that the bad alien-ish things are still black and shoot red laser beams. The other stuff is so generic that it could be a ton of other shows.

          • skylion says:

            It’s a fair cop.

          • Yukarin_YY says:

            Huu I guess you’re right, I just felt that the first episode was too similar to Strike Witches ep1.

            BUTT if it piques my interests in the later episodes I guess, I won’t place it on the BOTTOM of my list for this season to watch 😉 (Bandwagon on the buttocks jokes here)

          • skylion says:

            Tamako is already my new gravatar girl for the season. Hands down. Such a lovely character, isn’t she.

            • BlackBriar says:

              Where do you find these moe avatars? You give Fosh a good run for his money and he’s the king of moe.

            • skylion says:

              All kings must bow before someone….

            • BlackBriar says:

              @Skylion: Then that makes you the usurper. LOL. I feel a war making its way here.

            • Highway says:

              Hey, now, there’s plenty of room for more moe avatars. It’s not like you’re using up some limited resource of moe. Japan’s producing more of it every day than the world can handle!

            • skylion says:


            • Highway says:

              Dang Spammy!

  6. skylion says:

    I found one aspect of this program that did manage to strain my sense of disbelief. Recently I was reminded that the screen of a touch-gesture smartphone resists my attempts to input when I wear winter gloves. So…can the felt fingers of Grandpa Stuffed Otter do the same? Oh hail no.

    Great tag team Lady and Gentlemen. I’m am very certain, with the pedigree this show brings, they will deliver the goods. Whatever your value of the word “goods” happens to be, count on delivery. On a “Puppy” in dem pants. Dem Pants!

    On a personal note, I rather like the science-fantasy blend. Nothing Strike Witches oriented has yet to even begin to disappoint.


  7. Jrow says:

    That feature pic is so good, the heck with the season preview banner! XD

    Before this aired, I watched some Strike Witches and made it to ep. 6 before losing interest. Yukarin commented above about the similarities, but I came out liking this more than I thought I would. So much better production by A-1 than Gonzo a few years back.

    • skylion says:

      S2 of SW has the tru powah.

      • Highway says:

        Yeah, Season 2 was quite a bit better than Season 1 of Strike Witches. I had feared watching it cause I thought it would be sad, but it definitely wasn’t.

  8. fragb85 says:

    I like Akane and not because of the butt. Okay fine, its part of it but I was more fascinated by how she has an awesome fastball. Here’s hoping that’s actually relevant to her fighting skills next episode.

    • skylion says:

      +1 to this comment. That is a great aspect to her character, and is just the type of thing to make into a Chekov’s Gun.

    • lvlln says:

      Yeah, I’m a big baseball fan, and I’m excited to see how Akane’s pitching skills will come into play. Even not as a magical girl, seeing her kicking ass in baseball would be pretty cool.

  9. belatkuro says:

    Having never watched Strike Witches(don’t kill me pls), I go in this with low expectations despite the fame behind the character designer. With the first few seconds showing the first screencap, coupled with glaring points mentioned here about the reactor and more, plus the techno mahou shoujo transformation sequence, I guess I was right. Won’t stop me from watching and possibly enjoying this show. Let’s just hope I finish this before my palm leaves a permanent mark on my face. Whichever comes first I guess.

    Obligatory “DAT ASS” I guess as a finishing statement.

    • Foshizzel says:

      No worries! I am sure you are not alone in the “didn’t watch Strike Witches” group! Because it really is tough for most of us to get past panty shots in your face during every action scene…

      Yeah that was more of a tech-ish transformation than magical girl! Maybe it really is more like Star Driver?


      • skylion says:

        Tough?! That, my man, should never be tough…

        • Overcooled says:

          “most of us” was probably a bad choice of words lol.

          Hmm, maybe I should see if Strike Witches is my kind of thing now. I’m in the same boat as belatkuro in that I’ve never seen it either.

          • Highway says:

            Like skylion said earlier (and I agreed with) Strike Witches season 2 was better than season 1, in spite of ramping up the fanservice. It really does have a good mix of silliness with interesting story and likeable characters. A lot of the roughness of the first season is that it’s got a boatload of characters, and they spend significant time on all of them. And Perrine’s kind of a pain in the first season.

            All the characters get a lot more likeable in the second season, and Mio’s laugh is more tolerable (at least to me).

  10. Highway says:

    Man, that top picture is almost NSFW… I keep having to scroll by it to get to the recent comment box…

    • BlackBriar says:

      Hehehe, obviously a Meta tactic to attract readers and it’s paid off well with the number of commenters here. And a rather shocking number for a First Impression.

      • d-LaN says:

        I noticed…. the recent 1st impression post are flooded with comments….

        Yeah behold the powers of butt!

        • BlackBriar says:

          Hahaha, yeah. It’s all thanks to these epic conversations that have been pouring out lately. You should have been around a few hours ago. It was like every two minutes, my inbox got an e-mail with a reply to someone’s comment.

          How could anyone deny that butt? That picture at the heading of the post was hook, line and sinker.

  11. KLACMAN says:

    well um this a bit remind of strike witches but in future more bit difference.

    so akane give well give her dad is r.i.p. while mom is hospital & yea live her sister with grandpa who is inventor.

    yet one day cue some invasion attack which akane’s grandpa knew it coming so ready some project til boom he now in doll toy while body stuffed in fridge.

    give key to akane to key in save the world yet on the way oh akane has rescue her friend give fear of heights due 7yrs ago which got her & akane’s mom falling.

    give all charge to save her friend yet key is unlock a marching band outfit to ready save the day.

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