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