Vividred Operation Episode 2: When They Overlap
“Missiles couldn’t hit it, but flying little girls can?!”
Aoi gains the ability to manifest her own Palette Suit, and together with Akane they defeat the Alone with the help of the military by exposing and destroying its core. However, a mysterious girl provides energy to the Alone and reboots it in a stronger form, prompting Kenjirou to ask Akane and Aoi to perform a Docking to gain the power to fight the new Alone.
Ahahahaha, everything about this episode surpassed my expectations of exactly how much of the mahou shoujo genre would be integrated into this show – and the answer is “a lot”. From the activation keywords required for Akane or Aoi to transform and don their Palette Suits (Ignition! Texture On!) to the themes of love, friendship and magic, Takamura seems to have taken a leaf out of the standard mahou shoujo plot devices during the creation of Vividred Operation. Even personalised weapons that you had to materialise were present, though they could have probably been more tactfully named in comparison to Naked Rang (which is, unsurprisingly, a boomerang) or the hammer
Graf Eisen Naked Impact. Of course, the military and the navy can’t even put a scratch on a single Alone, while what the air force call “flying little girls” can apparently deal massive damage from one throw of a boomerang. What’s probably significant is that the Manifestation Engine is sending energy to power-up Akane and Aoi’s Palette Suits – and it’s in that sense that the Engine was a by-product of this current project Kenjirou is working on, as it was originally used as a method to generate the massive amounts of power needed by the Palette Suits. Anyway, Takamura’s taken his inspiration from Strike Witches yet again during the process of killing an Alone – you have to expose and destroy the core of a Neuroi Alone in order to shut it down for good, otherwise they’ll keep regenerating. Wow, that was predictable.
The way Akane and Aoi’s friendship began was another example of the mahou shoujo genre at its finest – introducing tomatoes, the fruit which is to be the epitome of female friendship and the driving force behind it all xDDD Look at all this potential yuri fanservice! A chance meeting as Akane skilfully lobs newspapers from long-range eventually evolves into a friendship that will last much, much longer, between the ojou-sama of a large mansion and the impoverished Akane living with Kenjirou and Momo. A bit of me did hope to see something dark or ominous about Aoi’s inability to perform a Docking with Akane, though it’s not the kind of thing this show would focus on. What a Docking was exactly was left ambiguous until now as well – and it turned out to be a literal fusion of Akane and Aoi into a more powerful magical girl, with Aoi’s giant hammer becoming even bigger. It’s very similar to performing Unisons in Nanoha StrikerS I suppose, and calling it “Operation Vivid Blue” gives us a hint over the naming of the show. It was pretty cool yet cheesy at the same time, and Strike Witches vibes were everywhere, though the speed of the battle has yet to live up to the fluid, fast-paced manoeuvres performed by the girls in their Striker Units.
What was more ominous was the reappearance of the girl with her blatant ass-shot – who has the power to restart Alones despite their core being destroyed, and elevate them to a higher level that neither Akane nor Aoi can combat by themselves. I’d seriously thought she would have been a supporting character instead of an antagonist Akane and her friends will have to face – because usually in these shows about unexplained alien invasions, lack of communication with the invaders results in more fighting and the incapability to resolve the problem, as both sides can’t understand each other. With this mysterious girl helping the Alones, perhaps we’ll eventually get some reasoning and explanation behind why Blue Island and the Engine are being attacked.