January 21, 2013

Vividred Operation Ep02

It's time once again for everybody's favorite hyperintelligent duck to shamelessly give the business to an innocent, unsuspecting anime.  I'll admit some reluctance to use the term "innocent" to describe Vividred Operation, as it seems very much like the Production Staff's familiarity with the word is passing at best.  Still, that's what makes these things so much fun, right?  I suppose an argument can be made that using the word "fun" to describe these episodic writeups may not be appropriate, but that's not for me to say.  I just write 'em and let you, my intelligent, good looking, well-dressed readers, make the call.  By the way, have I mentioned how great your hair looks?  Because it's flat-out amazing.  How do you get it to do that feathering-and-flip thing?  Seriously, I envy you your hair.

We pick up Ep02 pretty much where we left off in Ep01, with Akane (left) ascended to Magical Girl status amd Aoi (right) gazing lovingly into her eyes.  Just then, Gendo Plushyferret says that the two of them are the only people in the world that can fight the alien invaders, and they've got to prepare for docking.  Docking?  As in "symmetrical docking"?  I've completely changed my mind about this series, I'm all over it now!

Man, Vividred Operation has really moved into the big leagues now: it's got an OP and everything!  Too bad I'll never watch it... I actually (almost) never watch a show's OP, simply because of the spoilers that are usually contained therein.  That is, if I actually care about the series; if I don't, I'll watch once.  Yes, I know there are series where the OP is part of the show (the ARIA franchise) or changes every episode (the most recent HidaSketch); obviously that's different.  But in general, I'd rather be surprised.  Okay, now that I've got that out of my system, where's my docking?

DDG-82 is the USS Lassen, an Arleigh Burke-class ship homeported at Yokosuka since 2005.  She now has improved airflow through her superstructure and sightlines port-to-starboard are somewhat better, too.  This may be important; the Lassen hit an anchored pleasure craft in harbor back in 2009; no damage or injuries resulted to either ship involved.  I wonder if someone on the Production Staff was on board the pleasure craft, because the Lassen goes boom quite impressively moments later.  This loss, in full view of Akane and Aoi, forces the girls' hands... it's dockin' time!

Gendoferret is just toying with us.  On the bright side, now Aoi has a Prius, too.  Hey, wait... didn't Gendoferret say that there was only one key, that Akane was the only one who can fight the Alone?  I mean, sure, the Vivid System may very well have just created it, but the Mad Scientist didn't seem surprised by that.  Okay, there's something hinky happening with Gendoferret, I think, and perhaps we'll find out more about that later... right now, it's Magical Girl time!

Right, Vivid Blue, I guess.  I want there to be a Vivid Plaid, or a Vivid Paisley, somewhere down the line.  No, I don't care that "plaid" or "paisley" aren't colors.  No, I don't care that I'm being irrational, it's my blogpost and I suspect that soon enough I'm going to deserve such things from the Production Staff.  For now, though, Aoi squeals about how cute her outfit is, all the while not noticing the increasing red glow coming from behind her.

Back when I was going to grad school, my favorite bar, Susan's, was just a couple of blocks away from my apartment, easy walking distance.  One rainy night, I was visiting a friend who lived a block away from my place, and on the way home decided to swing by Susan's for a drink and some pleasant conversation with others from the Theatre department.  To get there, I needed to cross a city parking lot.  About halfway across, I had the strangest feeling, one of all the hair on my body standing on end.  Now remember, I was a lighting designer back then, no stranger to electricity, and there was no doubting what was going on in my mind: lightning.  Now, I was hardly the tallest thing in the parking lot (the parking lot's lights were substantially taller), but I didn't want to take any chances, so I started running.  Surrounding the lot was a low wall, maybe two feet tall or so, separating the lot from the sidewalk; there was also a strip of grass on the sidewalk side of the wall.  I jumped over the wall at full tilt, then dove into the grass, right next to the wall, just as God's Own Flashbulb went off over the parking lot.  One of the parking lot light towers had been hit, maybe fifty feet from where I had taken cover.  I never heard the thunder.  All I heard was an almighty snap, like someone shattered a bundle of steel rebar.  I tell you all this to explain what I mean when I suggest that Akane and Aoi are hearing the snap right about now.

Meanwhile, lil' sis Momo cowers in the emergency shelter, unable to tell what's going on but somewhat safe... though considering what the glowing red marshmallows the Alone is shooting can do, nobody is truly safe, and wouldn't THAT be a kick in the head?  As it is, the City Island of Townsville Izu Oshima, which Don says is a real, volcanic, island, is taking a beating from stray red glowy marshmallows, and Akane is just displeased as all get-out because of it.  One of her access screens appears, shows her the image of something, and she yells "Operation Naked Rang."  Um... whut?  Look, I can deal with the buttshots, but I think naked middleschoolers might be a little too difficult to explain away.

Oh.  It's a magical weapon, a boomerang-thingy.  Phew.  Though why "naked", I don't know and don't really want to know.  I just hope that, eventually, she generates a "naked gun."  I'd pay good money for that, and it'd make whatever episode it occurs in SO much easier to do the writeup for.  It'd really write itself.  Hey look, it's Enrico Pallazzo!  And oh, by the way, the naked rang can deflect the marshmallows AND hurt the Alone.  Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the normal F-22 Raptors flying around. 

This is Q105, just another Raptor that's been zorched by a marshmallow.  Instead of exploding like an overcooked kernel of popcorn, however, it plummets out of control, the pilot trapped in the cockpit.  Ruing the day he was born, pounding at the inside of the canopy, he knows his death is imminent and there's not a single thing he can do about it.  To make matters worse, on his way down he sucks Aoi into an air intake, removing half of the magical girls from the world.  Make a note: turning a magical girl into a fine red mist is an effective way to deal with them.  That could be important.  Oh, and he's going to crash into a passing aircraft carrier.

Okay, so Aoi wasn't sucked into an air intake.  Impaled on the front of the Raptor, yes, but not sucked into the engine.  So Q105 will go to his death knowing that he's damaged the chances of the Earth to defend itself by killing half of the extant magical girls.  And an aircraft carrier.

OR she lowers it safely to the deck of the carrier.  Yeah, let's go with that instead, it's a better result that way.  For the record, F-22s are not carrier-capable, its landing gear is not extended, and it's been zorched by the Alone... yep, this plane is going over the side as soon as they get Q105 out of the cockpit.  At least, I hope they wait that long.

Of course, Aoi gets her own weapon, "Naked Impact."  Sure, that's what they call it, but we all know what its real name is.  Guess magical items need part-time jobs, too.  You'll note that Naked Impact is heavy enough to put a crater in the flight deck... at least, I HOPE it's because of the hammer.  Aoi might be well-packed, but I doubt she's that weighty.  Graf Eisen Naked Impact is also rocket powered and uses this ability to deflect glowy marshmallows.

Fear the cute ones.  Aoi goes from meek, quiet, nearly subservient to the second coming of Chuck Norris as soon as she gets Graf Eisen Naked Impact in her hands.  Exulting in their power, the two magical girls go off to do bad things to the Alone.  This gives rise to a wonderful scene, as the commander of the Ultimate Phlebotinum Engine asks the surviving military units in the area to support the two flying little girls in their attack on the Alone.

Formation flying has never been so much fun!  Turns out the F-22s can hurt the bad guy, as long as one of the magical girls opens a hole in the thing's armor first.  Oddly, it falls to Aoi to notice the "weak point" of the attacking alien, to whit:

...you have got to be kidding me.  It's a male alien, and two little girls are about to kick it in the crotch?  Fertheluvva...  ANYWAY, a combination of Naked Rang and F-22 missiles blows the groinacological region off the Alone, which made me wince and cross my legs.

The darkened Alone goes limp, flaccid and lifeless.  Now is the time to finish it... what?  What worse can you do to it?  Oh wait... it's DOCKING TIME!  Gendo Plushyferret simply says "Kiss Akane."  Aoi gets flustered, while Akane is all "you betcha!"  Methinks something just ain't right with that girl... or is very very right, one of the two.

It turns out that Gendo meant "kiss her on the forehead."  I'm not sure if I'm happy about that or not.  I mean, middleschoolers for god's sake.  Aoi leans forward, plants a kiss on Akane's forehead, there's a flash of light, and...

...naked middleschoolers!  I don't think I'll be buying the BDs when they come out, y'know?  The dialogue doesn't help, with Aoi saying that she can feel something flowing into her... and they can see each other's memories, to boot.  There's nothing I can say that won't make me sound like more of a pervert than I already do, so I'll move on to the point where their Docking FAILS, blowing them both across the sky.  Like just about every middleschooler I've ever known, Akane bitches at her grandfather that it's broken.

It isn't.  The problem is the strength of their friendship... one of them is subconsciously rejecting Docking.  We then get a flashback to a couple of years ago, when they first met.  Akane nearly killed Aoi with one of her thrown newspapers, and gave her a tomato in apology.  Very nice, yes yes, but why can't they Dock?  Gendoferret digs into the software, while asking to make sure that the two of them aren't hiding anything from each other.  Of course they aren't!  Hmph, the nerve of that plush ferret.

Meanwhile, the Dark Girl from the beginning of Ep01 appears, standing on top of a nearby lighthouse with a clearly magical bow.  She shoots the glowing arrow at the crotch-kicked Alone, hits it cleanly, and...

...it powers up again.  I am not going to say a word about the camera angle.  What's the point?  It's going to happen again, and again, and again.  Drawing attention to it is just giving the Production Staff what they want.

Right, now the Angels from Evangelion are taking part-time jobs, too.  How much are Gainax paying their staff?  It's not like Eva isn't the biggest cash cow of all anime history, they should be able to give their actors a living wage, don't you think?  The Angel Alone goes glowymarshmallowbeamspammy, making pretty much everything in the vicinity get all 'splody and stuff, including...

...the City Island of Townsville Izu Oshima!  Akane goes nuts, attacking the Angel Alone alone.  Unsurprisingly, this fails and draws a nasty counterattack, which Aoi only just barely deflects at the cost of being caught in a huge explosion.  Clearly, it's way out of their league, and without being able to Dock, they're doomed.  DOOMED!  Finally, Aoi breaks down and tells the secret she's been hiding... she hates tomatoes. 

The world nearly ended because a little girl didn't want to admit that she hates tomatoes because she didn't want to hurt the feelings of her friend... teenagers.  Feh!  FEH, I say!  However, it's DOCKING TIME!

There is something seriously wrong with the Production Staff.

Operation Vivid Blue is complete, and I cry 'foul.'  Since it's a joining of Red and Blue, shouldn't it be Vivid Purple?  I'm not one to question the translators, since I don't understand Japanese more than a few words, but is it really blue in the script?  Anyway, Vivid Not-Blue has an even bigger Graf Eisen Naked Impact, and just curb-stomps the Angel Alone.

We're talking one-hit kill territory here, folks.  Thwack, boom, game over.  The dark girl grumbles as Vivid Not-Blue is proud of itself and we fade to black...

...and come up again with the girls going to school, and of course they're running late.  Momo chastises her sister for sleeping in, but Akane has a pretty good comeback: "I spent the entire day fighting that evil monster."  FINALLY, a realistic magical girl!  One that takes advantage of their powers for the occasional personal gain... it's about freakin' time.  When they get near school, Aoi comes running up... something bad has happened!

The school was totally zorched by a glowymarshmallow!  Oh.  I thought you said something bad happened!  C'mon, we all know that when we were kids, we would have given anything to see our schools destroyed, admit it!  While the girls act all sad and stuff (while inwardly exulting), a cardoor nearby opens and out steps... the female fighter pilot from Ep01?

"You're going to have to transfer schools."  Cue general confusion and fade to black, roll credits.

Well, nothing surprising in this episode.  Fun, no question, but nothing surprising.  Even the hinkyness of the Production Staff isn't all that surprising.  It hasn't done anything to change my opinion of the show, though.  Looking forward to Ep03!  See ya then!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:31 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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I think those are supposed to be F-35's. And having the two girls flying in formation with several of them was pretty awesome.

An interesting thing about the dark haired girl: she has something that looks like a glowing flower on her collar, and one of the petals on it went away when she fired her bow. It's like she has a limited number of shots, and she just used one up.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 22, 2013 12:00 AM (+rSRq)

2 Nitpicking, Steven?

Posted by: Wonderduck at January 22, 2013 12:43 AM (cymHZ)

3 Sorry...

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 22, 2013 04:44 AM (+rSRq)

4 Suddenly I'm reminded of the cheering children in Megas XLR when the school gets smashed...

And clearly the magical girls have something like superman's "Strength Field" that lets them lift Raptors by the radome without snapping it off.

Looking at the damage to the carrier deck... I wonder if there's a TV Tropes for "Everything is made of stone" based on the way things break into concrete rubble when smashed.

Posted by: Mauser at January 22, 2013 05:51 AM (cZPoz)

5 Totally F-35. It only has a single engine. It doesn't look like it has the port for the VTOL jet, so it's not that version. It may very well be the naval version.

And now I shall demonstrate my nerdery: The first thought I had when I saw those F-22 looking things in the first episode was, "I thought those weren't going to be exported..." The second thing was that they only had one engine, upon which I actually looked it up.

And symmetrical docking...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward at January 22, 2013 08:49 AM (xsott)

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