February 12, 2013

Vividred Operation Ep05

For a second there, I thought about doing a Nutshelling for this episode, too, but I decided against it.  After all, it's the Dark Girl's introduction episode, maybe they'll tell us where to get that great scarf... and perhaps we'll learn her name, too?  Oh, wacky Wonderduck, wanting so much out of your anime.  Next you'll be asking for "plot" and "characterization", too.  Like that'll happen in Vividred Operation!  So, to quickly recap: Team Aquos has been finalized, they've defeated all the Alones that have been thrown against the Phlebotinum Engine, Akane's a redheaded freak of nature... or is she?  I am of the opinion that her superhuman skills are in fact because she's not entirely human, but part Alone.  No, I have nothing to base that on, other than her being stronger and faster than any normal person should be.  We'll find out eventually... or not.  Oh, and Gendo Plushyferret is the bad guy in all of this.  Ooh, plot twist!  Well, he is in my version of the show, and I think I've got a good track record of my alternate versions being much better than the originals, no?  But, speaking of this show right here, Ep05 has already begun!  Let's see what's going on in the City Island of Townsville Izu Oshima, shall we?

As is normal for a morning, the RHF is out delivering newspapers on her flying bicycle; as we catch up with her, she's riding along the dock of the bay, watching the tide roll away, when suddenly... birds!

Well, bird.  Singular.  But there will be more, oh yes, many many more.  And early in the morning, they are very... very... hungry.  Somewhere offscreen, Alfred Hitchcock is rubbing his hands together eagerly. *ahem*  Excuse me.  Bird.  Flying near RHF.  Of course, this delights the RHF, who's probably more chipper about life than even Akari from ARIA.  But then, when you can convert to a magical girl with enough firepower to level very small countries, why shouldn't you be cheery?  And speaking of cheery...

Ohmygawd, it's Dark Girl... and she's smiling.  Yup, that seals it, she's my favorite character in this show, no matter what's going on.  She's currently being swarmed by seagulls, but that's nothing uncommon.  Anybody who's been to Seattle's waterfront and bought some french fries knows all about that.  Somewhere back at the Old Home Pond, there's a picture of me, standing outside Ivar's Acres of Clams Fish Bar ("Keep Clam!") with a french fry in my hand.  To my right, there's a gull swooping in to claim his nummy goodness from the side of the shot, while another gull is dive-bombing in from above and behind me.  And, having browsed Ivar's website, I've just discovered that you can order their clam chowder for home delivery... I think I might just have to do that, oh my heavens to betsy yes.  Many people claim that Boston clam chowder is the best, but I simply can not believe that, not after having Ivar's.  When I was out visiting friends in Seattle for a week, lo these many years ago when I had friends in Seattle, I literally had at least one bowl of Ivar's every single day... and felt bad that I couldn't have more.  When my departing flight was first delayed, then replaced after six hours on the ground (one of the friendly airline employees mentioned that an engine fell off the plane.  I assumed they were joking.), I was quite pleased... SeaTac had an Ivar's, after all!  Oh dear, I appear to have wandered off-topic once again. Let's get back to the story.  The RHF disturbs Dark Girl and her... I'm sorry, I can't not do this... her flock of seagulls, and...

...poof!  The flock of seagulls flies away, Dark Girl disappears from our view, leaving behind only one very confused RHF.  Oh, and an annoyed Wonderduck.  Really, if they wanted to rename this show Vivid Dark Girl Operations, I'd be fine with that.  If they had all the music done by '80s bands, I'd be really okay with that.  If some studio feels like doing this hypothetical series, I promise to do an episodic review.  If there's F1 cars and rubber ducks in it, I promise that the final episode's writeup would be the last thing ever posted here on The Pond.  Pinky swear.

Somewhere, a longtime reader of The Pond has just opened a kickstarter campaign to make that happen.  Hell, I'd kick in a fin or a sawbuck m'self, just because I could.  If you think about it, there's very little that would be cooler than to say "there was an anime made for the sole purpose of closing down my blog."  And by cooler, I mean "geekier".

A few hours after the encounter between RHF and Dark Girl, Team Aquos is having lunch on the roof of the school.  The finely manicured roof.  With trees and reflecting pools.  Japanese high schoolers get all the cool stuff!

Y'know, my high school had a tar-and-gravel roof that seriously hurt to walk on, let alone kneel on in shorts and thigh-high stockings.  Not that I ever wore thigh-high stockings in high school, and I'll just pause to let that oddly specific declaration sink in before continuing on.  It seems that the class is going to have, instead of a Summer Break, a field trip to a Summer Camp!  The whole class will break up into groups of four or five and do all the sort of things that you do at summer camp together.  Welp, pretty clear who's gonna be in Team Aquos' group, ain't it?  Of course, might be a problem if the Alone come while The Only People Who Can Fight Them are away at camp, but I'm sure everybody has thought of that already, right?  Sure, let's go with that.  While all the cool kids are having fun talking about smashing watermelons and tests of courage, RHF notices that Dark Girl is standing alone, well apart from everybody.  Nobody really knows much about her, but Wakaba says her name is Rei.  At this point, I'd like to mention something I said back in the Ep01 writeup: "Now, you'd think that little creation would be enough that a grateful world would gladly keep him well-stocked with Rei clones and lil' Evas, but no such luck."  Gendo Plushyferret has good taste, I think.

Anyhoodles, RHF approaches Dark Girl Rei, and asks if she'd like to join Team Aquos for the trip.  That offer is shot down in flames with a quiet "I'm fine by myself."  Yes you are, Rei, yes you are.  After school, RHF decides to tail the Dark Girl, just to see what she can learn about the enigmatic lass.

She gets to see her save a young boy from the attack of two traffic cones, vile creatures that they are.  No, wait, that's not right... a steel I-beam falls from the repairing of an apartment building destroyed by the attack of an Alone; even though Rei may very well have aided in that damage, what with her powerupping via magic arrow, she still feels guilt about it.  While the dust clears and the lucky, lucky boy stammers thanks, she leaves at a dead run.  RHF, having seen the whole thing, thinks she's really cool, but doesn't follow.  Cut to...

...Casa del Rei.  On the one hand, it's incredibly sparse and stark and dear heavens, she must be lonely in there.  On the other hand, her apartment has a pet bird that makes her smile.  Eh, we'll call it a draw.  But then something happens to freak the parakeet out. 

Rei seems to know what's going on, so she removes her kickass scarf and covers the cage with it.  In the process, she reveals strange feather-like markings on her neck, and it appears that some of them are missing.  She then turns to face the problem-causer.

It's Croooow!  Wow, all we need now is Gypsy, Cambot and Tom Servo and we'll have all the 'bots!  Mike was better than Joel.  Anyway, Croooow! accuses Rei of... saving that little boy?  Wha?  For whatever reason, this appears to be A Bad Thing, because its eyes glow red and...

...Rei goes down in a heap of agony.  Croooow! lectures Dark Girl about the penalty for failure, how she'll only get so many chances, and how it's all for the good of her "fallen world."  Que?  Then Eric Draven flies away, leaving a whimpering Rei behind.  Speaking of Rei's behind, she takes a shower buythedvds and confirms that her duty is to destroy the Phlebotinum Engine.  As she walks around in a towel buythedvds, she quietly states that she "doesn't need the Alones to do that."  Wait, hold up here... I think I've missed something.  A TALKING BIRD is telling Dark Girl to destroy the Phlebotinum Engine for the sake of "her world"?  The plot just went off the rails, I think.  Magical girls, okay.  Grampa zorched into a plush ferret, fine.  Even four teenage girls who aren't acting catty to each other, I can believe.  But a TALKING BIRD?  C'mon, who's kidding who here?  Anyway, cut to...

...Rei, attempting to destroy the Phlebotinum Engine alone... and she would have done it if it hadn't've been for those darn security robots!  Still, Dark Girl is hardly one to surrender that easily.

She whips out a Heckler & Koch MP5 and starts gunnin' down flying robots like they were clay pigeons.  Now, I've got a question here... where exactly can one find a MP5?  I mean, it's not like they grow on trees or anything, and it does beggar the imagination to think that Rei just found one lying around, the pistol she picks off the unconscious security guard to the contrary.  Really, I need to know these things... is there some Japanese "Weapons R Us" somewhere that antagonists get to shop at?

In this particular case she uses an exploding iPad to destroy all the robots save the one she's on... and pretty much that one, too.  It winds up auguring into a building near the water, and Rei bails out just in time.  Except she falls for a very long time before she splashes down, and while it's a kickass scarf, it isn't a parachute.  Vividdead Operation.

The next morning, Rei's lifeless body is found washed up on a beach, being pecked at by gulls.  She's found by... take a guess.  G'wan, you know you want to.  Yep, you're right: RHF herself.  Being the type of person she is, she bundles Dark Girl onto her flying bicycle and takes her home.  While unconscious, Dark Girl dreams of fire.

Her world being destroyed, her parents burning in the flames, and I'm beginning to form a bit of an idea here... maybe Croooow! was speaking metaphorically.  Not Rei's world in a literal sense, but her family and all she knew... her "world"... being destroyed by the same accident that killed RHF's father and put mom in the hospital somewhere.  Wouldn't that be a kick in the head?  Maybe RHF's mom is actually Ayu from Kanon '06, too, and this is all her dream!  They've both got red eyes, after all.  And maybe I'm overtired.

When she wakes up, she's in RHF's home; the doc said she needs to rest.  Well, yeah, being dead can do that to a girl.  It isn't for a few moments that she realizes that something important to her is missing: the key she wears around her neck, which I haven't bothered to show you... can't show y'all everything, there's not enough time in the day for that.  Suffice to say, it's the key from her family's house, which is gone now, and it's really precious to her.  While she begins to hyperventilate, RHF's phone rings; it's from her teacher-ex-fighter-jock, Ms Amagi calling to tell her of a probable Alone having been sighted.  While she takes that call, however...

Rei takes a call of her own... from Croooow!, who's wondering why she's goofing off.  She's got people to see, things to do, Alones to shoot with a magic arrow to make them even more powerful so they can eat the Phlebotinum Engine.

Speaking of Alones, here's this week's alien life form, looking for all the world like a neon-lined version of the University of Oregon's wordmark.  Quickly enough, all four of Team Aquos are winging their way towards it, while unseen, Dark Girl staggers to a place where she can see the goings-on... and she remembers.

She remembers being told by Croooow! that the Phlebotinum Engine had an accident that killed everybody and destroyed her world, but The Others are willing to bring it all back (so much for my theory) if she'll help them.  And as she stands there, bow in hand, ready to shoot a magical arrow into the Alone to power it up...

...she passes out from her injuries.  Today I learned that a bow made of crow feathers and a magic arrow with no form clank and clatter like someone dropped a dozen frying pans down a flight of stairs.  I also learned that someone can faceplant into the turf without any additional damage.  Oh, I also learned that when an Alone is faced by four magical girls without being powered up, it dies so quickly we don't even get to see the fight scene.  When Rei finally wakes up...

...Team Aquos found her key!  She completely forgets that she failed (again) to destroy this world, she's so happy.  You can tell she's happy, right?  Once again, RHF tries to get her to join Team Aquos during the summer camp (remember that?  From a long time ago?), and once again, she's all "aw hell naw."  She leaves, RHF is perplexed, and all is weird with the world.  Later that day...

...RHF and Momo go to visit mom in the hospital.  Mom's kinda hot, actually, and doesn't look very sick at all, though since this is anime, she's probably got a case of anime disease.  My word but that was an awkward sentence.  Probably just as awkward to read as it was to write, like as not.  Anyway, that's how the episode ends: Dark Girl alone, RHF with her family.  Fade to black, roll credits.

Best darn episode so far.

Next episode: more zombies!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 12:02 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 2392 words, total size 17 kb.

1 When did you wear them?

Posted by: brickmuppet at February 14, 2013 02:26 PM (vp6an)

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