February 26, 2013

Vividred Operation Ep06

Okay, right, here we are, only a week late.  Not so bad, really... at least I'm still keeping up with the show.  Sure, it's not the perfect situation, which would involve the writeup being completed using only the mental power of my massive, pulsating brain, but it's close.  Oh, and codfish.  There would be some nice beer-battered cod with a tasty tartar sauce involved in a perfect situtation, too.  On Friday, after the business trip was officially over but while I was still in Chicago, I had dinner at The Cheesecake Factory with three managers who had their flights cancelled, and I can recommend their fish 'n' chips.  Which is not to be confused with fission chips, which tend to go bang when you dip them in tartar sauce.  They don't mention that in nuclear physics class.  Speaking of not mentioning things in Physics class...

...have these glasses from Gurren Lagann become an anime meme, or what?  After seeing the Red Headed Freak out the door as she heads to summer camp, lil' sister Momo and Gendo Plushyferret chat for a second about "beginning the operation," and out come the glasses.  What's really annoying is that I hated Gurren Lagann, yet it's hailed as a masterpiece of the mecha genre, if not anime as a whole.  I just don't get it.  Oh well, so it goes.

But that's a discussion for another day.  For now, there is Vividred Operation.  Which, I hasten to point out, is not considered a masterpiece of any genre.  Unless the genre is "butt shots of middleschoolers," in which case it's groundbreaking.  And deeply, deeply troubling.  You'll note, of course, that I'm still working on it, so maybe not so troubling as all that.

I just noticed that I didn't manage to get a link to the Ep05 writeup in the intro, so here it is.  Go back, read it, I thought it was pretty decent.  Maybe leave a comment.  I like comments.  Comments are nice.  Like pie.  Pie is nice.  I like pie.  I like cake better, though.  I like cheesecake the most.  Would you believe that when I was at The Cheesecake Factory, I didn't get any cheesecake?  I'm not wearing any pants.

Welcome to Shikine Island, home of... um... er... well, not a whole lot.  The summer camp for the girls, I assume.  According to wikipedia, some 600 people call the place home.  Seeing how Team Aquos has just arrived, I suspect that all of them will be looking for alternative housing arrangements in the immediate future.  Dark Girl Rei, instead of looking excited like the rest, quietly moves her way through it all.  The RHF looks on sadly.

Answering a question I had last episode, the ex-fighter-pilot/teacher collects all the Prius Keys, saying "the safety of the world depends on these... what if you lost them in the ocean?"  By that logic, shouldn't she keep them all the time?  And what makes HER the paragon of all safety, anyway?  Still, Team Aquos cheerfully turns over the things that make them special and unique in all the world and galumph off to the dormitory.  Once they are out of earshot, she makes a phone call...

...to a sub in the harbor, a sub piloted by Gendo Plushyferret and lil' sis' Momo.  Amidst his self-important chuckles and backpatting, we discover that this is all a training operation for Team Aquos.  Since their power as Vividthingies is in direct relation to the strength of their friendship, it's time for a teambuilding exercise.  That'll be followed by some roleplaying, then a dinner with a motivational speaker.  Shoot me now.  Please, just shoot me now.

Their first task as summer campers is to clean the beach!  In swimsuits, of course.  There is much amazement at the size of Himawari's huge tracts of land... remember, she's in middle school.  RHF approaches Dark Girl Rei... again... and is shot down... again.  I know, I know, "power of friendship" and all that, but sometimes there are just people you can't be friends with.  In this case, the plot won't allow it.  Speaking of which...

Hot Dark Girl Rei is sitting on a rocky promontory, being kind to hermit crabs (and in that bikini, hermits in general) when she notices something out of the ordinary in the ocean nearby.  A submarine.  Piloted by a plushyferret.  After a moment of confusion...

...Gendo Plushyferret hits her with a taser and she's out like a light.  Today I learned that one can go face-first onto a rocky promontory and you won't be hurt.  Must be the kick-arse scarf.  Anyhoodles, we find out that Gendo is just winging it now; it'd be bad if Hot Dark Girl Rei raised a fuss about the submarine, and now she can be used in the Training Operation, add a bit more verisimilitude to it.  Gendo Plushyferret is an evil genius.  I'm tellin' you, he's the show's real antagonist.  You'll see... you'll see.  Meanwhile, back at the beach...

Himawari is one of those people.  You know, the ones who see a button marked "don't push" and must push it.  The train may stop, every alarm in the city may go off, the world may come to a sudden and catastrophic end, and yet the urge to push the button  is overpowering.  Self-destructive, that's what it is.  You know that sooner or later, she'll push a button that really shouldn't be pressed and something very bad will occur.  As an aside, I'd like to point out something: middle school.  Himawari presses the button.

Gendo Plushyferret made this swimsuit for the RHF.  Seeing the results of the buttonpress, are any of us surprised by this revelation?  Of COURSE everybody has a sudden need to get out of the sun.  I want so badly to make a "getting into her swimsuit" joke, but I reiterate: middle school.

Gendo Plushyferret made this swimsuit for the RHF.  Considering the look on their faces, are any of us surprised by this revelation?  In case you were confused, that isn't RHF's elbow there.  Embarrassed, squicked, and I'm sure not in the least bit excited and Aoi I'm looking at you here, they climb out of RHF's suit which is not something I expected to be typing today as it slowly deflates.  Why in the world would anybody think this is a good idea for a swimsuit?  Gendo Plushyferret needs to have a serious sit-down right over there.  Some minutes later, Team Aquos has gone back to pickin' up the garbage, while refusing to make eye contact with each other, when...

...they are confronted by this... thing.  In a voice that's clearly a poorly-disguised Gendo Plushyferret, it says its name is "Alan", and he's taken Hot Dark Girl Rei hostage.  Like good schoolgirls, they immediately tell their teacher.  The police and Japanese Self Defense Force is called in, the submarine is depth-charged, and the whole thing ends in tragedy when the body of Momo is discovered on the beach a few days later, clutching half of Gendo Plushyferret.  Or... Team Aquos jumps in a nearby zodiac and zooms off to the rescue.

No, nothing ominous about that island whatsoever.  And, for the record, there was never any thought of going to get their Prius Keys... they just hopped in the boat and went off to stick their heads in the trap.  They even acknowledge that it's a trap, and still they go anyway.  I'm not sure if that's bravery or stupidity... or if there's any difference between the two.  Hardly an original thought, of course, but still one that's appropriate for the show.  Might be the ONLY thing appropriate about Vividred Operation, come to think of it.  Still, Team Aquos has two things going for it.  One, their strong friendship.  Two...

...their opponent is a stuffed ferret.  Right!  Advantage: Team Aquos.  After a boat ride of indeterminate length (i.e., the commercial break), Our Heroes have arrived on the unnamed island, which I shall call the Island of Doom, and begun their search for the missing Hot Dark Girl Rei and her kickarse scarf.  They quite soundly decide to stick together for defensive purposes.  No sooner do they decide this than they are attacked by "an Alone."  Never mind that it looks nothing like any of the other Alones they've faced, and is clearly of a lower tech level, RHF calls it an Alone.  Wakaba, aka Kendo Girl, showing off her great teamwork skills...

...kills it solo.  Remember what I said about Himawari and pressing buttons?  Well, gosh, there's a button on "the Alone" labeled "Don't Push."  Quiz Time!  What do you think Himawari does? 
A) Presses the button.
B) Doesn't press the button.
C) Points out that an "alien" has a button marked "don't push" in kanji on it.
D) Petitions to get out of this dumb show.
If you said "B", you obviously haven't actually been reading this writeup, have you?  If you chose "C", I want to watch your version of Vividred Operation.  "D" is clearly wrong, because that would be smart.  Of COURSE she presses the button, an act that releases thousands of bug-sized spy drones.  Did I mention that Wakaba is scared of bugs?

She freaks and runs off into the jungle-forest-thing, scooping up Himawari in the process.  Just Himawari.  This is "sticking together for defensive purposes?"  Obviously, she's never played D&D: you never, ever split the party.  While RHF and Aoi try to figure out what just happened...

...Hot Dark Girl Rei and her kickarse scarf has regained consciousness.  Her first thought is "where am I?"  Answer: in a poorly thought-out anime.  Her second thought is: "did they figure out who I am?"  Answer: you're in a poorly thought-out anime.  She investigates her surroundings, and her eyes linger on a set of silverware.  Meanwhile, down in the forest-jungle-thing...

...Vividred Operation is stealing plot devices from good movies.  On one hand, I give them credit for doing so; it shows that the Production Staff understands the concept of "good".  On the other hand, c'mon, isn't the Rolling Ball of Doomy Doom a wee bit overdone?  Particularly outdoors, where all they have to do is GET OFF THE DAMN PATH and it'll roll past them?  Just when all seems lost, a butterknife comes slicing through the air and into the RBoDD, revealing it to be... a balloon?  A muffled voice tells the two of them to "get out of here, now!"  Then a figure disappears into the forest-jungle-thingy.

Aoi, revealing herself to be no dummy, immediately recognizes this to be Hot Dark Girl Rei and her kickarse scarf-facewrap.  RHF, on the other hand, just gushes over how cool that was and wonders who it was.  Not to worry you or anything, but the safety and protection of our world is in the hands of someone as observant and clever as a pile of unbuttered toast.  Meanwhile...

Wakaba and Himawari have somehow gotten themselves caught on a treadmill... in a canyon... that leads to a cliff.  Just how, exactly, they managed this monumental feat is left entirely up to you, the reader at home.  I say this because no matter how hard I try I can't come up with any rational or irrational method for getting them caught in this trap.  We also learn that Himawari's bikini provides absolutely zero support for her huge tracts of land.  And then...

...a flashing fork saves the day.  Whaddya know, the world's first self-rescuing hostage!  Unsurprisingly, since they are awake and aware of their surroundings, both Himawari and Wakaba recognize Hot Dark Girl Rei on sight.  Back at Island of Doom HQ, Gendo Plushyferret is getting furious at the way the tests are going for Team Aquos and decides to let loose the Robot Bear!

Which Aoi curbstomps by dropping a rock on its head.  Tah-dah!  All the noise and commotion brings Team Aquos back together, and all is right with the world, yay.  As you can imagine, Gendo Plushyferret has now gone past furious and is now at "apoplectic."  He decides that he'll face Team Aquos himself!

In a battlesuit that looks so familiar that I suspect I'm missing a joke somewhere.  Seriously.  Anyway, Gendo Plushyferret's first attack is thwarted by Hot Dark Girl Rei and her kickarse scarf, so he moves right to the big supercannon imbedded in the battlesuit's abdomen.  RHF gets someone to press her swimsuit's inflation button, runs at the mech and dives headlong into the supercannon, just as it's about to fire!

The suit inflates, the gun backfires, the mech explodes, and all is right with the world, right?  Well, no, because the RHF is incinerated by the backblast, her atoms scattered to the winds.  The success of the Vivid System dies with her, as does our world.  Way to go, Gendo!  Or...

...discretion branch.  I sincerely and earnestly hope this isn't redrawn for the blu-ray.  Jump ahead a few hours; we're back at the beach.  As Gendo Plushyferret apologizes to his granddaughter...

...the rest of Team Aquos catches up to Hot Dark Girl Rei and her kickarse scarf and apologizes to her for his prank... and then thanks her for getting them out of the various traps alive.  Rei stammers that she doesn't know what they're talking about and stalks off to be alone, the way she's meant to be.  This prompts a "what a weirdo" from Himawari, which is supposed to be funny, I suppose.  Because loners are automatically weirdos, right?  Just because I prefer rubber ducks to human beings doesn't make me a weirdo, sister.

I'm talking to a character in an anime.

THAT makes me a weirdo, doesn't it?


On that note, the episode ends.  That painfully stupid episode, and I don't mean "stupid for Vividred Operation," I mean just stupid.  For those who appreciated the fanservice, I point out: middle school.  Just flat-out bad.  Not fun-bad, plain-old bad. 

Next episode: more zombies.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:21 PM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
Post contains 2319 words, total size 18 kb.

1 Himawari seems to be in charge of Gainaxing, and she's really good at it.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at February 26, 2013 11:57 PM (+rSRq)

2 When I got to that first shot you grabbed of Rei, I knew that would be a lead pipe cinch to be in a certain someones top rotation thing...

The sad thing about Himawari is that most of the time, especially in the opening credits, she runs like Hank Venture.

Posted by: Mauser at February 27, 2013 04:27 AM (cZPoz)

3 Yo. *raises hand* I hated Gurren Lagann, too.  Except for the awesome character design of Yoko.  Which brings me back to VividRed, because Yoko was fourteen.

Posted by: Ben at February 27, 2013 03:00 PM (/Mdmg)

4 This year's trend appears to be "artists drawing ill-fitting swimsuits that would cause injury to their wearers," so "mad scientists designing ill-fitting swimsuits that hurt everyone around them" is a natural anime progression.

Posted by: Suburbanbanshee at February 27, 2013 07:59 PM (cvXSV)

5 Ben, you're not alone. I got about 7 episodes into it and simply couldn't tolerate the idiocy any longer. I've never had any urge to go back to it.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at February 27, 2013 10:24 PM (+rSRq)

6 Philistines!  Gurren Lagann was almost as awesome as Kimi ni Todoke!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at February 28, 2013 01:52 AM (PiXy!)

7 Never watched that one, either.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at February 28, 2013 09:39 AM (+rSRq)

8 KnT is great, even awesome, but it's demo focused and is ridiculously drawn out. It gave up before the end of the 1st season. However, it's one of the few franchizes that my Japanese coworkers generally know about. That means going level with Jojo, One Piece, and Gundam. Gurren-Lagann and even Naruto do not have the same mainstream recognition.

Posted by: Pete at February 28, 2013 12:42 PM (RqRa5)

9 Wow.  Now it gets awkward.  I adore Kimi ni Todoke.  But, yeah, it could be shorter.  And it has the second-season, everything-was-roses-but-now-there-is-a-dark-cloud-hanging-over-the-relationship-that-might-mean-their-love-is-doomed plot.  But it's just a hangnail.  Or something.

Posted by: Ben at March 01, 2013 07:11 PM (/Mdmg)

10 Yeah, the second season was unnecessary - which is probably the worst thing you can say about a sequel.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at March 02, 2013 12:06 AM (PiXy!)

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