Anime: Vividred Operation aka: Vivid Red Operation
From left to right, Aoi Futaba, Akane Isshiki, Rei Kuroki (behind Akane), Wakaba Saegusa and Himawari Shinomiya.
"Isn't the world a nice place?"
Vividred Operation is an anime that is directed by Kazuhiro Takamura (who previously directed Strike Witches), and began airing on January 11, 2013.In a futuristic world where the development of a new power source, the Manifestation Engine, resulted in the resolution of an energy crisis five years previously and rendered warfare unnecessary. Akane Isshiki is a girl who lives a peaceful life with her family on the island of Ima Oshima, but when the appearance of the unknown alien force, the Alone, threatens the world and the Manifestation Engine, Akane must take up a special combat suit created by her grandfather, known as the Vivid System, and defend the world.The series is available for streaming on Crunchyroll and on Hulu. A Vividred OperationLicensed Game for Playstation 3 titled Vividred Operation: Hyper Intimate Power was released on the Japanese PlayStation Network on July 20th, 2013. A minigame titled Vividred Operation: Operation: Mayonaisse with Akane was released on the Japanese Playstation Network on March 28th, 2013.
Vividred Operation provides examples of:
Absent-Minded Professor: Kenjirou is a professor who had participated in the development of the Manifestation Engine and is shown to be a talented researcher who may forget family meals while involved on his projects. Following an accident, his body literally become absent of mind as his consciousness gets transferred into a doll.
Annoying Laugh: Akane's laughter has a distinct pattern some may find grating.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Rei must meet three conditions for the Alone to revive her parents. She must help them destroy the Manifestion Engine, she must not get involved with others, and she must attend school.
Art Shift: The Vivids are more vivid than even its surroundings, which is an impressive feat, considering that the latter already quite colourful.
Awful Truth: Akane and company are shocked that Rei is responsible for powering up the Alones.
Bad Boss/Kick the Dog: The Crow's first appearance is her inflicting magical torment to Rei, because Rei saved someone and The Crow doesn't like that. Not to mention that she wants Rei to support the Alone, despite there being less collaterally damaging methods to destroy the Manifestation Engine.
She does it again when they duel on the beach, only this time she isn't wearing her palette suit.
Barrier Warrior: All of the girls' weapons can parry the Alone's beam attacks, but Himawari's Naked Collider is the best example.
Bathtub Bonding: In episode ten, Akane and Rei take a bath together and get to know more about each other in the process.
Beach Episode: Episode six justifies this by stating it is an exercise for summer school. At the same time, this episode doubles as a Bizarro Episode. The episode's Long Title should let indicates that this episode will not be serious in any way.
Beam Spam: How the Crow tries to stop Vivid Green in the last episode.
Between My Legs: Three shots in the first three episodes: One of the sun rising, one of the first Alone and one of Momo. The first two are framed between Rei's legs, the third one is between Akane's.
Being Good Sucks: If Rei does anything to contradicts The Crow's original mission to destroy the world, the latter will not hesitate to inflict unbearable pain to her. She can ingratiate herself to The Crow by acting like a typical Dark Magical Girl.
BFS: The Vivid Blade is a large sword that acts as Vivid Green's primary weapon.
Big Blackout: The Alone in episode seven causes all electronics to malfunction.
Big Damn Heroes: Akane demonstrates her capacity to overcome all odds in several cases:
She overcomes her fear of heights to save Aoi near the end of episode one.
She appears out of nowhere in episode four to rescue Himawari from falling debris.
Rei saves the Akane's company several times during episode six.
Breather Episode: Episode six, for all its wackiness, is fairly light-hearted compared to the other episodes. Similarly, episode nine comes after a pair of much darker episodes. The title is, appropriately, "Clear, With Occasional Fluffiness".
But for Me, It Was Tuesday: The crow mocks the girls by stating that she's destroyed countless worlds before, and this Earth would be yet another statistic in ensuring her master's plans are done. To Kick the Dog a little bit more, she tells them had Rei of succeeded in destroying the Manifestation Engine, they wouldn't restore her world, because they don't want anyone getting that technology.
But Thou Must: Invoked verbatim by The Crow, citing it necessary for Rei to carry out her mission simply because "they" stated thus.
Calling Your Attack: The girls call their attacks when they do it with their magic weapon. This can be done repeatedly for the same attack in a single episode. Amusingly enough, they are prefixed with 'Naked'.
Credits Jukebox: Different permutations of the main characters sing a new ending theme every week.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Interestingly enough, four young girls are able to take out the Alone almost entirely by themselves, something that the military has trouble with even with their latest weaponry. Justified in-universe however, in that they get their powers from Kenjirou, who also foresaw the Alone becoming a problem and likely came up with them to fight against the Alone when they do show up.
Devour the Dragon: The Crow assimilates Rei and turns into a monstrosity perched on top of the Manifestation Engine.
Dirty Old Man: Professor Kenjirou, a scientist who enthusiastically orders Aoi to kiss Akane, his granddaughter. As the creator of the Vivid System he is also the one who named the weapons 'Naked [Weapon]' Then there's episode three, where he ends up in Momo's shirt.
Word of God attributes the term 'Naked' as referring to motorbikes that have their engines left exposed, much like the visual motif of the weapons.
Diving Save: Rei saves a little boy from being crushed by a falling metal bar in a construction side.
Lieutenant Amagi also does while piloting an F-35 against the first Alone to appear, blocking a shot meant for a civilian transport and managing to punch out as her plane breaks apart.
Does Not Like Spam: Aoi dislikes tomatoes and during her and Akane's first meeting she lied about liking them to make Akane happy.
Aoi: "When we were trying to dock I could feel you flowing into me..."
That's not the only thing. The "Vivid" in "Vividred" can be rendered from its original Katakana as the sound effect for "excitement". Wait a minute...
The first Alone has a weak spot dangling down from the main body, surrounded by its legs. When Akane's boomerang (and about a dozen missiles) hit it, the Alone groans and its legs buckle inward. It's easy to see this as a Groin Attack of sorts.
Don't You Dare Pity Me!: After Akane nurses her back to fitness, Rei expresses these sentiments: while Akane is deeply hurt, Rei believes it necessary to minimise contact with other people.
As of episode three, we know that Rei has Alone-empowering abilities, is actively working against the protagonists, and is attending the same school as the other girls. Conversely, the protagonists are totally unaware of her existence.
By episode five, the other girls become aware of Rei as a classmate and the higher-ups learn that there's a third party involved in the Alone attacks, but neither group is aware that Rei and the third party are the same person.
Drop the Hammer: VividBlue wields a massive hammer as her primary armnament.
Dual Wielding: An impromptu kendo match has Akane using twin swords against Wakaba.
The Alone are depicted as mechanical beings that bear a strong resemblance to the Neuroi, including their red particle beams and black armour plating.
Rei Kuroki is a pretty blatant expy of Homura Akemi crossed with Fate Testarossa. Her visual appearance, theme song in episode five and Modus Operandi are those of Homura. Her motivation, personality, relation with other characters and role in the story are more like those of Fate. She appears to be fundamentally a good person who commits atrocities because of a metaphorical gun against her head, has nothing personally against the protagonist (and may well like her) and is driven by the motivation to restore a lost family.
Everybody Knew Already: When Aoi tells Akane that she never liked tomatoes to begin with, Akane laughs and mentions that she was well aware of that.
Fanservice: Given that the studio who made Vividred Operation had previously worked on Strike Witches, this is hardly a surprising element,
Godzilla Threshold: In episode eight, Shijou suggests to the Japanese Prime Minister to use all 109 SGE bombs onto the Alone currently regenerating. She states that even that would only have a four percent chance of succeeding, and even one would be pretty devastating wherever it explodes. Considering the cirumstances however, of the Manifestation Engine being destroyed, the Prime Minister ultimately allows that plan to go forward. Fortunately, the remaining girls suggest they Take a Third Option.
Hacker Cave: Himawari's apartment. It's somewhat subdued, mainly because computer miniaturization marches on.
Hammer Space: Episode 9 has Wakaba pull a beach umbrella from out of nowhere.
Headbutt Thermometer: In episode five, Akane checks Rei's temperture by putting her forehead next to hers.
Heir to the Dojo: Wakaba treats losing to someone as Serious Business, even if that someone happens to be a very obvious superhero. That said, she is more an unusually emotionally healthy and sentimental example, as she is openly kind, loving and affectionate towards small and cute girls/things rather than being in constant-denial about such kindness.
The Hero: Akane is the series' main protagonist, being a cheerful, hardworking and athletic girl.
Hikikomori: Himawari is one because a girl betrayed her trust and broke a promise. However, in episode four, Akane makes a promise to her and keeps it, helping Himawari to break out of this condition.
Hot-Blooded: When Wakaba decides that someone is worth challenging, she won't back down until a battle is properly had.
Human Popsicle: Following the lab accident in episode one, Kenjirou requests that his body be placed into their refrigerator to prevent significant decay from occuring.
Humanity on Trial: Initially, it appears that the Alone's appearance was to test whether or not humanity was worthy of wielding the Manifestation Engine. The Crow mentions near the end that these higher powers have decided no one should control the Manifestation Engine, but it ends up being a part of The Crow's distorted goals: by the series' end, humanity has passed the test.
If We Get Through This: Akane motivates her team by promising the fact that Momo has a dinner waiting on the table, and that a quick victory would result in a quick return home. However, the newly-resurrected Alone manages a hit and decommissions Akane.
Ignored Expert: Despite Kenjirou's knowledge of the threat that the Alone had presented to humanity, the scientific community remained skeptical and excommunicated him.
Mashiro Isshiki, Akane and Momo's mother, has been hospitalized since the Manifestation Engine disaster years ago.
Aoi was an Ill Girl until she was sent to the island to improve her health.
I Will Fight Some More Forever: On their first encounter with the Alone, the military deploys a squadron of F-35 fighters to investigate. This squadron is promptly shot down, and the military responds by deploying additional fighters to engage the Alone in an effort to prevent the destruction of the Manifestation Engine.
Instant Expert: The girls immediately know how to use their abilities, and they know how to summon and use their weapons by just taking a glimpse at some schematics. That "docking" thing at least takes a flashback sequence to work properly... for Aoi, at any rate.
It's Up to You: The Vivid System is the only means of defeating the alone.
Just Plane Wrong: The F-35 Lightning IIs in episode one and episode two. They're shown to be based from the carrier, which implies they're the F-35C carrier variant, but they're depicted firing an internal autocannon, which the F-35C lacks note the F-35C uses an external 25mm Gatling gunpod which it shares with the USMC's F-35B, which would not be carried as a matter of course, and are firing air-to-air AMRAAM missiles at an armored target; they should have been using antiship Harpoon or antitank Maverick missiles.
Except that it seems that Vivid Red is genuinely a magical girl. Kenjirou didn't design Vivid Red, and was just as surprised as anyone else when she appeared. The Crow declares that Vivid Red is using "the light of creation", which is a different source of energy than the Manifestation Engine uses, and also different from what the Crow herself uses — and demonstrably superior to them both.
Akane transforms into her Palette Suit when her bike breaks down on the way to school, and is subsequently scolded by Mizuha for using secret technology inappropriately.
Akane is also the owner of the sole hoverbike in the entire world, capable of high speeds and flying over any surface. She uses it to do her paper route.
New Powers as the Plot Demands: Even within the boundary of what a magical girl can do, Akane's sudden kendo skill is unexplainable. Her and Wakaba's "kendo" match consisted mostly of Akane pulling off moves that would never be used in a proper kendo match (the duel wielding jump off a tree being the most obvious example). Afterwards, she's suddenly skilled enough to earn Wakaba's respect, and Wakaba is a Heir to the Dojo.
It's demonstrated clearly in the show that Akane has astounding reaction time and physical coordination. She wasn't using kendo skill in this match; she was just reacting to the situation. The reason her moves were unusual is that she was making it up as she went along.
New Transfer Student: Akane, Aoi and Momo end up being the transfer students after the first Alone blows up their school, resulting in a strange inversion. Amagi Mizuha also transfers to the new school as an instructor to keep an eye on Akane.
No-Gear Level: Episode six has the girls encounter Kenjirou's traps without their Vivid Systems.
Nuclear Weapons Taboo: The "SGE bombs" are non-nuclear, despite being capable of levelling cities and leave the area uninhabitable.
Nuke 'em: The SGE bombs fielded in episode eight are used in great numbers because the bombers can't get close to the Alone without being shot down. The girls' means only one is required.
Omniscient Morality License: Kenjirou's idea of playing a prank to get the main characters to bond apparently involves knocking an innocent bystander unconscious with a stun gun and kidnapping her, assaulting the characters with huge mecha (which are still huge fast moving chunks of metal, even if no direct harm was intended), threatening to drop two characters off a high cliff and launching explosions which are strong enough to cause serious damage to the nearby scenery. But since it was meant as a prank, it's all okay and no one displays any hard feelings.
One-Winged Angel: It's actually six-winged, but The Crow takes this form when she decides to destroy this world.
Palantir Ploy: Himawari and Kenjirou make extensive use of cameras.
Pants Positive Safety: Rei relieves a guard at the Manifestation Engine of his sidearm and sticks it in her waistband.
Perpetual Poverty: Momo says she can't go greet Aoi with Akane in the first episode because she doesn't want to miss a sale on a carton of eggs. When their grandfather, Kenjiro, says she's overreacting to such trivial things, Momo then looks at him and asks who it was that put them in such a penny-pinching state. The camera then focuses on several boxes of high tech equipment, which Kenjiro says he needs for his research. Episode eight reveals that Kenjiro gave away a lot of the money he earned from his inventions, which Mizuha sees as possibly being a way for him to repent for the accident seven years earlier.
Pinky Swear: In episode ten, Akane and Rei do this when Akane makes Rei promise that she'll come over her house and they will have fun together again.
Promotion to Parent: Momo takes care of the domestic chores, because her mom is in the hospital, grandpa is busy with research, and Akane is busy making some extra money to support the family.
The Power of Friendship: The Vivid System's performance is largely dependent on how closely two individuals are with one another, and their past experiences.
Power Source: The Manifestation Engine provides a nigh-inexhaustible energy supply for the world and resolves the energy crisis, but its operation draws the Alone's attention.
Power Walk: In episode eight, the team (minus Akane, who's in a coma at the time) do one when they show up to volunteer to take part in the attack against the Alone attached to the Skytree.
Primal Fear: Akane has acrophobia as a result of the incident that hospitalised her mother.
Red Is Heroic: Akane's associated colour is red; appropriately, she is the main character, team leader, and all-around most heroic character.
Red Shirt Army: The F-35s, tanks, and naval vessels deployed to engage the Alone are totally destroyed, having never dealt with entities like the Alone previously. Fortunately, Kenjirou foresaw this, and developed the weapons necessary to combat them.
Reed Richards Is Useless: An interesting aversion exists in that despite Kenjirou being one of the leading developers of the Manifestation Engine, his belief that a hostile alien species existed resulted in the his excommunication from the scientific community. Presently, Kenjirou carries out his own research independent of government funding.
It is mentioned that he actually held a lot of patents, but signed them over to atone for the Manifestation Engine accident.
The Rival: Wakaba initially sees Akane as a potential rival after the latter matches her pace during a one-on-one kendo match.
Rubber Face: In episode four, Himawari stretchs out Kenjirou's face while she's inspecting him.
Secret Test of Character: The Alones were trying to see whether the humans would kill Rei in order to save themselves. The Crow tells Akane and her friends that their decision to spare Rei was unexpected, but the trope is subverted when the Crow decides to destroy their universe anyways.
Sequel Hook: The entities mentioned by The Crow (and its relation to them) remain a cosmic mystery.
Scenery Censor: After Akane inflates her swimsuit inside the Wave Motion Gun of Kenjirou's mecha, some branches and leaves block the Fourth Wall's point of view where Akane's politically incorrect bits would be visible.
Shockingly Expensive Bill: At the end of episode six, Mizuha presents a bill for all the things Kenjirou used during the summer school. When he takes a look, he's completely shocked, then asks if he can pay that in installments. His immediately previous line, in which he tells her "you can't put a price on friendship!", is what makes his reaction priceless.
The similarities between Vivid Yellow and Mami are too numerous to be coincidence, namely: use of humongous guns, overt emphasis on elegance of dress compared to other modes, and two blonde curled pigtails - except blown up to frankly ridiculous size, and a characteristic closeup on the smiling face in the transformation sequence.
Episode five also has Rei standing amidst a flock of terns, just like Hagino does in the beginning of the Blue Drop anime, with Akane filling Mari's role of gawking passer-by.
The launch sequence of the final robot in episode six is a clear shout-out to the Eva launch sequence in Neon Genesis Evangelion. The rest of the episodes is spent making homage to all kinds of anime, such as Rei being a scarf-wearingsuperhero.
In episode eight, the way the girls get through the Alone's barrier resembles the way Xenogears enter its final dungeon.
Spiritual Successor: Sharing many thematic similarities to Strike Witches, this anime is another optimistic military-yarn about flying technological girls in short pants and unsurprisingly was written by the same author. The similarities extend to character dynamics between the protagonists, Akane and Aoi, which respectively mirrors the dynamics between Yoshika and Lynette.
Star Scraper: The mega-structure housing the Manifestation Engine has a height exceeding a kilometre: this figure is from an elevator within the structure.
Stealth Hi/Bye: Kenjirou pops up out of nowhere on top of Momo's head in episode three when Akane and Aoi are fighting the latest Alone creature.
He does it again at the end of episode 4, on top of Akane's head, with Himawari's camera.
Taken for Granite: Several male characters attempt to ask out Himawari in episode nine while she's at the mall with Wakaba. The latter puts up a scary aura/face, causing all of them to suffer from this trope.
Taking the Bullet: To prevent Aoi from being shot down by the Alone, Amagi Mizuha maneuvers her F-35 between Aoi's V-22 and an oncoming particle beam. She is able to both save Aoi and eject from the wreckage.
Talking Is a Free Action: Akane and Aoi gets to resolve their psychological obstacle to docking, even as the invading Alone is threatening everyone with its lasers.
The girls in episode eight suggest an alternative to using the deadly SGE bombs on the Alone and prevent it from destroying the Manifestation Engine. They would attack it and attempt to plant a modified SGE bomb into the Alone, which would allow it to destroy the creature without it utilizing its EMP attack rendering normal electronics around it useless. They barely manage to succeed in that plan thanks to some help from Akane's boomerang.
The girls do this again in episode twelve, when the crow attempts to destroy Earth. Kenjirou at first feels nothing can be done to stop it, and even the SGE bombs have no effect on it. Akane's excuse is that she wants to return Rei's key to her.
Tempting Fate: Akane states that the world is a nice place, but the peace is shattered upon the Alone's arrival.
Title Drop: It was less than clear what "Vividred" meant until it turned out Akane and Aoi's fused form is called VividBlue. episode twelve is titled "Vivdred Operation" and in it Akane fuses with Rei to form VividRed.
Title Theme Drop: In episode three, the opening theme music can be heard when Wakaba and Momo are in the school's infirmary.
The Tokyo Fireball: In episode eight, the option is either this, or a very risky bomb delivery by the girls.
Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: Although Amagi tells them not to reveal their secret identities to anyone, the girls fighting the Alone doesn't seem to affect their schoolwork, club activities, or work. In Rei's case it is Wake Up, Go to School, Destroy the World, and it doesn't seem to put much burden on her shoulders. At least, not beyond the whole 'being friendless' situation. However, in Akane's case, Alone-fighting and part-time working during nearly all her free time is negatively impacting her sleep cycle and grades.
Was It All a Lie?: While Rei doesn't use this line verbatim, she accuses Akane of betraying her trust after the former is tasered and arrested by the JSDF.
In episode seven, Akane is injured when she attempts to block the regenerated Alone's attack following its revival.
Episode ten has Akane finally discovering that Rei is the one who powers up the Alone. Similarly, it is here that Rei finds out Akane is the one who destroys them.
What Does This Button Do?: Despite being a hacker who should know better, Himawari has a habit to push buttons to see what they do. One of those buttons happens to be on the posterior of Akane's swimsuit.
In episode nine, Wakaba promises to go with Himawari to an electronics factory if the latter would put on a dress and go to a mall. Once there, Himawari gets scouted by a modeling agency, and despite Himawari's skepticism towards it, Wakaba agrees to it for her, but Unfortunately, the date for the photo shoot is on the same day they were supposed to go to the factory tour, causing Himawari to get extremely upset at Wakaba when the latter forgot about it until Aoi points out the letter on Himawari's desk. Himawari decides to do the photo shoot, on the condition that Wakaba essentially be her slave for that day. Wakaba feels that she got off rather light based on her reaction after Himawari says she forgives her.
Rei invokes this trope in episode ten after she finds out who Akane really is.
Who Wears Short Shorts?: Akane is almost always seen wearing short shorts or bloomers. This also happens to be part of the female uniform at her new school, meaning the entire female student body also follows this trope.
Xanatos Gambit: The beings that the crow represent seem really determined to get rid of the Manifestation Engine. At first they use Rei in an attempt to destroy it, but in episode eleven, the crow makes it clear that her superiors were intent on making sure no one got the Manifestation Engine technology, period. They simply lied to Rei that they would restore her world, and really had no intention of fulfilling their end of the deal in the unlikely event she succeeded. Though it turns out the crow was actually lying and doing things without approval.
You Shall Not Pass: Wakaba, Himawari, and Aoi do this in episode eleven so Akane can go rescue Rei.
Akane says this in episode 4.
Zany Scheme: One that Kenjirou concocts to get the girls closer to each others. It involves (amongst other things) an inflatable swimsuit and a Spider Tank, which is packed with bees.