I originally wanted to begin this review with a bit that had me screwing around and altering the lyrics from a Ms. Splosion Man song entitled Badonkadonk. I’m not in the mood for that unfortunately, because I’m not in the mood to review, let alone think about the show in question. Yeah, I’m following a review of what I found to be the best anime I reviewed as of right now in 2013, with the worst one thus far.
Vividred Operation Review Studios: A-1 Pictures and Aniplex of America Length: 12 episodes Availability: CrunchyRoll
Vividred Operation pops out of the ether with the premise of a utopian future brought on by unlimited sky based energy that is threatened by an alien force known as the Alone which must be thwarted by four girls in colorful suits and super science powers. With the only major “twist” on the whole situation being what I originally interpreted as a sense of self awareness towards fanservice. Until I realized that the shortest of the shorts being on girls was just a design choice, and everything presented is played almost to the letter.
Vividred Operation probably has the least to offer in terms of any anime I reviewed on this blog. Instead focusing on tropes and character sets that seem so run of the mill that I get bored just thinking about them. With the most potent descriptions of the main quartet that I can muster being: a happy-go-lucky girl, a kind rich girl, an action girl with a softer side for cute things and disdain for bugs, along with a tired genius girl not very social.
Although the never quite official fifth member seems to be more of a main character due to how rigidly the show is structured. Trying to pull of a straight faced show where girls fight creatures that murder hundreds of military personnel while wearing hats with feathers can do that, I suppose. As she is one of the most unremorseful greedy pricks who I’ve ever been expected to feel sympathy for. Bringing with her baggage that distracts even more as the show throws in alternate dimensions into the mix, when it does a poor enough job at explaining how the main character’s powers work.
Using something called the Vivid system, the main girl is able to access a combat suit built by her Grandpa, who gets his mind trapped in a stuffed animal for a reason that only raises more questions. Which is accessed by something called a Key that let’s the main girl jam it into a random piece of machinery that lets her don an absurd battle dress. And that is all I really know about the workings of it, other than how it, along with every single device in the world, is powered by the one sky energy generator called the Manifestation Engine. None of which is ever really questioned, as all the girls almost instantly understand how to fly and fight off giant monsters before that could be brought up.
Or perhaps it was for the same reason why the four middle schoolers were chosen to risk their lives as the only worthwhile protection. Which by extension leads to a very underplayed idea that I still don’t know what to make of. The main girl and one of the other three can fuse their bodies and minds together in order to unleash a finishing move as their shared body becomes that of a woman carrying vaguely related traits from the two. All while being activated by the secondary girl kissing the main girl on her forehead. How, why? All I really know is that it results in nearly every battle ending in a lackluster manner, and is just weird.
Now, I love sexuality in media. I think it is funny when it involves little girls. But unless it is a primary motif in the show, I don’t see why you should have two unrelated girls share a bathtub. Especially when I don’t get the impression that the girls in question, or any of the five, should be friends. They go on about how they use the “Power of Friendship” to stop the baddies, but friendship can not be formed in ten minutes. I’ll give you an hour of detailed bonding, but unless you have the pretense that time is passing with their relationship, it is very difficult to believe that you’d be fine with sharing your entire brain with another person. It makes sense to be friends afterwards, even though you’re undermining any idea of friendship being something feasible, with the method of true friendship involving a memory merge.
Which is actually far more compelling than anything done by the final antagonist, who is almost comical in how extreme it takes the idea of being evil. Wanting discord for the sake of discord as it leads up to a conclusion that is surprising in how predictably the whole affair joyfully ended. Lacking any complexity or even the acceptance of the main characters’ powers being locked away from them, as they never really express the desire to, I don’t know, fly around on their jet boots? Although, the logical lens would only bring up how all the obviously evil fifth girl would need to do in order to get her selfish desire back is a gun, which she used with no hesitation prior, along with little grappling hooks that she literally pulled out of her sleeves.
I suppose that I don’t have much of a reason to care, with the show almost forgetting that when it wants to, it can pull of a pretty neat fight scene, instead thinking that randomly smooching two already boring characters would make things interesting right before the final stretch. In fact, that’s the one thing I would not ever expect a show about fighting monsters to be. Boring. Meandering through a bit of school trouble, a bit of drama with the obviously evil girl, needing to introduce the characters for the first quarter of the show. It is all an unfocused blob that only created an emotion height during one scene, one glorious scene that is the only thing I consider to be worth watching.
Aside from that one scene the visuals don’t make things much better. Quite simply, it’s relatively drab looking, but well animated in terms of motions looking nice. As the characters are color coded and have weird grease spots in their hair, I can’t say the design is worthwhile. As the costumes only serve as a distraction as they and their transformation sequences makes their creator look all the more appropriate when he was in a twelve year old’s shirt. Lowering it to almost pathetic levels as some of the Alone show up and display very poor consistency and look like something made over half an hour in a 3D model making program more often than not. Getting even more pitiful due to how the show apparently had to cut out several of them, promising 11 when I think there were only 8 or so.
Normally when I review media, I feel fairly sad when giving a low score. I don’t here, because there is next to nothing I see of value in this show. With the most promising grab being an overabundance of alter abandoned underage cheesecake rebutted by an a boring story not very well told, I see no reason to. However, I guess I should have expected just as much from the people behind Sword Art Online. Yet I’m the one who didn’t do the research, so I guess shame on me for trying to give them a second chance.
Poor (3/20) Barely any good in the product, often just being stupid, boring, or unbearably uninvolving. Might have some neat bits to learn from, but the title is rarely worth your time beyond that.