Seeing as I had no confidence in the summer season, I decided to invent a backlog of shows to watch from one of three different areas. The thirteenth and final anime on this list was Vividred Operation, which aired in the winter of 2013. I had previously watched the first and sixth episodes of this anime before in the course of dropping it twice. I watched the show over a period of a week, and these are my thoughts on it.
When one thinks about the director of something, whether that’s a film, TV series or in this case Vividred Operation; there are a few out there that have directorial trademarks. That could be something like using certain actors, or dutch angling the hell out of a scene or neck breaking character expressions. For Takamura Kazuhiro, the director of Vividred Operation (and coincidentally the record holder for my fastest ever drop Strike Witches), that happens to be low-angle shots of middle school girls. If ever there was an advanced statistic of Directorial Value over Replacement, Takamura would surely finish in the negative after this effort.
I’m going to just quickly go over what anyone really needs to know about Vividred Operation from a serious perspective. The series is set in a world where a new power source has solved all energy problems on Earth and it is housed in a place called Blue Island. Akane is one of the inhabitants there and her eccentric grandfather created this magnificent device. However, all is not well as mysterious creatures called the Alone try to attack. So using another of her grandfather’s inventions, she fights them along with a few friends that she finds along the way. All the while, she tries to make friends with a mysterious girl that happens to be serving a talking crow that is behind everything.
As far as what Vividred Operation does well, it does a pretty good job to sticking to a villain of the week approach, even in the middle filler episodes. It all builds up to a nice crescendo at the end when the entire universe is threatened by the final boss villain. The characters themselves aren’t intentionally pandering to the audience with the exception of the beach episode. Also, I can safely say that I was never bored while watching the show, even though I did not really marathon this.
On the downside as far as the story is concerned is really just the conclusion and how it is set up. The main villain throughout the show was telling Rei, the mysterious girl who gets close to the rest of the group, that she needed to fire these arrows that strengthened the Alone so that she could have her own world restored. She gets down to three arrows remaining when the villain consumes Rei and takes on final boss form. When one really thinks about it, why the hell didn’t they just do that from the start? Also, why is that damn crow such a troll by saying they were judging Earth on not killing Rei because she is a threat, then saying they weren’t allowed to pass anyway? It’s also worth asking why the Vividred transformation is only present for about 2 minutes the whole series.
So back to Takamura and what he takes away from this series. I don’t think there were the materials to make this any more than a solid, above average show about friendship between girls with plenty of light moments. Yet, at the end of it, I couldn’t help but feel a little dirty for having enjoyed it because of his heavy use of low-angle shot behind middle school girls. Like the kendo girl Wakaba is just having a normal conversation with the otaku of the group Himawari. No boys involved in this conversation that makes Vividred Operation a show that complies with the Bechdel test. So I don’t know if he got bored at all or thought his audience is entirely hormonally out of control 13 year old boys, but he decided that this conversation had to take place as viewed from a low angle from behind one of the girls.
I guess that’s really all I have to say about Vividred Operation. It’s a show that can be funny to watch at times. It’s fairly solid as long as one doesn’t think about the plot too deeply in depth at the end. Yet, the director is willing to sacrifice the quality of the work because he thinks his own show is boring and needs middle school girls’ asses on screen as much as possible. It’s only for that last sentence alone that I wouldn’t recommend this show to anyone who should be part of the target audience of this show.