What They Say:
That is everyone’s wish. Here in a world where science has solved all questions. This story is set in Oshima. The happy, carefree 14 year old Akane Isshiki lived a poor, but well loved life together with her reliable little sister, Momo, who does all the housework, and her grandfather, Kenjirou, a genius inventor who only cre-ated useless devices. When the weather is clear, they can see the artificial is-land, Blue Island, across the sea. In the center of that island rises the revolution-ary Manifestation Engine, a discovery that solved the world’s energy problems.
Rei’s world – a parallel version of our own – was destroyed when its Manifestation Engine went out of control. To bring it back, the Engine in our world has to be sent critical – which of course would lead to Very Bad Things here. Rei’s been trying to convince herself that that would be a good thing – but the more time she spends with Akane and the others, the more she’s been doubting what she’s been ordered to do. But with another Alone on the way, Rei knows that her time is running short…
Rei’s plan at this point is simple: to go out in a blaze of glory, using her four remaining arrows to power up the next Alone as much as she possibly can. Her existence will end when the final arrow is fired – but then that would happen if she destroyed the Engine anyway. Determined to see things through to the end, she goes to see Akane to apologise for the tomato incident, and ends up staying the night – a night that cements the friendship between the two unwitting adversaries. Although that’s an ignorance that doesn’t last much longer, in a way that Rei can only interpret as betrayal.
This may be the first real character episode of the series, as the seeds of Rei’s friendship with Akane, planted earlier in the series, are carefully tended and brought to ripening – and then ripped out. If I was being unkind, I could make all sorts of comparisons with episode 10 of a certain other series, in the way that backgrounds are explained and events are left hanging on a decidedly down note as the penny drops with the two main characters involved. I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t be the first person to make the link, either. But for most of the episode here, the tone is a lot lighter – and a lot heavier on the fanservice than any other episode of Vividred. Which is saying something. That means that it’s not quite as easy to get as completely caught up in the story, that the emotional impact of the final scenes isn’t quite as hard. Vividred may be wanting us to take it seriously here, but if so it hasn’t done itself any favours with the tone of the rest of the series.
Still can’t bring myself to criticise it too much, though. The stage now is clearly set for the end-game – we know who the Alone are and what they represent (as far as we need to, anyway), the seeds of conflict have been well and truly planted between Rei and Akane, and time for Rei to complete her mission is quickly ticking down. And, against expectations, the series is doing a pretty good job of building a sense of tension around the coming finale.
Being Rei is clearly suffering, and this episode only makes it worse. But it plays out well for those of us watching on, and while it is darker in tone than what we’ve had so far, it’s still well worth watching.
Content Grade: A-
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
Review Equipment: 27” Apple iMac, 2.9GHz Core i5, 32GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.8.2