“There’s a fight I have to win, too.”
On her first day at her new school, Akane accidentally blows her cover in front of a kendo girl named Saegusa Wakaba, who demands to fight her in order to retain her pride as a kendo practitioner. Halfway through the match, an Alone appears from underwater; Akane and Aoi decide to transform and fight it in order to protect their school.
“The true warrior knows when and how to use their power.”
I’d actually forgotten that Akane, Aoi and Momo’s school got destroyed as collateral damage from the Alone’s attack on Oshima last week, though the scenario of transfer students registering halfway through a term and turning out to be magical girls seems to work just fine. Anyway, Akane didn’t get off to a great start, especially with trying to ride her hoverbike over the water until it started having trouble levitating (with water not being the most stable surface a flying bike could maintain itself over) and coming to the attention of Saegusa Wakaba, future supporting protagonist and fellow magical girl. Wakaba acts the part of the school’s honour student – having won the nationals at kendo, and being a good academic she’s seen as the model student, and definitely she has the integrity and tenacity needed to succeed in both kendo and studying. Well, her pride might have also taken a harsh blow from losing to a random flying girl with no pants on. Oh wait…they all have no pants ^_^
Leaving aside the standard classroom introduction, two more classmates came to my attention – the hikikomori Himawari-chan, who was featured in the OP and seems like she “attends” class through monitoring it through some sort of remote device. The second was the mysterious girl that’s going around powering up all the Alones for an unknown reason – I would have thought either Akane or Aoi would have had an uneasy feeling or been alerted by her presence at least, if she was a danger. For now, she seems content powering up the Alones instead of engaging in direct combat with any of the magical girls, which can only be a good thing I suppose. Akane herself has seen quite a power-up even when not applying her Palette Suit on, experiencing increased mobility and reaction time when encountering and running away from Wakaba. I don’t know how I feel about this…being powered up while transformed is one thing, but suddenly being really good at kendo is another, and it’s hard to imagine that Akane, whose usual weapon is a boomerang, would be able to easily match up to someone like Wakaba, who has been training for years and is at a national level.
It would probably be wise to start assuming that the Alone can adapt to various terrains as necessary, as this one appeared from the water – and posed quite a large threat to both Akane and Aoi, which only got amplified with the mysterious girl’s power up from her arrow. Just a thought – why would the Alone, who is using the Manifestation Engine’s output to survive, want to destroy that same Engine? It would make sense for them to prioritise their own survival, even if destroying the Engine meant that they could take out 95% of the world’s energy consumption. Wow, with these figures I keep getting reminded just how risky and reckless the world is, for almost all of its energy coming from one source. Anyway, Wakaba officially joins the group after a heartfelt line over protecting what she believes should be protected with the power she has, and gets her own key in another magical girl transformation scene. I did think that the Docking “Vividgreen Operation” was slightly arbitrary, and Aoi just disappeared for the entire time while they fused. If you think back to the theory behind Docking as well, wouldn’t a friendship of two days between Akane and Wakaba be insufficient for a Docking to happen at all? That’s just the nitpicker in me though, while the mahou shoujo fan in me is cheering at the over-the-top Final Operation full of feels xD If Vividgreen is with Wakaba, and Vividblue is with Aoi, then what would the titular Vividred refer to?
With a slight change in the OP comes Wakaba’s addition to the cast, and next week we’ll see Himawari-chan make an entrance too, presumably after she’s seen the entire fight with the Alone from the video feed streaming back to her room. The show as a whole is pretty formulaic at the moment, but that’s how many mahou shoujo shows start off – it’ll be diverging onto its own track pretty soon after the cast assembles. That’s what happened in Nanoha, at least.