|in Rōmaji||Hontou no Tsuyosa|
|Air Date||January 25, 2013|
When They Overlap
"True Strength" (本当の強さ, Hontou no Tsuyosa) is the third episode of Vivid Red Operation, released on January 25, 2013.
Due to certain circumstances, Akane, Aoi and Momo are transferred to National Shin Oshima School, where Akane would meet an unlikely rival, the feisty kendo expert Wakaba Saegusa. As Wakaba tries to avenge her unexpected loss against Akane, an Alone unexpectedly attacks.
Akane is late for school, and to make things more unfortunate for her, her airbike "Wanko" is running out of juice. As she pulls out her drastic measure to get to school on time, her younger sister Momo and her friend Aoi head to Blue Island by monorail, both worried that the longer-than-usual newspaper deliveries might cause Akane to be later for her first day at school.
Then, to Aoi's amazement, Akane manages to catch up to the train to Blue Island, wearing the same Palette Suit she wore when she fought against an Alone for the very first time.
Due to the damages received by Oshima Elementary and Junior High School during the Alone's attacks a few days ago, the students of the said school, including Momo, Akane and Aoi, are transferred to National Shin Oshima School in Blue Island.
Meanwhile, after showing off the kendo skills that earned her a slot in the national championships, Wakaba Saegusa begins her routine training at the shores of Blue Island. However, she was distracted by the unusual sight of Akane in her Palette Suit, hovering above the sea. Akane, startled upon seeing someone else see her dressed in her Palette Suit, tries to cover her identity on a pair of futuristic sunglasses and ends up crashing into a small shack nearby.
Wakaba, mistaking Akane as an intruder, decides to go on an offensive using attacks from the Natural Harmony school, but even the school's secret technique "Hazanken" (lit., "Mountain Cutter") was blocked by Akane. Akane even threw Wakaba aside. As Wakaba is left stunned by her swift defeat against a total stranger, Akane flies off after sending off a quick apology.
Akane manages to reach the school, but someone ends up catching her in the Palette Suit.
Back in Oshima, Kenjirou Isshiki receives a visit from Blue Island's Yuuri Shijo. She aims to discuss the encounter with the Alone with him, and he first remarked that he was relieved that both Akane and Aoi escaped the limelight after what happened. Yuuri soon reveals that analysis of the events showed that the Alone was responsible for the drastic drop in power output of the Manifestation Engine, causing Kenjirou to conclude that the Alone may have attacked to drain away the current power source of 95% of Earth's population or to destroy it entirely. Regardless of the circumstance, shutting down the Manifestation Engine is not an option.
Yuuri wonders about the origins of the Alone, and asks what would happen at the worst-case scenario of the Alone reaching the Engine. Not knowing the true answer himself, Kenjirou could only say that the outcome would be much worse than the incident that happened seven years in the past.
Then, Yuuri decides to ask the decisive question: how exactly he ended up in the plush sea otter body he is right now. Kenjirou is rather shocked at the suddenness of the question.
In National Shin Oshima School, Momo, Akane and Aoi are brought to the Principal's Office, where they are scolded by Mizuha Amagi of the Blue Island United Defense Force for almost exposing their identities. She reminded them that they are currently categorized as military secrets, and unauthorized use of the Palette Suits are prohibited.
Akane continues to apologize for her reckless use of the Vivid System, and soon reveals what happened between her and Wakaba Saegusa, a brilliant girl with both brains and brawn, considered to be the pride of National Shin Oshima School. As Mizuha shows her shock at Akane's confession, the principal comments about coincidence of Akane and Aoi ending up at the same class as her.
Soon, Class 2-A of National Shin Oshima School is surprised by two new changes to the class: first, Mizuha Amagi ends up replacing the old homeroom teacher "due to certain reasons", and two new classmates join the class, Aoi Futaba and Akane Isshiki.
In an instant, Akane and Wakaba exchange glares at each other, and Akane feels uncomfortable being with the same person who attacked her earlier. Nonetheless, Akane tries to be friendly, especially with a "girl" named Himawari, whose presence is replaced by a camera mounted on the chair beside Akane's.
Also, a mysterious girl in black, the same girl who is seen earlier in the attack by the Alone, is also present in class...
At lunchtime, Aoi and Akane eat together and give out their comments on their first day in their new school. However, the atmosphere becomes tense when Wakaba confronts the two after Akane's connection with the intruder who defeated her earlier. Akane tried to be friendly to her, but the stubborn Wakaba declares that they should finish what they started.
Akane, in response, frantically runs away, and the chase between the two begins.
In an instant, Wakaba notices the acrobatic moves of Akane, but this doesn't stop the chase from going on, even amidst students at the hallway and helping a teacher in need.
Soon, Akane sees her sister Momo near the locker rooms and quickly asks her to stall Wakaba for some time. Momo had little time to refuse, and she did end up acting as a good diversion for Wakaba, who after colliding with Momo brought her straight to the infirmary even though she only got a sore forehead due to the collision.
Akane manages to lose Wakaba, but now she has to worry about Momo, who is now in the hands of Wakaba.
At the school infirmary, Wakaba places a piece of bandage on Momo's forehead and talks to her for a while. There, Wakaba discovers that she came from the school that was destroyed during the Alone attack, and that she is Akane's younger sister. Wakaba pleads to Momo, telling her that she is obligated to fight Akane once again to restore the pride of the Natural Harmony School. Meanwhile, Akane and Aoi, who were outside eavesdropping at the two, heard the conversation well, and Akane was clearly uneasy about it.
Back at the Isshiki Residence, the two Isshiki siblings talk about the events that involved Wakaba, and Akane finds herself in a dilemma, whether to fight her or not, especially with her identity at stake.
Meanwhile, at the Natural Harmony School Saegusa Dojo (天え理心流三枝道場), Wakaba just finished her training with her father. Although she did well in her training, her defeat in the hands of Akane still make her feel down. As she asks her father about how he sees true strength, and he tells his daughter that true strength lies in properly knowing when and how to use one's power.
The next day, an uneasy Akane prepares to run away from Wakaba yet again, when she sees what looks like a love letter in her shoe locker. Momo and Aoi become excited at the thought of Akane getting the attention of a boy in school, but it turns out that the letter is a challenge letter addressed to Akane.
Akane decides to meet up with Wakaba at the same shore where she defeated Wakaba and brings along a bokken. Meanwhile, Wakaba readies herself for the fight, even as Akane declined using the armor often used for kendo, with Aoi and Momo watching from a distance.
Upon the start of their "duel", Wakaba goes on an offensive, using her skills to overwhelm Akane's fighting style. However, as Akane began to take the fight seriously, Wakaba notices that Akane's strength is greater than she expected... and the feeling of fighting against an equal, a feeling she had forgotten for a long time, slowly dawns on Wakaba.
Then, an Alone in the shape of an enormous worm emerges from the sea.
Akane prepares to fight with Aoi against the Alone, but Wakaba refuses to take shelter. Regardless, Aoi and Akane use the Vivid System to take down the Alone, leaving behind the two to return to safety. Wakaba watches in disbelief as Akane and Aoi try to defeat the worm-shaped Alone, but the more agile Alone was able to evade their attacks, and is endangering the lives of Momo and Wakaba nearby.
Wakaba realizes that the way for her to show her true strength is by protecting others, and after Akane and Aoi fall back to check up on her and Momo, Wakaba declares her willingness to fight against the Alone.
Akane quickly accepts her declaration and gives her a green key, making her the third user of the Vivid System.
As Wakaba and Akane head towards the Alone, the worm-shaped Alone changes form, surrounding itself with countless spikes. Kenjirou sees this as the chance for Akane and Wakaba to dock, and they promptly do so, calling forth Wakaba's empowered form: Vivid Green Operation.
With one slash of the overcharged Vivid Blade, the Alone is swiftly defeated, and the girl wielding a bow that empowered the Alone earlier, nonchalantly leaves.
Aoi, Akane and Momo soon declare that Wakaba will be their new friend, and for a moment, Wakaba shows her weakness on cute things, particularly Momo.
As Akane gets a new friend, from a distance, a pair of artificial eyes gaze at their direction...
By order of appearance
- Akane's orange shades may be a reference to the iconic glasses of Kamina from the anime series Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
- Akane performs a tomoe nage, one of forty traditional throws in Judo, on Wakaba.
- Catching a sword with bare hands is a commonly portrayed response to a sword attack, particularly an overhead slash, in manga and anime. It is impossible for a person to take no damage from catching a sword made out of metal, but catching a wood or bamboo sword is more plausible and less dangerous to do.
- "That is an awful lot of calories." - Wakaba's comment on Akane's mayonnaise-rich diet
- "A true warrior knows when and how to use their power." - Wakaba's father, on what true strength is