"Another Key" (もう一つの鍵, Mou Hitotsu no Kagi) is the fifth episode of Vivid Red Operation. It was released on February 8, 2012.
The mysterious girl behind the transformation of the Alone, Rei Kuroki, and the bearer of the first key, Akane Isshiki, cross paths. For the first time, this mysterious character is brought into the spotlight, showing her past, her present, and her future.
Akane begins her day like always, delivering newspapers to the townsfolk of Oshima. As she passes by the marina, she sees a girl with black hair reaching her hands on the seagulls the flock by her. Akane was so fixated at the mysterious girl that she almost crashed into the forklifts in her way; fortunately, Akane was able to stop her airbike in time.
The commotion soon takes the mysterious girl's attention. Akane tries to be friendly by greeting at her, but as the seagulls suddenly fly into the sky, the black-haired girl disappears, leaving behind a confused Akane.
Later that day, Class 2-A's homeroom teacher Mizuha Amagi announces an upcoming summer camp for the students, which would take place in two weeks' time. According to Amagi's explanation, the summer camp will split the class into two — the girls will stay at Shikine Island, while the boys will spend their camp at Mt. Takao — and each group will be split into smaller groups of 4-5 people, including the leader.
As Mizuha continues explaining about the report that will be submitted by the groups after the camp, Akane seems to be more interested with the black-haired girl at the other side of the room — the same girl who she saw earlier that morning.
Soon, at lunchtime, the four friends, Akane, Aoi, Wakaba and Himawari, go for lunch together. As Akane indulges herself once more with some mayonnaise on her rice, Himawari wows the others when she shows them her three trays full of scrumptious food, which according to her was a gift of gratitude by Himawari's mother for the friends that Himawari has made in school and her return to actively attending school.
As the shy Himawari shares her food with her new friends, Wakaba soon opens the topic of the groups needed for the summer camp. The others quickly agree with Wakaba's idea of forming a group with her, Akane, Aoi and Himawari, and Aoi is so excited that she voices out the many things she wanted to do, although Wakaba points out that there might not be enough time for that.
Meanwhile, Akane's attention is once again taken by her black-haired classmate's presence. She decides to ask the others about what they know about the girl. Wakaba reveals that her name is Rei Kuroki, and Himawari comments that she has caught her on camera frequently, but she has yet to see her talk outside of class.
Then, Akane suddenly has an idea.
Together with Aoi, Wakaba and Himawari, Akane approaches Rei and asks if she could be the fifth member in their group for summer camp. Rei flatly refuses their invitations and leaves immediately.
Even the reclusive Himawari finds her a bit too weird.
At the control center of Blue Island, Kenjirou and Yuuri Shijou listens to a report about the observations taken from the past battles with the Alone. According to the report, the findings were unable to trace a particular pattern even with every possible viewpoint taken into consideration. As Yuuri suspects that it is more of a self-defense mechanism, Kenjirou pins down a possible lead, pointing out a sudden change of energy signatures at the latest Alone attack.
Kenjirou's analysis suggest that a third party is involved in the problem with the Alone.
Meanwhile, Akane, despite being rejected by Rei, refuses to give up, so she decides to follow Rei outside the school premises. As she tracks down Rei's route by foot, she discovers Rei's more caring side as she rescues a boy from a falling steel beam from a nearby construction site. Livened up by the show of courage, Akane continues her way.
Rei soon arrives at her home, a dark and mostly empty apartment unit, and greets her pet parrot Piisuke before telling it what happened to her during the day.
Then, the parrot suddenly acts hysterical.
Although alarmed, Rei expects the presence of a crow at her balcony.
After covering her parrot's cage with her purple scarf, revealing a mark made out of seven feather-shaped figures arranged in a semi-circle, Rei lets in her uninvited guest... a mysterious being who comes in the form of a bird, but speaks in the voice of a woman.
The crow spoke about Rei's rescue of a boy earlier that day and censures her for it; as the crow's eyes glow an ominous red, the feather-shaped marks on Rei's neck glow red as well, causing a painful burning sensation. As Rei twists in pain, the crow reminded her of her duty to help cause the destruction of "this world" by using her powers to transform the Alone... "for the sake of their fallen world".
After saying those words, the crow flies away, with the pain of punishment slowly wearing away as well.
Later, after she was able to take a close look at the key that is hanging by her neck as she takes a bath, Rei goes into her room filled with various different blueprints. There, she clutches a handheld device and declares that she will destroy the Manifestation Engine... and she will not need the Alone to do it for her.
Rei soon goes into a solitary mission to infiltrate the Manifestation Engine. After taking out some of the guards and stealing some weapons from them, she attempts to scale the towering facility. However, she is taken by surprise when several flying security robots were able to detect her presence. Rei is forced to take them down immediately, and she ends up abandoning the mission after losing her chances, using a security robot as a platform and diving down at the waters off Blue Island.
The next day, Akane's routine day is once again interrupted by Rei's presence. This time, it involves her washed up ashore and unconscious. Akane quickly takes her back to the Isshiki Residence, where she was given first aid and rested for a whole day.
Rei soon wakes up from a bad dream involving her parents and a fire, and she discovers that Akane was the one who saved her. Akane soon decides to take care of her for the day, since she is the only one at home. After Akane hands over some rice porridge her sister made, she begins to ask some things about her, including what happened to her that she was found passed out at the shores of Oshima. Rei tells Akane that she just "took a walk", and is soon surprised when Akane suddenly calls her "Rei-chan". Rei soon decides to go with what Akane likes, much to the energetic girl's joy.
Later that day, Mizuha recovers one of the damaged security robots from the previous night's attack and finds out that the robot is too damaged to acquire image data from. Kenjirou is rather disappointed by this development, knowing that he designed the robots to be completely disposable.
Then suddenly, he receives a report from Yuuri, telling that Alone activity has been detected in Ogasawara.
Back at the Isshiki Residence, as Akane washes the dishes, she tells Rei that she can use their phone to call her parents about what happened to her. Rei declines the offer, saying that her parents "are somewhere where phones cannot reach". Akane comments that she might have been missing them. Rei decides to ask about Akane's parents as well, and Akane reveals that her father has died in an accident when she was seven, and her mother is currently hospitalized in Atami since roughly the same time as well. Despite this, Akane tells Rei that she is still happy, since she still has her sister and grandfather and her friends.
Soon, Rei asks Akane if she would do anything to bring back her mother and father. Akane quickly gives out an affirmative response, although she points out that she does not want to cause trouble to her friends and others. Akane soon recalls how her parents taught her to respect others and to treasure one's friends; she tells Rei that it wouldn't be worthwhile if she would ending up troubling others.
Akane's words hit Rei's heart. Rei soon clutches her chest where her most treasured key is, but she is shocked to discovered that it is not hanging by her neck. Despite being feverish and fatigued, Rei tries to get out and look for her key.
Then, Akane's phone begins to ring. Rei apologizes for her moment of hysteria and tells her that she needs to be alone. As Akane answers a call from Mizuha Amane, Rei is visited by the crow from two days before.
From two sides of the battlefield, duty calls.
An Alone which resembles a dynamo soon appears near the shores of Oshima. As Wakaba, Aoi and Himawari approach the steadily moving Alone, Akane joins them. Meanwhile, Rei remembers that incident... when the Manifestation Engine underwent a meltdown that destroyed her parents, her friends and her entire world. The crow reminds her that it was fate that brought her world to its doom, and the only ones who can help her bring her parents back are those beings who are "between the beginning and the end".
It was the moment when she took up the role of "the archer that can empower the Alone".
However, as she struggles to aim an arrow towards the Alone, she loses her consciousness.
Rei soon wakes up once again in the Isshiki Residence, now wearing a different shirt than before. She laments upon realizing that she failed once again, but her sadness was quickly doused by an overwhelming feeling of happiness when she sees her most treasured key by her side.
Several minutes later, Akane goes to check up on her, only to see Rei already dressed in her school uniform. Akane scolds her for not staying at her bed, but Rei tells her that she heard that another monster appeared; Akane reassured her, however, telling her that "the navy took care of it."
Rei soon asks about how her key was found, and Akane tells Rei that they looked for it the afternoon before at the shore where she was found unconscious. Rei reveals that the key was the key to her old house, and holds a lot of her precious memories.
Akane decides to ask Rei about joining her group at the upcoming summer camp.
Rei refuses still, and before leaving, tells Akane to not be so kind to her anymore.
At Atami Medical Plaza, Akane visits her sister Momo, who came earlier to their mother Mashiro's room. As Momo quietly sleeps, Akane tells her mother about Rei, and the feeling of being rejected. Mashiro comforts her elder daughter and lifts her spirits by telling her to not give up trying to be friends with her.
Soon, Momo wakes up, only to be jealous at Akane stealing the warmth of her mother's chest from her. Mashiro decides to welcome Momo's embrace, and the three Isshikis share a warm smile by the setting sun.
By order of appearance
- Akane Isshiki
- Rei Kuroki
- Mizuha Amagi
- Wakaba Saegusa
- Aoi Futaba
- Himawari Shinomiya
- Yuuri Shijo
- Kenjirou Isshiki
- Momo Isshiki
- "If you could get your dad back... if your mom could leave the hospital... would you do whatever it takes?" — Rei's question to Akane during her stay at the Isshiki Residence