If you thought that fighting the Alone was all friendship and kissing girls in your underwear then think again, as the climax to last week's episode reminded us that there's a more dangerous side to clashing with these mysterious alien invaders.
Such is the extent of the injuries suffered by Akane in spite of her additional powers that we find her heading to intensive care as this latest instalment begins - a fact which shatters the resolve of all involved within fighting the current Alone, which has attached itself to Tokyo's Sky Tree while it regenerates itself before surely putting the Manifestor Engine to the sword.
Without the ability to Dock with Akane and with their trump card out of commission, it seems that there's nothing for it but to leave the defeat of this Alone to conventional military forces, and essentially this means only one thing - effectively nuking Tokyo for the greater good of the planet. While this decision is being made, it seems that the powers that be have reckoned without the remaining members of the Vivid System's team, as they come up with a risky yet plausible plan to win the day in Akane's name.
Having compared this series to Strike Witches throughout, it's probably going to sound completely bonkers to compare this week's instalment to Evangelion instead, but even if it shares little in terms of its overall tone there are certainly visual and plot elements which bear at least fleeting comparisons with that universe. That aside, perhaps more important is the fact that this latest story arc allowed Vividred Operation to depart at least somewhat from its "monster of the week" setup, if only in favour of a "monster of the fortnight" one with some darker undertones - it's enough to bring a breath of fresh air to the show though, which is most welcome when coupled with those great action scenes and an episode that, as a whole, "just worked".