Kakumeiki Valvrave – 05

Valvrave - 05 -20 Valvrave - 05 -27 Valvrave - 05 -29

Valvrave the Liberator has definitely lapped loopy, and jumped straight to batshit nuts.

As I watched this episode and the sheer bakayaroucity (Minami Chiaki’s word – it fits perfectly, but she gets the credit) gathered momentum like a boulder rolling down a ski jump, one thought kept playing in my head – “The can’t be serious, can they?”  I suppose on some level it doesn’t really matter how this material is intended, because what’s on-screen is what it is.  But in some ways it almost feels like the key question for the entire series.  It’s the one element that separates Valvrave from the Guilty Crowns of the world – this is all being done as a kind of self-satire.  If that element isn’t there, enjoying Kakumeiki Valvrave is really on the level of enjoying Attack of the Killer Tomatoes or Plan 9 From Outer Space.

On some level, the independence movement at Sakimori Academy goes pretty much as you’d expect.  It’s not quite Lord of the Flies, but putting a bunch of high school students in charge of running their own country – never mind one in the precarious physical and position Sakimori is – is obviously a recipe for anarchy.  We’ve also got L-Elf running around somewhere waiting to go First Blood when the mood strikes, with his sights still set on stealing Haruto away from both Rukino and Shouko and taking the Valvrave for his nascent Dorssian revolution.  In short the blue touch paper has already been lit, and the question isn’t of chaos, only the when and the how.

Still, Valvrave doesn’t go in for half measures, and it takes a somewhat different approach to the issue than the bleak nihilistic turn in Sunrise’s own Infinite Ryvius or the self-serious bloodbath of Guilty Crown. Instead we get slap fights (with hair-pulling), snowstorms, musical numbers and stolen first kisses in secret underground mecha facilities.  It’s all ridiculously over-the-top and it really does back that runaway train momentum to it, as if the writers were seeing what they could come up with to top themselves.  It all starts out innocently enough, with the carefree teens engaged in seemingly harmless revelry (why, exactly, is Shibuya in Sakimori?) as the two teachers remaining on-site sit idly by – Nanami Rion (shame on me for not mentioning before that she was voiced by Horie Yui) is in over her head, and Kibukawa-sensei (the guy who was in the car with Shouko) is far too (suspiciously) interested in the Valvrave to care about the students and their petty self-governance issues.

The madness begins when the power goes out, causing the temperature to drop and a snowstorm (don’t ask, I didn’t) to begin.  The recriminations start flying not long after the snowflakes, and the girls especially get pretty catty –  with Shouko the natural target of their ire for pushing the independence idea.  But if last week was Shouko’s coming out party as a character, this episode definitely belonged to Saki.  True, it all starts when she steps in to defend Shouko (basically by saying the others are just as stupid as she is) from the taunts and threats led by ojou-sama Takahi.  But this quickly descends into a physical confrontation with Takahi, and I confess I rather liked the fact that Saki wasn’t taking any shit – when she got slapped, she slapped back, and harder too.  Damn straight.  I was almost disappointed when Yuusuke and Raizou managed to get the power back on, because I was anxious to see where that confrontation was headed.

Somehow – I guess I didn’t get the memo – the aftermath of all this is Haruto and Shouko effectively saying “Hey, Kids – let’s put on a show!”, which leads to the entire student body participating in an utterly absurd music video to send out to the worried folks in occupied JIOR.  Even if you’re buying the self-satire theory this was a bit much, but on the plus side it was a chance to hear Tomatsu Haruka sing, and with some Engrish too.  I don’t know what else to say about this bizarre spectacle, and what would be the point anyway?  The cherry on top is the finale of the episode, which sees Haruto and Saki descending into the innards of Sakimori Academy, eventually finding a vast underground cavern filled with… more Valvraves?  Mechas of another sort?  We certainly know – because Saki tells us – that they come in “all colors of the rainbow”.  Haruto gives us a Sunrise moment when he tearfully begs Saki to keep this is a secret because he “doesn’t want to see any more monsters like myself”.  Saki agrees, with a condition – they get some alone time together – and without waiting for a responds seals the contract by planting a respectably sloppy kiss on Haruto.  As this happens, the moe Valvrave OS does a head-bob and asks, “Is this sexual intercourse?”

Now come on – there’s no way I could make up shit like that.  If nothing else, I’m impressed with the sheer number of bonzo plot developments in 5 short episodes – what might Valvrave come up with in 20 more?  The mind boggles.  Kibukawa-sensei hints that the Valvrave might just be alien in origin, and we get a few dramatic shots of occupied JIOR as well as some extremely 1930’s Berlin looks at the Dorssian homeworld (along with mention of a “Red Thursday” which “must never be repeated”).  On the personal side, the love triangle (quadrilateral if you want to include L-Elf) certainly seems lively.  As I said Saki was rather impressive this week – in addition to the slapping and the stolen kiss, she also tried biting Yahari just to see if she could mind-control her.  Shouko is nice enough but I think I prefer Saki at this point – her breed of crazy seems a little more interesting that Shouko’s to me, and there are hints that she might end up as the second Valvrave pilot.

Valvrave - 05 -7 Valvrave - 05 -8 Valvrave - 05 -9
Valvrave - 05 -10 Valvrave - 05 -11 Valvrave - 05 -12
Valvrave - 05 -13 Valvrave - 05 -14 Valvrave - 05 -15
Valvrave - 05 -16 Valvrave - 05 -17 Valvrave - 05 -18
Valvrave - 05 -19 Valvrave - 05 -21 Valvrave - 05 -22
Valvrave - 05 -23 Valvrave - 05 -24 Valvrave - 05 -25
Valvrave - 05 -26 Valvrave - 05 -28 Valvrave - 05 -30
Valvrave - 05 -31 Valvrave - 05 -32 Valvrave - 05 -33
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20 comments

  1. M

    I think it was "Red Thursday".
    "The[y] can't be serious, can they?"

    I agree that the dynamics in this episode just felt very ridiculous.

  2. N

    "Haruto gives us a Sunrise moment when he tearfully begs Saki to keep this is a secret because he "doesn't want to see any more monsters like myself". Saki agrees, with a condition – they get some alone time together – and without waiting for a responds seals the contract by planting a respectably sloppy kiss on Haruto."

    Actually, I think by "alone" Saki meant that only the two of them will be Revolutionary Space Vampiric Pilots of Liberty. Saki sure seems as if she really wants to be one.

  3. E

    Oh yeah, a kiss totally counts as sexual intercourse. Tsk tsk tsk.
    Anyone else thinks that the uniform of Dorsiann army looks totally dumb?

  4. h

    "L-Elf running around somewhere waiting to go First Blood." I LoL'd.

  5. A

    The sheer ridiculousness of Valvrave is what keeps me watching, although I was disappointed they didn't go full-on musical this week. Anime needs more musical episodes.

    Admittedly when the power went off and all the hints that power usage was reaching a threshhold just reminded me of that episode of "The Simpsons" where Homer plugs in a singing Santa (hoping to be reminded of winter) and that pushes the power plant over the edge. It was that level of obvious what was going to happen. But what idiot puts the breaker switch in a place like that?

    Red Thursday, eh? Well it's always been obvious to me who 'arUS' and 'DoR(u)SSIA' are meant to represent…!

  6. s

    i wonder if each valvare has its on unique ability to grant to the user, kinda like how each character had a different geass in code geass. On a side note, im still "camp shouko"…she's just a genuinely good person all around filled with that type of charisma that just makes a person want to hang out with her; saki's got mystery and intrigue but at the same time i get this vibe that she wants to be this special person able to do unique things because she feels like she's different from others and therefore wants to be fundamentally different from everyone the way haruto is…i mean why else is she interested in him…because the script says so??? seeing that this is kakumeki valvare we are talking bout, that's probably the answer, but cynicism aside, i think saki's attraction and interest in haruto comes from the fact that he is a "freak" n she wants to be different just like him; not because of a true genuine bond or attraction.

  7. N

    Not sure a Childhood Friend and Girl Whose Interest was Caught can be compared ^_^; It would be weird if Shoko wasn't like that seeing as she and Haruto knew one another since they were kids.

    As far as Saki goes, the fact is that only the Valvrave Incident was when he caught her attention, although they seem to knew one another already to some extent it.
    However, I don't think she has an ulterior motive: she just found a bunch of Valvrave's yet she still tries to hook up with him.
    I think it is more likely that she saw something she can relate to in him. Her very character is more similar to L-elf than any of the school characters and in this ep she said she is used to violence. Wouldn't be surprised if she is Dorssia's or ARUS's spy… or even JIOR's planned pilot for Valvrave's (which might explain her biting hime-sama).

    Be it as it may, I am pretty sure Hataro will reject her advances and continue going for Shouko.
    I also fear that, once this whole School Nation collapses, Shouko will end up sharing the fate with Euphemia and the healing girl from Guilty Crown, resolving the Triangle issue in this lame way. The fact that this writer seems to only be able to repeat one same plot doesn't help.
    I really hope I am wrong and we get something original.

  8. s

    I hope you are wrong as well but due to the quality of the script writing you may not be so far off. I just plan on sitting back and enjoying this odd, horribly put together (seems intentional so far) yet fun as hell series and see what it has in store. About Saki, what you said about her actually strengthens my point; even if she and Haruto seem acquainted, they are not close at all, nor do they even socialize much other than what we have seen. They do not seem to even have any background with each other.

    The point I was trying to make is that nothing has happened between them throughtout this series so far to warrant any chemistry or attraction between them which leads me to believe that her attraction to haruto stems from her own isolation and how she feels connected to haruto because he feels like he is different from everyone now. From what i have seen from Saki throughout these eps, it seems that along with her isolation, she wants to feel special. Im not saying she as an ulterior motive, but rather she connects with him because of his "uniqueness" and not because she thinks he's caring or loving, or a strong person, or fun, or responsible (in my opinion). Perhaps i am making observations too soon and future eps will shed some light on this

  9. l

    The amount of eye-rolling and face-palm this show has generated is incredible. It's so bad that it has gotten me to watch how ridiculous the show can get. I'm sadly hooked to how gloriously terrible it is. *face-palm*

  10. d

    Does anyone else see a Allies VS Axis with Japan caught in the middle sort of setting?

  11. That's exactly what I said of the premiere:

    It almost seems as if this is being set up as a kind of wish-fulfillment alternate history of WW II, where instead of the Nazis' allies Japan was a fiercely independent freedom-fighting island full of brave resistance soldiers.

  12. M

    Is it possible that Valvrave is set in the same universe as Code Geass? Also, I really don't want Shouko to end up like Euphemia and Hare. Why do the good die young?

    TQ

  13. H

    I've been hard on the show, but this episode seemed fine. I didn't even feel it was that ludicrous or silly. Maybe I've gotten inured to it, what a scary thought.

  14. i

    Enzo isn't it great for you that with half a season gone, the number of haters in some of your shows have given up being vocal.

    But how likely is it that will carry on into the Attack on LiA.

  15. M

    Probably more a case of 'dropped shows are dropped'. Although Valvrave is one of the few I could see people sticking with just to hate on it.

  16. H

    That usually doesn't stop haters from keeping complaining, tho. I doubt they'll give up on Crime Edge as fast…

  17. M

    It took a few weeks but Aku no Hana seems to have shed most of the unmitigated hate; I think even 2chan rescinded their infantile shenanigans. Anything's possible I guess.

  18. d

    Definitely loopy and campy. The series as a whole is working for me.

  19. R

    There's so much I wanted to say but I think Enzo got it for me and now the only thing running through my mind is "wait, Enzo do you play League of Legends????"

  20. The fact that I don't know why you're asking should be all the answer you need!

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