Kakumeiki Valvrave – 13

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Oh, Valvrave – promise me you’ll never stop being you…

Anime’s greatest whack-job is back, and the good news is that nothing has changed – Kakumeiki Valvrave can still dish out the guano and make it taste like filet mignon better than anything else on the air.  In some ways this episode was actually fairly tame by this show’s standards, but that’s understandable given that it was the first episode after a three-month layoff.  The most important thing is that Valvrave the Liberator is still utterly shameless, and thank goodness for that because an ounce of shame would destroy the magic.

We got a fair amount of explanation this week by Valvrave standards, which again is a consequence of the layoff – why dump all that info on viewers who’re likely to forget most of it before the next episode starts?  Our mysterious cabal from episode 12 turns out to be called the “Committee of 101” – hardly an original name – and it’s there we begin, seeing the Dorssian Mirko being turned into a Magius himself.  There’s also a bit of interaction between the Valvrave OS siblings, clearly eager to be one again after a long separation, though Cain puts a stop to that quickly enough.  I guess “Plue” is the name we’re going with for the “male” Valvrave.

The fun, really, is in the wacky Dark Shadows interplay among the main cast and the pretty space animation (there’s actually quite a lot of CG in the opening sequence – especially for a Sunrise show – but things are better after that).  After a two-month timeskip (nothing by Valvrave standards) with convenient narration, the Valvrave pilots are planning to run the Dorssian blockade and head to Earth to find other JIOR-ians (Haruto has ulterior motives) and getting the runaround from ARUS bureaucrats (boo!).  Haruto himself is growing increasingly desperate as his fits get more and more common, and even locks himself in a cage so L-Elf and Kibukawa-sensei can experiment on him without worrying about another attack.  Saki has become a recording star, Dog and Thunder are selling energy drinks and Rainbow/Akira appears to spend most of her time hiding in the cockpit of her new ride.  As for Shouku, she’s still basically burdened with the thankless job of holding the keys to the asylum.

As usual, it’s the full commitment to the “throw everything into the blender and grab a straw” approach that really makes everything work.  Not content to plagiarize the Sunrise mecha canon for tropes Valvrave liberally adds generic mecha cliche and elements of sci-fi, horror and American superhero comics to get a smoothie full of outrageous goodness.  The ridiculous explanation behind everything that we’re given this round is that information in the universe is made up of “runes”, like tiny subatomic particles of information, and it’s these runes which power the Valvraves.  So if Haruto (I guess because he was the first to take the plunge) doesn’t “collect” the runes by feeding on others, his fits get worse and eventually the Valvraves themselves power down (which happens just as the pilots are getting ready to leave for Earth).  This leads to an outrageous moment where Saki offers herself to Haruto by pulling back her collar, exposing her cleavage and effectively telling him “If I get raped, I prefer it if it’s you doing it.”  Fortunately Haruto has the willpower to control his urges and flees the scene.

All that is really preliminary, though, to the priceless moment when L-Elf confronts the half-incapacitated Haruto on the way to the docks.

“How did you find me?”
“I put a tracking device on you last week.”
“That’s so…you.”

Not content with this exchange, L-Elf threatens to decapitate Haruto after he declares his refusal to keep feeding on others to power the Valvraves.  Haruto is tempted by this, but when he realizes that wouldn’t stop the evil of the Valvraves he decides he’ll press on rather than force this burden on another.  But in doing so, he delivers yet another in the long cavalcade of outrageous one-liners that will write Valvrave’s place in the anime history books: “I’m gonna feed on only you from now on.”  With that he rips L-Elf’s blade from his neck, L-Elf bares his neck and the feast begins.  What a pair these two are, the coffee and the cream indeed – a relationship written in the stars (as the ED shows us).  As long as Valvrave has the balls to pull off stuff so ridiculous no other show would even try it, its charms will continue to be effective.

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OP:
“Kakumei Dualism (革命デュアリズム)” by T.M.Revolution x Nana Mizuki

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13 comments

  1. K

    Is this a case of so bad it's good? I kind of get that sense.

    TQ

  2. Well, to quote my episode 12 post: "I knew Valvrave had a chance to really fun in a "so bad it's good" way, but I've been surprised at how capable it is of being just plain good."

    This isn't highbrow intellectual material, no. But while there is a certain pleasure to be derived from its gleeful embrace of baka-hood, Valvrave can also deliver genuinely good sci-fi action and comedy at times.

  3. M

    My apologies for sounding like a hater but as I was watching this episode I couldn't help but compare the action scenes here with the ones in Kyoukai no Kanata.The former was fun & exciting,with an apropriate BGM,some good sound effects and even a little bit of tension – pretty much everything the later was lacking as far as I'm concerned.I'm mentioning this because I just know that KnK will be praised(not here on LiA,but in many other places) for it's oh-so-glorious action scenes just because of the animation while Valvrare won't get nearly as much credit.

  4. Well, I thought the action scenes were fine in KnK, though not anything special. Choreography was pretty nondescript.

    The thing with KyoAni is, a show like Hyouka is so visually thrilling not because of the fluid animation and lavish backgrounds (that doesn't hurt) but because the art for that show is incredibly creative and thoughtful. It's art in the truest sense, and a lot of KyoAni shows seem to lack that spark in terms of visuals. They always look expensive, but they're not always memorable.

  5. I

    I really love this show. It was my most anticipated for this season, and it surely didn't let me down!

    I missed L-elf, Haruto, and company. Valvrave is just awesome.

    And just a small correction, the blue fairy Magius A.I. thing is named "Prue", his sister, the one in VVV1, is named "Pino". (both names are Italian, but I don't know if that's really relevant or not)

  6. Well, "Prue" would be romanized as "Plue" under the Hepburn system, so I'm fine with that.

  7. I

    They spell it that way on the website, which thankfully has all the names in both English and kanji, but if you like "Plue" that's fine. I stand by calling the MC of Gargantia "Red", simply because I liked the name better. : P

  8. k

    You said Saki told Haruto:

    "If I get raped, I prefer it if it's you doing it."

    But to be accurate, the line was actually more like this:

    "If if had a fit like that (and wanted to go rape other people), I'd rather it was with you"

    In other words, if she had that urge to attack others. It would be the opposite scenario of the rape..

    Not that it matters too much, in the long run, but since people already read too much into these things…

  9. I

    Oh, and I should mention, your link to the vid for the new OP, is showing the first season OP, not the second.

  10. s

    I think valvare's action scenes wont get as much credit as KnK because, at least in my opinion, while valvare's action scenes are enjoyable to watch, all they really are is robots zooming around, shooting laser beams, and causing other objects (whether they're mechs or ships) to explode; the battles pretty much amount to explosions in space and when ive scene one action scenario, ive pretty much seen them all even though im still relishing in them (…sigh im easy to please). Still, they are fun to watch. Action scenes have to be dynamic in order to be exciting, regardless of the budget (whether in anime or in live-action).

    Take Yozakura quartet for example, which while it doesnt have KnK production values, made a 1 minute battle against a giant goldfish so stylish, cool, and interesting to watch: Great camera angles, color contrast, and crisp booming sounds made that all come together cohesively into an impressive action scene regardless of the budget (one of the best actions scenes this season. In Knk case, while the choreography of the fight was just a solid effort, those immaculate in-between animations, slashing sound effects, and Hikaru Nanase's composition synching so well with the fight made it stand out so much more than most action scenes this season regardless of the choreography. Guess when its all over, it's just a matter of personal preference that will split audiences between which shows this season have the best action scenes. With all the action heavy shows this season, it would be an interesting poll to see.

  11. c

    OK, so we get the explanation that the Valvrave feeds on humans which is understandable with Haruto's attacks on L-elf (in which he literally feeds on his blood) but for me it still doesn't really explain the rape scene because he doesn't really 'take' anything literal from her. Unless this is like Madoka where it's powered by pain and fear or whatever.

    Alternatively maybe it's more like those possessed by the 'holy spirit' have to inject themselves into others in order to feed off them (as illustrated by the scenes where the cells change as well as the body hijacking) rather than in the conventional way. Personally I would have preferred it if they'd just went with the vampirism to power the machines but maybe there's some other reason that hasn't been revealed yet.

  12. Or maybe one of the writers said "Hey – we haven't thrown the rape angle into the blender yet!" and they just figured they'd worry about all that explain-y stuff later.

  13. c

    Yeah I really hope that that's not just it because apart from that Valvrave is one of my favourites from this year.

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