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