Well, somehow or another Valvrave the Liberator managed to find another plot thread that wasn’t in the blender yet – amnesia (it’s a good week for amnesia in anime). One thing this show has always been pretty good at is finding ways to keep the subordinate characters involved – in fact, very often bringing to the point where they’re arguably not subordinate characters at all. But Marie has been an exception to that rule, staying very much in the background and commenting on what was happening to everybody else while not much was happening to her. Fukuen Misato being as interesting a seiyuu as she is it would be nice if Maria was more involved in the plot (not that there’s any shortage of characters that are) so if this amnesia gambit accomplishes the goal, so much the better.
This episode was, in fact, generally dedicated to the second-tier characters in the cast. I never had much interest in Yama Arashi, L-Elf’s former boy band from Dorssia, but I’m sort of intrigued with where the show might be going with all these slice-of-life high-schooler montages we’re seeing. H-neun has the most potential here, largely because if Miyano Mamoru gets something he can sink his teeth into he can chew the scenery with the best of them, and he might just here. We get to see him hanging out with several girls at a cafe as he’s being spied on by a hot chick in a hot car. Who knows, there might be an interesting side trail there somewhere.
Mostly, though, it’s about the dysfunction twins, those wacky Renbokouji siblings Satomi and Akira. I’ve liked these two all along, not least of which because – again – I’m a big fan of the seiyuu. Aoi Yuuki has always been a favorite of mine and we haven’t heard much of her lately, and as for Namikawa Daisuke I don’t think I need to say much. Satomi was a slow starter but his unhinged, teetering on the edge of panic facade grew on me in a big way. We’ve never gotten much background on how those two got the way they are before this week, only that she was a bullying victim with crippling social anxiety and he was disturbingly possessive and seemingly intent on keeping her that way. Turns out that the seeds of her downfall were when she hacked into the National High School computer to try and tweak his entrance exam results – results which he was on the edge of panic about because their parents were putting enormous pressure on him to be accepted, or else. It’s always the parents’ fault in anime.
I don’t know exactly how all that played out – I didn’t get the idea that Satomi asked Akira to do that, but at the very least he let her take the full rap – and worse, didn’t stand up to the bullies who tormented her once the truth came out. The one thing the both of them have in common is that they blamed him for her downward spiral afterwards, but their reconciliation was played with the usual Valvrave bombast, complete with symbolically reaching across the stars to link hands. The mechanics of the event were pretty standard stuff – Dorssians attacking while the shuttle was en-route to Earth, first Akira and then Haruto disregarding L-Elf’s orders, overheating Valvraves. My favorite part of the episode, though, was Akira sneaking out of her cockpit and darting through the corridors of the shuttle with a box on her head and no pants, looking for snacks.
Plot detours aside, the upshot of all this is that the Valvraves and their support team made it to Earth, but their little detour to save the wayward pilots (which was necessary because Satomi screwed up and answered a call he shouldn’t have) means they’ve crash-landed in Dorssian territory. Whether this will tie in directly with Marie’s amnesia angle (she could be a Dorssian herself for all we know) remains to be seen, but there should be ample opportunities for the coffee half of the dream couple to butt heads with his old allies for great dramatic effect.