Kakumeiki Valvrave – 15

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This episode was Valvrave unleashed – and given what it’s like in a normal week, you know that’s going to be crazy.

Did he know, or didn’t he?  That’s the question that this episode certainly hangs on, but the road leading up to that point was an interesting one indeed.  You pretty much know you’re going to get insanity from Valvrave every week, but what separates the really good episodes from the rest is that they play like classic sci-fi anime – relentless pacing, tight-as-a-drum direction and internal consistency.  This was definitely one of the good ones, and it felt like it ended five minutes after it started.  This show can be ridiculous with the best of them, but I like it best when it also makes sense.

Really, this is a story as old as time – crash-landed behind enemy lines, cut off from support and on your own.  Of course this little group of Valvamps has a secret weapon on their side, L-Elf.  It might be asking a lot to accept the coincidence that for all the vastness of the Earth, they crashed walking-distance from L-Elf’s training grounds at Karlstein Academy – but if you couldn’t suspend disbelief to some extent, you’ve probably been watching the wrong series.

Everything that happens in this episode follows a tried-and-true form, and does it very well.  We have the calm before the storm as the heroes hide away and prepare to fight for their lives, Marie’s introspection about just what’s going on with Haruto, and the plan being formulated.  That plan involves taking over a Dorssian warship and using that to escape Dorssia, and it’s Saki and Akira that Coffee chooses for the mission – Akira because “only she” has the skills to make it work, which suggests some serious hacking is going to be required.

Meanwhile, the first clue that something was seriously off with Marie (not that we couldn’t figure out a Valvrave character with amnesia was going to have a wild past) comes when she snoops around Haruto’s cockpit (that sounded dirty) looking for clues as to his mysterious healing powers, and is recognized by the Valvrave OS (you can call her Pino).  In fact, Pino is remarkably talkative and acts like an old friend (from 5 years ago, in fact) – but one which Marie of course doesn’t remember.  Meanwhile L-Elf, with Akira and Saki in tow, finds what he was likely looking for – two cadets on patrol, who manage to wound Saki but who are no match for L-Elf himself.  His plan – have Akira and Saki take over their bodies and infiltrate the Dorssian base, leading the adult soldiers on-hand into his trap.

Also meanwhile, Dog and Thunder are doing battle with the Dorssian IDEAL on patrol in the vicinity, with Haruto clearly expected to step in once they’d done their job.  But Haruto is having the talk with Marie – during which all I could think was “this is a really bad time to be having this conversation”.  L-Elf obviously agrees, as he promptly shoots Marie in the forehead to give Haruto a little shove.  Always shooting first and asking questions later, is L-Elf, and it’s a pretty shocking moment – though it’s not altogether surprising when Marie turns out not to be dead at all.  Again that question, did L-Elf know that Marie was… what – a Valvampire, if indeed that’s what she is?  I certainly don’t out it past L-Elf to have shot someone he deemed useless simply as a means to get Haruto to move his ass, but likewise it wouldn’t be out-of-character for him to have figured out the truth before anyone else in the cast.

We’ve certainly been left with an interesting scenario now.  L-Elf’s plan has worked to an extent, though relying on Akira’s composure in a crisis seems to be asking for trouble.  But did he anticipate the presence of Yama Arashi in the area, or is that a wild card not even L-Elf has a trump for?  I like the way L-Elf’s past and that of his cohorts has become an increasingly important part of the story, which each episode teasing out a little more about their private lives and the way they became what they are. As for Marie, I get the feeling she’s fundamentally different from the other students-turned-pilots – and the way Pino reacted to her was certainly a first.  Might Marie be of the same species herself?  It doesn’t seem possible, but I’m not going to put any plot twist past this series.

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18 comments

  1. K

    I think L-Elf crosses come lines here. He has already cross it when he choose to kill innocents but takes it even further when he shot Maria. He's not a good guy -at all!

    TQ

  2. d

    For L-Elf, that's not an issue. He never wanted or tried to be a good guy, only the man with the plan and conviction to get things done.

    His whole ethos is never hestitate, kill or be killed when time is crucial. He's consistently been willing to sacrifice Haruto.

    Honestly I've gotten sick of Haruto's moralistic whinging on. His teammates are dying while he's having a crisis of faith. That is incredibly selfish, narrow-minded and emotionally immature. Haruto may represent the moralistic everyman hero-wannabe, but he's a piss poor soldier when he's supposed to be supporting his fellow man and focusing on the mission.

    I was begging for the moment and cheered when L-Elf shot Marie in the head. Real life would involve shouting or otherwise breaking up Haruto's converstion immediately and commanding him back on the mission– but this fiction is valvrave and headshots make for awesome drama.

    I don't think he knew, but I don't think it mattered to him either way. L-Elf treats them as soldiers, as he's trained to do, and being a hippie in a line of fire warzone just gets you and the people depending on you killed. Pity he is unable and unwilling to address the human emotional element as Haruto is attemping, but while in immediate danger is the wrong time to do it. Save lives now, explain later.

    L-Elf's an unemotional pure soldier in the field and he's not out to play hero, but he'll save more lives by winning in the most efficient manner.

  3. "Hippie" – really? Is this 1969, Director Hoover?

    This is Valvrave, so things don't have to make sense. I certainly agree with L-Elf doesn't care about being seen as the good guy – he's the ultimate consequentialist. It makes him a great character, but for my money a lousy ally – when you're the one who gets a slug in the head when it's convenient for L-Elf.

    Haruto having that conversation with Marie in that moment was dumb, for sure – and it's frankly totally ridiculous that it would have happened in the first place (but again – Valvrave). But Haruto is the conscience, without which L-Elf is basically an Al Qaeda. He's the sugar, L-Elf the coffee, as he says himself. There is a place for decency even in war, and if in fact L-Elf shot Marie under those circumstances without knowing she wouldn't die, he's a genuine psychotic.

  4. d

    I live with hippies, so I call'em as I see'm, particularly when contrasting our opposing ends of the moral and political spectrum Haruto and L-Elf. Haruto did start as a pure pacifist and he likes to moralize (until he saw his buddies shot up). He's not american but he fits the bill beliefs wise and actions wise. L-Elf is basically KGB in comparison.

    I agree that you wouldn't want to fight alongside L-Elf if I were a common citizen or a conscript. We're all just pawns– but he's an agent of the force he represents and as a leader I'd want him– paired with specialists that know the mission required. In volunteer militaries, you sign on with possibility of death in mind, but risk of death is minimized with better operations and management. When someone delivers results consistently, better the handful dead than the five thousand, given that rumor of L-elf taking out an entire enemy army. I'm sure there were casualities on his side, but a n equal conventional force would've suffered much worse. Likely, simply have different views and might agree to disagree. Personally however, I would rather fight alongside the man that follows through with the mission plan than idles by and lets my allies die.

    Haruto's the conscience and having the conversation then and there (stupidly) and "
    if in fact L-Elf shot Marie under those circumstances without knowing she wouldn't die, he's a genuine psychotic." is all so beautifully Valvrave. No, it doesn't make sense rationally, but this is drama played up and I am loving every moment of it (ok, maybe Haruto's moralizing a bit less, but it is timely cut short by timely plot twists). Delivery matters, and this show's delivered for me.

  5. I

    I wouldn't call him psychotic, he's just from an environment where if there's an obstacle that will threaten the security and stability of your plan and your team, you get rid of it, without thinking twice. I stated back in season one, that if Shoko had attempted to bargain with Dorssia for her father's life and then tried to get Haruto to halt his attack, he would have killed her right then and there. He doesn't care who you are, if you are a threat to the greater good, the team unit, and the overall goal, then you have to go. He's a man who has been taught to do this, and to do without emotions, and to never let them get in the way of his mission.

    And no, nobody, him included, knew that Marie was a Magius. If he knew, he wouldn't have bothered with shooting her at all. There's no point in keeping Haruto and the other pilots' secret as immortals from a person that is an immortal herself. I think he's practical enough to know that, so therefore he shot Marie with the complete intention of killing her, not knowing that she was a Magius.

  6. m

    I have a feeling that Marie is the first 'Kamitsuki' Saki referred to in the beginning, which means she must have gotten vamped 5 years ago.

    I have to say that the flash forwards are the most intriguing part of this already crazy show since they always manage to introduce 2 or 3 wtf twists in a few minutes, like how this one shows that Satomi is still alive in 200 years time.

    But yes Haruto…that's such a bad time to have that conversation

  7. You didn't get the feeling maybe that was Satomi's descendant?

  8. f

    picked this back up because it was genuinely interesting after i gave it a second chance.

    that guy looked EXACTLY like satomi, my first thought was that he was valvampire-d at some point, along with everybody else from the academy.

    Curious thought about the kid, he looks like a suspicious amalgamation of haruto and L-ELF (L-ELF's hair and haruto's blue eyes)

  9. M

    Lol at the first two pictures at the top… They connect to each so seamlessly.

  10. D

    You seriously had to go and make me think that. Lol It cannot be unseen.

  11. R

    I think that L-Elf knew.

    Didn't he promise Haruto that he would plan things in a way where sacrifices wouldn't be necessary?

  12. H

    My current theory on Marie is that she knew Pino, and the third Valvrave OS, five years ago when they all had human bodies and that somehow the other two have been transferred into mechs/that glowing stone Cain had. No basis for this at all but since it sounds like Pino has also changed some in those five years (she mentions having a harder time talking because she ate runes, did she bite Marie and steal her memories?) I'm expecting a whacky twist. Actually, the one thing that made me most surprised in the entire episode was how the heads of ARUS seemed to also know about the Magius and were defferring to their judgement as well, could the war between Drossia and ARUS have been initially created to keep the public from finding out about the Magius?
    Oh and put me down as believing that was actually Satomi in the beginning, not a descendent, since it sounds like he was talking about Akira as if she was his sister and that she was still alive.

  13. Expecting a wacky plot twist? From Valvrave??

    I'm certainly under the impression that Pino and her brother have been in that form for a lot longer than five years, but I haven't been paying close enough attention to where I could back that up with hard facts.

  14. M

    I'm with you on the fact that it was actually Satomi in the beginning and not a descendant.The way chibi Eru-Erufu & future Saki were talking about the possession of a holy spirit/blessing/curse/being a Valvamp/you name it leads me to believe that the survivors of M77 all ended up as Valvamps somehow(even if not all of them had Valvrares).Maybe those Magius fellow decided to give them "the blessing" for some reason as that would be the only way we saw someone turn into a Valvamp without "signing up" to be a Valvrare pilot.Then again,this is Valvrare – they could throw anything at us at any given time 😀

  15. c

    Hm, so apparently Akira is the kid's godmother… makes it sound like Shouko could be the mother then in that case….though he still looks more like L-elf and Haruto than anything.

    Both L-elf and Haruto's actions in this episode were kind of stupid although some explanations still could be made… I wonder if the bullet to the head Marie got will be able to jog her memory somehow.

  16. K

    The kid is obviously L-Elf and Haruto's love child. Trying to keep those fanfictions alive for as long as possible I see.

  17. c

    Actually now that I think about it a lot more plausible theory would be that some of L-elf and Haruto's descendants got married somewhere along the line… although this is Valvrave so who knows what's going to happen.

  18. t

    Definitely think that that is satomi in the future. My bet is him becoming a pilot in the future. The one thing that I noticed with the whole future thing is that Haruto does not seem to be around at all, and that this story they are telling to mini l-elf seems to explain L-elf and haruto fighting to defeat the magius and bring about some kind of peace.

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