Kakumeiki Valvrave – 18

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Who knew the writers had a plan all along?

I’ve heard some commentary along the lines that something of the magic of Kyousogiga was lost as soon as it was possible to actually understand most of what was happening.  And while I don’t share that view myself, there was moments during the first couple of weeks of the TV airing when it did cross my mind – that exhilarating confusion seemed to be a worthwhile result in and of itself, and losing the sense of mystery somehow a cause for regret.  But I think the ONA experience was an altogether different experience than the TV experience – it was a bewildering thrill ride that was a feast for the senses.  Now that the story and characters are established and the degree of care with which the series was constructed apparent, I’m enjoying Kyousogiga on a deeper and more profound level.

How does that tie into Valvrave the Liberator?  I think it’s undergone an existentially similar type of transition, from the days when it was enjoyable mostly for it’s utterly insane speed-dating with tropes and nonsensical plot twists and camp dialogue, to the present – where it’s working as a traditional and coherent anime sci-fi epic.  Did it lose something when the lunacy gave way to competence?  Maybe as with Kyousogiga it felt that way briefly, but as with that show I’m now enjoying Valvrave on a completely different level.  And let’s be honest, it’s still one of the most balls-out crazy shows on the air – it just makes sense now.

One thing that I find impressive about Valvrave is that now that it’s entered the “tying it all together” phase, it got most of the big stuff right.  I’m sure there are nitpicks, but thematically I think the show is pretty consistent, and it turns out that all those plot twists actually fit together pretty well.  It’s never been in doubt that L-Elf was basically using Haruto and the Sashinami gang for his own ends – it was only a question of when those ends sufficiently parted with theirs.  We may have seen it happen now, as he abandons the others midway through a mission to rescue JIOR-ian prisoners after he discovers that Lieselotte is likely being held in the same compound.  In the end, this seems to have been his larger goal all along – to stake out a “place we can run to”, swoop in and rescue her, and run.  For now at least it seems that goal still aligns with his allies in a broad sense, but the veneer of trust that was always wafer-thin is pretty much transparent at this point.

There’s a lot of important stuff happening in that old castle complex in Dorssiana (which looks a lot like Vienna to me).  The Sashinami kids are trying to steal an old rocket from a military museum, and the JIOR deportees are being held deep underground – the group of scientists who started the Valvrave project.  It seems obvious now (though it always did, in truth) that Dorssia’s interest in JIOR was always driven by that project, and it’s also been proven out that Sashinami Academy was indeed in its entirety a cover for the Valvrave program, known as V.V.V. (which of course also means that Shouko’s – remember her? – father was complicit).  At the very heart of the conspiracy is Haruto’s father (Seki Toshihiko, adding to his “Narrator” credit), who used his own son as the centerpiece of the experiment.  Let’s just say the father-son reunion wasn’t exactly heartwarming (touching portrait of Haruto’s genetic code notwithstanding).

If you’re looking for good guys in this story, they’re few and far-between outside of the kids themselves (and not all of them, either).  The scientists may not have intended the Valvraves purely as weapons, but taking the military’s money is the hope of developing a master race of “2nd-Generation primates” isn’t exactly Nobel Prize territory.  Dorssia clearly sees the Valvraves strictly as machines of war, and the political conflict in that country is taking on a larger and larger importance in the plot.  The military coup of 10 years earlier may have seemingly taken total control of the country, but the Royalists are clearly a major force even now, and just as clearly one with their own nefarious purposes.  They seem to be aligned with the Magius – who it might be supposed see both the Royalists and the military dictatorship as tools for their own dreams of avarice.  In fact Lieselotte is scolded by Cain for having “betrayed the Magius” – I think it’s entirely possible she has her own nefarious goals that we just haven’t been made privy to yet.

Sadly, the circumstantial evidence is that H-Neun is dead – Q-Vier and X-Eins are certainly acting that way – though he may still be alive and being “harvested” or saved as a potential host body.  A-Drei has tracked L-Elf down, but he’s of course about to be betrayed by the young boy he assumes is a Karlstein cadet but is actually Saki.  And then there’s L-Elf himself – whose real name is revealed to be Mikhail (or Michael), the clue that tips him off that Lieselotte is in the house.  He’ll need the Sashinami gang for a while longer, at least, to aid in their escape – assuming Lieselotte agrees to go with him this time.  What’s to be done with those JIOR scientists though, now that the truth is out?  If nothing else, stealing them from the Dorssians would set their military back, so it makes sense to rescue them even if they don’t really deserve it.

Valvrave - 18 -8 Valvrave - 18 -9 Valvrave - 18 -10
Valvrave - 18 -12 Valvrave - 18 -13 Valvrave - 18 -14
Valvrave - 18 -15 Valvrave - 18 -16 Valvrave - 18 -17
Valvrave - 18 -18 Valvrave - 18 -19 Valvrave - 18 -20
Valvrave - 18 -22 Valvrave - 18 -23 Valvrave - 18 -24
Valvrave - 18 -25 Valvrave - 18 -26 Valvrave - 18 -27


  1. s

    I dont know what the net has been saying about valvare and kyosogiga as of late but im part of the camp that believes that having things tie together does not take away from a series; mindless fun is only fun for so long; after a while it just becomes mindless instead of fun. Valvare actually showing that it has a coherent plot and there was a plan for it the whole time is actually a strength in my eyes; this season has been stronger in my eyes despite the few flaws here and there and it has not lost its novelty.

    In regards to kyosogiga, that series became stronger in my eyes as well for laying out the background behind its narrative, only enhancing its whimsical charm. The series now has a lot more emotional punch to be had with its tale rather than living on the fact of being confusing and mysterious (which honestly i never found confusing to begin with; ive watch way too many mind-fuckery series both in anime and live-action to be utter stumped by the likes of kyosogiga). Being whimsical, mysterious, and confusing is one thing, but when you can be compelling, heartfelt, give enough background to your narrative and yet have a dash of mystery with a pinch of "put the pieces together urself", that is when you have a excellently executed series and in general, that is how i determine how good a piece of media is or how close it comes to being art. Something trying to tie things together is a positive thing as far as im concerned and i think it has had a positive effect on valvare as a whole.

  2. k

    "And then there's L-Elf himself – whose real name is revealed to be Mikhail,"

    No, it's Michael. The characters say Michael as anyone with ears to hear can tell. The official subs working from the official script call him Michael (I just checked). Michael is a German name, Mikhail is not. How did Mikhail even come into the picture?

    Normally I wouldn't be so annoyed over something like this (people have been calling Lieselotte Liselotte for two seasons already, despite it being obviously wrong for the pronounciation, and the correct spelling being right there on the official page), but in this case people are insisting on calling him a completely different name that's even pronounced differently. (Do people think that "Michael" only exists in English? What do they think how the names of Michael Schumacher or Michael Elnde are pronounced? o_o)


  3. k

    *Michael Ende. Damn early morning typos.

  4. Well if you want to get technical about it, Mikhail and Michael are the same name – just like Miguel is. Same source for all of them.

    I don't think this is as clear-cut as you make it out to be (though I confess I took the spelling from the GG sub). Yes, Mikhail is the Russian name and most of the Dorssian names are Germanic. But actually, if you listen to the occasions when the name is spoken in the episode, it sounds a lot more like "Mikhail" than "Michael". And if you were going to go with a Romanization you'd get "Maikeru".

  5. k

    "Well if you want to get technical about it, Mikhail and Michael are the same name – just like Miguel is. Same source for all of them."

    I continue not getting that logic… Having the same source doesn't mean they're interchangeable and the hundreds of years of cultural and linguistic development behind them doesn't exist. Russian and German, as languages, have the same source, does that mean they're technically the same? No.

    "But actually, if you listen to the occasions when the name is spoken in the episode, it sounds a lot more like "Mikhail" than "Michael". And if you were going to go with a Romanization you'd get "Maikeru"."

    Er… "Maikeru" is the English name. The German name is romanized as "Mihaeru" (or alternatively Mihyaeru") – and that is how the name is very cleraly pronounced all three times we hear it in the episode. Mikhail would be "Mikhairu" – none of the characters said an "i" in the name, all three times it was a very pretty "e".

  6. k

    *another early morning typo, Mikhail would be "Mihairu" of course. But the point is the "i".

    Anyway, to clarify, if Mikhail comes from the fansubs then what I don't get is where they got it from. Every year I get more and more annoyed with completely wrong spellings, translations or phrases becoming standard in fandom because of fansubs. :/

  7. First off, I never said the names were interchangeable, I was merely making an observation.

    My ears hear it differently than yours. Most of my Dad's family is German, I grew up in Chicago, and I've visited Germany – so it's not as though I've no idea how to pronounce the language. And that didn't sound anything like the German pronunciation of "Michael" to me. Of course it's two Japanese actors trying to say it which can certainly explain the difference, but you're off on a rant at this point so I don't suppose any of this matters.

  8. N

    It sounded as Mikhail to me tbh.
    Also, Dorssia is a merge between Germany and Russia and both nations are part of Dorssia so even though German language is dominant in Dorssia, there would be many with non-german names in the nation.

  9. S

    I thought they pretty clearly said ミハエル, as in Mikhail, but I'm not sure.

  10. M

    or you can just kinda go with a guess at a dorssian take on it and say M-Heil

  11. K

    The princess is being hyjacked. That's what I think.


  12. H

    I wouldn't say that that the Royalists are working with the Magius per say, if anything it looks like Lise is actively resisting doing whatever it is that they want her to, the female officer (whose name escapes me) doesn't seem to have quite figured out that her country is being ruled by immortal space vampires (understandable), and A-drei doesn't seem to know about them either (although whether he's actually a royalist supporter or just a former prince I'm not sure). Really do hope Lise is able to tell Michael about the magius though, although since I'm expecting her to bite the dust next episode I'm not holding my breath over it.

  13. M

    I wouldn't be surprised to see Valvrare return to it's former all-over-the-place S1 self towards the end.That or I can see them just skimming through or simply abandoning some of the other plot points such as Shouko's political side with ARUS and that thing with Saki & Haruto.I just don't see how the show plans on concluding all of that with it's remaining episodes.

    As such,I'm thinking it might actually be for Valvrare to revert back to being um…Valvrare(the S1 version) when the show's end is near(and don't get me wrong here,I'm enjoying S2 just as much).Of course,the best option would be to have another 1-cour season 😛

  14. M

    it might actually be better*

  15. f

    that would be hugely disappointing after how well they've pulled off the serious factor in these last batch of episodes or so. Everything is neatly coming together, characters and alliances are being shown truly for what they are. It all makes sense, there's a logical progression. Going back to incoherency and outrageous nature it had in the early episodes just kinda undos all plot progress made so far and takes a big dump all over it.

  16. f

    i do wonder, is that haruto's actual biological father? or were they just babies harvested/signed over from their original families for the purposes of biological experimentation?

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