Kakumeiki Valvrave – 19

Valvrave - 19 -4 Valvrave - 19 -18 Valvrave - 19 -32

Oh, Valvrave – it’s like I’m watching you grow up before my very eyes…

As I’m wont to do, let me get the niggling out of the way early so I can focus on the good stuff – and there was a ton of good stuff (and better) in this episode of Kakumeiki Valvrave.  Why the hell didn’t L-Elf just shoot Q-Vier (note: I’ve wanted to do that since the first time he appeared on-screen)?  It seemed like a perfect Raiders of the Lost Ark setup there – except L-Elf wouldn’t have even had to pull out his handgun as Indy did, he was already using it.  I can only conclude that he actually took the time to put his gun away before taking out his knife to duel Q-Vier.  Whaa?

That done, I can move on to the rest of the episode – which was one of the best in a season-and-a-half of Valvrave insanity.  That gun incident wasn’t the only “Raiders” moment for me, because the ep struck me as a sort of combination of “Raiders”, Zetsuen no Tempest and Don Giovanni.  I have a weakness for anime that have a sense of scope and grandiosity, it’s true, and Valvrave is proving itself to have a real operatic quality to it just as Zetsuen did.  The soundtrack is even reflecting this more and more as the series progresses.

As I’ve said before Valvrave has exceeded the expectations I had for it – I knew it could be very entertaining but I didn’t expect it to hold together as well as it has.  My track record with the second-split cour/sequel of shows I liked but didn’t love is pretty consistent – I almost never like them as much the second time around and often don’t find enough to even keep me watching to the finish.  It’s been just the opposite here – Valvrave has grown up.  It’s still absurdly expansive but now it (mostly) makes sense, and we’re getting some genuinely compelling character moments to boot.

This week featured the same nice balance of action progressing on several fronts while still being coherent and easy to follow.  Cain has lamped out L-Elf’s plan (this conflict has increasingly cast itself as a battle of wits and wills between these two), forcing him to drop up Lieselotte with Haruto while he improvises an escape route using a drawbridge over the (I assume) Danube.  Renbokouji has increasingly asserted himself as a surprisingly competent interim leader, holding the team together and issuing sensible commands while he waits for his Prince Charming to come save him.  Saki has managed to de-shota herself and land back in her true body (let’s play “caption the photo” with this one), but A-Drei catches her mid-bite, and is understandably anxious to know what he’s just witnessed.

The second half of the episode is a mix of pure adrenaline and heartbreak, as L-Elf goes on an Indiana Jones-like motorbike rampage to try and lower the drawbridge while the team inside the museum struggles to hold on until the Valvraves arrive for backup.  As this is happening Lieselotte is giving Haruto her life story and in the process, valuable intel on just what he is and what the stakes of this battle are.  She’s a Magius, a being without physical form who was part of a party that crashed on Earth (just as Pino and Plue. are) “hundreds of years” earlier (the whole thing with L-Elf would never have worked, given the age difference).  While the others eventually formed the “Committee of 101” to secretly wield power and ensure a food supply of runes, she rebelled and tried to establish friendly relations with the humans – for which she was punished with the “Curse of Diffusion”, leaving her eternally on the edge of death from rune depletion.

At this point of the episode it’s already pretty clear that Lieselotte’s story is going to end tragically.  In fact it’s only Haruto’s insistence that keeps her from staying behind to begin with (we actually get a rare Shouko – remember her? – sighting as Haruto internally compares his situation with that of L-Elf and Lieselotte), and it’s a good thing, as it’s her presence that allows the shuttle to escape.  But it’s at the cost of her own life, as she expends her remaining runes in order to repair the damage Q-Vier’s “bigger knife” did to the hydrogen booster (no, I don’t really know how she does it) and goes the way of Marie.  The body count is really starting to pile up – Marie, H-Neun, Lieselotte – not to be alarmist, but we’re pretty consistently losing one per episode now.  My dominant thought here is that there’s going to be hell to pay for this – L-Elf seems to have been pushing himself forward entirely out of his obsession with Lieselotte and with that gone, I’m not sure who’s in more danger – his enemies or the “allies” who are actually stuck on the same ship with him.

Who’s next to go?  Well, the flash-forwards tell us who it isn’t, and we can assume the likes of Haruto aren’t going anywhere this soon.  There’s still plenty of drama – Saki is behind enemy lines with A-Drei (nary a mention of her on the fleeing shuttle, though they had plenty else to worry about in the moment).  I must confess I love the way the man-crush for L-Elf on the part of Haruto and Renbokouji is depicted here – he’s like their knight in shining armor, despite all the shocking brutality they’ve witnessed from him.  Is all this going to end well?  I can’t imagine it will – the whole thing with the Valvraves just seems like a curse generally speaking, tainting anyone who touches it.  We know who’ll be left standing, but I suspect the road to get there is going to be paved with tragedy – and I’m surprised at how much I’ve come to care about that.

Valvrave - 19 -9 Valvrave - 19 -10 Valvrave - 19 -11
Valvrave - 19 -12 Valvrave - 19 -13 Valvrave - 19 -14
Valvrave - 19 -15 Valvrave - 19 -16 Valvrave - 19 -17
Valvrave - 19 -19 Valvrave - 19 -20 Valvrave - 19 -21
Valvrave - 19 -22 Valvrave - 19 -23 Valvrave - 19 -24
Valvrave - 19 -25 Valvrave - 19 -26 Valvrave - 19 -27
Valvrave - 19 -28 Valvrave - 19 -29 Valvrave - 19 -30
Valvrave - 19 -31 Valvrave - 19 -33 Valvrave - 19 -34
Valvrave - 19 -35 Valvrave - 19 -36 Valvrave - 19 -37
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16 comments

  1. H

    "But it's at the cost of her own life, as she expends her remaining runes in order to repair the damage Q-Vier's "bigger knife" did to the hydrogen booster (no, I don't really know how she does it)" Since we saw Cain standing in a vacuum last season I assume that the Magius can create forcefields when needed and that's what she did there, holding the pieces together until they rocket ran out of fuel and they didn't need it anymore.

  2. As plausible an explanation as any.

  3. c

    So everything L-elf did was for Liesolette huh? He's surprisingly more of a romantic character than I first took him for. I thought the part where Haruto tells Liesolette that she shouldn't give up on being with L-elf while thinking of his own relationship with Shouko (I'm guessing she's finally making a comeback next episode?) was genuinely touching, at least for me.

    Sucks that Liesolette had to die, especially in somewhat the same way that Marie did. I really feel bad for L-elf, I wonder what's going to happen to him now that his main motivation is gone.

    Speaking of next episode, I think that tied up looking person is probably Saki. Looks like she might be spending more time in enemy territory in the coming episodes. I'm guessing this means that A-drei will eventually find out about the bodyjacking and that that the person who shot him wasn't really L-elf.

  4. J

    The soundtrack is one of the unsung triumphs of Valvrave. It's absolutely fantastic, yet all anybody ever really talks about are the big mainstream J-Pop theme songs, which while good can't even hold a candle to the orchestrated soundtrack in my book. It came out again in this episode too, especially the use Shi no Saki ni Aru Koto during Lieselotte's exit stage left. The really somber violin piece that just reeks of tragedy.

    It's funny cause Valvrave has the kind of soundtrack I just used to take for granted…as in I feel that there was a time when that's just the caliber of soundtrack I expected and got out of anime, but you maybe only get once or twice a year anymore if that nowadays. Sunrise as a studio in particular just seems to have a stronger commitment to having a memorable soundtrack for their shows though so maybe that's the key here.

  5. I would put BONES in that category too, which isn't all that surprising if you consider their origins.

  6. Z

    "It's funny cause Valvrave has the kind of soundtrack I just used to take for granted…as in I feel that there was a time when that's just the caliber of soundtrack I expected and got out of anime, but you maybe only get once or twice a year anymore if that nowadays."

    That was also a time when a different kind of anime predominated. I took it for granted too. If only I had known back then what the future would hold!

  7. R

    There's plenty of variety in this season though.

    The Timeless Classic – Kyousougiga (soundtrack of the year btw)
    The SUNRISE mecha – Valvrave
    Those 2006 Romance – Golden Time, White Album 2
    The Edgy Shit – Kyoukai no Kanata
    That Good Sport Anime – YowaPedal
    That Decent Harem – Outbreak Company
    The Okada Drama – Nagi to Asakura
    SHAFT being SHAFT – Monogatari S2
    Best MMORPG anime – Log Horizon
    neo-GAINAX mindless action – Kill La Kill

    We are missing the a Production I.G. Sci-Fi, the Brain's Base Kaleidoscope and the David Production Brawler.

  8. M

    Lol,I almost spat out my tea on my keyboard when I read "The Edgy Shit – KnK" =))

  9. S

    "Why the hell didn't L-Elf just shoot Q-Vier?"
    That bothered me too but I justified it with L-Elf wanting a fair match against his former comrade.

    Will Lise's death open the door for a L-Elf X Shouko romance? I have a feeling that Haruto is going to sacrifice himself at some point. And we have the L-Elf lookalike kid in the future…

  10. For the good of the species?

    With Lieselotte's life on the line and time of the essence, I don't buy that theory though it was the only thing that crossed my mind at the time. L-Elf doesn't strike me as the sporting type.

  11. R

    He was out of ammo.

  12. In all the times we've seen him, has L-Elf ever run out of ammo?

  13. Z

    He has the unlimited ammo bandana stashed away somewhere.

  14. M

    "I have a feeling that Haruto is going to sacrifice himself at some point."

    Yep,same here…especially with his ruined helmet floating in space in the new ED.

  15. I

    Weirdly, both L-elf and Q-vier were acting honorably in their duel. I might maybe expect it of L-elf, but definitely not of Q-vier. But think about it, both boys had guns (I'm sure Q4 had one on him somewhere), yet both never took it out and stayed with knives. Neither of them did any underhanded strikes which could have killed either one of them, they kept their fighting honorable too. I was actually waiting for Q-vier to do the cowardly thing and strike at Lieselotte, especially when he saw that she distracted L-elf from the fight and was his obvious weakness. However, strangely enough, he never goes for her and keeps his fight to L-elf. They also keep it to one knife at a time, when both had and could wield multiple knives at a time.

    All this makes me think that perhaps there's some kind of honor code between the Karlstein grads when they face each other one on one? Because neither L-elf nor Q-vier usually pays attention to any sort of rules of chivalry, but they suddenly did here.

  16. K

    The princess has always been on the top of who’s going to die list. I guess the hitman finally hit her. Also, what’s going to happen to Saki?
    TQ

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