For being one of my most anticipated shows of this season, it took me way too long to get around to finally watching Valvrave the Liberator. An original mecha series from Sunrise, written by Ichiro Okouchi (the guy behind Code Geass), it was just something I had to see. Yes, ha ha, Code Geass R2 was a train wreck, I’ve heard the jokes. Still, I was looking forward to Valvrave to scratch a mecha itch recent seasons just haven’t been able to hit. Writer Laevatein has already offered his impressions of the show, but I hope to give one that’s more current (up to the fourth episode of the show) and maybe just a little different. Without further ado, let’s go~
The show begins with somewhat of an interesting setting. All of the action takes place off Earth, so far. The world is split into 3 factions: (wow, this doesn’t sound similar to Code Geass at all!) Dorssia, Jior, and ARUS. The story involves mostly the citizens of Jior, the smallest and weakest of the three great nations. Upon being onset by enemy Dorssian forces, high school student Haruto Tokishima stumbles upon a hidden giant robot, for some reason under his high school. Seeking revenge for his best friend, he pilots the mysterious robot in hopes of beating back the Dorssian enemies. He succeeds, and with the awesome power of this humanoid robotic weapon, Haruto keeps his school safe, for the time being.
Unfortunately, there’s something of a side-effect to piloting the machine. According to a prompt by the Valvrave’s OS, Haruto was forced to “renounce his humanity” in order to pilot the machine. Subsequently, he was prickedby some needles and then allowed to finally move the machine. It’s unknown what the full effects of this event are, but for the time being it lends Haruto some very interesting abilities. Specifically, vastly increased regeneration (being able to regenerate from multiple fatal bullet wounds), and the bizarre ability to swap bodies with anyone he bites.
From that point, the show devolves into the personal struggle of Haruto as he begins to come to terms with who he is, and what he is (though no one is quite sure of that yet). Additionally, the political implications involving a neutral third party, Jior, possessing an incredible weapon like this are important. The war between ARUS and Dorssia can have its balance shifted depending on which side Haruto decides to work with. Over all, so far the show seems pretty interesting. There’s a lot of swirling events, a rich background, and some possibly interesting personal stories at work here. I’m definitely looking forward to how the plot unfolds for this one.
One of the best parts of this show to me, however, is the mecha design. The Valvrave is a ridiculously cool machine. It’s got hand sickles, a bayonet beam gun, and leaves ribbons of light trails as it zooms around the battlefield. The full extent of the power of this machine are clearly unexplored, but I’m sure there are many many more tricks up it’s sleeves. One thing I unconsciously do as I watch mecha shows nowadays is think “How would this machine work and fit into a Super Robot Wars game?”, and I have to say, the Valvrave seems like a monstrously cool addition to any SRW title. One last thing I’d like to mention is the opening theme of the series. It’s done by TM Revolution and Shoko Nakagawa, but more importantly the video shows some very interesting events in the future of this show. Particularly, it features several differently-colored Valvraves. What I’m imagining is some sort of Power Rangers-esque squad of Valvraves, each having their own elemental power (the red original being fire, of course!). I’m likely getting carried away, but this is my dream for Valvrave.
Long story short, if you like mecha at all, give it a go. Stick around for the wicked mecha design, if not the plot or characters.
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