An indecisive high school boy finds himself caught in the middle of a war in the first episode of Valvrave. A boy named Haruto lives his life on a neutral world where war is but a distant thing. He’s willing to let himself be trodden all over until the girl that he loves is killed in the crossfire as their world comes under attack. He pilots a mecha that a group of terrorists was trying to seize and ends up saving the day to the acclaim of everyone there. Then he gets out and is killed by one of the terrorists, until he gets back up and attacks him.
This was easily the most problematic of any of the first episodes I had seen this season. I was even hesitant to write this post because it would just bring further attention to a series that absolutely does not need it.
Anyway, the comparisons to Mobile Suit Gundam are obvious in that their first episodes are fairly similar in plot structure up to a point. That’s where the Valvrave creators stepped in and decided that Gundam simply doesn’t work. The main character doesn’t need to have a childhood friend, so fuck
Frau Bow Shouko. It wasn’t even like it was a surprise that she died in the first place. All it took was the boy band terrorists killing people and knowing about Haruto’s feelings to really put the pieces together. If you didn’t see that coming, you weren’t really trying very hard. The same goes for the “twist” in the epilogue. The Valvrave asked him to give up his humanity, he did, so the rules of normal death no longer apply to him. Of course it’s reasonable to become a zombie after that.
Then there’s the overt geopolitics that this series seems to be trying to take on. Code Geass does outstandingly well in comparison to Valvrave in this regard. It feels like this series is already taking on a revisionist theory of pre-war Japan. The nation that is neutral is clearly a proxy for Japan, and the two nations fighting around them are proxies for Europe and the United States. Everything seemed well with paying them off to go away, but oh my god it made us weak at the same time. Even Eden of the East hinted at this underlying current of thought in contemporary Japan, but it never just fully endorsed it immediately like Valvrave has.
As for production quality, Sunrise did not hold back in making this look amazing. Whether that’s the mechanics, flight battle physics or breast physics, they went for as good a look as they could get. So it isn’t all terrible when it comes to Valvrave, but if that alone convinces you to watch, God help you.
Reasons to Continue Watching: Fantastic looking action and a zombie edge to a mecha series
Reasons to Drop: Completely trashes mecha series of the past and the director clearly hates humanity
My Verdict: My advice would be to watch Guilty Crown instead, then you will see the bar that even this show can’t clear. Dropped with extreme prejudice.