By the 71st year of the True Calendar, humanity has expanded its reach to the stars. The nations of JIOR, ARUS, and Dorssia have set up colonies made of individual modules in space, each serving to house more than half of mankind. Yet, war is still being waged between ARUS and Dorssia, each looking for a way to break the stalemate in their favor, and the key to victory happens to be nestled within a lone JIOR-controlled module.
Kakumeiki Valvrave opens with an average day in the life of Haruto Tokishima being turned upside down as Dorssia launches an invasion of the Sakimori Academy, hoping to claim the secret weapons that lay hidden within it—the powerful combat machines known as the Valvraves. To liberate their home, Haruto and four others sacrifice their humanity and bear the curse of the Valvraves, becoming undying immortals that can steal the body of others. Together, with the aid of L-elf, a genius-strategist and traitor to Dorssia, they’ll spark a revolution that will change the world.
Contrary to what MAL and other sources may say, Kakumeiki Valvrave (or Valvrave the Liberator - whichever tickles your fancy more) is in fact a parody anime. You might be confused as to why I am asserting this given how this anime isn't classed as such and actually appears to make an attempt at some more mature themes, but let us take a closer look at the story. And before you deem this review unhelpful based on the low score I've given the show, I might as well you right now that while I do in fact enjoy the anime, it is no discernable way good whatsoever outside of animation. Anyway, on with the review.
Valvrave the Liberator revolves around our main character: Haruto, a socially awkward, withdrawn teenager who attends high school in a colony in space. Haruto likes Shoko, the closest thing we have to a heroine in the anime, and in the first episode tries to work up the courage to confess his love for her only to be interrupted by... SPACE NAZIS.
I wish I was kidding.
Perhaps "space Nazis" isn't the correct term, but I'm hard pressed to find anything better to describe the all white wearing (storm troopers!), fascist war-mongering state of Dorssia - they're pretty much the evil empire in the series and they all speak German, sorta.
Following the interruption one thing leads to another and before we know it our young hero is piloting a state of the art mecha capable of singlehandedly rebuffing an entire Dorssia fleet invasion. Haruto saved the day - but at a cost! To pay the price for piloting the mecha Valvrave Haruto had to give up his humanity. Essentially, he had to die. And what happened next? Well, I was confused as you probably are as you are reading this; Haruto becomes a vampire! Hilarity ensues!
Not really. It just depends on perspective on whether you find the anime hilarious or not. Personally, I think Valvrave the Liberator is just comedic gold, and let me tell you why. It takes a special kind of thinking to put vampires, space Nazis, mechas, romance and slice of life all in school setting. Did I mention there was a brief Valvrave the Musical? Not kidding. Wait for episode 5. Just wait.
All these elements in the anime inevitably result in a sense you are watching a parody and what makes it even better is the fact that the show takes itself way too seriously thus making it all the more funnier. Just think of Guilty Crown meets space, only a billion times funnier. For realsies, I do genuinely enjoy this anime. Not because it's good, not because the animation or the music is great (neither are noteworthy to be honest) but because it tickles my funny bone.
I wish I could write more in this review, but honestly, aside from delving into the characters there's not much else to say, and I'd rather do the former because I want you to genuinely enjoy the series. So here's my advice for watching Valvrave the Liberator - TURN OFF YOUR BRAIN. Seriously. Don't even think of thinking anything because neither the plot nor the characters will make much sense to you if any at all. The anime is just so much more enjoyable that way.
Story - 1
Art - 8
Sound - 5
Characters - 1
Enjoyment - 10
Overall - 3 read more
They told me I could become anything so I became a vampiric mecha pilot.
Well, the idea of high school kids becoming pilots while getting their own personal mecha gadgets isn't new to the anime industry. Series such as Macross Frontier, Code Geass, and Aquarion Evol all have this theme. It involves normal students who attends a normal school like any normal day. Then, boom. Something abnormal happens and their lives are changed forever. The catch here for Valvrave the Liberator? It also deals with a supernatural twist...with some blood spilled to add to the mix.
That's right. It's not a bird, it's not a plane, it's a Valvrave!
To be honest, I wasn't sure whether to check this series out or not at first. However, I am a fan of the mecha genre so I decided to give this a shot. What I got out though was a rather strange surprise from Sunrise's latest evolution of works. Kakumeiki Valvrave, also known by its English name as Valvrave the Liberator, is a mecha series that debuted as an original title in the year of 2013. The series is produced and handled by the animation studio known as Sunrise. And oh boy, does that spell out some controversy...
In essence, the series doesn't make much sense at various points. There's a lot going on even from the beginning. From its basis, we do know that about 70% of the current human population lives in space thanks to this development known as the 'Dyson Sphere' that is located in space. It's a city that has advanced technology above our own and holds many secrets. Then on the opposite side, there's the superpower known as the Dorssia Military Pact Federation and Atlantic Rim United States. They are an alliance that has mass amount of powers and resources. Oh and what do you know, they are picking a fight. Being a superpower and all, the Dorssia are a powerhouse with their military, technology, and elite forces. Among its members of that elite force is a powerful soldier known as L-elf Karlstein. (ERU ERUFUUUUUUU)
L-Elf is a young man who is considered many things in this anime. He has the intellectual of a military genius, the experience of an elite soldier earning him the title 'One-Man-Army', but most importantly is also labeled by Dorssia as a traitor. After a certain event in the beginning of the series, he is forced to defect from his home as he is now seen as someone who betrayed their comrades. Well, that's all thanks to a certain young boy by the name of Haruto of course. The young boy is your typical high school student with a normal life, a love interest, and friends who he can trust. But hey, what happens when you reject humanity and become someone totally different...say a vampire pilot? Sounds weird right but that's Sunrise for you. Welcome to your new life, Haruto.
Among other people in Haruto's life are his love interest, the adorable Shouko. The twist comes though when the very first episode spells out her a certain event that seemingly writes her off the series. But then, the series decides to be cheesy and return the favor. Honestly, that's just face palm worthy. So as it goes, there is also some other drama involving an idol superstar by the name of Saki. She seems to have her own issues and spells out drama for Haruto and his friends. The humor she brings into this show is hard to take seriously at all. But like I mentioned before, it's hard to take this series seriously at many occasions since it hardly makes sense in the beginning.
Valvrave the Liberator is handled by Sunrise. Fans who are familiar with the studio should know their themes and ideas that are poured into a mecha show like this. The themes of vengeance, struggle for dominance among nations, tragic romances, and mecha warfare are just a few in the series. Among other things, Sunrise decides to put all of this into a single package and tries to give entertainment to the fans. Oh it achieved that alright with some of its other absurd ideas like a little dose of high school musical and death flags seemingly triggered everywhere. Then of course, there's vampiric space pilots who are both feared and respected. It's funny in the sense that they reject humanity for absurd reasons that hardly makes any sense at all. Well, that's just the tips of the iceberg.
Among other absurd ideas is having students run an entire country. By this standard, it means that students who haven't even ventured out in the real world market are now in charge of their own destinies. It completely annihilates any sense of realism by going through its ridiculous elements.
Despite the absurdity of the series, it does maintain its premise. There is a lot of action here and there in space and on its homeland. The majority of this involves the Dorssia's military against its opposing factions and Haruto's school. Furthermore, L-Elf's “betrayal” seemingly gets one of his former colleagues' blood boiling as he views him now as a rival. The rivalry itself seems to be one sided though as L-Elf is constantly one step ahead thanks to his genius mind. It is in fact because of his tactics which resulted in several of Dorissa Army's humiliating defeats. It's no surprise how L-Elf earned his nickname. However, now the young man wants to lead a revolution. Sunrise is known for themes like this in their other works such as Code Geass and Gundam Seed. A revolution exists between different factions and each side wants to gain the advantage over the other. The catch here is that there's this mysterious Valvrave that becomes a turning tide in the struggling conflict.
The Valvrave themselves seems to have a rather strange design that fuses between machine and humanoid. Furthermore, their system makes their functions to be overpowered at many occasions. What's even more strange is the question it asks once a pilot enters its cockpit. The million dollar question is:
Do you wish to resign as a human being?
As strange as it sounds, that question and depending on the answer, will change someone's life forever.
Among other strange factors in the series is the usage of its pacing. The episode shifts between seriousness and ridiculous. It's nearly impossible to take some of the ridiculous as entertainment even with its cheesy execution. It tries to mix in way too much ideas into a little package at once. Also, some factors of the show barely makes any sense such as how Haruto is able to pilot such an advanced piece of technology given his previous zero experience in handling a mecha. Then, there's the cheesy dialogues used here and there; some related to school, some related to 'monster', and then some that makes no sense. In the more seriousness field though, there are some controversial scenes later on. Be prepared.
There's quite a lot of humor though in this series. I actually find it hilariously fun if you don't think about the plot so much. The way some of the characters behave makes them look amusing in a state of war. Then, there's the various jokes such as the Valvrave AI with a keen interest in human ideas. There's also funny gags here and there such as the humor of the '666' that symbolizes the Number of the Beast. The characters' names of the Dorissa's elite force also are based off of German origins. Additionally, we can tell that there is a lot of foreshadowing. The questions of who will pilot which Valvrave and what's to come in the upcoming struggles are just a few questions for anticipating fans.
The artwork of the series has its Sunrise production values. The way the Valvrave are structured and the characters are designed gives them that fresh look. The students' uniforms are a bit generic with nothing outstanding. However, the Valvrave machines tells a different story. The way they are designed gives off them a dangerous look and one that is very noticeable compared to some of the other mecha in this series. Among other factors, L-Elf's character makes him noticeable with his flash of silver hair. The Dyson Sphere itself also is noticeable of being out there in space with its technology to make its function while the same time giving it a futuristic look.
If there's delivery, Valvrave the Liberator nailed with its music score. Akira Senju (Full Metal Alchemest: Brotherhood, Red Garden) provides an effective OST that is quick and fits within the themes of the series. There are many times when battles are orchestrated through its nimble soundtrack to provide feedback of the action. The OP song, "Preserved Roses" by T.M.Revolution x Nana Mizuki also has a quick rhythm that provides montage of the main and supporting characters. It also creates foreshadowing through the backgrounds of the Valvraves as well as some symbolism. Finally, amongst vocal performances, the stand-out is Kimura Ryouhei who is able to maintain his calm and calculating tone of voice as L-Elf. By a measure of its soundtrack, this series does deserve some praise. Boku Ja Nai, Boku Ja Nai, Boku Jai Nai.
If you've already started watching this show, then by all means enjoy the entertainment but don't expect too much for engaging plots or characters. Rather, watch it for a way to kill time. At the same time, be sure to put those headphones on for its soundtrack. It's a 'fun' show to watch but its merits in terms of story presentation and character development is sour. Among other factors, think of this series as a hybrid of supernatural/mecha/school life/comedy/drama/romance/crazy all the same time. I mean, if you put a bunch of kids in charge of a country, there's nothing more than a eccentric ride, right?read more
Update: Corrected some spelling/grammar issues, and changed some things based off of the most recent episode.
So if you have read the other reviews so far, they're not far off besides the lets gang up and hate on Sunrise reviews.
Valvrave the Liberator is exactly what people say it is: A mecha about space Nazi's attacking peace loving Japanese vampires who are now forced to fight for their peace, with a money loving space America who wants to be heroes and defeat the Nazi's through exploiting the peace loving Japanese people.
So this anime has some major story issues, and they Xeroxed the characters out of many other anime genres, it doesn't necessarily need to be dismissed as a terrible anime. If you can watch it and enjoy it, to me that is a good anime. Not a work of art like Rahxephon, Eureka Seven, or others, but a good just something to watch anime.
Out of all of the anime I am watching this season, this is one of the ones I am enjoying the most. Valvrave is like an abomination of things that should not have been mixed together, much like Hellsing was, but this mix is actually making a decent product to watch. Its funny, slightly mind numbing, and so far, it hasn't made you want to go and cry in a corner rethinking your life (I'm talking to you Evangellion).
Plot & Characters 5
Your peace loving Japanese people are forced into battle with sudo Space Nazis/Stalin Communists (Dorsia is a mix honestly), all the while the Space 'Murican's are trying to exploit their plight for their own gain.
It’s completely built on cliché’s but its actually something that isn't copied from just one thing, and that is what makes it different. It’s not like Majestic Prince where that is just a rinse and repeat mecha anime. And honestly I can’t wait to see where they take the plot for this anime.
Character wise, you have your:
Crybaby questioning life lead male character: Tokishima
Princess starlet that wants to be famous through anymeans: Rukino
Strong fearless female leader: Sashinami
Bad a#$ motherf!@#!@ that was exiled from his home land and is also an oracle?: L-Elf
Dirty American Politicians
1 Evil Space Dictator
A gaggle of School Kids
Oppressed Japanese people
And a bunch of Nazi's
The characters in this anime share similarities to meatloaf. A bunch of clichéd character traits were mixed together and molded together and made into a character, much like the many meats in a good meatloaf.
Art and Sound: 7
Its a sunrise anime. A decent amount of production has gone into this, however since It hasn't been licensed to Funimation yet I don't have a way to see the visuals in HD. Looks alright on SD. >_>
Entertainment Value: 10
This was something that should not have been made, but was made, and actually is fun to watch. Nothing more. Just waste some time and watch it already. You’ll be surprised at what you get. read more
I'm sure everyone has heard the term 'so bad, it's good'. There is something inexplicably enticing about the amusingly bad, as the cult success of cinematic embarrassments such as 'The Room" and "Troll 2" will substantiate. This applies just as much to anime as it does to movies, take this piece of space mecha action sci-fi junk, for example.Valvrave the Liberator is the latest from the once great studio Sunrise; an amalgam of the studio's worst tendencies and deteriorating quality. It's a show that is so wildly unfocused and possessing plot twists so ridiculous that it transcends being merely bad; it's entertainingly awful.
On the surface, Valvrave is blatantly generic. It has a well intentioned but soft-headed and somewhat wimpy boy as its protagonist, whom in a moment of desperation gets super-powers (this time vampire powers) and a giant robot, which gives him the power to defend himself and what he holds precious. He then finds himself in the middle of a galactic power struggle; at odds with a militaristic menace. Original, right!? Well, to layer on the cliches, the story involves a high school and revolution of the youth, things series composer Ichiro Okouchi can't seem to pull himself away from; having already used them in two of his major works, Code Geass and Guilty Crown. That's not the end of it, as the show is rife with overused tropes: the clueless love interest, the jealous secondary love interest who is a pop idol, the angst the hero has over his inhuman powers, and so on.
Of course, it isn't this saturation of stock plot elements that makes this show memorably bad, if anything they would make it forgettable. No, it's all in the writing and execution. The show loves to be extravagant and dramatic though its material is often too thin or silly to give any weight, and sometimes just downright misleading. For example, when Haruto's (our milquetoast hero) crush Shoko seemingly dies in the first episode, the show ramps up the drama so much it almost seems certain that she's dead. But of course, all this drama is ultimately wasted because (and I'm sorry for spoiling anyone who hasn't watched past the first episode) she is in fact alive, with nary a scratch. That's right, the blast not 10 feet away from her that blew a crater into the earth didn't kill her, it just buried her and the car she was running to under some rubble. This is just the first of the many poorly conceived plot twists in Valvrave. Haruto comes close to confessing his feelings to Shoko, but stops midway because he is "no longer human", a contrivance clearly put there to make room for some love-triangle dramatics. One of the characters is apparently such a strong strategist that he can predict events as if he is clairvoyant; a rather laughable attempt to make him look like a genius. Not to mention the contrived rape scene late in the season, and the marriage proposal it leads to. The plot has almost no focus and barrages twist after twist, with little thought of how these twists flow together or if they even make sense. The show plays all these plot twists straight, making them inadvertently hilarious. It doesn't help that the actual comedic moments in the show are not particularly funny.
Valvrave has a humongous cast of named characters, and absolutely no idea how to use them. Most of the characters just wonder around living their normal high school lives, and occasionally converge to make a collective decision. Majority of these characters are stereotypes in terms of personality and contribute very little to the plot, and yet the show inexplicably follows them around and gives them a decent amount of screen time. The main cast is also lax in characterization and fit into retreaded archetypes. Haruto is the average male lead seen over and over again in anime. Shoko is the genki girl with a good heart, and Haruto's childhood friend/love-interest. Saki is the stuck-up and guarded pop idol, who also harbors feelings for Haruto. L-elf is the unbelievable military genius, who serves as Haruto's rival and/or ally. Pretty much all the characters can be summed up in a sentence or two. The major factions are barely defined outside of their initial descriptions: Dorssia are the militarists, ARUS are greedy capitalists, JOIR are neutralists. Despite the initial promise of some political play, there is virtually none. There is only silly high school drama pretending to be political. It's every bit the farce it sounds.
There is at least one thing Valvrave gets right, the eye-candy. In all respects, this is a very pretty show. The color schemes are vivid and colorful, as are the character designs and backgrounds. The character designs by D. Gray-man mangaka Katsura Hoshino are not exactly unconventional, but they are distinctive and attractive, especially their eyes. The mech designs are sleek yet fantastical, with striking features such as multicolored wings, wheel-blade weapons, and laser swords. They are some of the coolest mech designs anime has recently produced; even the bulky Dorssian mechs look pretty awesome. The space battles and various other action set-pieces are exciting and feature good cinematography; there is a lot going on, but it never gets cluttered to the point of being indecipherable. There are some short-cuts and quality drops, but they are taken in the right places. The soundtrack is also very good, though not outstanding or out of the norm for the genre. The action tracks are the high point of the music, but conversely there are a few obnoxious insert songs. In all honestly, it is well directed on purely technical merits; which makes the poor direction in all other aspects a little less noticeable.
In truth, Valvrave the Liberator can't really be put on the same level as things like "The Room" and "Trolls 2" because it actually succeeds on a technical level, which is more than can be said for those two movies. Plus, it has better voice acting than the acting in those movies as well. Not for lack of trying, though, because the writing in Vlavrave is bad enough to rival those atrocities. It's not just bad, it is comically bad. If not for the strong technical merits and voice acting, Valvrave could have very well reached that next level of badness. While the loose plot threads can be remedied by the upcoming squeal, the question arises: with this season being so bad, what chance does season 2 have? Well, chances are it will be just as much of a trainwreck. Am I wrong for kind of looking forward to it? read more
Put on your helmets and prepare for the explosions. This is a collection of the 20 best war anime from the thrilling 2D battlefield! So what exactly separates them from the rest? Explosions? Drama? Political intrigue? You name it, they've got it.