What would make you go to war? Everyone has some line that can't be crossed. Weather it is your home being taken away, your family and friends are in danger, or your lover is also going to war. In “Valkyria Chronicles” a small country is pushed into a war that they most likely will not win. Now the people of that country need to ask themselves that very question.
When the show starts out the thing is a mess. The story was slowly paced and had filler episode thrown in so it took forever to tell anything. Slow pacing I could have dealt with but it felt like it didn't even know what it wanted to do. The story felt disconnected and it jumped from trying to push focus on the story to the characters and back again. Trying to develop characters and a story is great but the way it was done the whole thing felt unnatural and forced. On top of that I couldn't tell what kind of mood the show was trying for. Sometimes it felt easy-going and comical well other times it felt dark and dramatic. Maybe the show was trying to blend the two or it was purposely going back and forth. Whatever the case, it didn't work.
Despite all these problem somewhere along the way the show managed to pull itself together. First the show decided it wanted to be a drama. A joke will pop-up now and then, but the show firmly places itself on the dramatic side of the line. The balance between characters and story development is also solved. Storyline elements help develop characters now and the show no longer has to forcibly insert some small story element just to get a little character development for someone. This also made the story feel much stronger and flow more nicely. By the time the show ends almost every problem I had at the beginning is fixed.
The story takes an interesting mix a fantasy and WWII-ish fighting. Never relying too much on one over the other. The weapons of war are along the lines of rifles and tanks, but at the same time almost everything in the world is power by a material called “Ragnite”. This material also ties in with the legend of the Valkyrian, and I bet you can guess that the Valkyrian ends up making an appearance by the end. Changing the setting from the usual futuristic or sword and sorcery gives the show a different feel them many others.
The show manages to create and develop a terrific cast on both sides of the war. Each person has his/her reasons for entering the war and a great back story that goes along with that reason. In some cases these reasons lead to strong social issues that are not easy to overcome for the character even when they know they are in the wrong. “Valkyria Chronicles” really strives to make you care about these characters and by the end it really pays off. The show pulls off some truly emotional moments between these characters; weather it be between characters on the same or apposing side, friends or lovers.
Beyond the main cast there is a bunch of soldiers under the various commanders. Really they are all just there to fill the void of the squad. However everyone of these characters is pulled from the video game. Like the video game each has their own distinct name and personality. This is good because it gives the squad more personality then just a bunch of nameless faceless soldiers. This is not so good because they are all just glorified extras. By giving them a personality it kind of feels like the show is going to do something with them. They don't really get any development and the only part they play in the story is that you can't win a battle with one person you need a whole squad. The show also through in a few inside jokes between the squad members that only people who have played the game will get. These are never important enough that someone who hasn't play the game will not get the full experience but it is a nice little extra for those who have. All and all I think this is preferable to a bunch of nameless soldier just don't expect too much from them.
The art style has something of a pencil drawn look to it (for lack of any better way of explaining it). This is an attempt to try to copy the art style of the video game. Personally I think it fails in this respect but none the less I like it. It manages to keep a traditional anime look and at the same time can stand out in a crowd.
I have a lot of bad things to say about the beginning and a lot of good things to say about the end. If you can make it through the not so good beginning, you will have a great story and cast waiting for you. However part of me cannot forgive the show for taking so long to get there.