The first season of Valvrave is over and while we wait for the second season that comes out in fall, we’ll review this one and see how well it did depending on different criteria. Valvrave was one of the best show of the Spring 2013 Anime Season, so it should be an interesting, and really positive, review that shall unfold.
Art and Animations
Valvrave is visually impressive and they are not part of the group who hides action scenes with explosions and petty flash of lights. When you watch Valvrave you will see everything during the combat and the fighting won’t hide anything from view to cheapen the cost of animating everything. For those reasons the space battles are impressive and colorful and it also makes the many struggles more believable and realistic.
Valvrave the Liberator is a production of Sunrise and I must admit I have yet to see a Sunrise production which doesn’t look splendid and this one is not an exception. I really don’t have much to say about the art and animations because in the end, there seems to be nothing that completely blew my mind and nothing which was of underwhelming quality either. The mecha design was great, the module design was great and the characters unique clothing are all splendid, this is why Kakumeiki Valvrave gets a 9 out of 10 for Art and Animation.
Characters are at the core of every anime, they are the central focus and without a solid character base and good character development, it could be argued that it is impossible to have a good show. Valvrave has a lot of characters, every episode the number of secondary characters that gets to have a chance to be develop increases considerably. There is no other way but for you to like at least one in the lot, since there are so many of them and their personality covers a large range of possibilities. Now quantities is one thing, but qualities is what matters in the end.
In term of character development, Valvrave does a pretty good darn job. We are only at the first season but already Haruto managed to completely change his view of the world because of the recent events. Not only that, we are already seeing sign that even secondary character like L-elf are going to go through some severe change in personalities as the story evolves into completely new direction. This is not the kind of show where you are stuck with a dense and oblivious main character from beginning to end. Haruto’s change in personality has been especially apparent since he was confronted in becoming a monster to save everyone else. He has denied his humanity and now he is victim of sudden urges that brings him a lot of psychological suffering.
Now while we do have a lot of characters and while they do undergo some pretty interesting change in their belief and attitude, overall the characters all felt a bit too naïve considering the intense situation they are in. Even after a whole season I still feel like the characters have too childish of an attitude for the atmosphere and content of the show. I also find it difficult to really fall in love with a character, because while there are a lot of them and they all have their moment and development, no character feel truly unique and really close to me. For those reasons, while I do think the characters of Valvrave are pretty good, I don’t think they are up to where they should be and therefore I give 8 out of 10 for characters.
Soundtrack & Opening/Ending
Valvrave has some of the best Opening and Ending of the season and while they are certainly really fun to listen to and really great compared to everything else we’ve had this season, they are by no mean good enough to make it into some of the best opening/ending of the year. While the music of both opening and ending are catchy as hell, the visuals for them is quite unimaginative and boring by time.
Now while the music of the opening and ending are quite engaging, it goes as well for the show soundtrack in general. The soundtrack is this beautiful thing that no one really notice but which makes the show so much more intense and allow someone to really get immersed into it. Valvrave has some of the best soundtrack I’ve heard in a while, it makes the action so much more intense and give mysterious feelings to scenes of discovery. I would argue to say that the music is one of the major factor why Valvrave felt so good to watch and listen to, even though you never seem to notice it, it does magic to the imagination.
For all those reasons I’ll give Valvrave the Liberator 9 out of 10 for this section.
Valvrave story is very deep yet straight forward. The universe the show is set in has a lot of details and while most of the universe details are hidden in the backgrounds or in conversation between random student behind the scenes, in the end the information is there if you are looking for it. I like complex stories and universe that are thought deeper even though it is not all shown. Valvrave the Liberator is a show about politics and world power after all, so it is important that does things are well created and have a solid background, history is important, even in fiction. While we spend most of our time following the students, the rest of the world is still at war and fighting.
Now let’s go to the main story, This first season of Valvrave was a bit unsteady when it comes to the story, the show started very abruptly with a lot of action and “deaths” but the episode that followed quickly changed the paced of the show to be more friendly and innocent. It was really confusing because the show went from being really dark to throwing innocent school parties and then just a couple episode later we were back to deaths and rape. This weird (or interesting?) change in the story made it difficult to adapt to the show, especially since we had no information what the show would turn out to be. For those reasons the pace of the show was a bit hard to understand at first, it is only in retrospective that I can really understand why things went that way, but in the end everything worked fine and I was able to follow the logical progression of the story in each episode after the first three episodes.
In the end Valvrave story only started being interesting about halfway through, it is the first season of what I presume to be a multiple season saga and therefore we were only able to learn late into the show all the interesting stuff. While we only got a glimpse of everything, I was fascinated by the story and I believe it to be the best of the season. It is therefore easy to explain why it receives a 9 out of 10 from me.
Overall Entertainment Value
Valvrave the Liberator was really entertaining from start to finish. There was no real episode where I was bored watching it (although I did have a tough time with the high school musical episode). On the contrary the show was able to keep me hyped up from the first episode to the last. From the little jokes in the show to the amazing battle, it seems that Valvrave touch just about every genre. Ecchi, comedy, school life, action, science-fiction, mystery, supernatural, romance, mecha… I don’t think there is really anything missing here. Usually shows that tries to incorporate too many genre at once usually fail at each of them and the show becomes mediocre, but it wasn’t the case for Valvrave as Sunrise managed to pull it off and make every single aspect of the show interesting.
It is not every day that you will see me cheer for a character to fall in love with someone rather than another, I usually don’t care one bit about school life show, yet I loved Valvrave, every single aspect of the show. I really think that it is difficult to watch an episode and don’t feel better and excited after. The show is really good at playing with your emotions and that is what makes watching anime fantastic !
Kakumeiki Valvrave gets a 9 out of 10 for Entertainment value, and that is only because I give 10 out of 10 only for perfection.
So, in the end Valvrave is beautiful, both visually and musically, it has great characters, a great universe with a good story and it touches just about every single genre beautifully. The only thing I could say that would be negative about the show is that it feels way too close in genre and atmosphere to Code Geass. In the end, who cares if it resembles another work of the studio, it is fun to watch and exciting and when those two requirements are met, there is really no reason to complain.
Valvrave was one of the best show that came with Spring 2013 and we only got but the beginning. Next Fall we will have the second season of Valvrave and I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t anywhere near the final season either. For all we were able to witness, Valvrave the Liberator makes it into my heart and I highly recommend it to any fan of mecha / action / science-fiction or just good shows in general.
Valvrave the Liberator liberates our mind with a splendid 9 out of 10. It is a show worth watching for everyone and anyone !
Final Rating: 9/10
ZeroG signing off