Time to talk about the MOST VALVRAVE ANIME OF THE SEASON. What lies beyond the elusive 666?
Long ago, in a blogosphere far, far away, there was an anime series called Guilty Crown. Before it was released, its evidently high production budget, place of pride on the consistently interesting Noitamina timeslot and hordes of talented staff led dozens of well-meaning people to believe it to be a potential masterpiece, the next big hit, a series that would save anime from itself. What they received was perhaps one of the most hilariously misjudged animated trainwrecks ever set to celluoid. But while some mourned the results, others found mutual comfort and hilarity in poking fun at the series together. Some wrote long and detailed rants about everything the series did wrong. Others wrote hymns dedicated to Ouma Shu, savior of us all. One such blogger, named Shinmaru, held a weekly poll for the show aptly titled “GUESS THE DUMB.”
We at Shibireru Darou strongly suspected that Valvrave the Liberator, the new mecha series by esteemed studio Sunrise, would enter the canon alongside Guilty Crown and its ilk. Little did we know that the series would end up as something else entirely: a series that is so transcendentally “anime” that it wraps around and becomes something else. In the tradition of our earlier (and very, very gimmicky) posts on K, we have decided to award Valvrave similar treatment here on the site, cataloging our favorite moments from each episode and asking you, the readers, to pick one as representative. Valvrave is too markedly crafted an artifact for us to label this series of posts “GUESS THE DUMB” in good faith. Therefore, in homage to a certain series of subs for Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure (DUWANG, for those curious) we have for obvious reasons decided to title this weekly feature THE SURPRISE IS VAMPRAVES!
Without further ado, we present to you: our favorite moments of the first two episodes of Valvrave the Liberator.
1. One thing that none of us expected from Valvrave was hard-hitting social commentary. The moment where the protagonist receives THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF FRIENDS via social media is likely to prove prophetic in the upcoming giant robot wars that will divide our nation in the upcoming years. It only takes an entire school’s worth of students clicking the “friend” button on their computers to illustrate the futility of the hero’s struggle and the true nature of war. Gundam may be analogue, but Valvrave is truly the first giant robot anime of the digital age!
2. The after-credits bit of the first episode of Valvrave will soon become an anime classic. The main character descends from his giant robot and is about to leave…when all of a sudden the terrorist L-Elf stabs him in the back! Then shoots him several times! But just as L-Elf walks away…the protagonist rises from the ground and bites him in the neck. Meanwhile his cells transform into VALVRAVE CELLS. The surprise is vampires indeed! Also included in this entry is the fact that the protagonist is a body-switching vampire with a healing factor. I’m betting the writers had a hell of a lot of fun making this up.
3. Haruto jumps from a helicopter in L-Elf’s body, and slaughters countless enemies! The helicopter is piloted by a friend of his, who has never piloted a helicopter before. He notes that flying a helicopter is very different from riding a motorcycle. We think this moment speaks for itself.
4. Not only is Valvrave fantastically animated and truly action-packed, but it is also home to surprisingly complex philosophy. “What comes beyond 666?” Haruto asks. “Possibility,” L-Elf whispers. We’ll be unpacking the meaning of that exchange for a looongg time.
5. The amount of imagination demonstrated in the construction of Valvrave is truly unparalleled. Giant robots are one thing, as are Dyson spheres. But cellphones with service…in space? Never in our lifetimes have we ever considered such a thing. Truly, by embracing the technology of the future and being willing to dream big, Valvrave is paving the way for future technological advances in the same way that Star Trek inspired the invention of the cellphone itself.
6. The Valvrave defeats its enemies by…stabbing itself in the chest with a giant katana when its heating goes over 666, then transforming the resulting conflagration into a sword of fire and taking out the enemy ship. On that note, isn’t it fascinating how the Valvrave is so clearly Japanese? It fights with katanas and sickles, it draws power from the sun and uses light as a weapon, its ultimate attack is triggered by committing metaphorical suicide; clearly Valvrave the Liberator is a new myth of Japan for giant robot fans worldwide.
OTHER GLORIOUS MOMENTS:
ELECTRIFYING BONUS CHALLENGE: Count the number of times in the second episode that somebody screams L-Elf’s name. Extra points if you can do a good enough impression! “L-ELFFFFFFFF!!!!!!!!”