Valvrave ep4: because thinking about it too much hurts
I don’t really have words for what I just saw. My thoughts on Valvrave: the Liberator were that it was probably gonna be just another Sunrise mecha show that doesn’t get it. But this is starting to turn into a number of Sunrise shows that I still think doesn’t get it, but it doesn’t matter because it’s its own weird sort of thing. Even though I could easily describe it as just everything Sunrise did thrown together, it’s weirdly entertaining as more than the sum of its parts. All that said, this episode was a complete mess!
The opening scene of this episode throws ARUS’s gambit right out in the open. They plan on developing the stolen Valvrave into a definitive mass-production weapon. With that, they plan to end their rivalry with Dorrsia through total war. It’s a gamble their politicians are willing to take with confidence.
This episode I’m guessing is the show’s big coming out. It’s showing us perhaps what the rest of this series will revolve around. A bunch of kids trying to maintain their independence from outside forces, and I guess even from their neutrality obsessed parents and leaders from JIOR. This came out of left field for me because I thought that if anything they’d just want to be safe, not make a statement. It’s pretty clear that they can’t defend themselves on a personal level. Both Dorssia and ARUS’s meager force could subdue them with ease. And at the end of the episode, when Shouko talks of using the Valvrave as a hostage, I kept thinking of how easy it would be for special forces to sneak in and f*ck up their world. Actually, didn’t that happen already?! What a ridiculous plan! Arrgh~! It hurts! This doesn’t make sense and it hurts!
Let me get back on track, how’d we get to this point? Well at the end of the previous episode, after L-Elf had caused so much destruction and made all his predictions come true, he tells Haruto to join him in a revolution. He didn’t explain it then, he doesn’t explain it this episode either. We just know that Haruto has positively upped his timeline significantly. He then gives Haruto another prophecy, stating that they’ll be forming a contract when the day is done. Haruto denies his claims, still believing in the ARUS military and its senator.
Hopes and dreams in this show are easily shattered though, as Senator Figaro decides to turn tail and dump his bold and honorable claims to get the Valvrave and Haruto, and get the hell off of the colony, kids be damned. The Dorssian military has doubled back to the JIOR colony quicker than he anticipated. His attempt to brute force his plans is met with disastrous results as the Valvrave isn’t the least bit compliant. I should have known when the ARUS pilot called the chick on the computer a slut. For his troubles his body was turned into a series of hemorrhages and his suit a bloody balloon. Haruto is tied up and left with a single guard, as Figaro makes plans to pack up the Valvrave and the kid and leave the students for the Dorssian military. Shouko, who had previously stumbled on the hacker’s (Akira?) hideout, overhears Figaro’s plans through the girl’s network. And she anxiously tries to get anyone she can to believe she’s heard the transmission.
This is probably the strangest scene I’ve seen so far this season., even more so than that scene from Flowers of Evil. Shouko gathers the members of the school’s student council together to tell them of Figaro’s plans. Unfortunately, no one wants to believe her in the slightest. And because hacker girl made Shouko promise not to tell anyone of her secret hideout, she can’t give proof that she heard it. But rather than simply breaking that promise to save the lives of her friends and other classmates, she decides to strip to show proof of her honesty. What the hell?! This makes no sense to me. This is the kind of crap I’d expect to see while watching Horizon, or some doping harem anime. To add to the insanity, for some reason Satomi, the student council president freaks out while she does this. That too was certainly unexpected, and it reminded me of one of the male pilots in Majestic Prince freaking out when he saw some porn. Sheesh! Wimpy, girly men are everywhere!
Somehow her display of anti-modesty is enough to convince the council and they come together in an effort to expose Figaro. The plan? It’s to distract the soldiers and Figaro with singing while Shouko and others slink into the gymnasium for evidence. Cue scene where students climb through vents and fall on the one soldier guarding Haruto. Haruto then tells all of the students that Figaro is lying, and because he’s such a respected celebrity now they’re easily convinced and turn against the military. Figaro drops diplomacy and fires an automatic weapon into the crowd so they can get free of the angry crowd. Yeah, that was dumb. Haruto hijacks the Valvrave and immediately takes control of the situation.
Reality soon sets in though when the students realize that they’ve made enemies not just of Dorssia, but of ARUS, too. This is exactly the situation L-Elf (who has been surprisingly low-key this episode, probably just didn’t have anyone to kill) has been waiting for. He expects Haruto to come to him for an alliance and a plan to get out of the situation. Too bad for him, everything is ruined by one spoiled, spunky little girl. Shouko decides that they should play the major forces against each other, promising each side that should they do anything to their families are try to attack them, that they’ll give the precious Valvrave to their rivals. If ARUS tries to take the Valvrave, it’s given to Dorssia. If Dorssia tries to take their families hostage, they give the Valvrave to ARUS. It’s an audacious and arrogant plan, but it’s simple enough for everyone to understand. And the students rally around their one plan for salvation.
The next step of her plan comes to fruition through Haruto and the Valvrave, as the ARUS forces are just being defeated, they step in and not only draw some of the fleet away, but start doing something really strange. They begin damaging the supports for the colony. It’s made pretty clear that the Valvrave is disconnecting the student coloney from the rest of the sphere that supports all the others. The students of JIOR are declaring their independence. I’m thinking right along with L-Elf in believing that this is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve seen.
At this point, I’m wondering what other Sunrise shows Valvrave is going to throw into the mix of its structure and story telling. I see so much mixed in from Gundam SEED and Code Geass right now that it’s almost boggling the mind. I’m starting to wonder if this story was plotted out in a board room. I’m sure episode five is going to be another interesting romp.