Valvrave ep5: it’s good, we just don’t know it yet?
Curse this show for being so damn entertaining. There’s a reason why I avoid shows that focus on kids surviving amongst themselves. It’s because they’re usually annoying and stupid to the point of inciting an urge to maim them. The problem with Valvrave is that it heads you off “at the pass”. It’s already maimed characters, it already knows it’s annoying, and it already knows how to keep you watching.
After what I would call the disastrous decision of the students to declare themselves an independent state, I expected episode five to start in a Fist of the North Star-like wasteland, complete with exploding heads and damsels being snatched up by freaks in biker and American football-style helmets Not quite, but sh*t does eventually get ugly. Things actually start off disturbingly calm. It’s been a week since “independence” (I’m using quotations because this is all a farce as far as I’m concerned.), and students are happily going about their new lives, playing, delegating and cleaning. I don’t see much in the way of government, but I don’t see anything in the way of chaos or conflict either. Where are my roaming motorcycle gangs of rapists and
sodomizers sodomites? Where are the corpses? Where are the orgies? Hell, Highschool of the Dead was in chaos for only about three or four days before they had orgies. The worst we get are some kids looking at porn, drawing booty pics in the asphalt for passing flights to see and a broken water mane. This may as well be the last day of school before summer break. Oh by the way, the show does make a point of showing us some sort of power consumption percentage several times. I’m guessing that’s important, because they’re in space and not necessarily any closer to the sun than Earth.
Meanwhile the adults are still kinda at a loss for what to do about this nation of rogue kids. The threat of losing the Valvrave is enough to keep both countries in a virtual holding pattern. ARUS is busy trying to deal with upcoming election and their polls, the kids are too popular to just wipe off the map. Dorssia can’t seem to do anything right now either except be clean, well organized and angry. Their leader mutters something about “Red Thursday” in his speech. I’ll just assume it’s the day their princess (I’m making this part totally up) started her first menstruation cycle and leave it at that until we get some more details.
There doesn’t seem to be a single adult of consequence in this episode except for the science teacher who is enamored with the Valvrave and how it works. And who can blame him. He states the obvious, that this is beyond out of this world technology. Personally, I can’t even yet comprehend the course of decision making that made the Valvrave what it is. Most importantly, why the hell does the machine turn its one chosen pilot into a “vampire”?! Sorry, it’s been five episode and I still can’t figure out that point aside for it being a plot device.
I almost forgot. In this series, L-Elf has almost become a celebrity 0n his own for the viewers. He’s as much at fault for this series being considered an insane mess as anyone. So I think plenty of us were disappointed that he was just busy hacking things with his creepy face on for most of the episode. Slinking around like some sort of Hanna-Barbera villain. I’m not to worried though, the douchebag should be back to killing soon. Maybe he’ll even have his own Valvrave (forshadowing?).
The running thread throughout this episode had been the heat, and that damn power consumption meter. And it finally reaches a hundred percent causes a blackout halfway through the episode. This of course sends everyone into a panic. I particularly loved seeing the hacker girl’s reaction to the blackout. It was easily the best moment of the series for me so far. Ha ha!
The science teacher tells the students what’s going on, though he’s kinda trapped at the moment. And this leads the bully (that I’ve disliked greatly up until this point) to grab the nerd, who is the only person that understands technically what has to be done, with him to hit the failsafe and correct colony’s thermostat. If they don’t, everyone will likely freeze to death.
As they do that, the students start to panic and turn on each other. It seems that Sunrise isn’t content to shove aspects of various mecha and sci-fi shows into this production. They apparently want some good old-fashioned shoujo drama in here as well. Stuck up blonde oujo-sama starts blaming Shouko for this predicament because she proposed independence and getting them stranded out in space without proper assistance. Of all people, Saki ends up speaking up and defending her rival (though sadly, I think she’s the only one that knows she’s a rival in the timid Shouko-Haruto-Saki love triangle). She reminds her and her pair of lackies that they both openly agreed to go along with this plan and independence. Of course, oujo-sama and her girls aren’t gonna take this lying down. They’re still relying on their status that they earned in school to bully and get their way. The only thing Shouko manages to do is an awkward and pitiful attempt to get everyone to calm down by singing. I was very impressed with Saki though, as she ended up having my second favorite moment of this episode. With oujo-sama in her face and bullying her, she stands up to her and gets slapped. But she’s perfectly fine with slapping this stuck up clown right back! YES! Saki, you’re my new (and first) favorite character in this series! The nerd and the bully manage to turn on the power right after that. Which exposes the fact that Haruto was wearing some ridiculous mascot outfit, and that oujo-sama has a nice butt!
Somehow, Shouko’s singing and Saki’s spunk gives Haruto and the others the idea to do a music video and broadcast it to the universe in an attempt to boost morale, support and tell their loved ones they’re doing fine. The rest of their home country is still being occupied by Dorssia after all. The music video turns out to be a nice moment, and even raises them substantial funds on the internet.
The episode concludes with Haruto and Saki checking out one of the lower parts of the colony and discovering several other Valvraves down there. Saki is very happy at this, and L-Elf slinks around the corner to see the discovery, too. But Haruto is none to happy to see these things. He puts on his best pained hero face, which is all the invite Saki needs to come in for a kiss. Even the creepy loli inside the Valvrave had to tilt her head at that moment.
I gotta admit that I loved this episode once it got to around the halfway point. I’m absolutely adoring Saki at this point, though I just know that she’s going to be a tragic figure later on in the series. Though I hope I’m wrong and she gets a somewhat happy ending like Misa of Macross did. Her desire for power and things that aren’t destined for her just starts setting off flags all over the place. But damn I lover her right now.
The bully- OK, I’ll try to use his real name since he’s turned out to be a decent person and may actually live a bit longer – Raizou rose a bit in my eyes as well. He’s still a bully, an idiot, and way too forceful. But someone like him is eventually gonna be needed. Maybe if he can play along he could even be used to keep the other students in line when things eventually go sour again. Him and the nerd, Yuusuke may actually be a good team in time. Both of them have character flaws that make them interesting people.
I’ve already stated that I’m a bit disappointed that L-Elf has taken a back seat this episode, but I’m patient enough to wait for his spectacular return to action. With the inclusion of multiple Valvrave units, my head is swimming with possibilities. I’m only guessing that the other machines will have the same side effects as the first, but who knows. I was actually worried that Haruto might freak out during the blackout and bite someone, but it looks like merely the passage of time isn’t one of the triggers.
In the end, there aren’t really words to describe the fun this show is to watch. It’s far from buried, and shows that maybe Sunrise may have learned from their past mistakes with original mecha series. Then again, this may all be a complete fluke and they may have no idea how they’re working their magic, or why people are enjoying it. We’ll find out in the future, as this show’s aspirations become clear. It doesn’t matter right now though, because anime fans live week to week, and episode by episode. And right now, Valvrave is one of the most entertaining shows in the world.