Valvrave ep9: protect and punish
So begins the first test of L-Elf and Haruto’s alliance to keep everyone safe and defeat the Dorssian fleet. And things seem smooth in the beginning, as most things do in anime before they go to sh*t. The real conflict in the beginning is the internal one within Kyuuma. He so desperately wants the power of the Valvrave, and he wants it in order to avenge his never-girlfriend Aina, who by the way, is having one hell of a wake online. It’s a nice, but shallow gesture in my opinion. But I won’t be too hard on the people who did it, because she was just a young girl, and there’s no other way to express remorse for her death in war time.
Valvrave for the most part is a none too subtle show. So we’re clearly exposed to some signs at the beginning of this episode. One is that Kyuuma and Raizo are walking similar paths. They’re both aggressively pursuing a spot as pilot of the next Valvrave. It’s something that seemingly both Haruto and L-Elf are against. Haruto is against any of his fellow students losing their humanity the way he did. The effects seem to be worsening for him as well. So I don’t imagine his feelings have dulled even among the daily combat initiated by Dorssia. L-Elf believes that there’s nothing worse than having some talent-less moron take control of a super weapon. They both have a point. So Kyuuma takes towards steeling himself for war, while Raizo sits in the brig for attempting to steal a Valvrave for the fifth time.
What little peace that remains is shattered though by another Dorssian attack. L-Elf has been meticulously setting up New JIOR for success, and it shows in their initial defense. Guns have been prepped all around, and the translucent sky of the colony has had its adaptive meteor defense system drafted for laser defense against the Dorssian cannons. It’s an awesome strategy that reminds me fondly of a similar system deployed in the original Macross.
The battle goes so well at first, that it appears Cain’s fleet is retreating to the safety of asteroids, the Valvraves quickly follow suit. This leaves New JIOR wide open, as a hidden fleet of Dorssian ships pops up and attacks. The Valvraves are quickly cut off to prevent the colony’s rescue. And things are looking pretty bad as the new nation is literally about to be wiped away by a massive cannon strike.
Inside the colony, the aggressive use of the barrier system has knocked out the main power across the colony. This along with the deteriorating defense has given Kyuuma and Raizo the opportunity to make it to the Valvrave hangar, where they fight over who’s going to pilot the next machine. As much of a complete a-hole that Raizo has been, I was actually hoping the annoying and whiny Kyuuma would win. But I doubted it since Raizo is just an all out bully, and Kyuuma has been whining about feelings and his revenge for like three episodes now. I was wrong thankfully, as Kyuuma manned up and punched Raizo’s ass out! *fist pump*
Kyuuma pops on the battlefield just in time to block massive cannon fire from the new Dorssian fleet. He then proceeds to wreck shop, like any child soldier in a super weapon is expected to do. But when he’s badly flanked by one of the elite units, its Raizo who comes to his rescue in another Valvrave! i think we officially have a squadron now people! All these new units make the new commander lose his taste for battle, and he decides to deploy his massive cannons again, despite there being allies in the line of fire.
I’m a little confused at the next part, as we see Kyuuma fly towards the enemy fleet, presumably to stop the cannon strike. But he just appears to be wondering into its line of fire, with no hope of winning. Uh, I don’t get it. He really did just stop the very same attack not long ago. He ends up talking to Aina, who is dead so he’s talking to himself, and then as the cannon actually fires he sees a vision of her and stops the cannon strike. He then shoots the bridge, killing all on it, and ending the battle.
After the battle, Haruto goes at L-Elf for allowing more people to enter the Valvraves. L-Elf pretends to be ignorant of what would happen, but Haruto knows better. The whole situation was set up to see who would pilot the machines. And it worked perfectly. Haruto’s only calmed down with words from Kyuuma.
The episode ends with an interesting confrontation and revelation. L-Elf confronts the Professor Takumi about actually being a JIOR soldier. Takumi lets him know that aside from that bubble head teacher that is the only other adult on the colony now, everyone aside from the students was a soldier. It’s pretty clear now, how much of an experiment this whole academy is. It makes you wonder who the real monsters are when something like this is being set up.
This was a decent episode. And it could only get so good with it focusing on characters that I don’t find very appealing or interesting. Raizo is just annoying as hell to me. And Kyuuma is just a whiny nice guy, who is pining way too hard for his dead never-girlfriend. I’m really missing the interactions between the other characters after watching these two. There wasn’t enough L-Elf, Saki, Haruto or even Shouko for my tastes.
Minor annoyances aside, this episode did its job of entertaining us with a fight, and ever so slightly moving the plot forward. The new Valvrave units are pretty nice, but I was reminded for a moment of a Heartcatch Precure episode, where a precure with a shield ability conveniently shows up for the necessary moment. It’s actually a pretty common occurrence in shows that feature fighting teams actually. And I gotta say that Raizo certainly got a Valvrave that fits him. Kyuuma protects, while Raizo punishes. Hell, they even worked pretty well as a team for a moment, too. Most importantly, JIOR was up to some shady stuff before Dorssia attacked. I really do wonder how deep that rabbit hole goes. Right now the Valvraves aren’t the biggest mystery, JIOR is.