After blasting Cars into Space, he floated aimlessly across the galaxy for several thousands years, meeting no living creatures and eventually losing consciousness. When humanity started to spread across the galaxy themselves, one survey team pick up some space debris and discover it has some strange power they can’t really comprehend. What they do know is that it holds tremendous power so they do what any good person would do and use it to power a giant robot. They weren’t actually going to use the robot until some berk jumps into the cockpit and is infused with the power of the stone mask.
There. Valvrave already a bajillion times better.
Valvrave annoys me. You know Sunrise, just because you’ve given it a different name doesn’t mean we can’t spot yet another Gundam from miles away. Space Germans on one side, Galactic Cocksuckers on the other, and some neutral colony in the middle populated entirely by high school students. Then suddenly one of the teenagers falls into a cockpit and can suddenly pilot with the best of them because apparently this is the future and piloting has become so computer assisted that some potato on a stick can do it. Why do we have a potato on a stick as a main character anyway? It’s like Sunrise looked at Code Geass and thought that no, it wasn’t the charismatic morally ambiguous flashy male lead that everyone liked. It was that it was set in high school! Get rid of that actual interesting element and replace him with a Yuji Everylead the Bland who whines and tries to confess to the girl he loves. Because everyone fucking loved Oh Mah Shoe from Guilty Crown.
Why is this set in high school anyway? I am not just going to let this slide. What thematic purpose does having the characters be in high school serve? No, you can’t just say “because it’s anime and anime is dumb like that”. That’s not good enough. EVOL is dumb and it is set in anime high school, but that serves a thematic purpose. The show is about puberty and the change of emotions from lust to love. Let’s look at anime from this season as well. Attack on Titan has kids as main characters because they’re the new generation who don’t understand why they have to remain behind the wall while the adults have spent their lives convincing themselves they never need to leave it. Gargantia has teenagers because it serves to contrast how different the pilot from the warring society is from the girl who lives on this picturesque society. Demon King at Work has young adults as their main characters because it’s about struggling to live on minimum wage and how limited your options are under that budget.
Now let’s look at Valvrave. The story they’re setting up here is about the futility of neutrality and how you’re supposed to fight for your rights or else you’ll just get bullied into everything. Wouldn’t this have more in common with, say, a young salaryman? One who is forced to listen to his asshole boss and gets bullied by the bosses son but blankly accepts it because it’s easier than fighting the oppression? That ties into the neutral country not wanting to fight the Space Germans who keep sending over military might to bully them. Or heck, if it would break your little heart to take it away from high school, why not make the kid some bullied loser who meekly hands over his lunch money? More thematic relevance there. But nope, instead he’s a bland everylead with friends and everything. This was a problem with Guilty Crown too, the sympathy with the male lead’s position is rather undone when he apparently already has a harem of girls admiring him from the sidelines.
In their desire to conform to the norm, Valvrave has managed to produce a nothing. Not even the visuals are worth mentioning. Oh sure they’re animated just fine with movement and stuff. But visually it looks the same as every anime ever, with no unique touches or artstyle or animation or anything. It is the beige of anime. The best part of the episode is honestly that post-credit scene because, apart from being incredibly dumb and random in a way that made me laugh, it actually hints at there being some kind of greater theme unlike the entire rest of the episode. He’s given away his humanity to fight but in doing so he becomes a vampire that sucks the health from those he could have otherwise shared with? Well, something along those lines hopefully. That’s maybe giving the writers too much credit in believing that they put some thought into the vampire thing beyond the Sunrise Executive Boardroom of Evil demanding to stuff vampires into their next anime because it has been proven that anything with vampires in sells 43.56% times better.