Valvrave the Liberator: Cursed Mecha Spells Awesomeness!

At first, I wasn’t too keen on watching Valvrave the Liberator. I’m not a mecha fan (I only watched Gundam SEED and Destiny) and as of late, Sunrise hasn’t been giving its best at its releases. But since I felt that 6 anime series per season was too few for me, I decided to download and marathon the first 6 episodes. I stand corrected. Valvrave the Liberator is just too awesome! For those who just want a sentence to describe the awesomeness: take Code Geass, Gundam, and almost any other mecha anime you’ve ever seen and synthesize the good parts to create Valvrave the Liberator.

[CMP]Fullscreen capture 2013-06-06 101044 AM

Our protagonist is Haruto Tokishima, a regular and kind high-school male. Dammit Sunrise, I’ve had enough with the “school-battle”! Haruto is just like Ouma Shu of Guilty Crown: he’s too kind for his own good, despises fighting, and when things get rough, he can call on the power of gods. The only difference? Shu uses a two-meter greatsword extracted from the body of a sexy Inori, while Haruto pilots a gigantic, cursed mecha equipped with a scythe, katanas, and a laser rifle in space.

Valvrave in action
Valvrave in action

The story is set in the far future, in a world where there are only 3 superpowers in existence: ARUS, Dorssia Federation, and JIOR.  ARUS is obviously good ol’ America and her NATO allies, Dorssia Federation is supposed to be a fusion of the Third Reich and Soviet Russia (they say “Blitzendegen” as a salute which in German means “Lightning sword”), and JIOR is Japan along with the other Asian nations. Timekeeping in this universe follows a system called the “True Calendar”. In the year 71, humanity is expanding its reaches into space. Using Dyson spheres, 70 percent of the population now lives in space. Haruto Tokishima is enjoying his high school life on board Module 77. Did I say that each Module was like an independent city? There’s climate control, life support, power, even seawater!

Now things start to get ugly. Reminiscent of Hitler’s annexation of Poland, the Dorssian army launches an attack on Module 77 using blitzkrieg tactics spiced with a little covert ops. A team of Dorssian special ops infiltrate the Module. The most noteworthy character here is L-Elf, which will be the badass for this anime, and also Haruto’s partner. In the midst of the attack, Haruto and his friends stumble upon a large robot. Unlike Shu who showed backbone after 13 episodes, Haruto climbs into the cockpit and tries to operate the robot, but he is constantly shelled by the Waffe, the Dorssian air force (Luftwaffe, anyone?). On the control screen, he sees a question: “Do you resign as a human being?” Haruto then presses “Yes” and… the mecha comes to life! He then proceeds to kill off the invading troops.

When the fighting subsides, Haruto encounters L-Elf. L-Elf stabs him without mercy, killing Haruto. Yes, in episode 2, our protagonist is killed.

Haruto gets killed. That blood...
Haruto gets killed. That blood…

Being a Valvrave pilot has its perks. Besides being able to pilot a weapon of mass destruction and awesomeness, you get to be a vampire. Once L-Elf turned his back on Haruto, he comes back to life and bites his neck. Oh, Haruto is also granted the ability to “body-jack” someone, just like Alex Mercer from Prototype. Haruto’s consciousness is then transferred into L-Elf’s body, while his own body regenerates. He uses L-Elf’s body to escape from the rest of L-Elf’s team, wounding A-drei in the process (The Dorssians have funny names). The Dorssians are then forced to retreat, leaving L-Elf behind.

Nom nom nom nom
Nom nom nom nom

Fast forward to more important events. The ARUS military arrives to rescue the citizens of JIOR, along with sweet promises and words. They really do look and act like American soldiers! But, when the Dorssians launch another sneak attack, the ARUS army gets disoriented and fails to rescue the JIOR citizens. In the midst of the chaos, our heroine, Shoko Sashinami, declares Module 77 as an independent country, which is marked by the detachment of Module 77 from the greater Dyson sphere. Module 77 also gets a boost in firepower as Rukino Saki decides to “resign as a human” to pilot the green Valvrave, Carmilla. Both Haruto and Rukino work together to repel attacks by the Dorssian army. There are four Valvrave units remaining. Who will be the pilots?

Shoko declaring the independence of Module 77.
Shoko declaring the independence of Module 77.
Valvrave "Carmilla" in action
Valvrave “Carmilla” in action

The graphics of the series is beyond superb. The details of the Valvraves and other mechas, the lasers and explosions in space, and the characters are all well done. Is it just me, or are all Sunrise explosions in space pink? I especially love the “Limit Break” animation of Haruto’s Valvrave when the counter reaches 666. Valvrave then commits suicide and lets loose a fiery flame-tongue that can cleave a warship in half and cause lots of collateral damage. The cast also has a variety of personalities that are fun to follow. Shoko is a born female leader; Haruto is a compassionate and kind-hearted warrior; L-Elf is the ultimate badass of this anime and a prophet; Rukino is an attention whore that will fight for what’s right; and many others. The cast actually does “exist”; it’s not like they’re just “there”. You can really feel the emotions among the main cast. The music… wow, Nana Mizuki and T.M. Revolution sing the OP, “Preserved Roses”, which is just amazing (I regret not downloading it in FLAC…) Bottom line, this series has got me, who is not a mecha fan, hooked.

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