Posted by psgels on 29 June 2013 with categories: Anime Reviews


Storytelling is hard. You can’t have a storyline that is about a bunch of characters watching paint dry: there needs to be some storyline, some sort of conflict to make things interesting. It’s an intricate balance that you need to find. Put way too much emphasis on the conflict, and you get Valvrave the Liberator.

Valvrave is a series that likes conflict. Every episode is geared to shock twists not really uncommon in a bad soap opera. Characters yell and screwm with drama, and things quickly devolve into this train-wreck of events that favors sensation over suspense of disbelief. The plot in this show tries to adhere Murphy’s law, and when it can’t it’ll just shove in some sort of plothole or -device. Because of all of the overacting the character-development also doesn’t really work because everyone just keeps acting outrageous rather than relatable.

For a while though, it was good. This show got so ridiculous that I just kept watching for my 20 minutes of brainless action per week. If there is anything that this show is good at, it’s eliciting emotions due to how over the top the plot went, and it didn’t seem to take itself seriously either. So of course near the end, it drops all that and starts to play its own story straight. The shocks are just there to shock, rather than to entertain as it tries to take itself so seriously. And that’s where it falls apart so horribly. The characters can’t hold the plot together without the comedy, and the twists… are totally inappropriate and devolve into pointless sensationalism.

Oh yes, they’ll get people talking about it, but not in a good way. There still is a second season due this Fall Season, and in all honesty, with the hints given it can return to its ironic self, but knowing the guy who wrote this it’s just going to devolve into an even bigger trainwreck. I really need to put more thought into what series I drop and keep watching, because this… wasn’t really worth the watch. It’s an easy page-turner, but totally not good storytelling!
One-Sentence Review: As long as it doesn’t take itself seriously, this is mindless bombast and entertainment; when it does, it falls apart completely in this sensationalist trainwreck.
Suggestions:
– Mai Hime
Infinite Ryvius (an example of how to do such a storyline right)
Macross Frontier

29 Responses

  1. Avatar sup says:

    You’re taking this anime too seriously^^”

  2. Avatar Deadlights says:

    I completely agree with this review. This show really was a waste of my time.

  3. Avatar kiryuu says:

    See I’m not the only one that was reminded of Infinite Ryvius with this one..

  4. Avatar Souther says:

    “So of course near the end, it drops all that and starts to play its own story straight. ”

    Thanks for proving that you’re somehow incapable of noticing how the show continued doing many ridiculous and exaggerated things right down to the season finale.

    There was plenty of comedy in the last couple of episodes, even if it was mixed with melodrama. But melodrama isn’t true seriousness, it’s just something you do to change the status quo and raise the stakes.

    So the fact you believe, wrongly, that the show became totally serious proves that your judgment and observation skills are weak.

    • Avatar Deadlights says:

      @Souther: I believe that Psgels is right about the show “dropping everything near the end”.

      At the start, Valvrave never took itself seriously. The writers recognized how stupid and over the top the show was and never tried to hide that fact. No, they completely flaunted it in the viewers’ face and because of that the show seemingly started off as a parody, a deconstruction of its own genre you could say.

      Then the second half came and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Psgel’s statement that “the show started to play its story straight”.

      Yeah Souther, you’re right, the show still did have comedy mixed in with its melodrama. It still had its oddball moments and yeah, I’ll admit that the show didn’t completely go all serious. But that doesn’t disprove the fact that the show still tried to play its story straight.

      Like I said, the show started off as a parody and then it just dropped that mindset with episode 10. The show started trying to give us an explanation for its ridiculous over the top story. It started trying to bring its themes and characters and it just didn’t work. Everything was a complete train wreck. Nothing, not even its absurd moments, were executed or timed well. Shock value was just for pointless shock value rather than to entertain as Psgels also brings up.

      Seriously, do you really think Valvrave threw in a scene of sexual assault as entertainment value?

      In all due respect, Souther, don’t take this as me trying to trash your opinion. Because I’m not, opinions are opinions, and I’m just trying to make a point here.

      However, I do want to bring up that you shouldn’t personally attack Psgels or anyone else just because their opinion doesn’t meet yours. It’s childish, to say the least.

      • Avatar TheUltimateReaper says:

        I’m not convinced Valvrave ever changed, in fact, I think the people that only thought of it as “fun” were fools to begin with. Valvrave is Valvrave a “I don’t give a shit and do what I want” kind of show, at least that’s how I’ve always thought of it.

      • Avatar Souther says:

        @Deadlights:

        Do you really think the sexual assault changed the tone of the surrounding scenes? The answer is no, unless you weren’t even looking or suffer from a bad memory.

        Rewatching the last episode, I do not think the show’s overall mindset has changed at all. They simply pushed the melodrama button a little bit, since the series needed to move the story forward, but that’s a different thing altogether.

        It’s not like people never died or suffered in the show, right from the start. That’s hardly been absent. But even the darkness is not truly serious. You have a Dorssian invasion using IRONS as a weapon and a drill that kills people with poison gas, that’s defeated by an autistic girl who screams SUPERMARKET and pilots a purple robot with a magical girl rod.

        Psgels thinks stuff like that means they took everything completely straight and serious, which I find to be false and easily proven wrong by just a cursory examination of the last episode.

        But whatever, keep up the poor work.

        • Avatar Deadlights says:

          @Souther: Still, I hated how the show tried to explain its plot and characters.

          See with shows like FLCL and Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure, the show never slows down to try and explain all the WTF moments we saw earlier; they leave it up to the viewer’s imagination and I like that.

          Valvrave actually tries to explain some of its stupidity and that didn’t work for me.

          Plus, as ridiculous as FLCL and Jojo are, they at least have compelling characters; plot points and twists are actually well-executed.

          Valvrave didn’t have any great characters and it had such messy execution, timing, pacing, direction, etc! It was so fundamentally flawed that I just could not enjoy this show no matter how ridiculous it was.

          Honestly though, we’re never going to change each other’s opinion so let’s put this argument to an end. Unless you really have something to say then, by all means, say it.

          • Avatar Souther says:

            There are plenty of explanations in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure that are pure BS or WTF and wouldn’t stand up to any serious criticism of the show, but I digress.

  5. Avatar TheUltimateReaper says:

    Valvrave is a bad drug, I’m going to keep taking despite a few bad trips, because it’s hard not to be entertained overall. At any rate, compared to something like Guilty Crown this is quality gumbo.

  6. Avatar Rihan says:

    I loved this show. For me it was the 2nd best show of the season after Titan. Nothing better than an entertaining trainwreck

  7. Avatar Jetson says:

    And you are a proven asshole!

  8. Avatar Rihan says:

    And lol at that first scene in the final episode…Did Saki just get NTR’d by L-Elf?

  9. Avatar mistress_kisara says:

    I love the show’s craziness and over the top antics! I’m definitely watching the 2nd season

  10. Avatar Raye Peneber says:

    I’ll probably be around for the second season. Vulvarape cracks me up, 10/10 pun 7/10 show.

    Yeah, it’s medicore and the twists are lame. Still, I like to balance out my anime diet with all sorts of shows. Also, this blows aku no hana out of the water. Really surprised you didn’t drop that ugly POS.

  11. Avatar jonas says:

    “But what matters an eternity of damnation to one who has found an infinity of joy in a single second?”
    — Charles Baudelaire

    Take Valvrave´s bells and whistles away, and you´ll find that this show and Aku no Hana deal with the same themes.

    As for the pointless sensationalism, here´s a fragment of Les Fleurs du Mal (the basis for Aku no Hana):

    It’s Ennui! — his eye brimming with spontaneous tear
    He dreams of the gallows in the haze of his hookah.
    You know him, reader, this delicate monster,
    Hypocritical reader, my likeness, my brother!

    Pericles Lewis puts it more clearly as: If only we had more guts, he suggests, we would all be rapists, murders, and arsonists. Our evil arises not so much from the enticements of Satan as from the most typical of modern vices, Boredom. Baudelaire here celebrates the evil lurking inside the average reader, in an attitude far removed from the social concerns typical of realism. Rather, he wallows in evil in order to snatch away the veil of polite manners that turns too much poetry into cliché and high sentiment.

    • Avatar Exoray says:

      Um, have you even read Les Fleurs du Mal? Just because something features a scene of sexual assault and showcases the darker side of human nature doesn’t mean it’s as deep or thought-provoking as Baudelaire. If it did, 90% of all hentai would fit in that category. Valvrave’s themes hardly stem from Les Fleur like Kasuga’s antisocial reclusiveness or Nakamura’s misanthropic views of her peers. Valvrave is just silly.

      • Avatar jonas says:

        A. That Baudelaire´s quote is the main concept behind both shows (and many others).

        B. For antisocial behavior and misanthropy, just look at the valvrave pilots.

        C. Even if both shows work with the same core issues, they deal with them in different ways.

        D. Baudelaire considered himself part of the decadent movement, and aimed not at a political, or sociological analysis but at a poetry that could express the new experiences. In other words he would describe things in the most vulgar manner as entertainment.

        • Avatar jonas says:

          Also Baudelaire was an art critic, and he argued that critics should not judge a work of art on a moral basis.

          We know rape is a horrible thing, but when a work of fiction uses it, even in a frivolous manner, we can´t condemned said work because of that.

  12. Avatar WatcherZero says:

    While I dont agree with the shock twists which I likened to Lelouch I think the show actually improved a lot in the last two episodes, the response to the rape was adult with her using it to emotionally dominate him and him so ashamed and willing to make amends he proposed to her. Theyve also dangled some more Magia questions in front of us. While halfway through I was willing to give up this series I think the ending has convinced me to watch the 2nd season.

  13. Avatar Mormegil says:

    I enjoyed this series up until rape was used as a mere plot device.

  14. Avatar Hogart says:

    For me, the problem was simple: I was never given anything interesting enough for me to care if they stuck the landing or not. It’s not so much that it’s “bad” writing as it is incredibly lazy writing. With so much going on, but none of it mattering, the trainwreck effect sort of fizzles. I at least need a Lelouche factor to get through this kind of pomp, but Valvrave lacked that crucial element.

  15. Avatar ServantOfPriss says:

    This show is funny.

    In a morbid sense.

    But it’s not good. At all. It’s a fucking mess. Really, the only reason to enjoy it is what telenovela “twist” they’ll come up with next. It’s like The Room.

  16. Avatar Ogre1945 says:

    This has really been a mecha soap opera with a lot of unrealistic twists but actually, I honestly felt the show had a fairly basic yet ultimately adequate form of storytelling underneath all said twists and turns.

    Each of the main characters had their moment in the spotlight to establish their own personalities, the new pilots had a standard reason to get into the giant robots, and it was gradually revealed that the main villain knew more about the secrets of the plot until he finally made his move at the end of the season. I didn’t find any of that to be so horrible, though I also wouldn’t consider it great. Just relatively alright.

    Even if Haruto himself was normally boring to watch, his interactions with L-Elf, Saki and Shoko were consistently entertaining while simultaneously making them gradually feel more distinct and interesting as characters than than the protagonist. I’m still more interested in seeing what will happen to them than to Haruto, but I’d count that as a positive on the character front.

    The series had a pretty warped sense of ridiculous humor that kept me from getting too serious about the whole ordeal. The one serious misstep of dissonance I’d call out would be the rape scene, which did not work for me and came across as mildly offensive, but I think the last two episodes effectively stepped away from that into less controversial territory.

    My verdict is that Valvrave is indeed a mess and not a very good show but also not nearly as awful as it has been presented here.

Leave a Reply

Star Crossed Anime Blog

8 User(s) Online Join Server

Featured Posts

Fire Force 12 – Eve of Hostilities in Asakusa

Welcome back to Beni town!  After a two week break, Fire Force has awkwardly picked back up with its penultimate episode (for the first cour).  Missed Shinra and the gang?  Unfortunately, there’s some Catgirl this week, but aside from that, we have another solid effort all around.  Let’s get into it!

Vinland Saga – 14 [The Light of Dawn]

This is a big week for Vinland. One of the best episodes, not just of the season, but the year for me. So many things just came together to really nail it. As this week Askeladd makes us question who we are rooting for, and really throws the brutality of war in our face. Let’s […]

Mononoke – 10 [Goblin Cat, Part 1] – Throwback Thursday

Hello all, apologies for the delay, and welcome to the final arc of Mononoke! This is perhaps the most unique one yet. As we skip forward to a modern era, set the entire thing in a single location, and have ourselves a murder mystery. So, lets dive in! Right off the bat, as always, I […]

Vinland Saga – 12/13 [The Land on the Far Bank/Child of a Hero]

Hello again everyone and welcome to a double feature for Vinland Saga. Apologies for the missed week, but even I am not totally immune to sickness. So this week we cover episodes 12 and 13. Where we learn quite a bit about Askeladd, Canute finds his voice and winter starts to turn. In we go! […]

Dr.STONE – 14 [Master of Flame]

And so begins the 2nd cour of Dr.STONE, complete with a whole new OP and everything. However for us, we are just picking up right where we left off. With Kinro’s fight, Senku’s science and an old friend returned. Let’s dive in! In general I think this week was better than the last. Yes, the […]

Mononoke – 9 [Japanese Chimera, Part 2] – Throwback Thursday

And so ends another arc of Mononoke, in a way I never would have expected. As this week we solve a murder mystery, once again question our perceptions of the world, and get another new “favorite arc”. Apologies for the wait, sickness waits for no man, but let’s dive in. Starting off, as always, the […]

Lord El-Melloi II Sei no Jikenbo: Rail Zeppelin Grace Note – 13 [FINAL]

I can’t help but feel disappointed when the epilogue of  Lord El-M skips the entirety of the epic use of Rhongomyniad, and Hecatic Wheel smashing into each other. It doesn’t make for an exciting climax when the antagonist just simply teleports away before those two noble phantasm meet each other in a violent explosion. I […]

DanMachi2 – 12 [ Goddess/Child (Song of Love) ] FINAL

DanMachi2 is the kid in class who everyone knows is smarter than their grades reflect.  If only they would get it together and take things seriously.  In the finale of this mess of a second season, DanMachi finally rouses itself and delivers an episode worth watching.

Dr.STONE – 13 [Masked Warrior]

This is a difficult week for Dr.STONE, with what it has to follow up. Everything from production to the story just couldn’t seem to meet the same highs. As we start the Grand Bout, progress the cure-all and Kinro learns a thing or two about science. Let’s dive in! Starting off, I hate to do […]

Latest Reviews

Mix: Meisei Story Review – 75/100

Mix is, by my count, the eighth Mitsuru Adachi work to be adapted to animation. I’ve only seen one of the other seven, so it may not be my place to say this, but Mix probably ranks around the middle of those eight. Its main cast is complex, but the non-baseball players among them slip […]

DanMachi2 Anime Review – 40/100

“Is it Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon” burst onto the anime scene as something of a B-tier cult classic.  2015 saw Season 1 massively outperform expectations  – ignoring the occasionally shoddy animation – to bring excitement and mostly fan service (and the cosplayer favorite: the Hestia ribbon).  Now, four years later, the […]

Kimetsu no Yaiba Anime Review – 80/100

It’s hard to find a more ubiquitous genre in anime than Shounen. Maybe romance/moe-blobs, but it’s a close race. With series like One Piece and until recently Naruto, being a constant presence each season/year. Often this makes it difficult for newer series to break into the anime market in a meaningful way. With the recent […]

Youjo Senki Movie Review – 85/100

Outside of a very few exceptions, I have come to despise the isekai genre with its predominantly self-inserted overpowered male protagonists, massive harems, fan-service bait and overused fantasy settings. Youjo Senki is none of those things and it has gained a very special place in my heart where it features the combined arms of a […]

Fate/Stay Night Heaven’s Feel – II Lost Butterfly Anime Review – 91/100

Long time no see and strap in cause this is going to be a long one. I will preface this review with the assumption that you have seen the first movie of this trilogy and this movie as well as the assumption that whomever is reading this knows what a command spell is. So basically […]

Serial Experiments Lain Anime Review – 78/100 – Throwback Thursday

Serial Experiments Lain is weird. It is a series unlike any other, wholly unique in anime, both modern and historical. Every aspect of it, from presentation to narrative, is best described as an experience. It is because of this that I believe Lain is a must watch, if only to experience a piece of anime […]

Penguin Highway (2018) Movie Review – 89/100

You’re walking along in your neighborhood, going about your daily routine. It’s a fine morning. The sun is shining brightly. But suddenly, you see something strange. You squint your eyes; even rub them, to make sure it isn’t a mirage before exclaiming with excitement, “Oh, look. It’s a bird. No, it’s a plane! No no. […]

One Punch Man Season 2 Anime Review – 34/100

Often at the start of one of these reviews, I will wax philosophical about a series. Attempting to slowly draw you, the reader, in to whatever topic or anime I am discussing in that review. This time, none of that. This time, I have to come out and say from the beginning, that One Punch […]

Dororo Anime Review – 55/100

In the modern anime sphere, getting a complete story, start to finish, is a rare thing. As is getting an adaptation for an older work. Dororo however has, through the grace of Twin Engine, managed to get both of these. Based on the 1967 manga of the same name by legendary Mangaka Osamu Tezuka, Dororo […]