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. sup says:

    You’re taking this anime too seriously^^”

  2. Deadlights says:

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

  3. kiryuu says:

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

  4. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

          • 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. 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. 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. Jetson says:

    And you are a proven asshole!

  8. Rihan says:

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

  9. mistress_kisara says:

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

  10. 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. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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. 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. Mormegil says:

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

  14. 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. 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. 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

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Mar 5. 2015 08:18 AM)
    *looks back over drop list*
    sees akagi and Kaiji on it…
    Theres another set of series I really wanted to enjoy but only got half way through each =<
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Mar 5. 2015 12:51 AM)
    Crayons was pretty much a joke. Basically any show of kindness and he’s in the bag.
  • BrendanVGC
    (Thursday, Mar 5. 2015 12:39 AM)
    Aidanak47, you know crayons wouldn’t work. Just place some Seele members disguised as classmates and befriend Shinji (which isnt hard to do, the loner) and then bend him to your will.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Mar 5. 2015 12:13 AM)
    And why the hell wouldn’t you try to get the pilots on your side? Hell all you would need to do is give Shinji some crayons and he would be your loyal servant for life.
    And Propaganda people! You guys suck at this!
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Mar 5. 2015 12:12 AM)
    There was also the issue in end of eva where Seele decided to mount an all out attack on nerve. It was ridiculously unnecessary. There’s only enemy was Gendo. All they needed to do was remove him from his position of power. Instead they decide to kill everyone. Even though it’s pretty damn certain that nobody(With the exception of Gendo’s Smithers) was loyal enough to him to protect him.
  • BrendanVGC
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 11:54 PM)
    I agree with aidanak47, lol. The Seele guys were literally making a self fulfilling prophecy by causing everything themselves for the scrolls, which isnt even a prophecy by that point.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 11:47 PM)
    The Dead Sea Scrolls are really ‘the prophecy’ trope, but they are quite vague about what they really are. Anno and gang probably never decided on what was actually on them. It’s also very unclear who and how much they know about the scrolls. I assume Gendo must’ve seen it, but even that is uncertain.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 11:44 PM)
    They supposedly had excavated an S2 engine off of Adam’s corpse, and by EoE they managed to mass-produce it somehow; so they set probably not worried. I also agree on Gendo being too shifty of a character to trust- I certainly wouldn’t have done it, but Seele seems pretty cocky about everything for some reason.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 11:41 PM)
    @Bam, 1: The S2 engine was pretty much got by pure luck and Seeles efforts only made getting it harder. There’s suicidal and then just plain stupid.
    2: A normal Seele member would have just as much motivation and 0% chance of screwing them over. Which Gendo did try to do.
    These guys were putting a shit ton of faith in those dead sea scrolls. And how bloody detailed were those things anyway?
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 11:29 PM)
    *as far as the series canon

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Durarara!!X2 – 08

No animation issues this time around thankfully. Really like the touch of Irelands flag on the cup Shinra gave the girl at their apartment. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Celty is indeed Irish. Probably one of the few Irish characters in anime. And here we learn that the one who told the little girl […]

Death Parade – 08

Why do you do this to me death parade? You dodge your true potential and instead focus on background exposition or, of all things, comedy. Then just as I was about to lose interest and give up, you present the best episode of the series so far. Now this, this is what I was talking […]

Durarara!!X2 – 07

I think the problem with this episode was evident right from the opening scene. I had to do a double take when seeing a very poorly drawn Simon. I even questioned whether it was a new character entirely. But no, the animation budget took a nosedive. Or the guy who was to do the inbetweens […]

Death Parade – 07

Why is the girl from the last episode still around? This episode brought up three rules about arbiters. The third rule, about arbiters not having emotions, Is odd to me. For the arbiters we have been introduced to are very emotional. They state that Decim was given human emotions yet he is the least emotional […]

Durarara!!X2 – 06

Turns out that assassination attempt got Celty to see her life flash before her eyes. I suppose taking a tumble off a moving motorcycle is a fatal thing. But well in the last arc we saw two people survive getting blown away at about the length of a football field. So I cannot say I […]

Death Parade – 06

Death Parade in a risky move has taken things in a new direction. A daring adventurous move that no one expected. And it is…absolutely terrible. Death Parade, what happened? Did no one read over the script and do a shaft head tilt in wonder? Was there not an Animator who said “Excuse me sir. But […]

Durarara!!X2 – 05

We have yet another new character entering the show. A motorcycle gang leader who has a massive fondness for woman. Personally I am not a fan of him. His brand of female overprotective crazy just seems like a downgrade from the shows already huge cast of crazies. He looks like a character whose introduction serves […]

Death Parade – 05

If asked about how I think of death parade so far, my answer would have to be divided. On one hand the premise is rife with potential and it does have moments where it rises above the bar. But it also seems confused as to what it wants to be. We have death games between […]

Durarara!!X2 – 04

The current story arc ends abruptly and unexpectedly. I am rather surprised that it came here. From how this was portrayed it felt this would be a longer arc than it turned out to be. So with its end I must think back and wonder. What exactly did this arc accomplish? We got introduced to […]

Latest Reviews

Clipboard06

Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]

Clipboard01

Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]

Clipboard04

Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]

Clipboard01

Pokemon: The Origin Review – 75/100

Normally I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews, but screw it, it’s Pokemon. Pokemon The Origin is a bomb of nostalgia. If you haven’t played Pokemon Red, Blue or Green, then you will not enjoy this one slight bit. This really is made as pure undilluted fanservice for the fans of the first games. […]

Clipboard08

Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]

Clipboard04

Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]

Clipboard07

Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z Review – 82,5/100

Reviewing a comedy sequel usually is quite simple: in most cases it just drops the bomb and runs out of inspiration, and in rare cases it actually manages to stay hilarious. The tricky thing with these kinds of series is that you need to remain funny, and you need to have the inspiration for that. […]

Clipboard05

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]