Talk about getting dropped in the deep end! Apparently VALVRAVE THE LIBERATOR has just entered its second season with episode 13, and a LOT a stuff has gone down. This is a sprawling space opera with concerns such as troop supply lines and colonization, but it's also a mecha show where our heroes square off against armies of drones.
There is also an over council of space vampires and everyone seems to have elf ears. Is it a lot to take in all at once? Yes—but despite having to swim through a bunch of terms I knew nothing about, the world's internal consistency is strong enough to make it very immersive.
The ragtag group of mech pilot heroes are in way over their heads when they become the leaders of an unaffiliated lunar colony after a major victory. It's hard to tell if this is because they're being played (which they certainly are) or if they're just stupid, but I'm willing to chalk that up to my lack of experience in the show.
The Valvraves themselves are large mecha with sentient AI cores. They have abilities such as snapping on additional parts they find or growing broken limbs back out of crystal, and their designs are all uniquely badass. They're powered by Runes, fundamental units of information found in abundance in humans and coincidentally what the space vampires feed on as well. In this world, knowledge is literally power, and the side stories play into this theme as well.
What's peculiar about the Valvraves--aside from the name of course--is that they are animated in CG and at a jerky frame rate. While the fight choreography is quality, the lack of fluid movement really sticks out.
The "real world" obstacles that come up, such as the minutia of running a government, have the interesting effect of making this fantastical story feel grounded. If you enjoy your space operas, check it out.
Watch this episode, “A Cursed Bond” here, and decide for yourself, then read our comments on other anime pilots from the Fall 2013 season below...
- KILL LA KILL
- STRIKE THE BLOOD
- GOLDEN TIME
- NAGI NO ASUKARA
- BEYOND THE BOUNDARY
- MAGI: KINGDOM OF MAGIC
- SAMURAI FLAMENCO
- GINGITSUNE: MESSENGER FOX OF THE GODS
Matt Murphy is a freelance nerd who has contributed to many nerd websites. You can reach him by going to where the light meets the shadow, by sending out zeta-brainwaves or by following him on Twitter @Murphix