I just completed episode 1 of Valvrave the Liberator, and all I can say is ‘WOW!’ and ‘OH MY GOD! WHAT EVEN?’ Suffice it to say, this anime blew my mind away in ways I never expected, and completely took me by surprise. Instead of being the typical run-of-the-mill giant robot anime, like Majestic Prince was last week and the many others that came before them, this anime is already displaying some themes that just hit home on many levels.
We start off with a very typical opening to an anime – a group of teenagers in highschool rooting on two contestants engaged in an eating contest, with the winner winning rights to the sports field for the day. Unfortunately, lead character Haruto loses the competition to the girl he secretly has feelings for, Shoko. Following the competition we begin to learn more about Haruto, namely that he is very passive and lacking in self-confidence, as demonstrated by Shoko lecturing him on the importance of choosing to fight or just giving up. However, he is planning on confessing to Shoko soon.
Meanwhile, as the students go about their day to day life, a group of transfer students have arrived at the high school, but these are by no means normal teenagers. They are actually a group of specially trained individuals sent to disable the space colony’s secret weapon, Valvrave, while their army attacks. Details on the actual conflict or who these transfer students work for are really vague so far.
After these two stories are set up, things get really interesting and begin happening really rapidly. First, Haruto begins to try and tell Shoko he likes her, but then the transfer student’s allies launch an attack on the colony. In the battle, Haruto sees Shoko get hit by a large blast, and she presumably dies. This triggers Haruto to do the unthinkable and sacrifices everything to pilot Valvrave to fight back in Shoko’s memory. To save you at least some spoilers, I will stop here and just say things get extremely intense, and the twist to this story is one I did not see coming. It greatly reminds me of Bokurano, which says a lot about this anime so far. Despite only seeing Haruto and Shoko for a short period of time, I really felt the death of Shoko and the impact it had on Haruto. The fact that the atmosphere was so well established to make me feel for the characters in just the first episode speaks volumes.
Aside from what looks like an extremely epic beginning to a great story, the animation and music in this anime are just breathtaking. The animation is so beautiful, and the battle scenes were really well done and kept me on the edge of my seat. The music also pulled together some great music. featuring the talens of Nana Mizuki x T.M. Revolution making this all the more enjoyable and worth every second for me.
Needless to say, I will be following this anime to watch the progression and see what will become of Haruto now that he has done the unthinkable. I really encourage everyone reading this to take time out and watch this on Crunchyroll with me every Friday.