You’d think Sunrise as a studio wouldn’t need to make any more robot series. After all they are the studio that makes all the Gundam shows. Still, despite a near monopoly on mecha, they eventually make other series in an effort to launch a new franchise. Though they may never be as enormous of a franchise as Gundam they are still entertaining in some extent as long as they have a draw that sets the series apart from others, memorable. The draw of this series: LOTS of blood.
Haruto Tokishima is a boy who is just trying to live an ordinary High School life and let his crush, Shoko, know how he feels. His world is thrown upside down when enemy forces from Dorssia attack the Module that he lives on and almost kill Shoko. Thinking she is dead, Haruto enters into the Valvrave, a mysterious red robot that allows him to fight off the Dorssia horde. After the battle is over, he is approached by the Dorssia spy L-Elf, who shoots Haruto repeatedly in the chest killing him. Haruto revives a few minutes later and sinks his teeth into L-Elf’s neck…which ends the first episode.
This show starts out extreme and doesn’t slow down at all. It has something of a “Game of Thrones” feel to it, a series which has a reputation of killing of large portions of its cast dying in order to advance the story. Likewise, the anime doesn’t mind killing a few of its characters quite often to advance the plot (a lot more in the second season but that’s a review for another time). The new form that the Valvraves (yes there is more than one) gives to their pilots allows them to be hurt a lot but survive from it, which explains why Haruto is able to survive after being shot in the chest in the first episode. That aside, there are characters that won’t even make it out of the first five episodes.
The robots are very unique. Much like a series like Gundam Wing, each of the suits is a powerhouse on its own with its own special abilities that distinguishes it from others. Haruto’s own robot does an impressive energy attack that allows him to destroy an entire fleet of ships with a swing of his sword. They are also given an interesting weakness in even though they are self powered, if the robot gets too hot it will shut itself down. Very interesting way to cap very powerful machines.
The use of social networking is actively addressed in this show. From the students using it to gain support to Haruto’s phone being overrun with friend requests after its revealed he is the pilot of the giant robot, the anime does a nice job showcasing what would happen when a world with giant robots has something like Facebook. One of the other pilots, Saki, uses social media to help to restart her career as an idol once after she makes her transformation. The show uses social media to also point out how fast information can travel and how the world can be aware of what is going around at a moments notice.
The show, especially its first season was an intense ride that had me going the entire time. I was watching this show as soon as it dropped on Crunchyroll. The show is action packed and has some very interesting Mecha designs. I do wonder though if the series has truly become noteworthy though. I mean the show ended back in January of 2014 and I haven’t really heard that many people scream their love of it since it ended. Was it just a flicker in the dark or are more people holding it close to their hearts then I know?