I don’t always (in fact, I don’t often) agree with them, but I think Cart Driver pretty much had Valvrave’s number regarding that first episode. The most blandly anime anime in the anime kingdom. I ain’t doing a real writeup for this, but you might as well know beforehand that my current expectations won’t be tough to exceed.
1:30 – Wow, I am impressed. Shooting a gun out of your subordinate’s hands… without looking at him… from behind your back… while lying prone on the ground.
Fuck, I said I wasn’t going to do a real writeup. Well, I still won’t. Starting now.
2:04 – I love those custom anime guns that only graze people’s noses, and never actually scar or, god forbid, kill them.
Goddamnit I’m doing it again.
2:09 – Goddamn this fucking gun! Why will it perfectly disarm an opponent when fired behind the back while lying down, but only graze my target’s shoulder when I hold it in both hands while looking straight at him??!!
2:41 – AHAHAHAHAH THEY SWITCHED BODIES?!?! Oh my god that’s beautiful
3:42 – This generic-ass OP. At least Geass had, “I CON-TIN-UE TO FIGHT! I CON-TIN-UE TO FIGHT!” to entertain me
4:04 – It is at this moment, watching a parade of color-coded neon robots present their glowing phallic symbol-weapons, that I realize this show is Not Going To Be For Me. But hey, I’m already sitting in this chair, can’t stop now.
4:27 – Gawd, so many fucking characters in this OP. There’s definitely a specific audience type this sort of thing caters to – it’s like a lesser version of Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere, where the sheer volume of data the world contains is for some reason very compelling to a certain audience. It’s not my thing, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with it – it just makes tight storytelling and pacing/emotional beats that much harder (but not impossible) to pull off.
5:10 – “I’m the boss in this school, shitheads” – he’s exaggerating, but it wouldn’t actually surprise me for the superintendent of their school system to be a fourteen year old loli.
5:15 – Finally, someone discovers a use for those goddamn pistols – just hit people in the head with them
…as I typed “them” in that sentence, OpenOffice auto-corrected to “thematically.” Not sure how I feel about that
5:53 – Using his rocks-paper-scissor skills to test his identity is actually a pretty cute gag. That writer has earned their salary
6:26 – “The body doesn’t forget how to fight” – so it’s Bourne Identity – Bishie Edition.
7:30 – Is the show expecting any of this political nonsense to resonate in any way? Oh! That’s another issue I have with the “raw data” worldbuilding style – unless you set your conflicts in personal or thematically resonant terms, they have a tendency to be emotionally sterile. I don’t inherently care whether the Jibberjabbians successfully defeat the Zamafloovians – either your points have to resonate with something real, or your characters have to be people I care about
7:55 – So this guy’s Geass power is… shooting people with a gun
On the other hand, it’s actually pretty intense that a default wishy-washy high school protagonist just straight-up murdered two people and justified it as necessary casualties of war. Perhaps this guy is more entertainingly crazy than I thought
8:52 – Okay, who’s got the gif of Our Hero belly-diving the scientists from a helicopter and landing with his foot in that guy’s face?
10:18 – Alright, that actually is a pretty sweet Geass, I have to admit. I’d be more excited with the narrative possibilities if the OP weren’t so dedicated to robots fighting pew pew, but I guess that’s the kind of things OPs naturally highlight, so maybe this will actually be more fun than I thought
13:07 – Blitzendegen… so these guys are literally space Germans.
15:50 – Isn’t there like, an entire armada watching as these teenagers deal with their hormonal betrayal issues? Do they have any thoughts on these proceedings?
16:07 – Oh FUCKING REALLY? SHE’S ALIVE? As if giant robot shows didn’t have low enough stakes already
18:26 – L-Elf was so moved by Hero’s tears for his lady love that he decided to actually help him defeat his own cause? I… guess that makes as much sense as anything else that’s happened
21:45 – And he sidesteps the love confession. Welp, that completes my anime cliché bingo sheet. In fact, that completes the entire fucking grid. I’m done. Episode paused, episode closed. Packing up. Going home.
Final thoughts: Why.
Okay, so I gotta think about this show that way, then. In that case, I’d say this show is actually a lot less enjoyable than Crime Edge – although it’s equally terrible, it’s terrible in a much more routine, polished way, and not in the delightfully weird and sex-obsessed way Crime Edge happens to be. This show is just like the Platonian ideal of highly budgeted generic bullshit. It is anime as written by fairly stupid robots