(12 episodes + 12 episodes this Fall)
What’s it about ?
Our third sci-fi mecha show of the season.
Haruto, our generic high school protagonist. Except this is the FUTURE! so his high school is on a gigantic space station near Earth. It’s supposed to be neutral grounds, so of course it gets attacked by an agressive Earth faction right as the series starts.
Shouko, his not-quite-girlfriend. She’s vastly more fun and charismatic than him, so of course she gets killed off halfway through the episode so as to provide him impetus to act. /facepalm
The villains have sent out a squad of five teenage soldiers to infiltrate the space station by posing as high school students. (“Wait, weren’t there supposed to be only two transfer students ?” “SLICE!”) Those guys are ruthlessly efficient, but still human enough to get temporarily sidetracked into arguments with the students they cross paths with. The full-blown mecha attack from the outside is actually a diversion so that they can locate and get theirs hands on…
The Valvrave, a secret high-tech mecha which is for some reason housed in the basement under the school (neutral, my ass !). It’s the kind of mecha which includes “Do you want to resign as a human being ?” in the boot-up sequence. Of course it’s Haruto who ends up in the cockpit instead of the infiltrators.
There’s a dozen other students who get enough glimpses of screentime to indicate they’ll be part of the regular supporting cast.
Sunrise can produce decent mecha action in their sleep by now, so it’s nice to see them not half-assing it. This is a very nice-looking show, with the colourfulness sharply contrasting with the bloody action.
What did I think of it ?
Damn it. Fridging your most prominent female character right from the onset ? Not cool, show. I rarely get angry at anime series, but this really isn’t a good way to start off. (Yeah, I know it’s ambiguous enough that Shouko may just have been blown clear of the explosion. But I fear that’s just wishful thinking.)
Which is a shame, because this is otherwise a good opening episode, packing lots of plot inside 22 minutes. The infiltrator squad are a really fun bunch to follow, and the post-credits coda is very well-executed indeed.
It’s a very promising show ; shame about the bad taste it left in my mouth…