Valvrave the Liberator – 08

val9

L-Elf dreams of the time he escaped from captivity and took a Dorssian princess hostage. He wakes up bound to a table, and predicts that New JIOR will fall in six hours if Haruto doesn’t contract with him. Everyone is shaken by Aina-chan’s death, particularly Inuzuka, but Kibukawa won’t let anyone else pilot Valvraves until he’s determined they’re safe to use. Colonel Cain launches another attack on Module 77, as A-drei infiltrates the module and commandeers JOIR battleships, threatening the school. As the battle inside and out goes badly, Haruto finally agrees to contract with L-Elf, who gives him and Saki precise instructions that foil the Dorssians and save the new nation with no casualties.

By portraying accurately (for once) the plight of a new nation run by students with minimal political and military experience, Valvrave delivered what we consider its best episode since its first. Dorssia was briefly sent off, but they return immediately, because they know all New JIOR has protecting them are two amateur-piloted Valvraves. Constant attacks like this are to be expected when your nation is so vulnerable. What Dorssia (or at least A-drei and Co…who knows about that Colonel Cain cat) wasn’t banking on is L-Elf joining forces with Haruto once again. If L-Elf hadn’t formulated a plan to thwart the Dorssians, it’s a good bet the entire school-nation would have been obliterated, with everyone either killed or interned.

As much as he may want to be enough to protect everyone, Haruto realizes he’s not, not even with Saki fighting by his side. Hell, even if those five other Valvraves were manned and deployed, you’re still talking about civilian students piloting them. No, this episode proves yet again that without L-Elf, this country would have died in its infancy. Once he gets the okay from Haruto, he kicks ass, takes names, and doesn’t look back. Even his elite colleagues are no match for him. And interesting, instead of pounding his desk after the defeat, Dorssia’s Colonel Cain seems to get a kick out of L-Elf’s antics. Something tells us he wants the guy in a Valvrave as soon as possible. Meanwhile, L-Elf’s just trying to reconcile that young princess giving him half her life, saving her from the guards.

7_very_good
Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • Well, looks like Sakurai Aina died after all. Huh! We really thought they’d bring her back to life with some Valvrave nonsense. Oh well. Not like Kayano Ai won’t get more work!
  • Saki says she’s been practicing. She should probably practice more.
  • Potential candidates to pilot the five remaining Valvraves: Inuzuka (who wants to avenge Aina); Yamada (who wants to kick some ass); Satomi (the class president); L-Elf (naturally); and…possibly Shoko. We’ll see how we do
  • The coffee-and-sugar analogy? Kinda lame.
  • L-Elf’s flashback prison looked a lot like the Kremlin, while the bay with all the bridges from which A-drei was bombarding land looked a lot like San Francisco.

Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru – 09

Yuigahama Yui, Hikigaya Hachiman

Komachi gets her brother to accompany Yui to the Summer fireworks. The evening has all the trappings of a date and when they bump into Haruno, she gets suspicious. While offering them a ride home, she lets slip that Yukino was in the car when it hit Hachiman when he was saving Yui’s dog, something she never told either of them. While Hachiman is walking Yui home, she tells him how they would have met even if it wasn’t for the dog incident, and is on the verge of confessing to him when her mom calls, ruining the moment. The next day, back at school, Hachiman is cordial with Yukino, but believes he’ll come to hate himself for feeling betrayed by her.

The title of this series is long, but it is accurate: Hikigaya Hachiman has something of a teenage rom-com SNAFU on his hands. Think about it: one car accident brought him, Yui, and Yukino together before they even met at school. And however much he wants to stay out of the romantic games young people play, he can’t deny that Yui likes him, he at least kinda likes Yui, and he also likes Yukino, at least until he found out she was in the car that hit him while saving Yui’s dog, yet said nothing to him about it. That’s where the “AFU” really comes into play: up until this revelation, he had never known her to lie or withhold anything about him.

The ramifications of that will likely be explored next week, but the majority of this episode is all about Hachiman and Yui, who make a cute couple. Hachiman is fully capable of being a nice, considerate, attentive man. Moreso, while Hachiman still believes the only reason Yui talks to him is because he saved her dog Sable (and later dogsits), Yui tells him even if that coincidence didn’t occur, now that she knows him, she likes to think they’d have crossed paths anyway. It’s kind of lame she just isn’t quite able to come right out and say she likes him. Those unsaid words hanging out there will only add to Hachiman’s SNAFU.

7_very_good
Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • Failed confession aside, the fireworks date was a success, with many cute moments. It not only confirmed to Yui how nice Hikky can be, and also allowed Hikky some valuable time interacting with women in a non-school or club setting.
  • Hachiman may also be perturbed by the fact the Yukino her older sister Haruno knows is so different from the Yukino he interacts with. When he calls her scary, she laughs out loud. That being said, we also find her scarier than Yukino. Kind of a haughty bitch, too!
  • There was less Yukino in this episode than any previous episode.
  • It’s easy to vilify Yukino for never saying anything, but Yui has a point: sometimes the time you want to say something passes you by and you just can’t find another time to do it, and it never happens. Here’s hoping that doesn’t happen with her confession. Make your feelings plain, Yui-Yui. He needs to hear the words!