New JIOR’s plan PR falters when the Council leans on the media to report their stunt as a hoax. Cain sorties and defeats X-eins. Haruto body-jacks L-elf and defeats Cain, but loses all his runes in the process and dies. The Royalists begin a coup of Dorssia, and ARUS takes advantage to rid themselves of the Magius, leading to a long, bloody struggle. In the future, a new Galactic Empire thrives based on peaceful interaction with extra-terrestrials like the Magius.
Since he never showed up in any of the future cold opens, and due to the amount of memories he’d lost in all the fighting, we were fairly certain Haruto wouldn’t survive the final battle. When he first his the “Yes” button to “resigning his humanity”, it didn’t (just) mean turning into a rune-sucking monster. Most humans, after all, do whatever they can to survive. He and the other Valvraves, on the other hand, were given eternal life and the choice to give it all up fighting for the survival of others, which meant laying down his life. Of course, even had he gone after Cain with everything he had (and everything he was), he probably still wouldn’t have beaten him without L-elf by his side.
We reach end of the Valvrave saga a little disappointed. The finale had some moving moments, the episode felt rushed, and the epilogue was a little paltry after so much epic struggle: Satomi and Takahi get married, Saki and Akira are teachers of some sort, and all the fallen heroes from the past get…cheesy marble busts all crowded together in a musty room. Between Cain’s defeat and the good future, we’re a little fuzzy on how the world achieved the peace they enjoy. The final shot of Unit 1’s cockpit was a bit on the preachy side, trying to tidily sum up the moral of the show. Trust alone isn’t enough to garner peace. Humans will always harbor secrets; how they’re unveiled affects the course of history.
Rating: 6 (Good)
Final Cumulative Rating: 7.333
MyAnimeList Score (as of 12/27/13): 7.74
Haruto, Rukino, Yamada and Akira return to the rocketship, where Shoko thanks them but confines them to the hangar. Posing as an injured pilot, L-elf infiltrates Dorssian forces; A-drei and X-eins share his goals to eliminate Cain and his allies. As the Dorssian Fuhrer holds a speech on a heavily-defended Module 77, the Valvraves launch a seemingly desperate attack. Haruto loses more memories of Shoko but fights on as he promised Rukino. Yamada is killed by Q-vier while defending Akira, and she’s able to hack the comms network so the Council can’t cut the feed when L-elf appears on stage, slits the Fuhrer’s throat, and the world watches the wound heal, exposing his inhumanity.
In case you missed it (you probably didn’t): what’s left of New JIOR continues to owe its very existence to the efforts of L-elf, who springs back into action, dons his old gaudy uniform, yells “LIGHTNING SWORD!”, and fights alongside his old comrades, all doing their part to “unveil the world.” It’s a triumphant turnaround to be sure after the abject despair of two weeks ago. That being said, the important victory achieved this week was a full team effort. L-elf was aided by comrades on both sides. Haruto Valvrave pilots were resolved to fight to the bitter end even if their own people hated them, while Cain’s villainy had simply gotten to be too much for A-drei and X-eins, and Kriemhild.
It’s also an episode of brave faces: Haruto’s, Shoko’s, and L-elf’s. They put them on not just for their friends and allies, but for themselves, to get through what must be gotten through. These three simply cannot give up. Of course, all the resolve and bravery in the world (ahem, Yamada, RIP) won’t save you if you don’t have a decent plan for victory: enter L-elf once more, turning the tables in the P.R. battle. The people may not yet trust JIOR, but they now know they can’t trust anyone. The people still have to be convinced they can trust the Valvraves, while the Council must still be brought low, and Cain hasn’t even entered the fray in honest yet. There’s an awful lot to do in the final episode, much like last season.
Rating: 8 (Great)
Haruto learns that anyone who pilots Valvrave will eventually end up an empty shell like Marie. The Dorssian Royalists ask New JIOR to destroy a covert Dorssian submarine, the Phantom, in exchange for supplies. Yamada and Akira are sent to search for Rukino, while L-elf and Haruto infiltrate the sub as the others stand by in the stolen transport hidden underwater. Meanwhile X-eins is summoned by Colonel Cain to the “Castle of No Return” in Grunau.
A concerned H-neun beats X there, and Cain hunts him down. In the bowels of the Phantom, L-elf and Haruto find a hundreds of unconscious people having Runes extracted. When L-elf threatens to make Satomi pilot Unit 1, Haruto pilots it instead, sets off a volcanic eruption, and mops up the Dorssian forces attacking the transport. X-eins arrives at the castle, where Cain laments he has to start “the ceremony” over again.
While they started out as monolithic, brutal Space Nazis—an opaque villain to root against, the Dorssians have become a lot more textured and nuanced, starting obviously with L-elf’s decision to revolt against his own people, but carried through with all of the military-political intrigue involving Cain, and the fact that he’s not really human, but some kind of godlike being who’s up to no good. And obviously conscious that it has a whole season to fill, the series is delving even deeper into the everyday lives, pasts, and motivations of L-elf’s former comrades, namely H-neun and X-eins.
Meanwhile Haruto and L-elf get some quality time together, and Haruto, with his post-Marie nightmares and the knowledge he’s being slowly killed by his mecha, appears to waver, and L-elf decides that maybe it would be best if more JIORans resign their humanity so the burden can be shared. This has the semi-intentional effect of rattling Haruto’s cage to the point where he jumps back into the cockpit and raises hell, vowing never to share his unit – or his curse – with anyone else. Which leads to him setting off a friggin’ volcano, which is such Valvrave-y thing to do.
Rating:7 (Very Good)
- R.I.P. Marie…though she’s not so much dead as…decompiled into oblivion, which sucks.
- Considering how cruelly logical L-Elf is, we’re surprised he sent a search party after Rukino, but we know she’ll be back, as we’ve already seen her in the distant future last season.
- The whole sequence at the castle…yeah. That was awkward and kind of silly, an we’re not just talking about big jars of green glitter. There was just something absurd about Cain chasing one of his former subordinates through the house taking potshots at him. It had an air of horseplay to it, as the culty guys sat around their table doin’ culty-ass shit.
- In rattling Haruto’s cage, L-elf also impresses upon him how personally frustrated he is to not be able to pilot a Valvrave, which in his mind makes him “powerless,” relegated to commanding troops, but lacking the strength to fight on the front lines, something Haruto not only takes for granted, but despises
- Grunau Castle reminded us a little of Muska’s huge fortress from Castle in the Sky.
Saki, Kyuuma and Aina find an unconscious Haruto and L-elf, but they’re cornered by A-drei, H-neun, X-eins and Q-vier. L-elf wakes up, shoots A-drei in the eye, helps Haruto’s friends escape, and goes with them. The Dorssians consider L-elf a deserter and take the Valvrave into custody. Haruto, who is in L-elf’s body, uses his special forces skills to retrieve his own body and the Valvrave.
Once back in his body, Haruto heads into space with Saki and a bound L-elf. Shouko calls Haruto to tell him she’s alive and trapped in a car under rubble. A-drei and Q-vier pursue and pummel the Valvrave whose overboost engages when it hits 666 heat capacity. Haruto cripples A-drei’s Ideal, and when an ARUS fleet arrives, Dorssia beats a retreat. Reunited with Shouko, Haruto still doesn’t confess.
This episode debunks a couple assumptions we made about last week. First, Shouko isn’t dead, so Haruto’s services as her furious avenger are no longer required. Frankly should have known she’d be back, considering she’s a main character. Second, Haruto, who also cheated death last week, isn’t a vampire per se. Rather, biting necks allows him to “borrow” the body of the bitee, and they’ll have no memory of what he does as them.
L-elf calls him a monster for stealing his body and making it appear that he’s betrayed Dorssia. Frankly, Elfie’s a monster too for participating in a slimy, unprovoked attack on the peaceful, if naive, JIOR. Perhaps more so, since all Haruto pushed was the “resign humanity” button. But that’s enough for him to wave off his confession to Shouko. He takes L-elf’s monster label to heart, and probably fears hurting her and the others with his new abilities. He’s probably not wrong.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
- For elite special forces, L-elf’s buddies sure have bad aim, right?
- On that note, Dorssia retreats awfully fast when the ARUS fleet arrives. They don’t have a problem wrangling up unarmed innocents, but when someone fights back, they flutter off like well-dressed gazelles.
- 666 is classically the “number of the beast”, but it may actually be 616.