Anime at a Glance: Valvrave the Liberator

Dyson Spheres, a space station with heavily shielded pods facing inwards towards an artificial sun had been built. This was the next step for humanity as Earth started becoming overpopulated and polluted A majority of the population has migrated to other planets that have been colonized or into the Dyson Spheres. Humanity has been in conflict since the rise of the two major superpowers that aim for control over humanity. Dorssia, a military pact federation, and the Atlantic Ring United States (ARUS), a democracy from the expanded United States. Outside of both of these powers is a third nation interest in being a neutral state, which possesses no military, called Japan and Islands of Oceanic Republic (JIOR).

A transport ship arrives at the peaceful module 77 in JIOR’s Dyson Sphere with a handful of transfer students. Haruto Tokishima is engaged in a high school eating contest with his friend Shoko Sashinami to see who can use the school’s field for their club’s practice. Haruto ends up losing to her, and all the while the transfer students kill the pilot of their transport and infiltrate the school as Haruto and Shoko are getting brooms and pans and go out to clean around a shrine nearby the school. At that moment, Dorssia sends an invasion force into all of the modules and attacks JIOR. The transfer students infiltrate the lower levels of the school and find a robot after attacking the scientists and engineers. In his last act, one of the scientists hits a button to force the robot up through the school’s pool right next to where Haruto and his friends are trying to retreat into the school building. Haruto then watches a blast land right around Shoko and when he sees that she is no longer there, out of grief, he climbs into the robot so he can avenge her. Upon the control panel it reads “It is necessary to answer the following questions to star VALVRAVE. Do you resign as a human being?” After reading, he quickly decides to hit yes and avenge his friend.

A student at the school hacks into the camera system and begins broadcasting the entire attack to a news network across all three nations, including the moments where Haruto begins to fight back, destroying the invasion force with ease. Social news feeds explode as they find out who piloted the robot that saved Module 77. Haruto grieves the loss of his friend and exits the Valvrave to find the fake transfer student’s leader, L-Elf, just outside. During a brief exchange, L-Elf introduces himself as Dorssian Special Forces and pulls his knife out once again and runs it clean into Haruto’s heart, watches Haruto fall to the ground, and shoots his body twice. As he’s about to enter the Valvrave he turns around to find Haruto standing behind him with markings on his face, and lunging at him, biting him.

Moments later, his friends find them both unconscious on the ground, Haruto covered in blood, and L-Elf beside him. As they get ready to take him to the school, they get ambushed by the other Special Forces that came in, and L-Elf raises his gun against them, telling everyone to flee. As they get away, L-Elf looks at Haruto’s body with shock and disbelief. After injuring one of the other Dorssia soldiers and getting to safety, L-Elf then explains that he is actually Haruto. He doesn’t know how it happened, but he managed to swap bodies with the Special Forces Captain and wants to get back the Valvrave so he can fight off the entire Dorssian occupation force, after securing his own body.  After he and his friends take advantage of Haruto’s ‘disguise’ they manage to reclaim the Valvrave and his own body. After biting his own body, he finds that he transferred his consciousness back and has L-Elf tied up. He reactivates the Valvrave and heads outside of the module into space to fight off the main force, and the other special forces engage him. L-Elf gets free and finds out that he shot one of his allies and is likely branded as a traitor. As he pieces together some information he figures out what happened to him, and that he’s now trapped in a mech that is overheating, with someone he killed being attacked by his allies he determines he must wait and see how the battle plays out. When the Valvrave hits 100 heat on it’s temperature gauge, it shifts to a heat gauge capping at 666 and can no longer move but the heat continues to skyrocket up. L-Elf then watches as Haruto uses the robot’s sword to push it through the robots torso, committing ‘Harakiri’, superheating the blade with plasma and using the sword to send a plasma wave out to destroy the Dorssian forces and freeing his module from invasion.

Valvrave is the system that will uncover the truth of the world; what where did it come from?

Valvrave (VVV) the Liberator is far from current, being aired in 2013, but it was one of my favorite ‘mech animes’ in recent years. The story flowed at a good pace, it kept a lot of mystery until the very end, and eventually more VVV’s get uncovered, and they get piloted by other students from the school. The entire premise behind the VVV is that since JIOR is a peaceful nation it isn’t allowed to maintain a military, it designed a handful of single weapons capable of fighting entire armies single handedly. It manages to mix a sort of slice of life about what a bunch of high school students would have to do in order to survive a hostile military occupation in some episodes, then you remember that it’s actually just a mech anime in the next. The combat is all really well done and you still find out that, despite being incredibly strong and durable machines, the VVVs are far from indestructible.

Studio Sunrise was behind the show, and it was published by Aniplex of America. Crunchyroll has the show available for streaming here.

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