Valvrave: The Liberator is a very awesome anime. it’s a little bit fast pace, but the plot is twisted and the ending is quite befitting for a boy who abandoned his humanity. here’s the full review by Psykinetik88 (IGN.com).
Valvrave the Liberator takes place during True Calendar (T.C.) 71, a new age in time where 70% of the human population lives in space thanks to the development of “Dyson Sphere”, a city in space. The world is basically separated into two major powers, the Dorssia Military Pact Federation, a power which grew from a military alliance, and the Atlantic Rim United States (ARUS), which grew in power when it expanded its trade agreements. Between these two major powers lies a small nation known as JIOR which has declared its neutrality from these powerful forces and maintains its peace through economic prosperity. Within this minor description of the world of Valvrave the Liberator, you can pretty much guess the neutrality doesn’t carry much weight in an anime about war. Anyway, on with the review!!!!!
Within the JIOR Sphere lives a high school student named Haruto Tokishima. Haruto has lived his life as a normal high school student in a division of JIOR known as Module 77…..that is until the Dorssian military suddenly invades Module 77. From this point on, Haruto’s world is turned completely upside down, along with the rest of the world once Haruto discovers a humanoid mecha hidden from everyone on Module 77….the mysterious weapon known as the Valvrave.
Haruto discovers the Valvrave soon after he witnesses his childhood friend’s apparent death. From this point on, Haruto’s life would change forever, while also throwing the weight of the world on his shoulders. As Haruto discovers the Valvrave, he decides to hop into the cockpit in an attempt to go after the Dorssian military that he believes killed his childhood friend. Once inside the cockpit, the Valvrave activates and a strange A.I. appears and asks Haruto a very unique but mysterious question….”Do you resign as a Human Being?”. This is the one question that would forever change Haruto’s life, as well as his destiny.
From here on, Valvrave the Liberator constantly accelerates and develops into a somewhat unique yet somewhat familiar type of anime. The concept of the Valvaves having a mind of their own is interesting, however, the question that each person is asked upon entering the cockpit is what makes it even better. The question “Do you resign as a Human Being” as many people including myself have thought, seems to have some real life meaning as well. When the characters enter the cockpit of a Valvrave, they are all answered that very same question. In terms of this anime, the characters are preparing to enter a war by becoming Valvrave pilots. Upon joining the war and willingly preparing to kill other human beings, the Valvrave is basically asking if you’re prepared to give up your humanity for the sake of fighting in this war in which you will be killing other humans. Whether or not this was an intended meaning within the anime is still up for debate, but many fans including myself consider this to be an underlying message.
The plot that drives Valvrave the Liberator is truly exciting and very entertaining, but when it combines the struggles of high school students who must get involved in a war they don’t completely understand, and then watching those very students gradually losing the humanity that they’re so desperately fighting for, it becomes one of the best plots in the anime of 2013. This is a great anime that shows that people who engage in war literally become beasts or animals after each and every battle. It also shows how a person can break down after so much fighting and death. Watching each of the Valvrave pilots who are all high school students develop and struggle with their decisions is a wonderful experience. I haven’t been happy with such great character development in a long time.
Haruto Tokishima, Saki Rukino, Kyuuma Inuzuka, Raizou Yamada, and Akira Renbokouji are the five high school Valvrave pilots who must face these struggles and difficult times. Each one struggles and grows stronger from their own individual hardships in order to overcome the greater obstacles that lie ahead of them. Haruto struggles with his wavering humanity, Saki struggles with her fear of being hurt and being alone, Kyuuma struggles with his responsibility to look over his four younger schoolmates, Raizou struggles to break through his label as a delinquent in order to gain revenge for his friends who died, and Akira struggles with her fear of other people due to her traumatizing past. As each of them overcome their own weaknesses, they gradually become a stronger team that cares for and protects one another with the single bond that they no longer are human.
As each character develops you begin to see that their so called weaknesses were actually their very source of strength. Humanity, loneliness, responsibility, revenge, and fear are the characteristics that weigh down each character, yet once they overcome the downside, those characteristics become their greatest form of strength. When looking at each of these characteristics, you can’t really call them that, but ultimately that’s the only way to describe what each character is struggling with. Whether you feel as though you fear losing your humanity, or you fear humanity and people themselves, each character had a truly powerful force that plagued them. Watching each episode as the characters grew from their fears and watching them develop is one of the most satisfying aspects of this anime.
Shoko Sashinami is one of the main heroines, as well as Haruto’s childhood friend. As we learn that she survived the attack on Module 77, she quickly becomes one of the most important and influential characters in the anime, as well as one of the few people that Haruto is willing to die for in order to protect her. Since Module 77 consisted primarily of high school students, Shoko becomes the Prime Minister and leads the other students through the difficult times ahead. Along with Shoko, L-elf Karlstein becomes the second person in Haruto’s life that impacts his destiny. L-elf is a member of the Dorssian military who meets Haruto during Dorssia’s invasion of Module 77. Haruto is shot by L-elf and presumed dead by the latter only to soon realize that Haruto was not what he seemed. As Haruto would soon bite L-elf on the neck and the two of them pass out. As Haruto regains consciousness, he quickly learns that he is no longer in his own body, but inside L-elf’s body.
This is the first event to occur that clearly shows that Haruto is no longer human. While still in L-elf’s body, Haruto shoots A-drei, a friend of L-elf’s, in the eye. This ultimately makes L-elf a traitor in the eyes of Dorssia. This greatly impacts Haruto’s destiny as well as L-elf’s. This is proven when L-elf soon decides to help the residents of Module 77 survive the war against Dorssia. It’s shown that L-elf already had plans to bring about a revolution in Dorssia, but due to the current events, this actually speeds up his plans. A mutual agreement between L-elf and Module 77 that ultimately helps both parties accomplish their goals. L-elf quickly becomes one of the leaders within Module 77, albeit still un-trusted by many. However, he shows that he can indeed be trusted when he begins to take command as a strategist against Dorssia. Due to L-elf’s strategies throughout the war, Module 77 survives many deadly battles.
Haruto, L-elf, and Shoko along with the remaining four Valvrave pilots become the primary characters throughout the entire anime. The plot and characters compliment each other very well, especially in a year where anime has been kind of weak with the exception of a few very good ones. Since the plot and characters compliment each other the way they do, then it’s only fitting to have music that blends in well also. With music performed by the likes of T.M.Revolution, Nana Mizuki, ELISA, and Momoko Kanade, it’s only natural to expect quality music in an anime. Each different piece of music fits perfectly to each individual event or instance that occurs in the anime. The music perfectly matches any sad or motivational moments throughout the anime without a hitch.
As for the ending, I have to admit that I was expecting the typical ending where the main hero defeats the evil villain and goes on living his life happily. I couldn’t have been farther from the truth, and believe me, I’m happy my prediction was wrong. THE MAIN CHARACTER DIES!!!!! That’s right, the main character dies. I couldn’t believe it myself, but I was truly happy with this ending. The best part about the ending was how the people who turned their backs on Haruto, such as Shoko since he wasn’t human anymore and lied to her about it in order to protect her, created a monument for Haruto and the Valvrave pilots who died in the war. You get to see the regret of the people who turned their backs on the Valvrave pilots and treated them as monsters, which is truly satisfying. In the epilogue you’ll see Shoko crying over Haruto’s death despite being one of the many people who betrayed him. I honestly saw Haruto in the same light as Light Yagami, a hero who was misunderstood and only doing what he thought was right. While Light’s ideals were a bit different, both he and Haruto are judged harshly for what they’ve done. This is one of the best developments I’ve seen in a anime since other anime like Death Note. It was a great and truly exceptional ending to a wonderful anime.