It wasn't until I started watching this episode that I realized how much I'd missed this ridiculous vampire mech space Nazi drama.
In some ways, it feels like Valvrave hasn't stopped at all. It takes less than five minutes for the show to get to a battle, picking up at the exact moment where things left off. A bit of exposition follows, finally explaining a bit of what the Valvrave's really are by introducing a strange particle called a Rune. The Valvrave engines run on Runes, and Haruto's attacks are apparently the system's way of harvesting them from humans. The AI's are still shrouded in mystery, although the reference to them being "the original pair" probably means that they'll be a major plot point this season.
Meanwhile, the student-run government is finally getting some consistent support from other countries, yet they seem to be more interested in making the new country reliant on them for everything. The implication is that they'd rather have them stay as a convenient rallying point for the war rather than a truly independent nation. What the kids will do about this (if anything) remains to be seen.
And I'm perfectly fine with that since I'm not watching this for the political drama, and I think it's fair to say that nobody else is either. I'm here for the aforementioned ridiculous vampire mech space Nazis (give or take a couple of those words), and Valvrave does not disappoint. The show opens with a guy forcibly inducted into an evil council via vampire bite. Just the explanation on Runes filled its "silly sci-fi BS" quota for the season. The battles are over the top, L-Elf is two steps ahead of everybody, and it's not Valvrave until somebody says a line that is easily taken out of context.
The subtext is strong with this one
Basically, Valvrave hasn't undergone a dramatic makeover since its absence, so if you enjoyed the first season there's no reason to expect that you won't like this episode. The new character designs came out nicely, and the OP (or rather, the ED this week but I'm assuming it's the show's new OP) is pretty solid. The other Valvrave pilots that are not Haruto and Saki are still playing secondary roles however, and there was not much focus on them in this episode. I'm hoping that the show will find a way to balance them equally, otherwise there was not much point in adding them in the first half. But overall, I'm still excited to see Valvrave back and am happy that it wasted no time in getting right back to what makes the show enjoyable in the first place.
Images from Crunchyroll.com. This post is also available at Organization ASG.
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