As the town of Bruhl in the country of Gallia prepares for the attack from the Empire, a girl named Alicia Melchiott who’s in the Town Watch hears that there’s a spy. She finds this alleged spy sketching pictures of trout by the river and captures him, but he doesn’t act like a spy and claims that he’s Welkin Gunther. Alicia doesn’t believe him because there’s a war hero with the same last name. She locks him up and refuses to release him even after he mentions that there’s someone who’s waiting for him. When he ends up escaping anyway, she is forced to chase after him. Alicia can’t bring herself to shoot him, and soon something more important comes up: they spot the approaching Imperial Army. Welkin hides them from the enemy scouts and then leads Alicia to where his little sister is, but along the way, they are seen and shot at by the enemy. The two manage to make it to the Gunther house and find Welkin’s little sister Isara inside. Alicia doesn’t trust them until Isara saves her life by shooting an Imperial soldier who was trying to sneak up on the house. Isara then reveals that there are weapons inside the barn, and since the house is now under heavy attack, Alicia tosses a hand grenade outside at the enemy. As it turns out, there is one more big weapon at their disposal in the barn: a tank.
For a fairly new singer, HIMEKA sings a really good OP. I think my only complaint about the song is that it ends too soon, which really isn’t a complaint at all. The animation that went with it was mostly character shots, but there were a few battle scenes that looked pretty exciting and got me pumped up about the show. The ending, on the other hand, went the cutesy, light-hearted route, which is fine for an ending I guess. I don’t listen to much pe’zmoku, so the only frame of reference I have is the Bleach ED they sang, and I think the songs are on the same level (meaning that this ED didn’t really stick with me either).
I mentioned in my Spring Preview that I was a little wary of this show because I wasn’t really fond of how Tales of the Abyss turned out. A lot of the RPG elements in the Abyss game translated poorly into the anime. This first episode of Valkyria Chronicles, however, was quite good, and I didn’t notice anything that blatantly showed that this is based on a game, except maybe the way they animated shadows. The overall animation quality was fairly high, the pacing was fine (no big battles quite just yet though), and on the whole I thought the A-1 Pictures staff did a good job introducing the basic elements of the story. I haven’t played the game however (and am intentionally avoiding it now so as not to spoil myself), so if you have, your mileage may vary.
Alicia is easily my favorite character right now, which really isn’t a surprise since her voice actress Inoue Marina is part of the reason I was so interested originally in the game. Though a bit dense in the head, she goes through a wide range of emotions, leading to some great facial expressions throughout the episode. Welkin and Isara aren’t nearly as much fun to watch as her, though I was a tad amused at how Isara just presented them with grenades and then a tank. In any case, this first episode exceeded my expectations and made me want to see more, though whether or not I end up blogging it depends on how Hatsukoi Limited turns out next weekend.