OP1.02:「Preserved Roses」by T.M.Revolution×水樹奈々 (T.M.Revolution x Nana Mizuki)
「瓦礫の下のハルト」 (Gareki no Shita no Haruto)
“Haruto Under the Ruins”
More than any series this season, Kakumeiki Valvrave has a penchant to deliver the unexpected and to say the most recent unveilings have defied all of my fundamental conjectures would be a blatant understatement. It’s not exactly easy to decipher everything that happened in this episode, but what I can say, with a degree of confidence, is that the latest bombshells come in twofold – first, there was a sneak peek into the future where we got a glimpse of Saki as a super-soldier and second, the first blood was finally drawn with the unfortunate demise of Sakurai Aina (Kayano Ai). Let’s start with the one that packed the starkest emotional impact – Aina’s death, and I’d be lying if I said her passing didn’t hit me like a ton of bricks. Admittedly, the prospects of mortality have always been in the cards – after all, there was the fake out with Shouko’s seeming death during the premiere. But even in a show that has already alluded to a darker premise, the utter trauma that I got from the sight of Aina’s maimed body was still ineffably alarming, especially after the heartfelt moments that she shared with Haruto this week. Her attempt to console a distraught Haruto, who remained troubled with his identity crisis, shows just what sort of person Aina is – gentle, deeply affectionate and highly amicable. No matter how harsh the reality of war may seem, it’s still unusually perturbing to see such a calamitous fate befell someone as decent as Aina, and I have a suspicion I’m not the only one who felt that way. Inuzuka Kyuuma (Ono Yuuki), who clearly has a close relationship with Aina, is not going to let this slide easily and it’s safe to say the Dorssians – in particular L-elf, are going to be a prime target for his revenge.
Speaking of L-elf, the prodigious Dorssian soldier was unmistakable a stand out in this episode. After remaining somewhat unassuming in the last two, it was merely a matter of time before he started to wreak havoc again – this time, he plans to imposed forced conscription on all of the students at Sakimori Academy. The imminent showdown between L-elf and A-drei happened sooner than I thought, and if it wasn’t already apparent from the previous episodes, their relationship is indeed, a decidedly complex one. A triple gunpoint illustrates the sheer intensity of this confrontation extremely well – A-drei still sees L-elf as his right hand and a close ally, but L-elf is evidently more interested in Haruto at the moment and he intends to win the Valvrave pilot over to his side at whatever cost. I wouldn’t be too quick to brand L-elf as a traitor of Dorssia just yet, and while it does seemed like he has switched sides, his true intention has never been quite as straightforward and what he said at this stage should probably be taken with a pinch of salt. Then there’s also the huge question mark next to the pink-hair maiden, whose role in the conflict has remained shrouded in enigma thus far. Whoever she is, that person is obviously someone who’s very important to L-elf, and for all of his seemingly dispassionate demeanor, the prodigy has shown quite an outburst of pathos at the sight of her picture – and interesting enough, such emotion appears to stem from his subconscious!
L-elf’s obsession with Haruto is more than conspicuous, but whether his counterpart shares the same sentiment or not is a subject that is not nearly as clear-cut. Haruto has maintained an awfully canny posture in his dealings with L-elf – for good reasons, of course – and I have a feeling the unintended bloodshed that just happened is not going to make the partnership any easier. Nevertheless, even Haruto would have to acknowledge the formidability of their teamwork and it was such collaboration that allowed Haruto to fend off Dorssia’s latest carnage – and saved Saki’s life in the process! For my money, the pilot of Carmilla remains the most enthralling element in the mix, and the introduction of Saki’s future self only deepens the intrigue further. While Saki has rebuffed outright the notion of any attraction to Haruto last week, the relentless fascination that she continues to shower on both Haruto and Shouko presumably, tells a different story. Then there’s the short flash-forward which has, to a certain extent, shed some light on the stakes inherent in what’s to come – it points to the existence of at least seven Valvrave pilots and an ongoing war that has persisted for a very long time! What the latest revelations mean for the overall narrative is hard to tell and your guess is probably as good as anyone’s at this stage – will there be an impending time skip and who are the remaining Valvrave pilots are just some of the questions that remained unanswered. I stand by my belief that there’s bound to be more curve balls on the horizon and while I can’t really say for certain if the latest unveilings will keep the anime connoisseurs satisfied, I commend the creators for having the audacity to take the series in a different direction – one that, hopefully, yields bountiful surprises and entertainment!
- Similar to the third episode, there were some minor tweaks to the opening sequence this week – the inclusion of a suited-up Saki! I wonder if that means Aina will be removed from the character slideshow next week.
- Carmilla’s secret move, “The Condemnation Mirage” reminded me of Cloud Strife’s Omnislash from Final Fantasy VII Advent Children.
- A character who is hell-bent for revenge – it seems like Kyuuma is the perfect candidate for the next Valvrave pilot!
- Substituting vampirism with spirit possession of a godly kind – That was indeed, a pretty clever maneuver of words. RIP Aina, I’m gonna miss you.
- It doesn’t seem like Renbokouji Satomi (Namikawa Daisuke) is worthy of Takahi’s lips – could it be because of the missing Pocky?
- Don’t let the ghastly semblance fool you, Shouko’s cooking apparently tastes pretty darn good! She is indeed, the perfect “waifu”.
- It’s pretty handy to have a vampire as a comrade. You can use him as a meat shield at any time!
- “Attack of the robot… on skewers” – I really like Kaji Yuki’s performance as Q-vier. A trigger-happy lunatic shouta is definitely his strong suit!
tl;dr: @SeishunRC – #Valvrave 07: A sneak peek into the future and the first blood that has finally been drawn. Valvrave was never going to turn out to be anything conventional – not with Okouchi sensei at the helm, anyway! #Anime
ED2: 「そばにいるよ」 (Soba ni Iru yo) by ELISA