「月面の拳(こぶし) (Getsumen no Kobushi)
“Fist of the Moon

Back to basics for Valvrave. Assuming “basics” is inspired lunacy.

Listen, I’ll be honest here – this episode could be taken as a regression of sorts for Kakumeiki Valvrave. After it’s proved its chops as a more coherent and disciplined sci-fi epic over most of its second cour, this ep was something of a return to the unabashed bakayaroucity of the first. And there were definitely some cringe-worthy moments here – when I saw those spacesuits on Coffee and Sugar my first thought was, “Duck-u!”. But somehow – as it often does with Valvrave – everything ended up working pretty well for me by the end of the episode.

It’s something of the peculiar alchemy of this series, I think, that what we can’t ever be sure of what I would normally call “unintentionally funny” moments. With Valvrave you certainly get seemingly seriously-intended moments that are hilarious, but I always get the feeling the writers are winking at the audience, just a little. They know how silly it is, and they’re having fun too. Maybe that’s the naive romantic in me but when I enjoy those Valvrave signature moments as much as I do, I’m certainly more tolerant of the absurdities they present. I very much like the “grown-up” Valvrave we’ve seen for most of this season, but if I’m honest I kind of missed the goofy “throw the plot twists in a blender, add some cheesy dialogue and press the damn button already” approach, too.

As it often does lately, the series started us off with a pre-OP flash-forward, revealing splinters of what the eventual series end will look like. I don’t recall the chibi-L-Elf being called “Ouji” before (perhaps I’ve forgotten) but Saki’s reference to “our empire” certainly gives this future a little more definition. As does the appearance of a dilapidated Sakimori Academy, “a cradle of curse and blessing”. Is this the new world that Haruto And L-Elf (by the way, I can’t help now but think of Linda and her “Tada Banri” every time L-Elf says “Tokishima Haruto”) pledged to create on their private crater retreat?

By recent Valvrave standards this was an extremely simple episode structurally. There were really only two things going on – Shouko angsting over what she’d done to Haruto, and L-Elf and Haruto marooned after their abortive rescue that closed last week’s episode. I’m still of the opinion that Shouko was out-of-character in her actions last week, but I suppose once committed to that the writers had no choice but to follow through. I’m not a huge Yamada fan but I’m with him on this one – after having been set-up and knocked down for Shouko to still regard him and the other pilots with distrust is pretty galling. There’s an emotional component here – after all the sacrifices the Valvampires have made for their fellow students, to be treated as monsters is hard to swallow. But in Shouko’s defense (if there is one) she doesn’t know everything they’ve been through, and they did make the choice to keep her out of the loop.

She’s learning fast, though. Shouko’s punishment, I guess, it to see first-hand just what sacrifices Haruto in specific has made – and for whom. It was silly in the first place to think a 17 year-old high schooler was capable of being a “Prime Minister” so it’s hardly a surprise that Shouko hasn’t proved up to the job when the chips were down, but she remains a sort of anchor of normalcy and decency in this sea of madness. That’s why it was such a big moment for her to finally sit down in that cockpit and be faced with that welcome screen. “I’m hungry!” Pino whines, before showing Shouko the one thing that could hurt her the most. I’m still hoping Shouko doesn’t choose “Yes” because I think the show is better having her as she is, the one main cast member that’s unlike all the others. Yes, she screwed up – but she knows it, and she’s suffering for it. Let her remain a human and let’s move on.

The main event, of course, is the strange and gloriously entertaining bromance between Haruto and L-Elf. This whole sequence was definitely one of those that hovered on the blurry border of unintentional comedy, but then so many of their interactions are. I mean, come on – a fistfight in CGI space suits that look like they should squeak like bath toys? It had an air of satire to it – we’ve certainly seen this moment in anime many times, but to have L-Elf astride Haruto’s chest wailing on him in oversized space suits is deliciously surreal. This was the couples getaway these two were destined to have sooner or later, and it’s interesting to see L-Elf be the one in self-pitying shutdown mode while Haruto scrambles to stay alive. L-Elf is right, of course – Haruto will never be a match for him without his Valvrave – but somehow it’s always Haruto who provides the irritant that makes the oyster L-Elf produce his finest pearls. They truly are like coffee and sugar, these two – with a large plate of cheese on the side, of course.

All of that comes to naught, of course, if the right person doesn’t see that signal flare – and it’s a mild surprise to find out that person is Saki. Not at all surprising is that A-Drei is the one that freed her – that’s been telegraphed for a while. “First L-Elf, then H-Neun, now you.” X-Eins laments – but the trend here is obvious, and I suspect that rather than pull the trigger on that gun he’s pointing at the back of A-Drei’s head, X-Eins is going to be the next to turn his coat against the corrupt Dorssian puppet government. That will leave only Q-Vier behind, but I don’t hold out much hope for him. In effect we’ve pretty much known how this series was going to end for a while – the only real question was how it would get there. We’ve taken a few steps closer to our answer this week, and I think – like two construction teams boring a tunnel through a mountain – L-Elf and A-Drei are going to undercut the Dorssians and the Committee of 101 from opposite sides and meet in the middle.

Author’s note: The LiA Winter 2014 Season Preview and Poll is out – please stop by, check it out and share your votes!

49 Comments

  1. Good to see L-Elf back on his foot. But… I assume we’re getting an R3?

    I was going to write that there are so many things left to be done… but,

    1. Dealing with council of 101
    2. Establishing their empire
    3. Having someone bear L-Elf’s child

    That’s all there is isn’t it… But with 2 episodes to finish things off, I feel we’re either in for a helluva rush or get a sneak peak at R3.

    flCer
    1. Not only that, the writers still haven’t resolved the mystery of the Valvrave tech, and Pino and Prue.
      They still haven’t revealed
      1)how JIOR found the original Valvraves and Pino and Prue,
      2)how Pino and Prue are related to the Magius,
      3)and how the two beings ended up in their respective sides(esp. how Prue ended up with Cain).

      zztop
      1. Forgot about:

        7) Reuniting with Renboukouji Satomi (Saki and Satomi are seen in the flash-forward)
        8) Renboukouji Satomi going immortal by piloting a Valvrave
        9) Taking back module 77 (next ep??)

        So they only got the green valvrave to do the re-take of module 77. In terms of physics and the propulsion the massdriver provides, it seems bleak that their escapees can make it back in time.

        For Shouko’s group to get back, they need to do a complete 180. Unlike on earth, since Space has no friction to stop an object in movement, they’ll need to spend fuel to decelerate, and re-accelerate in the other direction; They’ll need to spend alot of fuel considering they relied on the massdriver + thrusters to accelerate out of the battlefield, which may mean they actually won’t be able to make it back.

        flCer
    2. Actually, there’s a bit we have yet to see:

      We have to find out if there is a unit 7 and how is Unit 2 going to come to their side, and who are their pilots? We’ve seen them making the decision to form their own country, but how does that become this Galactic Empire? So we have to see the formation of the Empire, as well as what the opposing force on the Earth, probably Dorssia, will become. We have to see the formation of the Golden 7 and their mechs to actually get their new golden design upgrade. We have to find out why even 200+ years down the road , the Empire is still having to fight? What sort of conflict would result where the Golden 7 would be fighting against Dorssia’s forces for nearly 2 days straight? Do the Kamitsuki and Magius join forces and that’s why the Empire has the technology to be able to go and settle further out in the galaxy? What is the Magius’ endgame? What is this ceremony they are planning? Who is the prince? Who is he related to? How does Satomi become a Kamistuki? How many others will also survive into the future? What happened to H-neun? What’s going to happen to all the other Dorssia boys? What about Shoko? If Magius are so hard to kill, how are they going to defeat Cain? Will this war ever end? Who are Pino and Prue to the Magius? When will VVV2 appear? If Pino is finally released, how will the Valvraves keep working?

      Irenesharda
    1. Well, to throw a punch in space is like throwing a punch underwater, somewhat, gravity doesn’t neccesairly work well.
      As for the Prince’s ancestor. It may be possible that he could be a “clone” of L-Elf, of course with slight genetical differences. But if L-Elf did marry someone, then I suspect it could be someone we least expect such as Kriemhild or Takahi Ninomiya.

      I am more shocked how Haruto did not end up like Ouma Shu. I guess his mental breakdown didn’t last too long. On a curious note is how the “secret or immortality” shall work. At this moment, if you think mnemosyne anime, the immortality may not work so well.However, to create immortal soldiers, that can hijack people’s bodies and can go “super sayian,” does have a nice ring to it. With L-Elf back, beating the enemy with such power would be child’s play.

      L002
  2. Katsura Hoshino’s character designs for Valvrave are really good. It’s a pity Hoshino hasn’t had any other showcase works apart from D-Gray Man and misc. one shot manga.

    http://mitsi-her.tumblr.com/post/63233369405/kakumeiki-valvrave-concept-art-part-4

    http://mitsi-her.tumblr.com/post/62427560218/kakumeiki-valvrave-concept-art-part-2
    Interesting how Hoshino’s designs are more elaborate then the anime design, such as little Liselotte’s hair ornaments(instead of anime hair buns) and the Karlstein uniform epaulettes.

    zztop
  3. I’m still hoping Shouko doesn’t choose “Yes” because I think the show is better having her as she is, the one main cast member that’s unlike all the others. Yes, she screwed up – but she knows it, and she’s suffering for it. Let her remain a human and let’s move on.

    I not with you on this one. I get what you mean about keeping her unique, but because of that uniqueness, she needs to stay alive into the future. And the only way to do that is to maker her press the yes button.

    Though I am saying this with the assumption that there will be a significant portion of the series taking place in the future at some point. I refuse to believe this show will ultimately run for anything less than 50 episodes.

    Tre
    1. Non non. I was gonna comment on that exact quote. Shouko doesn’t need to be a ‘magius’-type. Right now is the best scenario for this show; Haruto with L11 and Saki. Those two usually bring something interesting to this show, and now that we will be unimpeded by the other unimportant chars, it’ll be much more entertaining =03(my opinion, of course).

      frubam
  4. Despite the seriousness and dramatic event between L-Elf and Haruto in this episode, I couldn’t help but laugh throughout. I think it was the funny-looking spacesuits. I just couldn’t take it as seriously as I should’ve.

  5. The fistfight scene was hilarious with that oversized spacesuits they were wearing. Judging by the initial future scene, it seems like the students might choose to seize back module 77 at great cost. I’m seriously hoping for A-Drei and X-Eins to defect to L-Elf’s side. A-Drei X Saki please! It’ll be great to have another Lelouch aboard (only because he’s voiced by Jun Fukuyama), but please don’t die so soon.

    Jager
  6. I seriously suspect with all that guilt that Shoko’s having, she might think that Haruto is dead (assuming Saki doesn’t bring them back in time), then she might resort to pressing the ‘Yes’ button to take up haruto’s ‘mantle’, not that I’m complaining. She better be a decent pilot at the very least.

    Andros
  7. So that’s why A-3 took the bullet from L-11 so personal… they were co-conspirators!
    And now finally we know why “the system that unveils the world” – the council of 101 and Magiuses are about to be revealed to the mankind they have been deceiving for so long.
    I think Haruto is not going to make it, considering he already is losing his memories, but at least Saki has now “flashforward class plot armor”, and I dont want to see her die.
    As for the ancestor of the young princeling in the future I will make a slight off-the-beaten-road prediction and propose A-3. Because he is royalty himself and possible leader to royalist resistance.

    ewok40k
      1. Or the scientific advances of that world found a way to get men pregnant with another man’s baby.

        I’m shipping Coffee + Sugar all the way on this. Not because I’m a yaoi fangirl, but because the creators made it so damn obvious that L-Elf and Haruto are meant for each other in their gayness. Coffee and Sugar? Seriously? Bromance moments on the moon? WTF?

        Personally, with how the ‘Prince’ looks like a clone of L-Elf and Haruto and somehow ‘time travel’ is possible in this universe, it wouldn’t be a strange leap of logic to see that their technology lets them somehow make a Coffee + Sugar baby. If it’s true, I’m so throwing a party for them taking that WTF?! chance… which is sort of a given now in Valvrave, to be honest… 😀

        ArcT
      2. In the beginning of this episode I think that it may be a young l-elf himself…Also Saki could be his mother and Haruto could really be his father based on the actions that occurred in the previous episode. Haruto may have died and the curious young l-elf found some way to travel back in time to save his father but falling in love with the magius girl in the process, just my hypothesis. I like the fact that this has me wondering what the truth is.

        Name required
  8. I’ve been thinking this for a while, Shouko gets with L-elf eventually and NTR’s Haruto.

    Shouko finding about exactly what Haruto did to become a kamitsuki was too easy and convenient. All of a sudden Plue can show video playback, but where was the previous recordings for before Haruto got into the mech? When did she start recording and if she can do all that, where is the BGM for the videos?!

    Magoiichi
    1. 😀 That’s why said “it’s back to the basics”.

      There are definitely a few ass-pulls here.Besides the ones you mentioned,there’s also Saki being released at the exact right time and ARRIVING at the exact right time to save Haruto & L-Elf.

      I wouldn’t complain about such things myself,considering this is Valvrare we’re talking about,but after S2’s proven that it can be much more than just a very entertaining trainwreck,this was a bit episode was a bit of a let-down.

      MgMaster
  9. I’m getting vibes of another season to wrap this up. They can’t possibly expect to close this in a couple episodes… Oh who am I kidding? These are the Valvrave writers. They could probably do it.

    J_the_Man
  10. Nice see L-elf back! How nice they solve it after fighting each other though I like the part were Haruto Valvampire stop him from giving up! There only 2 episodes left & I want know how will they fight the 101 council but main Cain I feel his more of the main villain in this.

    Final Shouko found out as expected since the truth is hard specially now but will she press the YES button or think of another way by talking to the others? I hope sensei would explain to students whats really going on they have the right to know!

    lune
  11. All that’s left is for them to take down Cain’s fleet and bring down the Council of 101–most-likely by outing them. We now know that there’s irrefutable video footage of what happens in the valvrave cockpits! I KNOW that’s going to come in handy! Maybe they can use that to prove to the world that the Sakimori students are victims of circumstance, or even bust into the council’s hideout and get footage of what they’ve been doing this whole time.

    Maya Stryker
  12. “coherent and disciplined sci-fi epic over most of its second cour” seriously? It does sound more like it with the “more” added in front of “coherent”.

    Can’t help wondering about what would Shouko do if she watched all the video clips there is to show?

    hoh
  13. It’s nice to see L Elf is back ,instead of let me lay down on the ground but i felt that maybe that recuse part should had A Drei coming to the rescues instead of saki and make the next episode recuse saki and retake module 77.

    Random
  14. YES!! Not to be sadistic but I LOVED seeing Shouko suffer like that, dumb b*tch.

    That said, I do hope there is a season 3 because there’s just so much left in the air for 3 episodes. At the same time, the series does seem to be coming to a close 😐
    Sunrise always do 50ep Mecha series though D:<

    ThatGuy
  15. Valvrave made me think of what Gundam 00 could become if the ELS arrived early 😛
    Yup, this show is a clusterfuck of recent Sunrise mecha anime.

    2 more episodes to end this.
    (But theres lots more backlog series to watch :P)

    Have yet to start on Buddy Complex…
    Theres still Majestic Prince that I would want to catch up on too.
    Just too much anime to watch 😛

    iron2000

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