For many of us studio Sunrise is now labeled as “the mecha trainwreck” studio. They were quite innovated in their early years but for the past 2 decades they make only robot-themed shows filled with obnoxious lead characters and storylines written on the run. And yes, they usually sell very well to their target audience thanks to the good budget but if you compare them with the mecha shows of GAINAX you easily realize how they are hardly trying to be anything out of the ordinary or even well made. They are kid stuff for mass consumption with little to no actual value.
Their latest proof of that is this Valvrave thing; two minutes after it begins and you are already thinking this is yet another alternative universe of Gundam. Only it isn’t; it is supposed to be a NEW show with a NEW setting. Whatever; we typically have a Gundam future where mankind creates space colonies and fights with mechas. Our protagonist is a typical teenager who “accidentally” finds a new overpowered model and is forced to pilot it as means to protect his friends and stuff.
As you can probably guess, the whole thing is a patchwork of good ideas from past works, hardly trying to do anything new with them or at least present them in a nice way. It is just throws them randomly on the screen and expects you to shut off your brain and stare at the scenery porn, the mecha porn, and the silly school comedy shenanigans. Guess what folks; it won’t work no matter how many pink explosions and sailor suit girls they splatter all over your face. Because there is absolutely no effort given to make us give a damn about anyone or anything before they try to entertain us with anything else in it. This is what made Code Geass good in the first season to the point most didn’t mind how bad it became plot-wise in the second. And this is what made Guilty Crown bad right away, since just like Valvrave it never tried to be anything more than random good ideas.
Just like there, you get weird stuff like mecha who turn their pilots into vampires with fast regeneration who also possess their victims and fight space Nazis with ultimate attacks that include performing hara-kiri and throwing frisbees. Yes, it sounds cool but there is absolutely no attempt to move from event A to event B with some sort of logic behind it; it all plays out as randomly as possible. It is impossible to create anything good if there is absolutely no consistency to how something works or how someone behaves. Some girl survives a nuke by being inside a car and just like everything else that is all you ever need to accept this lame plot armor. An elite assassin who can easily kill hundreds of soldiers gets owned instantly by the protagonist’s bite. A few minutes later the protagonist attacks his schoolmates and is owned by the slap of a frail girl. And no, that is not supposed to be a joke; it was supposed to be a most dramatic scene.
The protagonist is another hint to that; he is yet another one of those pussies who blushes when he looks at a girl or screams when a female does the unthinkable and touches him. I mean, really, from all the people in the universe he is the one who finds the robot and has the guts to pilot it? Where did he found the balls all of a sudden? In the typical Sunrise fashion, he acts as the plot demands it and not as he should. More specifically, when a girl is in trouble he gets manly but when said girl wants to thank him he screams like the sissy he is. Add to that a ridiculous scene where he goes berserk by mystical powers and rapes a girl he proposes to marry the exact next day. What was this show called again, Vulrape the Lubricator?
The fail continues as we are introduced to the enemy spies. You know, the ones in all Gundam shows who pretend to be civilians just to sneak in and steal the new model? You get this sudden antithesis where on one side stands the pussy protagonist doing a harem comedy and on the other these amoral assholes who kill defenseless people for the lulz. And yes, they are transfer students; every anime with schools needs transfer students in order for something to happen. Oh my, such amazing characterization! Now can we please get something so we can describe each one of them with more than a hair color or a silly-sounding name that repeats every 2 minutes? Or can we at least have some bloody consistency in the way they are supposed to behave? If they kill on sight any defenseless person they meet and laugh about it, why do they start to chat with the lead’s schoolmates for no bloody reason? I mean, really, the robot they came for is in front of them, they killed dozens of people to get to it without lifting an eyebrow, and as soon as it is a few steps away they stop walking or shooting anything that moves, and start to talk with nobodies. HERP!
From the dozens of cardboards this show has, one of them stands out and is none other than the Char-wannabe of this season. He acts like a double agent out to take revenge on the space Nazis and does it by magically predicting what everybody is going to do next. Of course he calls it tactics but it is practically magic.
Of course even he stands no chance against the pussy hero, who manages to troll hundreds of elite soldiers. In every episode he pretty much steals the robot under their very noses, and flies off to space to fight enemy robots. And does so with pink wings, pink laser beams, and pink explosions. HOW MANLY! Did I mention how easy it is for a civilian to master the controls of a super powerful robot full of mystical powers in about five seconds? But when an experienced soldier tries to pilot it, he is immediately killed by the computer because he is not a pussyfied male teenager. Yeah, typical Sunrise, find a cheap excuse so only teenagers are allowed to have superpowers; adults can go frakk themselves. For more information, check out how being older than 17 means you are cursed to be a nobody in shows like Accel World or Guilty Crown. Hell, Valvrave takes that to the next level by having a school of immature kids rebelling against the adults and declaring independence. Because adults are dicks and only teenagers are awesome. Disregard how there is absolutely no policy or reason behind that thought or how in 5 years they will all be adults like the ones they take a shit on right now.
I better clarify something in case you missed the irony. This and the aforementioned titles are about teen fantasy. They are made to make the teen audience feel like they are awesome. Realism has nothing to do with it; it is pure escapism and the rule of cool. Everything needs to revolve around sexualized retarded high school kids having the fun of their lives by doing anything stupid they ever wanted in a colony that is magically self-dependent. 15 years ago we had Infinite Ryvius, with a similar situation. Only thing, over there the teenagers had lack of resources and many had mental breakdowns, so it was hardly fun and for the same reason ten times more interesting. There is absolutely no drama or even reason in Valvrave despite pretending to have buckets of it.
And don’t think the lame tributes to retro anime will end there. In order for the base to continue having food and otaku related nonsense the teenagers need to raise funds. A decade ago we had Starship Operators where the teenagers there had to turn the war into a reality show. If you think that was silly, Valvrave goes even beyond that by having the teenagers gathering money by doing j-pop musicals.
I would gladly accept all the pandering if the show was like Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure or Tengen Toppa but the problem is that it ain’t. It is not GAR brilliance but rather a dork gamer’s wet dream. Seriously, teenagers who are into sports or have girlfriends will find this show lame for deifying geeks. The protagonist has enough firepower to wipe out armies and is otherwise screaming like a monkey for being hugged by a girl who simply wants to thank him for saving her. Yet he saves the day and everyone cheers for him in every episode for being the waste of flesh he is. Last time I checked heroes are supposed to have guts or charisma and he has none. Hell, he doesn’t even look memorable; he is just another cookie cutter dude you will forget by tomorrow. And furthermore everyone in this show is constantly using cell phones, plays videogames, sleeps with huge anime pillows, is a hikikomori, or acts like a spaz. NOBODY IS MANLY!
I have a hard time getting into these modern anime who do nothing but pandering to dork otakus. I am a big anime fan but back in my teens shows were a lot more about characterization than fancy pink explosions or advertisements for videogames. Mecha anime were war dramas or psychological thrillers, this is closer to a school ecchi comedy than a mecha action show. And it doesn’t work; especially when they try to build drama. The hero is too afraid to approach anyone because he thinks he will harm them with his vampire lust. BOOHOOHOO is this supposed to be taken seriously? It’s not like he was going to do anything more with any girl even if was still normal. Why? BECAUSE HE IS A SPINELESS PUSSY! He gets his own imba mecha, has hax vampire skills, saved millions of lives, all the chicks love him, and he loses his mojo as easily as he gained it. If somebody thinks this is either cool or tragic then he needs to stop reading bad fan fiction.
Well done Sunrise; you managed to make a fool of yourself once again. At least Code Geass had a good first season before you blew it all up. And at least the white dressed racist aristocrats there didn’t have red mascara around their eyes to make them look so gay. I bet you realized you will never write a proper plot ever again so instead of delaying the inevitable you start the fail right away. Well, at least this way nobody will have high hopes and will not be disappointed later on.