I just want to start this off by saying that we got a lot of stuff thrown at us during this first episode that could have used a little more development prior to said stuff occurring. I guess that my frustration lies in the fact that someone who looked like they were going to be an important character is already dead. I guess I have to back up a bit for you to understand where I am coming from. Sunrise knows what they like to do. Space colony time. About seventy percent of the human population has evacuated to space colonies and the construction of a gigantic spherical one marks a great turning point for humanity. The thing is, hen things are changing this drastically, there is bound to be a dispute or two. The Dorushia Military Pact Federation and the Atlantic Ring United States are at war. I guess some version of the United States is always at war. Oh well, our story takes place in the small nation of Jiouru which just so happens to be neutral when it comes to its affiliation. That never turns out poorly. Don’t worry about it. As long as you are not hiding any advanced military technology, you are fine. Wait, you are hiding advanced military technology in a neutral state? Well, at least there isn’t a group of young soldiers invading your research area because that only happens in Gundam. Oh wait, they are coming too? Dammit guys, this is not a Gundam series. Stop it or Sunrise is going to sue you. Never mind, this series is also a product of Sunrise. I guess you are off the hook from a legal standpoint. However, killing off a character that we kind of got to know in the first episode and stripping away the main guy’s humanity was a little rough for a first episode don’t you think?
Well, there are two characters that we got to know decently well and a ridiculous number of other characters that we got to see briefly in this first episode. Let’s just say that the way that they handled the characters thus far has me a little bit pissed off at the moment. Haruto Tokishima is our main character. The dude seems like your average high school student. A little bit weak, in love with a girl, and against fighting. The last one is a little less common, but growing up in a neutral nation will get you into the pacifistic mindset. Although Haruto is against fighting, he does seem to value not getting others involved in his fights and he will seek vengeance when fighting for those he cares about. This drive for vengeance forces Haruto to leave his normal life to become the inhuman pilot of the Valvrave. Typical protagonist. Hello Kira Yamato. Please don’t sleep with all of the girls in this series. I jest because we don’t know everything about this guy, but I will be making Gundam comparisons in my articles regarding this series, no matter how stupid they are, until Kakumeiki Valvrave decides to make a name for itself like Code Geass did. Next we have L-elf who is a young member of the Dorushian army. The guy seems stable enough, but using the word “half” really sets him off. He travels with a group of other young soldiers and they are all trained to kill. They seem to not hesitate when stabbing and shooting someone who makes them look very mentally unstable. Expect to see them in mechs in the near future. Like the three humans that piloted Gundams in Gundam Seed Destiny. The other character that I will specifically mention is Shouko Sashinami. The girl is very competitive and a friend of Haruto’s. Unfortunately, when it seemed like the two were about to get together, Shouko was killed. I don’t actually remember something like that happening right off the top of my head. Killing a love interest that got screen time in the first episode of a series is just something that pisses me off. I wasn’t invested enough to care properly and I think that it will hurt the story moving forward. The lack of impact from Shouko’s death that is. Along the way we also met many of the student at Haruto’s high school and soldiers from the Dorushian army. I am guessing that the girl with the sweet tech setup will become important.
Current Opinion of the Show:
Before I start really talking about this series, let me say that there is less than a one percent chance that I will not watch this anime in its entirety. Now, I have some mixed feelings regarding this show. I am not really opposed to the fact that Sunrise knows what they like and they do what they want. Gundam is cool and I have always been an advocate of execution over originality. Original things are nice, but give me a well written story that reminds me of something else over a new story with poor writing any day. The thing is, I have a major problem with the timing of Shouko’s death. We just got through an entire episode that was basically dedicated to the fact that Haruto liked her. We even got teased when she stopped him at the shrine when she thought he was going to confess. However, Shouko just needed to prepare herself emotionally and she was going to hear him out. Then they just kill her off. I know that it drove Haruto to pilot the Valvrave, but I think that you could have had more impact if you developed her a little bit more. I guess that the story can still be great without it, but it is just a gripe that I have when looking at the episode in and of itself. The good things start with the art. Just look at the mechs. Damn, that is a nice animation budget. Everything else looks great as well. I also like the whole focus on social media and the internet. It feels very culturally relevant without looking like it is trying too hard. I don’t know about you, but I have some decently high hopes for this series. Now I just need to see what is up with these crazy monster powers that Haruto has now.