Valvrave Halfway Thoughts

For the longest time, I’ve had no idea what to make of Valvrave. I constantly fluctuated between thinking the show was either the greatest thing ever created, or the dumbest thing to come from Japan yet. The fact that it took me this long to make this just goes to show how hard it was for me to figure it out.

The irony is that I’m pretty sure the answer is that it’s both.

The thing about Valvrave is that it feels like it was written by three different people each focusing on a different aspect. One wrote the plot, the other wrote the initial characters and personalities, and the last wrote the dialogue. It also feels like none of these people talked to each other. At all.

There are times where the dialogue is being serious, but the plot isn’t (the inconsistent gravity in the room with the robots), and there are time where the plot is being serious but the dialogue isn’t (“You’re the sugar to my coffee.”). This makes the show hard to take seriously, because the tone is both all over the place, and inconsistent. Those mean pretty much the exact same thing, but still Valvrave managed to do both.

However, this is where it gets sort of weird. Normally inconsistent tone is a bad thing, but the level of ridiculous Valvrave can reach actually makes the show better for it. The most unpredictable, crazy stuff will happen, and it’s amazing.

“But Riyoga, how can you say a show with random, stupid things constantly happening is a good show?!” Why, because you want this crazy shit to happen, of course!

Let me explain using OreImo as a counter-example (because that show is still the easiest punching bag out there). When new developments happen in OreImo, most of the time, you’re not happy about them. Kyousuke saying how he’s a siscon for completely unexplained, baseless reasons; or Kuroneko’s relationship with Kyousuke ending in a deliberate break-up. They happen, and you just sit back and… sigh.

But with something like Valvrave, when new developments take place, you cheer about them. Sometimes even laugh about it or applaud the show. L-Elf pretty much reading the future and countering whatever happens, Haruto teaming up with L-Elf by giving an overly homoerotic analogy about coffee and sugar, these things are just raw fun.

Some people might say that “fun” doesn’t mean a show is good, but screw those people. We’re watching a foreign cartoon: it’s supposed to be entertainment. I like social, political, or interpersonal messages as much as the next person, but there’s no reason I can’t just enjoy a show that goes out of its way to be ridiculous, whether it be intentionally done or not.

Though that’s something else that comes up in talks about this show. Apparently the “fun” only counts if the show is being intentional with its ridiculousness. If it turns out the author(s) was/were trying to be serious with the story, then they’re just bad writers and the show should be thrown in the trash. To that, I give a resounding “it doesn’t even matter”.

It doesn’t matter if it was trying to be serious or not. The end product was ridiculous fun. It’s not like famous novels or movies started off with authors or directors saying, “Alright, I will now make a complete masterpiece and will win all the awards!” I mean, sure, they want to make a good book or movie, but it’s not like they go out of their way to make something that will just win awards or bring them in loads of cash.

…Usually.

What I guess I’m trying to say is that Valvrave makes me feel like I’m a kid again. You know, back in the day when you’re watching cartoons and you just can’t wait to see what happens next. And that’s not a bad thing at all; the excitement of wanting to see what kind of crazy shit the show will pull next is, as I said before, raw fun. And other than making a message of some kind, isn’t that the point of entertainment? It doesn’t help that these types are harder to find the older you get since your standards in regards to writing increase along with your age. It’s actually quite difficult to make random, insane twists happen without confusing, annoying, or pissing off the audience, yet Valvrave pulled it off.

Basically, Valvrave is the smartest dumb show in recent years.


One Comment on “Valvrave Halfway Thoughts”

  1. Chevalier says:

    To quote the producer of Valvrave:

    Iketani: There have been many instances at Sunrise in which I wanted to make a purely fun robot anime. This project started with those types of thoughts being gathered. […]

    For this work, I wanted to make an animation that left people excited and wondering, “What kind of story will they tell next time?”


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