Valvrave the Liberator: Complete 1st Season (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
November 15, 2014 by Dennis Amith
If you are a mecha fan or fan of action-driven anime, “Valvrave the Liberator” is recommended!
Image courtesy of © SUNRISE/VVV Committee, MBS. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Valvrave the Liberator: Complete 1st Season
DURATION: 300 Minutes
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese Linear PCM Stereo, English Subtitles
COMPANY: Aniplex of America
RATED: 16 and Up
Release Date: September 18, 2014
Director: Kou Matsuo
Series Composition: Ichiro Okouchi
Music by Akira Senju
Original Character Design: Katsura Hoshino
Character Design: Tatsuya Suzuki
Art Director: Masatoshi Kai
Chief Animation Director: Tatsuya Suzuki
Anime Production: Sunrise
Featuring the following voice talent:
Asami Seto as Shōko Sashinami
Haruka Tomatsu as Saki Rukino
Ryohei Kimura as L-elf
Ryota Ohsaka as Haruto Tokishima
Ai Kayano as Aina Sakurai
Aki Toyosaki as Liselotte
Aoi Yūki as Akira Renbōkōji
Daisuke Namikawa as Satomi Renbōkōji
Daisuke Ono as Cain
Hiroyuki Yoshino as Yūsuke Otamaya
Jun Fukuyama as A-drei
Koji Yusa as Figarro
Mamoru Miyano as H-neun
Minako Kotobuki as Takahi Ninomiya
Misato Fukuen as Marie Nobi
Nana Mizuki as Kriemhild
True Calendar, Year 71 – A new age where 70% of the human population lives in space thanks to the development of the “Dyson Sphere,” a city in space.
The world is divided into two main powers: The Dorssia Military Pact Federation, a power which grew out of a military alliance, and the Atlantic Rim United States (ARUS), which grew in power as it expanded its trade agreements. The minor nation of JIOR has declared neutrality between these two forces and maintained its peace through economic prosperity.
Within JIOR’s Sphere, Haruto Tokishima lived an ordinary life as a high school student in the division known as “Module 77” until the Dorssian military begins their sudden invasion. The whole world will be shaken when Haruto meets the mysterious humanoid weapon, Valvrave!
In the spring of 2013, Sunrise released their latest mecha anime series titled “Kakumeiki Valvrave”.
Directed by Kou Matsuo (“Rozen Maiden”, “Yozakura Quartet”, “Kurenai”) and written by Ichiro Okouchi (“Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion”, “RahXephon”, “Azumanga Daioh” ), the series features music by Akira Senju (“Red Garden”, “Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike”, “Mobile Suit Victory Gundam”), art direction by Masatoshi Kai (“Blue Exorcist”, “Akira”, “Red Garden”) and character designs by Tatsuya Suzuki (“Samurai Champloo”, “Gasaraki”).
And the first season of “Valverave the Liberator” has been released by Aniplex of America.
The series is set during the 71st year of the True Era. A time where humans have migrated to other planets and live in the Dyson sphere which was constructed around an artificial sun. The world is divided into the Dorssia Military Pact Federation which is known for its military prowess, while the Atlantic Ring of United States (ARUS) is the other super power known for its military might.
But in between the two superpowers is JIOR (Japan and Islands of the Oceanic Republic) which is a neutral country that is peaceful and chooses no sides. And because of their economic well being, they were responsible for creating the Dyson sphere.
One day, teenager Haruto Tokishima and his friends from Sakimori High School based in the Dyson sphere’s “Module 77” were enjoying time together. For Haruto, what matters to him is spending time with Shoko Shashinami, the daughter of the prime minister of JIOR that Haruto has liked, but has never had the guts to confess his true feelings.
But while enjoying their time together, Dorssia attacks JIOR and sends their team of elite soldiers to capture a powerful mecha known as Valvrave. While trying to steal Valvrave, one of the JIOR scientists is able to launch the elevator of Valvrave, preventing Dorssia from capturing it.
While Haruto and his friends escape for shelter during the attack, Shoko is caught in a missile attack and she is feared to be dead. Shocked and angered that Shoko is dead, Haruto wants revenge and he decides to climb inside the cockpit of the Valverave.
Willing to give up his humanity to save Shoko, he is taken over by Valvrave and easily defeats the Dorssia pilots. But when Valverave lands, Haruto gets out of the cockpit, unaware of what just happened. The elite soldiers come after him, especially L-eif, a secret agent of the Dorssian military and as L-eif attempts to capture the Valvrave, he shoots Haruto multiple times.
Thinking Haruto is dead, L-eif is shocked that Haruto has awakened but looks like a vampire who then bites into L-eif and takes over his body. Taking over the body of L-eif, Haruto realizes that as he possess someone with a bite to their neck, he also learns their abilities and Haruto uses L-eif to shoot after his former teammates, making them think L-eif is a traitor.
As Dorssia tries to claim JIOR for their own, the students of Sakimori High School decide they will not allow the Dorssian military control them and they fight back thanks to Haruto and his ability to use the Valvrave. But as Haruto feels he can help people for the greater good, he starts to find out that he suffers from excessive headaches and his thirst to bite on someone is starting to overcome him
What has happened to Haruto and can the students of JIOR trust anyone during this war? Especially the other super power, ARUS?
“Valvrave the Liberator: Complete 1st Season” is presented in 1080p High Definition with gorgeous character designs and background art by Sunrise and staff. Environments are detailed, while character designs are crisp. Colors are vibrant, line detail is very goo dand I did not notice any banding issues or artifacts during my viewing of the series.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Valvrave the Liberator: Complete 1st Season” is presented in Japanese Linear PCM Stereo with English subtitles
While I would have enjoyed to hear a more immersive lossless soundtrack, the Japanese dialogue and music is crystal clear. It’s important to emphasize to those interested in this anime series is that there is no English dub track!
“Valverave the Liberator: Complete 1st Season” comes with the textless opening and endings, trailers and commercials.
“Valvrave the Liberator: Complete 1st Season” comes with six collectable postcards, a deluxe poster specially illustrated by Katsura Hoshino (the original character designer) and a slipcase.
A mecha anime series with a twist, “Valvrave the Liberator” has a style and feel reminiscent of anime series such as “Mobile Suit Gundam” and also “Lelouch: The Last Rebellion”.
While the adults represent a world of corruption as both Dorssia and ARUS want control of the Valvrave, the students of Sakimori High School are the underdogs. A group that is trying to be JIOR’s last stand against the superpowers by utilizing the power of Valvrave and also other mecha they discover in secret fortresses underneath their high school.
Throw in a story of a good-natured teenager who behaves almost like a hungry vampire after accepting control of the Valvrave and an antagonist, a skilled secret agent of Dorssia who ends up teaming up with JIOR plus plenty of unanswered questions of loyalty and the underdogs vs. the superpowers type of storyline and you get a chaotic mecha anime series with many teenagers who don’t know if they will survive until the next day.
The first season focuses on the students fighting back as the representatives of JIOR, with no one to trust but themselves, but knowing that they must do all they can to protect themselves against the heavily attacking offensive of Dorssia and the schemes of ARUS.
Suffice to say, the series has caught my attention because of the intrigue of its characters, not knowing who will survive and who will die but also unexpected situations that add more drama but also more mecha action sequences for a variety of characters.
The animation from SUNRISE is beautifully done with backgrounds that are heavily detailed, a colorful palette that is often vibrant and crisp colors that look sharp on Blu-ray! The lossless soundtrack is presented in Japanese Linear PCM stereo, so while I would love for this to be an immersive soundtrack, the Japanese dialogue and its music are crystal clear. While special features include the textless openings, trailers and commercials.
You also get the Aniplex swag such as collectable postcards and a poster!
Overall, “Valvrave the Liberator: Complete 1st Season” is an exciting mecha anime series that is different and unique due to how the main protagonist is able to utilize the mecha but also how the hero unfortunately must bare with the burden that in order to save the people he cares about, he must combat his desires to feed on people, even though he knows he is losing the power to control himself.
If you are a mecha fan or fan of action-driven anime, “Valvrave the Liberator” is recommended!
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