I was looking forward to this too until I actually got to seeing the thing.
Twitter exploded last evening when word got out about the latest Valvrave episode and how its ending sucked a big fat one. I’ll admit, the reason I picked the show back up after initially dropping it on the eighth episode was because someone sent me that picture of this week’s ending (it apparently got leaked somehow) and I was curious regarding the content. I even knew beforehand that the scene was “Haruto lost control of his powers and sexually assaulted Saki”, so I had a list of jokes prepared for it (most of them involving a mecha hentai called Dyogrammaton and how it wasn’t funny when Johnny Deep did it either). What I failed to learn from the prior research I did was that…um…cherries were popped. Yeah, somehow I missed this little detail.
Whilst I’m not sure if the next episode will retcon this or anything, the fact is that deeds were done and it’s clear at this point that Valvrave is not doing all this craziness out of some ironic love or because it’s a parody or anything like that. It genuinely thinks the audience wants to see this crap. Sorry fans, but you’ll have as much luck convincing me Valvrave is a parody as much as you’ll have trying to tell me that Oreimo is a satire of sister-pandering and NOT a load of wish-fulfillment bullcrap. You’ll also have better luck convincing me that the Olsen Twins are still relevant, but given what my little cousins have been watching lately, they might come back in my life soon.
Anyways, I’m only going to be talking about that scene because the rest of the episode was just standard Gundam-like bullcrap that isn’t worth discussing in any way. Let me make one thing clear before I go into this: I’m not against rape scenes inherently. One of my favorite movies, A Clockwork Orange, is full of that ultraviolent shit, so me saying that rape scenes are bad would be hypocritical of me in that regard. However, as has been said multiple times from a bunch of people whilst anime like Psycho-Pass or Sword Art Online were airing, rape is a very serious matter that is extremely easy to misuse due to the fact that you have to walk the fine line between misrepresenting it and exploiting it, both very dangerous consequences. It’s because it’s so sensitive a matter that I don’t like to use jokes regarding it whilst scowling at Daniel Tosh for being an unfunny hack who can’t seem to get in his head that serious subject matter without a punchline does not equal hilarity. And it’s a testament to how well I think Clockwork Orange handles the matter despite the fact that it didn’t need to show those scenes that it ranks high with me.
So let’s take a look at Valvrave’s controversial scene in detail. It lasts for about two minutes, it’s interspliced with Shouko giving a speech regarding how the school needs to put on a festival as one last stand against the war (ugh), and for ultimate irony, Shouko says she’s going to confess her love for Haruto once it’s all over, whilst our “bland lead who’s about as good at holding up an entire story as Ange from Umineko” does the nasty with another girl. All while bad operatic music plays over the thing (edit: and I seem to recall that the AI was cringing in delight at the scene as well. Classy). Story-wise, there’s nothing wrong with what transpired. Unlike Yosuga no Sora, Valvrave has not exactly stated that what Haruto did was right and I don’t think it’s going to do that further in. Nothing explicit was shown, it does set up a future conflict, and…yeah that’s all the praise you’re getting from me regarding that scene. Everything else about it was as effective as a blind guy trying to drive a school bus for a bunch of terrorists whilst held at gunpoint.
The big problem regarding what transpired in my mind is that the entire setup of the show doesn’t exactly allow for that sort of thing. Prior to this point, Valvrave has been established as a really campy show that despite audience’s claim, does take itself seriously the same way Attack on Titan takes itself seriously. The problem is that it’s really bad at taking itself seriously, and whilst I have problems with the latter’s pacing, if a rape scene occurred in that anime, I would be more forgiving because it handles the dark atmosphere to an acceptable level. Obviously not on the same level as Flowers of Evil, which is basically an R-rated version of an NTR hentai stretched to series’ length, so you could put almost any kind of rape scene in that thing and I’d buy it; but it still has a decent setup for that kind of powerful stuff. I’m sorry, but Valvrave has not earned its ability to pull off dark material like that. The only thing it has earned, and this is me being lenient here, is consensual sex at the most. Yes, you can argue that Saki gave in at the end, but I don’t buy that. I’ve watched alot of this shit to recognize certain kinds of sexual assault being displayed in my cartoons, plus the show isn’t exactly treating it like a good thing, so obviously it agrees with me.
But do you know what the really big sticking point for me was regarding that scene? I didn’t give a rat’s ass. The only emotion I felt regarding the scene taking place was annoyance that someone thought it was a good idea whilst wishing that Gene Kelly’s “Singing in the Rain” would play during that scene. Otherwise, I didn’t care for the people involved and the scene wasn’t exactly exploitative enough for me to mark it as all that memorable. Who the fuck cares if Haruto sexually assaulted Saki? Who cares if Shouko will probably no longer be with him afterwards? I’m sure some people do, but I don’t. As I have said before, I do NOT care about any of these characters, I don’t care about the story, and I don’t care for the fact that I’ve basically been watching Gundam for the past ten weeks with the awful dialogue, themes, mecha action, and everything else I can’t stand about Tomino’s biggest franchise solely to write about it each week (and you can tell that my ideas were running dry after the seventh episode or so). Did the show really think that now that it introduced some shock factor, I’ll be sucked into the story? The goddamn music video did a better job at getting me invested, mostly because it was the one time Valvrave actually embraced its stupidity rather than try to be serious and fail at it. Ever since then though, it hasn’t done a single silly thing to be proud of and I’m not sure whether it will do that ever again after this.
One thing’s for sure though: I’m done with Valvrave for good. If all I can summon up for a scene of vampire rape sex is apathetic annoyance, then there’s really no point in me continuing anymore. At least SAO’s 24th episode got me angry enough to the point that I wanted to give it a final beatdown before I quit, and the same can be said for quite a few NTR stuff that I have yet to review (glares at True Blue). I just don’t care and will never care about what Valvrave did. It was neither good nor bad enough to get a reaction out of me and it’s just pointless for me to continue criticizing the thing when apparently its worst gives me the same reaction as its best. Thus, I cut myself free from this anime for good and recommend everyone to do the same and just watch Infinite Ryvius whilst I decided to finally give G Gundam a try for some good mecha action and Gintama a try regarding camp comedy that’s actually funny.
- Something tells me this episode is the “Breaking Dawn Part I” of the Valvrave universe. That movie misrepresented abortion by the way.
- It sure takes a while for Gintama to get funny, doesn’t it? It wasn’t until around Episode 5 or so when I started laughing.
- Despite the picture I used, I haven’t seen an episode of Gundam Wing
- So I take it this episode is the equivalent of the Internet’s reaction to Oreimo Episode 4?
- Oh yeah, can we please kill that YOLO meme? It was never funny to begin with.