Valvrave the Liberator, or in Japanese called Kakumeiki Valvrave, is a mecha anime series produced by Sunrise, with Kou Matsuo as the director and Ichiro Okouchi as writer. It aired on April 12, 2013, with 12 episodes. Season 2 began airing on October 10, 2013.Crunchyroll is streaming both seasons on their site here. Viewers living in the US, Canada, United Kingdom, and Ireland may watch it legally there.In the year T. C. 71 (True Calendar), seventy percent of mankind now lives in space, in space colonies called Dyson Spheres. Two distinctive space nations emerged, the Dorssian Military Federation and ARUS, the Atlantic Ring United States. Haruto Tokishima lives an ordinary yet content life in the neutral nation of JIOR with his friends and his crush Shouko. However, when the Dorssians attack, an untimely tragedy causes Haruto to swear revenge...Coincidentally, a mysterious mecha called the Valvrave springs up from underneath the school with an open cockpit. As you'd expect, Haruto leaps into the mecha with the intent on wiping out the enemies attacking his home. Before he can activate it, though, it presents him with a single question: "Do you resign as a human being?"Beware of unmarkedspoilers!
Valvrave the Liberator contains the tropes of:
Academy of Adventure: L-Elf theorizes that Haruto's school is in fact a covert training facility for potential Valvrave pilots.
Accidental Pervert: Haruto is put inside a godzilla-like costume in episode 5 to help keep himself warm after the colony loses power. He takes it partially off after trying to intervene when several girls begin arguing and fighting amongst themselves. When the power is restored, a horn on the costume is stuck up under Takahi's skirt. All of the students immediately begin laughing at his accident, while he tries to apologize for it, and Takahi becomes too embarrassed to continue arguing.
Adult Fear: Episode 21. The entire school population is declared as non-humans, and the military kills all the students, a few on live television as a demonstration. Now remember that some of their parents are still separated from those on Earth and the other colonies.
He does it again in episode 7, this time to Shouko. He hands her some paperwork describing things they should be doing, such as mandatory conscription for all males and immediate militarization. Naturally, they overwhelmingly reject it, which he also anticipated, so he goes through with his backup plan and simply takes over the space colony by shutting down various systems and detonating explosives planted earlier. He then manages to tie up the entire room of students a few moments later.
And tries again in episode 8, where he offers Haruto a plan to repel the attacking Dorssians without having to sacrifice any of the students in return for accepting the contract. However, this time it works, since Haruto at this point trusts L-Elf's motives after seeing some of his motives from the previous episode.
Anyone Can Die: While several of the major characters have a decent amount of Plot Armor on, the series racks up quite a huge body count, particularly in episode 21, when ARUS and Dorssia team up to kill all of the inhabitants of Module 77 after the Dorssian Chancellor's reveal that the residents are monsters disguised as humans, and Cain's public execution of Saki doesn't exactly kill her despite the mortal blow.
Applied Phlebotinum: The Valvraves are powered by Runes, "information particles" that are sucked out of humans during Haruto's vampiric episodes.
Armor-Piercing Slap: Takahi delivers one to Saki in episode 5. Saki immediately returns the favor.
When technical difficulties cause their entire module to go into winter mode, some students worry about the module reaching absolute zero. However, space is a near-perfect insulator, so the heat wouldn't be lost anywhere near as quickly as shown.
Haruto punching people in low gravity should naturally send him flying backwards, but he remains completely stationary when he tries to hit L-Elf in episode nine. L-Elf might have caught the hits, but there should have been some recoil.
When "weightless" characters drift over to a surface and place their feet upon it, their hair and clothes settle as if they had just landed from free fall.
In episode 8, L-Elf has Haruto drain module seawater into open space to create chunks of ice and freeze off boomerang jamming devices attached to the outside of the Valvraves. As mentioned above, not only would the water not cool down that fast, but in a zero-pressure environment like space, the water would vaporize.
Awesome, but Impractical: The Valvrave suits are extremely powerful, but can only operate for a limited time before overheating, which forces them to deactivate and leaves them extremely vulnerable.
Ax-Crazy: Oh God, Q-Vier. He might be young, but he has one hell of a craving for killing people his group is assigned to deal with. He even expresses frustration when L-elf single-handedly took out an entire room of people without leaving anyone for him, and then shouts with glee when he sees one of those people isn't quite dead before emptying a full clip into that last person.
Badass Boast: Haruto gets a great one in episode 17, showing how he's come to terms with his condition and yet still retains some of his idealist nature.
Haruto: I won't hand it over to anyone. I won't share it, either. This curse belongs to no one but me!...I don't care if I burn out. Before my body falls apart I'm...going to put an end...to this war!
Barrier Warrior: Valvrave uses its shields for both offense and defense, simultaneously blocking shots, knocking around mooks, and restricting enemy movement.
Beam Spam: Dorssia tries this a few times with their attacks. The blue Valvrave is also capable of this type of attack, as seen in episode 9.
Be Careful What You Wish For: To get Valvrave to move, Haruto has to answer yes to a question that essentially tells him if he wants to pilot it, then he must stop being human. Valvrave does just that.
Body Surf: Valvrave Pilots can hijack other people's body by biting them. While their consciousness is somewhere else, their original body falls into a coma.
Shoko and a few friends unintentionally do this for Haruto in episode 4 when they were searching for proof that Senator Figaro was about to abandon everyone. By some stroke of luck, they wind up landing in the room where he was being held captive.
Saki does this for Haruto, after some encouragement from Shoko and other students in episode 6.
Raizo and Kyuma do this in episode 9 when they both become Valvrave pilots as well, stopping an assault launched by Dorssia when Haruto and Saki were busy with a diversionary force.
Not to mention Marie sacrificing her memories so that she could operate Unit 1 and basically save everyone's asses.
Akira in the season 1 finale. It was equal parts inspiring, because she finally managed to break out from her shell to save Shoko, and kickass because...well, she kicked ass
Saki does it yet again in episode 22, this time saving both Haruto and L-Elf from being gunned down by Dorssian Forces on the moon.
Bittersweet Ending: By the end of the series, the Council of The 101 is neutralized and Haruto and L-Elf achieve their goal of founding a nation where humans and Magius/Kamistuki can coexist. However, countless people (including Haruto himself) die in the process.
Bling of War: The Dorssian uniforms, particularly Cain and Kriemhild's.
L-Elf and other Karlstein soldiers do this in the first episode, pretending to be transfer students in an attempt to infiltrate module 77 and steal the Valvrave JIOR was secretly developing.
In episode 11, Cain does this with some elite shock troops, attacking them after Haruto unleashes his Limit Break attack, and providing them with a false sense of security. He also has some of the other Ideal troops attack the Valvraves to prevent them from being able to assist while they attack the module.
Body Snatcher: All Magius, or at least, those who became Magnius through the Valvraves.
The Magius Clan can also do it, but it seems to require a ritual be done in the process and lots of runes. Cain reveals to H-Neun that he intended for him, X-Eins, and the others to become the bodies of members of the clan.
Boom, Headshot: Happens in episode 21, to one of the Module 77 students, after the Dorssian Chancellor's reveal that the students there aren't exactly human.
Bound and Gagged: Happens to the entire female cast except Takahi, Aina, and Kriemhild in episode 7 and it attracted a crowd. In comparison the only males to get this treatment are L-Elf, Haruto, and Raizo with L-Elf not even being gagged himself.
Bolivian Army Ending: The end of the epilogue shows Shoko facing down two presumably hostile alien lifeforms as she tries to convince them to resolve their conflicts with humanity peacefully.
The way she speaks to the aliens implies she's confident that she will survive the encounter, one way or another.
Bulletproof Human Shield: In episode 7, L-Elf quickly uses Haruto this way when A-Drei starts shooting at them. Since Haruto has become a Magius though, he manages to survive the incident.
Camp: Drowning in it. Valvrave takes nationalist stereotypes, nonsensical plot twists, weird bad guy outfits, preposterous dialogue, and cheesy anime clichés, and filters them through just enough self-awareness to turn them into art.
For a show that deals with space warfare and some sort of vampiric powers, quite a few scenes and phrases come across as being deliberately ridiculous and not taking themselves nearly as seriously as the underlying material would imply on paper. Examples include L-Elf's exaggerated action movie antics as well as his poor social skills and his laughing at the bizarre turn of events at the end of episode 4, the "Is this sexual intercourse?" punchline at the end of episode 5, the coffee and sugar metaphor from episode 8, Senator Figaro's famous "Call me Moses" line, and the running gag of "Thunder" being usually defeated or hurt whenever he tries to play the dominant male role. Mind you, the series still seems willing to go in and out of this mode as demanded by the plot.
Child Soldier: L-elf and his companions. He runs into some more in episode 15 of season 2, who were going through the same training he and his friends went through.
Combat Pragmatist: In episode 3, L-Elf manages to free himself simply by unscrewing a bolt on the chair he was being interrogated on. He also sets up lots of explosive devices to fend off multiple attackers, and later opens a hangar to cause others to get sucked out into space.
Conspicuous CG: This was actually one of the higher points of praise for the show. As JesuOtaku pointed out, making CG look natural and work well for the Humongous Mecha is not an easy task, but something that the animation team pulled off.
Covert Pervert: After the broadcast of Valvrave's battle to the residents of Jior, during Haruto's moment of triumph, Marie randomly reaches up and starts fondling her teacher's breasts.
Crazy Jealous Guy: Haruto angers some of the male characters in episode 6 after pictures of himself and Saki being rather close start to show up. He is in immediate denial over it, as Saki actually did that while she took over his body at the time.
L-Elf does this in the season 2 opening, running past his Dorssian comrades.
Haruto does a brief one in the beginning of the second ending sequence for season 2.
Crippling Overspecialization: Haruto's Valvrave is extremely powerful in melee combat, but lacks ranged weaponry (aside from a Limit Break which needs to be charged up and then shuts his unit down until it cools off), which Dorssia attempts to exploit in some battles by whittling him down with missiles while keeping their distance from him.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Haruto completely demolishes the attacking Dorssians in the first episode without breaking a sweat.
L-Elf in episode three to over two-hundred ARUS soldiers.]]
In fact, ARUS regularly gets its ass handed to it by the Dorssians. Senator Figaro's ship gets destroyed with one seemingly stealth attack by Q-vier in episode 6.
Unit 01, Haruto's unit, delivers one in episode 16 to a large group of Dorssian troops. Even the others are surprised at the damage output of it. Turns out that it was Marie inside the unit, and she was able to do more than Haruto because Pino said her "limiter" was broken, so it cost her memories as she protected her friends and destroyed the huge wave of Dorssian troops. She appears to have died shortly afterwards.
Cursed with Awesome: Whether being a Valvrave pilot is a curse or awesome is disputed. Haruto believes the former, Saki the latter-until episode 10, when Saki realizes it really is a curse.
200 years later, both Saki and Renbokoji call it a "blessing", and they even compare their current opinion to the time they called it a curse
Cut Short: Looking back it's pretty apparent the production team was expecting to get a third season. Granted the show did manage to resolve a majority of its plot points, but it did so through an incredibly rushed final episode and there are still a few things that while not quite unresolved, really could have used more explanation on.
Cute and Psycho: Q-vier, one of L-elf's companions. He is the youngest and nicest-looking member of his group, and borderline Axe Crazy.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: L-Elf tells Haruto some vague statements in episode 3, such as a hand mic, earthquake, and riot. It doesn't make much sense to him at first, until things start happening that uses those exact phrases. L-Elf also deduces a lot of things that turn out to be pretty accurate, such as escaping from the colony rather than put up a fight throughout that episode.
Darkest Hour: Episode 21 has the majority of the students were massacred, the world turned against them, pilots were betrayed with Haruto and L-Elf being stranded on the moon, Saki still captured, and Inukuza killed in combat.
Decoy Protagonist: Played with and subverted with Haruto. L-Elf pretty mercilessly kills him at the end of episode 1... only for Haruto to wake up, bite him like a vampire and spend half of the second episode controlling his body until he gets the chance to bite his own comatose body again.
Deal with the Devil: It seems that everyone keeps offering one to Haruto. First there's the Valvrave A.I. who he does make a pact with to become a Magius, then the ARUS, and then it's L-Elf. However, Shouko bails him out of that last offer until episode 8.
Dorssia's Ideal troops attempt this in order to whittle down Valvrave by firing off loads of missiles at it until they destroy it. It nearly works too, until Saki recovers from her Heroic BSOD, and manages to evade most of the missiles enough to get close enough to attack them.
Happens to Kyuma in episode 21. He takes quite a beating from Dorssian Kirschbaums before finally succumbing to the damage. However, he manages to at least blow up next to the closest Kirschbaum attacking him, and takes that guy out as well.
Despair Event Horizon: Haruto and L-Elf suffer through this in episode 22, after both are given shocking revelations about things they weren't aware of. Even when Haruto finds a flare, L-Elf says it needs to be fixed, and they start arguing with each other about why they shouldn't just give up at that point.
They're actually powered by Runes, which is are basically information particles even smaller than subatomic particles than can be anything from knowledge to emotion—meaning humans are the best source of them. Saki's rape must have been some form of first-instinct response from the Valvraves running low on power; as seen later, Haruto was capable of fighting off the impulse even when Saki offered herself to him, as he was capable of sating their need for Runes with a single bite of L-Elf.
To sink it in even further, T.M. Revolution sings the opening, although in collaboration with Nana Mizuki.
Trope also applies to Code Geass, what with the highly skilled mastermind [L-Elf/Lelouch] who turns to the rebel side [JIOR/Black Knights], and the inexplicable superhuman powers.
In addition, the ending also features The Protagonist dying by the side of his best friend, who then sheds Manly Tears for him. After his death, the world begins a new era of peace and tranquility.
The season one finale solidifies the many Guilty Crown vibes, with a superpowered teenager with a normal upbringing being guided by a physically normal teenager who's upbringing was filled with hardship and wound up turning him into a genius tactician and unrivaled fighter, as well as a high school of students working together to fight against their aggressors. Thankfully, it's much more of a Reconstruction this time around. Also, there's an Ancient Conspiracy of similarly empowered people guiding this entire conflict, key leaders amongst them.
The Dog Bites Back: After so many episodes of Haruto and co suffering countless losses, seemingly losing both the PR and real war when the Magius force Dorsia and the ARUS to form an alliance against them, the entire treat New JIOR as a bunch of monsters thing winds up being turned completely on its head when L-Elf and his former teammates reunite, launch a revoltion, and reveal that the Dorsian furher was also one of the so-called "monsters" he was fighting to exterminate on live international television.
Dude, Where's My Respect?: Despite having helped save the colony in episode 9, Raizo is told by L-elf that his escaping from the prison cell counts as prison-breaking, and tells him he has to spend another week in jail.
Dyson Sphere: Seventy percent of humanity now lives on of these, which is built around a small artificial sun oribiting between the Earth and the Moon. It is a more of a miniature example than some in fiction, and the sphere is not completely covered either.
Eating Contest: In the first episode, Haruto and Shouko compete to decide who gets to use the school grounds.
Elite Mook: The Dorssian Ideals. Season 2 introduces the even more powerful Dorssian Kirschbaums, which are largely able to stand toe to toe with the Valvraves.
The Empire: The current Dorssia is this, formed largely through military alliances. They were also the ones responsible for attacking the JIOR space colony in an attempt to retrieve the Valvrave.
In episode 21, ARUS and Dorssia put aside their differences after the Dorssian Chancellor reveals to the world that the residents of Module 77 are monsters disguised as humans. They form an alliance and attempt to wipe out the residents, regardless of the fact that most of them are humans.
On the other side, by episode 23, Haruto, L-Elf, the other surviving Valvrave and New-JIOR students team up with A-Drei, X-eins, and the Dorssian Royalists to expose the Magius to the world, much in the same way the latter had done to turn people against New-JIOR.
Eye Scream: In episode 14, while trying to rescue Akira, the controls for Haruto's new weapon explodes, breaking and shattering part of his helmet and piercing his eye. At the end of the episode however, it's already healed back, much to Marie's shock.
Expy: In episode three, the ARUS is referred to with many titles that the USA is today, "world police" amongst them.
And when it comes to characters, Marie is pretty much Anya with black hair. Not only does she look the same, she even uses her phone to take a photo in one of the first episodes, just like her predecessor often did.
Just like Anya, Marie also has problems with her memories, as she does not remember things about her past to an unknown extent, as revealed by episode 14.
In the same vein, L-Elf obviously evokes Lelouch, although he, at least, looks noticeably different.
A-Drei also resembles Lelouch. Hilariously so, in fact; He's a Dorssian prince who plans to rebel against the leadership with his best friend as his right-hand man. The key difference is that L-Elf is probably even more cunning than he is, and discarded him for Haruto, planning to have Haruto be his right-hand man.
They even share the same voice actor, Jun Fukuyama.
ARUS thinks of themselves as this, forming a group largely based on economic strength. The Jior colony residents seem thankful to them however, since they did help repel a Dorssian fleet in episode 2. Episode four reveals that ARUS may have ulterior motives for helping them however, particularly when Haruto overhears Senator Figaro talking about abandoning the students and trying to retreat with Valvrave.
The Dorssia Military Pact Federation was according to A-Drei one until a military coup turned it into The Empire.
Flash Forward: Several, always featuring Saki. The first one skips at least214 years, featuring Saki in an upgraded and blinged-out Valvrave IV battling the Third Galactic Empire. Further ones shown in the later episodes are set some three years before the first flash forward, with Saki telling the story of Module 77 to a young boy. In some of the later ones, Satomi is also seen with Saki and the boy.
Foreshadowing: After Haruto activates Valvrave, his previously broken arm is seemingly magically healed, hinting at how he is no longer human.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: In episode 7, when Q-vier attacks the hangar where Haruto and L-elf are, the explosions caused by his firing engulfs Aina, who was secretly hiding there observing them. You can briefly see it as it happens, although the result is not pretty, as seen by her mangled body towards the end of the episode.
Fun with Acronyms: "Valvrave", as revealed by this◊ close shot of the raven logo on unit VI. It stands for "V Ampire Link Vessel Rune Activation Vital Engine."
The Gambit: Inverted. After Lisolette dies, L-Elf tries to figure out how he could've possibly saved her. In all his simulations, he fails.
Gondor Calls for Aid: The ARUS has made a full response to JIOR's call by the start of episode three Subverted in that the opening of episode 4 reveals that they only came to steal Valvrave and don't plan on facing Dorssia directly until much months later after they have studied it.
Good Republic, Evil Empire: What the war between ARUS and Dorssia seems to be. And then it's subverted in episode 4, where ARUS seems to be no better than the Empire.
Gory Discretion Shot: Played straight for the most part. However, it's averted in episode 20, when Cain stabs Saki in the back on live tv. Blood can be seen spurting out of her as she screams in pain from the skewering. Cain then rips the back of her shirt off to show the wound quickly healing and recovering from what should have been a mortal wound.
Got Volunteered: In episode 5, when Yuusuke starts spouting some Techno Babble regarding how to possibly restore power to the colony, Raizou immediately grabs him, and starts forcing him to head to the location to try and fix it. Fortunately they manage to find the reset button to fix the power.
Gory Discretion Shot: happens in episode 7, wherein the worse parts of Aina's mangled corpse are either darkened or obstructed by debris.
It's even worse in the uncensored airing of the same episode, where the viewer's treated to the full horror: one of Aina's arms was torn clear off, and there's a ragged hole where part of her lower abdomen should have been.
Grand Theft Me: Haruto does this to L-elf by biting him after the latter seemingly killed him at the end of the first episode. He then manages to return to his normal body by biting it in episode 2.
Everyone who's become a Valrave pilot can do this.
Grand Theft Prototype: Attempted, on the titular mecha, multiple times. The first time did in the original scientist team, but failed to get the mecha. The time after that proved that Valvraves include anti-hijack mechanisms, and that seemingly made them theft-proof. Which was then disproven when Cain stole one of the supposedly-inactive ones right from under everyone's noses.
Gratuitous English: Two examples in episode 5: the warning written on the computer regarding the high power consumption (viewable if you pause it on that scene), and the song the students sing near the end of the episode.
Gratuitous German: On the Dorssian side. They're particularly fond of Blitzendegen ("Lightning rapier") as an all-purpose battle cry.
Gray and Black Morality: This seems to be what the ARUS versus Dorssia ultimately amounts to. The ARUS may be a rather dark shade of gray, as they have plenty of ulterior motives and are perfectly fine with sacrificing a few pawns if it means victory, but they don't go around openly attacking neutral nations, and are apparently above the use of Child Soldiers. Their most immoral act so far was the result of one Dirty Coward's selfish actions. The only somewhat white group is Jior, which is caught in the middle of their conflict, but leaning towards the ARUS.
Arus' president then goes and proves that Arus is not to be trusted by trying to kill Shoko and those surviving residents of module 77 AFTER she agreed to turn over the valvrave pilots saying "did you honestly believe the president of a country would keep his word with vermin?"
Gunship Rescue: The arrival of the ARUS ships stops the Dorssia ship which was attempting to take out/capture Valvrave in episode 2.
Also used in episode 9, when Kyuma and Raizo both arrive to save the colony while Haruto and Saki were busy fighting off a diversionary force.
Saki suffers one briefly in episode 6 when she realizes that fighting a battle isn't as easy as it looks. She shakes uncontrollably and basically just floats in space while Haruto attempts to draw enemy missiles away from her. Shoko, along with encouragement from around the world, end up snapping her out of it, when she channels some of her bottled up frustrations out on the attacking Dorssian forces.
L-Elf goes through an extended one, after he fails to save Liselotte.
In Episode 16, after Pino reveals that she used to be Valvrave I's test pilot, Marie, encouraged by her memory with Shouko, takes over the unit to protect the gang's escape transport. Doing so slowly erasing her memories until past critical level, killing her right after she destroys the last enemy unit.
Liselotte does one to help L-Elf and the others escape after Q-Vier damages their rocket. Her body suffers extreme damage as she utilizes the Magius power within her to prevent the rocket from losing power or exploding. L-Elf sees her just as her body starts falling back down along with the exploding booster rocket.
Kyuma Inuzuka sacrificing his life and Valvrave to rescue Haruto and L-Elf in Episode 21 after Shouko and the others betrayed them.
Haruto himself in episode 24. He uses up the last of his runes to stop Cain, and manages to do so, but it costs him his memories, and a short while later, his life.
Hero with Bad Publicity: The Valvrave pilots in episode 21 are portrayed as monsters after Saki survives her mortal wound from Cain on live television. This was likely a plot ordered by the Magius to throw off human suspicions that they were in charge, and to give humanity something else to channel their attention and hatred towards.
High-Pressure Blood: Happens to Saki after Cain stabs her from behind, while the entire world was watching it live.
Hikikomori: Akira seems to be one, preferring to use a computer while hidden away at school. When Shoko accidentally discovers her secret hiding place, Akira freaks out and starts throwing things at her until she leaves.
Hoist by His Own Petard: In episode 23, the Kamitsuki turn the Magius' own tactic of exposing them as monsters against them.
Hope Spot: In episode eleven, after Module 77's victory against the Dorssian army, it seems like things are finally clear and they can make it to the moon, neutral territory where they can live peacefully. Then Cain comes in with the Karlstein Institute kids. Not even L-Elf saw that coming.
Episode 20: Shouko managed to rouse support for the Module after everything. Then they discover the secrets of the Valvrave pilots and start killing everyone off.
In episode 22 that's more in-universe than for the audience. L-Elf and Haruto are on the moon, about to run out of air, but they find a distress flare. They can't light it at first though, and at first don't even care to try, both having given up on life. Then they snap out of it, decide to team up for a new goal, and fire the flare. It alerts Dorsianns, who come to try and kill them.
Idiot Ball: The soldiers interrogating L-Elf in episode 3. Instead of restraining him with handcuffs and restricting his movement, they simply tie him up with some rope, and put lots of heavily armed guards within arms reach of him.
In episode 21: Shouko and the others hand Haruto and L-Elf over to the forces of Arus and Dorssia, in exchange for being allowed to leave after said forces had killed just about most of the student body. Not only did this not work, but the moment they got their hands on them they prepared to blast them away and it took a Heroic Sacrifice to let them escape.
To be fair, the mass driver they were using to escape was damaged, and they had not one but TWO Kirschbaum heavy cannons pointed at them. When you're being mugged like that, you have no other alternative but to give your muggers what they want and hope they don't decide to kill you anyway. This entry fits better into "hope spot."
Cain does this to Saki at the end of episode 20, while broadcasting it live to show the entire world.
Haruto does this to Cain in episode 24.
Instant Expert: Haruto is instantly able to use Valvrave with a great deal of skill right after he accepts its contract to stop being human. Before that, not so much. (Probably justified, what with the injection of something into his bloodstream.
In episode 2, he is also able to instantly use L-elf's gun with a great deal of skill almost as soon as he takes over his body. Also justified in that L-elf has a lot of experience in using guns and other weapons, so Haruto was able to use them based off of his memories.
Irony: A visual bit in episode 4, as exemplified here.
Kick the Dog: Dorssia attacking the neutral nation Jior… multiple times.
ARUS voting to aid Jior so that they can steal and research Valvrave with the intention of starting open conflict with Dorssia within a year. And in episode 21, ARUS troops open fire and kill quite a few of the Module 77 students after The Reveal by Dorssia's Chancellor.
Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: Module 77's students suffer this fate to avoid any attempts by Haruto or others to reveal the Magius to the world, by claiming that they are monsters disguised as humans. It seems to work, as public opinion turns against them very quickly after Saki survives public execution, along with ARUS and Dorssia teaming up to wipe out the remaining Module 77 survivors.
Before that, L-Elf attempted to kill Marie for this reason.
The students that formed New JIOR in module 77 after Dorssia takes over their home country on Earth.
Episode 16 reveals that there are Dorssians that oppose the current regime, calling themselves the Royalists, who appear to be the ones who used to be in charge of Dorssia. A-Drei earlier reveals to Saki (trapped in a Dorssian boy's body still) that they had to kill a friend because he had ties to the Royalists, and if they didn't kill him secretly, their group would be collectively punished together.
Love Confession: L-Elf does one to Liselotte in episode 19. While she seems hesitant at first, she seem to accept his feelings, although it's short lived due to her Heroic Sacrifice.
Love Triangle: Haruto and Shoko have mutual feelings for one another, but neither of them are willing to express it.Then Saki comes in and reveals that she likes Haruto at the end of episode five and has no qualms about making it clear to him. It gets interesting in episode 10 when Haruto nearly confesses to her when he accidentally tells her he wants to help those precious to him regarding the fate of Shoko's father the Prime Minister of JIOR, only for Saki to tell him it wouldn't work out between him and Shoko due to his new powers/curse. Haruto also ends up raping Saki after his powers grow out of control. In order to take responsibility for this action, Haruto asks Saki to marry him at the end of episode 11. Saki rejects his proposal, though.
There's also a lower-key triangle between Satomi, Takahi and Iori.
Both of them pretty much end after Episode 21 and The Reveal.
Macross Missile Massacre: Dorssia's Ideal forces, their elite units, use this against the Valvraves in episode 6, concluding that they are close range fighters, and attempt to keep their distance from them.
Meaningful Name: The Valvrave's three-legged raven symbol (which has its own significance) likely indicates that its name is a corruption of Valravn, supernatural raven monsters from Danish folklore.
Later on Saki names her Valvrave Carmilla, after the vampire story.
Mecha Expansion Pack: Episode 14's introduction of the Familiars, raven-like support machines that can act independently or attach to a Valvrave's arm, transforming into a Power Fist that comes with disposable heat sinks to drain heat from the equipped Valvrave or release it into an opponent. In Episode 19, The remnants of the VVV Project scientists upgrade the Valvraves further with the "Undergrip", a piece of equipment that boosts their operational time by 240% through a heavily improved cooling system.
Averted for the most part, as many women get killed just as much as the men do when people start dying. The more important ones often have an impact on the surviving characters that were close to them.
Played straight with the main Valvrave pilots, as the only ones to die were Haruto, Raizo, and Kyuma. If you stretch the definition, Marie could count as an aversion, as she was technically a pilot, but not an active one when the show starts.
The first episode ends with Haruto's friends celebrating his victory over the attacking mecha as the battle and his coming out of the cockpit was all broadcast online. We then are treated to L-Elf stabbing Haruto through the heart and compounding the attack with several bullets to the chest. Haruto then promptly gets back up and bites L-Elf in the neck. The creepy cello music really adds to the dark twist.
The second episode then also shows everyone in Jior that was celebrating Haruto's victory being round up about to be forcibly deported since the Jior government instantly surrendered after the attack.
In episode 7, Haruto saves the day yet again, this time reluctantly with L-elf's help. Then when Kyuma finds his body beneath a pile of rubble, he calls Aina to help him hide the body until whoever Haruto body-jacked can return so as not to freak out anyone. Her phone rings nearby, and as he turns around wondering why she's already in the hangar, he sees the remains of her mangled corpse floating by. Made worse by how nonchalantly she was killed off by an explosion earlier in the episode.
A shocker in episode 10. While Shoko is busy campaigning and appealing to the students in a speech to run for Prime Minister, it cuts back and forth between this and Haruto raping Saki. All while the former is busy telling the students they should be more selfish and hold a school festival, and the students cheering her on.
Episode 20 follows the safe return of the recon force, and Shouko/New JIOR attempting to form an alliance with ARUS against Dorssia. However, at the end of the episode, and episode 21, the Dorssian Chancellor reveals that the residents there are monsters disguised as humans, and prove it by publicly executing Saki, only to have her survive. The ARUS President then accuses New JIOR of treachery, and orders them to be eradicated.
Haruto has this look on his face in episode 10 after waking up without much clothing on, and seeing a nearly naked Saki nearby telling him Shoko won the election.
Shouko herself goes through this in episode 22, after finding out from Pino, Valvrave 01's AI, that Haruto gave up his humanity solely to avenge her when he thought she died in the explosion during the first episode. The AI even goes so far as to show her the video of him making the decision, and then why he tried to carry the burden of his decision on his own. This makes her break down in tears, and when we next see her face, the rims of her eyes are almost entirely red from tears.
Never Trust a Trailer: All of the promotional material seemed determined to make Valvrave look as much like a carbon copy of Gundam SEED as possible and depicted the titular Valvrave as a white and red machine, as seen on the article image, with no indication it had anything other than the typical swords and gun. As soon as Valvrave selects a pilot it turns black and displays a slew of weapons completely unlike anything in the promotional material, and shortly afterward the plot goes completely off the rails into its own brand of crazy. There was absolutely no indication of the bodyjacking space vampire powers either.
No OSHA Compliance: Who thought it was a good idea to put the button that resets the module's environmental control system over a bottomless pit with no clear way to reach it?
Though due to the destruction in the module made by Dorssia which includes the large hole leading to it, the floor and passage leading to it could've just had collapsed.
Not Quite Dead: The Stinger of episode one ends with L-elf killing Haruto in cold blood via a stab through the heart and a few bullets, only for Haruto to get up when his back is turned, light up with some strange symbol on his face, and bite him straight on the neck.
Also, Shoko in episode 2, who managed to get to the car with the person she was trying to help before the rubble hit her.
Oh Crap: Basically anyone who's in the path of a Valvrave attack. The Jior students also experience this look when Dorssia tries a sneak attack as well such as in episode 8.
L-Elf had one in episode 12 when Cain revealed what he really was.
Kyuma when he sees the Dorssian reinforcements arriving in episode 16. He doesn't hide the fact that they wouldn't stand a chance against that many troops and ships, especially after having just barely survived against Dorssian's new Kirschbaums.
The Magius Council gets one in the end of Ep 23, when L-elf exposes the Dorrisan furer as a Maigus and find out Akira hacked them so they can't cut the feed
One-Man Army: L-Elf, who's earned a reputation for having single-handedly held off a large group of ARUS soldiers on his own. The soldiers interrogating him in episode 3 instantly raise their weapons to him the moment they hear his name uttered.
Orbiting Particle Shield: L-elf manages to utilize some of the colony's resources and MacGyvering them into a shield barrier capable of deflecting attacks. However, it doesn't cover the entire colony, so there are operators who move small circular barriers to absorb the attack, much like the pinpoint barrier system from Robotech. Like the previously mentioned show, the barrier shield can't deflect everything if there are too many shots being fired at the colony, and later it draws so much power that the colony's power goes out temporarily.
Our Vampires Are Different: They are called Magius and Saki calls them this, with the acronymn for Valvrave confirming they are vampires. Haruto is the only one who has a hunger though, which is caused by his Valvrave's AI. What said AI hungers for is runes, which are information and are the power source for all the Valvraves. The longer he pilots the more he hungers and if it gets bad enough he'll have sexual intercourse with those he bites.
It's later revealed that the Valvrave pilots are third generation Magius and that the other Magius have much different abilities. The Valvrave pilots show the ability called Jack, which lets them take control of other peoples bodies, a Healing Factor, Immortality, while another generation like Cain can speak Rune and make green energy appear, which can act as limbs. The Magius Clan turns people into Magius by biting them and having members chant in rune as they bite the victim, while third generation members get infected by the Valvraves injecting them.
Plot Armor: A few characters have this, thanks to appearing in the Flash Forwards, but its actually only a few of the main characters, somewhat unusual with this trope.
Plot-Based Voice Cancellation: In episode 9, Kyuma sees Aina, who was killed in an earlier episode, and says something to him that's inaudible, which helps him to win the fight. Later he tells Haruto that he was dumped, that Aina told him not to follow her, meaning not to get himself killed.
Point Defenseless: Averted in episode 9 during the Dorssian attack on the Jior colony. They do manage to knock out out many of the Mooks attacking them. It isn't until the colony loses power due to the barrier system drawing too much power that Dorssia manages to knock some of the guns out.
Power Perversion Potential: Saki is keen on exploring the possibilities of body-swapping: She aggressively flirts with Takahi while in Haruto's body, and enjoys it a great deal. Later she tries it with Satomi while in Takahi, but doesn't like it nearly as much.
Quirky Miniboss Squad: Cain's Karlstein forces, which consist of the students who snuck into the school in the first episode. They're the only opponents that give Haruto a run for his money despite not having a Super Prototype mecha like him.
Ramming Always Works: L-elf smashes his fighter into X-eins' ship to help buy Haruto more time for his charged up attack against the Dorssian fleet in episode 8. Haruto thinks he did a Heroic Sacrifice, but finds him at the end of the episode, which L-elf says he factored into his move.
Rape as Drama: In episode 10, Haruto is possessed by the Valvrave and has his way with Saki. However the dynamics of said rape, mainly the fact that she stops fighting back and does not use her Bodysurf powers to try to escape the situation, almost makes it an aversion. Suffice it to say, the whole scene was extremely sudden and provoked a great deal of discussion, along with some not inconsiderable backlash. The official blu-ray commentary even mentioned it was for shock value, although never stated it as actual rape.
Notably though, Haruto himself was forced into this by the Valvrave, making this a rare circumstance where both parties were technically raped.
Liselotte in episode 19 tells Haruto about the Magius. They were spiritual beings whose ship crash landed on Earth several centuries before. They sustained themselves on humans, the only lifeforms they could feed off of reliably, and Haruto and the other Valvrave pilots are artificial Magius.
The Dorssian Chancellor reveals Module 77's secret by publicly executing Saki, only to have her not die from the mortal blow.
Several are given in episode 22.
Shouko finds out that Haruto became a Valvrave pilot to avenge her and protect his remaining friends from Dorssia's attack in the first episode. Pino even goes so far as to show her video recordings of the moment Haruto gave up his humanity, which also helps explains why he was keeping her in the dark about his secret.
Haruto finds out he killed Shouko's father during their final approach to the moon near the end of the first season. L-Elf didn't tell him earlier because he didn't think Haruto really needed to know about it.
L-Elf finds out from Haruto that Liselotte was a Magius as well. He beats Haruto a little bit, wondering why he risked his life to save one of the creatures that ate humans, but Haruto also tells him she sided with humanity and was looking to find a peaceful resolution to the Magius/human quandry.
Saki tells A-Drei that L-Elf shot him while he was body-jacked by Haruto. He then realizes L-Elf never actually betrayed him in the first place, and lets Saki go.
After Q-Vier complains about not being able to just simply hijack and pilot Saki's Valvrave, X-eins mentions that only the JIOR students could pilot them. But then the former casually mentions seeing Cain being able to pilot one, he starts to have some serious doubts about their commander. He pulls a gun to A-Drei's head at the end of the episode to ask more about what is going on exactly, although it ends before much is said.
The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: After the existence of the Magius is exposed to the world, lots of humans begin a worldwide manhunt for them. With that, they also remove said organization's power over manipulating human society.
The Rival: A-Drei and L-Elf were rivals even before they were on opposite sides.
Sadistic Choice: On two levels in episode 11. The Dorssian's capture Shoko's father and hold him hostage, asking for the Valvrave's in exchange. However, the actual choice Shouko has to make is whether or not to let Haruto destroy the Dorssian fleet (with Shoko's father on board) with his Harikkiri Blade, or let the Dorssian's advance into the module.She picks the former.
Screw the Rules, I'm an adult! This happens several times during the series. In episode 1, a random Dorsian Mook screams "how could you lose to a recently weaned babe?" just before Haruto kills him. Senator "Moses" Figueroa gets called out on his Dirty Coward actions by Shoko who asks if he's ashamed of himself, and he replies "of course, not. I'm an adult." The President of ARUS, after getting the senator's report, "you allowed yourself to be bullied by a gang of children?" Granted, we didn't hear Senator Figureoa's side of the conversation, but it's still not a good position for the president and his cabinet to take concerning prospective allies. Lastly, it occurs in the season 1, finale. Where Shoko rightly points out that the Dorsian general is a coward for 1.) Having child soldiers fight on the front lines while he sits (in relative safety) on a battle ship in the back. 2.) Refuses to let her father speak for himself to her, despite the fact that he's bolted to the floor in heavy chains. 3.) He and his men try to beat Shoko's father to death taunting him as a "pushover" despite the fact that they are attacking at least 3 on one, AND he's in chains. The general's response "to an adult, 'Coward' is the highest praise" to which he adds "you should leave the warmongering to adults."
The moving Force Field system in episode 9 is strikingly similar to the one used by the Macross.
Slashed Throat: Fuhrer Amadeus suffers this from L-Elf in episode 23, on live television no less. Much like Saki being Impaled with Extreme Prejudice a few episodes earlier, L-Elf holds his throat in full view of cameras, and thanks to Akira's hacking of the satellite transmissions, the entire world gets to see him return to life much in the same way he had done with Saki.
Social Darwinist: Seems to be the philosophy of Dorssian soldiers, who look down on non-combatants.
Space-Filling Empire: In addition to their territories in outer space, Dorssia controls Central-Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Russia, while ARUS controls the Americas, Western Europe, and the western half of Africa. Jioru controls the rest, in East, South, and Southeastern Asia and Oceania.
Space Navy: The Dorssian Space Navy provides our heroes with a steady supply of Mooks. When New JIOR sends a diplomatic mission down to Earth even though they crash land in Dorssia proper, they technically end up outside the jurisdiction of most of the Standard Evil Organization Squad. Not that it stops them for long.
ARUS, Dorssia, and L-elf's plans are thwarted when Shouko gives an alternate plan in episode four, utilizing Valvrave as a bargaining chip to keep both ARUS and Dorssia from doing anything too rash to their families or the students. L-elf in particular, who usually carefully plans all of his actions, is taken by complete surprise by it.
Marie nearly ruins L-Elf's plans in episode 15 of season 2 when she confronts Haruto about how his face healed so quickly in the previous episode instead of letting him take part in L-Elf's battleplan. She also talked to his AI, Pino, who seems to recognize her as a friend. She suffers a shot to the head for her troubles, only to then get back up much like Haruto did in the first episode.
Starfish Aliens: The Magius are a race of Energy Beings. In addition to that, there is also "species 53" in the epilogue that are a kind of jelly-like creature.
Start My Own: Both Haruto and L-Elf vow to create a new nation in episode 22, to carry out Liselotte's dream where humans and Magius can live in relative peace. The Flash Forward scenes shown throughout strongly hint that they succeeded at that task.
The Stinger: Episode 1's post-credit scene pretty much turns the series on its ear.
Super Prototype: Valvrave. It's so powerful that both Dorssia and ARUS want it for themselves, and don't seem to care about doing whatever it takes to get it.
Episode 5 reveals there are several more mecha similar to Valvrave.
Episode 10 reveals that unit one is considered this among the Valvrave, being the only one to have VVV-tan as well as the Harakiri Blade.
Super Robot Genre: The Valvraves definitely push this show into Super Robot territory, although many of the other mechs shown would be at home in a Real Robot show.
In episode four, things look pretty grim for Haruto and his schoolmates. Dorssia has a fleet surrounding them, and has taken over their home country on Earth, and ARUS seems more interested in Valvrave than saving them. Shouko offers an alternative, by telling her classmates that if Dorssia does anything to Jior or their families, they would hand Valvrave over to ARUS. On the other hand, if ARUS refuses to cooperate and help them like they had originally done, they would hand Valvrave over to Dorssia instead. She also announces that their school would become an independent country, which they vote overwhelmingly in favor for.
In episode 19, Liselotte reveals to Haruto that she could never be with L-Elf, because humans and Magius cannot be together due to the nature of the Magius largely being spiritual beings who feed off humans. This causes him to think back to when he put his Love Confession towards Shouko on hold, but then he tells her that she should try, because knowing L-Elf, he would find a way for it to work. It does seem to inspire her, but unfortunately she sacrifices herself to prevent the rocket the JIOR recon force is trying to escape in.
Taking You with Me: Kyuma does this in episode 21. His Valvrave suffers major damage, and with his last ounce of strength, flings his cockpit towards the Dorssian Kirschbaum shooting him, before setting off a big explosion which engulfs both of them.
In episode 18, after L-Elf finds Liselotte is nearby, he rushes off to find her. When he has no way to get into her room, he instead shoots some guards, who call for backup before dying. After some military helicopters create an entrance into her room via missiles, while the dust is still settling, he asks her to come with him again, this time much better prepared than the last time he tried to escape with her. Interestingly enough, the helicopters hold their fire while he talks to her.
Kyuma has enough time to ask Haruto about his true feelings towards Shouko. Haruto admits he still likes her, and probably will for a long time. This takes place while Kyuma is being shot at by Dorssian Kirschbaums.
Teenage Wasteland: Downplayed. Things are quite chaotic even with basic necessities being guaranteed, it's when something goes wrong (such as climate control system) that the society is threatened by a collapse. JIOR is most likely modeled after Japan, which is a very law-abiding society.
Tempting Fate: Haruto claims an earthquake couldn't possibly happen since they're on a space colony in episode 3. Then an attack improvised by L-Elf goes off, and causes a large military ship to slam into the side of the colony.
In Season 2, episode 1, a Dorssian military man, monitoring Module 77, says they're safe on the Moon, and wouldn't be stupid enough as to leave it. Cue Valvrave attack.
Time Skip: Apart from the FlashForwards in the series, there's a more traditional time skip of two months in the beginning of the second season.
Training from Hell: In episode 15, L-Elf mentions some of the various things the children being trained for soldiers have to be put through, such as shooting anyone who looks suspicious, and killing traitors. Considering the two kids they ran into shot Saki without hesitation, and also tried to shoot him as well, it's not surprising they'd be a little bit messed up in the head by the time they get older, and L-Elf would have gladly killed them off had he not needed them for his plans.
Transforming Mecha: Used by the Third Galactic Empire. Also Dorssia's Kirschbaums in season 2.
Shoko in episode 12 does this for Akira, telling her that she's her friend and is going to do whatever she can to help her. However, she gets knocked unconscious by the Dorssian drill working its way towards the surface of Module 77, which helps break Akira out of her room. She sees another Valvrave, and readily accepts it, and ends up saving Shouko as well as preventing the module from releasing its poisonous gas into the area where most of the people were.
The Valvrave pilots stick by the surviving New JIOR students even after the latter attempted to betray them and still largely mistrust them despite being saved by them numerous times.
Voodoo Shark: The Runes, power source for the Valvraves, do-anything plot devices, source of much Wangst in the second season, and the true form of the original body-snatching space vampires. The explanation of what the Runes are and how they work is, quite frankly, complete baloney, even given the very soft science of the rest of the show.
Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: Even if they are currently fighting in a war against Dorssia, the students of Module 77 must still get their education, or at least what Nanami can give them.
Wall of Text: The Valvrave EULA. Strangely, it's only displayed after Haruto agrees to pilot the machine. Doesn't matter, he barely reads it— just like Real Life!
Haruto gets called on this in episode 2, after telling Shouko her t-shirt she wore in the first episode is extremely strange. He privately admits to one of his friends that he can't tell her his true feelings since he's become a freak due to controlling the Valvrave.
This comes back to bite him big time in episode 21, after Shouko finds out he's one of the immortals, and has been keeping it a secret from her the entire time. She even goes so far as to surrender him and L-Elf to ARUS in an attempt to save the rest of the remaining students.
Haruto calls L-elf out on this in episode 9, wondering why the latter failed to see the second Dorssia fleet attacking the colony. The former brushes away the complaint by saying that he's being given too much credit for seeing everything, despite the fact that he's planned something for almost every situation prior. More likely he did know, but let them attack to see who would go after the next Valvraves, which Kyuma and Raizo end up doing.
We Have Become Complacent: Dorssia definitely believes Jior has become this, since rather than risk outright war Jior is content on paying them off whenever they launch an attack. Despite frustrations over how their government constantly capitulates to to Dorssia, Jior's citizens mostly take their peace for granted and are in for a nasty shock when Dorssia stages a full scale attack.
Wham Episode: Every episode. The show cannot go more than twenty minutes without a twist. Even among these, however, episodes 10 and 12 stand out. The first had Haruto succumbing to his vampiric instincts and raping Saki, while the second was the Season Finale before the show began its six-month hiatus and thus had more twists in it than the rest of the show up to that point combined. The Dorssians invade Module 77, the Valvraves are defeated, Akira gets the last Valvrave, L-Elf loses in a battle of wits against Cain, Cain hijacks the broken Unit 02 and installs a new AI for it much like the one in 01, 01's AI speaks after talking only in text messages up until now, the Magius are introduced as the real rulers of both sides of the war...
In episode 20 we get Saki, who was imprisoned by the Dorssians, being stabbed to death and regenerating on live broadcast, showing that the Valvrave pilots aren't human. This was during the beginning of Shoko's meetings with the ARUS president in a packed school auditorium, once the rest of the pilots have returned to Module 77. Cliffhanger, indeed.
Episode 21 shows the consequences to The Reveal, with the ARUS President ordering his forces to exterminate JIORan students and Shoko selling out Haruto and L-Elf to ARUS in an attempt to stop the massacre, which leads to Kyuma's death as he performs a Heroic Sacrifice to make sure they escape.
Wham Line: L-Elf delivers one to Haruto at the end of episode 3, declaring his intent for them to work together.
At the beginning of episode 7:
Saki:Even after 200 years, a promise is a promise, right?
At the end of episode 9, Professor Takumi tells L-elf that practically everyone on the Jior colony aside from the students and Rion were Jior ex-military personnel. Which might help explain why they were conducting research on the Valvraves in the first place.
At the end of episode 11:
Haruto: Rukino Saki...Will you marry me?
After landing on Earth, Haruto asks L-Elf where they landed. He doesn't know specifically, since they veered off course, but he knows they're in Dorssian territory.
ARUS, for being a rival superpower to Dorssia, is shown to either be extremely outmatched or frighteningly incompetent, judging from most of their battles with Dorssia.
Raizo suffers some extensive damage to his Valvrave when he tries to take some new Dorssian mecha head on in episode 15 of season 2. Kyuma tries to warn him not to get cocky, but Raizo figures he could easily take them out. The Dorssian mecha dodges his shot, then counters with its own giant beam attack.
Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Saki claims to be a Broken Bird in episode 6, when she tells Haruto about why she accepted resigning herself as a human to become another Valvrave operator. She then claims to have lied when he approaches her to tell her You Are Not Alone. Saki immediately bites him and goes around doing things with his body.
Wrong Genre Savvy: Episode 1, L-Elf confirms kill after a stabbing with multiple gunshots to the torso. He didn't know he was in a show about space vampires instead.
You Are Number Six: Shade of this on the Dorssian side. Their soldiers' names essentially consist of a letter and a number.
You Killed My Father: Iori accuses Haruto of this in episode 21, after seeing him hooked up to the Phantom uncovered by an ARUS news team. She then shoots him in the heart, but thanks to his "curse", he recovers from it.
Your Size May Vary: The Valvrave is listed at just over 22 meters tall, but often looks no more than 5 or 10.