Alternative Character Interpretation: See Designated Evil. Depending on the translation and the player's viewpoint, Faldio is either a scumbag who shot Alicia just because he wanted to win an arms race, or a militia captain who saw the survival of Gallia as being worth the risk of taking the one plan he believed was sure to work, when no one else knew what to do. Faldio definitely regrets what he had to do and expresses remorse over losing Welkin as a friend, but his The End Justifies The Means talk can end up quite convincing despite him being explicitly punished for it.
There's also the fact that Faldio is a history geek the same way that Welkin is a biology nerd. Some fans think that what he really wanted was to save Gallia with a legendary hero from Europa's past, making him a dark foil for Welkin.
Welkin might have a bit of a dark side himself, and his brains might be a bit overly exaggerated. He punches Faldio for shooting Alicia when he can't argue with his logic, figuring that plants sticking up out of the surface of the water indicates a shallow point is more common sense than any knowledge of botany, and he acts completely oblivious to Alicia's emotional state until he's ready to propose to her...which just happens to be when she's at her most vulnerable and suicidal with self-loathing.
Anti-Villain: Jaeger. He's fighting for the independence of his homeland, not unlike Welkin, and isn't ever shown being evil like Selvaria or Gregor. In fact, sometimes he even disagrees with the other Empire generals when he thinks they're being particularly hard-headed. He's also one of the only antagonists not to look down on Welkin and Squad 7, to the point where he could be more considered The Rival rather than an actual villain. By the end of the game he's the only Empire antagonist to have not died somehow, further suggesting he's not so corrupt as to be worthy of death like other Imperial foes.
Broken Aesop: Good God, it just gets painful to watch after a while due to all of the Aesops in the game being broken in rapid-fire succession. This runs hand in hand with Idiot Plot and makes you wonder what the hell is even going on anymore.
One of the main themes is unity, no one is better than any other, and that fighting as one is the key to victory. Completely disregarding that the most efficient ways to win involve heavily investing in Alicia to do a Dungeon Bypass or get the Eidelweiss into position, or that Alicia's Valkyria powers saved Gallia at least twice when everyone else was at a complete loss.
Silly Faldio, power isn't what wins wars! It's teamwork! But it helps if your enemy's strongest soldier conveniently turns traitor just enough to spare the only unit in your entire army that has a snowball's chance in Hell of succeeding, and takes herself out.
The story goes to great lengths to show that racism is bad, but then it characterizes the Valkyrur as bloodthirsty, scheming monsters who are responsible for everything people blame on the Darcsen, and Alicia abandons her powers due to Internalized Categorism. So racism is okay, as long as you hate the right race.
Valkyria powers are bad because they're a rough parallel to weapons of mass destruction; Welkin makes an impassioned speech about teamwork and how Squad 7 doesn't need to rely on them! ... Except they do. Twice. Once when Alicia coldcocks Selvaria in a one-on-one fight, and again when she blows off the Marmotah's armor plating.
The Power of Friendship is stronger than anything, so we should team up to keep our homeland safe! But not with those Federation people, they're jerks. Not that we're going to call them out for it or anything.
People are not defined by their race! That's why it's okay for Alicia to put aside her powers and continue on living as a normal human, because her powers don't dictate who she is, and Aristocrats Are Evil even when they're Gallian and on the heroes' side. But then we find out: Princess Cordelia is a Darcsen. She's the very top of the aristocracy, but because she's a Darcsen, she isn't evil and therefore defined by her race.
Broken Base: The story. On the one end, you have people who love it as a breath of fresh air to the SRPG genre with a compelling story. On the other hand, you have people who hate it with claims of one dimensional villains, a heavy handed anti-authority theme (with little exception, nearly every character in a position of power ingame is an Obviously EvilSmug Snake), hypocritical morals (one of the main themes of the story is supposedly that every soldier is a person, but when literally the entire Gallian army except Squad 7 is annihilated by Selvaria, no one cares or mourns them).
Draco in Leather Pants: Selvaria. Maximillian doesn't love her back and she commits mass murder-suicide, so she's The Woobie instead of an unapologetic slayer of thousands who describes conquering Gallia with a rape metaphor.
Ensemble Darkhorse: Edy, who isn't even a main character, is surprisingly popular in Japan to the extent that she has her own side chapter available as downloadable content.
Has the potential to occur with many of the other recruits due to the fact that every last one of them has a unique appearance, personality and backstory. For example, Marina Wulfstan is quite popular as well, though it helps that she's badass and the best sniper you can recruit for your squad.
All of the members of the Edy detachment in the DLC are Ensemble Darkhorses to some extent.
Vyse and Aika are also extremely popular characters to use. We can'timagine why. In all fairness, they also have by far some of the best stats for their respective classes in game.
Nadine's selfless, hardworking personality has won her a lot of fans.
Its not unusual as Kurt's unit actually fights her in VC 3 (it takes place around the time of the first game)
Selvaria proves her darkhorseness further when she's confirmed to be playable in the console version of Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax, which also features Alicia. The catch? Selvaria is the one playable, while Alicia is the support.
Jager's a fairly popular character himself, mostly for the same reason as Selvaria in addition to being an awesome, if excruciatingly difficult, fight.
Radi Jaeger could also qualify for his rugged classiness and his playboy attitude. Curiously, he and Selvaria are the most sympathetic among the game's villains, so maybe this is also a case of Beauty Equals Goodness of some sort.
Faux Symbolism: The Valkyrur can blow themselves and everything within a mile's radius up, startlingly similar to the mushroom cloud created by nuclear bombs. In cutscenes at the beginning of the final chapter, Maximilian also wears a suit of armor with several Roman emperor motifs.
The anti-tank lances seem larger and, umm, pointier than a rocket launcher would need to be. And the fact that those pointy heads are meant for penetrating tank armors isn't exactly helpful. Also, is it really necessary for them to be held at waist height? The Mortar lances aren't much better, given that they're still held at waist height, but at an angle, and they do splash damage.
Even worse, only males hold them at waist height. Females hold them over the shoulder.
Any Gallian weapon seems to have this effect: just look at how long and thick those barrels are on the rifles and machine guns when you have them modified for firepower, and the shape of the underslung flame throwers and grenade launchers...
All of which are dwarfed by the Valkof and its hiding place.
Alicia, lethally accurate, highly mobile, and eventually able to heal to full in a turn, and unleash her Valkyria powers when injured. She can solo many levels. Most orders given to other soldiers eventually exist to support her one woman war. Scout Rush in general is a Game Breaker (see Dungeon Bypass above). It's just that as the game progresses, "scout rush" becomes "Alicia rush" due to how powerful she is. This is the reason why the production team decided to nerf the scouts down a bit in Valkyria Chronicles II.
The Awaken Potential Order can be quite powerful depending on who it is used on. As mentioned above, it can make unbalanced characters like Alicia into a One Woman Army considering it greatly increases the chance of powerful potentials like Resist Crossfire (where you can often walk through heavy interception fire without much fear), Mysterious Body (automatic full healing), Valkyria (attacks are more powerful and accurate), Undodgeable Shot (self explanatory), and Double Movement (often allowing you to cross the entire mission map in one or two turns) activating. With enough stacked boosts and high enough class levels, Alicia can even take out tanks by herself or A rank missions in record time.
A straighter version of this trope is Selvaria in her DLC. She's got the movement speed, stamina and accuracy of a Scout, the firepower of a Shocktrooper and the defense of a Lancer. That she doesn't carry ragnaid is of little consequence as you're probably not going to need to use it on her.
Welkin Order: Penetrate (Ignore Armor), Order: Attack Weak Point (every hit is a critical hit, as long as it does any damage at all.) Takes 5 turns, but whoever that's ordered those two items will shred any tank or anything else in their vicinity.
Even just Penetrate by itself can be pretty effective. Using it on a Shocktrooper can allow you to slowly but surely chip away at the health of tough armored targets like Jaeger's Lupus supertank, the Valkof lance tip, and even Valkyria Maximilian.
Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Quite mysteriously for being a very Anime series, there seems to be a fairly sizable Russian fanbase who perform feats up to and including remaking the Edelweiss and Nameless Tank for use in World of Tanks.
Harsher in Hindsight: The first time you see the aces, you'll work to gun them down for the extra points and equipment. Then you play the DLC and learn who Oswald the Iron is.
After you learn that the Darcsens were the victims of the Darcsen Calamity and not the instigators of it, it becomes even harder to tolerate those in your squad with the 'Darcsen Hater' potential.
Ho Yay / Les Yay: Dallas. It's as if the developers had gone through incredible lengths to let you know that she is totally obsessed with Alicia. Pretty much all of her potentials scream out this fact. And then there's Jann, and his massive crush on Largo. Squad 7 doesn't believe in "don't ask don't tell." Even more amazingly, Alicia and Largo have their respective admirers listed as friends. They even have special lines for the characters in question for getting them a medic. So . . . even if they don't return the affection outright, apparently they're cool with it.
Isara/Rosie. Full stop.
Idiot Plot: Most of the drama could have been avoided if anyone was willing to attend to Alicia's emotional state for a few minutes. Turns out Internalized Categorism is bad for newly-awakened Valkyria.
Or if either of the Valkyria realized that they are the proverbial 300-pound gorillas that can sit anywhere they want.
Even excluding the emotional aspect of the Valkyria revelation, the plots handles the practicality of it pretty stupidly. Strangely enough the Empire gets a Strawman Has a Point moment when it's mentioned that a Valkyria can make the road to victory shorter even if the war can ultimately be won by more conventional means. Welkin and Alicia decide that it's better to not use the power of the Valkyria at all and instead risk the lives of the other members of the team by attempting to win with more conventional warfare. And had Faldio not awakened Alicia as a Valkyria, it's entirely possible that Gallia would've lost the battle at Naggiar and all the other sacrifices up to that point would have been in vain. The game attempts to have a He Who Fights Monsters aesop, but it can easily fall into Honor Before Reason territory because the characters only look at the Valkyria in terms of extremes, rather than as just another tool in the war effort.
It Was His Sled: Oh Lordy. A ton of the game's twists are now thoroughly ruined and will likely be known by anyone going into the game for the first time. Hell, one of the biggest endgame reveals becomes a plot point in the opening of Valkyria Chronicles II, so it's basically impossible to avoid being spoiled on that one.
The Valkyrur are masters of Magnificent Bastardry. They conquered the Darcsen, oppressed the Darcsen, convinced one tribe of Darcsen to turn traitor and gave them the name Randgriz, ruined a large stretch of perfectly good land, and then blamed the whole thing on the Darcsen while elevating themselves as virtuous god-kings. You don't get more Magnificent than that.
Memetic Mutation: Best known is how big breasts are concerned a trait of the Valkyrur due to Selvaria. It helps that Sega made it into a tradition with its sequels with Alicia's VC2 appearance showing some growth up there, infamously well endowed Juliana becoming an artificial Valkyria, and Reilia from VC3 being well endowed. Only reason Aliasse isn't a part of that is that she's 13.
The competence of Squad 7 considering the motley crew it has, such as someone old enough to be a grandmother. And that's not considering Welkin the genius whose orders can do some impressive things, and Alicia the uber scout.
On the flip side the quality of the usual Gallian tank or the lack therefore of, with people saying even a grandmother could take one out, which can lead into a reference to Squad 7's being able to take out 3-4 and be ready for more.
Moral Event Horizon: The Big Bad Maximilian himself. After deciding that Selvaria isn't of any use to him anymore but one, he told her to use the the suicidal Valkyria's Flame while tying her to her own words that "she'll do anything for him". Knowing his brain isn't any less than a Chess Master, he would have realized that Selvaria's serving him out of love. Which is why even after what he had to say about his past in the final showdown, it's too late to forgive.
Narm: Cherry is a valley girl fighting in the military? 'Nuff said, really. Don't get us wrong, she's a vastly entertaining character, but seriously, even her death quote is amusing:
"Ugh... So lame... I'm like... Totally... Dying here..."
Player Punch: Isara's sudden death, and right as her and Rosie are reconciling the Darcsen issue.
Additionally, there are two times the game tricks you into thinking Alicia may die. One is a chapter preview that shows Alicia in the crosshairs of a sniper rifle, which is especially notable because it comes shortly after the Final Death of Isara due to a sniper bullet. The second is when Alicia starts building up the nuke attack that Selveria used to commit massively destructive suicide. Neither results in her death, but since similar situations did just recently kill others, it might have you worried.
Polished Port: The Steam release is very well optimized, it has as many resolution options that your monitor can handle, and it runs at a buttery-smooth 60 FPS.
On the other hand, the control prompts don't even mention that you can use your mouse at all, particularly noticeable at the shooting controls. It still has a "Press Start Button" title page and the mouse doesn't work on the menus, forcing you to use WSAD/Spacebar or Up-Down-Left-Right/Enter. F and Escape open up two different menus too, which comes off as a little obtuse although it makes more sense with a PS3 controller's Start and Select buttons.
Ron the Death Eater: Cezary gets this treatment a lot in fanfiction, with some particularly extreme examples have him turning traitor.
The Scrappy: Gens. Gregor and Damon, though this is probably intentional. Also applies to pretty much every person with the Potential of "Darcsen Hater" in the game, notably Cezary and Theold - both are also disliked even more so because these two characters are rather low-standing members of their respective troop classes.
Also enemy ace Ty the Immortal kinda counts, if you don't know what you're doing when you first encounter him during chapter 8.
Selvaria, even with the Ruhm, doesn't hold a candle to Jaeger and the Lupus Regnum two chapters later. Chapter 17 is without a doubt the hardest operation in the game
That One Level: "Chapter 7: The Battle at Barious" is often looked upon as this as it's easy to get killed if you don't know what's going to happen. That's when the game suddenly jumps up from its seat and shoves a difficulty spike down your throat.
For those wondering, you have to take down a giant tank which is only vulnerable at specific turns, not to mention it having anti-personnel turrets all over it to destroy anybody that tries to get close. To top it all off, once you get close to beating him, Selvaria shows up for the first time to aid him. She cannot be harmed and if she targets any of your units, they are as good as dead.
"Chapter 9: Kidnapping of Cordelia." You have to block an APC and shoot it down with bullets alone, no explosives as that would harm the princess. The city streets don't leave much room to maneuver, though, and if you're not careful, the APC can easily gun down one of your soldiers and then run them over.
...Unless you know the trick to this level. If you let the APC make its first move unhindered, it places itself in a spot right near your highest placed troop. If it is a Shocktrooper, just move them behind the APC and destroy it. Basically, if you know the trick, it becomes one of the easiest missions in the entire game.
"Chapter 17: Breaching Jaeger's Blockade" is another incredibly difficult one; even if you know what's going to happen, you're under a lot of heavy tank fire and the enemy commander is incredibly strong.
The Woobie: Poor Claudia... Eventually things get better for her.
Woolseyism: Dallas's idolization of Alicia is played towards a lesbian angle in the English release, to make the implication clear for a Western audience; in the original Japanese, it was less overt, but played all the traditional yuri tropes to the hilt. A slightly more plot-significant alteration is the properties of Alicia's favorite flower; in English it's described along the lines of being "strong", whereas in the Japanese it's described along the lines of being "beautiful." Whether this change reflects upon the character of Alicia is up to the player's judgment.
Vindicated by History: The game got little to no press during its initial PS3 release in 2008, although it gained a steady cult following due to its status as a Sleeper Hit, often stated as one of the must-play titles on the system. By the time the PC rerelease on Steam came around in 2014, the game skyrocketed to the top spots of the Steam and Green Man Gaming sales boards, beating out other newer titles released in the same week (which includes Assassin's Creed: Unity and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare !). Sega even acknowledged that the success on PC was far beyond their expectations.
The anime (may) provide examples of:
Americans Hate Tingle: Ramal, an anime original character for the anime is not well liked in the West, but in Japan, he's very popular and was voted as one of the top ten characters in the anime. This might have to do with his crush on Isara. Too bad that went nowhere.
Largo later on gets a little closer, and almost manages to take out Selvaria with his lance. It sends her into a minor Villainous Breakdown, as she's visibly pissed off by the confirmation that she might be mortal.
Welkin slugging a officer in the regular army when he calls Alicia a monster; this is after breaking up a fight between Squad 7 and the regulars for the same reason.
Growing the Beard/Darker and Edgier: The series takes a dramatic turn at the battle of Fouzen, to the point where the two halves of the anime look like two entire different series.
Romantic Plot Tumor: So Faldio gets romantically interested in Alicia. Okay, fine, this might be interesting. Bringing it up during battle and other inappropriate situations... Why was this guy appointed as a squad leader?
And of course the canonical Alicia-Welkin relationship, while initially fine, can be enough to turn the bowels of many a viewer, as it drags through the entire series with nothing but angst to show for itself. And they wait till the very last episode to kiss. In light of this, Faldio's playboy attitude could actually be a relief.
Shocking Swerve: Alicia and Selvaria knew each other? Wait, was that orphanage then in the Empire or in Gallia? Why were they experimenting on her? If they knew she was a Valkyria, how did they find out? Where are the other children that were involved? Who were those scientists? Where are they now? How did Alicia forget about it until she fought Selvaria? What is going on here? Stop trying to write your own story, dammit! It wouldn't have been bad if they actually followed it through, but like with the revelation that the Darcsen Calamity was actually the Valkyria's fault, it was dropped and we never heard about it again.
They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Some of the people cared less about whether changes were actually done well or not, but simply that something played out differently from the game.
They Just Didn't Care: If you look carefully at some of the "English" documents, you can see a checklist of items from the game (with one Infinity+1 Sword on it) and a briefing file that looks like a corporate letter from Sega.
The manga (may) contain examples of the following:
Crack Pairing: Fans went "Say What!?" when they learned that hardworking Darcsen Engineer Nadine was interested in Racist Sniper Cezary after the incident where she believed he saved her from an Imperial sniper.