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Takuma Akutsu has scared people away since he was a child, thanks to his scary face that makes him look like a demon. Shunned by everyone around him, he developed social anxiety, and now he is unable to properly converse with people. One day, he ends up crossing paths with real demons, female warriors who fight them, and the lord of Asgard, Odin himself. He is informed that the world will end soon and he is the one who can save it. Odin has sent his nine daughters, the nine Valkyries, down to Midgard/Earth and Takuma’s mission is to help them become strong enough to defeat the wicked gods who threaten the world. And to do that he must… go to dates and become more intimate with them! Because the source of a maiden's strength is love!

Val x Love (戦x恋 Ikusa x Koi, literally "War x Love") is a shōnen manga series by Ryousuke Asakura released in December 2015. It's serialized in Square Enix's shōnen manga magazine Monthly Shōnen Gangan, and was licensed in North America by Yen Press.

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An anime adaptation by studio Hoods Entertainment started airing in October 5, 2019.


Val x Love contains examples of:

  • Accidental Kiss: Between Takuma and Ichika in chapter 21 after Yakumo bumps into them.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: Because chapter 15 suffered a bit from Compressed Adaptation, an certain event ended up unexplained in the anime. While viewers get to see that Takuma choose the outfits the girls wore for the pageant, they aren't show why he picked them. This is a problem because Takuma has been established to not be the type of person who would make the girls wear skimpy or humiliating clothes. Manga readers know that he was so embarrassed when asked to choose he just pointed to random outfits without looking.
  • Arc Words: "Love is the source of a Maiden's strength". This is repeatedly proven to be true metaphorically and literally. While completing Val Love missions indeed makes the Valkyries gain more experience and levels, much more important is the bond of love and trust they build with Takuma, as it makes both sides more determined to win and improves their teamwork tremendously.
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  • As You Know: Early on a lot of exposition is dropped by the Valkyries double-checking facts they all know about. Gets a little better when Takuma is around, since he has no way of knowing about those things and the Valkyries need to explain to him.
  • Balanced Harem: A "tiered" example. The tiers go as follows:
    • Natsuki, Itsuyo and Mutsumi are at the top. As they are the same age as Takuma and go to the same school as him, they interact with him more often and perform Val Love frequently. As a result their growing relationship with him receives the most focus in the manga.
    • On the second tier we have Ichika, Futaba, Misa and Yakumo. They don't get as much focus as the triplets, but they all get their turns to have intimate moments with Takuma and strengthen their bond with him. Ichika and Yakumo in particular hate Takuma the most at first, but this means that it takes more effort to get them to open up to him, which paradoxically gives more pathos to the scenes where they do get closer.
    • At the bottom, there are Shino and Kururi. Since Shino is a recluse, she interacts with Takuma the least among the sisters, while Kururi isn't taken seriously as a love interest for him due to being a child.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: The Saotome sisters have many reasons to like Takuma, and him being a Nice Guy ranks very high among them, as usual for the Harem Genre. What is unusual for the genre is that the feeling is much stronger on the male side. Before meeting the sisters, Takuma was unable to connect with anyone (besides his late mother) because everyone was scared of him. Thus he quickly comes to value the sisters above everything once he realizes they really are willing to build a positive relationship with him and like him.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Actually incorporated as part of the Level-Up at Intimacy 5 mechanics. "5 minutes of deep kissing in each other's arms, without a single thread between" is needed to activate the Super Mode of the Valkyries. Natsuki does it in chapter 13, while Futaba has her turn chapter 26.
  • Big Good: Odin doesn't get directly involved with the plot after leaving his daughters at Takuma's care, but they are still following his orders and he is one of the strongest being on the setting that is on the side of humanity.
  • Call-Back: When Takuma walks in on Natsuki, Itsuyo and Mutsumi changing clothes in chapter 15, the three girls are in the exact same pose as when the same thing happened in chapter 1.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The "Good Luck Charm" the girls gave to Takuma. It actually contained Mystletainn, and amplified Takuma's inherent healing powers, which allowed him to survive having his body torn in two by Garm later.
  • The Chew Toy: Yamada, a minor running character whose only role in the plot is getting hurt in the most comical way possible. Most of the time this is achieved by throwing him out of a window (or having him throw himself out of a window), but this is far from the only punishment he receives just for being too close to the main characters in a bad moment.
  • Clothing Damage: If the Valkyries are hit/captured by demons, this will happen to them.
  • Date Peepers: Sometimes the Saotome sisters will follow Takuma as he goes on a date with one of them to ensure the Val Love is a success and to provide support in case something goes wrong.
  • Deus Sex Machina: Val Love events range from innocent dates to incredibly erotic actions, which are repeatedly show to be very effective at helping the Valkyries power up.
  • Did Not Think This Through: During the School Festival, Itsuyo, Mutsumi and Natsuki make a bet that whoever wins the Miss Hokuou contest gets to be Takuma's partner in the dance party. Only after the contest is over they realize that Takuma had decided on his own who he would dance with because the sisters never told him about the bet.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • If the Valkyries are ever captured by an enemy, no matter how briefly, the author will find a way to make it look like they are being molested.
    • Intentionally invoked by Yakumo in one scene. She brings a popsicle right in front of Takuma's crotch and starts licking it there. She even gets Mutsumi to join her.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Pure-blooded divinities can't use their true powers in the human world. In contrast, half-humans like the Valkyries can use their powers and even raise them under certain conditions, like the Val Love events with their Einherjar. This allows the Saotome sisters to face powerful divine beings on equal footing, which wouldn't happen in Asgard.
  • The Ghost: Odin is never fully seen. All we get are a few glimpses of his figure in flashbacks of his daughters.
  • Harem Genre: Notably, the genre is pretty much invoked In-Universe. As an Einherjar it's Takuma's mission to love and be loved by the nine Saotome sisters, as they grow stronger that way. It's repeatedly mentioned that Takuma was not given the choice of refusing this mission and the girls can't look for another Einherjar anymore.
  • Harsh Word Impact: Natsuki's Brutal Honesty towards Takuma is represented by her speech balloon spearing his chest.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All chapters of the manga have the word "Maiden" in the title. Some chapters focused on Skuld switch it for "Goddess".
  • Invisible to Normals: The Valkyries rise barriers that make all Asgardians beings, themselves included, invisible to humans while they are fighting.
  • Level-Up at Intimacy 5: As the Valkyries are supported by the Power of Love, they level up through "Val Love" events, like holding hands to go to the store, studying together, eating a bento the Valkyrie made, feeling up the Valkyrie's chest for half a minute...
  • Magical Girl Warrior: The Valkyries are essentially Magical Girls empowered by love.
  • Magic Kiss: A kiss with the Einherjar allows the Valkyries to change into their battle forms. The transformation happens in a second if the kiss is on the lips, but the farther away from the lips of the Einherjar you go, the longer it takes to transform (a kiss on the cheek takes 5 second, the nape takes 1 minute, the nipples takes 3 minutes…). And a 5 minutes long French Kiss awakens their Super Mode.
  • Mood Whiplash: The School Festival begins in a very peaceful manner, with chapter 9 being filled with the usual Fanservice hijinks. Then the chapter ends with Garm impaling Takuma, and the arc abruptly becomes a very serious battle involving the entire cast.
  • Nipple and Dimed: Unlike the manga, the anime adaptation avoids showing the nipples of the girls even during Fanservice moments.
  • Not What It Looks Like: As she is studying, Natsuki starts feeling something pressing against her crotch and when she looks down, she finds Takuma there. He was trying to get an eraser that had fallen between her legs.
  • The Power of Love: The Valkyries are powered by it, which is why going on dates with Takuma is essentially training to get stronger for them.
  • RPG-Mechanics Verse: Downplayed in that the world at large doesn't look like a video-game that much. The people from Asgard, on the other hand, are basically RPG units brought to life. The Valkyries gain "experience" by completing Val Love events with Takuma, "level-up" after obtaining enough experience, and if they deplete a "meter of AP" they become unable to use their powers. Taken to its logical conclusion in chapter 18 when Takuma is given a device that shows the stats of the Valkyries.
  • School Festival: One happens from chapter 9 to chapter 15 in the manga. It quickly becomes a battlefield as Garm had prepared a trap there for Takuma and the Valkyries.
  • Serious Business: The Saotome sisters decide to play tag. Then they realize Futaba is "It". Suddenly everybody starts running and thinking of strategies to defend themselves from Futaba as if they were training for the battles ahead. And when Futaba goes looking for them, she does attack as seriously as an actual war would require. Takuma is flabbergasted.
  • Shout-Out Theme Naming: The original names of the Valkyries come from Richard Wagner's The Ring of the Nibelung.
  • Spoiler Opening: The opening of the anime has a clear shot of Shino's face, something manga readers don't get to see until volume 6. Granted, it's a Freeze-Frame Bonus.
  • Super Mode: The EX form of the Valkyries, which greatly multiplies their stats. It's achieved by having a passionate make-out session with Takuma.
  • Team Pet: Sue-chan, a dog that is the pet of the Saotome sisters. Gullinkambi later reveals that it's actually Sleipnir, although why it is currently taking the appearance of a dog is unknown.

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