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Valkyrie Drive's Weaponized Lesbians Have Descended! / Early verdict is... meh?


The first wave of Valkyrie Drive related media has finally dropped its... No no no, that's not it.

Valkyrie Drive
just dropped a huge... Nope, definitely not right either.

Valkyrie Drive has finally lifted up its shirt, exposing its bountiful bosom for the world to enjoy, while still leaving the tease of the game within its sensual looking brassiere kept safe for a later date.

Yup, that's it.

Nailed it.

It's not getting any more work safe from here, folks. Y'all have been warned.

All kidding aside, it's true that the first episode of the anime series Valkyrie Drive Mermaid, part of a triple whammy "trans-media franchise" full of "weaponized lesbians" known as Valkyrie Drive, has been released for the masses to enjoy. This begs the question, then, is Valkyrie Drive Mermaid enjoyable?

Well, obviously, you're going to have people who will be enjoying the show's fanservice and not really care if there's anything else. If you want to know if the show has fanservice, like if a girl got dumped on a beach and proceeded to watch one bikini-clad girl stuff her hands in another girl's top before things went south, so to speak, then yeah, that all might have happened in the first five minutes, and no, we didn't learn the names of most of these people before more characters were kissing on the beach.

And don't worry, if you're into BDSM, they have you covered too.

So yeah, if you're here for smut, you're covered, so long as you're attracted to girls, at least. If you're here to complain about the smut we all know you're actually enjoying, then yeah, you're covered too. If you're here for guys, well, there's not any of those around, but the staff seems to be finding their way around the missing link, if you know what I mean.

On the other hand, if you're in that crazy group of sensible folk that can watch a show, or read a light novel, like Highschool DxD for its plot and action, or maybe you can play a game like Senran Kagura for its gameplay and writing, and the fanservice is just part of the package, well... If you're in that group, then you might be wondering what Valkyrie Drive Mermaid has to offer you.

Well, in terms of plot, character, animation, music, and so on and so forth, I'd say Valkyrie Drive Mermaid...

Based only on the first episode...

not... much?

I mean, unless you really just wanted some surprise lesbian BDSM literally out of nowhere.

Mermaid's definitely got you covered there.

Our main character, from start to finish, has no idea what's going on. Even when she's being felt up and kissed and all that fun stuff, she's still barely spoken to her partner, partly as a result of the fact that said partner only speaks about three words throughout the entire episode. The "villains" are one note at best and "man I never knew how totally turned on I am by areolas bigger than my face" at worst, the music is just plain forgettable besides for the token cutesy ending song, and it almost feels like the viewers are left more in the dark than our clueless protagonist by the end. At least she got to make out with a mute chicken lady while dozens upon dozens of her future classmates watched on and cheered, right?

There's just not a lot there, really. It's not even the fact that a lot of the setup (random character thrown into a secluded school setting with powers that they didn't know about! much original!) feels like it's been done before, it's that it's like it doesn't even care that it's been done before. Everything has been done before these days. Even the concept of "let's do something that's been done before but with a twist!" has basically been done before to infinity.

Here, however, it's as though they're relying almost exclusively on the fact that this is a show about in your face girl on girl action to distract from the fact that there wasn't much else there. They really just do not care that this was all in all really bland, because shut up and look at those two girls rubbing their bare chests together holy shit isn't this amazing that's never happened before in anything ever not even real life for real guys!!!!!!

Now I admit, this isn't an unheard of tactic with first episodes. They'll pull some stunt to wow you, giving the stunt precedence over pretty much everything. Even Kamen Rider might blow most of its CG budget on a special effect for the first episode. Maybe they get you with shock value or make you curious, then save their best for after they just make you stick around. I get that. On the other hand, if this is what they're going with... I'm not sure I want to stick around.

It just comes across as though they expect people to be satisfied by the amazing concept of girls kissing and touching each other so intimately, and in some cases shamelessly at that, that they didn't bother to put too much effort into much else, despite the fact that if you've been following Valkyrie Drive news, you know they're put a lot of thought and work into the shared background of this weird series. Yet none of it is showing up, because they had to get some boring fights in between that drawn out foreplay.

In that respect, if you go into this as though it's just softcore porn, you'll probably be fine, but the problem is that it's clearly trying to be more than that. They've gone to the trouble of building a world that they intend to explore through three different mediums with three different stories, having created a large world and a seemingly diverse cast for each of Valkyrie Drive's three different entries.

Trans-media projects, or just franchises using an anime for a push, typically use their anime to really hook people and fill them in on stuff right away. In that respect, they really are sort of like glorified commercials. Just look at how you can get nearly everything you need to know about the basics of Pokemon or Medabots as concepts from their first episodes.

Yeah, those are for kids, but to bring it back a little, let's look at it like an anime. The same was true of good old Highschool DxD as well (arguably just a glorified commercial for the light novels, like most light novel adaptations), and a lot of anime in general, really, from the likes of Sword Art Online to Nagi no Asukara and beyond.

All in all, this first episode was just so... lacking.

I'm sorry, Issei. I've failed you.

People find the concept of liking things like Senran Kagura or Hyperdimension Neptunia (a series that I still feel barely even has much fanservice to begin with) for more than the supposed fanservice baffling, to the point that they might think people who say they feel as such are lying, but it's first episodes like this that remind me of how easy it actually is to do just that.

Because, well... this just kind of sucked, guys.

Sure, as far as visuals go, it's at least a step up from Senran Kagura in the respect that girls of all shapes and size are present, but on the other hand, even if almost the entire Senran Kagura cast can use the same character model because they almost all have big bouncing boobs, their designs are all distinct and their personalities keep each other even more distinct beyond that, especially when you get their interpersonal relationships into the mix.

The animation was okay, while we're on the subject, and certainly not terrible liked rushed episodes of Dragonball Super have been, but it wasn't amazing like it sounds like One Punch Man or whatever Shaft and KyoAni do all are.

The point is that a show's first episode is supposed to grab you and make you want to keep watching, and unless you're in the crowd that can get by with only fanservice, which is fine, I don't know if this cuts it. Even shows like Queen's Blade and its like supposedly supplied enough action, plot, and character interaction to keep people invested, otherwise they would just do the logical thing and look at porn or something, right?

Unless Queen's Blade actually is porn, in which case that would explain a lot of things, but that's neither here nor there. We're talking about the non-porn series Valkyrie not-porn Drive.

Pictured: Not porn.

I do want to stress that this reaction is only based off of the first episode, but at the same time, most first episodes usually try to get you hooked right away, and this in particular should have been a really good first episode consider it's our first major exposure to a franchise that Marvelous and the rest of the Valkyrie Drive Project's staff have been pushing really hard like it's going to be their biggest thing ever.

And considering that this may be what they intend to offer in the future as a replacement for Senran Kagura, as Marvelous wasn't thrilled with recent sales, it might be worth paying attention to from the get go, here. Then again, for those only interested in the game, perhaps it's just something to observe as a peek (ha ha!) into the world that the game may well fully flesh (ha ha ha!) out later on.

That does sound like a plan. It might be one I follow, since the game could at least end up having fun gameplay that can make even the most shallow fanservice go from shameless to appetizing and fun. They might even be banking on that. Rather than trying to make a large and expansive franchise, perhaps the real plan is to just keep throwing breast shaped darts until one finally sticks to something.

The problem with this logic is that while each part of Valkyrie Drive is supposed to be its own thing able to stand up on its own, with stories and characters all their own (even the mobile game! I know, right, a tie in mobile game with a unique story and cast?), this anime is what a lot of people are and were probably going to judge the entirety of Valkyrie Drive as a whole on, and honestly, based on that... I can't really give it high marks with all this in mind.

I'll give it credit for at least sticking to its guns and not throwing dudes into the mix and turning it into the harem (yet), and I'll give it credit for, if nothing else, not being afraid to be all up in this girl on girl thing.
Even if it's shameless stuff like this that is wearing its target demographic on its sleeve, Japan could use more stuff like this around, especially with two shows this season having nearly the exact same premise, heroine archetype, and more. I mean, sheesh!

... Er, "stuff like this" being media with homosexuality being prominent or just a regular old thing in moon-toons, that is, rather than just being demoted to forgotten side characters or stalker stereotypes.

Unfortunately, as far as just being a good show goes, this just didn't leave the impression that it would be a good one. Could that change later on? Certainly. I'll give it the good old fashioned three episode test, if nothing else, and maybe if it's not totally terrible I'll stick through to the end since it's part of the game's canon, but I can't say it did a good job of making me really want to.

Put simply, if the games weren't a factor, I'd be done. The premise sounded good, but it didn't hold up enough for me to hypothetically stick around.

For you all out there reading this, if you can live without the girl on girl action that this promised to bring to your service-filled-action shows, you've got better options out there for your service-with-substance needs, so my advice is to seek them out, even if it means censored stuff or waiting for BDs or whatever. And if you can't? Well, you might just want to watch a show without.

... Though I mean, you could always just watch Symphogear or Nanoha or something too.

Who knows? If it's anything like Kamen Rider Drive, I might end up thinking it's great in a couple of months. I have no idea what the future holds for this show, yet I sure have written a bunch about how one episode got me to feel, huh?

Maybe the lesson here is sometimes, delicious as it can be, you don't need have to have your peanut butter with your chocolate every time.

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Salvador G Rodiles   1



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About OverlordZettaone of us since 9:55 PM on 08.08.2015