If you're reading this 'Blog for my take on Valkyria Chronicles based entirely upon my experiences with the PlayStation 3 game then, seeing as it's only the two of us here (unless there's someone sat next to you in which case - What on Earth are they wearing?!), allow me to let you in on a little secret... I haven't actually played the game, nor do I own a PlayStation in any way, shape or form. Shocking, I know. So, please bear in mind that I don't have a clue what I'm talking about when it comes to this series. Yes, I know I know, what else is new?
Anyhow, Valkyria Chronicles introduces us to the country of Gallia, and more specifically the town of Bruhl, a normally quite place caught up (or rather, soon to be caught up) in the ravages of war. This conflict is being fought over a vital resource called Ragnite, between the Atlantic Federation (of which Gallia is a part) and the clearly evil East European Imperial Alliance - Let's face it, when did something good last come out of a faction with "Imperial" in the title?
In this opening episode we see the show's protagonist, Alicia, assisting with the evacuation of civilians from Bruhl as a precaution. Alicia is normally a baker, but is almost an armed and dangerous member of the Bruhl town watch - A little too dangerous you could say, as she apprehends a supposed "spy" who is commiting the heinous crime of sketching trout. Alicia's attempts to keep said "spy" under control is offset against the news that the Imperial Alliance are on the brink of invading the town, and these two priorities collide for the poor girl in spectacular circumstances as she finds herself caught up in battle sooner than even she must have been expecting.
It has to be said that even without prior knowledge of the Valkyria Chronicles game, this was a pretty good opening gambit for the series - The backstory is simple and concise, Alicia is an instantly likeable protagonist in all sorts of ways, and the visual aesthetic of the episode is gorgeous, despite my finding the "sketch filter" used by the animators throughout both tacky and annoying. Yes, I know it's there in the game so its inclusion has a good reason behind it, but that doesn't make it look any less pants. Although war stories such as this are pretty old hat by now, somehow Valkyria Chronicles actually feels quite fresh from this first episode, perhaps because it's so light and breezy despite taking place in a country at war. Saving Private Ryan this ain't, with Alicia joking about rumbling stomachs and bread even with gunfire ringing out all around her. Such blase reactions to war should probably disappoint me greatly, but in this particular scenario it really doesn't, so all is well thus far, leaving me looking forward to seeing what the next episode holds.