Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Valkyria Chronicles - Episode 3

After their bitter-sweet escape from the Battle of Bruhl, which saw the town destroyed despite them escaping with their lives, by the end of the last episode of Valkyria Chronicles all of our heroes and heroines from that day were in training with the Militia to join their full-blown fighting force.

With that in mind, episode three wastes no time in assigning them all to their squads, with a selection process that seems to end up somewhat akin to picking a football team at school, with all of the new friends from Bruhl ending up teamed together under the charge of Welkin as commander of the newly formed Squad 7.

Given his lack of combat experience, it's no real surprise that he struggles to gain the respect of the older, more battle-hardy members of the squad, which becomes even more of the problem given the prescence of his adopted Darcsen sister in the squad. This comes to a head during the squad's first mission, to recapture, Vasel Town, leaving Welkin having to make a risky bet in an effort to gain the trust and respect of his subordinates. Of course, this gives way to some more awesome Edelweiss tank action, with Welkin's knowledge of nature and biology playing a decent part in the eventual success of their mission.

It feels a little weird to be referring to a series about a large-scale war as being "light-hearted fun", but that's exactly what Valkyria Chronicles is. Even when people are being shot and the body count is piling up, this show never seems to stop and dwell on that human tragedy, instead
just ploughing on and wallowing in heroic victory. Indeed, it's hard to remember that there's a war on at all during some sequences, as the birds sing and the sun shines while Welkin and Alicia sit on a grass bank just a few hundred meters away from an enemy that would surely be firing tank shells at them from over the water if they were the least bit competent.

So, Saving Private Ryan it ain't, but to be frank I can live with that when it comes to Valkyria Chronicles - As long as you're happy with the pleasant, undemanding action and dialogue and instead enjoy the generally pretty animation and likeable set of characters, then there isn't a great deal to complain about. War has never been so much fun, by the looks of it - answers on a postcard if you can name the video game that quote comes from, by the way.

1 comment:

Paul said...

I agree with you that war as portrayed in Valkyria Chronicles isn't what we have come to expect from Hollywood production. Nonetheless, this anime caught my eyes when I first saw the season line-up and so far, it has been more or less what I expected.

I was intrigued with the seemingly WWII-ish feel but was taken aback that tanks warefare would featured so prominently.

So yes, if the practical and brutal side of war bothers you, then give this show a miss. I mean, the women are fighting with thigh high and skirts! Rosie was even exposing her waist! How practical is that?

I am hoping that being based on a game with a strategic element, there will be plenty more of how the strategies of Weller will win out in the end. And we got a glimpse of that in Ep 3.

Let's hope things keep up~