Friday, 12 June 2009

Valkyria Chronicles - Episode 9

We haven't really had an instalment of Valkyria Chronicles that focused entirely upon Maximilian and the Empire's point of view thus far, but episode nine does away with Alicia and friends entirely to focus on this singular point of view, which actually makes for a refreshing change of pace to be honest.

What we learn from this episode is that all is not well within the Empire, for there is currently a power struggle going on regarding who will succeed the current King, and it appears that the war against Gallia is simply a part of this struggle when it comes to the crunch. We learn of all this through the eyes of one Karl Oswald, a young man transferred from Central to assist Selvaria... or at least, that he's told to pretend to be there for, while in truth his purpose is to keep her away from Maximilian as he is forced to return to Central to inform the king of the reasons for the Empire's recent poor performances in the war effort.

Of course, Maximilian's return is all part of the plots against him in that aforementioned power struggle, and Oswald ends up effectively switching sides after finding himself betrayed by his employers, spilling the beans to Selvaria as they race to warn and save Maximilian... Not that he's exactly the type to need saving.

As I just mentioned, this switch to a different perspective offers a refreshing change of scenery for this episode, while also putting paid to any cliched "Gallia good, Empire bad" thoughts - Selvaria clearly isn't just an evil witch when it boils down to it, and even Maximilian is shown via flashback saving Selvaria in her youth, so I guess even he has days when he's not an apathetic elitist asshole. While I really don't understand why the conspirators who roped in Oswald would want to kill him that quickly (why not wait until they'd actually killed Maximilian?) and thus partially ruin their own plans, that aside this was a pretty solid episode that serves to make the coming continuations of the war around which the series set all the more interesting, and certainly succeeds in making the Empire's interest (or at least some of its key players) to be a little further short of completely evil than we may have initially believed.

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