Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Valkyria Chronicles - Episode 4

After their impressive victory at Vasel, the reverberations of squad seven's achievements in that particular battle are still ringing in the ears of both sides of the war, with Gallia looking to take the initiative once again while the Empire look to regain the control that is in danger of slipping through their fingers. To this end, we get our first real glimpse of some of "the bad guys" as they roll out their big guns to tackle the issues that the reversal at Vasel has caused.

On Gallia's side of the coin however, Welkin and company have been drafted in to support a regular military assault led by one General Damon, a man who seems to have something of a chip on his shoulder when it comes to the Militia. Indeed, he outright refuses the assistance of Welkin's squad, instead choosing to go it alone - I'm pretty sure the rest writes itself from there, but needless to say that his efforts don't exactly result in a resounding success for his troops.

So, despite holding his tongue in the face of Damon's insults (or more likely simply not paying attention to them), Welkin gets his moment in the spotlight as the Militia are tasked with taking over the job of attacking the supply route and base at Kloden where the regular army left off. Can they succeed? Needless to say we'll find out next episode...

While this particularly build-up to episode five takes up a fair amount of the episode, quite a bit of time is spent upon building and moulding Alicia's relationship with Welkin, as well as throwing the more flamboyant Faldio into the mix too. Despite her complaints and reservations surrounding the way Welkin behaves, she clearly trusts him to do the right thing at a deeper level, and it's this kind of understanding which is obviously going to become a pillar of the series as it develops.

Beyond Alicia and Welkin's relationship, everything is really pretty run of the mill to the point of being cliched here - The Empire's big hitters are predictably evil in the way they sacrifice their men for the "greater good", while General Damon is similarly an archetype of the arrogant and selfish military general. Still, despite all of that a sense of fun continues to surround this episode, even if "fun" isn't really the ideal word to describe a series based around war. Even as I find myself shaking my head and laughing disapprovingly at the unrealistic portrayals of war I brought up in my synposis of the last episode, I have to hand it to you that Valkyria Chronicles is really enjoyable to watch. It's video game roots show through to the core in so many ways, yet that's yet to prove itself to be a bad thing, and thus far it's actually looking as though it may become something of a poster boy compared to the frequently rather weak and dull video game to anime adaptations we're used to.

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