Yes, Valvrave has a rape scene. Yes, I still think Valvrave is the best thing ever. I guess I’m a terrible person.
The Rape Scene Controversy
Some background: many people on Twitter were very angry about the existence of Valvrave’s rape scene.
I don’t understand this idea that shows aren’t allowed to include rape scenes if they aren’t “handled well.” I’m not even sure what that means. It’s not as if Valvrave portrayed the rape in any sort of positive light. It made it come across as a terrible thing, in fact. Is it a necessity that every show involving rape provide some nuanced social commentary?
Another objection I heard is that rape is just being used for shock value. That’s true, probably. But so? This is a TV show, not a newspaper article. Shows use murder for shock value all the time and no one bats an eyebrow. Remember Chambers crushing babies with his bare hands the other day? Are we supposed to boycott Binbougami ga because it uses poverty for shock value and makes fun of the poor? Because that would actually make way more sense to me. Why is rape unique in that it’s not allowed to be used for shock value?
It was suggested that the issue is that some people are especially sensitive to rape. Which is, of course, completely understandable. But should media never include things that offend people? That seems a bit extreme, and I don’t think anyone who objects to Valvrave’s rape scene would actually argue this. So my question is, what makes rape special? Why is rape unique in that it should never be included for shock value unless it is handled properly? Honest question here, I’m having trouble understanding all the flack Valvrave is getting.
As a (mostly irrelevant) aside, I personally found Maoyuu Yuusha’s treatment of race, religion, poverty and colonialism much more offensive than Valvrave’s rape scene. But that doesn’t mean it should never have been made: in fact, I find it quite edifying to better understand other peoples’ perspectives, as horrifying as they may be. Same thing with the many extremely nationalistic anime, such as Gunbuster, Gigantic Formula, Gasaraki, etc. I got a lot out of watching those since I hadn’t realized people actually still thought that way in this day and age. In short, I think it’s actually beneficial to be exposed to things we find offensive, if just so we can realize that not everyone agrees with us and that these arguments are actually important and have people on the other side. And I’m an adult, it’s not like I’m going to suddenly become a xenophobic Japanese nationalist by watching cartoons. But none of this discussion is all that relevant to Valvrave, since Valvrave makes the rape come across as a terrible thing anyway.
The Actual Scene
OK, away from the controversy surrounding the episode and onto the episode itself. The transitions between the rape scene and Shouko’s speech were an excellent idea.
Dream big! Do what you want! (Haruko rips Saki’s clothes off.)
Let’s find new things to do! (Haruto finds a new thing to do.)
The contrast here makes the two scenes all the more disturbing. Is it really a good idea to do what you want? Probably not. Is Haruto even doing what he wants? Nope.
Haruto was actually violated as well. I guess the true rapist is Valvrave? I’m kind of disappointed now that L-Elf knocked Haruto out when he lost control in the cockpit earlier.
I still see lots of people complaining that Valvrave makes no sense and trying to point out logical errors in the story. That’s kind of missing the point…
Valvrave is a parody. The holes in the story are the same holes shared by every other mecha show but presented in such a way that it’s obvious how ridiculous it all is.
For example, consider the scene with Shouko at the temple. “She was fighting… fighting all alone.” This one’s not really specific to the mecha genre. I mean come on, pretty much every anime has this scene at some point. And it’s always completely obvious that said character was suffering all alone. And then the person talking decides to become a hero and the whole situation is magically resolved.
Valvrave takes this exact same formula, in that Valvrave a) conveniently ignores the fact Shouko’s father is probably dead for ten episodes, b) makes Haruto assume that Shouko was not aware of something regarding her father that was all over the news, c) makes it completely obvious that everyone in the school is an idiot for not having realized that Shouko may have been worried about her father, and d) resolves the situation in such an idiotic way by having Haruto promise to search for him immediately. Of course none of this makes a whiff of sense. That’s the point! It never made a whiff of sense any of the other hundreds of times we’ve seen this scene in other shows either!
Same idea with everyone’s reaction to losing their humanity. Haruto takes the typical protagonist’s route: Woe is me! No one in all of human history has ever suffered as much as I have! I must bear my pain and sorrow alone forever!
Then Valvrave has fun with this dumb reaction by allowing the subsequent pilots to have other, more believable reactions which are hilarious only in comparison to the idiocy we’re used to from our mecha shows. Saki had a glorious reaction: “Sounds good! I hate humans anyway, and now at least I’ll get to become special! It’s all okay!” Now the new guy, first of all, doesn’t even read what’s going to happen, and then just thinks it’s badass. Way more believable reaction than Haruto’s angsting over what it means to be human.
She helps out clubs, cheers at games and brings people snacks. Definitely qualified to be prime minister. Also, why does it matter whether Shouko’s dad is dead? I thought they declared independence earlier… doesn’t that mean he was no longer the prime minister anyway? Not to imply that I give a crap about whether this show makes any logical sense, of course.
These lines… Not the first thing I would do on the moon.
So much to do when we get to the moon…!
Some subtle foreshadowing here.
Ahahaha once again, like every anime ever made, except normally Haruto would beg her to kill him. Here instead Saki volunteers to kill him, with pleasure!
And once again, a line that crops up in so many anime. Except it’s even more hilarious since Haruto hadn’t even asked her to kill him but is delighted when she volunteers.
Already this is becoming a stratified society where not everyone has equal rights. Regardless though, L-Elf is the last person I would trust with the ballot box.
Can you guys imagine how glorious it would be if L-Elf and this girl teamed up? They’d be completely unstoppable. I’m shipping this. Assuming it doesn’t work out with Haruto, of course.
UPDATE: Crap, I somehow managed to leave out the best line of the episode! Saki, telling Haruto that it won’t work out between him and Shouko:
Ahahahaha what good lord Valvrave. > 666 / 100