It feels like I’ve been counting down the days to review this show for almost a year now. Val x Love is a fun series, sadly we just don’t get these anime as often as we used to.
Unfortunately, we didn’t learn as much about what this series could be from the first episode. The show didn’t air with nudity, nor did it even have conspicuous censorship. Nothing on twitter or the blu-ray has pointed in an obvious way to future nudity, at least not yet.
Given the incredibly ecchi nature of the manga, it seems almost a certainty that the blu-ray will deliver, but all the same it would be nice to see some confirmation, or at least some indicators. These indicators would be the hinting at future redraws or expanded scenes.
We get our first positive sign almost halfway in. A scene where three of our heroines are changing, and they conspicuously cut off the bottom portion for obvious reasons. Almost to a certainty this scene was cropped, and it’s reasonable to hope for a redraw as well, since Natsuki (the blonde) has her panties mostly down in the manga.
The art quality was pretty bad overall in this first episode, but there were a few nice moments. Natsuki’s character design is suddenly much better looking once the glasses went on.
The scene with the eraser under the table was much sexier in the manga, to the point where I wonder if it will be expanded upon on blu-ray. Let’s hope…
Lots of potential for redraws here. I’d rather take the higher certainty of getting magical censorship clouds, but at least it seems like a good sign that a lot of the same poses were used, meaning redraws shouldn’t be too hard to do.
Ryousuke Asakura’s original manga art style has a way of looking stylishly ugly. It’s also an artstyle that is harder to emulate than Hoods seems to have anticipated. Combining that art style with a low animation budget has unfortunately resulted in a lot of derpy looking faces. It’s telling that the one time any of these girls actually looks good is when Hoods went for a more standard look when Natsuki put those red glasses on.
(It’s too bad we won’t see her in those glasses more, she’s a real cutie with them on.)
Anyway, here’s a breakdown of what we know so far about this series:
- It’s going to have 12 full-length episodes over four blu-rays.
- The first episode strongly hints at BD redraws. The blu-rays aren’t going to have specials which slightly hints at redraws or expanded scenes.
- The story in episode one covered two chapters, in theory a 24 chapter pace. It also played some of the events out of order- the scene at the end with the giant demon actually happens before the scene where they are studying in the manga.
- All nine of the Valkyrie sisters are introduced, which hopefully means they will complete the first major story arc in the manga.
Nudity is not a stone cold lock, but it’s pretty close to being one given the source material and Hoods’ history. If we assume nudity will happen on blu-ray, that leaves us with one major goal for this anime- to maximize the nude scene opportunities it has.
The important thing to know is that the nudity levels in the manga peak in volumes five and six, so we’d really like to see this series manage the pacing in such a way that reaching volume six in twelve episodes is possible.
I’m fairly optimistic this will happen, as there’s a major story arc climax early on in volume six, followed after by a particularly nice group nude scene at the bathhouse. It’s basically the perfect way to end a single season anime.
Currently, the series is not on pace to make it that far (chapter 32), but it’s also possible to skip chapters to make it, which is exactly what the TV adaptations of Domestic na Kanojo and Triage X did. Triage X covered 9 volumes of the manga in just 10 episodes, compared to that covering 6 volumes in 12 episodes isn’t that tough.
As far as whether the first episode was enjoyable as an anime- I’d say it was, but my priorities are probably not the same as most anime fans. It looks like it’s going to get us to where we want to go eventually, and that’s good enough for me.