Marvelous has made quite a name for itself lately with the Senran Kagura franchise, and whether you’re in love with the gratuitous fan service or are offended by it because of reasons, Senran Kagura is here to stay and localisations have become more timely and frequent for the pleasure of Western fans. In an attempt to further their Ecchi escapades, Marvelous has launched a new franchise called Valkyrie Drive, a project that consists of an anime series followed by a few games, and not surprisingly, the first game is headed to the PlayStation Vita. To set the scene the anime, Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid, has started airing and is two episodes in, with AnimeLab doing the simulcast honours.
Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid takes place in a world where women born with abnormalities are taken out of normal society and placed into a mysterious island populated by women alone. Within the island is a fighting academy sorts, and each abnormal mutant woman falls into one of two classes: Exters and Liberators. Exters have the ability to transform into weapons that are then used by their respective Liberator. Liberators, however, need to activate the weapon within their Exters. The real kicker is that Liberators can only accomplish this by sexually arousing their Exter partner, leading to some silly Yuri shenanigans.
The character designs are hyper sexualized, and the scenes that involve Liberators “activating” their Exters can last a fair while… if you thought watching the lover charged transformations in Aquarion EVOL was awkward and embarrassing, Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid takes it to a whole new level. The scenes involving a Liberator arousing their Exter can be quite over the top and borderline adult, but they censor out the nudity using flashes of blinding light while still fully depicting various forms of sexual actions and fetishes.
The first episode alone immediately dives into some heavy duty fan service, but to accompany that there are some pretty crazy fight scenes with the action being quite decent for the most part, especially with the insert songs during the fight. It’s pretty explosive and energetic for sure. There is certainly context to all the seemingly pointless innuendo, with lots of characters introduced and an underlying plot and purpose to give substance to the various themes. There is also variation in the powers and abilities you see from the Liberators and Exters, but the Ecchi fan service is always front and centre no matter what. At least in the first episode, the Yuri sexual themes overpower everything else.
Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid, and the franchise in general, is pretty much a Senran Kagura style affair taking place in a new setting with a brand new premise, involving women battling it out in the most sexy way possible. At this point, however, none of the characters in Valkyrie Drive are as instantly likeable as the iconic ladies of Senran Kagura, but it most certainly takes the sexual themes and depictions far above the playful fanservice found in Senran Kagura. Does Valkyrie Drive:Mermaid deliver as a Beautiful Girl Sexy Battle Action anime? Absolutely. Is it uncomfortably embarrassing to watch? Absolutely.
You can watch Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid on AnimeLab. Just make sure you’re alone…