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UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie - The OVA Collection

1 rating: 3.0
Anime DVD Collection
1 review about UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie - The OVA Collection

Strange Name, Strange Show

  • Jul 30, 2009
Rating:
+3

When it comes to strange anime names, it’s tough to think of a more unique entry off hand than “UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie”.   However, once the curiosity generated from the title itself wears off, there is quite a tale to be told.  Like most of my forays into long-running franchises, I picked perhaps the user-unfriendliest point to jump into the series with this, the Seasons 3 & 4 collection but more on that later.

The show wears a very appropriate TV MA (17+) rating due to animated nudity and sheer statutory-silliness over violence, gore, or explicit sexual situations (although some of the jokes could be interpreted as slightly off color to sensitive viewers).

Language options are standard sub & dub, which means the original Japanese dialog is an option as is an English dub track (both presented in stereo).  Naturally English subtitles are available with either language selection.

Extras are pretty slim and include just textless songs and a crop of Funimation trailers on the second dvd.

The story, which seems to solicit sexual-natured hi-jinx in its summaries, is actually a bit deeper than the surface antics imply.  Sure there are moments when the naked Princess Valkyrie literally goes through puberty in her reoccurring transformation sequence and there is no shortage of panty peaks, coed bathhouse soaks, and junior-high inspired dialog, the truth is there are fragments of substance to be found if you know where to look.

Just so we’re all on the same page here, let’s take a look at the premise thus far.  Set on Earth in the undisclosed future, interplanetary commerce is normal and oftentimes silly-looking aliens (like a walking banana for example) peacefully cohabitate with human beings.  As is the case with most anime, the viewer need be concerned with a high school student (Kazuto Tokino) who is struggling with all of the usual pressures that accompany teenage-life in addition to the stress of running his family's bathhouse when a spaceship piloted by Valkyrie, princess of the interstellar power Valhalla, crashes violently into the house.  Not only does Valkyrie lack spacecraft insurance, the impact kills poor Kazuto upon contact.

Distraught over the series of events, Valkyrie manages to bring the boy back to life by sharing her with him her own life’s energy.  Fair enough I suppose except that by splitting her own essence up between two bodies, her physical and mental status are reduced to that of an 8-year-old.

I mentioned a sequence that in essence shows a nude Valkyrie blossoming once more into adulthood which is what happens (including temporarily restoration of her alien power) whenever she kisses Kazuto, but for the most part she is happy to re-experience childhood by Kazuto's side here on Earth.

The cast is about the oddest group of rag tags this side of the Kamo: Akina the shrine priestess (not to be confused with Akino), Princess Hydra, Valkyrie's sister, who also finds herself physically reverted to an 8-year-old form by one of Akino's seals, although unlike Valkyrie, she retains her full mental capacity, Sanada, the Valhallan Royal Family's chief catgirl maid and her entourage of catgirl converts.

In this installment, the show moves back into the arena of goofy humor in the forefront with fan service playing a close second.  The gang is visited by a host of Valhallan princesses. First of all is Pharm, a teacher who immediately sets about transforming all of the girls in school into glasses wearing love-zombies.

Then Inarba visits with news that the royal house has grown weary of waiting for Valkyrie's marriage and have decided to apply a little pressure. Its not everyday that viewers are presented with the premise of an 18 year old, living in the body and mind of an 8 year old, who acts like she’s about 5, getting engaged to a 17 year old. This unlikely duo has three months to prepare before its tie-the-knot time.

The visuals are really quite crisp throughout with beautifully colored skies and liquid-like character-model eyes.  I could dare say that the animation and visual style borders on the type of stunning artwork made famous in moe titles like Air and Kannon.

The music is quite mood-appropriate as well without drawing attention to itself in some of the more delicate onscreen moments.  Kenji Kawai’s numbers are often upbeat and lively with enough energy to match the zany characters and their interaction.

In conclusion, this is a property that I like to think would only be possible by the Eastern method of combining long-standing ideals with very unlikely settings.  If you could imagine the difficulty of blending together UFOs and alien invasions with Greek and Asian mythology, and then putting it all together into the setting of High School Musical, you may start to understand the task Valkyrie’s creative teams had to face.  I won’t go as far as to say that it will appeal to everyone as the show’s themes are more good natured and whimsical than they are scientific or moody, or even the socially conscious, but it does have a few unique strengths that are far more difficult to isolate on their own.  For fans of the series looking to continue the tale, The OVA Collection is a must-buy as it makes a much-needed move away from the second season’s attempt at, well, seriousness.  For everyone else, you’ve been warned.  If this sounds like your cup of tea, please, learn from my mistake and save yourself some confusion by watching the show in the proper order.

Cover art for Funimation's release

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August 05, 2009
hey thanks Woop, I'll have to check out your reviews right now. I've been so busy that I've had no time to even post much lately! Oy!
 
August 02, 2009
Great review, JRider! You actually had me at "rated TV MA" sounds like a rather erotically charged bit of anime, although I am somewhat glad that this isn't "Hentai" those things get tiring after awhile. hey, I managed to see a new Korean vampire movie in theaters, I think you may dig it.
 
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