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Valkyria Chronicles: Intro Movie

Posted by Nick Dinicola on January 20, 2009

I put Valkyria Chronicles into my PS3 about 30 minutes ago, but I’ve yet to hit the Start button and actually start playing it. Instead I’ve been watching the intro movie over and over again, trying to figure out why I like it so much.

It opens with some very soothing music while a picture of two characters riding a tank is drawn onscreen. The drawing then comes to life and becomes a cel-shaded movie. The music, the anime art style, and the trick of bringing the drawing to life all give off a sense of whimsical, relaxing fun. Then the scene shifts to an overhead shot of a large city; the notes of the music becomes longer, more drawn out, though still quite whimsical. But then a massive tank crashes through the city wall. Barreling down the street, it knocks a smaller tank out of the way with ease. Cut to a marching army, cut to soldiers shooting, cut to a tank exploding, cut to an army marching through a burning city, all of it serenaded with the beautiful music.

The contrast is striking. The music suggests an almost casual attitude towards the images of war, which makes the images more disturbing and dramatic. Despite the scenes of smiling characters and of what looks to be peaceful times, it’s those images of war that stay with me. The whimsy is gone, no matter how much the music may try to deny it.

And that scene at the end, when the two characters are about to embrace, and the movie stops just before they touch; the background fades away, then the color fades, then the image itself fades–there’s something truly sad about it. It’s as if they know the whimsy is gone, and they’re reaching our for some sort of comfort. But they never reach it, so close and yet so far. Then everything fades away.

This is just my impression of the intro movie. If the game itself is anything like its intro, I’m sure I’ll write more about it later. But after watching this movie as many times as I have, I’m more excited than ever to start playing. So if you don’t mind, I think I’ll go hit that Start button now.

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