UFO Princess Valkyrie
Another fun part of reviewing is watching something that strikes a chord, or has an intensity, and then moving on to something else. Your appraisal is naturally going to be colored by the relative difference between the two... or of course it might actually just be one of the many anime that, for one reason or another, never surpasses the average.
It is a long held anime tradition that beautiful space-babes literally fall from the sky in Japan. You basically have to stand outside and wait, and the attractive, blond haired, space-princess Valkyrie is certainly a catch for any anime teenager. Not only does she have great looks and wealth but she also has a huge chest and seemingly endless magical power. However she can't pilot a spaceship to save herself. Indeed she meets the male lead by managing to not only crash into the bath-house he'd been running but also fatally wound him in the process. Even for an anime relationship it's a bit of a rocky start.
However she, rather conveniently, is able to save his life by gifting him with half of her soul. This links them rather directly but also has the side effect of transforming her into a child version of herself, both in mind and body. Thus Kazuto has become soul-bound and romantically entangled with someone who looks to be about 6-8. She's still able at times, with a kiss and a meeting of hearts, to regain her previous form and maturity... but most of the time she's just an innocent bundle of energy and affection.
It sounds decent enough: soft, cute and romantic, but it just isn't any of the above. The very premise of it, forming a romantic bond between a teenager and an innocent child, just seems sort of pointless. And the characters really have very little synergy in any case. Kazuto is perhaps the most mild-mannered and passive anime male ever seen. He runs the bath-house he inherited from his grand-parents, because they asked him to, and that's about it. One assumes he has a good heart, but most of the time he's just boring as hell. Meanwhile Valkyrie (the title actually mangles it into Warukyure, although Till Tippel pointed out this might be a translation from the German) is a true child, sometimes cute and often downright annoying. Especially because, as the show lacks any sort of energy or direction, she's required to do dumb things in order to invoke some sort of crisis to cause events to happen.
In order to fill up the time the show falls back on two extremely traditional elements. The first, as made famous by Urusei Yatsura, is the intrusion of additional characters to come and stir the drama up a bit. However given that the two leads are passive, loosely bonded and largely powerless there's not really much they can do to add interest to the story. It certainly lacks any of the dramatic tension, or clever wit and character, that made it work in Urusei Yatsura. I even thought Akino and Hydra, two of the extras, actually had more synergy, and interest, than the leads (as did the cat-ears come to that).
And as for romance, let's not go there... although the show makes that really difficult because the background porn level is very high. It seems that, realizing they had nothing of interest, they decided excessive (really excessive) fan service was the way to go. The transformation sequences are both long and explicit. Hydra, who actually wears her outfit normally anyway, has it flash off and on during the sequence for some extra nudity. This is as nothing compared to the long pans over naked women bathing. This has nothing to do with the story, and indeed they frequently re-use them. The conflict between Valkyrie, whose only attribute is innocent cuteness, and the large amount of ecchi can't help but make you confused as to what they had in mind. It's hard, and sort of disturbing, to visualise an audience that thinks these two elements go together well.
Around about episode 11 the creators panic and actually attempt to put a story into it. For a little while it looks promising, but whoever's behind the wheel really doesn't have much in the way of talent and blows the opportunity. This is confirmed when they pull the "reset" switch and put things back as they were... meaning there is no conclusion of any sort. This isn't the worst anime I've ever seen, but it is amazingly consistent in the level of mediocrity it manages. As the quote goes, a humble little title with much to be humble about.
The animation is average, although Valkyrie has an impressively complex character design... perhaps they had merchandise on their mind? Character movement is either stilted or super-deformed and the technical design is very odd. The spaceships and aliens (there seem to be lots of aliens around, though the story never explains why) have some incredibly childish and simplistic designs. This becomes almost painful when the story attempts to scale up in the last episodes and the animation completely fails to follow suit. In other words the animation is every bit as poor as the character work. The voices are decent enough, but a lot of over-acting required to try and pump energy into the series and nothing to work with in the dialog. The music is light and poppy... production line stuff but good enough. Ambient music seems to be largely borrowed with ride of the Valkyries and re-use of the open and close being the ones I noticed.
A bond is forged between a beautiful fleeing space princess and one of the most mundane of mortals. However the price of this bond is that they're largely incompatible as people... which makes you wonder why they bothered making an anime about it. The large amount of ecchi content, and largely dull attempts at comedy, making it sure the creators weren't exactly sure who they were appealing to either. An anime title with very, very little to recommend it.