@extomar: Ugh, Selvaria... she was one of the worst. Given she's on the boxart I figured she would have had a much bigger presence, but overall (from what I remember) all she really did was act all submissive to the emperor, strut around her warhead tits for some fanservice, and occasionally show up as a bullshit invincible boss enemy. Although maybe she makes a grand return at the end somehow or something, I dunno. Still, again, even if you wash away the anime/JRPG cliché criticisms, the characters are poorly written all the same so, it doesn't really matter.
I can still remember the almighty cringe I suffered after Welkin's stupidly idealistic line about ''wanting to be the bridge who brings our nations together'' or something or other. But then I've always been intolerant with that stuff, perhaps over the norm even. I mean even a game like Persona 3 just drove me mad, and I disliked pretty much every character I encountered and thought all of the dialogue sounded unnatural and awkward. I gave it about 12 hours but... nah just wasn't going to happen. Which is unfortunate because similar to VC, I happened to at least really enjoy the gameplay and the schedule-keeping stuff.
Also, I was paying more attention to the fact that love-interest girl is an 'orphan who can't remember her past', which is then explained by way of her being of a super powerful race of whatever.
Sounds to me like you have an almost irrational hatred of Japanese tropes. Maybe you should avoid Japanese games altogether, if positive idealism really rubs you the wrong way. Personally, I kind of like that stuff. I guess I'm just not that jaded and I like to think of the world as a generally positive place. I thought Welkin was a great hero, one of my favorites in all of video games, because I respected his motives. Very few main characters in video games have such clear, simple-to-understand reasons for doing whatever it is they are doing.
I never watch anime, so my only exposure to these "tropes" you all are speaking of is through video games. They don't bother me. Valkyria Chronicles was a great game, and I enjoyed Valkyria Chronicles II, as well. It seems like a lot of people on this site really hate Japanese tropes.
Final point: of course the writing is going to seem ham-fisted in a lot of these games: it's been translated. There are examples of scenes in certain games where it would be ham-fisted either way (Tidus and Yuna laugh scene in FFX immediately springs to mind), but for the most part I think it might be less awkward in the original language. Again: maybe you should just avoid Japanese games, and let people who like them like them?