There is no I in Team But There Sure is One in Samurai: Muv Luv Alternative Total Eclipse Episode 05

[HorribleSubs] Muv-Luv Alternative - Total Eclipse - 05 [720p].mkv_snapshot_20.18_[2012.07.30_13.18.29]

[Muv Luv Alternative Total Eclipse Episode 04]

In this episode, bullshit racism blah blah blah; bullshit sexism blah blah blah; bullshit pilot x machine analogies related to aforementioned racist and sexist content blah blah blah. Okay, with that out of the way, what was interesting and/or entertaining in this episode for the mecha anime fan?

Yui is a fucking liar. She admits to Yuuya being made of sex in a TSF. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

Yui is a fucking goddess in a TSF. Her piloting skills are excellent and the fight was very well done. Though predictably, she gets beaten by Yuuya.

More bullshit ideology that messes up the logic of fighting, but I won’t mind too much. With Gundam AGE failing at robot battles, and E7AO not very interested in robot battles in the first place, this show becomes more important.

[HorribleSubs] Muv-Luv Alternative - Total Eclipse - 05 [720p].mkv_snapshot_18.43_[2012.07.30_13.09.50][HorribleSubs] Muv-Luv Alternative - Total Eclipse - 05 [720p].mkv_snapshot_18.44_[2012.07.30_13.08.15][HorribleSubs] Muv-Luv Alternative - Total Eclipse - 05 [720p].mkv_snapshot_18.44_[2012.07.30_13.08.35][HorribleSubs] Muv-Luv Alternative - Total Eclipse - 05 [720p].mkv_snapshot_18.45_[2012.07.30_13.08.40]

YOKOMEN-UCHI KAITEN NAGE!!! FUCK YEAH AIKI-JUTSU!!! I swear this move alone is worth watching the whole series so far. This is just brilliant.

Ahem.

This is the problem I see: The required performance is for coordinated combined arms fighting. This is what’s required of humans to beat the BETA. Instead, we are caught between the national dick-waving between Japan and the United States. BOTH are demanding individualist, virtuoso performances from their fighters. The samurai is a duelist. Japanese fencing requires wide spaces for its circular movements. It is not the way of massed infantry formations: the most successful of which relied on coordinated spear work in most cases, and shield work in the case of the Roman Legions.

Mounted units’ success came in two general forms: Massed charge, as with stirrup-assisted heavy knights, and harassing mounted archery as was used by the Khan’s Mongol Hordes.

image

The Japanese mounted fighter relied primarily on archery, but focused on precision rather than massed volleys then controlled group movements as did the Mongols. The rider and the horse are one, perhaps. But the Mongols… the riders, horses, ALL fought as one. The knightly mounted charge didn’t so much as fight as plowed through infantry, reassembled, then charged anew.

The Japanese way of fighting, at least the one that is glorified, is that of the duel. Either one against one, or one against many. It is rooted in the individual, who displays how he is the strongest. Spears are for infantry, who are peasants. The samurai warrior class are duelists and destroyers of multiple infantry units.

This is precisely how Yui fought. This betrays everything that Muv Luv tries to establish as the prevalent and necessary means of fighting.

Not very difficult to forgive, because it’s really fun to watch.

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
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68 Responses to There is no I in Team But There Sure is One in Samurai: Muv Luv Alternative Total Eclipse Episode 05

  1. sadakups says:

    Watching this show makes me think that this reflects the Japanese still being bitter over their loss over the US in 1945.

    Dude, we are the BETAs at?

    • Well, I’m sure SOME Japanese are still pissed off about that, just as some Filipinos are still pissed off about the Japanese for basically making Manila the second worst fucked up city in WW2 next to Warsaw, among other things.

      The war with the BETA is, if I understand correctly, currently ongoing. These proving grounds are just far from the front lines.

  2. gwern says:

    > Yui is a fucking goddess in a TSF. Her piloting skills are excellent and the fight was very well done. Though predictably, she gets beaten by Yuuya. More bullshit ideology that messes up the logic of fighting, but I won’t mind too much.

    Yeah, it’s a little sad how mechas seem to be fundamentally sexist in this regard: the boys always win. I was struck by this in _Mobile Suit Gundam_ – the casual denigration of Sayla and the forced elevation of Amuro over her. NewType hax!

    (I guess that’s what happens when your protagonists are usually male; the protagonist has to win, so any woman opponent must lose.)

    • schneider says:

      More like she kept degrading Yuuya because she was pushing him harder and harder. Macross Frontier comes to mind–Michael purposely jacked up Alto’s VF-25 simulator to the highest difficulty. Alto got so beat up by the simulator but in his first sortie he performed very, very well.

    • NoHeart says:

      Yes, Yui is insanely badass and she’s one of the reasons I am praying that the next Gundam series has a female lead, because I’ve come to appreciate badass females more than badass males (except in Toriko, that’s awesome always).

    • Takaya Noriko was a splendid exception, as was Lal’c Mel’k Mal.

      This is why there’s a loud call for Ecole du Ciel to be produced as anime.

  3. jonas says:

    Dude, I only watch Mecha Anime for the racism, sexism and character development. What kind of weirdo would want to watch giant robots fighting? That´s unlogical.

  4. Cratex says:

    I liked your post, but precisely because of your post I’m just not going to watch this episode or any others after it – I’ve lost interest in the show.

    Strange, though the two come at it from completely different directions, the Japanese with their samurai way and the American’s with their hero worship seem so very similar to me. I am reminded of the 1976 movie Midway. Two huge and powerful navies square off against each other and yet the movie portrays it as if for all practical purposes it came down to the bravery and actions of a hand full of warriors on each side. They were flying state of the art warplanes, but they were still samurai on one side and cowboy gunslingers on the other.

    • Reid says:

      Guns are better than swords (and knives, when used correctly, can be better than both). Yay for Western civilization (and Filipinos, Gurkhas, Idonesians, Malaysians, etc.)

      • Vendredi says:

        It’s commonly overlooked (even by the Japanese themselves) that the Japanese quite quickly transitioned to the same “pike and shot” formations as used by the Spanish by the 16th and 17th centuries, using mass formations of pikes protecting groups of arquebus-men. The samurai were prolific users of firearms and Japan had a thriving indigenous firearms industry.

        • Reid says:

          You are indeed correct, sir. Even today some of the best shotguns in the world are made in Japan. I can remember my late granddad, who was an avid hunter, often said “you can piss on one of them Belgian Brownings. Gimme one of them Jap-made ‘uns anytime. They don’t never jam.” lol

      • Nanoarchery says:

        Even one of the VN’s most samurai characters (in that she carries a sword with her everywhere) emphasizes to the main character that guns outperform swords at just about any range in almost any situation, and that swords are only ever a fallback for when you happen to be out of ammo.

    • Man I’ve must’ve watched Midway at least four times. It’s a fun way to read the film for sure.

  5. schneider says:

    I really liked how Yui sortied into the target area without speaking to anyone. It made for a genuinely threatening scene, and her wordless challenge held more weight than if she had verbally beckoned Yuuya to fight her.

  6. wavedash says:

    “BOTH are demanding individualist, virtuoso performances from their fighters.”

    As someone who has played the VNs, I can understand how you get this impression, and I am very disappointed in the show for doing this. I cannot think of a single instance in the VNs where samurai are mentioned. Even though Meiya carries a sword around with her, she isn’t identified as a samurai. All of the TSF training in the VNs is heavily focused around either BETA simulations (which aren’t great, because you can’t predict what BETA will do) or teamwork. On a somewhat related note, the VNs’ mock battles featured relatively little swordplay. Which makes sense, because their only advantage over guns is that a sword can’t run out of ammo.

    tl;dr: fanboying over VN, disregard

    • jonas says:

      How is the game like, is it a tactics type game or a pure visual novel?

      • wavedash says:

        If by “pure visual novel” you mean no gameplay aside from occasionally making a decision, yeah, it’s a pure visual novel.

        • jonas says:

          I thought it was like those old snes simulators, were you could choose your units and equipment, and then the characters would fight by themselves.

          Thanks for your answer.

          • FlameStrike says:

            There IS a Fire Emblem style turn based tactical rpg based off of Muv Luv called MLA: Faraway Dawn. It’s notorious for being insanely difficult and has been nicknamed Get Raped by Beta and Get Raped By Beta 2 for it’s sqeual. Everyone I’ve talked to who’ve played it tell me horror stories about how stupidly difficult it is. XD Also the hardest difficulty setting is called “Real” haha. I guess the game was supposed so highlight just how tough the Beta are.

          • jonas says:

            That sounds like Total Eclipse: Episode 2: The Game: You are the Moeblob.

            Awesome.

    • Yeah, as I mentioned in a previous post, the training here is masturbatory for them pilots.

  7. Reid says:

    I’d be a lousy person if I didn’t apologize for my behavior following last week’s episode. A bit of a recap – I went on a scurrilous rant about the very thing Ghostlightning spoofs (and rightfully so) at the beginning of this post. I’d like to say I’m sorry for being a creep. Thought I maintain that the majority of my points were valid, I definitely went about the whole thing way way way wrong. Sorry again, everyone.

    Now, onto this week’s episode:
    As for the buildup of the last few weeks (which I won’t retread here) it’s kind of disappointing for me that Lt. Yui was really lying about Yuuya’s skills the whole time. It makes me think she lost to him on purpose. Time will tell, I suppose.

    As for the blog post itself:
    I think the emphasis on sword-carrying by the nations that choose to do so (primarily Japan and China, from what I’ve been reading) is that, once down inside the BETA hives, fighting devolves into a melee, where guns,cover and teamwork are not as useful as sterling performances by the proverbial “samurai.” This is why the YF-23 lost out to the YF-22 in the Muv-Luv world – it was really good at fighting the BETA but the YF-22 was almost as good and was better at taking out other TSFs due to its stealth capabilities and overmanueverability. It’s kind of funny how in real life the YF-23 was the better long-range platform and the YF-22 was the better dogfighter.

    • Reid says:

      Though*

    • Nanoarchery says:

      YF-23 actually seems to have outperformed YF-22 in both anti-BETA and anti-TSF, and the YF-22 won because of its superior uptime and less costly maintenance, also how it was more easily integrated into existing forces whereas making full use of the YF-23’s capabilities would require alteration of US tactical doctrine.

      I’d say that the importance of teamwork is by no means diminished inside a Hive, and guns are still plenty useful, the swords being fallbacks for when you’re getting completely swarmed in ultra close quarters and are trying to conserve ammo or are out altogether. While American tactics demand that you stay out of such situations altogether.

      • Reid says:

        Oh. Huh. I guess that proves you can’t trust the wiki :) Thanks for the info, good sir.

        Of course my knowledge of this series and its world is by no means great (and is actually on the paltry side of unfamiliar), but it would still seem to me that several types of BETA are either altogether resistant to ballistic weapons or are otherwise so tough that a combined-arms strategy involving different engagement heights and distances can beat them in the open, hence my statement about what I suppose must happen in their hives. That is, in tight quarters, without the advantage in maneuverability afforded by the TSFs, I would think that the humans would not have the necessary space and time to react to move into position to bring fire to bear against the BETA, thus a greater reliance on swords and those heavy glaive things used by the Eurozone TSFs. I remember reading (on the aforementioned unreliable wiki) that US combat doctrine is to carpet bomb the place into oblivion and then send in TSFs just to sweep the place for any survivors.

        • Nanoarchery says:

          It’s not so much that the wiki is unreliable as that it’s incomplete. For quite a while it was simply assumed by most English-speakers that the YF-22 was better at anti-TSF combat than the YF-23 with its stealth capabilities, and recently the wiki got updated with new info from recently translated TSFIA article explaining how they both had stealth and that YF-23 versus YF-22 came out with YF-23 being superior.

          Carpet bombing with shells and missiles to support TSF assaults are used by just about everybody, not just the US, the difference is that the US puts more priority on high mobility long ranged warfare and less on close combat eventualities than eveyone else. The “send in TSFs just to sweep for survivors” refers more to their anti-Hive strategies in particular, I think, whereby everyone else sends in TSFs equipped with high-yield (tactical nuke equivalent) explosive devices, US anti-Hive plans call for G-bomb deployment first, then sending in TSFs to mop up.

    • BE AN SJ ALLY, NOT AN SJ SALLY.

      In a melee, you’d still want to avoid a free-for-all, and swords aren’t ideal. Spears would be, but they’d break. What I think would work is a weapon similar to Alt Eisen’s Revolving Stake, because the spear point is retrievable, and the users can stay in formation. That, or use short swords like the Roman Gladius in conjunction with shields… and the swords will be used as upward-thrusting stabbing things, allowing the formation to stay tight and controlled.

      The Japanese fencing style of these kind of swords require so much space to execute.

      Having said all that, as can be seen in Yui’s rescue, this kind of style and weapon is suited for dealing with melee swarms of smaller BETA units. The thrusting attacks discussed above are with the large type units in mind.

      • Reid says:

        You had me at revolver stake. “I’m fine with betting on long odds!”
        But…
        How am I being a Social Justice Sally for apologizing for being a jerk in last week’s comment section?

        • No, it’s shared as something you want to avoid, not something you already were.

          • Reid says:

            Thanks for keeping me on the straight and narrow, sir. I really do appreciate it.

          • No big deal. While I do think it is important to apply a critical eye to the things we consume as entertainment, what seems to be criticism is actually lazy thought. When we think something is offensive to someone not ourselves, let’s think longer and harder. When we accuse something of doing the reprehensible, let us think longer and harder. When we take offence, let us not forget how easy it is to not take any at all.

            And when a discuss things in an anime blog, let’s not forget that we’re mostly here to entertain ourselves and each other because frankly, there’s so many better things to do with our time.

  8. Vendredi says:

    No issue with your characterization of early samurai warfare, but that as a continuing model through time is itself romanticized. By the Sengoku era, earlier individualist horse archery had given way to tightly disciplined pike formations that pop culture associates with a “Western” way of fighting. There’s no different styles of fighting in war – only effectiveness, and a quick overview of military history will reveal that fighting styles tend to undergo convergent rather than divergent evolution.

    But on the flip side, I wouldn’t say Muv-Luv is spouting complete nonsense. It certainly has a rather romanticized (or even jingoistic) portrayal of essential national differences, but it does raise an interesting point – that weapons development springs out of military doctrine: which is a completely different point than talking about “fighting style”. Strategic doctrine and the way you view things such as crew safety/comfort can radically change the sort of weapons you build for your men. (See divergent philosophies for example in Soviet and American aviation, with Soviets focusing on maneuverable but simple aircraft to be directed by ground radar like the MiG-21, and the Americans focusing on capable platforms with radar and long range like the F-4).

    As I commented in your last post, it’s rather astonishing how close Muv-Luv cleaves to the fighter jet angle. Not only are TSF’s essentially analogous to real-world jet aircraft, even their developers, designers, and the fictional histories of their development are verbatim copies of the real world (as Reid points out in the YF-23/YF-22 comparison).

    Heck, even the bespectacled Boening designer Frank Heinemann overseeing the project in Total Eclipse is basically a straight copy of the real-life Ed Heinemann, glasses and all. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_Heinemann for more details.

    And Total Eclipse is oddly enough very faithful to that core principle of weapons development – development follows doctrine, although in this universe doctrine can take some very odd forms (such as carrying giant blades).

    • NoHeart says:

      I’ll concur to your viewpoints, but after just listening for a while, I’ll put forth my own hypothesis. I think part of Yuuya’s ‘lack of talent’ is definitely part of the flyboy attitude that comes with being a test pilot, but also being unable to adapt to the unit and trying to force it to comply to his personal standard. Operating any vehicle (yes, mecha are vehicles) requires getting some kind of ‘feel’ for it’s capabilities and limitations, and it’s the same when learning a martial art or other fighting technique, you have to adapt your body to the movements. Even though they are piloting mecha, I’d imagine it is easier to start attaining this kind of feel in a close quarters fight, where motions are more crucial, than a long range gunfight.

    • The Samurai in the Sengoku era, if IIRC aren’t the spearmen nor the riflemen. They led these formations made of peasant troops but otherwise fought as either cavalry or by seeking out duels.

      The TSFs are lovely for the reasons you state. If I had space and resources I’ll collect toys of these in a heartbeat.

  9. FlameStrike says:

    XD Yui was indeed lying about Yuuya being a no talent hack, but she did it for the greater good! She probably saw that provoking Yuuya would cause his PRIDE to kick in and make him determined to master the machine.

    Yui going all samurai was fun as heck to watch too. If she didn’t abandon her initial blade, or came armed with guns, I’m sure she wouldn’t have lost to Yuuya. But the way she took out 3/4s of the Argos squad just like that was really something.

    Although I’m sure she wouldn’t do such a thing in a fight vs BETA. While teamwork is indeed the key to fighting BETA, the people in Alaska aren’t fighting BETA, they’re focusing on developing a special TSF. Yui probably wants Yuuya to be able to fully utilize the machine so they can tune and test it at it’s full capacity.

  10. r042 says:

    To be honest the resolution of this arc was cliche, but it was enjoyable cliche; I half expected Yui and Yuuya to start comparing how many times they’d bought each other lunch (both zero, although Yui does have one “I saved you from the KGB” over Yuuya). I was really expecting this whole thing of “bring out actual skill by making it seem more “realistic”” to happen and it didn’t disappoint in the fight itself.

    Really, TE is continuing to be interesting in how it’s taking the cliches of the genre we all love (even the less good ones) and running with them. It wouldn’t feel out of place (were the hair a bit bigger and the mechs a bit spikier) with four-tone shading, a MANGA ENTERTAINMENT logo at the start and a horrendous dub with out-of-place swearing. Yet unlike OZMA which could never quite work out whether it wanted to be 70s Leiji cast of caricatures, 80s Takahashi politics and mysticism or a modern series, TE knows exactly what it wants to be; an adaptation of what’s basically a long homage to Blue Gender, Starship Troopers et al.

  11. megaroad1 says:

    So it turns out that Yui didn’t think that Yuuya was that bad at all, huh? Not that surprising actually.

    The individual mecha duel makes for great viewing as a spectator, but I fail to see how anything but tight compact squads are going to make a difference agains the BETA as we have seen them so far. In any case, I’m very happy by the action sequences we got this episode. MOAR! Looking forward to seeing Yuuya and the gang practicing against the Soviets.

    Anyone know id the french girl at the cafeteria/restaurant anything more than a waitress fapservice character? Or can I dare hope for a french Rafale TSF appearance?

    • Reid says:

      Not that I know anything about such things as this, but I’m not holding my breath about anything other than the few TSFs we’ve seen so far. We’ll be lucky to see the Typhoon or Berkut. What I really want to see in action is a JAS-39 Gripen like the one…uh, that Swedish chick in the Argos Team had to have flown before getting stuck in a Strike Eagle.

      • this_isn't_yakisoba says:

        Seeing fighters in action… one of the disconnects I’m having between the show and reality is that while in real life I can identify aircraft fairly easily, and distinguish between variants with a longer look, on the show it’s hard to tell one robot-with-a-lot-of-projecting-pointy-bits from another robot-with-a-lot-of-projecting-pointy-bits. I had to spend some time looking at wiki to get a better feel for the (comparatively minor) differences between each model; their jet housings occasionally sometimes resemble the wings and tail of their parents, but even those aren’t always there.

        I’ll take the risk of mentioning Strike Witches here, but even though the mecha musume bits they were wearing were all basically tubes on their legs, it was not too difficult to see how the artists had made them resemble the real-world aircraft that they were based on.

        • Reid says:

          THANK YOU. This is one of my major complaints about Muv-Luv stuff in general. I’m a huge aviation buff and I too can easily tell one plane from another, even the individual variants as you also mentioned. The mecha designs don’t seem that different enough from each other and…dare I say it…the seem too mecha-fetishistic somehow. I guess that’s no surprise considering the many other fetishes this show glorifies, but it’s a shame to me to think that a really cool idea (the robots are mecha versions of real-world aircraft) is somewhat squandered by the frankly kind of weak mechanical designs.

    • The piloting skills display is masturbatory for everyone in and out of this show.

  12. Richard says:

    That’s a valid interpretation of the scene. But I think you are missing something: this show is drama.

    I understand that the duel was glorified because of the common “sudden revelation” trope through the duel. A sudden growth in power at the face of adversity and all that bs common in Japanese anime and games.

    But the whole point of that duel was to force Yuuya into a better understanding of that TSF’s forte (Maneuverability). I saw it as a cliched plot device, not a lesson on BETA combat or a denial of MuvLuv’s philosophy. Also, Yui definitively held back at the beginning, toying with him and that goes against what duels are all about too.

    Now I don’t know if she wanted to lose. It will be interesting to see how mature she is as an officer. Whether if she thinks that the duel served its purpose or if she’s taking this as a personal defeat and that she failed.

  13. Pingback: Continuing to Look at Total Eclipse – Episode 5 « Ideas Without End

  14. ZabiLegacy says:

    For a season with alot of mecha shows, the the mecha combat has been really off since EVOL ended

  15. Raven says:

    The duel the big picture and the rest.
    I do think while work as a unit is important , is not as important as working best as a pair or individual. Why? It all related to how to best beta and retake a area ,yes that’s right retake area. And to destroy the hive, number just does not matter that much, 5 super ace will have more of shot
    getting to hive core relative unoppose than say 50 tsf or a division (300 or more) of tanks. Than
    there is the supply need for 5 or 50 tsf.

    What? You want go through the main tunnel! And it’s only 2000m deep you say, well it’s 4000 m of way down fill with laser type of beta so good luck on this way.
    Other Than that you would have grind through 30km or more of beta infested tunel to get the core, with tunel no more than two tsf wide and less 20m tall in general, there is not team in most time.
    And with beta ability to tunnel and hit any where from top to behind, side ,there is not a lot combine arms tics can be use.just think of walking in a 2m wide street and people can jump through windows doors and walls….. To kill you . Rocket luncher is not going to be much help.
    And of course if you can’t take out hive than you lose anyway. Any victory that are not in long or short ways to help destroy hives is meanningless.

    • The team sizes are indeed smaller, but not pairs. Still, the action here and focus on displays of skill and one-upmanship is masturbatory. They are expected to mow down many enemies per TSF, but it doesn’t mean they should go all Dynasty Warriors about it.

      See discussion in the thread above on melee weapons vs. BETA. Japanese style fencing is highly impractical in cramped quarters because of the wide circular movements required in its practice.

  16. dono says:

    rather than developing TSF, if we fight horde of enemies like that, nuke and other mass-destruction weapon is more effective. (landmine is effective too isn’t destroyer class weakness is in their belly)

    i never seen a single fighter or bomber aircraft in this anime….. is they didn’t develop an aircraft?

    TSF is really useless, big size (mean expensive in production) and lack of firepower (only a standard machine-gun? where’s the missile?) i prefer aircraft than TSF

    • jonas says:

      The TSFs are their aircrafts. The TSFs they use in practice are F-15s (the grey one is an experimental “Active”), and the TSF the russian girls pilot is a Sukhoi Su 37.

      That is why I was asking (in the last episode coments) if there are equivalents of the A-10 and the Rafale, because I think the fire power and damage resistance of the A-10, and the nuclear capability of the Rafale, would be better at fighting the BETA than a sword (though I think the nuclear strike would be a last resort type of thing).

  17. OK, this series is winning me over. Though I will admit, the constant petty BS and miscommunication between Yui and Yuuya was getting on my nerves. And in this one duel, the crap seems to be mostly solved. I do miss this. I don’t think I’ve had this much fun with mecha combat since probably Unicorn’s second episode, or the combat in Break Blade. Oh Gundam. Why can’t you dump the GD funnels and do this more often?

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  19. Pingback: Episode 8 of Total Eclipse – A Return (Somewhat) To Form « Ideas Without End

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