Introducing Myself to Muv Luv

[HorribleSubs] Muv-Luv Alternative - Total Eclipse - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_22.42_[2012.07.04_00.15.49]

[For something more detailed and yet introductory, check out this post by r042]

Well, ok.

Given that, I intend to “play” the Visual Novels, starting from the first one. But given how slow I am to progress in these things, this show will probably be finished before I get any useful context. So I’ll really go in cold, and I did with this first episode.

It sure left me cold! But see, I have this theory that I’m almost certain is not an original thought in the least: people are both exacting and nitpicky and at the same time very forgiving when dealing with iterations of products within their fandom. Conversely they can be very discerning when dealing with shows with a non-limiting appeal (does not easily fall into strict categories and/or fandoms), and ultimately can be quite dismissive of works that easily fall into categories that are not within their fandoms.

Using myself as an example:

I am very exacting and nitpicky about Gundam shows (very close to my core fandom), at the same time very forgiving of ‘70s and ‘80s robot shows (very close to my core fandom); and a complete apologist for everything Macross (my core fandom). I can be quite discerning when it comes to appreciation of animated films, by such filmmakers as Kon Satoshi, Oshii Mamoru, Miyazaki Hayao, and the like (I don’t consider myself among their fans, but I have distinct appreciation for some of their works). I’m not a “natural” fan of moe, even if I no longer dismiss it. I can only really get into some of the very acclaimed or popular works (Suzumiya Haruhi, Lucky Star, K-On!!) and am still quite dismissive of many examples. Lastly I remain quite dismissive of echii titles as well as cry-porn shows (Maeda Jun adaptations) and am very disinterested in appreciating them the way I appreciate other works.

Since Muv Love Alternative Total Eclipse has enough material for me to take it in as a mecha show, I can be very forgiving of elements I’d dismiss if it didn’t have giant robots fighting. This is the context by which I jump cold into this franchise.

[HorribleSubs] Muv-Luv Alternative - Total Eclipse - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_17.32_[2012.07.04_00.19.56][HorribleSubs] Muv-Luv Alternative - Total Eclipse - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.16_[2012.07.04_00.13.21]

What I can take in from the first episode is that there is an alien invasion, which began from Mars. I can dig this. After all I did enjoy both the novel and the crazy film adaptation of Starship Troopers; I also enjoyed the Aim for the Top! franchise from Gainax as well. However, I prefer a robot vs. robot kind of conflict as opposed to weird alien creature vs. robot kind of combat. Macross Frontier made its aliens biological mecha giant insects to keep the combat robot-based. Eureka SeveN spent most of its time having LFOs fighting each other. Muv Luv ATE has weird monochrome goopy humanoids(?) (Goop Class?) that either massacre the Tactical Surface Fighters (TSFs, the robots) in close range; or snipe them with lasers (Laser Class).

The only interesting combat I saw was when the rival characters (I think) squared off during training using sword-like CQB weapons. Their live exercise using firearms was a low-budget affair animation-wise. Scene of TSFs shooting will be immediately followed by an equally close up view of TSFs getting hit. Mobile Suit Gundam AGE has very crude looking animation most of the time, but I appreciate how they try to make the scene dynamic: either the POV is always moving, and/or the mobile suits are always moving (or both). I always held the human form to be the most aesthetically pleasing to see in motion, which is why humanoid vs. humanoid mecha combat is what I value the most in anime.

But, the TSFs themselves aren’t bad-looking. I like their relative chunkyness which is out of fashion for most of Mobile Suit Gundam AGE (00, SEED), Guilty Crown, Eureka SeveN Astral Ocean, Rinne no Lagrange, Aquarion EVOL, Macross Frontier, Code Geass etc. I want to see more of them in action, which is why I’m going to keep watching this show.

View albumView albumView albumView albumView albumView album

That, and maybe the massive carnage. I read that when the BETA “Beings of the Extra Terrestrial origin which is the Adversary of the human race” first arrived in Japan in 1998, 36 million people were killed within a week. The notion that these deaths weren’t due to WMD is a thrilling thing to imagine (my guilty pleasure) as an element of a robot anime.

Oh, and having enjoyed shows like Hanasaku Iroha prepared me for the teenage girl fanservicey drama that will probably have equal to greater billing with/than the robot battles in this show.

[P.S. Happy Independence Day to WRL’s readers from the United States. The ID4 film is one example of an alien invasion story I did not enjoy. I thought it was shit.]

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.
This entry was posted in first impressions, Muv Luv and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to Introducing Myself to Muv Luv

  1. Cratex says:

    ID4 – yeah, no argument from me there.

    I found Muv Luv interesting EXCEPT, I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of the main characters being trained for military service while wearing high-school girl miniskirt uniforms. It has NOTHING to do with that they were girls – I wouldn’t have half the problems I do with this show had they been wearing, say, jeans and t-shirts. It just set a really bad impression for me. I’m also not sure how I feel about the idea inherent in the situation at the end of the episode, that the better part of the combined Japanese, UN and American armies could not prevent a breakthrough that it appears 5 or so green replacements are probably going to stop, or at least face down. I guess, what I really want to know is, why are the apparently best weapons at the human’s disposal in the hands of those relegated to guard duty?

    Okay, I’ll admit up front I’m not really a mecha fan. I’m just to much the military historian to accept the tactical utility (sanity?) of such a weapon. But, I’ll watch a few episodes to see where it goes. Personally, now that we seem to be getting a handle on avoiding a nuclear winter I think our biggest concern is something out there even more xenophobic and exploitative/genocidal than we humans are finding us, and a last ditch stand in some corner of the earth sounds interesting.

    • Reid says:

      Thank you, sir. I too take issue with stories that take the “miniskirt-uniform” tact. It kind of…cheapens the whole experience (and points to the fact that this franchise began as an H-game). I’m here for the robot porn, not the actual softcore people porn I’m sure is quick to come (hahahaha…ha).

      One thing I will say is neat about the idea of this branch of the Muv-Love (God what a stupid name) franchise is that the Tactical Surface Fighters (God what a cool name) are all “mecha versions” of real-world fighter aircraft. If you look closely at the details of some, particularly the American TSFs, you can see how this one is clearly inspired by an F-18 and that one is an F-22, etc. It’s a neat touch.

    • r042 says:

      First up – thanks for the shoutout!

      From the preview dialogue of the next episode, I don’t think we’re going to have to worry about the five untested rookies holding off the alien invasion. Hearing the moe-moe girls we’ve got used to screaming for a mercy killing was not what I expected.

    • Here’s how you need to think of this show:

      It’s a sexual fanservice show primarily, but instead of martial arts/3 Kingdoms/Sengoku period/sports as a primary conceit, it has robots (fighting aliens).

      If you can’t be ok with the core value proposition, then you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Macross is famously disappointing for some (compared to Robotech) because it’s a love triangle set against the backdrop of great battles (with robots), as opposed to a military space war story with a love story side-plot.

      • loufoque says:

        That’s not it at all. Muv Luv Alternative is an epic story of how a simple man discovers himself as he struggles against impossible odds for the sake of humanity.

        The cute girls are just here for the protagonist to find a meaning in life, something to protect, and to cause the reader to cry when they inevitably die.

    • loufoque says:

      You call yourself a military historian but you don’t understand why the best units are on guard duty?

      The best units have always either been on guard duty or special ops. Sending them to the front line would be a waste since there would be a high likelihood they’d die, and they wouldn’t make a significant difference since front lines is all about numbers. Protecting the people in charge of organizing the military or strategy is also the most important thing to do in war, even though in the case of BETA it’s probably not very useful, since they’re too dumb to know they could just kill the one at the top to take the whole system down.

      • Cratex says:

        polite way to start a discussion…

        I did NOT say best units, I said best WEAPONS – go back and look at my sentence. I fully agree elite soldiers are usually (usually) reserved for special missions and protecting the most valuable things. At a supply base or other stationary location you put stationary / hard to move heavy weapons such as cannon / missile launchers to hit harder than any mobile vehicle could carry. The defining characteristic of mecha is that they are MOBILE. You’re wasting them guarding a stationary supply depot.

    • MarigoldRan says:

      Maybe… maybe we can have a show about teenage GUYS fighting in robots dressed in mini-skirts. All’s fair in love and war!


  2. Justin says:

    I did have some hopes in the show, but I was still preparing to be disappointed by Muv-Luv, especially given how much backstory the Muv-Luv VNs have and whether or not I needed to know it. I still might need to know it, but for a first episode, it was not bad. I think the one thing that helped was the situation is pretty dire in this episode, and it seems it will carry on to the second episode. It could have been bogged down by other stuff (and it kinda was; I have no care for the characters at the moment), but it succeeded in getting me interested to follow an episode or two, and maybe the rest of the series if those episodes shine.

  3. bluemist says:

    I fell out of Muvluv since they became full-blown mecha, but I’m pretty sure it’s ok to go in cold. I bet many other anime watchers will be new to this franchise as well. You could be sure it isn’t too moe-pandering nor it is some kind of Maeda Jun dorama. I played the original Muvluv game, that was half-moe half-mecha, but the few hours I logged off Muvluv Alternative I realized they had gone full-retard mecha, and it’s quite srs bsns that way.

    Did you watch Kimi ga Nozomu Eien? It’s age’s game before Muvluv, you could say that many of the original Muvluv elements came from it. Yes it’s a cry-pron story, but awesome. Better than School Days, but that’s just me.

  4. Quite interesting to see an article from the perspective of someone new to the series. Muv Luv is a great franchise and I’m sure as any mecha fan would you’ll find a lot of things to love about it. The Starship Troopers comparison has never been more apt, and if TE is anything like the original we can expect a lot of great infodumps regarding the workings of the TSF and how the BETA came to overrun the world, as well as some of really cool combat and dark hive infiltration scenes.
    Regarding the fanservice, it’s a shame really. But we’ll also see a lot of cool TSF and weapons testing no doubt, what with this series centring around test pilots eventually.. could be worse.
    It might also be worth mentioning that the Original Creator has taken care to make sure Total Eclipse is watchable for those yet to read the original VN trilogy or any other Muv Luv instalments. If all goes well I don’t expect anyone will become too lost and buried underneath a mountain of questions.
    I have a few articles up on my own meagre blog regarding the original trilogy as well as what each instalment brings to the table. The instalments after the first especially are a very good read and well worth checking out.

  5. Reid says:

    Thanks for the Independence Day wishes, Ghost. I wish I was a little more proud of the USA than I am right now, but that’s neither here nor there.

    I also watched this episode today; well, really I watched half of it because my power got knocked out. So far I’m not entirely repulsed and maybe I’m even a little intrigued by the whole set-up of the universe. That said, I think it’s funny how this seems to be another one of those shows, like Gunbuster, that goes out of its way to be all about some Imperial Japanese this and Imperial Japanese that. I know that somewhere in the world that kind of thing has got to be perceived in a really negative light.

    Here’s an interesting link about how all this played out in Gunbuster – it’s pretty fascinating and very eye-openeing, or was for me.

    • I have a mild fascination about metapolitics content, but I’m neither thrilled nor hung up about it.

      Like you I’m here for the robots, but I’m determined not to let the other stuff trip up my fun.

      • Reid says:

        Plug suits = hawt.
        Mobile trace suits on Rain and Allenby = hawt.
        These things in Muv-Luv = ugly and frankly just a little too un-sexy. They have Gundam chins for chrissakes.

        The robots are cool enough though. Hopefully I can let that be what keeps me entertained.

  6. foshizzel says:

    Worst flight suits in a mecha series right here! I did enjoy the CGI scene with the mechs flying through the woods that was actually kind of cool…I am still 50/50 on this series because it had plenty of dull moments and it felt like they rushed the story! Then again this is episode one.

    I thought of Gunbuster instantly when the girls were training in the mechs especially with the sword fighting scenes.

  7. r042 says:

    One thing I did like was rather than it being flat out a horde against which regular weapons don’t work, it’s more that in comparable numbers the BETA are comparable to modern armies but there’s loads of them and you can’t guarantee a kill.

  8. sadakups says:

    Okay, someone already said it, but I just find it baffling that they have an all-female military academy, and for crying out loud, they had to wear typical sailor uniforms as if it was a normal high school. Fetish, much?

    I know there’s a reason for just having girls pilot the mecha in this show, but damn, where are the boys at? I mean, I have nothing against this set-up, considering that I’ll probably puke if another pussy-ass guy gets to be the lead pilot.

    Nitpicking aside, I’m going to apply my personal three-episode rule for this one. So far, the first episode didn’t do much for me considering the characters, but I do find the whole thing interesting.

    • ToastCrust says:

      If you want to know, it’s because all the boys are already deployed. Drafting girls was a late development and still mostly voluntary rather than forced. As you can imagine with most societies.

      You can also imagine how many of those boys are already dead by the end of that first episode.

  9. zabilegacy says:

    Anime as a whole really really wants me to embrace 3-d mechas, but I just can’t do it. I’ve tried again and again with every manor of show, but I just can’t get out of my head how amazingly awful 3-d looks in anime to me. Tiger and Bunny was watchable only through sheer quality, I’m sad to say fan service the show will likely not have that distinction, regardless of how grisly it might be to watch all the moe blobs die horribly.

    Though you do sort of have a point regarding the schadenfreude value of hearing about the first week having so many casualties. The ur example of this in my mind is when in the original MSG you hear the announcer talking about what happened in the first month of the war. It really gives you an amazing and somewhat haunting impression of the pure horror of war on the scale we see in mecha anime

  10. megaroad1 says:

    Mecha? Alien invaders from mars? Mini-skirts? Me has to check this out to find out what you are blogging on.

  11. Turambar says:

    Why was Independence Day called ID4? Never got that.

    Also I was only able to get half way into the Muv Luv VN before simply being too bored to continue on with it. Maybe the anime will be different? Who knows.

  12. ToastCrust says:

    Having seen the second episode of this at AX, I seriously can’t WAIT to see what people think of episode 2.

  13. Xard says:

    Given that, I intend to “play” the Visual Novels, starting from the first one. But given how slow I am to progress in these things, this show will probably be finished before I get any useful context. So I’ll really go in cold, and I did with this first episode.

    I’m doing this right now so I haven’t even watched the episode yet. To be frank what’s so much talked about and praised is the (apparently) pretty fucked up Muv-Luv Alternative but to get there one must first play through Muv-Luv Extra/Unlimited (the original game) which is bit of a bummer because so far Extra – the first route – has been mostly really tired rom-com bullshit with mostly uninteresting characters. In particular the one out of two main girls is downright insufferable tsundere childhood friend type… I’m not fond of the art and character design style, who the fuck thought chrome hair is a good idea…

    Thankfully I’ve been enjoying it more bit by bit more I play it and there are hints of upcoming scifi elements scattered here and there.

    So far i’ts nowhere near as good and engaging as other two VNs I’ve played aka Fate/Stay Night and Tsukihime which are pretty good and definetly interesting most of the time despite some moments of terrible lolnasu derpy writing – though given the comedy value inherent in Nasu’s sex writing not all that’s bad there is unenjoyable.

    As long as alternative will be as intense journey as Heaven’s Feel was I will be satisfied with the experience, I think.

    • Xard says:

      actually the gentleman and a scholar above summed up my misgivings about Extra pretty well with this:

      One thing that is absolutely critical and worth mentioning right here and now is that this is obviously not the Muv Luv you’re here for. Extra is a romantic comedy-esque harem hentai game. Each character is very shallow and their interactions range from overtly melodramatic to annoying, each arc drags as if to spite anyone playing just to get to Alternative and events seem to work on a “because it said so” basis, which in the end doesn’t matter much in a romantic comedy.

      oh well, I’ve made bigger sacrifices in terms of time to get to stuff I want to see…in this case Unlimited and Alternative, that is


  15. Pingback: A Quick-ish Look At Total Eclipse Episode 2 « Ideas Without End

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