I read some comments from I don’t really care where from complaining about the lack of character development (man I hate this fucking term) making all the deaths in this episode meaningless and lacking impact. Hilarious. The last thing I want this show to be is to become some cry porn bullshit where boys have all these feels for maimed little girls. Fuck that shit.
We got our violent war, action fans! People fight and actually get killed, A LOT. Each death was excellently portrayed in action, glorious, meaningless death as sometimes only large scale battles can deliver. I had more fun with these first two episodes than with 50 episodes of Armored Trooper VOTOMS. Yeah, you heard me.
It’s like having your XXth MS Team fresh out of training (well, not exactly out of training) forced into a real battle context and instead of saving the day like traditional mecha anime heroes in the introductory episodes, they fare pretty much as how you’d expect green n00bs would in an alien apocalypse: SHOT DOWN TO THE LAST ROBOT, ALMOST DEAD TO THE LAST GIRL.
As for the team leaders, as can be expected in trying to hold together a line using green n00bs, they spend too much time trying to keep things together and not getting the kids killed. These don’t exactly increase the odds for survival. What’s even more interesting, the training commander squad leader got killed following her own obsolete intelligence/tactics. The war hasn’t gone for too long, the enemies’ capabilities haven’t truly been tested, so it’s pretty reasonable to see someone get killed dogmatically following received intel.
At that moment, nothing can be trusted. The adults have failed. The adults have failed the children.
This would’ve been the perfect opening for the kids to turn the tide, to play out once again the venerable tradition of youth saving humanity. But it’s too soon for that, as far as this show is concerned. Without adults to guide and protect them, the children are, well, children… in the face of the alien apocalypse.
THE BETA ASSAULT
Here are a bunch of images that I collected from the episode and the Muv Luv wiki to express my appreciation for the action in this episode.
The assault vanguard is composed of Destroyer-class units (Impestusis: Arma duras “Ruitare”), notable for its extremely tough frontal armor. Its primary attack is to ram and trample. Its size and mass combined with a tightly packed formation can easily overrun even fortified resistance.
It’s weakness is a very vulnerable posterior and underbelly. In the initial counterassault by the cadets, the commander ordered them to fire at will at distance, which is stupid. Fortunately at least one cadet knew the standard play to deal with the vanguard.
That would be to jump above them and fire as they ran past. This would’ve been a disastrous tactic for the BETA if not for the comprehensive combined-arms terrestrial fighting force they deployed. If the vanguard is always a packed formation of Destroyer-class units, in pursuit or forced/full march formation the flanks are fully defended by smaller infantry or mechanized infantry units, and the whole column is protected from aerial assault by the very accurate Laser-class units (Luxcius: Duo oculus “Lux”).
The BETA assault column:
Without the ability to fly above the column and attack the Destroyer-class from behind, a TSF counterassault would have to wade into the column, wherein they’d have to contend with the swarm of Grappler-class (Rrabidusius: Bracchium acutas “Medium”), a large but nimble unit that protects the flanks of the Destroyer-class units.
The BETA attack urban centers, which give artillery commanders pause – enough to allow the BETA to overrun whatever resistance they meet. Otherwise, artillery barrages will prove highly effective, especially from the sea. Once the target is overrun, the anti-infantry units swarm into them, cleaning up resistance and eating humans along the way.
Oh, there’s this scene I particularly enjoyed. Our heroine was asked by her comrade to euthanize her before the BETA climbed into her cockpit and ate her to pieces. Takamura Yui could not do it. She instead foolishly shot at the swarm of Soldier-class BETA who overran the TSF as if that would stop them. It’s just as good, if not better than Banagher Links failing to shoot Loni Garvey at the 2nd Battle of Torrington Base in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn.
The failure of Yui here is horrifying because there was no protracted drama, just the stark failure and the consequence wide-eyed staring lifelessly as it becomes food for the swarm, dismembered unceremoniously. Loni’s death was far more merciful.