[HorribleSubs] Muv-Luv Alternative - Total Eclipse - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_11.36_[2012.07.09_21.45.55]

[Muv Luv Alternative Total Eclipse 01]

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.

[HorribleSubs] Muv-Luv Alternative - Total Eclipse - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_08.15_[2012.07.09_21.43.49]

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.


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.

[HorribleSubs] Muv-Luv Alternative - Total Eclipse - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_03.06_[2012.07.09_20.16.03]

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.

[HorribleSubs] Muv-Luv Alternative - Total Eclipse - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_06.39_[2012.07.09_21.41.51]

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:

[HorribleSubs] Muv-Luv Alternative - Total Eclipse - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_09.46_[2012.07.09_20.14.29]

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.

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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  1. schneider says:

    This episode was great! The failed euthanasia scene was incredible… just that most of it was censored ugh ugh.

    It’s interesting to note that the TSFs have these sub-arms that flip down for an extra pair of guns. I like this because they provide extra firepower without being limb-mounted (which has the danger of being disarmed or torn off). I find the melee combat ineffective and clumsy, though, despite how cool the blades look.

    And yeah, the BETA look absolutely terrifying. Adds to the horror.

    • ToastCrust says:

      Melee’s probably an unfortunate necessity just because of how common instances of running out of ammunition must be… haha.

    • What did you think of the way the blue TSF that turned up at the end was using its blade? Most of the TSFs we saw were up-armed and upgraded first-generation models, but the blue one was (if I have my chronology right) a prototype third-generation high-performance TSF, and it had a better pilot too.

      Anyway, I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of the rest of the show is about weapons-testing. Or noseart, for that matter. Or going to the beach. Or alien hordes, it’s hard to tell.

    • The method of censorship was terribly crude and unsightly.

      Yes, remember the whole argument against hands? And how Western mecha designs (Battletech) are superior because of their supposed practicality in terms of weapons as part of limbs and/or actual turrets and turret-analogous platforms?


      Thank you TSF.

      Each of you basically functions as a Macross Quarter without being a unit carrier: you all have a 360 degree firing arc~

      Well, the clumsiness, if intentional, makes it brilliant. Why?

      Swords aren’t really anti-monster slayers aren’t they? You use spears to hunt boars, and spear variants vs. Dragons (lances). Swords vs. non-humanoids won’t feel natural to observe as they won’t play out as duels — no passes, ripostes, parrying, etc.

  2. ToastCrust says:

    The detailed attention to how combined arms and tactics work (for both sides!) is probably the best quality of Muv-Luv. It’s pretty fortunate the creators saw it fit to totally nerd out when it came to these factors, even if they might be slightly sloppy on the strategic level w

    • SQA says:

      Once you ignore the fact their tactics are stupid as all hell, it’s a fun watch. The small unit stuff, after the battle starts, works from a tactical stand point, but their insistence on making bad tech and full war strategic decisions is kind of why they’re all getting slaughtered.

    • Terribly sloppy, both strategically and tactically.

      The best way to stop a horde like that is to use fucking minefields. DONE. ASSAULT REPELLED. ROBOTS UNNECESSARY.

      • ToastCrust says:

        Assuming you can make enough mines and can place that many of them in one area densely enough without them blowing each other up ww

        Minefields are used to make terrain impassable so the enemy either takes a route less advantageous to them or to slow down their advance.

        But this only has relevance if the enemy actually has a self-preservation instinct.

        That said they SHOULD have laid down minefields, if only so there are less BETA when they inevitably break through anyways.

        I wondered about the lack of a blanketing artillery screen too, but that’s hardly a long term solution due to how much munitions would need to be emptied to keep them at bay (not to mention the psychological issue that most patriots have a hard time laying waste to their own territory).

  3. bluemist says:

    You make me wanna watch this show, not because of its VN roots, but I just wanna watch the world BUUUURN.

  4. Kuro says:

    The failed euthanasia scene was actually quite good. I’d really like to see how this affects her in the coming episodes.

    This episode is basically zerg rush done right.

    • No idea how the rest of the show will go from here. We might get maybe 2 skirmishes, and one set-piece at the end. In between we get shitty fanservice and drama/hijinks.

  5. MarigoldRan says:

    Ok, I’m sold.

    This does not appear to be a happy series.
    Below are some of its tropes (no real spoilers):
    Murphy’s Law
    Trolling Creator
    Crapsack World
    … among others.

    It has music like this:

  6. Turambar says:

    I had more fun with these first two episodes than with 50 episodes of Armored Trooper VOTOMS. Yeah, you heard me.

    ….I’m going to have to watch this now, aren’t I?

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

  8. r042 says:

    At first I thought the characters weren’t relatable enough but then I realised it was the point – they’re the redshirts, the rubbish ensigns that Kirk throws at mysterious planets to see who survives, the Imperial Guardsmen.

    If you consider that, the episode works quite a lot better.

    • There are at least two who aren’t completely red shirted characters, but they aren’t examples that necessarily require me to be thoroughly invested in them. One is the girl who had a boy (token relationship pathos) and then the rival comrade girl.

      • r042 says:

        Fair point – I was half expecting, going in, girl-with-dead-boyfriend to die taking some kind of risk in a SCREW YOU BETAS FOR KILLING MY HUSBANDO moment.

        • I’m quite happy at how her death happened off-screen. We all know it was inevitable. Really, chances were if there was someone who was going to get it later on in the show, it’d have been her.

  9. megaroad1 says:

    i was already interested after your first blog on this show but now I really have to watch this.

  10. Luis Simoes says:

    I suspect that the real reason why you particularly like this is that the show goes out of it’s way to be the anti moe, because quite frankly the tactics of both sides sucks and every piece of drama (except that shooting your comrade scene – that was very well done) was forced, with people getting killed only after their dramatic/wrong sentence, without even being cut off (even though I liked that they were often killed by their own stupidity).

    As to why both sides tacticts sucks:
    It is impossible for the beta to move undected in large numbers, especially because they propel themselves with legs with generate so much vibration that any two sismographs should be enough to pinpoint their location exactly the instant they move. And for reference, just mere infantry soldiers are trained to not march in synch in bridges to avoid catastrophic shakes – we are not even talking about the heavy destroyers.

    Even if somehow their attacks remained undetected, It would be stupidly easy to stop the destroyers; you could dig a 10 foot deep thrench and wainting until they fall down, unable to get out due to their massive weight holding them down and buried thus making shooting the unprotected melee and laser soldiers that have no ground level range weapons a daily routine.

    Alternatively, you could just have the TSF dig land mines a foot deep, where the destroyers can’t reach them, and blow them up just as they are jumping above them, destroying the unprotectable legs from the destroyer class BETA and stopping any invasion dead thanks to the massive line of alien dead bodies, thus initiating the slaughter of the pathetically stranded aliens.

    Really, that the humans are losing so badly why shows how much worse their tactics are. But hey, we need our end of the world scenario via exciting massive fights, where the mass slaughter of the infantry via infinitly respawning aliens make up for the obvious posing of the new units as oppose to boring, everyone from both sides dies gradually via large number of small scale skirmishes liike victory gundam and armored troopers Votoms.

    • lunamoonbreak says:

      I see we have a frodo in this thread.

      • What do you mean by a frodo?

        [Sorry, I’m a Tokien retard and I just finished rewatching the extended version of the first film. I’m uncomfortable not understanding this reference].

        • Vendredi says:

          “Frodo” would be slang for the common use of the image of a puzzled Frodo Baggins on 4chan’s /a/ board. It’s often used when asking questions about major plot holes, such as “Why didn’t they use minefields?”

    • DarkFireBlade25 says:

      It was mentioned elsewhere that the Japanese were unprepared because the BETA never crossed such a wide body of water until now. In other fronts like the European one, these tactics were used rather judiciously. That’s why the humans survived for 40 years or so against the onslaught.

      I think the BETA naturally know how to cancel each other’s vibrations out. They’re biological after all. Also they make hives underground so they are pretty good judging their terrain.

    • No, I like moe just fine. I’m not a wholesale fan of it, but as you can see in my 30 favorite shows, I’m not averse to it at all.

      This show may be really close to what I eventually think about when I watch moe anime.

      This is not to say you are incorrect to think that I appreciated the GRIMDARK reversal of the moeblobs. It’s just not the real reason. I don’t mind dumb tactics, as long as it results in an investment in animating robot violence.

      You are totally right about the mines. You can line the trenches with mines too — basically the tactics we discuss here actually significantly reduce risk of combat in visual range. And I agree about the apocalyptic battles happening before us and not off screen like in Mobile Suit Gundam and in Armored Trooper Votoms.

  11. r042 says:

    Really yes, this setting is illogical. But as a SF conceit squishy humans stopping beta/bugs/zerg/tyranids is a sub genre with its own clichés. Maybe if alien fanged penis spiders and laser fleas from Mars invaded we’d dig holes and lay mines rather than send moe girls out in mecha with 4 P90s and a sword, but that’s not actually very interesting. No offence meant but sf is inherently a compromise between common sense and author Fiat, so asking “what if” is largely useless.

    • Bonen no Max'd says:

      Have you heard of Shingeki no Kyojin? My sole-experience with Muv-Luv is the first episode of Total Eclipse, but from what I hear/can tell they are very similar as far as the actual desperate fight for survival. There aren’t mecha in Shingeki, but it makes up for it with this really cool grappling system all the humans use to fight the titans.

    • You use the term cliche the same way many people would use the term to mean trope (as in tvtropes). Do you use it as a negative value judgment? Tropes are value neutral, I believe.

    • You use the term cliche the same way many people would use the term to mean trope (as in tvtropes). Do you use it as a negative value judgment? Tropes are value neutral, I believe.

      • r042 says:

        Not at all – I don’t personally think cliche, derivation et al are bad.

        I try and avoid using “trope” because it’s been so devalued by tvtropes to use it around some people leads to them thinking I’m the sort of person who blathers on about a Zettai Ryoukai Manic Pixie Dream Girl with a Thanatos Gambit brought about by Percussive Maintenance (i.e. a bit of a tool).

        • LOL, I get you. I don’t mind using the term, and a trope reference every now and then because I’ve been around for about 4 years here and it’s clear I may be many different kinds of a tool, but not THAT kind.

  12. HunSwordsman says:

    I’d say it’s not a complaint about character development though, which would be premature, but even just character establishment. Have you watched the start of Ga-Rei Zero by any chance? That’s more like what I’d expect out of a relatively similar situation, except handled way more effectively and perhaps also with a slightly to moderately higher budget.

    I can agree that the carnage in this episode was nice to see, like others have said, and the dark atmosphere somehow worked despite the dumb tactics of all involved, from trainee to superior officer.

    And yes, this includes the BETA, who basically let Yui survive for…apparently no particular reason.

    It’s interesting that you compared the scene at the end with the Banagher and Loni sequence from Gundam Unicorn, because in both cases (though especially so in UC) I felt like the positives of the moment were dragged down by the negatives. Not to the point of irrelevance, but still…they could have wrapped it up with a little more care and the effect would have been more, not less, convincing.

    • I watched the first episode of that over 3 years ago. Nothing felt memorable and I don’t remember anything about it.

      I don’t have issues with the Unicorn 04 ending, not to say that I think it can’t be done differently and better.

  13. Truly, there is nothing more manly and bracing than maimed girls doing mecha things.
    As far as the bloodshed quota goes this series it seems has quite a lot left to spill towards satisfying the thirst for BETA BLUD, and these rookie pilots certainly aren’t helping things along. If it keeps on like this I expect we’ll see a new rotating cast every three weeks be killed off.

  14. squaresphere says:

    Great promise for an anime but slightly marred by bullshit combat suits on all 15 year old girls with double EEs. There’s fan service then there’s fan distraction.

    Preview of the next ep doesn’t fill me with hope that the show doesn’t go down the road of moe with EE’s BS.

    The feeling I get is that the ending will be total Gunbuster where humans finally have the technology to build a SUPER (cause the reals kept dieing).

    • Turambar says:

      Speaking of Gunbuster, I couldn’t help but notice similarities between the two thematically, what with high school settings for pilot training, masses of faceless space monsters with hilariously acronyms for names, the general ineffectiveness of human resistance, and the very distinct usage of “Imperial Japan” as the title of the country.

      • squaresphere says:

        Yeah, there’s a lot of parallels so far, though the biggest difference is that in GB the aliens never reached earth. On “Imperial Japan” makes sense in that either WW2 never ended in a loss for Japan or it never happened.

        I do find it ironic though since without western influence the Japanese would probably have a much different “school girl uniform”.

    • Can’t say I’m a fan of the character designs as well. I’m onboard with the Gunbuster ending as well.

    • jonas says:

      In fairness, the male pilots we see in combat, also have huge pecs and abs.

  15. Cratex says:

    Yes, (almost) all the girls died, but they took a respectable honor guard with them.

    Actually, near as I can tell, whether the writer(s) intended it that way or not, it appears to me the reason they were slaughtered was a failure of command and control, or possibly a bad command decision – it almost looked like they were sacrificed just to hold a piece of ground. Yes, their tactics left something to be desired, but the survivors were getting their act together when they were overwhelmed by a main body they were not made aware of.

    Though technically obsolete, I liked that those battleships got their licks in. A broadside of 9×18 inch guns speaks with a lot of authority.

    • Yeah love a naval bombardment. Still, trenches and minefields would’ve made a great way to stop a rampaging assault in its tracks.

      • shadowlancer says:

        Since the anime had virtually no time to show this, but humans liberally use minefields and defensive positions against the beta. There is a reason humanity survived for 30 years thus far. its just that the BETA come in such high numbers that sooner or later the minefields are exhausted faster than it can be replenished , the fortifications worn down after each assault. For example the following is taken from a translated synopsis/summary of another official Muvluv novel. ” schwazemarken” that i hope one day can get an anime adaption as well.
        “The story starts on Januarry 10th 1983. After the disastrous defeat suffered by the red army and the GDR(German democratic republic)’s east German army(NPA-national people’s Army) by the BETA at Bialystok in 1978, the NPA have began a gradual systematic retreat out of Poland as the Beta emerging from the Minsk Hive continued their relentless push both east and west cutting off Easts Germany and the Soviet Union. Within a year, Poland is lost to the ravaging Alien invaders. During that time the NPA have began construction of multiple “Fortress” like defense installations and Bunker networks along the entire Oder–Neisse line on the Poland and GDR border. With the advantage of easily defensible terrain, heavy artillery , close air-support, pre-sighted kill zones, Extensive minefields, man made obstacles/traps/trenches and interlocking arcs of fire for all Defense installations along the Oder–Neisse line, the GDR claimed to its people that such defenses are impregnable and that No BETA shall ever cross its lines. Though of course when faced with the astronomical numbers of BETA such defenses are far from perfect and would only be a matter of time before its imminent collapse. So now, 4 years after the fall of Poland and the completion of the oder-Neisse defense line, another battle rages on as its defender fight to repel another BETA wave. If the Oder–Neisse line were to fall the GDR would lose several major factory complexes, power plants and coal mines- essentially the life blood of the GDR’s wartime economy and social stability. Not to mention Berlin’s proximity but needless to say should the NPA fail here at the Oder–Neisse line the lives of more than 1 million east German citizens would be at stake and in all likely hood the collapse of the east German government as well. For the NPA this is a No Fail mission. ”

        • shadowlancer says:

          And here is whats going on with the rest of the world in Muvluv.
          In europe the beta advance is stopped at the strait of Dover by the various remaining European military forces.The most powerful being the military of Germany, UK, and France.They are also augmented by an naval US carrier fleet and its marine expedition unit.
          Down south the beta is held in check at the suez canal by the Turkish, Israeli and the Iranians.
          In asia its at the philipines and Taiwan the betas are halted by the USMC and china’s
          surviving PLA forces.
          Up north the russians managed to hold the line just west of magadan in siberia. And the US leased half of alaska to the Russians to house their political leaders.(This area will be the primary point of interest for the Total eclipse anime)

          The USA is virtually untouched due to the US airforce nuking canada when a beta hive landed in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Over 40% of canada is radio active and so is part of North Dakota and Minnesota.

        • Excellent. Thank you for this.

          I also realize that once the minefield is crossed, that’s area that can’t be reclaimed and replanted with mines assuming the wave of attackers are constant. Tower defense games make this pretty clear.

  16. sadakups says:

    What can I say? I’m impressed.

    BETA Zerg Rush FTW.

  17. I thought this series would be above my head, but if the action and tactics are really this thought out… well f*ck it! I may have to give this a shot.

  18. Pingback: A Look at Total Eclipse Episode 3 « Ideas Without End

  19. Gamer2002 says:

    I get the point, people die very easily. But I would like it better if in first episode girls didn’t act like they were expecting Seaman Ship ;P

    I am nitpicking, because I am always nitpicking serious shows 😛

  20. Seeing the 2nd episode, this delivers total shickloads for blood, death and mecha goodness. This is definitely a show if you want to see the world burn!!!

    I hope that the fanservice, romance ecchi and slice of life would be little and more on the fights, and drama to survive with insurvivable odds for the Human race

  21. Pingback: The Impracticality of Ace Pilots Vs. The Alien Apocalypse: Muv Luv Alternative Total Eclipse Episode 03 | We Remember Love

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