26 CommentsFirst Impressions, Muv-Luv / By Shinmaru /

Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse 1 – The Longest Title (Shinmaru’s Take)

Now that’s some hot samurai robot action.

I’m not into the whole visual novel scene, so I was ignorant to Muv-Luv before I saw Total Eclipse on the ol’ summer preview chart and heard about the convoluted origin of this part of Muv-Luv from some pals of mine. Apparently Muv-Luv is the generic romance/harem portion of the story about which everybody could not give less of a shit. Perhaps the creators felt this way as well, and eventually they were like, “Fuck it, robots and aliens!” and that’s where Muv-Luv Unlimited was born. It features an absurd amount of detail and world building in an alternate universe where most of the Muv-Luv characters now use giant robots to fight off an alien invasion. And then you have Muv-Luv Alternative, which is a sequel to Unlimited, and finally from there is Total Eclipse, which is a spinoff of Alternative.

So, for those of you counting at home, Total Eclipse is an anime adaptation of a spinoff of a sequel to an alternate universe of a harem visual novel. Holy mother of God!

I’m not exactly sure why this would be the story that gets animated, especially since in the first episode there are apparently any number of details that are glossed over here but spelled out in the games. Perhaps in subsequent episodes we’ll see what’s up with “Imperial Japan,” the capital being moved back to Kyoto (I imagine the two are related), why almost every soldier we see is a teenage girl (beyond “lol anime” and “holy Christ we are losing to these aliens so hard that we need EVERYONE to fight”), being on the moon in 1967, etc. and so on. Probably too early to press the Panic Button, but it is kind of weird to see the anime take a rather generic approach in the opening episode when the games are apparently what would happen if J.R.R. Tolkien liked cool stuff like robots instead of boring shit like forests.

I mostly concentrated on this stuff because the first episode of Total Eclipse doesn’t inspire much strong feeling in me. It’s a lot of setup, details that make the viewer go, “Wait, what?” (unless they’ve played the games, of course), characters that have yet to be developed beyond basic traits and establishing a flighty mood that’s obviously going to be torn asunder because it’s been done in countless other stories across countless other mediums. I don’t think this is a bad opening episode, but years of watching anime have stretched my suspension of disbelief to Goatse levels. Also, I kind of sort of enjoy mecha a lot. You lot may be less forgiving.

However, the first two episodes of Total Eclipse premiered at Anime Expo on Sunday, and apparently episode two is where Shit Gets Real. We shall see! I would have watched, but instead I played Tanto Cuore, Cards Against Humanity and mocked the X Games. NO REGRETS.

One final note: Mai Nakahara plays Yui, I guess! I honestly cannot remember the last show I heard her in. Jeez.

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  1. Posted July 4, 2012 at 2:55 am | Permalink

    I had a bad feeling about it, but this is the kiss of death!

    • Posted July 4, 2012 at 3:21 am | Permalink

      Even with a fresh new start, my past haunts me so. :(

  2. Posted July 4, 2012 at 3:15 am | Permalink

    Oh, it gets real all right. Now I feel all special and such for having seen episode 2 before everyone else! ahahahahaha

    • Posted July 4, 2012 at 3:22 am | Permalink

      You damn braggart! *shakes fist*

  3. Taka
    Posted July 4, 2012 at 4:26 am | Permalink

    You last heard Mai Nakahara voicing the lead in Humanity Has Declined. Prior to that…lead in Otome Youkai Zakuro? Crazy sister in Katanagatari? Probably didn’t watch enough Fairy Tail to get to her character, Juvia’s intro. Saki Achiga-hen playing Teru Miyanaga? She also played a character in AKB0048, funny enough that character got screen time like last week. Prior to that Nagisa in Clannad AS. (that ended in 2009).

    The entire female cast consists of like the only older seiyuu still able to consistently get work. Nabatame Hitomi, Noto Mamiko, Ohara Sayaka.

    • Posted July 4, 2012 at 6:11 am | Permalink

      Wow, that’s her?! Man, it must have been a really long time since I heard her, because I didn’t make the connection at all … Katanagatari was probably the last time I heard her in any sort of major role.

  4. Black Dalek
    Posted July 4, 2012 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    “Total Eclipse is an anime adaptation of a spinoff of a sequel to an alternate universe of a harem visual novel. Holy mother of God!” so, thats make this a must see! XD, i read both mangas (alternative & unlimited) but nothing about this spin-off or where in the timeline of alternative its running, but for alternative i can say, yes, they we’re too urged, six months before a total evacuation of earth.

    • Posted July 4, 2012 at 6:13 am | Permalink

      Hm, yeah, I didn’t take the manga into account. I wonder how they complicate things (if at all)?

      • Posted July 4, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

        All the manga series are straight adaptations from the novels so they can be safely ignored.

    • onesangheili
      Posted July 15, 2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      The Alternative manga tends to add alot of background that the VNs didn’t have.


      -In a certain fight scene over the nation of Japan, a certain American commander has a good and detailed conversation about true American honor VS typical politics-driven American pie-fingering, and a satisfactory reason is given as to why he lost the fight despite being equally skilled and in a superior machine.
      -Another American who caused the whole thing to go to the shitter at the end is also given a good long detailing on why, and how close she was to getting her dream.
      -A certain Japanese instructor’s past is merged into the main story itself and told via flashback after her untimely and gory demise, which adds impact to the scene.
      -You thought the first death was gory, wait till the mean grinder starts up.

      All in all it greatly fleshes out the original Alternative’s story, merging the various sidestory VNs released with the fandisks into the main plot.

  5. luffyluffy
    Posted July 4, 2012 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Pretty good first episode, not the strongest, but pretty A+ compared to the rest of the stupid shit airing this season. While not as good as Humanity has Declined, it has potential.

    • Posted July 4, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      lol, this and Humanity Has Declined are all I’ve watched so far this season, so it’s been OK so far!

  6. lmm
    Posted July 4, 2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    For the moment I’m hopeful because it was just so fast, though no doubt it’ll go to hell. Reminds me of Symphogear more than anything. I said a little more on my phlog.

    • Posted July 4, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      I could sort of see the Symphogear comparisons, although Muv-Luv is not yet as endearingly goofy as Symphogear.

  7. LALLAbye
    Posted July 4, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Everything was so rushed it’s like they know it’s gonna be crap so they cramped all the character exposition and world building into episode 1 to grab the audience with death and destruction in episode 2.

    Seriously, I couldn’t care less if all of them dies in the next episode. I think I’d even feel a little relieved since I won’t have to deal with the girl that lost her boyfriend going emo and RRREVENGGE and super-saiyan on BETAs or whatnot.

    They should have just let the first few episodes focused on world-building and characterization.

    I just hope this doesn’t leave a stain on the awesome Muv-Luv franchise and make Scamp lose more of what little faith he has in visual novels.

    • Posted July 4, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      lol, Scamp having any faith left in visual novels. Funny!

      Even though the pacing is a bit wonky and I don’t have a ton of reason to care yet beyond an enjoyment of giant robots, I’m not quite ready to throw my hands in the air in exasperation. Maybe it’s because my pals told me the second episode is better.

      • LALLAbye
        Posted July 4, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

        Despite all my bitching, it’s actually not that bad imo… Mainly because it’s just one episode.

        Also, about the ED… what the heck were they thinking arrrrgh

        It’s funny how the reason everyone says the 2nd episode is better is because everyone dies. We’ll see…

  8. Erif
    Posted July 4, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Well aren’t you special. You seem to be getting along pretty well. Gotten a couple of posts out, made nice with the higher ups. You probably think you’ve achieved something, right. I mean, it’s not everyday some random bloke gets to drive the cart.

    Wrong. Fucking wrong. You better watch yourself, because when you slip up, I’LL be the one watching your sorry ASS. Maybe that shitty excuse for a blogger SCAMP might think you have potential, but EVENTUALLY you’re going to do something that’s over the line and somebody’s going to have to stop you but nobody seems to give a SHIT about it but ME.

  9. Posted July 4, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    >Apparently Muv-Luv is the generic romance/harem portion of the story about which everybody could not give less of a shit. Perhaps the creators felt this way as well, and eventually they were like, “Fuck it, robots and aliens!” and that’s where Muv-Luv Unlimited was born.
    Apparently you’re wrong. Muvluv was always a whole package and was written as such. The only reason there was a gap of three years between Extra/Unlimited and Alternative was âge’s terrible scheduling. Either way, the Alter side of things wasn’t an afterthought but the whole point of the series.

    >I’m not exactly sure why this would be the story that gets animated
    Because the main trilogy would be even more of a pain in the ass to adapt, since the existence of multiple routes across different games is a major plot point. Since âge’s boss is a fanboy of his own work and is aware that properly animating that would take a lot of money and skill, he went with the more straightforward story to convince investors that Muvluv can sell. And that’s how a spinoff gets an anime first, against all apparent logic.

    Every other question is answered in the games and should be brought up here as well so no need for me to be a smartass any further. Just a note: everything in this episode, including pretty much all characters, is original anime material. Holy crap, I’ve become a Muv trivia broken record lately.

    • LALLAbye
      Posted July 4, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      I’ve seen you doing that again and again. My condolences… and thanks.

    • Posted July 4, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Interesting! I’m not looking to be spoiled about anything, but yes, please do feel free to correct me if I say something incorrect about the series. The fact that alternate worlds exist and are a major plot point is pretty interesting to me. I dig that sort of thing. I do wonder if we’ll see any of that in this series, but if this is successful enough, then I suppose we’ll check out the rest of it.

      And I was wondering if one actually needed to play through the first Muv-Luv game to get the rest of the series, so I suppose the answer is yes, then?

      • LALLAbye
        Posted July 4, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        It’s not absolutely necessary to drag yourself through hours of pain reading the first installment a.k.a Extra. Once you get a feel with the characters, you may jump straight to Unlimited. You are however required to finished 2 main routes as Extra and Unlimited comes in a single package. Use a walkthrough and CTRL through the whole thing.

        Unlimited though is important. You’ll be lost if you skip this one too as most of the world building in Alternative is done here… including why the hell are their plugsuits so damn revealing. :P
        Not to mention I had more fun reading it than I thought I would. It’s linear, choices only affect who you bed in the end.

      • Posted July 4, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        For better or worse, Total Eclipse has no many-worlds interpretation. Overall its scale is much smaller, so instead of saving entire dimensions they struggle to survive in the damn pole. Just testing some Gundams while the cool kids get to fight against alien zeon, basically.

        And yeah, Extra is a must if you want to read the rest. Explaining the reasons why without spoiling would be pretty hard, but it suffices to say it’s a really character centric story so skipping any part would be defeating the point. Seeing the protag slowly evolve from a clueless harem lead to the Bratty Saviour is quite nice.

  10. Erif
    Posted July 4, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    btw nice post

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