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.