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Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse

Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Ecclipse
In 1973 the aliens attacked. Nicknamed “BETA,” these monsters proved nigh on unbeatable, and soon most of Europe and Asia was uninhabitable. Humanoid robot weapons, known as Tactical Surface Fighters (TSFs) were developed to help combat the BETA, but it is not an easy battle. As a student, Yui Takamura finds herself in a deadly battle as an untried cadet, something which will have a terrible effect on the rest of her life. Nevertheless, she remains in the Imperial Royal Guards and years later as a lieutenant is in charge of an international group based in Alaska working on ways to combat the BETA. This brings her into contact with Yuuya Bridges, a Japanese American pilot with some issues of his own...

Mech squad flyingMuv-luv Alternative: Total Eclipse is one of those anime where you will either love it, or hate it. Based on a series of visual novels, the anime is a spin off that follows the story of a group of ace test pilots from all over the world who are assigned to help perfect the Tactical Surface Fighters (TSFs) needed to win the war against BETA. The shows roots in eroge are clear, although toned down to make it suitable for television - expect the BD volumes to be much more explicit. Saying that, like most other 2012 anime, we are treated to a fair share of fanservice, including swimsuits and skin tight flight suits. There are other anime out there that do worse though.

In the first episode we witness Yui Takamura's last days as a highschool student living in a world where even young girls are drafted into the army to fight in a losing war against alien invasion. The first two episodes throw us straight into the middle of the war and dose us with a good taste of action, but be aware of the bait and switch at the end of episode two; the real story does not start until episode three which is based several years after the events of the first two episodes.

Yui fighting YuutaFrom episode three onwards, the action takes a back seat in return for some serious character development. One of the most pleasing elements of the show is how deep into the characters minds and past they go - the main characters are definitely three-dimensional. I also have to give props to Kouda Kimi. Her song, Go to the Top, matches the anime and intro perfectly and is by far my favourite intro song for this season. It has that catchy style to it that just gets stuck in your head.

Not all is perfect and cheery with the anime though. Some characters, like Tarisa and Cui can get annoying at times while the love triangle romance between the protagonists suffers due to flaws in their characters personality and the show's attempts to tread into the territory of harem anime, which is unfortunate. The anime also suffers some clumsy animation and hideously designed flight suits, especially in the first two episodes, but thankfully, as the show continues on the animation appears to improve greatly.

Great shot with Yui and Yuuta's mechs
Overall, the anime has a well thought out story that shows some strong depth, reflecting the prejudice and emotional trials of characters caught up in an unforgiving world. The consequences of the war and the characters actions make for some fantastic storytelling that proves the show has the ability to rise well above it's ero background. I would definitely recommend giving this show the proper attention it deserves.

1 comment:

  1. On another note: The most recent episode had to be the worst of the show to date. It provided no real story development at all, and served merely as a fanservice filler episode. I can expect that the BD volume containing this episode will be a favourite for the ecchi fans, considering it had the most explicit scenes to date in the show. Going so far as to show one particular character's imagined fantasy of what it would be like to have a yuri relationship with Yui, and not just with her, but a whole harem of the shows female characters.

    Hopefully the next episode will be back on track. I expect so, going by the briefing in the last couple of minutes.