Seven Coloured Compass

Beneath the starry sky, we'll meet once again.

Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse

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It took a while for me to choose what series I would watch next but since I’ve had a slight obsession with Daisuke Ono recently after re-watching Kuroko’s Basketball, I decided on watching Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse.

Muv-Luv Alternative Total Eclipse

Name: Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse

Japanese Name: マブラヴ オルタネイティヴ トータル・イクリプス

Air Date: July 2 2012 – December 24 2012

Studio: ixtl, Satelight

Episodes: 24

PLOT

Since 1973, an invasion of aliens known as BETA upon Earth is driving human civilisation to nearly collapse. Facing an enormous mass of enemy force, mankind has developed large humanoid arms called Tactical Surface Fighters and deployed them to its defense lines through out the world. However, all those efforts could slow down defeats but could not stop BETA, and mankind is forced to abandon major areas of the Eurasian Continent. For 30 years, mankind is bogged down in an endless war against BETA without any hopes of victory.

In 2001, Imperial Japan faces difficulties in the development of a next-generation main Tactical Surface Fighters (TSF) as it defends the front lines of the Far East. The UN has proposed a joint development program between Imperial Japan and the United States as a part of its international mutual development project of TSF, the Prominence Project.

Yui Takamura, a surface pilot of the Imperial Royal Guards of Japan, is given responsibility for the project and sets off to Alaska. Meanwhile, Yuya Bridges, also a surface pilot of the US Army, was heading to the same destination.

Yet they never knew that their encounter would change their destiny drastically.

This story with exciting human dramas and robot actions takes place in the development of a new Tactical Surface Fighters, the most important and effective weapons against BETA, at a crisis of human extinction.

[via Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse Official English Website]

I’ve never watched an anime that’s dealt with aliens. I’ve endured vampires, demons, spirits and ghosts but not aliens. Well, it is my first time watching a science fiction anime so here’s to starting a new genre!

First Impressions

I’m getting overly confused with this series already. The first episode is like a brief introduction and then suddenly a massive war breaks out towards the end of the episode. Fair enough it’s an unexpected attack but at least the studio could have been kind to us and introduce the characters? I was left going “who the heck is she? And him” throughout the whole episode. God knows what I’m going to be like by the time I finish all 24 episodes. I’ll be hysterical…

TSFsTactical Surface Fighters or TSFs.

Yup. Still confused as ever. And it’s been two episodes. I am a hopeless being. So the plot suddenly skips three years ahead? Cool, you do that and leave me behind then. Might as well mention this but the BETA are ugly looking things that EAT HUMANS (O_O) it’s disgusting and that fact alone has kinda put me off. They look so hideous that I can’t bear looking at them for more than two seconds. But I will not give up yet, not until I hear Daisuke Ono’s voice! Yuuya Bridges, come in for duty!

You know when you say that you’ll stop watching something but carry on anyway even if it’s against your wishes? Yup, that’s what I’m doing. Geez, I really should give myself a slap for all the times I never gave up. If I add that up then the grand total would be… a lot of slaps. Great. I’ll be walking around school with a bright red hand mark tomorrow so I wonder if anyone will ask what I’ve been up to? I think the look on my teacher’s face would be classic.

Midway Impressions

For some reason, I can never take my eyes off the screen whenever I watch this. I’m afraid that I’ll miss something important if I take my eyes off for one second! Well I have to be honest with guys, I’m enjoying this series a lot more than I originally thought. It’s more lightheaded and relaxed which I think is kind of strange. Why? I thought it would focus more on the battle against the BETA but it’s more about personal feelings I guess. Character’s pasts and the frequent use of flashbacks really help when you want to get to know the characters better so I’m grateful for that (^_^) the past that I know a lot about most is Yuuya’s… of course ( ̄^ ̄) why wouldn’t I know these things about my precious Yuuya? *Smug look on face*

Yui TakamuraGive up Yui, Yuuya is mine.

I’ve only noticed how the TSFs look like Gundams when they launch. It’s quite cool actually. The amount of dedication the test pilots and mechanics put in to develop the best TSF to counter the BETA is amazing. I’m rooting for them to win the fight! There are many flight units working together. The Argos Test Flight is an American-based development unit stationed at Yukon Base in Alaska under the United Nations Force Operation Test and Evaluation Command. Their flight team consists of Yuuya, Tarisa Manandal, Valerio Giacosa and Stella Bremer. The Idar Test Flight is another TSF developmental unit stationed at Yukon Base. The TSFs in this unit are manufactured in the Soviet Union. Their flight team consists of Cryska Barchenowa and Inia Sesrina, also known as the Scarlet Twins. The Bao-Feng Test Flight is the TSF develop unit managed by the Unified Front of China. Their flight team consists of Cui Yifei. The 65th Combat Training Battalion flight team consists of Leon Kuze and Sharon Heim. All of these teams are helping each other train with different battle exercises.

Yuuya and Leon have a complicated past so they really despise each other. But they’re both good looking so who can complain? Yuuya is freaking adorable when he gives out nicknames to his team mates. He called Tarisa ‘Chobi’, Valerio ‘Macaroni’ and Stella ‘Venus’. His close friend – Vincent Lowell – says Yuuya is the best when it comes to nicknames. I can clearly see that xD can I have a nickname too? Ssh, I have a crush on Yuuya too. Hehe ❤

Overall Opinion

Muv Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse is based off the novel of the same name which takes place in a science fiction setting where mecha, aliens and women wearing skin tight metal suits dominate the series. It’s not often that an anime series has women fighting on the frontline, protecting their homeland and loved ones. Mankind is in a state of war and survival. Blood rains down upon Earth and the ground leaves scars of war. Muv Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse focuses on the exploration of the war against BETA, interactions of characters and the struggle for the survival of mankind.

The first episode isn’t unexpected. My reaction to this was rather bitter and in some cases, it left me horrified. In fact, it’s not brief introductions but a rather dark flashback with Yui in her final days of high school. Lets be honest, high school is never too fun for most people but in Yui’s case has gotten that much grimmer. In a tragic twist, she’s forced into immediate combat with her classmates for the first time against the BETA with barely any experience at all. With that, blood is spilled with the brutality of violence. From the word go, this series has already shown that war is not a walk in the park or fun and games.

After that, everything shifts to present time and we get to see the other characters of the series. It seems Yui has become much more confident in her abilities and with her new status as a lieutenant. Starring opposite her though is the stubborn, short-tempered and confident Yuuya. He’s of Japanese-American descent who follows his roles a strong soldier against the forces of the BETA. His short temper and characteristics form a barrier between himself and the other characters in the beginning with him presenting a ‘don’t mess with me’ personality. However he is highly intelligent employing swift strategies in battle in order to overtake his opponents.

This series mixes in different characters with different characteristics. Cryska Barchenowa – who is of Soviet descent – has a cold personality and is afraid to let people get close to her because of the state of her mentality. She is the cold beauty of the series with an equally cold ability to fly the unfriendly skies of the series and doing what she does best. Beside her is Inia Sestina. She is Cryska’s most precious person. Unlike Cryska, Inia is much more gentler and treats other people with kindness especially Yuuya who she adores like an older brother. She is the contrast of Cryska but opposites attract they say.

Other characters in the series have different personalities as well. Tarisa Manandal acts as the comedy relief of the series despite some of the seriousness of the situation around them. Later on, Cui Yifei, a pilot of the Chinese descent is introduced where she brings out the inner tsundere from Yui.

As the series progressed, a more political side emerges, involving the various genetic heritages of the main characters. The nickname ‘Japanese Doll’ given by Yuuya to Yui serves as a comedic but also political reference to his disdain towards the race. The other characters’ heritages also strikes a distinguishing background for the series which makes it more realistic.

The series traces its roots with survival of the fittest although it doesn’t involve any game elements. Instead, it’s a military type series that involves one force and the other. There can only be one winner on in the end: mankind or BETA. The battles in the series are often intense when they occur spilling blood and violence wherever they are. The characters drawn are visually presented well and gets the point across. The emotions and drama mixed in is a surprisingly exciting thing to watch. It shows the dangers mankind have been and will be facing in future.

Despite the serious tone, there is a lot of interaction between the main characters later on in the series. Yuuya becomes less aggressive and less self-centered instead adopting a more caring attitude towards his colleagues, treating them as friends rather than comrades. His interaction with Yui is one of the main focuses in the series as he inspires her that she can create a path the way she wants. This opened up new doors of opportunities for a more caring relationship between the two. However, this may seem futile because there are also other women interested in Yuuya. In some of the later episodes, Yuuya becomes the centre of attention, attracting the attention of many female characters. It appears strange to realise that in such a dark atmosphere that BETA has already created, there can also be some space for enjoyment and laughter.

Argos Test FlightThe perfect team…Argos Flight Team, go!!

The artwork of the series is presented that it reflects the more serious tone in which survival of mankind depends on this generation of trained pilots. The pilots themselves are well drawn and the tight suits that the females wear are definitely eye candy for the lads. On the other hand, the mecha drawn are less than ambiguous and focuses too much on themselves. They’re there for military purposes; fighting BETA to ensure mankind’s survival. BETA themselves however gives off that alien invasion like feeling with designs of horns, teeth, stingers, etc. Their behavior in the series shows that they are there to invade and that they only want to spill blood.

The music for the series is alright. ‘Go to the top’ by Kumi Koda shows a montage of the central characters as well a glances of the vicious BETA. Some of the more emotional flashbacks have a soft melody accompanying them that reflects the sadness of Muv Luv: Total Eclipse. A few of the characters had tragic pasts and it made them who they are today. Through the pain and suffering, they only become stronger.

All in all, Muv Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse is one of those mecha series where it tries to balance out the grim reality of the war and the drama between the main characters. The reality of the war is there as we can see from Yui’s past and what she has gone through. But at the same time, there is new hope as she finds new friends and allies to move on from that past. Yuuya’s interactions with the other characters also shows that he is a caring person rather than the obnoxious, self-centered pilot introduced at the start of the series. There is also the potential romance and hope for a better future.

Muv Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse is another one of those underrated series that some of us may have overlooked in 2012. It’s worth giving it a go especially if you’re into science fiction drama. I certainly enjoyed it!

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