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[Review] Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse

A short while back, there was an English translation of Muv-Luv proposed on Kickstarter. I had heard of the series before, and knew it was a title many fans wanted to see in English – I didn’t realise how much though, the original goal of $250,000 was reached in less than 8 hours. Furthermore, it kept going up and the end total was $1,255,444 – five times the original goal.

Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse is for the already-established fan base, and with a title like that you could be forgiven for thinking there are some series to watch beforehand, but this is the only animated Muv-Luv title. Despite being targeted at existing fans, it is certainly possible to watch this show without any knowledge of the game – in fact, I recommend it. It should give you a good idea of the content of the upcoming games.

Total Eclipse (Which is how we will refer to the series, as the full title is a mouthful) runs over two seasons, totalling at 24 episodes. It is perhaps too much time for the studio to tell its tale. Constrained to perhaps a single season, stretching to perhaps 16 episodes, the series would have worked better. The “leftover” episodes dissolve to thinly veiled fanservice, including the ever popular episode devoted to showing off the female characters at the beach.

Hadena-Muv-Luv-Alternative-Total-Eclipse-01-720p9436A339.mkv_snapshot_10.44_2012.07.05_10.13.01-1024x576

At least some fanservice is tangentially relevant, like this scene, but there are too many boob/butt scenes

Not a new offence for anime by any accounts, but the main problem is that these episodes jar so harshly with the “real” episodes, where characters are fighting an invading force with very real consequences. This is accompanied by some cold characters suddenly lowering their defences completely, destroying that unspoken command they had once they return to that persona.

Of course, the original work is an eroge so it should be forgiven somewhat and the DVDs are uncensored if you do enjoy those scenes. I think however, it works to the detriment to the show.

On the flip side, the serious part of the show is very well done apart from a few forgivable slips. There is life-threatening action, drama, despair and political intrigue – a lot of what fans like in the West – take Code Geass as the prime example. The opening episodes do good justice to what the series achieves, unfortunately that drops off soon after and it never really returns to the initial excitement.

beta

Even though the BETA are mediocre CG, their design stands out as creative and legitimately creepy

If there’s one thing to convince you about the game, it’s the monsters – watching the anime you can see that there’s much more to be explored in the full series. The show for the most part focuses on the human side of the war. The studio does a design of creating genuinely scary monsters and I hope that’s expanded on in the game.

You can catch Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse on DVD or BluRay from Anime On-Line or streaming in certain regions on CrunchyRoll.

Final Result

3 and a half stars

Total Eclipse is best taken in parts. Half is definitely worthwhile, the other half is out of character fan-service. Even in context each episode’s “type” is fairly distinct from each other – so the only fair marking scheme is to take both aspects into account giving an unfortunately average score for its potential.

Hopefully someone releases a storyline-only ordering.

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Labels: Anime/Manga

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