First Impression: Muv-Luv Alternative – Total Eclipse

Mecha and boobs, all in here

Soooo my very first summer first impression goes to Muv-luv? What has happened to me? Just kidding I get to tag with the always fun anaaga and of course great Jrow. I just have to say what in the world are we about to talk about? Judging from just the strange cover artwork I can only see FANSERVICE, FLIGHT-SUITS and strange mecha, but who knows this could be fun to watch and make jokes about right?
Time for anaaga to put on a tight plugsuit and defend our planet against BETA. Fosh & I would love to fight alongside her, but we are guys and guys do not pilot mechs in Muv Luv because, well, that’s just the way it is.
Sorry Jrow, but I don’t ride mechs naked so I can’t ride them. I mean- Ehm, anyway… As everybody picked the shows they want to blog, I was suddenly possessed with the idea of blogging this anime. At the last minute, I put Muv-Luv as my second show I wanted the most. I have NO IDEA how that happened, but I guess that’s why I’m here now. Thankfully, I’m not alone since Fosh and Jrow are with me right now. Yay mecha buddies!

Foshizzel // Hmmmm what did I just witness? I saw some cool stuff with people getting owned on the surface of the moon and then suddenly we were thrown around through time. I really did not care too much for the time skips, but I wanted to see more of the aliens versus humans on the moon! Why did we have to return to boring old earth? Oh right because the main plot lives there of course. I should take a minute to mention one of the “main characters” Yui Takamura who is a first lieutenant in Japan’s imperial royal guard and she also comes from a well-known family. She seems to be an alright character that I can follow along with and the others are from the same country or from some other part of the world? According to MAL we have some characters from Russia, America and Sweden, but each character has a special skill it seems.

So which character I got excited to see? Ohhhh I bet anyone can guess like anaaga, but to save you some time guessing it is easily Vincent Lowell because of the amazing Tomokazu Sugita of course. However, I think he is stuck playing a random fighter from America who doubles as a mechanic? Sure why not! I always have a soft spot for the mechanic types or inventors. Other than Vincent, there really are no other characters I can’t wait to see, but I think we have the generic giant boob characters and yes I think there are a few loli girls running around namely Inia Sestina? Her bio says “often carries a teddy bear with her” if that doesn’t scream loli character I have no idea what dies. She could just be super short with a childlike mentality?

Cool characters are nice and all but how are the mechs in Muv-Luv? I would say they are 90% CGI and 10% animated. I don’t really like their designs at all, but there was that scene with the girls flying through the woods which looked really cool and it almost felt like a video game cut scene. While this is a first episode and I tend to keep the negative comments to myself on most first impressions I have to say the flight suits for the girls are TERRIBLE! They are seriously bad! I rather stare at the suits from Rinne no Lagrange or Aquarion EVOL…those shiny parts make their boobs look like cannon balls…yeah… Anyway I will give Muv-Luv two more episodes before giving it a drop forever.

Jrow // Debut episodes like the one for Muv Luv Alternative frustrate me. This episode doesn’t have a redeeming quality that hooked me in. It’s alright to have a slow first episode and take time to do some table-setting, but you’ve got to do, at minimum, one thing that sells me on the series and makes me want to continue. On that level, Muv Luv failed significantly.

I’ve already talked with regular commentor Highway on our preview about the character designs and how boring/flat they look. They don’t exactly meld in with the backdrops all that well. They look like a worse version of, well… a visual novel. Satelight’s previous animes Mouretsu Pirates and Aquarion Evol outdo this tenfold. No girl jumps out at me in a fanservicey way. The skin-tight suits? No thanks; disappointingly boring, even with different colored suits for two of the mains. Even that camera-panning stuff used at the beginning couldn’t interest me in the whole idea of a war and how what happened in the ’60s has shaped the world into a bunch of high school girls piloting mechs. There’s more to be seen with the mechs, so I’ll withhold judging that element of the series. Problem is, I don’t plan on sticking around for episode 2.

BETA’s full name is a terribly unnecessary garble of words (Being of Extra Terrestrial origin which is an Adversary of the human race) meant to imply other humans are fighting against this whole group of female pilots. I liked how Gundam AGE kind of built up the possibility of their “Unknown” being aliens. The full name BETA seems to imply that it’s some other group of human beings that are engaging in war for energy-based reasons. Energy resources is all the craze in entertainment, so it wouldn’t surprise me if that factors into the plot any.

And then the preview happens. A girl screaming her lungs out. I get the sense that shit is supposed to be getting real and that some of these girls are going to experience hell all the way to their graves. I hate when an anime makes me feel like I need to give it a second or third episode in order to appreciate the story that’s being told. There are only so many hours in a day and better anime from yesteryear that I still have to check out. There didn’t need to be death or blood in episode 1, but in the end I had trouble developing any attachment for these girl pilots or hoping that humanity can emerge out of this horrible nightmare it seems to be living.

anaaga // Since I had no expectation for this anime, I was not disappointed with this episode. That doesn’t mean that I liked it though. One biggest letdown I have for this episode is definitely the animation. From Muv-Luv’s synopsis, I expected an eye-catching visual with beautiful color, just like Mouretsu Pirates. Hey, it should be like Pirates. It’s from Satelight after all! Not to mention that this is a mecha show. But no, I did not get that. The animation quality was just average. It was nothing impressive. With the exception of the CGI of course, but the rest was just… So-so. This anime has this bad habit of distorting everything that’s not being focused on the scene. I’ll see this decently animated close-up animation of Yui, then everything behind her will be blah.

While the CGI was great, the mecha design is bleh. There is nothing great about the design. Also, the female pilot suit design is REALLY AWFUL. I am sure this is not without reason (in fact, there’s a reason why it’s made like that), but that kind of design would just be distracting especially during the intense fights between BETAs and TSFs. Stupid fanservice. What’s the point of this? Like ExecutiveOtaku mentioned in his tweet, the original materials are horrible. He specifically point to the pilot suit, but I personally think the designs of everything are pretty much not pleasant to the eyes. The only exception I have is the BETA, and it’s because they’re not even shown yet. I have to admit, the way they’re animating BETA is pretty interesting since BETA’s form is being concealed at the same time they’re doing their slaughter. And while the Zaikaku has this horrible design, the cockpit’s system is pretty interesting. Man, why can’t the design be as interesting as the cockpit system.

I know some of the audience did not like how the story started. It makes sense, since over half of the episode was only about bunch of girls doing boring non-girly stuff that somehow looks girly when the girls do them. I had a hard time trying not to sleep because the episode was extremely slow (hence why I watched it twice), though it gives me a calming feeling too, somehow (Justin was giving a hint by telling me this). Even though I dozed off, I don’t think this episode was bad at all. Yes, it was slow, but all it was trying to do was to show the girls’ daily lives before the storm happens. Maybe it wants to make the audience sympathize with the girls (which obviously didn’t work for me). Let’s not forget that this is PART 1, which means that it was supposed to be watched with PART 2, shown in Anime Expo. Us internet peeps are not lucky enough to watch both of the episodes at the same time. And even though episode one was pretty slow, it was able to explain all the basic stuff that needs to be known in this anime, including the alternative setting (e.g. the Imperial Japan is still in power). So yeah, all the actions and tragedies are going to be shown in episode two. And who knows, maybe the story and animation will get better in episode two. Muv-Luv anime did not start well, but I see the possibility of better episodes with proper development. I see a potential in Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse. And maybe when new characters appear (Sugitan, Fosh!), this show will be better. Goddamn it, just bring me Ono Daisuke and Sugitan already.

Preview: Part II aka. the tragedy part.

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24 Responses to “First Impression: Muv-Luv Alternative – Total Eclipse”

  1. Highway says:

    Like Jrow said, I didn’t care for the feel of the animation. And the screenshots really seem to mask the way I saw it during the show. The characters just felt very 2D, imposed on good-to-excellent backgrounds, but their movements and their depth just weren’t there for me. A particular place I noticed it was the hair and suit appendages in front of their faces. They seemed like just an ‘on top’ layer, on top of a flat layer for the face. No curvature around the side of the head, or around their hair.

    I also didn’t like the suits. For a show that seemed to be selling at least partly on “hey, look at babes in tight suits!” the suits were then covered up with anything they could find. Mechanical frames, collars, and then giant shapeless coats. What, did they not want to give it all away in the first episode? And this might seem like a weird criticism, but do the suits come with breast implants, or are their normal school uniforms that shapeless and baggy that they completely hide what the suit brings out? For me, the suits really paled in comparison to other shows – if you’re going for a ‘realistic’ suit, I prefer Rinne no Lagrange, and for completely outlandish fanservice suits, something like Asobi ni Iku yo. These were just kinda bleh, and it’s one of those areas where moderation just doesn’t work.

    And it feels like piling on, but the story is soooo bleak, and doesn’t seem to be letting up anytime soon. I understand wanting to set the stage for the show, but even if it’s a two-episode arc, I think you need to at least hint at the reason things will get better sometime in the first episode if that’s all you’re going to show for the first week (this would be different if it was a special 1 hour opener or something). Instead, from the preview it just seems like it’s going to pile on more darkness, with no glimmer of hope.

    I’ll probably keep watching through episode 3, and see if the things I don’t like are overshadowed by new things I do like, but this wasn’t a promising start.

    • Amuro1X says:

      “it just seems like it’s going to pile on more darkness, with no glimmer of hope.”

      Well, yeah. That’s kind of the point of the story and setting. They’re fighting a losing war against an alien race that’s hellbent on destroying the human race.

      • Amuro1X says:

        Now that I think about it, it’s probably for the best that we don’t care about these characters in the first episode, because I doubt any of them will survive past the second.

        • Foshizzel says:

          While watching this episode with my brother I was like Gold/red mecha pilots are going to live! EVERYONE ELSE IS SO SCREWED! Muahahahahhahaha

      • Jrow says:

        I think some, myself included, just don’t find those stories to be enjoyable. Something about those kinds of anime are offputting to me, like it’s just the story taking joy in murdering.

      • Highway says:

        Yeah, but even in settings like that, the story usually turns on the positivity of something specific, whether it’s someone’s love story or a breakthrough to turn the tide, or even some people finding a way to have fun in such a setting. If you don’t have any of that, you have The Day After and Stephen Baxter Manifold books where it’s just people counting days until the universe ends. Not really something that can sustain a 12 episode show.

        It could be a problem with the splitting of this into two episodes, and that hook is sometime in the next half hour. But that’s really a failure because they should have realized that most people are going to go a week with just this episode half in their minds, with very little to pull them back to the show. And if that hook doesn’t happen in the next half hour, that’ll be even worse.

    • Foshizzel says:

      Amen Highway! I will stick to Rinne no Lagrange for fanservice in terms of suits…yeah even the suits in Asobi ni iku yo were alright, but these ones in Muv-Luv are bad so bad!!

  2. Amuro1X says:

    Uh, Jrow, the BETA are not of human origin. They’re really aliens, and pretty horrifying ones at that. If there was a downside to this episode, it was that we don’t really get a good look at them, but I assure you, they’re pretty nasty.

    The thing with Muv Luv is that it’s origin actually is that of a visual novel dating sim. Alternative took what was a typical high school romance dating sim, and put those same characters in a horrible alternate world with humans fighting a losing war against the BETA. That’s sort of the draw to Alternative. It is a depressing and bleak story.

    Anyway, I think it was a mistake to air that first episode as a two part thing. Considering we get to the action only to be told we have to wait a week. I’ll stick with it for the time being, and I at least suggest checking out the second part of episode one before you drop it.

    • Jrow says:

      I’ll just admit I was sitting there with arms folded going, “fuck episode, end.” I don’t remember a damn thing about them.

      Should’ve been an hour special, just like what the people at Anime Expo got to see.

  3. HannoX says:

    If beings able to cross interstellar space arrive on Earth bent on conquest, it is going to be pretty bleak and depressing for humanity. I’ve got a feeling the next part is going to be a big slaughter with most of the girls we’ve met killed off before we can care about them, which means there’ll be very little emotional impact for us in their deaths. Not very good storytelling there.

    It’s probably the episode after that when the real story is supposed to start when the surviving girls (only two I think?) are transfered to the secret facility where a new mecha is being developed that finally gives humanity a chance. At least that’s the idea I got from reading what this anime is supposed to be about.

    • HannoX says:

      Oh, to add–waiting until the 3rd episode to start getting people interested in your characters is very stupid storytelling. Many will drop it before then. There’d better be a real kickass battle next time if they want people to stick around. Certainly the mecha designs and pilot suits aren’t enough to hold people’s interest and as I’ve said we can’t really care about the characters yet, either.

  4. BlackBriar says:

    Hmmm… Not bad for a first episode. I think it should have been almost an hour long to get the origin story out like Fate/Zero. They pretty much started the series with what is essentially a prologue detailing Yui’s past.

    It feels like the Gundam series or Infinite Stratos mixed with Rinne no Lagrange. Not to mention those skin tight suits the girls have that show off their nice curves. LOL. Forgive me if I sound perverted. I lost myself to ecchi because of the fanservice for a moment there. I’m giving it another shot because judgment can never be passed the first time around and it might prove promising. Mecha, post apocalyptic settings and hot and moe girls in skin tight suits are my reasons.

    Based on the setting of the current situation, there is a good chance a lot of the students will be killed in action trying to protect the base. I’m sensing a lot of despair and suffering next episode. But of course with anime logic, and in Yui’s case, with incomplete training and no previous combat experience, then you’re pretty much guaranteed to quickly become a kickass character.

    • anaaga says:

      That’s probably the biggest mistake they did, not making it aired for an hour.I know I’m patient enough to wait, but lots of people don’t. That and the poor animation quality, it just gave people bad taste

      NOOOOOOO NOT GUNDAM BlackBriar how could you compare this to Gundam. I am hurt *sob sob* though yeah, the suit reminds me of Rinne somehow. Except that Rinne’s is not as tight as thattt.

      I’m pretty sure all of them will die except Yui. I pretty much don’t care though. I WANT TO SEE ONO DAISUKE

      • Highway says:

        I see two possibilities for Yui: either she discovers a hidden ability and kicks ass, or she is the ‘lucky survivor’. Given how the show has gone so far, lucky survivor seems far more likely. If we get to ‘kick ass’ it won’t be for half the series at best.

        I’ve never seen any Gundam shows (no, really!) but I far prefer the mech designs in, well, pretty much every other show I’ve seen: IS, Rinne, Sousei no Aquarion… The comment about them looking like a pile of boxes is spot on. And if they can get more to bodysuits or uniforms (I guess those are the non-action uniforms) like they have in that promo picture at the top of this article, that would be way better.

      • BlackBriar says:

        I’m mostly patient when it comes to new stuff but it’s later on that I start to lose it when nothing is moving along in terms of development. So for the studio’s sake, the next episode better be good enough to fix the mistake of not making the first episode an hour long given all the the detail they are trying to squeeze in.

        LOL. Don’t cry, Anaaga. By Gundam series, I mean particularly G Gundam. There were a lot of mechs in that anime with designs similar to these. But right now, it’s more like Infinite Stratos and Freezing (especially with fanservice and the fighting aliens part) with Rinne no Lagrange. If there was a contest for tightest suit, Lagrange would actually lose against Total Eclipse. Personally, the suits look nice and IS’s suits were pretty much just as tight.

        I’m expecting that kind of outcome as well. However, it might be another means to inject more tragedy into the story for us to care, mainly to those who probably really don’t care right now. And by anime law and logic, the main character always somehow manage to survive the massacre only to return with inexplicably sharpened skills in a short amount of time and fueled by revenge. Moreover by Highway’s theories of Yui being the lucky survivor, discovering a hidden ability and becoming kickass.

  5. akagami says:

    Not a big fan of the mecha and suit designs (they’re actually pretty horrible, doesn’t help the character designs are bland and none of the characters are interesting enough to stand on their own), but I’m sufficiently interested enough to continue following it… at least for a couple of more episodes to see where it goes.

    Koda’s song for the OP was… meh.

    In other news, ClariS is doing the theme songs for the Madoka films. Yes! Oh, and there’s some other band Kalafina. Yay ClariS!

    • anaaga says:

      Thank lord I’m not the only one who thinks that way. The mechas look like stacked up boxes

    • fragb85 says:

      Funny thing is the Muv-Luv fans would agree that the Type-77 Gekishin is butt ugly. Its earned names like “Fat Legs” and Gekis***.

      Even in-universe, they are pretty old and obsolete since they are just exported and modified from America’s F-4 Phantom. (TSF Development is supposed to mirror real-life Jet fighter development.) As for the Type-82 Zuikakku, they’re just modified Gekishin’s made to suck less.

      Thank you for taking the time to read this useless Muv-Luv trivia. And the good designs like the Type-94 Shiranui should be coming soon.

  6. anaaga says:

    So I heard Jrow watch mechs and boobs together, so I put that screenshot just for you

  7. D-LaN says:

    hmmm…. Do I need background knowledge 4 tis? Or is it lk EVOL/E7 AO?

    • Jrow says:

      Nah. Maybe playing the Muv Luv visual novels would add a bit for you, but since it is an alternative story that’s apparently quite different from the VNs, you should be able to get into it w/o knowing any previous works.

  8. JPNIgor says:

    Well… Muv-Luv is, storywise talking, better than I expected. My first thought on Muv-Luv Alternative when watching the trailer was something similar to Neon Genesis Evangelion, but with lots of ecchi scenes, but well… Actually it IS similar to Evangelion, but we can see that humanity is way more fragile here. Another difference is that instead of a harem, Muv-Luv have lots of school girls piloting the mechas, which I think will be explained later.

    The animation is not what I was expecting. It seems somehow… “old”. I would never tell that Muv-Luv is an animation made in 2012 if I didn’t knew. Still, the CG work made on the mechas is good, and I’m expecting epic battles here.

  9. D-LaN says:

    Funally forced myself to watched this….

    AND MY DEAD END FLAG SCANNER IS RINGING RLY HARD.

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