Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse – 02

Beam-chan of doom

I was through my lazy phase these days… And still am. I pushed myself so hard just to get this post done. But yay, it’s done! Now let’s see if episode two can cancel out the failure episode one gave.

It would be silly to have a long post about episode two because this was only about death and gore. From the beginning until the end, the only thing that was shown is the despair each soldier faced as they were in battle with BETA. And what’s surprising, it actually worked. Even though I didn’t have that much sympathy when the girls died, seeing them being eaten by BETA made me feel sad for a while because I had some level of attachment to them, thanks to episode one. This is where having both episodes separated work. If the death scenes were squished into one half-an-hour episode, will they work? No. It will just feel rushed and half-assed. Was it a good idea to separate the Flashback Arc into two parts? Yes. Showing the girls’ daily lives will tug the audience’s hearts, even if it’s just a little bit. The deaths will have more impact that way. But was it right to make both parts air separate weeks? No. Thanks to that weird system, Muv-Luv is already losing some audience, like Jrow (by the way, did you watch the second episode?). Making episode two feels more tragic does not change the fact that episode one was boring as hell. Boringness and horribly-designed mechas/suits are not a good mix. Episode two was great, but some people might not watch it because of the crappy episode one, and it’s understandable.

Seeing the female soldiers fall one by one was a bit saddening, but there was something positive from it. After the audience watched this episode, some will agree that Yui’s survival was excusable because she earned it. Yui was a good soldier who was prepared for war. This fact was not narratively explained but instead indirectly by showing each soldier’s weakness that Yui did not have. Thanks to her dying friends, the audience was able to know her capability on the field. She was not the girl who panicked, not the girl who flew too high, not the girl who was lax, and not the girl who was too emotionally involved with the battlefield. The only time when Yui screwed up was when she wasn’t able to shoot her friend, not giving her friend the chance to die before being eaten alive by BETA. Yui’s dead friends helped the audience to know Yui’s character and personality.

Episode two was as good as I expected it to be. It wasn’t a sob-fest since everybody (except Yui) was expected to die, but it was still sad. The confusion of a soldier was not depicted realistically, but it was close enough to reality. What makes it great is the amount of death and gore though. And I bet that’s what most of the audience loved in this episode. Makes sense, after such a boring first episode. The death and gore saved this and let’s see what they’re going to do for next week. Will it be as boring as episode one? Will it be full of excitement as episode two? We’ll see. Also, can I have a proper OP please?

Preview: Top Gun of America is here. Not Tom Cruise though. IT BETTER BE ONO DAISUKE!

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29 Responses to “Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse – 02”

  1. D-LaN says:

    Frm the post it seems lk Beam/Black Cloud-chan makes a BIG returning role after her previous flick Blood-C.

    • anaaga says:

      Beam-chan is going to ruin our Summer

      • D-LaN says:

        Nah not really interested in gore….. Beside you guys can check out the BD ver later.

    • Highway says:

      I thought it was at least appropriate in context. Dark subsurface area, she’s got a flashlight, and is playing it over the scene in front of her. If you’re seeing your dead friend getting eaten by monsters, you’re going to stop looking as soon as you can.

  2. The_Magus_Killer says:

    I just realized, the way “Yui” is written in Japanese means “only” – and Yui was the only member of her flight/squad/team/nakama/whatever to survive. Meaningful Name Trope In Effect!

    Why isn’t this a tag team post? Did the BETA get Jrow and Fosh too?

    • anaaga says:

      LOL it’s as if destiny wants her to be the only one alive.

      Jrow isn’t amused with this show. Maybe I’ll tag with Fosh next week

    • Jrow says:

      I’m too scared to go against the BETA.

      • Kyokai says:

        Now, I want to see the uncensored version without blackie-kuns.

        • BlackBriar says:

          Oh, yes!! The blood, gore, limb severing violence and monster munching in all its glory!!

      • BlackBriar says:

        He who dares, lives!! Fortune favors the bold!!!

      • Jrow says:

        So I watched this with my Anivision buddies and the action was pretty cool. I could reconsider watching this.

  3. Highway says:

    Yeah, this episode was better (it pretty much had to be). I was a little annoyed that they couldn’t find *anyone* else besides Yui to survive, but that’s the way it goes. And there’s still not much of an emotional connection to Yui for me. While you’re right that it showed her capability on the field, it was more the capability to not screw up or get randomly picked to die. It’s hard to argue that Red-Mech-San or the other girls who were picked off as they were trying to run away made mistakes, since the BETA had apparently changed tactics to get a better shot angle. We also didn’t see anything about how Competing-Ojou-sama and Boyfriend-Revenge-chan got grounded, just that somehow they were now in the clutches of the bad guy ground troops. So while it’s definitely a characteristic of war that sometimes you survive and the other guy doesn’t, and there’s no justifiable reason for it, it also doesn’t necessarily mean you are special.

    The visuals weren’t mentioned in the post (maybe anaaga is trying to put the pile-o-boxes Mechs out of her mind ;) ). The BETA seemed out of place, mostly due to uncanny valley effects, and their overwhelming sameness. I realize they’re saving money using CG effects, but having a uniform model repeated and moving in complete unison just looks fakey. I’d like to see some variation in coloring of the units, something to make it look more ‘natural’. They all seemed to have a weird texture to them also, like they were rubber monsters in a metal world, so they just didn’t fit in, quite. They had a lot of variety in what units they had, although it seemed kind of weird that the troops got so completely outflanked and overrun, after they were running away from the front lines, so they could show all those units.

    It definitely was a better episode, and if it was shown together with the first episode it could have been a good introduction to the series. But the need to split it up, and doing it by just chopping the first story in half, doesn’t reflect well on the series to start with.

    • anaaga says:

      Yes, I did mention the animation.

      can I have a proper OP please

      Striked. If they can’t even have a proper OP, the anime’s animation doesn’t deserve to be mentioned (I am still pissed at that).
      If you’re kind bothered with the design etc. though, then I suggest you to stop watching this because it will be like that until the end. I’m putting my hatred for the design and stack of boxes etc. behind now. Though I have to admit, the American’s Takemikazuchi has a decent design. It amused me how the Americans have such good-looking Takemikazuchi(s)

      • Highway says:

        Eh, I’m not that bothered by it, it’s not like this show is any worse about it than most other shows using CG for repeatable motion effects (CG in MGX was used very well, tho). I’m just wanting CG to take another step to more randomized movements and individualized tics. In any ‘flow’ of movement, there will be some amount of randomization, and the lack of it in CG is what breaks your suspension of disbelief. One of those things that’s more obvious in its absence than if present.

        I didn’t really mind the recap OP. I passed that off as ‘second part of two-part show’ and them not wanting to spend time doing a recap for those who might have missed it. I was more paying attention to the faux-dubstep song. We’ll see if they come up with an OP for future shows. If they keep recycling previous episode footage, it’ll suck more.

        • anaaga says:

          I really hope that’s the case too for the OP. Maybe it is. Oh god, I hope it is. Remembering how Ono Daisuke is in here makes me sad

          Maybe they’ll do that on the final episodes. Though I doubt they’ll do that since the rumor said that the budget isn’t that big (and that can be seen)

  4. HannoX says:

    I think they made a major screwup or two in story telling, and not just in breaking what was essentially the first episode into two parts. It was pretty obvious this was just the prologue to the real story. That being the case, my reaction was “Come on, kill off the extra girls and get on with the real story.” So I felt no real emotion at the deaths of the extras and I suspect neither did many others.

    So I think they should have done one of two things. (1) Have the first episode be a standard 25 minutes and one big battle scene killing off these girls that the audience had no real connection to. In other words, Part 2 should have been the start with just the most basic backstory about the BETA invasion. That would have been a slam-bang opening rather than the mostly boring one we got instead.

    (2) Take two standard length episodes introducing us to the girls and developing their characters so the audience would identify with them. It wouldn’t have to be boring to show them in training for two episodes. It’s just a matter of good story telling skills. We’ve all seen plenty of action animes which take time building up to when the action really gets going. Then in Episode 3 they could kill off the extra girls and it’d have had much more impact.

    I imagine the makers would have opted for Option 1 that I outlined if they had gone a different route than they did. While Option 2 is the one I would have prefered, either would have been better than what they did.

    • Highway says:

      The more I think about it, you’re right. Was the fall of the Imperial Capital THAT important that they had to essentially waste two episodes on it? The only character development that actually happened was “That was when I decided to never cry again.” They could have shown that in 5 minutes of flashbacks. Or heck, be spendy and take 12 minutes to do it. So I’m more in favor of something like your Option 1. While Option 2 would be better storytelling, it would still not be the same story that’s going to be told in the rest of the series.

      And I think that might be a lot of what all of us are kind of peeved at: They spent 2 episodes of a 12-episode series to tell a completely different story. It’s related somewhat, but it’s not relevant. So it ends up feeling like our time was wasted by the show. It didn’t really bring us closer to Yui, we didn’t really discover anything about her. We were just told it: I wouldn’t have come out of it with “I’m never crying again” as the moral of the story if they didn’t say that. I would have thought it was more “I really hate the BETAs” or “I can’t stand to see all these refugees suffering” or something else.

      • fragb85 says:

        You have to consider the world-view and not just the characters.

        The thing is the MuvLuv-verse is hugely detailed. You could spend hours talking about the backstory alone. We’re talking about a detailed alternate history, a huge amount of geo-politics, and technical specifics on the TSF, all on top of an alien invasion

        TE is the first venture of the franchise in animated form and is trying to attract new audiences. The fall of Kyoto is a good of way introducing the BETA, showing how menacing they are and how grim the world situation is.

        And it should be noted that this prologue was anime original. Yui is an important character, but the actual protagonist of TE is an American plot named Yuuya Bridges. I don’t necessarily agree with how the show added a prologue, but I get what the writers were going for. TE has to carry the burden of introducing the entire franchise.

        • anaaga says:

          @Highway: I agree with frag85. The fall of the capital is important since India and China have been wiped out, and South Korea was falling apart. With big Asian countries falling like that, it automatically placed Japan as the the number one country in Asia that time.
          The problem with this episode is that they didn’t mention the geographical details such as these. One episode won’t be enough to cover all the alternative events.

          @frag85: From what I saw, it seems that the Navy captain didn’t want to fire the capital. It breaks my heart seeing him bombing his own city =(

        • HannoX says:

          But they didn’t really do much backstory as it is. Imperial Japan is still ruled by a shogun and Japan is basically the only country in Asia left. That’s basically all they showed of this detailed background you mention from the game franchise. That could have been done in less than 5 minutes of the anime. Throw in the appearance of the BETA and the fight on the Moon and then you’ve got maybe 5 minutes or so of story. Then spend the rest of the first episode slaughtering off the extra girls and end with Yui’s determination never to cry again.

          Now that I think of it, my Option 1 would probably be the better way to go, espicially if Yui is an important character, but not the main one. Why waste two episodes on that? They could have spent 5 mintues on the background as I outlined above and have 20 minutes of the fall of Kyoto and the girls getting killed and eaten.

          As for anaaga’s comment that people would be disappointed with a slam-bang first episode followed by slower ones because their expectations have been raised, what do you think is going to happen now? It sounds like we’re in for a stretch of testing and developing the new mechas and training with them. And finally some character development pass “I’ll never cry again.” It may be a few episodes before we get another long, intense action sequence.

          • anaaga says:

            The lecture managed to slip some info about the alternative battles in the timeline (although it was overshadowed by the girls chattering). Theodore Roosevelt was mentioned in this anime. The red-shaded parts of the maps are the areas that have fallen. These two episodes are slow, but it managed to show their daily lives in the alternative timeline. I think that’s the whole point of these two episodes

            Note that Muv-Luv is a mecha anime. Even the original VN is a mecha game. There will be mechas and mock battles, though they won’t meet BETA anytime soon.

    • anaaga says:

      I prefer option (2) because it won’t leave the audience hanging. And TBH it’s preferable have the flashback arc be finished ASAP rather than two weeks.
      Option (1) is a good idea, but here’s the thing: it can backfire. What will be the audience’s reaction when they see the dull episode two after a slam-bang episode one? Disappointment can be one of the reactions. Having a slam-bang first episode will definitely raise the expectation, and if the expectation is met by such dull episode, I’m pretty sure people will rage about it.

  5. BlackBriar says:

    This was a fair improvement over last week. The only way those who have dropped it would watch again would be from strong word of mouth if the development turns out good. It made cutting the story in two understandable to create tension but still could’ve been better if it was an hour long. And it went as I and I’m sure many others expected with Yui being the only survivor and the rest of her unit brutally massacred. She is, after all, the main character. I admit that I had a good amount of sympathy for the classmates who died, even for the girl who wanted to avenge her boyfriend but it couldn’t be made possible and that last girl who was a bit bitchy.

    The blood and gore were what hepled this episode. Truly gruesome. I couldn’t remember a situation where there were mass deaths, limbs being pulled apart, blood splatter everywhere, munching sounds while the monsters were eating since Blood-C. This episode and Blood-C’s last episode were practically on the same level of violence but the dark censors here spoiled some of the shots.

    Yui’s pain of loss was the closest thing to reality this series could get. I would be near impossible to keep yourself together after a horrifying experience. The prologue was a good and necessary way to explain her personality as to why she’s become so hardened.

    • anaaga says:

      I prefer it to be one hour long too. The one week gap really distracted me from enjoying the prologue arc.

      The difference with Beam-chan and Beam-kun (Blood-C) is how they are shaped. Beam-chan is a fatass who loves to dominate the whole screen while Beam-kun is a shy person who doesn’t like to show himself. He only censors the necessary parts.

  6. akagami says:

    “The only way those who have dropped it would watch again would be from strong word of mouth if the development turns out good”

    I would fall into that camp. Last week’s episode was pretty ho-hum so I later decided to drop it considering how many other shows I want to watch. The 180 flip to guts and gore doesn’t really appeal to me either.

    But if they can ditch the CG (or make it look less CG) and make everything look nicer while adding a plot I care about, I might be tempted to pick it back up ^^

    • anaaga says:

      But if they can ditch the CG (or make it look less CG) and make everything look nicer while adding a plot I care about, I might be tempted to pick it back up ^^

      Welp, see you in another post then. I don’t think they’re going to make the animation better (or having less CG)

      • akagami says:

        =(

        Well, if they can make the story more engaging, that’s a start. It’s why I like DS RPGs, they’re more fun than all those all-flash-and-no-substance RPGs out these days…

        • anaaga says:

          But Muv-Luv is a VN ;) Though Time Eclipse is just a novel spin-off that borrowed Muv-Luv’s alternative timeline.

  7. D-LaN says:

    NO YAMASHIROOOOOO!!!!

    The end was heart wrenching…… EP2>EP1

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