Check out Station: Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse (we should do this again sometime)
Oh how I hate finishing shows that I like. Especially when that moment comes. The fade to black. The word, “END”. And the fact that there’s no high energy preview telling you to look forward to the next episode. At best you’ll get an announcement of movie in the works for much later. Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse (or Muv-Luv as I succinctly and lovingly called it) was my favorite mecha show from 2012, and may even make my Top 50. But before I go on about where it fits in my list of completed shows, perhaps I should finish this post.
So the series concludes with a bit of a love story. And a bit of a whimper. I honestly thought things would come closer to the wire. The attempt to high jack The Terminator and it’s cute Cyber-Newtype pilots leads to disastrous results. The enemy commander who made the attempt met with brutal death at their hands. And even Lt. Sandek was almost annihilated, that was a huge clue that the girls had gone berserk. What it came down to in this situation was Yuuya giving himself up to the girls, and nearly getting killed. I really don’t see how he survived in that cockpit with a giant saw blade going through it. But somehow the shock broke Inia, and then Cryska out of it. GEEZUS Yuuya! What’d you do to these chicks?! At that moment I did start to wonder if they had time to really slow things down for a big cry-fest since the BETA were still steadily marching their way towards everyone’s doom, but that turned out not to be the case.
The big hero in all of this turned out to be Ibrahim. It looks like he was able to gain enough control, with the help of the American and Soviet special forces, to scramble the bombers, which were able to quickly wipe out the BETA. With no Laser-class stalking about, they were easy pickings. Though I suppose all this easy effort in the end is due to Argos and the Infinities scrambling for their lives
The aftermath is more political bullsh*t, as Yui as been called back to Japan to defend the XFJ project. But Yuuya is strangely calm about the whole thing. Seems he and Yui both have an understanding. And that is that they are bound and united by this project. And that may be the strongest bond between them, not the budding love that they don’t have the time or guile to face right now. Though it appears that her and Cryska have an understanding now. They both admit to being romantic rivals, in a sense. Which will make a continuation of this story very interesting.
My final thoughts on Muv-Luv are varied, but mostly positive. It went from a show that I openly avoided the show(up until its fifth or sixth week I believe), but posts from my fellow anibloggers convinced me to give it a shot. I’m a big mecha fan after all. And while I initially fell in love with the darkness and hopelessness of this show, I found other things to latch onto for the duration. While Yui’s origin story (the very beginning) of the series was the kind of bitter darkness that reminded me of Blue Gender. I grew to really like the bitter, hyper-competitive Top Gun-esque atmosphere of the test pilots and their base. The test pilots had a completely different air about them. When we saw Yui’s flashback, we saw a bunch of kids thrown into the fire. It was a world where just surviving the first 7 or 8 minutes made you a veteran. It could not be harsher as you saw they little kids murdered in every possible way that war could allow. But the test pilots had a higher standard. Not only were these guys smarter and better pilots, they were professional soldiers and adults. They were on that base fighting each other, but also fighting to give their comrades on the front lines a better chance of survival.
The world of Muv-Luv is a very different though similar world to the one we live in. Viewers were treated to a wide variety of races and racism (oh how I love my racism). And while much of it was silly, I enjoyed seeing the entire crew of test pilots progress during the series into a unit that really worked together well and trusted each other. It was something that had to be worked out among them because there was still a very nationalistic Cold War-type of mentality permeating this show, even though humanity as a whole was still fighting for its very survival. It seems Machiavellian politics sleep for no reason, not even impending extinction. The big problem with this world was that it was divided at a time when it desperately needed to be united.
The epitome of this is Yuuya Bridges. Seeing him in action was to see the classic arrogant, standoffish pilot make that supremely satisfying transition to a true soldier and team player. It’s something that Shinn Asuka of SEED Destiny never managed; something that took Kamille Bidan of Zeta Gundam a lot of episodes and dead compatriots to accept. In a show like this, if a main character is an a-hole, he’s an a-hole for a reason, to teach a lesson. If a character has that trait and he doesn’t teach a lesson, then he’s a failure. The lesson Yuuya teaches, is that you should learn to think of others, and think of the situation as a whole. Consideration and teamwork seem to be the hallmarks of his progress. I also have a soft spot for the guy because of his mixed descent. His being half Japanese and half white gave me something to identify with since I’m mixed, too.
His partner and eventual equal Yui didn’t have quite so much progress, and this is where I’m going to transition into what I had problems with in this show. Yui Takamura is a beautiful, powerful (and at the beginning racist, imperialist) woman. And she has the most amazing flight suit I’ve ever seen for a mecha pilot. But at times during the series she is neutered hard. And it was always in relation to Yuuya. The same guy she chastised for being a weakened American dog, she later has trouble talking to because of her teenage girl feelings. The more of the rock-hard tough Lt. Takamura I could get, the better. The less, the worse. So while it was nice to see the half-Japanese Yuuya soften her up, I could have done with a few less longing stares and clutches of her notes as she longing looks at Yuuya from a distance (of about ten feet).
The harem elements of this show also annoyed me a bit. Way too much time was spent on seeing characters in swimsuits, in hot springs… in heat. And while I enjoy my perviness, when it comes to mecha I don’t like to waste too much of my time. Think of it as a sort of bros before hoes mentality. Let’s say bits before tits. Then there was the stupid
Overall though it was a fun ride. The high speed, yet weighty nature of the combat kept me sticking around at the show’s core. That along with the rivalries that almost all turned into some form of friendship or comradeship are what I’ll remember Muv-Luv for. Of the three mecha shows I enjoyed throughout 2012, I’d recommend Muv-Luv most of all for the amount of entertainment I got as opposed to the amount of fluff I was forced to experience. I’d recommend this to any mecha fan, and most sci-fi fans.