Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse

What’s it about ?

Okay, this is a strange one. Muv-Luv, as the name implies, started off as a generic dating-sim game, with an unlockable second storyline set in an alternate world where humanity uses mecha to fight off an alien invasion. Several sequels and spin-offs in other media later, we now have this anime : a straight “mecha vs. aliens” show with no dating-sim elements in sight anywhere.


Yui Takamura, our protagonist, is the daughter of one of the elite Japanese families in charge of Japan’s defense against the aliens ; so of course she goes to mecha pilot school. So far, she looks mostly personality-free, but then this first episode seemed much more interested in worldbuilding than characterization.

The only of her classmates to get any actual focus is the broody rival-type that I can’t remember the name of, and can’t find on any cast list. Between this, the fact that her rivalry with Yui seems resolved at breakneck speed within minutes of its introduction, and the general contempt of the hardened soldiers against those teenage rookie pilots, I get the horrible feeling that most of them are going to die next episode to free Yui up so that she can interact with the characters who actually are on the cast listings (and have yet to make any appearance).

Did I mention that the whole class of mecha pilots is female ? This, together from the skintight plugsuits, seems to be the only trace left of the franchise’s origins so far.

Production Values

Quite good ; it’s got enough budget to make the mecha battles look good, and the aliens a credible threat.

Overall Impression

There’s no way a mecha show should be this boring, but it is. Maybe because it’s far too concerned with setting up its world to bother with any actual characters, and thus leaves us with nobody to root for. It doesn’t help that a lot of the plot feels recycled from other (better) sources, and the show does nothing to breathe any life into the stock elements.

I’m giving this one more episode to change my mind, but I’m not hopeful.

via [In which I review] New anime, Summer 2012 – Page 7.

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I've been kinda blogging about anime for years... but mostly on forums (such as's Tangency) and other sites. This site is an archive for all that stuff, just in case.

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