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Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse – 08

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「極東戦線」 (Kokutou Sensen)
“The Far East Front Lines”

Just a note before starting. This post will be quite long, but please bear with me and at least read the first and last paragraph in its entirety, as I feel that they’ll be key in readjusting your expectations for the series when you understand some additional facts regarding the series.

Coming into this episode, I have to say that I was admitted excited. Yes, I’ll admit I wasn’t sure what to expect immediately after watching the previous one, but it’s since come to my attention rather interesting facts that not only gave me hope for this episode, but the series in general. I’m still not expecting anything along the greatness that was the Alternative visual novel… but at the very least, there’s a very positive outlook at the moment. And what exactly did I find out? Well, pretty much the reason why the episodes up until now have felt and been subpar. And the reason is this: the original intent of the series was intended merely as a tool to sell figures made by Volks and had only included the Yuuya/Yui arc. But, after selling extremely well, the creators went back and added some additional, actual material, leaving the beach episode material as an intermission as they did this (in fact, the titles of the chapters involving the beach are even labeled “Intermission 1″ and “Intermission 2″. I myself was a bit skeptical at the source I saw this from, but have since verified many of these facts, especially the intent to use as a marketing tool. And so, like I said before, boy was I excited to see what the difference in tone this episode would bring…

…and damn did it deliver. This episode was perhaps one of the more solid, if not most solid one yet, and it’s definitely showing the impact of the extra effort put in expanding the Total Eclipse universe past its original arc. The characters stayed pretty consistent for the most part, the interactions were better, and the atmosphere much more stable. Sure, the arrival of the BETA helped move things along, but there was definitely a fairly notable difference this time around. But of course, that could only be me trying to look for something different… I’ll admit. But I’d like to believe there was at least some improvement in this episode compared to the nature of the previous. Alas, that’s enough of that for now. I reckon we’ll see with the coming episodes just how much different it is (if any)… so off to actually talking about what happened.

For the most part, there were three main plot points this episode. First up? The culmination of the new found “respect” that Yui and Bridges now have for another, fit with ribbings of Yuuya from the rest of the Argos Flight squad. And it’s just nice to see that they’re both much more open with another, not quick to get into arguments, and actually working together for the most part. The process in getting to this radical exchange wasn’t that great in terms of how it was implemented, but at least the result is a better watch. No more immature outbursts, no more outwardly racist provocations, no more lack of appreciation for the effort each of them put in. It just makes the show flow much better for the most part, though… Commander Latrova would like to have a word with Yuuya about all the goodwill he’s suddenly building up. The guy just can’t get a break!

Moving on, the second major thing was the issues stemming from those fighting on the front lines and those fighting on the rear lines. Issues that include outright abuse of those who are on the rear, even if they’re theoretically your comrades, as well as the apparent intentional usage of other countries’ refugees as front line pilots. It goes to just demonstrate the state of the Muv-Luv world, one where there’s still a fair amount of infighting despite the grim nature of everything… all because of human nature. And while many people would say it’s stupid to still be fighting one another despite all that’s happening, the sad part is, I think if we were faced with the same scenario, we’d end up doing the same thing too. And it just really makes me feel for the people in the series in general, because I’m sure that deep down inside, every single Eishi there wants to rid the world of the BETA. But yet there are still others who won’t fight along side them or respect them for one reason or another, starting a cycle of hatred that really might just lead to their deaths. Just makes you want to scream “WHY?! WHY?!” even if you know the answer ya know?

And last but not least, the remaining plot point revolves around the combat test of the new Shiranui, as things start moving full speed regarding this. For one, we get the reveal of a new weapon, which in turn gives us an insight into some of the politics involved, where TSF not designed to use it is being forced to do so anyway. And it’s notable because many of the previous episodes seemed to have skipped quite a bit of these political elements, which are critical aspects in the Muv-Luv universe. Also, let’s not forget to mention the importance of the combat test in the Argos Flight team even being here in the first place, as it sets up the upcoming fight against the BETA, which should be a sight to behold. To top it off, it serves as a background for introducing the epic commander of the elite Russian Eishi squad, Fikatsia Latrova, who seems as badass as they can be.

And well, just a solid, solid episode to say the least. In ways, I’m tempted to say this was the best episode out of any so far, including the first two episodes. Why’s that? Because I feel that the first two episodes, despite their fairly good reception by showing the BETA… actually did more bad than good. For one, it set up expectations and impressions that were guaranteed to be let down by the episodes between then and now. And for another, it greatly disappointed the visual novel players in the context that there were quite a few aspects that were incorrectly shown. The episode where Yui trashed everyone is probably the only closest episode in quality to this one, I’d say. Anyway, things are looking up, especially in the coming episodes. I’d reckon people who dropped this will be regretting it soon enough (hopefully at least). Really can’t wait for next week!

Full-length images: 04, 13, 27, 36.

 

Preview

Muv Luv Alternative Total Eclipse   08   Preview 01 Muv Luv Alternative Total Eclipse   08   Preview 02
August 19, 2012 at 8:18 pm
46 comments »
  • August 19, 2012 at 8:28 pmxRichard

    Is this your source?. The guy is trustworthy.

    He also translated many Kouki’s Tweets about why they are doing Total Eclipse instead of the core story.

    • August 19, 2012 at 8:55 pmZephyr

      Yeah, him amongst others. :D

  • August 19, 2012 at 8:28 pmDimagus

    Let’s keep the “In Soviet Russia…” jokes to a minimum!

    • August 20, 2012 at 2:55 amMasterDragonKnight

      In Soviet Russia…joking on the battlefield gets you killed!

    • August 20, 2012 at 6:58 amlftwgr

      In Soviet Russia, Russians get pwned

    • August 20, 2012 at 7:31 pmAndrew

      Do you live in this country? This is a very dull place.

      • August 21, 2012 at 11:43 amGermanguy

        Time out.

        Well, in what Time-line is this Anime running? Oh, an Alternative “universe”. So, comparing Real Life Countries to an Anime Alternative Universe is comparing a Apple with a Pear. Not very Helpful

      • August 22, 2012 at 6:21 amMash

        Erecting a dispenser!

  • August 19, 2012 at 8:47 pmAllen Walker

    Wtf is up with that guys tongue? Either his tongue is grey because of some sort of condition or either the artists didn’t give a crap about the show beyond the fanservice episodes.

    • August 19, 2012 at 8:56 pmZephyr

      Looks like normal saliva to me.

    • August 20, 2012 at 10:33 amSol

      Blame the QUALITY. Don’t even get me started on some of the other more glaring displays of QUALITY in this episode.

  • August 19, 2012 at 8:57 pmfragb85

    It looks like we are now given a timetable. Its July 2001 so that’s three months before the start of Alternative VN. I wonder if this anime will reach October and beyond.

    And so the Kamchatka arc has started and introduced the Russian MILF. Not much to say since its mostly setup. Still with the way her squad are being jerks, its so obvious that they would end up as BETA Chow.

    And hooray Cui (aka Chinese Miku) has finally appeared! Show Spoiler ▼

  • August 19, 2012 at 9:01 pmDefrostFX

    Any possible sympathy I possibly could have had for the non-Russain Soviets was quickly lost when the plot threw a “Well, we hate them…so…RAPE!” (LOL Japan is all.) It also didn’t garner any further respect for this plotline as a whole. I agree, Yui/Bridges actually talking without childish games IS nice. However, the ACES OF TEH USSR thing means two things: More red shirts, and more poorly scripted scenes between TEH ACES and our novice test pilot, Bridges.

    While this is my first comment here, I just have to state that the first two episodes..really where not all that good either.

    It is also possible that I just need more giant robot action, and therefore I am really cynical about this series.

    • August 20, 2012 at 2:58 amMasterDragonKnight

      What is particularly weird is that the female ensigns are also partaking in the sexual assault. How old are these kids?

      • August 20, 2012 at 3:03 amewok40k

        war does BAD things to kids… female gang members often are more vicious that male ones, and remmber rape is more about violence and domination than sex

      • August 20, 2012 at 4:48 amfragb85

        Remember that the MLA-verse parallels a lot of real life such as the existence of Imperial Japan. In the case of the Soviets they had conscripted a lot of people from different ethnicities. Despite the Soviet claiming to be one people, this ethnic friction always led to a lot of gang fighting within the ranks.

        To put that into perspective, the pilots are a bunch kids conscripted to a fight they didn’t want, for a cause they don’t care for, for a home that’s already destroyed by BETA. They are pissed and unfortunately Cryska is too naive to understand that referring the Motherland was probably the one thing that would make them mad. Latrova is the only one keeping them in line since she is a mother to them.

    • August 31, 2012 at 4:43 pmMormegil

      Agreed. Lately, the rape thing is getting out of hand in anime. What’s horrible about it is how something like that is quickly passed over. It’s piss-poor writing as far as I’m concerned. Why didn’t that gang just beat them up or humiliate them instead?

  • August 19, 2012 at 9:50 pmBakaro

    Last few episodes were honestly dry and boring.

    Finally, things start to look interesting.

    Note: Point 4 soon? =X

  • August 19, 2012 at 11:12 pmFrontier

    This was a very solid episode of Total Eclipse. I’d like to think anyone turned off by the beach episode found themselves hooked again after this. Of course I was personally fine with the beach arc, it some nice fanservice with a decent helping of character development, but I can understand why some people would be wondering to themselves the point of all this while the BETA are still out there. But having learned of the real reason for the arc just a few days ago, I feel that now Total Eclipse can let loose and truly tell its story.

    The real highlight for me in this episode was the Yuuya/Yui talk, the two having finally come to an understanding with each other and just having what amounted to a simple conversation. I’d say the the two now have a good amount of respect for one another, with Yui awkwardly trying to get to know Yuuya better and deal with her growing feelings for him.
    It shows wonders about their relationship that Yui actually brought up what happened in Kyoto to Yuuya. I’d think that’s the very last thing she’d ever want to bring up again. So I’m really interested to see where their relationship goes, though I imagine when Cryska gets involved things will get complicated…and Yuuya does just seems to attract women as a secondary nature.

    Yuuya’s really growing on me as a protagonist. He’s cocky, but not to the point that it gets in the way of the mission or prevents him from giving credit where credit is due. He’s in his own way a gentleman, refusing to take advantage of women and always willing to lend a hand to help and protect them. He’s pretty honest too, from begrudgingly acknowledging when Yui’s right to telling her upfront that he’s going into a fight with the BETA without any actual combat experience. Setting aside his bias against the Japanese, Yuuya’s actually a pretty nice guy.

    Never has the political and ideological points of the BETA conflict been more apparent than this episode. From the conflict between Cryska/Inia and the other Russian Eishi/BETA fodder, to the methodology behind the railgun and sending Argos Flight into an actual fight with the BETA. It’s certainly interesting, and I hope Total Eclipse continues to capitalize on these concepts in the future.

    While I feel bad for what happened to Cryska and Inia, I’m even more curious as to what actually happened to her. Yuuya made a good point, as in a normal situation Cryska would kill anyone who threatened Inia. But the last episode did highlight how she prides her homeland above anything else except Inia, which worked to her detriment here. Having such a thing happen might just get Cryska to start agreeing with Yuuya’s methodology, and it certainly helped that he saved Inia.

    All in all, quite the solid episode and I look forward to Yuuya’s first real fight with the BETA and some more focus on Russian commander Latrova, who I can only hope gives Yuuya some credit in this arc, because Zephyr’s right, Yuuya really can’t ever catch a break from anyone even when he’s doing the right thing.

  • August 20, 2012 at 12:36 amOtaku Dump

    New additions to the harem?

    • August 20, 2012 at 3:54 amtae

      yeah and it’s the pigtail Chinese girl not the commander.

  • August 20, 2012 at 2:36 amewok40k

    Alright, BETAs are back and so is the greater picture of the fighting. It’s interesting what kind of grudge against Soviets does have Stella? It’s interesting how the political maneuvering forces heavy support weapon onto close combat TSF like the Shiranui. Perhaps the most interesting are the “inglorious bastards of Kamchatka”, aka the Zhar unit. They might be thorny towards newcomers from the rear lines, but they seem extremely proficient on the battlefield, and loyal to their commander (and probably vice versa).
    Last, but not least I am wondering (along with Yuuya) what is happening with Cryska? Under normal circumstances she would rather killed someone or died herself before allowing anyone to harm Inia…

  • August 20, 2012 at 3:29 amOtaku Sama

    good to see BETAs back

  • August 20, 2012 at 3:37 amploon

    I don’t get how those kids can assault and try to rape a couple of ace pilots and not be reprimanded.

    • August 20, 2012 at 7:42 amGermanguy

      If they would known, what “Army” is behind these Sisters. They surly even have eye contact with them of Fear.

      In this Scene, they just “Abuse” We are the Elite and Risk our Life, and you are just Scum in the Backyard where it is Save.

      Good that the Commander knows the situation, But i dunno if the Little Sisters would tell their Superiors. I think then Hell would break out. Even to Top Aces.

  • August 20, 2012 at 3:53 amj4c06

    Fikatsia Latrova? Oh my. How do they come up with these “names”? As if a Georgian-Kazakh gang was not enough to turn a supposedly serious episode into a farce. LOL

  • August 20, 2012 at 3:56 amJuri

    Only Chobi will survive next episode.

    • August 20, 2012 at 9:00 amVaan

      Who’s Chobi?

    • August 20, 2012 at 12:31 pmAnanas

      Too bad I only care for Stella.

  • August 20, 2012 at 6:18 amEuzio

    Hmm… So we’re finally truly getting started on the main plot huh? But it kinda looks like the animation budget took a hit…. Some of the character faces and animations were rather off in this episode….

  • August 20, 2012 at 7:14 amPtolemaios00

    Yuuya still sounds super naive.
    - Get a BFG? Complains about no CQC.
    - 8 minutes just a statistic? Not for Yui.
    - Calls a bunch of kids mechanics? Realize they are pilots.

    • August 20, 2012 at 10:10 amHalfDemonInuyasha

      Well, to be fair, on the first point, he had a point in that the size and weight of the cannon goes completely against the style the Shiranui and other Japanese-made TSFs were made for; being fast, mobile, and up close with hand to hand combat. The cannon will only hinder that mobility and Yui agrees on that. Sadly, politics gets in the way as we see from the flashback of her arguing against its early usage.

      Yuuya was also eager to put everything he learned into practice into actual combat, but with the cannon in hand, he’s more of a support gunner now. Thankfully, Yui gave him permission to ditch and self-destruct it if he really needs to.

      For the third point, it’s a typical reaction among your average soldier to not expect such young children to be soldiers/pilots/etc. WWII and beyond demonstrate this quite well with Allied soldiers being constantly shocked at how so many kids as young as 11 (and men as old as 60+) were being conscripted by Germany to fight out of desperation.

      • August 20, 2012 at 10:11 amHalfDemonInuyasha

        Forgot to say, while maybe not thrown into the frontlines, Japan also had many 13 year olds and other younger kids working in munitions factories and whatnot too.

  • August 20, 2012 at 7:46 amGermanguy

    These “Brain Clippers” things http://randomc.net/image/Muv-Luv%20Alternative%20Total%20Eclipse/Muv-Luv%20Alternative%20Total%20Eclipse%20-%2008%20-%20Large%2022.jpg

    is that more an “Stabilizer” for Brain Waves. That can explain Cryskas “problems”, when she get excited. Or they “punish” her, for these Waves. Dunno. But this things are surly the Secret of their “mind Powers”

    • August 20, 2012 at 11:26 amMike F.

      That would make a lot of sense.

  • August 20, 2012 at 9:00 amHellstorm901

    To be perfectly honest that whole incident with the Soviets didn’t surprise me if you remember it’s very much still true today between the Russian Federation and former states but I must say i’m impressed that they actually had this type of backstory as it just reinforces that it is generally now every man for himself but we’ll only tolerate each other if it suits us, which would likely happen/has happened in reality if we think about it.

    It’s nice we’re getting back to the physical fighting (rather than the arguements fighting)

  • August 20, 2012 at 9:28 amMike F.

    Not gonna go in-depth. All I got to say is that this was a good episode.

  • August 20, 2012 at 12:30 pmAnanas

    What do you think Inia’s hair taste like?

    • August 22, 2012 at 1:22 amhoiut

      Banana.

  • August 20, 2012 at 2:00 pmCul dud

    This is my top1 anime this season

  • August 20, 2012 at 4:02 pmno thanks

    that commander looks like Balalaika before she got her face burned

  • August 20, 2012 at 4:35 pmFrontier

    Just for the heck of it, let’s have a run down of the current status of Yuuya’s harem:

    - Yui and Cryska are obvious since they’re the two sides of the love triangle.

    - It goes without saying that Inia’s interested in him, and I’m sure she’s quite appreciative after being saved from a rape.

    - Judging by Tarisa’s reactions in this episode, from her worrying about Yuuya to her looking like she was the only member of Argos Flight not enjoying the Yuuya/Yui interaction, I’d say Stella was right on the money.

    - I’m not too sure about Stella. She probably thinks he’s too young for her, though I think she’s in some ways attracted to the gentlemanly aspects of his personality.

    • August 23, 2012 at 7:35 amVaan

      And that sudden blush of hers is another clue

  • August 20, 2012 at 8:06 pmtendo

    • August 23, 2012 at 8:48 amFrontier

      Actually, it’s two men and one and a half women.

  • August 23, 2012 at 5:11 amc2710

    production quality aside, the episode seems pretty solid

    and for the first time, i see tanks faithfully recreated. they should either be t-72 or the newer t-90s?

    that aside, every single time the show gets serious, i get an uneasy feeling. hope it’s not true!

    anyway, in addition to stella, the battalion co looks hot!