Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse – 18
「歪みの羽音」 (Yugami no Haoto)
“Sound of Twisted Wings”
Stepping in for Zephyr this week is BakaMochi, with Muv-Luv: Total Eclipse! As he’s quite busy with Real LifeTM, I guess you’re stuck with me until he gets back next week!
I’ve been following Total Eclipse since the beginning, and contrary to popular belief, I wasn’t watching solely for Yui and Yuuya to finally get it on. The mecha aspect was interesting, and the continuing change in Yuuya’s character were/are ultimately what kept/keep me watching. His growth trajectory over the course of the series has been fairly obvious – I wouldn’t call it linear per se, but there’s a very simple yet effective path his character is taking to get where he needs to be.
In fact, most of the core messages that Total Eclipse tries to convey have been delivered in a rather straightforward manner, usually marking a change in Yuuya that takes him one step further from the narrow-minded, self-centered ass he used to be. It’s a refreshing change of pace to see the themes get across to the audience so easily, and if it happens to coincide with the betterment of the main character, kudos to the writing team for killing two birds with one stone.
“Acceptance” and “teamwork” are two of the primary concepts the show places much emphasis upon, and the revelation of Yuuya’s past not only highlights how far he’s come, it serves to show him where he should go next. He’s certainly come a long way from being the prejudiced racist that identified a TSF’s worth based on its country of origin and referred to his superior as a “Japanese doll”, but with the arrival of his old teammates, it’s been painfully obvious a part of him can’t detach himself completely from the past. More specifically, his guilt is still holding him back, and I suspect this is the major source of conflict between him and Leon. Leon is certainly a jerk with some inferiority complex to sort through, but he’s not wrong in being frustrated with Yuuya – as Cryska says, accidents happen. It’s difficult to walk away from an incident like that smelling like roses, but in the end, Yuuya’s decision was made with professional interests in mind. The team had a mission to accomplish, a goal that needs to be put before personal interests. I suspect most of Leon’s anger lies in the fact Yuuya seems unable to live up – not with – to his decision. Much of his feelings are certainly colored by aggravation, but their present strife seems to be derived from admiration that has become twisted and twisted overtime.
Case in point being Sharon’s words: Leon is forcing his indifference. In this aspect he seems like an immature, petulant four-year-old that needs a lesson on expressing his feelings; this is precisely what he needs to resolve though, as his grievances against Yuuya haven been left undealt with. It’s possible he felt Yuuya’s departure most keenly, if I’m interpreting the past few episodes correctly. This all presents some interesting possibilities for the inevitable battle between the Infinities and the Argos Test Flight, where Leon and Yuuya are almost guaranteed to have their face-off. It’ll be an interesting duality, with Yuuya, who lives in the present, going against Leon, who is firmly rooted in the past. Perhaps Bridges will be the catalyst for the latter’s growth – with the theme of friendship and the idea of passing something on to another person peppering the episode, it would be a very nice tie-in if Yuuya is able to affect a positive change in someone else just like everyone else has done for him. And who better than his former teammate? Cryska is a possibility, but Leon seems more like the thematically cohesive choice, and it would serve as a perfect conclusion to the mini-arc depicting Yuuya’s past.
Things are a little less clear-cut in the romance department, and it’s definitely far harder to tell what the trajectory is when it comes to examining the blossoming “relationship” between Yui, Cryska, and Yuuya. This seems somewhat similar to the triangle in Macross Frontier, with an utterly romantically disinterested male lead stuck between two equally smitten ladies. I would say Cryska has the lead in this race – while Yui was the defining catalyst that led to a serious change in Yuuya’s character, her role in the latter half of the series in regards to him has become rather grey and questionable. Meanwhile, Cryska has gained solid ground by becoming Yuuya’s confidante of sorts, and the two share a more concrete and grounded rapport away from TSFs that isn’t quite there with Yui. On one hand, Yui and Yuuya do make more sense personality-wise, and they have helped each other grow as characters. Cryska and Yuuya are much too similar, with both of them often being too blunt and remaining oblivious to the weight and effect of their words. But considering the thematic nature of their relationship, it certainly holds a strong romantic possibility. Yuuya’s involvement with the Scarlet Twins also seems to be leading up to something, and I don’t think it’ll be too long before the tension reaches an all-time high with these three.