Since 1973, an invasion of aliens upon Earth known as BETA has driven human civilization to destruction. In order to defend themselves from this enormous mass of enemy force, mankind has developed large humanoid arms called Tactical Surface Fighters and deployed them to its defense lines through out the world. However, its efforts could only slow down the impending defeat, and mankind has been forced to abandon the major areas of the Eurasian Continent. For 30 years, they have been caught in an endless war against BETA without any hopes of victory.
Now in 2001, Imperial Japan faces difficulties in the development of the next-generation of Tactical Surface Fighters (TSF) as it defends the front lines of the Far East. The UN has proposed a joint development program between Imperial Japan and the United States as a part of its TSF international mutual development unit, the Prominence Project.
Yui Takamura (a surface pilot of the Imperial Royal Guards of Japan) is given the responsibility of the project and sets off to Alaska. Meanwhile, Yuya Bridges, also a surface pilot of the US Army, heads to the same destination.
They never had any idea just how drastically their encounter would change their fates.
This story of internal dilemma takes place during the development of the new Tactical Surface Fighters, the most crucial and effective weapons against BETA. And this time, the stakes are much higher than a handful of lives and our sanity.
All we can do is fight.
(Source: Muv-Luv Total Eclipse Official English Website, edited)
#1: "Go to the top" by Kumi Koda (ep 1) #2: "signs ~Sakutsuki Hitoyo~ (signs ～朔月一夜～)" by Minami Kuribayashi (eps 2-16, 18, 19, 24) #3: "Snow Maiden (スノウメヰデン)" by Aki Misato (ep 17) #4: "Revise the World" by ayami (eps 20-23)
There's been a lot of strange series that debuted in 2012. If there was another to name, one would definitely be Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse. No, it's not the end of the year (yet) for us but in the world of the Total Eclipse, it's walking down that path. The series is based off a LN (light novel) of the same name and takes place in a science fiction world where mecha, aliens, and hot women with suits of iron dominating the series. It's definitely not everyday that you get to see chicks fighting otherworldly beings and still getting the time to relax. Let's look
and see for ourselves what Muv Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse has to offer:
The series is set in an alternative timeline where our planet Earth has been invaded by aliens forces known as the BETA. This sort of genre can be traced into many science fiction series such as Strike Witches, Gunparade March, and even Neon Genesis. The BETA has caused the Earth resistance to develop jet/mecha hybrid called Tactical Surface Fighters or TSF to eradicate them. Mankind now is in a state of war, horror, and survival where the skies rains with blood and the ground leaves the scars of battles. Muv Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse focuses on the exploration of these battles, characters' interactions, and the survival of mankind.
The first episode isn't what we might expect. When I watched it, there's seems to be a sort of “mindfuck” reaction. In fact, it's not what most of us expected but a rather dark flashback with Yui in her final days of high school. To be honest, high school is never too fun for most people but in Yui's case has gotten that much grimmer. In a tragic twist, she is forced into immediate combat with her classmates for the first time against the powerful BETA. And with that, blood is spilled with a brutality of violence is presented to the viewers. If you thought this was a show about hot girls doing hot things, then think again.
From there though, everything shifts to present time and we get to see the other characters of the series. It seems Yui has become that much more confident and with her status now as lieutenant. Starring opposite her though is the ever stubborn, short-tempered, confident Yuuya Bridges. He is of the Japanese American descent who follows his roles a strong soldier against the forces of the BETA. His short temper and characteristics forms a barrier between most of the other characters in the beginning with him presenting an attitude of “don't fuck with me” personality.
And speaking of personalities, this series mixes in different characters with different characteristics. Let's take for example:
The Scarlet Twins -
Cryska "Scarlet Twin" Barchenowa who is of the Soviet descent has a cold personality and is afraid to let people get close to her because the state of her mentality. She is the cold beauty of the series with an equally cold ability to fly the unfriendly skies of the series and doing what she does best. On the other hand, we got Inia "Scarlet Twin" Sestina. She is Cryska's most precious individual (and “sister”) in that twisted world . Unlike Cryska though, Inia is much more gentler and treats other people with kindness especially Yuuya who she adores like an older brother.
The other characters in the series has different personalities as well. Tarisa Manandal, whom Yuuya teasingly calls her Chobi acts as the more comedic side of the series despite some of the more serious violence tone going on around. Later on, we also meet Cui Yifei, a pilot of the Chinese descent that brings out the inner tsundere from Yui.
These lovely ladies all have their different personalities but the show occasionally tries to hard. For example, some of the filler episodes involving the beach and the onsen presents us nothing more than just pure fan-service that's irrelevant to the story. Furthermore, the women of the series are drawn in a way that reflects their figures directly to the viewers with those tight suits. Who can forget those suits honestly? I bet most people here watched the trailer and added it to their PTW just from that.
There is more than just beyond the fan-service though for this rather underrated series. As more episodes progressed, we can see a more political side of Total Eclipse involving the various genetic heritages of the main characters. The nickname “Japanese Doll” given by Yuuya Bridges to Yui serves as a comedic but also political reference to his personality towards the race. The other characters' heritages also strikes a distinguishing background for the series that makes it more realistic despite being a science fiction.
The series traces its roots with the survival of the fittest theme although it doesn't involve any game elements. Instead, it's a military type series that involves with one force and the other. There can only be one winner on each side: mankind or the BETA. As such, the battles in the series are often intense when they happen that draws the violence, brutality, and blood from the skies. The characters drawn are visually presented well and gets their points across. However, the mecha department lacks a bit of this quality. Although crisp, the mecha themselves seems to be trying too much to become..mecha. However, the emotions and drama mixed in is a surprisingly exciting watch. It shows the dangers mankind have been and will be facing.
Yet despite the serious tone of the series, there is a lot of interactions between the main characters later on. For later on, Yuuya becomes less aggressive and more caring towards his colleagues treating them as friends rather than comrades. His interaction with Yui is one of the more dynamic focuses in the series as he inspires her that she can create a path the way she wants. This opened up new doors of opportunities for a more caring relationship between the two. Hmm, maybe not because it seems that there are also other women interested in Yuuya. In some of the later episodes, Yuuya becomes the center of attention who attracts the attention of the many other female characters in the series. It's funny in a strange way to realize that in such a dark atmosphere that the BETA has already created, there can also be some space for fun and laughter.
As said before, the artwork of the series is presented in a way that reflects the more serious tone of the Muv Luv world in which survival of mankind depends on these new generation of trained pilots. The pilots themselves are drawn well and those tight suits the ladies wear are the eye candies. On the other hand, the mecha drawn are less than average and focuses too much on themselves. They are just there for the military purposes of battling the BETA with not too many special characters. The BETA themselves however gives off that alien invasion like feeling with their artwork designs of the horns, teeth, stingers, etc. Their behavior in the series shows that they are there to invade and expects nothing less than a fight to the death.
The overall music/soundtrack for the series is above par but sometimes tries to be too forceful. "Go to the top" by Kumi Koda shows a montage of all the main characters as well as a few glances of the vicious BETA. Some of the more emotional flashbacks gives off a soft melody that reflects the sadness of the Muv Luv world. A few of the characters went through a harsh past and it ultimately made them who they are today.
All in all, Muv Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse is one of those mecha series where it tries to balance out the grim reality of the war and the drama between the main characters. The reality of the war is there as we can see from Yui's past and what she has gone through. But at the same time, there is new hope as she finds new friends and allies to move on from that past. Yuuya's interactions with the other characters also shows that he is a caring person rather than just an obnoxious self-centered pilot as some of us believed him to originally be. There is also the blushing, the potential romance, as well as what is in hope for a better future.
Ultimately, Muv Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse is an underrated series that some of us may have looked past this year. Perhaps if we faced a more harsher reality in today's world, we might become more self aware. But it's worth giving it a shot especially if you're digging into some science fiction drama.
Mecha anime is sometimes for most of people would avoid this one like me. It isnt about taste matter but sometimes we find mecha anime tends to be boring and repetitive. Like, they always about battle, battle and battle. They just focussing on that matters without leaving characters to develop. But back then, i am being suggested to watch Muv Luv Alternative and i must said, it was a great experience
Muv Luv Alternative Total Eclipse or should i say, Muv Luv. Is one from many anime that taking mecha as their main themes. But the differences between them, is they didnt focus about mecha
vs mecha like gundam. but its more about Mecha vs Alien. in this anime, we called alien as BETA. The story goes when The "BETA" has invaded on the earth. As the humanity is on the edge, UN and Japanese Imperial make a weapon to against them. Its called TSF. Tactical Surface Fighter or we can say the name for the mecha or robot. Yui Takamura and Yuuya Bridges as the MC must against the BETA who tried to take over the earth, could they did it?
At the first glimpse, we can merely imagine this anime would about this giant robot destroying every BETAs easily without any problem with their lasers and moreover, thinking this anime would heavily about mecha battle. Well, you can throw away that perception after watching this. in the first episode we're being served by a really dark atmosphere. Despair, hopeless and emotional moments is blended in this one. I am pretty excited about the first time when i watch this. Well, after some episode It changes. In this anime, It doesnt always about creepy and dark moments like before but also light things like comedy and more even, romance. Though the comedy and romance isnt the prominent things in this anime but its good to balanced with the heavy story on it. Moreover, the romance isnt cheesy and cheap. Moreover, its quite touching and naturally flowing between on each characters. The comedy isnt that bad too, though sometimes it isnt really funny but at least we would get smile by watching it.
The pace in this anime is rather slow than any mecha anime that i've ever seen. They have some backgrounds story for some characters and they way how they tells each of something (like BETA and or about the plan) is quite detailed and the word that they are using for explaining things is quite easy to understand. So, it isnt really hard to follow this story.
This is maybe the strongest aspects on this anime, art. Muv Luv is extremely doing it well on this aspects. They way the use 3D art on the mecha is suprisingly good. I mean, look at the movements for the mecha or TSF is so smooth and moreover it doesnt crashed with the 2D background, its feels like they are one. Not just the 3D aspects, the picture in this anime is also vivid, beautiful and sharp. Well,it doesnt so surprising since the producer is satelight which is known for making anime with vivid color like fairy tail. Though sometimes the art in this anime is changing, like when some dramatic or despair scenes comes it turns to more darker and serious tones. Honestly, the changing between it, isnt really matter furthermore, its increasing the atmosphere feels in that scenes. Beside of all that, The most interesing things again about the art is the character design. You will found so many interesting character in design aspects and of course eye-candy for men since we would see so many beautiful girls with tight clothes and moreover, the art in this anime is supporting for making this "view" more delicious.
From the sound section, Honestly i love the opening song in this anime "Go to the top" by Kumi Koda is really suitable with the this anime. Electric tunes and slow hip hop beat in this song is really catchy. The animation that appears while the song is played is also great. Its presentating every characters that would appears and of course the great 3D mecha art is still there and for the ED, its doesnt really memorable and honestly the song is a little bit of. Moving on to character sound, the seiyuu in this anime is actually is good. For Yuuya, he is being voiced by Ono Daisuke which is known for his role on shizuo (Durarara) and for Takamura Yui, she is being voiced by Mai Nakahara which known for her role in Nagisa (clannad). Those two seiyuu is the proof for the quality of the sound characters, They are really suitable with the roles that they have. Like Yui Voice when in dere mode, Mai Nakahara can pulling that one off. though sometimes the voice is a little bit off but its still pretty enjoyable to hear their voice.
After the art, the most prominent things in Muv Luv is the characters. What i love from this series is the personality that each characters has. Like Yuuya, our main lead. At the first, he is a egoistical characters that only care about himself, he do what he wants to do and doesnt really care about any people, but this negative personality is changing as long as the story goes this characters turns into the one that why this characters deserve as the main characters.
Beside Yuuya, we have Takamura Yui. which is at the first glimpse is your really annoying one. since, as the commanders and the leader for the army she is have a harsh and strict personality that makes you want to punch her right on her head but, like Yuuya as long as the story goes this personality is changing and I can safely said Yui would make the viewers fallin in love with her. especially when she is in her dere mode.
Beside two of those, Muv Luv have another main characters, its scarlet twins. Like its name, Scarlet twins is consists of two people, Cryska and Inia. Those two people have two big differents in personality. If inia is like your imouto type which is clingy type and sweet, Cryska is more mature and strict like Yui. She is basically just do what she is ordered. The reflection between them is what makes scarlet twins is loveable and wanna makes rooting for them.
So, what can i say is all the characters (not just the main characters) in this anime is really enchanting and you will ended up rooting for them, One thing that particulary that Muv Lu lack is some of them sometimes appears just for the decoration like the three girls from UN. They appears without affecting the characters nor the story, they appears Without any use. Its being wasted i think. Beside of it, like i have mention before, the characters developments in Muv Luv is really handled very well. Every thing that happen between them is affecting their personality, like Yui that gradually have an interest with Yuuya. Anyway, We dont just see the battles but also the drama within it and what makes them changed especially in the personality like Yuuya or Yui does.
in the end, i must say i satisfied with what i have watched. spending nearly for 8 hours just for watching this series is really pays off. I even didnt realize that i had in the last episode. The art, story and the characters is the one why i can sitting down quietly watching this anime. Honestly, Mecha isnt my things. But this one is different, i felt this one is totally different from what i expect from mecha anime. The harem and romance aspects is probably the one that surprise me a lot from this series. Well, who knows that harem+mecha is turn out into a great combination? Anyway, i really recommend this anime if you seek for pleasure and great anime.
Aliens, known as the B.E.T.A, invade our planet in the year 1973. They mindlessly attack humans and devour us like food. There is no way to communicate with these B.E.T.A , so our only option left is to fight them. To do so, we humans invent giant humanoid machines called Tactical Surface Fighters (or TSFs). Pilots are trained to man these machines and fight in the front lines against the B.E.T.A forces; however, this is not a story about those who fight in the front lines. This is a side story about the test pilots who make sure the TSFs are suitable for use on
the front lines.
A side story...most people lower their expectations when they hear this. Side stories are usually not as good because they are simply a tool used to promote the main series. This is pretty much the case for Muv-luv Alternative: Total Eclipse. It is a spin-off of the original Light Novel series, Muv-Luv Alternative. With that in mind, i walked into this anime with lowered expectations. I advise you all to do the same.
It all started out fine. The B.E.T.A invades Japan, and our heroine Takamura Yui fights them off with her friends. They are in turn horribly massacred by the B.E.T.A, and Yui is forced to watch as her friends get eaten alive right before her eyes. A dark and bloody atmosphere is built by the third episode... but then that atmosphere gets destroyed almost instantly. It becomes extremely obvious a few episodes later that the first two episodes were a trap.
Total Eclipse switches from that dark and brooding atmosphere to a beach episode in just a few episodes. It almost becomes a sort of romance/slice of life anime later on. The story then starts to become more and more inconsistent. They go from people getting eaten alive in Japan to a military base in Alaska. From there they go to a beach resort and then another military base in Russia.They eventually even end up in a hot spring somewhere and somehow. By the time we get to the halfway point of the series, almost no traces of the feeling gotten from the first two episodes remained. The inconsistency of the setting makes the plot a jumbled mess, and it becomes increasingly difficult to understand where it is going.
I have mixed feelings towards the characters in Total Eclipse. I don't hate them, but i do not exactly like them either. Our main hero,Yuyaa Bridges is pretty much your average day superman. Nothing can get pass his thick, thick Plot Armor. He gets surrounded by hundreds of B.E.T.A? He cuts them down and leaves with a nearly broken machine. He gets surrounded by a group of other TSFs? Gets off without a scratch. It becomes harder and harder to believe that this man can get so lucky.
You would think that his luck would run out near the end, but it does not. Somehow, out of nowhere, this guy manages to create a Harem during the last few episodes. There is almost no prior development with any members of his harem except Yui. They all flock to him for simple generic reasons like, "he is a nice guy", or "he is super talented". It looked like the writers just wanted to mix in as many genres as they possibly could. The romance looked really force and it in turn made most of the characters look very shallow. That is not to say i hated the cast of characters. I personally found them amusing to watch despite being very generic and boring at times. By generic i mean they all fitted specific stereotypes. Yuuya was the all powerful main character. Yui was your text book example of a tsundere.
The artwork in Total Eclipse can be very deceiving. A majority of the scenes would be drawn and animated very well. This puts up the appearance that the series' artwork is actually well done; however, there would always be a handful of scenes where the animators got extremely lazy. In these scenes, the characters would look like weird blobs with a face and clothes. Said scenes were done very poorly and degrades the overall quality of the anime.
I have always been very lenient on mech animations. I like them all no matter what, and Total Eclipse was no exception. The TSFs artwork and animation were impressive, but there was one problem. All of the TSFs looked the same. The only difference was a variety in colors. Everything else about them were so similar that it was hard for me to tell which was which. A team of TSFs would all look exactly the same, so telling them apart was nearly impossible.
Music was the best aspect of this series for me. I loved every track from the first opening and ending to the second opening and closing song. The first opening "Go to the top" took a unique and different approach. It was a nice and catchy rock song that went surprisingly well with this anime. The second opening, "Doubt the World" gave me shivers with its epic final battle sort of feel. It was an appropriate song for the last few episodes. The ending theme, "Revise the world", has probably become one of my favorite ending songs. It had such a sad and intense feel to it. A wonderful song for an epic climax and conclusion to a story. Now if only the ending to Total Eclipse was not so anti-climatic ...
It might seem like i really hated this series, but i actually quite enjoyed it. A sort of guilty pleasure was what it was. Total Eclipse was obviously something along the lines of sub par, but i found it enjoyable all the same. After all, nothing beats aliens, giant mechs, and hot girls in tight suits.
Muv-Luv is a franchise well known amongst westerners as “the best” visual novel ever made, and has a surprisingly big fan base. But most don’t know that the Visual Novel franchise is actually based on a Light Novel series, which no one has probably read outside of those who read Chinese translated books or Japanese…The reason why everyone liked the whole game was because it takes itself seriously and the characters have actual motifs for their actions, not feeling like dolls that can be played around with.
And thus, it became what it is today, but I’m not here reviewing the Visual Novel, but the
animated adaption of the side Light Novel.
Review Part: Intro Presentation
Total Eclipse is set in the year 2001 where humanity is on the verge of extinction due to encountering an unkown species, which later are named to The Beings of Extra Terrestrial origin which is Adversary of human race or shortly put (BETA).
The first character to die halfway in the first episode with the phrase “eh?” which she states after a character blatantly warns her 5 seconds earlier that she should watch out.
And you’re support to be like “OH NO! WHY?!” or the scene where her friend tells her “Shoot me!” but she misses every single shot with her dying in vain, crying like a baby, which afterwards she gets saved by plot convenience to extend her role in the story, pretty bold if you ask me.
Review Part: Characters
The characters in Total Eclipse are a mix of all types of anime
stereotypes sexualized to the point of no return. Of course, there are a few exceptions. But the main dish just feels uneasy on the eyes or distracting to focus on the story or character motives, because you’ll be staring at their huge melons or the weird spandex suit. The characters themselves are barely memorable as well. We have the MC being that arrogant pro who can’t do anything because he hasn’t mastered the ways of Japanese Tactical Surface Fighter, as different countries build them based on different uses. Americans brute force, Russians Maneuverability and power, Japanese mostly Maneuverability so it can jump around like Mario.
The rest of the cast are there to help him change his view on how he should use them. As they pretty much can’t afford to lose trust between themselves. Seriously, the characters were so forgettable except one or two that I’ll end up missing them entirely. VG is a notable character who cracks/does perverse jokes but has an attitude which actually hits the soft spot.
Especially his Dub actor, he did an outstanding job to portray him. Bridges is your Eren Jaeger who has no personality or reason at all except being there causing drama or dumb plot-twists that will make you raise a brow or scratch your head. Takamura is the main female lead that is a literal tsundere, nothing much to note on her, throughout the course of the story she doesn’t change. And no, her relationship with the Bridges doesn’t go anywhere. Cryska and her sister are pretty much the equivalent of little sister loves MC, elder one doesn’t but eventually falls in love. Yes folks, it’s a love quadrangle. She’s an emotionless killer who turns into a yandere because plot called it. There are of course. Much more characters, but I hardly remember what they wanted to do or their motives in the show, which leaves a very poor example of the show.
Review Part: Storytelling & Arcs
The story telling is led by a predictable outcomes and unconving reactions to be taken seriously. It constantly changes to unrelated topics about the show and its characters. First it’s a training drama about surviving the beta attack and helping humanity in further developing TSFs to improve their chance of survival then all of a sudden we go to a Beach arc about how the MC is treated as shit because he’s Half-Japanese I mean seriously? Oh and it gets better. Another few training sessions come in, but focus mostly their back stories which is good, but when the story does nothing so you can remember these characters you just don't want to care either way. The pacing changes from fast to slow at random, throughout the first 5 episodes where they build on relationships with characters and their motives they change to drama about going to the girls hot spring then all of a sudden into a the-military-does-not-respect-us-civilians drama. The whole testing pilot thing literally stays true for only ¼ of the series and no more. Presenting multiple plot holes and nonsensical reasonings which of course mean nothing in the long run, because it ends up being a shonen-style storytelling where the power of believing will make the day bright again. Technically after the arcs could’ve been made way better by expanding on the series for more than 26 episodes and actually do something with its themes and characters and not end up in just another forgettable cash-in.
Review Part: Production values and music
Oh boy, here is the thing where it made me want the show to have been done by Sunrise and not Satelight. For a war drama that focuses mostly on robot fighting, the robot themselves are Computer-Generated meaning that half of the animation just dies, which not to say that it had any spectacular animation to begin with. So the drop in quality is quite high regardless of what you’rewatching…The PowerPoint presentation walking or running animation is distracting, so to save budget they mostly sit around doing nothing and talk for an eternity, even the enemies are CG it really fell flat here, there was nothing redeemable about it.
The character designs are one note and pretty basic, you have short hair mid length hair short hair differences. One note backgrounds, and semi-post apocalyptic landscape here and there. Nothing special really, they didn’t even try improving the already existing designs or backgrounds.
Music and usage
The music is mostly forgettable, but fits the scenario pretty well. Considering most of the times nothing specific happens, and the overall action scenes are little. There was one insert song by Granrodeo which was a good insert song that played twice. And one at the end of ep 4, the rest is either reenacted from the VN ost mixed with anime original, and it’s pretty poorly used. The 4 action scenes that actually played those 2 insert songs was nice to listen to while the fight was going in the background but in the end, it fell off the rope and went straight down the lake.
In conclusion it’s a below average production that really has nothing for you to bother wasting your time with, I have a dim recollection of the characters exactly 7 days after I finished it. Of course, it may only be worth it if you want to break it down.
Nothing makes an anime scarier (or more thrilling) than those that feature grotesque beings terrorizing everything -- including us viewers. This in-depth look at these utter monstrosities will reveal why these horrific beasts are, in fact, so frightening.