Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse

Alt titles: Total Eclipse

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roriconfan's avatar By roriconfan on Aug 14, 2012

THE STAFF 
- Animation is done by studio Satelight. Besides Noein I didn’t like any of their other numerous shows. Their budgets are average to good but they never try too much to create quality shows and anything they do is usually nothing more than dumb fun. 
- Directing is done by Inagaki Takayuki, who is a bit known for his work in Desert Punk and Rosario + Vampire. You can easily tell he likes fan service and shits on plot, so you can pretty much guess right away what the show is going to be about. 
- Based on the Total Eclipse light novels. Which in turn are side stories in the setting of the action/war/mecha visual novel titled Muv-Luv Alternative. Which in turn again is an alternative setting of the plain titled Muv-Luv visual novels, which were typical school romcoms. Amongst the visual novel fandom Muv-Luv Alternative is considered to be the best of what science fiction and action can offer in the genre. I have watched a few scenes of it and I must say it does a fine job for a show based on static pictures and pseudo-motion. Now before you get too excited by reading all that and have thoughts of running to play and read everything in this franchise, let me warn you that they include a lot of erotic foreplay, dating, and occasional sex, plus some really gross rape scenes. But hey, how would it be so famous if it wasn’t like that? This is Japan we are talking about; being deviant is a must.

SCRIPT 

Although it appears at first to be an exciting war drama / mecha action / alien invasion tale, in practice the story is as generic as it gets. In fact it is more about girls in sexy uniforms and cool robots doing silly stuff with a harem lead than trying to save the planet from total eradication by aliens. The presentation lacks a lot in terms of pacing, as way too many things happen in the first two episodes, followed by very little happening thereafter. Even storytelling is sloppy and exposition occurs in most lazy and amateurish ways. 

For example, it has this explanatory documentary of how the war began and boy, it felt like it was written by a little kid. I mean the aliens attack during the 60’s and mankind supposed tried to fend them off for the first time on the moon. HOW THE DEVIL DOES THAT WORK??? Back then we barely had the technology to send a rocket fuelled contraption with an 80% of failure and now all of a sudden we have a whole army of space mechas? Skip that, why the hell would we waste countless resources to create and send a whole army on the moon, just so to fight on an environment that is not native to ours? And what exactly would we defend there, the rocks? And damn, if the aliens can travel through planets do you think they will give a rat’s ass about the moon? Their goal is to destroy humanity so they would obviously attack the planet directly. And how come there are sounds in space? And why the hell does the show begin by revealing all the backdrop story with a dull monologue instead of gradually showing it through the plot?

You know what, it would all feel a lot more natural if this was taking place in a fictional planet and not Earth. And sure, it obviously is fictional to begin with but they keep mentioning dates and places to constantly tell us this is Earth. Plus they never attempt to explain how in this reality mankind had mechas since the 60’s or why you can hear sounds in space. This totally ruins the plausibility. 

So anyways, just like the stereotype dictates all high schoolers in Japan need to learn how to pilot huge robots while still studying history and algebra. Yeah, that is exactly what you are supposed to be doing if mankind is one step away from extinction; we wouldn’t want to survive without being able to solve complicating equations and theorems, right? It would look bad if later on we need to find a proper desk job in those completely devastated cities. 

In a similar fashion the whole first episode is spent on getting familiar with the setting by having every single line of dialogue being used to lazily break the fourth wall and explain stuff to us in the dumb style of “Oh you mean Jason of the Tomson family who have their own line of factories and who lives in the northwest of the city, and whose favorite color is blue?” PEOPLE DON’T TALK LIKE THAT! 

Also, only the first two episodes and the last ones are actually following the theme of the series, while all the rest are just slice of life with military officers where nothing much happens. Besides the fan service that is. 

PRODUCTION VALUES 

On a basic level the show looks good. The mecha are cool, their motions are rather fluent and the girls are cute. And let’s not forget the most vivid detail; CHECK OUT THOSE BATTLE UNIFORMS! Are they really used for piloting robots or for cosplay orgy parties? I mean DAMN SON I would gladly fail all my tests if I would get to spend my life in high school protecting humanity and peeping at girls that look like a walking wet dream. A very motivational show for all students out there. Other than that, there is nothing out of the ordinary in terms of animations or artwork. In fact, the whole thing is just a flashier rehash of Sakura Wars. 

It occasionally makes some use of its setting and offers cool mecha action. The organic aliens look rather lame but the way the metallic robots fight is close to great. It even has a few hints of battle tactics, although it still boils down to random laser shots and last moment saves by super robots. Plus the pilots constantly forget that their robots can fly, something that leads to them being surrounded by aliens who don’t fly.

As far as voice acting and soundtrack goes, the show is just ok. Nothing amazing in overall, since it never tries to be too serious or deep. 

CAST 

The show doesn’t hold back in the death count, as it kills many characters in a usually violent and gorish manner. You kinda feel the dread of what is going on to the world and the sadness of having your country and relatives shred to pieces. And I say “kinda” because it’s still not doing it in a great way as earlier titles I know of. Just look at the first five seconds after we see the first characters; they immediately try not to show their pantsu by a gust of wind. Yeah, the first thing they do in order to make us get attached to them is telling us to pull out your peckers. And there is no reason to expect character development by any of them because they are killed off pretty fast. 

But then we are introduced to the second cast, which don’t die right away and most of the show is about them training in mecha action so they can defend the planet. There are a lot of scenes where they interact and show various facades of themselves. On a basic level they are all fleshed out. Sadly the characterization is very thin and eventually pointless, since you are never made to believe this is a war setting. They all behave like they are in high-school, worried about their next test instead of having the serious composure of veteran military officers. They are hardly acting like their world is in the brink of destruction. Even later on when mankind starts having internal conflicts, it still feels stupid since you have absolutely no reason to like a bunch of idiots who kill each other instead of teaming up in order to defeat such a major crisis. 

Sadly, the show took the route of so many others before it (Gunparade, Regios, Freezing, and Lagrange) and uses some generic alien invasion just to flavor a boring date sim. You get your usual blunt male pilot surrounded by chicks and they constantly find excuses to do dumb things. Just try to count how many bath and beach scenes are crammed in each episode just for the sake of fan service. 

LEGACY 

Although the first two episodes make you think it’s going to be amazing, it quickly loses steam and turns to another forgettable mediocrity with cheap character fleshing out and lots of tired ecchi plots. It was the action people liked and after a good second episode the whole thing turned into a harem with some aliens and robots in the background. 

As boring as Blue Gender may have been as an anime, it still did a fine job at showing what true dread and hopelessness are all about when monsters are taking over the world. And no freaking schools on sight! Also who can forget the amazing complexity of games like Xenosaga? Or the emotional attachment with the characters inGunbuster? You barely get all that in a show that is mostly about schoolgirls with revealing outfits and miniskirts.

Disappointing! It is impossible to take it seriously and I never watch non-hentai anime to jerk off. So, it’s a failure of a show. 

And now for some excused scorings.

ART SECTION: 6/10 
General Artwork 1/2 (generic)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 2/2 (basic but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 1/2 (basic) 

SOUND SECTION: 7/10 
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 3/4 (not great but fitting with the feeling of the series) 
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)

STORY SECTION: 1/10 
Premise 1/2 (typical)
Pacing 0/2 (loose)
Complexity 0/2 (none that matters)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 0/2 (dull and open)

CHARACTER SECTION: 3/10 
Presence 1/2 (hentai cardboards)
Personality 1/2 (hentai stereotypes)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 0/2 (random bullshit)
Catharsis 0/2 (random bullshit)

VALUE SECTION: 1/10 
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 0/3 (no reason to rewatch)
Memorability 1/4 (generic alien invasion theme)

ENJOYMENT SECTION: 1/10 
Art 0/1 (looks typical) 
Sound 1/2 (nice songs)
Story 0/3 (an alien invasion that turns to eroge, lol)
Characters 0/4 (I only remember the sexy uniforms, lol)

VERDICT: 3/10

1/10 story
6/10 animation
7/10 sound
3/10 characters
3/10 overall
chaosmeltdown's avatar By chaosmeltdown on Nov 7, 2014

gotta defend this one, maybe it was the slight harem they implemented or the U.S, stealth mechs but this anime was watchable and never bored me. What got me is in the beggining the characters that where supposed to be the main ones get killed off, from there i got hooked. needed tp know what happened next. this anime aint no grounbreaker but i would buy the dvds and wouldnt regret it(this is from someone who buys clothes at the salvation army).

6/10 story
7/10 animation
6/10 sound
7/10 characters
6/10 overall