"A destiny tossed about, in an insane world--- A flame of life blazing forth, in a dying world--- And now, one more future that is spun--- This is the alternative ending unable to be told before: A very great, a very tiny, a very precious... Tale of love and courage." Muv-Luv Alternative continues the story of Shirogane Takeru after the events of the original Muv-Luv. This is a tale of a love so deep it breaks all barriers; about courage in the face of adversity and overcoming hardships. Takeru encounters insurmountable odds while his entire world is turned upside down around him.
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However, with Takeru already experienced and having a second chance to prevent the disastrous ending of Unlimited, there is no need for all that relationship the characters had previously. It doesn't mean that there isn't an emotional connection between the characters, but the relationship is diametrically different from what it was in Unlimited and Extra, that is, one of the greatest strengths in its predecessor works, it is not here, because it is no longer the focus as such. .
And this change adds a lot of extra tension to the story, as we initially see Takeru have a more rigid relationship with his ex-friends, and his relationships become very different from what they were before, as it was his relationship with his friends and his partner. romance within Unlimited that gave strength to the character in that timeline. Alternative establishes his position for the reader when he doesn't branch the work into routes, there is no opportunity to romance his team members this time.
I need to highlight the structure of the Muv-Luv series as a whole in this world, as it culminates in Alternative. One of Unlimited's greatest strengths is the fact that they build that whole terrifying vision of the BETAS and they didn't even appear on screen or have any prominence, and yet the ending of Unlimited is painful in itself, even though we didn't see a single not even a battle, or just a single BETA. Alternative, on the other hand, now loaded with the narrative power of its predecessor, uses this to remedy this omnipresence that the BETAS had in the world's setting, meaning that only much later does its appearance have a brutal impact on the story. It is from this point that Alternative begins to collect all the pieces of information produced by its two ancestors.
What seemed like plot holes, forgotten stories, or even throwaway conversations are paid off magnificently here. The level of planning that went into structuring this story is incredibly impressive.
Just as many Mecha after the 90s were inspired by Evangelion, Muv-Luv seems to stand out even within that medium. Not that observing, or having a greater focus on the protagonist's internal struggles is something exclusive to Evangelion within the genre, but it is what he is most remembered and highlighted for. Takeru's internal struggle within Muv-Luv Alternative is exciting and repulsive at the same time, they are feelings similar to what I had with Shinji Ikari, although they are not as great as what I had for Takeru, because he goes beyond the level of being pathetic . However, it should be noted that despite the similarities, Muv-luv stands out more for the sci-fi and the mecha genre as a whole, prioritizing these elements rather than Takeru's internal struggle, unlike Evangelion. While Evangelion highlights the protagonist's internal struggle, in Muv-Luv, despite the protagonist dealing with strong internal conflicts, the emphasis is on the struggle in personal relationships, social institutions and the forces of the physical world, which are personified in the BETAS. Despite the similarities, Muv-Luv is on another plot spectrum than Evangelion.
Takeru's entire arc within the series is frustrating to watch, anyone who looked at my comments during the Extra/Unlimited review understands why.
In Extra, he's a nobody, inexplicably attracting female attention without any obvious effort on his part, a two-dimensional character with no personality traits who can't make a decision without someone telling him what decision he needs to make.
In Unlimited the world begins to oppress him and forces him to mature, even though there is still a need for people to point out to him the thoughts he should have, he manages to reach his own conclusions and it is rewarding on a certain level.
Now Alternative? It completely reiterates Takeru's lack of conviction and punishes him for each of his wrong choices, and a large part of these choices are repeated choices where he already knew he had made a mistake, there is even a difference of opinion when it comes to Unlimited, making that the narrative demonstrates what exactly is wrong when comparing two works. So it's frustrating and even angering to see the protagonist make the same mistakes, and to see him escape the notion that he made a mistake. Before in Extra, people point out to him what he should do or think, but even when they try to do this in Alternative the protagonist starts acting childishly using his "false conviction" as an excuse. MLA never stops punishing Takeru for any choice he makes, causing such brutal emotional trauma, a PTSD arc that is painful to watch and all of this to destroy every fragment of the pathetic character he was and mold him into a protagonist unique and singular that is possible to remain in our memories.
To add to my opinion, I must point out that MLA makes specific criticisms of certain regime models, and highlights Japanese nationalism as something good, bringing as a vision the Japanese nationalist spirit that helped rebuild the country after the war and unite people, it is this feeling that is reflected within the work. Furthermore, there is an interesting political vision in MLA that is highlighted in the actions of all the characters, the setting of Muv-Luv is impeccable and worth mentioning, as it is never just mere worldbuilding. (And don't be an idiot to confuse nationalism within the work with imperialism or facism.)
Muv-Luv Alternative is a great visual novel and its themes are not so different from its predecessors, in this case it is a version of Unlimited that goes even deeper into its themes, reiterating the central theme surrounding acceptance of reality and what connects human beings with each other; And it is only together that we can face a threat like the Betas. The ending is fantastic and gives us a satisfactory explanation for everything that happens, which had been built since Extra onwards. There are no gaps in the plot, any uncomfortable doubts have been impressively dispelled, and everyone should be aware of how complicated it is to correlate and remain aware of a plot that involves time travel and parallel universes that could say that.
If you're going to read Muv-Luv, be prepared for a rollercoaster of emotions, whether pleasurable or distressing. This is a story to recapture what we lost.