“This is a very small, very large, very precious story about love and courage”

Edited and tweaked on 25th of December 2012 to honour the yearly Sadohashima Day, also known as the Christmas Day

There exist two stories that I keep close to my heart. One story is from nine years ago, and the other is as recent as from few weeks ago. These two stories are what I reflect much of myself against, and how I will grow in the upcoming years. This is something that I want to tell and share with those who are willing to listen. I want to share the tears I’ve shed and the sorrow I’ve felt for these stories. However, I afraid this post will be spoiler heavy. If you want to enjoy both Kimi ga Nozomu Eien and Muv-Luv to the fullest, please go through them before reading this. Otherwise, do continue onwards.

Some years ago a friend of mind burned me a disc called Blue People Special. The Disc contained the first episodes of then-new series of Sonic X, Kimi ga Nozomu Eien and some series I can’t recall. While Sonic X was fun to watch, Kimi ga Nozomu Eien was the one that, without a doubt, changed my life. The title of Visual Novel and the series translates something along the lines of The Eternity You Wish and is commonly abbreviated as KimiNozo. It is a small story of three friends, love and tragedy. Before we get to the core of this post, Muv-Luv, we need to go through some of the KimiNozo’s plot, and I’ll abbreviate the first three episodes of the series here. They can be skipped, but I’d recommend you either watch the series or read the VN.

“ Like the stars that twinkle in the night sky

Hearts that have melted together will never come apart.

Even though these hands let go

As long as neither of us forget “

Kimi ga Nozomu Eien is a story of your normal life, a story of a love triangle of harshest caliber. Suzumiya Haruka, quite timid girl is in love with Narumi Takayuki and asks her friend Hayase Mitsuki to introduce them to each other. They hand out for some time together, until On That Hill Haruka finally manages to confess her love to Takayuki. Takayuki decides to answer to her feelings and they start to date. Takayuki is dense and oblivious to dating and barely can understand Haruka’s feelings, but tries his best nevertheless. Mitsuki feels jealous at times, and even though she doesn’t admit or show it anybody, it’s clear. After some time Takayuki and Haruka become closer to each other to the point that they show their love in physical form. At one day, Takayuki’s late for their date, due to him buying Haruka a book she has been looking for, and for the fact that Mitsuki steals more of his time and makes Takayuki to buy her a present; a silver ring. However, life can be cruel, as even those five minutes or so Takayuki is late decides the fate of all of them for the next three years; Haruka is hit by a car and falls into coma, Takayuki has a complete mental breakdown and suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Mitsuki is the one and only line keeping Takayuki from killing himself, even if it costs her most of her life.

Rumbling Hearts, the opening of the Visual Novel, is the ending song of the second episode of the series

Three years have gone past. Takayuki is a part-timer in local restaurant Sky Temple, and seemingly is doing fine. He meets Mitsuki and Shinji, a long time friend since forever. They spend some time drinking and changing news from each other. Later, Mitsuki and Takayuki spend a night together, where Mitsuki asks him whether or not he would like to live with her. Takayuki leaves the answer open, but asks her in the morning whether she would like to move in with him.

” …Your place is the same as three years ago… “

In all reality, neither Takayuki or Mitsuki are doing fine. Mitsuki is tortured by her love to him and the guilt she feels towards Haruka. Takayuki phases out every time accidents are brought up, and is rather anti-social to other people outside his job and closest friends. However, Mitsuki manages to make things clear with Takayuki and they both manage to agree that they’ll be sharing their lives together. While they’re walking back home, they meet with Haruka’s younger sister, Akane, who is furious at them both, even more so at Takayuki who hasn’t visited Haruka’s bedside in years… due to her parents forbidding him, for her and his own sanity. At one point in the past, Takayuki took comatose Haruka to a date, denying everything that had happened.

Ultimately, Mitsuki decides not to move in with Takayuki, and admits that their relationship is stretched thin to her senior member of the company she works in. At the time, Takayuki phones her to arrange them to meet later that day. Much to Mitsuki’s surprise Takayuki has decided to continue living on and starts to search for a place they both can live together.

” I don’t think this is wrong. It’s not as though we’re trying to forget about Haruka. It’s just that right now, we have our own lives to live. Your’s and mine’s… “

Mitsuki falls into tears (as did I), Takayuki has seemingly taken a step forwards in his life and seemingly admits many things about himself. Months pass on as they search for a place and keep living their life quite happily, eating curry rice. One day Akane makes a phonecall.

Takayuki jumps to the phone, spilling his drink. Haruka wants to see Takayuki, she wants to see him more than anything else in the world. Both of them are startled to the point of Takayuki falling back into his mental breakdown, Mitsuki falling into desperation. They decide to visit Haruka the day together, even if Takayuki doesn’t really want to initially.

Haruka does not know that it has been three years since the accident happened.

And thus, Dr. Kouzuki decides to protect Haruka’s fragile mind and body in form of charade; no one is to tell Haruka that three years have passed, no one is to act that way for her safety. When he sees Haruka, it all floods back to Takayuki, he can barely watch at Haruka, until Mitsuki pushes him a bit forwards next to her, breaking him down to tears due to all the guilt he has beared to that moment.

Akane dumps all her hatred towards Takayuki and Mitsuki, burdening them with more guilt for the love they feel.

From here on, everything changes for the third time and the rawness and cruelness of life lifts its head.

This is essentially the first four episodes of the series in a tight package. What drives the series is the story and characters. The Visual Novel might have those numerous scenes of sex as per genre, and Kimi ga Nozomu Eien uses them to depict how fragile, or strong, the human nature is. KimiNozo is about the feeling of the heart rather than feelings of the flesh. âge’s main writer Yoshimune Kouki researched Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in-depth with rest of the staff in order to convey most realistic depiction they could’ve muster. Kouki managed in this so well, that there is numerous readers/ watchers that have told to have PTSD themselves to an extent. The story is strong, cruel, unhappy, filled with emotions and tears. There is nothing that is supernatural or over the top. It’s the tragedy of it all, how people cope with difficult situations, breakdowns, lies and love.

I wouldn’t say that I enjoy KimiNozo, I doubt very few people actually enjoy it. KimiNozo is a story that mangled my own feelings up and down, punched me to guts more than I can remember, made me cry my eyes out… and made me realize that love is a cruel and selfish thing.

Humans by their nature are cruel and selfish, and this is core of KimiNozo. Because of KimiNozo, I began to wonder what it really means to love somebody. Before that I’ve never thought of loving anyone; I always saw myself as the one guy who every one can depend on, but no one really cares deeply for. It made me wonder whether or not I was the kind of person who deserves to be loved to the point where I shunned people away from me just to keep me from hurting them. I acted like a fool, teased a lot of people and acted like I never understood other people’s feelings and wants just to keep that away by a touch, but close enough so I wouldn’t be left alone. KimiNozo changed me somewhat; to this day I still look how I act and wonder why is it so hard to stop being this kind of idiot. Surely, I act less foolishly than before, but the fact that I still act obliviously about other people’s feelings is a pain.

Ultimately I am a selfish person who wants to be of use for all around me.

You could say that I still have an open wound from KimiNozo, and that wound most likely will stay there until the end of my days. It’s a wound I can’t really heal myself from alone. KimiNozo thus carries huge amount of memories for me just from watching it, but there’s a one particular memory that still hurts me, because KimiNozo once hurt a person close to me. Thou that person is still close to my heart, she’s only a friend nowadays, a good friend at that I would not want to lose.

Just hearing the music of the series make me teary eyed, and sqeamish. A friend of mine remembers me being a total ruin for a half year or so. We’ve both agreed that without KimiNozo I wouldn’t be the person I am today. The story had something that struck me down and struck me hard. It’s a love story, and story that I regard high in value. Without a question, Kimi ga Nozomu Eien is my favouite series.

There’s one more thing I learned in Kimi ga Nozomu Eien; sometimes, to love is to let go.

First time when I saw KimiNozo I was divided by the ending in two. It basically broke me down and it took me a long time to think through whether or not the ending was good. To put it more clearly, only few years ago I decided that the ending was the one I wanted. I rewatched the series while writing this post, and this was the first time I could watch it completely without much trouble. That would be thanks to Muv-Luv.

The ending wasn’t as melancholic as I remembered; it was not as crushing as I remembered. Watching it all again made me realize that the ending, after it all, is a happy ending; Haruka realizes her dreams, fights to make it atop the hill, and meets her friends for the first time in years. After all this time I had somehow managed to miss this small and yet the most important detail in the whole story. A weight of nine years was lifted from my shoulders.

Still, this is the first story to ever make me crumble to pieces. I love the characters, flawed as they may, I love the sombreness of it all and the feeling when it all ends. Loving it would be a wrong word, but there is no real way to convey what I feel properly. To me, Kimi ga Nozomu Eien is important. It’s something I want to keep remembering and mirroring my past and current self unto.

And it has a sequel of sorts. With giant robots. and aliens.

You may imagine the FURY I had. I couldn’t understand why would âge create a story with goddamn aliens and giant robots in the same world as KimiNozo. It was like a sledgehammer had fallen to my head. I denied the very existence of it completely. For years I dropped following âge completely. I wanted to stay true to KimiNozo, and I did. I’m a stubborn man if you hadn’t noticed yet.

Two years ago the sequel was translated. People jumped the ship and read the Visual Novels. Back then I passed it off as bunch raving loonatics who couldn’t understand a good story even if stepped unto them like Godzilla.

But before that, let’s talk about a side story known as Akane Maniax, which serves as the bridge between KimiNozo and Muv-Luv. It’s a tale about Gohda Jouji, a man with a soul of fire. He became âge’s gag character practically in every title he is in and at times transforms into Tekkuman Blade. The OVA based on the Visual Novel is three episodes long and tells the story pretty well. The thing that really irks me is the fact that how I loathe it. Well, more accurately I loathed it. I rewatched it after reading Muv-Luv and watching KimiNozo, and found it highly amusing mix of KimiNozo’s strong, serious feelings and the over the top comedy of Muv-Luv Extra. It soon begins at the end of KimiNozo, and ends at 22nd of October 2001, where Mitsurugi Meiya forcibly takes Jouji’s seat next to one named Shirogane Takeru. Jouji either becomes Tekkuman Blade, or gets transferred to another school.

Passing the torch

As stated, I hated the idea of aliens, giant robots or even comedy in my KimiNozo, thus swept everything under the rug that I didn’t want to see and told myself that they were shit and never could stand to the quality that is KimiNozo.

Jesus Christ I’m glad I was wrong as anyone can ever be anywhere in this existence or in any other.

SUMIKAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

About three weeks ago the kind bunch of anonymous at an image board of a fourth kind with mechanical tendencies convinced me to give a go with Muv-Luv, explaining that there is a thing that keeps so-called Extra-verse where KimiNozo and Extra-part of Muv-Luv separate from the world of aliens and robots. With this, I ventured in with only two or three spoilers. Oh god I was not preraped to go it all through again, not like this.

All rights to original owners, and thanks to the anon who made this

Muv-Luv is not really a sequel to Kimi ga Nozomu Eien. It takes place in the same world, in the same city but few years later after Haruka’s accident. Muv-Luv is separated in three parts; Extra, Unlimited and Alternative. There is an epilogue, but I’ll get into it much later. Some characters appear in Muv-Luv’s Extra, mainly Akane. Thanks to an imbecile named Jouji Gouda, she got over the events of KimiNozo and doing pretty well. Later, some other KimiNozo characters are to appear… but differently.

From now on you’ll excuse me. I will most likely sound a raving fanboy and all that. What I want to through here isn’t a synopsis of the novel or a review, but my own personal experience with Muv-Luv. It was something that I couldn’t stop, it’s something that almost tortured me, something that broke me down, made me question my own believes and ultimately gave me realizations and a resolution I’ve been seeking for.

For my own sake, I’ll be going through each of the three episodes one by one.

Welcome to Extra; enjoy your stay. You’ll want to come back soon

Muv-Luv Extra begins with a slice of life comedy, contrasting directly to the somber tone of KimiNozo in pretty much every way. The main character, Shirogane Takeru, has a childhood friend and girl-next-door Kagami Sumika. Sumika has a habbit to run through the Shirogane household and wake Takeru up. Otherwise he’d be late for school. Sumika could be described as your-of-the-mill energetic high-school girl with small violent tendencies and strong wish to be with Takeru ’til the end of times. The reader can clearly see where this is all going from this, but then it was the 22nd of October 2001 one morning.

It’s my dream as well to wake up next to a woman with GP02 head. Wait no it isn’t. Not that I wouldn’t mind…

During that morning, Sumika finds Takeru waking next to a mysterious blue haired woman named Mitsurugi Meiya, the sole daughter of Mitsurugi and the one who shall inhert the most powerful corporation in Japan. NOW you can see where this is going.

Muv-Luv Extra does not only begin with a high and fun note, but keeps it up all the time. Meiya’s personality is very dignified and she thinks everything can be solved with money and power. Her status is very and so is her attitude towards everything. Meiya’s is noble to the heart and bears strong believes and convictions. There are slew of other characters as well that are close to Takeru, either romantically or just as friends. As per Visual Novel standard, you can take pretty much any of these characters to bed. How the story goes, the reader is encouraged to read all the routes through for better understanding of events and characters. However, the two main heroines are the main focus, and finishing both Meiya’s and Sumika’s routes open the next part of Muv-Luv; Unlimited.

Extra continues on with high-school shenigans all around with overblown comedy scenes here and there. Takeru’s a gamer-extraordinaire in an arcade game called Valgern-ON, which is by all intents and purposes a Virtual-On expy of the series. The arcade machine has a cockpit where the player sits in and plays the game like he was really piloting it. Takeru always keeps rivaling with his friend, Mikoto Yoroi. Mikoto’s gender is open for question for now and we might never know if Mikoto’s a boy or a girl. In one scene Meiya’s wishes to learn to play Valgern-ON in order to get closer to Takeru, and they play 2-on-2 game which both sides find rather entertaining. Then there’s a sports arc where Takeru has to maintain a team of lacrosse players mainly consisting of newbies. Tensions are even more tight, words are thrown around and people are getting mad at each other… and Sumika’s a klutz.

The class rep. is Sakaki Chizuru, a little uptight girl who has had a hard life, and who’s small light in life is soon going to be taken away as the lacrosse club in the school is going to be shut down due to disinterest. Even then she’s a strong person who cares for people, even is she doesn’t show it. Her direct opposite in the story is Ayamine Kei, a Rei Ayanami clone. She’s silent, direct, playful and incredebly good at close combat in every part of the story.

Then there’s always the classic “mascot” of the bunch, Tamase Miki. She’s an upbeat, short and pink-haired girl who looks and acts like a cat most of the times, but excels greatly in archery. She’s always bringing something happier to everyone’s lives. They all have their own routes in the story if the reader wants to advance romantically with them as per Visual Novel standards. It would be a good idea to walk through these for more insight they give for each character and to their nature. Muv-Luv has one thing that will make you come back to them later on.

From 6 onwards clockwise, it’s Sakaki Chizuru, Kashiwagi Haruko (a true fembro), Yoroi Mikoto of unknown gender, Ayamine Kei the sly Rei clone done right, Mitsurugi Meiya and the one I fell on love, Kagami Sumika

There’s also these two teachers, Kouzuki Yuuko and Jinguuji Marimo. Yuuko makes Marimo wear Morrigan-like cosplay at times and emotionally tortures her as best friends should. Whereas Yuuko is an insane genious with theories about quantum causality theories she got from a PS2 game while Marimo’s kind and sofhearted teacher. She’s actually a good teacher, but her constitution isn’t really that up to her. They both support Takeru in their own way, and Yuuko even has a route of her own.

Just remembering how it all went down makes me feel a bit uneasy, knowing what’s coming after.

Towards the ending there’s the ‘compulsory’ hot spring / onsen arc, where Sumika shows her feelings towards Takeru. The scene is soft and romantic and delivers Sumika’s feelings to the reader quite well, and makes one wonder his selected options again.

Up until this scene my main choice was Meiya. Sumika’s a strong girl, the one who knows to survive anything that’s thrown at her. Meiya felt like a person who would need someone to love her. This scene is where Sumika threw her feelings at Takeru, at the reader, at me. This was the point where I stopped thinking in a manner “who would need me most” and started to think “who I really love.”

Extra might be rather generic at points, but it’s well written and conveys all the characters well. All of its intentions is to make the reader get into the core personality of the characters, to care what happens to them and basically fall in love with them. I couldn’t let myself go for Meiya after all, and decided to stick true to my own feelings and chose to follow the road that lead to Sumika.

And how it did with it all. Extra’s an integral part of Muv-Luv as it sets everything that is going to come afterwards. It’s a happy slice of life that captivates the reader long enough.

Extra leaves a warm feeling after it has ended.

If you have any intentions of reading Muv-Luv, then stop here right now. I think spoiling Extra even to this extend has an impact, but for any further spoiling will be fatal.

Then, one morning Takeru wakes up and wonders why isn’t Sumika barging in and taking names again. School’s going to start soon. When he goes out, the only thing he sees is devastation, empty and crumbled houses… with a giant robot on top of what’s left of Sumika’s house next door.

Welcome to Unlimited.

Muv-Luv Unlimited comes in the same package as Muv-Luv Extra, simply branded as Muv-Luv. However, they’re treated as two separate entities most of the time.

Takeru decides that’s his dreaming; after all, giant robots are obsession of all healthy teenage boys. He promptly walks towards Hakuryo school, which seems to have changed into a military base. At this time he’s strained and detained, and then thrown into detention cell block. There he slowly starts to realize that something’s wrong, really wrong. Then, Professor Kouzuki Yuuko comes to him, releases from his cell and discusses the possibilities from where Takeru has come from. By all logic, they come to an conclusion that Takeru’s from another world.

In this world history has taken another path, and final straw was the extra-terrestrial enemy known as the BETA, or Being of Extraterrestrial origin which are Adversary to humanity. The BETA have decimated the human population to mere one billion from six and ravage the lands so that not even grass grows where they live. Unlimited portrays the desperate struggle against the BETA in most effective way; you do not see the conflicts or the enemy, but you will feel the effects. The strongest weapon the BETA has to them is their sheer insane amount of numbers behind them. The BETA… well, we’ll get to them later on. Unlimited in the end is the second part of Muv-Luv. Here begins Takeru’s growth, and to what he has to be.

Unlimited brings back most of characters you met in Extra, in a whole different world. Here they have grown in a world of war and destruction; serving in the military for their nation and mankind itself is crystal clear. To defeat the BETA is to save mankind. There is no middle line. All the core personalities are there, but they have small changes all around. Meiya for example doesn’t act all that high anymore, and is far more rooted to the ground, understanding “the commoner.” Her ideals and believes are even stronger, and that’s not just because the world is going even more bonkers. Or rather, the world has no hope, literally.

You wouldn’t notice it right away, as Takeru’s very existence contradicts a lot about the world around him. He’s sloppy, talks in a strange manner, has interests that nobody knows about, and generally being one of the few men around.

The one thing I would (not) want to see when waking up for school

Takeru wants to join the cadets of the Hakuryo Military base in order to pilot some goddamn giant robots. Who wouldn’t!? Well, knowing what the world is like…

Personally I got some nice flashbacks and memories from those five days in army. While Extra didn’t really bring up any memories or the like at first, Unlimited did; the schedules, the strict rules, all of it. It was fun and I felt that it mattered to an extent that I was there, even though I acknowledged that there’s not much that I can do just as a soldier; I need to be higher and be used by the higher people in order to become their equel and use them to complete my own goals. However, there’s no need for that in this world yet, we aren’t in war with anybody at the moment, and I hope from my heart that it will stay so.

But Unlimited. Compared to the Extra’s wacky high-school comedy shenigans, Unlimited is more akin to “cadets in high-school with militaristic overtones” setting. There’s a huge change in the atmosphere in between Extra and Unlimited, and it keeps pressing the reader the further one reads Unlimited.

There’s an island arc where the cadet team is sent to their final test whether or not they can become one of the Eishi, pilots of the Tactical Surface Fighter, or TSF for short. Actually, this is the second time this particular cadet team is taking it. The first time around they failed it. Without much of Takeru’s assistance, they somehow manage to survive the ordeal and began their TSF training with simulators in full fledged pilot suits.

I know what you’re all thinking about, but I assure you that it’s not. The suits are form of powered armour that gives greater resistance, protect from external physical traumas. The they’re like that is to get rid of personal shame and all that, as in the frontlines there’s no room for privacy; men and women are to share are places without a second thought. In design and by use this is one of the nicest looking pilot suit out there. Function follows a form a bit, but it doesn’t let it lack. Ultimately it fills the in-universe needs completely.

And yes, the men get exact same suits. The transparent membrane is also cheaper to produce than coloured one. Cuttings costs in a world where the only real economy is in war machines this kind of thing is expected. All the food is artificial in the world. While some things are stil lacking when compared to Extra-verse, Unlimited has some really neat technology, mostly thanks to BETA and the war against them.

As I said, Unlimited brings most of the characters from Extra to this other world. A certain human called Kagami Sumika does not exist in this world. However, there exists a girl named Yashiro Kasumi, a Russian ESP user from Alternative III. The Alternative projects are a plans to understand and go against the BETA. All Alternative Plans from I to III are failures, and Alternative IV is what’s left of III. Russian albino psychic loli girls, anyone?

Whereas Sumika is love incarnate, Kasumi’s cute incarnate

Yuuko worked on Alternative IV with Kasumi, and Takeru wanted to become an awesome pilot to stop the destruction of mankind. 24th of Decemember, the colonel of Yokohama base told the new Eishi that Alternative IV was cancelled, and Alternative V was to step into action; to choose handful of surviving human and send them to space for an interstellar travel towards another planet, which may or may not exist.

In all regards, Unlimited’s Meiya route ends in two ways, and only the other one is slightly more happier. To me, the ending was about Takeru and Meiya switching each other places in one of those space vessels, until they decide that it is Meiya who should go. In the end, Meiya gives Takeru a child in that faraway planet, telling her tales of her courageous father fighting the BETA in a world that used to be her home. Howeber, the second part of Alternative V is to bombard the Earth with G-Bombs, making it practically a dead rock with salt seas instead of oceans in most places. People living in close contact to each other, riots, murders and everything that could ever go wrong when the world in ending happens. Then there’s the remnant BETA forces that keep destroying the last of humanity’s homes, and there’s very little what UN or anyone can do at this point.

To say the least, Unlimited ends in a desperate note. There’s very little that gives actual hope for survival, just the small glimpse of humanity’s life on another planet, on another world. Takeru is willing to defend alone this planet for the true love he has found.

Unlimited asked me to think what I think my position in life, and to an even more extend what I can do, what I’m capable of. It begged me to ask again Who am I? The answer I gave was “A man who can cry.”

In the end, there’s always Alternative

The second you see that, you realize that Alternative is something not to take lightly. Long has gone the pink logo, high-school antics and bubbly music. Extra and Unlimited laid down the base that is Alternative. The name itself should tell you what to expect, and I’d say forget it all. This episode is where the nature of the world steps towards you without a second thought, looks at you and punches you in the gut while grinning. It is raw, grotesque, violent, realistic, warm, loving, brave and proud.

Alternative begins on October 22nd 2001 when Takeru wakes up in his home for school, noting that Sumika’s not there to wake him up. He enjoys thae fact that all of Unlimited has been a dream… until he steps outside to the vasteland that is his hometown.

Naturally, Takeru feels that something’s strange. He walks to the military base again, and the guards once more start ti pin him down. However, this time Takeru isn’t the weak himself, he has served in the militray past three years according to his memories and seen the devastation the world will see because of Alternative V, and thus puts up a nice fight against the guards to the point they draw their gun at him. They call for Yuuko, and Takeru manages to convince her to listen. During their talk Takeru tells what kind of world he comes from… from what two kind of worlds he comes from; one that he was born in, the world of peace, and the world ravaged by BETA and G-Bombs in the future. He wants to save the mankind and he needs Yuuko’s help in order to complete Alternative IV so that Alternative V never takes off.

This is where Alternative begins, where the second core of Muv-Luv lies; in the desperate struggle against time, humanity, BETA and life itself. Takeru is adamant about saving the world from its destined future, but first of all he has to make sure that he and the other cadets graduate before they did last time. Takeru has to meet everyone again; Shizuru, Kei, Meiya, Mikoto, Miki, Marimo and Meiya. Takeru’s training makes it all worth it this time and he is cadet-extraordinaire, successing in everything he does. While he thinks this might damage the morale of the group, his competence and will inspires people around him to think why they are there, and to push themselves to their limits and beyond.

At one point Takeru travels to his original world with Yuuko’s help in order to fetch a theory that helps in the completion of Alternative IV’s most important component; the 00 Unit. Takeru being the causality conductor he can do that. He is the one that connects the worlds together. With Yuuko, Takeru’s going to save the world and destroy whatever made him the causality conductor in order to return to his world.

Takeru manages to make them all graduate earlier than before, and his aptitude test to become an Eishi is top in the whole world history… just like last time. Here starts what he can; Takeru’s an excellent pilot, but an Eishi, not yet. At one point he wants Yuuko to modify the OS (Operating System, like Windows and so on) to make it far more effective and more like the Valgern-ON arcade game. In other words; to make piloting a giant robot easy.

There is an event where the squad is equipped with the experimental OS against live enemies, rebels of sorts. Here, the Grand Shogun appears and Takeru is the one who is trusted with her health. Becauce of Takeru’s manouvers and the TSF’s movements she soon looses her consciusness. This prompts his superior to give him a direct order to administer a drug that could take the Grand Shogun’s life. He is hesitant, even if he has made his decree to save the world no matter what. Takeru questions his convictions if he can’t sacrifice even one person for the good of all humanity.

Theories that he and Yuuko with bunch of engineers in use are proved against real-life aces that have survived in the frontlines against the BETA. Even the ace’s are impressed about the new OS, and one even offers some sexual action, that Takeru refuses.

At this point, Takeru is filled with hope, filled with courage and want to save all those around him. With this new OS and better machines, he can do it, he save them all!

In the middle of the training exercise, the BETA attack the battlefield. None of the soldiers in their TSF’s have real weapons, only paintballs and such. Takeru looses it completely and starts shooting the BETA with with peaguns of paint. He is struck down and almost dies if it was not for Captain Isumi.

Afterwards, Takeru is devistated; all of his work, all of his talent and will couldn’t be of any use. He shattered before the real enemy for the first time, he lost it just by seeing a BETA. Marimo comes to talk to him, tells him about her past and what an Eishi should strife for. Takeru feels a lot better when talking to her.

Even if I knew of this scene beforehand to an extent, I wasn’t prepared for it. It struck me deep and hard. Without a doubt I trembled, I vividly remember my hands shaking and I couldn’t stop them. This, if anything, is a turning point in Alternative that assured the reader that from now on nothing will be easy, no goal is achived without a sacrifice and stained blood. The reader at this point acts like Takeru does; he runs away. There was few morning when I woke up to Sumika waking me in my dream, then another morning where Kasumi woke up, and morning where I woke up in cold sweat to bone gnawing sound and deep stretching and cracking of flesh. Alongside with the sound CODE 991 alarm sound. It’s a sound I do not wish to hear anywhere in this real world ever again. Even during the week I was startled by a sound of an alarm clock and associated it with BETA. Even the sound of people scuttling around made me uneasy.

Takeru is collapses completely, becomes catatonic for a while due to psychosis, drugs and trauma. After he wakes up in his quarters, Meiya comes to concolate him, but Takeru in all of his anger almost rapes him. Meiya offers her body to him if it were to help, but Takeru manages to pull himself together a bit and runs away.

He wants to go home, to the peaceful world he came from and forget everything that has ever happened. Yuuko agrees and sends him to the place where he wants to escape. From this moment a world known as Extra Branch is born, where Takeru’s own selfish nature and him running away from his problems kills a person close to him and… hurts the person she loves the most in far more ways than one.

Takeru hears from Teacher Yuuko that it is because he is the causality conductor, and the only way to revert everything that has happened is to find what made him the causality conductor and destroy it. As long as Takeru would live in this world he would allow memories of other world flow into this one and cause events to happen that would never occur otherwise. In essence, Takeru is the BETA of his own home world, bringing pain and suffering from the other world he has lived in. There are two ways; to end his life there, or to return to the other world, save the mankind and find whatever made him the causality conductor.

Takeru has no choice. He returns to the other world and begs this world’s Yuuko to let him help to finish the Alternative IV and save whatever he can. Seeing the person he loved most hurt opened his eyes and he found a resolution to finish it all, even if was to stain his hands in blood. Lucky for him, during the week he was absent the 00 Unit was completed.

In this world a girl named Kagami Sumika did not exist. Only her remains, a brain in a glass case that Takeru had always seen when visiting Kasumi. Sumika’s part is a painful and traumatic one, filled with hatred towards the BETA and what they did to her and this world’s real Takeru. 00 Unit is essentially a quantum computer in a body that resembles human… with a quatified human persona in it. The theory Takeru brought back earlier let Yuuko to kill of what was left of Kagami Sumika and create 00 Unit. In essence, Takeru’s hands are stained in the blood of the one he never wished to hurt, the one he always truly loved… and he never realized that she was this close, even if it is some other world’s Sumika, she’s always Sumika.

00 Unit is almost catatonic, and only few times react to anything, but with Takeru she becomes unstable and replies with strong intent of killing of BETA. It is up to Takeru to bring out the humanity in her, to bring forth all that is Kagami Sumika. In few days Takeru manages to draw Sumika more and more out of her shell, making the 00 Unit more human. She acknowledges that she is not what you would call human; body of artificial origin, brain of silicon and inner structure of BETA materials. She may have the softness and warmth of a human, but she’s far more than that. Takeru manages to stabilize Sumika to the point she recognizes the world and him. 00 Unit is ready for her first mission in XG-70 ‘Susano’o.’

Takeru and his squadmates are joined the Isumi’s Valkyries far before any of this happen. Well, just before Takeru runs away. Captain Isumi is a woman who I admire in every respect. Without her help Takeru would’ve stayed as an innocent brat. Captain made him realize few facts about what he needs to do. The motto of Valkyries is not to be understated, especially in this world.

“ Complete your mission with all your might

Despair not ’till your last breath

Do not die in vain “

This motto is something I believe in. These words are strong, and hold a meaning of what it means to be one of the Valkyries. I can’t help myself but to think of those five days where I found part of the resolution I came to have during Alternative.

Enter Sadogashima. Welcome to place where hell reigns. Begin mission to eradicate a BETA Hive that has threatened Japan to this day.

Sadogashima is a cruel arc that shows all that has come up to this point in Takeru’s life. He has to use all of his experience and might to overcome the BETA here. The enemy is in tens of thousands, literally. Even when this mission officially is co-operation between the UN, Japanese Army and American forces, the true reason is to test the Alternative IV’s 00 Unit in the field.

When the 00 Unit and Susano’o enter the battlefield, there’s little hope around. In one miraclous flash Susano’o wipes out massive amounts of BETA and decimates the upper structure of the Hive in one blast. Susano’o is the trump card humanity is relying on alongside 00 Unit. Here, Takeru has a flashback from Unlimited where he and Meiya shared their bodies in love. One of Sumika’s powers as 00 Unit is ESP much like Kasumi’s. She tries to be conscious of Takeru all the time on the battlefield and reads every thought and emotion he has. Seeing him having sex with another woman makes her collapse, Susano’o along with her.

The battle turns for the worst. Immense amount of BETA are attacking the human forces from underground tunnels. Takeru has to retrieve Sumika from Susano’o, and the Captain has to make the machine self-destruct. Things turn for the worse, when one of the Valkyries get damaged and stays behind to support Captain, who can’t engage the self-destruct sequence. This Valkyrie, Kashiwagi, dies in the hands and teeth of the BETA. Isumi makes the Susano’o self-destruct by force.

Without a doubt, Captain and her words to the Valkyries during her final moments were carved into my mind. Just as Takeru clenches his teeth, I realized that I would do anything to protect those who I love. I had gained a resolution to protect smiles of those whom I don’t know, the laughs of that I can’t hear. It sounds idealistic, but in this world there’s few deeds that anyone can do to protect those people he loves most. I’ve decided to join the army no matter the condition I am in, to guard over the freedom my friends may enjoy if it ever were threatened. Freedom is a fragile thing that can be lost so easily. In this current world there are people who would like to lose their freedom in order to live a secure and controlled life. Perhaps I’m one of those people to an extent, but I admit it. I want to see how far I can take myself in the service, how long I can make it.

After the mission Sumika is introduced rest of the crew. By all means she is now Kagami Sumika rather than just 00 Unit. She seems a bit uneasy with all these people she is with now, but that’s understandable due to the situation at hand. During the introductions Takeru gets flashbacks from his past, multiple of his past. At this point it comes clear that this isn’t the first time Takeru has looped back in time, but he has indeed looped numerous times, and these flashbacks of the other girls are from those different timelines, and due to him being the causality conductor these memories also flood to his squadmates memories.

In the end, Takeru mans up and confesses his feelings to distressed Sumika. Finally, the very thing Takeru has been fighting for and this world’s Sumika can achieve… and Sumika turns Takeru down. Ultimately, she tells hims that he bother her, his a distraction from her mission and that Takeru isn’t needed anymore. Sumika has already finished making preparations for Takeru’s transfer out of Yokohama base somewhere where he should stay safe. Sumika leaves broken Takeru On That Hill, until Meiya comes up there. Takeru tells her everything, and Meiya tells him that Sumika was runnin past her with a face filled with tears. At that moment, with Meiya’s help, Takeru realizes that Sumika’s Sumika; she always does and says differently what she really wants. The following day he confronts Sumika again and makes everything clear; after that they’re through. Whatever it is Sumika’s hiding won’t make him stop loving her, nothing could.

What Sumika tells and shows Takeru in this scene was shocking. The BETA had caught hundreds of humans and slowly took them away, until only this world’s Takeru was to defend Sumika… and he was killed in the most gruesome way he could see. And what they did to Sumika made me feel sick. It’s something that I never wanted her to experience. Just like Takeru, I felt my stomache turn, but after the scene I wanted to hold her in my arms and loved her even more.

Whatever she said, whatever they did to her didn’t matter. She’s here and now, that’s all what matters.

The following night is the night Sumika becomes one with the man she has always loved, the one she has always longed for.

The happiness did not last long, as the remnant BETA from the destroyed Sadogashima Hive are attacking the base with full force. The fight is long and hard, and things get worse when the military realizes that the BETA are using human tactics against them, something that they have never done before. This proves that the BETA can think tacticfully, but have never shown this before. The Valkyries are the final line of defence against th BETA, as they ram their way inside the bottom of the base where a BETA reactor still fucntion for various purposes, least of which is keeping Sumika alive. At this time, two of the Valkyries sacrifice their lives for other to live; Suzumiya Haruka and Hayase Mitsuki.

To see them in this world at first was a nostalgic scene, but to see them die in the hands of enemies like this struck me hard. Haruka is killed violently by a BETA warrior while she was trying to shut down the BETA reactor. Hayase sacrifices herself to destroy the reactor. Since Takeru’s return, and even before that, death and sorrow has been a constant partner to the reader. âge has been punching my buttons before, but this time they’re using a sledgehammer to break me down. It’s not just the deaths, it’s the absolute despair of it all.

Soon after Hayase’s noble deed he is put into sleep. All of his squadron has been fighting almost a day straight, and with that one pill they can get rest.

Upon Takeru’s awakening, he is now Storm Vanguard 01, the leader of Isumi’s Valkyries. While there’s little they can do, they check their TSF’s condition and stand-by for orders, but they can’t just stand there doing nothing. By Takeru’s command, the Valkyries are to help with food distribution for the wounded. Takeru takes it all as the one who has the responsibility and he knows it.

Because of the recent attack one thing has become devastatingly clear; the BETA reactor was not only the thing powering part of the Yokohama base, but also a BETA computer that spread information onwards to the Original Hive. This means that less than in three days the Original Hive will have all knowledge of mankind’s strategies and tactics due to Sumika’s “blood” being purified by it. Soon BETA would know everything and more. Yuuko starts to prepare fast launch of the Operation Ouka; an all-out assault to the Original Hive with almost-completed XG-40d Susano’o 4 spearheading the attack against the Main Objective with Valkyries serving their role as the protectors.

âge made put a day of comedy and love here. It’s something every reader needs before the ascencion to the Original Hive.

Yuuko’s plan is to send the Valkyries in the core of the Hive alone. All other forces that are to join would only slow them down. The Royal Guard that has been looking over Meiya and the Grand Shogun decide to give their own TSF’s for the Valkyries use, as their own machines are completely bust after the BETA attack. These machines are from the very top of the line, specifically made for those who are one of the Royal House; the Takemikazuchi.

With these, the probability of achieving the object and destroying it rises, as does their chance of survival.

Takeru is to pilot the Susano’o with Kasumi and Sumika is serve as the the main computer for it. All other Valkyrie’s main and only objective is to protect them.

The Original Hive infiltration is a success thanks to the sacrifice of all soldiers send to their deaths alongside the Valkyries. Death takes its tolls inside and outside the Original Hive, and the Valkyries soon find their Main Objective; the Main Hall. They just need to pass two doors and be doen with it. However, the amount of BETA is something they didn’t expect, even if this was the Original Hive where all BETA on Earth originally came from. Chizuru and Ayamine are the first one to admit their feelings towards Takeru between each other, and sacrifice their lives to stop part of BETA invasion by triggering a cave-in with their selfdestruct devices.

They are followed by Miki, who has a damaged Takemikazuchi from earlier fight, and she stays put, sniping them one by one, until her unit is run over. Mikoto engages shut procedure of the first door after the Susano’o has passed it at the cost of her own life.

With Meiya’s help Takeru is face to face against the Main Objective, the which calls itself as Superior Existence. BETA do not see anything carbon based as a lifeform as per their creators’ programming, and see humanity as something to be recycled, a raw material. The Superior’s attacks halt the Susano’o, causes Sumika to regress back to her previous state and Kasumi to lose control of her own self. The Superior speaks to Takeru through both of them, learning of humanity and of him, as does Takeru. One of the most staggering thing he hears is taht the Creators are a silicon based species, and that there are 10^37 Superior Existances in the this Universe. Meiya soon arrives to help Takeru, but struck down and forced to be become shield against Susano’o’s Particle Cannon. The Superior begins to probe Meiya’s body as BETA did with Sumika, forcing her hand and mind into regions she never wished to go. She pleades Takeru to shoot, to end it all in one shot. The catatonic Sumika slowly awakens as Takeru’s own mind is starting to crumble a bit, until Sumika pulls everything she can into one moment where all powers are restored only to Takeru to pull the trigger, ending a life she valued so highly of… and saving the mankind.

” I could not give you my love, thus I give you my life “

This song, the Flame of Life, is my the song I stand by. It’s a sad song, a sad march for all those who have died and potrays the ultimate sacrifice one can give for others to live on. All of the Valkyries stood by their believes to protect those they loved the most, to protect the one person closes to their hearts.

The Original Hive is destroyed, the Superior Existence no longer exists on Earth and Takeru with Kasumi and Sumika are the only ones that managed to escape with Susano’o’s escape shuttle.

Upon waking inside the shuttle Kasumi informs of Takeru that the mission was successful. The Superior Existence is dead. She tells that Takeru can now return his own world that the thing that made him the causality conductor no longer exists. She tells Takeru that Sumika, the 00 Unit, is no longer with him. Sumika had given her all for Takeru to survive, so that he could go back to his world. Sumika shown Kasumi that it was her own will that made Takeru the causality conductor. The very core of her when she was just brain only longed to see Takeru. The purest form of subconscious and the will to trigger causality pulled Takeru’s of various realities to this world in 22nd of October 2001, and she was the one that caused Takeru to loop every time he had died. It was Sumika’s will to see him alive and hold him in her arms again. All this ceased to be when Sumika finally became one with Takeru that one night, the night where 00 Unit was not more and Kagami Sumika was born again in this world.

Takeru asks Kasumi to lock the shuttle doors for five minutes, he asks five minutes where he can be Shirogane Takeru and cry not just for Sumika, but all of that have lost their lives today for him, the Valkyries. In those five minutes he lets himself to be human once more rather than the saviour of all mankind. After that he will greet every person outside with a smile of an Eishi, proudly carrying the weight of the Valkyries and everything he has done to achieve this moment.

Even if Takeru wants to stay in his world and fight the remaining BETAs, there is nothing to keep him in this world anymore. The memory of Shirogane Takeru will be lost from all men in this world, except from the memories of Kasumi and Yuuko, who both will take these secrets to their graves. Nobody will ever remember the name of Shirogane Takeru or the members of the Valkyries, there will never be a person to know what has taken place and what was done in order to humanity to survive.

As Takeru starts to fade back to his own world, Kasumi tells her feelings over the whiteness that overcomes.

The story of Muv-Luv is about love and courage, to the point where one has to stain his hands in order to save something larger than oneself. It’s about a love that could be never given. It’s about untold sacrifices made for us and about those brave souls that did them. With this the story of Muv-Luv comes to an end. A sad end with a bright future filled with tears.

After Alternative there starts a small epilogue called Final Extra. This is the world where Takeru returned to. He holds no memories what has come to pass. As the cause of causality conductor has ceased to exist, all the damage he has done are reverted in all the worlds.

Final Extra begins on 22nd of October 2001, where Takeru wakes next to an unknown blue haired girl, and Sumika rushes to wake him up. Everything seems to play like in Extra, but here Mikoto is clearly a girl… and Mitsurugi Yuuhi, Meiya’s older twin sister, is alive.

There is also one person who did not exist in Extra, and that one person is Yashiro Kasumi.

She comes up to Takeru and Sumika, thanking them both of all what they have done and bursts in tears. With this, all those who have died in the war against BETA will always live on in another world, if only in the memories of two people. From this moment on, the bratty saviour and all of his Valkyries may live in this world peacefully until the end of their days.

As you might’ve noticed, KimiNozo had a great influence on my emotions and view of life’s cruelty. It woke me from my state of sort of self-pity and made me realize that even to me there is love and closeness by. Even if during the last year I’ve returned to the mind-setting of “there’s nobody for me, I’m good as a servant to all” it’s far different from what I was like ten years ago. With Muv-Luv I realized that if I want to become servant to all, I mustn’t be afraid of what lies ahead. Indeed army service might not be the ideal solution for that, but it is something that I want to go through. It is something that I feel I can do for those I want to protect, and that ultimately whatever the future holds it will serve me as well. Takeru’s conviction to make it through spoke to my own loyalty towards my loved ones, my friends and my country. I found matters that I want to defend, matters that I see in the films and books of Winter War. Perhaps it could be said that after Muv-Luv I’ve become a bit more patriotic. I found a sense of duty that I can do.

Indeed, the other thing I found in Muv-Luv is that I can do things with these two hands.

I discussion with during the Alternative arc with a teacher prompted me ask myself whether or not I realize that these hands of mine as skilled. For the first time in my life I was willing to admit that I am good at something, and the feeling has been growing steadily since that.

As I went through a journal of threads I kept as I travelled through Muv-Luv I noticed that few people mentioned me becoming and sounding more like Shirogane Takeru as time went by. Looking it back now I find myself having some of the same elements that build up Takeru. We both are joking assholes most of the time, always dense with other people’s feelings and passing important things by. However, when time calls it we both become serious and do what needs to be done. Some of the words and mindsets are the same. No doubt I become Shirogane Takeru in the story itself, and it affected me greatly. Now, outside the story, I wish something of him won’t ever leave my soul and mind, that I can always carry the burden he did with me so that it may drive me forwards. Is the love I feel towards Sumika real? Whether or not it’s real, it doesn’t matter that much. What matters the most is that I can say that I can love again.

There is something that I can do, there is something I must do. There is something that I want to do, even if it would mean to give my life for all those I love.

While writing this post during these last days I have gone through everything again in my mind from the beginning to the very end. Muv-Luv is my favourite piece of fiction with Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, and 生命の炎 / The Flame of Life has become me favourite piece of music, somber as it is. Every time I listen to this song I find myself become serious and my eyesight becomes less with the tears pushing through. There was times when I wanted to quit and tell myself “Muv-Luv’s too much work, quit here and pretend that the story had a happy end,” but I kept pushing myself forwards, bracing for the impacts that âge would deliver. Whatever I did I never was prepared. The story is well written and extremely well presented, and the passion from both original writers and from the translation team seeps through. Muv-Luv, much like KimiNozo, is an end-product that has been crafted will great care and love. The emotions it dugged up from deep within me will last long, of not until I die. It’s not nothing new that a fictional story affects one’s life so greatly, but to me Muv-Luv is something far larger than just a story. It’s a tale that I want to pass on to the future generations in some form, a story worth retelling to those that come after me.

I’m sure I’ve missed tons of details I wanted to go through and there’s bound to be countless of typing errors and grammar is bonkers. That doesn’t matter as long I managed to tell my own experience with this.

“What’s next?” I’ve been asking from myself. In the future I see nothing as usual, but now it glimmers and shines with hope. Slowly I’m overcoming matters of love that have been pressing me down during the last year. Perhaps somewhere in the days of tomorrow I can let myself fall in love again. Perhaps I can tackle my own skills and use them to create new things and sharpen these eyes even further. Perhaps I will one day stand in the line with fellow soldiers and vow to protect the nation I love so much; a country is nothing without its people, and people are the country. If it ever were to take place, I want to protect these people whom with I live.

We’re human and we hurt each other daily. We are human and we heal these wounds after every day. In the end, I want to see every person smiling and laughing. That is my selfish wish. It’s my own desire to let others go first, leaving me behind so I can support them. However, this wish denies my the chance to protect them. If I have to lose my own smile and laughter over others, I’d be glad to give them away. I believe that there is something good in all of us that wishes the same thing, something that makes us ‘human.’

The ground I stand by is my own principles and believes. These things keep me pushing on after every harship I face… and I was losing them before I read Muv-Luv. I can now stand again with sort of pride in my hands, and clearly say for once who I am. Idealistic view? Yes, very much so, but that’s who I am, and will always be.

There is a flame that burns inside of me brightly. I won’t let it die out ever again.

To end this post with a little brighter end, let’s listen to one more song, the song that serves both as the opening of Muv-Luv, and as the ending.

It’s been about two weeks when I started reading MuvLuv. Now it feels that everything’s just starting.

8.9.2012 Edit. if you enjoyed this post, be sure to read this as well.

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3 thoughts on ““This is a very small, very large, very precious story about love and courage”

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