Why do you remind yourself of your traumas? asked a friend of mine this week. I couldn’t answer him them, as I had no answer. I never thought why I keep writing about Muv-Luv. This lead me to ponder one of the underlying themes Muv-Luv has; memories.
MuvLuv begins with one of the main heroines reading her diary entries. She goes over an incident that had happened in her childhood, where she broke a fossil, which Takeru tried to hide with a snail. Then she moves on telling how shocked she was when Takeru reveals that his going to get into Hakuryo High, and Sumika’s distressed as her grades and everything isn’t as good as Takeru’s. Then she reads an entry where she and Takeru checking if they got in Hakuryo. Sumika’s too scared to check whether or not she got in and Takeru (the asshole he is) jokes that she didn’t, which prompts Sumika to look at the boards with teary eyes. She got in.
The final Sumika’s memory here is one time she and Takeru were in a pool. She complains how Takeru kept leering at other women, and how she spent a lot of time choosing her piece. The she asks something weird from Takeru.
How Muv-Luv starts with these memories is a two way start; it’s really a heart warming introduction to the novel, and those who are rereading can find echoes of later events in the words and expressions Sumika puts out.
Memories are important plot devices in Muv-Luv. EXTRA has that childhood promise Takeru once made to Meiya and his later promise to Sumika. In Unlimited it’s Takeru’s own memories of his own world and how he feels alienated in BETA-verse. The most (de)pressing and heaviest use of memories is in Alternative thou, as it is Sumika’s memories and raw subconscious wish to see Takeru which makes Takeru the causal conductor. As Takeru travels between worlds, the world removes memories of Shirogane Takeru as they have no reference point; the memories are displaced into imaginary space between dimensions. However, when Takeru has memories of certain people dying and travels to another world, these memories cause the world reorganize so that they will take place. Reliving the death of a loved person twice in a lifetime will shatter a person. This is extremely evident when Meiya loses all of her memories of Takeru as he pursues her to remember something he remembers, but something that has not yet taken place in this world, and thus never takes place, and when Sumika loses all of her memories when she and Takery finally confesses their love, and the world tries to “erase” Sumika’s existence as Sumika did not exist in BETA-verse.
The only one that can sustain her memories of Takeru while his travelling away is Yashiro Kasumi, the Russian Psychic girl, and even she can remember him only when concentrating all of her will into pictures she draws while Takeru is away. This way doctor Kouzuki Yuuko retains some memories of Takeru as well.
Takeru’s existence in the Unlimited/Alternative world changes the status quo a lot. His presence has caused worlds to go from their course and caused the extinction of mankind indirectly. However, it is his presence that also saves the world the same way, and the very reason why he keeps looping back to 23th October. It is implied that Takeru never realizes that he looping to the 23th until one particular time. When he starts to remember memories from other loops (as he has a frame of reference of the same people in the same world), these memories also flood into other’s minds as well, but as they do not have proper frame of reference they only seem like a flickering photo, a faded memory of a dream. These memories are the most intimate ones Takeru and his companies comrades shared in every loop as the women fall deeper into Takeru.
The above image has a dual meaning for this post.
Nobody in the BETA-verse will ever remember their names, except those closest to them. On the first day of January 2002 the assault on the Original Hive, the main Hive of BETA on world, is attacked, infiltrated, it’s Reactor destroyed and Main Objective achieved. Here all of the above soldiers gave their lives for humanity, for their loved ones and believes. They gave their life, as they could not give their love to the one man they loved. AF-A01 “Isumi’s Valkyries” is lost in exchange for the survival of all mankind… and the Valkyries never thought any different of their mission.
The part that hits the reader is that the mission is classified beyond anything else because of Takeru, 00 Unit and the status of the Valkyries. Nobody shall ever know their names, except two members of the military; Yuuko and Kasumi. Nobody will ever remember Takeru’s existence par these two either, as all of these memories have no frame of reference any more, and with the cause that turned Takeru into causal conductor removed, the worlds that were damaged because of this regained their original form.
Cue Final Extra, where the world has “returned” to its rightful course, and Takeru has no memories of what has taken place in the other world. There is a hint that the feels somewhat nostalgic towards the girls in his class on that particular morning, especially when Kasumi enters the class.
It is heavily implied that she is the same Kasumi that Takeru met in the other world. With this, she is the only one knowing of their sacrifice, and I believe that this is the first real time Kasumi can cry honest, happy tears. With the full ride down Muv-Luv, this was the point where I can say that I allowed myself to completely crack. During Alternative’s latter half I tried to clench my teeth, but here everything that had piled up just overflew.
Whatever became of them in this new world after the cooking battle is unknown. There is an alternate telling named Before the Shimmering Ends in Muv-Luv Altered Fable disc. This story takes place in another world very close to the original one but isn’t really a continuation of the story. I love this story, even if its not really part of anything. It’s still a great story using the same characters in far happier setting and its a great way to lift one’s spirit from Alternative as a whole… until you start checking the Total Eclipse’s first chapter in VN form and Faraway Dawn strategy game on the same disc. Yours truly couldn’t even start Total Eclipse properly without getting insane tensions in the shoulders.
This is why I keep reminding myself of this story; because nobody else really can remember. I take this story to my heart. I loved the characters as real people, especially one particularly. I myself can’t really celebrate new year (and I never really liked to celebrate it anyway) when it’s the date when brave souls wandered into the devil’s den and faced the evil that lied within. On this date the Valkyries flew their last flight for all of us.
I can’t bring myself to reread the final chapter of Alternative this night even if I want to. Perhaps next year I can, when I have enough objective thinking on the matter.