There’s somewhat odd rule in mecha anime which dictates that humanity should have high level of tech and the invaders are either high level in tech as well, or that they can circumvent said tech levels. Muv-Luv basically throws a bare bone at this rule, as both humanity and BETA are are rather low in tech when compared to other bodies involving giant robots. The second episode to Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse was designed to show this at full force. When compared to the first episode’s rather upbeat feeling, the second episode is just depressing desperate. Let’s begin from the start.
Our episode begins with commands given to our main heroines, and after landing they’re visibly shaken, stressed and strained. This is their first live battle after all, and BETA are not the easiest of enemies. Fear isn’t what they feel, not yet.
And then we’re cut to inappropriate Koda Kumi song with footage from the previous episode. This is an interesting way to remind the viewers what happened previously, thou opinions are divided whether this was a good thing or not.
And they come. The Destroyer-Class is leveling Kyoto as they ram buildings, roads and trees simply by ramming into them. Seeing a live BETA for the first time all of our heroines are distressed. With permission to fire at will one of them begins to empty her clip. As Destroyers-class’ shield is Mohs 15, bullet are little effect.
Fighting a Destroyer-class has never been easy; it demands the surface pilot to either circle or jump behind the enemy and shoot its back. However, the speed of Destroyer-class makes this hard, and jumping over them is near impossible if Laser-Class is present.
Losing a valued and dear friend simply because she boosted over 100m hits all of them hard and it’s more than visible. Hiding behind the other BETA is best way to avoid Laser-Class, but what then if the other Class happens to be Destroyer?
While the team is concentrating on eliminating the Laser-Class, few Grappler weeds out the weak.
This scene is the second time we see why BETA are such a huge threat; they just keep coming and there’s very little one can do to stop them from advancing other than killing them. But where you will run out of bullets at some point, the BETA will just keep coming wave after wave after wave after wave, never faltering in their desire to take you down. You can always fight with your Type-74 PB Blade, a nice and handy way to dispose of BETA, but you’ll have to get up and close. That’s not a good idea if you’re not good at it, or if there are classes that WILL take you down at zero distance.
You shouldn’t avert your eyes when a Ruitare is ramming at you
And the BETA just keep on coming. They’ve taken the command post down and it’s being overrun by the Grappler-Class. The now veteran surface pilots are being attack not only by both Grapplers and Destroyers, but also by the Tank-Class. We like to call them as the Red Little Fuckers because they’re like fire ants; they’re everywhere, there’s no end to them, they hurt you and they never let go.
The further we go into the episode the more we see our forces thinning. Our heroines have to retreat, but one of the surviving members has hit levels of trauma and is consumed by revenge. As the group is retreating, they’re hit by the Laser-Class, and the Squadron Leader is shot down. Now the trainees are on their own, but the Laser-Class still picks them down like ripe apples fall from trees. They evade, throw out smoke grenades and fly at the most plausible altitude, but the Laser-Class still keeps shooting them, and they’re about to get hit until the navy takes matters at their own hand.
Please stop thinking here for a moment; the admiral has chosen to bear the responsibility and is filling Kyoto with fire and death. This choice might have had saved numerous surface pilots and TSFs, but it also means that a high ranking official has chosen to bombard his own capital. This is heavy and punishable deed that should get the admiral into court martial, but I think the Grand Shogun saw his intentions; the Capital can always arise from the ashes.
In this moment of silence the team begins to discuss how BETA consume people, and one of them is visibly distressed about this fact. This moment doesn’t take long when a Destroyer-Class runs through a building, hitting Yui down in her yellow TSF, only to be saved by their once-instructor, now their Captain. The Captain is in a spiffy Type 94-1C Shiranui Type-1C. It’s pretty beaten up, but the Captain seems to be full spirit and is commanding them to retreat to the rally point while he covers their backs.
As the team is fleeing the see a bright explosion from the road they just were, and the gunfire stops. They try to contact the post, but a Fort-Class steps into their boost path and they all fall down. Yui’s Zuikaku is damaged and she has to get out and fast. Sitting in your immobile TSF is not a good thing. She starts to walk away with his handgun out, and tries to contact her other team mates. She sees a trail of blood from one of the Zuikakus and follows it, and what she finds kicks in my PTSD.
The one with drive for revenge is being eaten by three Soldier-Class BETA, ripping her guts out and consuming every bit of her being. Yui makes a cleaver move and retreats, but gets a signal from other of her team mates. Her TSF is being overrun by the Tank-Class, and is ripped apart one by one. Her cockpit is slowly ripped open, and her face is filled with fear and desperation. She begs Yui to shoot her before she has to face the tank class; her legs are broken as is her other hand.
And she shoots.
And she misses.
After this Yui aims at her own head, not realizing that she has emptied her clip completely. You hear the bone snapping, the meat being ripped off her bones and consumed. Her head falls into Yui’s legs. After that, the Tank-Class turn their attention to Yui.
She is saved by a gunshot that pierces the Tank-Class, and throws her to a wall away from the BETA. We then witness a prototype Takemikazuchi landing down midst the BETA and releasing a fury that only Enma of the Underworld could forgive, but barely.
And who could be piloting this Takemikazuchi you might ask. It is none other than Kobuin Yuuhi herself; the one who shall become the Grand Shogun. As we hear her rage slashing and ripping through the air, Yui falls into unconscious state.
We find Yui at a field hospital, alive. She gets up and walks in the wrecked capital. She sees roads and building destroyed, dead Fort carcass watching over the city and uncountable body bags. She recalls her thoughts before they took off; When was it? When did we stop trying to count our dead? She walks near the destroyed Shiranui, and returns tot he hospital premise just as baby has been born. She sees that even if the world seems to come to and end, that thousands upon millions have died and will still die, this world is not yet in ruins. There is always hope, a bitter hope, and for children like this baby she has fought, and number of surface pilots will be lost in the war so that children like this baby would see a world that is not ruined or destroyer by this war, but able to live in peace and rebuild what has been lost. In desperate times like this, a newborn baby is a ray of light.
Even if this baby will grow to step into a TSF and fight against the BETA.
Cue for three years time skip.
Here we see Yui going towards Alaska, where the events of Total Eclipse will begin proper. Here is where this side story truly begins.
And then we have a beautiful ending song by Minami Kuriyabashi, a beautiful but melancholic song of hope.
This second episode, as said, is full of desperation, but it also gives a large glimpse of hope. It thought that it was just a fifteen minute episode when it ended; it felt that fast. The pace is completely different from the first episode and for a good reason. Whereas the first episode showcased your normal life, this episode hits in your face what the world is against at; an extraterrestrial race that will not stop until they’re completely annihilated, destroyed and wiped out from existence. It’s either them, or us.
This two parter doesn’t set up the story as such as it sets up the world. From now on we will follow a group of test pilots and the presence of BETA is not as direct. However, with these two episodes the BETA will be gnawing in the viewers’ back, and thus the knowledge of the situation will not make it any easier.
What the series will be like from now on will be an open question. I went over with these two episodes because I felt a need for it, and as such I will not cover the whole series. Someone else will be doing somewhere else. What I can say is that the tone of the series will shift and we’ll get our main character proper next time, which might throw some people off. However, I hope those who will follow the series onwards will enjoy it as much as they can and give the visual novels a go.
Let’s end this post with more upbeat feeling rather, shall we? Next time, let’s talk about customers again.