Editor’s Extra

I would like to open this entry with some greetings from Aalt: so far there hasn’t been any detectable fault with his computer, so while he builds a new computer I will provide content for this blog. He won’t be gone for more than two weeks so please bear with me.

He had a request on the subject so today you will read another Muv Luv experience. Incidentally it was Aalt who introduced me to the story, who sat through my less than polite expressions while the Unlimited story progressed and who has offered me a great insight, not only with the story, but with real life as well.

When I was first introduced to Muv Luv I had no expectations. I had some experience with visual novels, and I had heard Aalt talk about the story with tears in his eyes. It could either have meant that the story was good, or that it would be one of those “practical jokes” of his. Either way, I decided to give it to go.

Âge’s works are not completely foreign to me as I have watched KGNE. I will not utter a single word about the series, but knowing that I have gone through the story might help you understand some of my reactions.. Mostly those I initially had for Meiya. Because blue hair. Oh well.

Extra seemed like a rather typical comedy to me. The main character and his childhood friend, and a mysterious blue haired woman who tries to come between the two. The events are carefree, fun and full of drama, and the characters are easy to love. Elegant Meiya, energetic Sumika, silent Kei, ambitious Sakaki , silly Miki, and Mikoto who is just.. A bit weird.

I will not wander further into the plot because Aalt has done a significant amount of storytelling here already and I will assume that you have read most of his Muv Luv texts. What I wish to convey to you is merely another bunch of emotions triggered by the novel.  Perhaps from another point of view, too.

I had a strong dislike for Meiya at the very beginning of the story, mostly because of her hair. However, as the story grew, I found myself identifying a lot with her. I am not the heir of a rich family, nor am I as flawless as she is. I occasionally feel detached from the world, not understanding it, yet still loving it and the people around me. The reason I feel this way might be different from the one Meiya has, but the emotion is the same.

I would not, however, realize these connections before extra was already over. I happily played through the Sumika route, admiring the energy and honesty she has. Then I played the Meiya route and realized that even when Sumika is a great person, playing through her route had caused me excruciating, painful moments. Why, you ask? Because of that feeling when you know that you have done everything perfectly, and there is nothing more you can be, nothing more you can do, nothing more you can say, and it still wasn’t enough. You can be flawless without being fake, and sometimes it simply is not enough. That is the main reason I feel so strongly for Meiya, even when my true connection for her appeared only through Unlimited.

I still remember the night when I finally finished Extra and moved back to the title screen.

“It has changed.. “

After which I asked Aalt to meet up with me so that I could vent my emotions at someone. We went on a long run in the middle of the night and I told him how my initial reaction had been robots? In my Muv Luv? It was only later he told me that his reaction had been robots? In my KimiNozo? It’s funny how some things turn out.

Unlimited.

After Extra it was nothing short of a culture shock: I could feel the shivers up and down my spine when the opening theme started to play. I could tell that this was a different story we were in, and the carefree high school days were over. On the analytic level, one could see this trilogy as a metaphor for growing up – first there are the carefree days when your biggest problems revolve around other people, yourself, and getting school stuff done. Then there’s Unlimited, and suddenly we’re not children anymore. Instead, we’re dealing with war, death, desperation and constantly pushing yourself over what you thought were your limits, because you must constantly exceed them in order to survive.

Then there’s Alternative, but I’m not going there yet. But I most likely will.

Unlimited wants to make you question things we take for given and succeeds at it. To watch the pitying expressions of the others when Takeru blurts out his ignorance and childishness emphasizes one of the biggest issues of Unlimited’s first half: belonging.

Aalt has stated out that memories are an important motif of Muv Luv. In here, I would like to show other less important motifs, which still have a great impact on the story and the reader alike.

Upon first arriving, Takeru is a stranger to this world. He doesn’t know anything about the history, anything about the world, anything at all. It shows: he is placed to a squad that is struggling with its own inner problems, in a situation where the last thing that they need is someone who holds them back. He is nothing but a hindrance to the group, and the worst part is that he can’t deny it. Even when the situation he is in happens to be unfair, it is not only something that concerns him. It concerns the others around him, too.

Despite his obvious difficulties, Takeru doesn’t want to be an outcast. He does his best even when his best sometimes amounts to nothing (is that Marimo’s “SHIROGANEEEEEEEEEE!!!” I suddenly heard in my head?) and struggles to keep up. He complains a lot but he doesn’t give up, because he really wants to be a part of the group.

Another side of belonging and being an outsider is shown, when Takeru’s Game Guy gets discovered, and one of the squad’s girls slowly but surely withdraws from the group. In here, Takeru does not only see belonging as his own problem, but realizes the impact an outsider has on the whole group. In a world where everyone is needed, you can’t just run away. You must always take responsibility of your actions and be considerate of the emotions of others. You need to take your place, earn it, and walk forward with pride. After this episode concludes, Takeru seems to be making a greater effort to be one of the group.

When the squad passes the examination, Takeru reflects upon his emotions and discovers a sense of achievement from deep within. Unlimited seemed rather hopeless at first, what with Takeru being trapped in a world with no way out, and having his every weakness and flaw pointed out to him, but from this point on there is a faint shimmer of hope at the distance.

About Meiya… I related to her in Extra, but because of her rich girl demeanor and extravagant ways I didn’t really connect with her – unlike in Unlimited. She’s more down-to-earth, shares many thoughts and priorities with me, and is in general an embodiment of everything I aspire to be. A reliable friend, a loyal lover, a person who puts the good of others before her own feelings and needs.

When Unlimited was heading towards its end, I was shocked. You can’t just end it here! The story can’t end this way! When Yuuko got drunk and cried her eyes out, I knew that there was no way in hell to prevent shit from hitting the fan. I kept waiting for the plot twist I knew wasn’t coming. Nothing would change this course the story was on.

And then there was the last choice. While I realized that sending your beloved one away would be the selfless option, I wanted to be selfish for this once.

Like Aalt, I, too, am a hopeless romantic. I didn’t want to get separated from the person I love. That person might survive if I allowed them to leave. Even if that person wanted to send me away and leave, I couldn’t leave them knowing the dangers they would face alone.

Ultimately, I couldn’t make a decision t break both of our hearts when what I wanted most was to stand by them, no matter where we were. So I made the decision to stay with Meiya, to fight until the very end, to fight until our last breath.

I sometimes find myself comparing the experiences I had and the experiences Aalt had with the novel. I think it’s understandable, and it’s frighteningly similar even where our opinions differ. Some of it creeped to the text as well, and I hope that it gives you some perspective – maybe new thoughts on his texts through mine, maybe the other way around. Because Muv Luv, at its barest, is an experience to go through more than just a novel to read.

Unlimited left its mark on me, but I have to admit that it was a cakewalk compared to Alternative. But you will hear about that some other time.

Best regards,
Editor.

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