Music of the Month; Dare ni demo aru ashita

It’s been some time I last sat down to type things down, but all things must come to an end and other things begin from it. The month’s break came in good use, I would’ve otherwise found myself a kind of nervous wreck you see some people being, burning themselves down for no good reason. I know too many people who have taken the world’s burden unto themselves, and when their strength hasn’t been enough and they’ve exahusted themselves, burning the sheer will to go on with anything, it’ll only hurt them and everyone around them. Purchasing my own place to live in, moving all the furniture and collections, then trying to arrange them into their proper places all the while purchasing necessities (like a new bed because the old one literally blew itself apart when I loosened some screws) and then living more than two months on a razor’s edge regarding my job, something that in earnest is still a thing, I’m sure you can tell that I didn’t need any extra weight on my back. We’re not going to back to normal schedule just yet, however, as I’ll have to prioritise work and things with this new-old house, both of which are delivering constant headaches. There are no plans, but I have some ideas and seedlings that I want to type about, but hopefully, our favourite Digimon blogger A9, or The Doc, will get his promised Star Trek post done at some point to cover my ass a little bit.


As for what’s been happening with the month, there hasn’t really been any time for me to keep up with events. However, I did notice that Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, or Rumbling Hearts, Visual Novel has been confirmed for an English language release. While I’d like to say I have been waiting for this VN to be translated like the rising moon, I have to admit that the time has passed for me. My currently longest, and one of the oldest, post is all about one specific route of the VN, the one that is probably “canon.” I put quotes there, as it’s really best to think KGNE as its own thing from Muv-Luv despite the two sharing overall continuity and were designed to be counterparts. Alas, their history is not exactly that. The two work are very different and the strings the play and the beats they hit are very different, and ultimately I would argue that their audiences are different. Sure, VN fans will eat anything semi-decent they’ll get their hands on, but KGNE is in its own league. It’s often cited to coin the term tsundere, though that’s not exactly correct. The reviews and articles of the time did call it the first nakige for ‘crying game’. KGNE‘s story beats hit points where you find yourself for numerous reasons, tearing up. Be it because something lovely and touching is happening, or because or something massively horrifying hit your way. From what I’ve read, it was also one of the first numbers of VN titles that, in its own way, legitimised the format for the common consumers. Sure, VNs had seen ports to home consoles well before KGNE hit the scene. yet this one didn’t just get ported to Dreamcast and Playstation 2, but also probably is still one of the handful few VNs that have properly well made animated adaptation. The now-busted podcast we had in Muv-Luv Kickstarter’s wake had a special episode just for KGNE and it’s one of the few things I would recommend anyone to listen to just because there are three other guys that aren’t me discussing the series. The show wasn’t just a hit in Japan, it was for a time a popular culture landmark and the work that defined âge as a development studio as well as setting them a benchmark all of their works would be compared to in the future, whatever they may be. It’s a work âge can’t surpass with Muv-Luv. They would need to create something new, something that wouldn’t have the baggage and expectations of a whole franchise and do it as if their life depended on it. Muv-Luv Alternative is damn close to this. I’ve heard that thematically Leaf’s White Album 2 has similar overall thematics, and to quote anon late 2014 It does Kimi ga Nozomu Eien better. Dunno, would be good Japanese practise, I’d guess.


I don’t know how many VN companies would do board games based on a family restaurant and side-characters working in said restaurant. I’d really want that Sky Temple tea set though, it exists out there somewhere

Anyway, KGNE is one of those titles that probably will feel old to VN readers due to its age. The medium has changed in subtle ways since 2001. Many things it does in writing probably will be seen archaic and somewhat driven to the ground, but that’s where perspective has to play a part. This is a thing that I had a discussion with few friends recently, with some of them being VN readers. A point was raised that even taking into ML‘s Kickstarter into account, translating KGNE now is rather late. It being removed from its frame of time will necessitate the aforementioned perspective, but most people won’t do that. They’ll go in expecting something grand and world-shaking. If you come from ML or numerous other hard-hitting VNs, there’s bound to be something to disappoint you. It’s very nature as a grounded slice of life, or This is true life as one of the taglines for the English anime release went, isn’t exactly something that seems popular or wanted nowadays. It has no fantastical elements to it to speak of. In business sense, KGNE doesn’t lend itself for sequels or franchising, which is really a plus from an individual point of view. It’s a single work that tops what it does. You don’t need anything more. The story starts and ends here, and that’s great.

Timing has never been âge’s strengths, and they’ve often kept pushing titles back due to delays of some kind, which ultimately kills interest, even among fans. The core build-in audience âge has, of course, is their main audience, with people who are nostalgic for the anime in the Western front being their second target. I can’t keep track how many times I’ve seen someone mentioning they’ve watched the show ages ago when they were a kid or something similar, showcasing interest to explore that original work.  While âge fans will know how KGNE is tied to Muv-Luv, I would consider it a misstep if that was the main point in the advertisement. Sure, that’s probably the easiest way go with it, yet that’ll build the image that these being tied tightly together means you can’t really enjoy one without the other. Separation is needed to deliver the best possible impact between the two IPs. A triple combo of presenting KGNE VN as a defining work of the company and massively classic piece of work in the medium would be the first hit, followed by striking nostalgia people feel toward the anime still by pulling in some recognisable bits and bobs, then followed by connecting it to Muv-Luv indirectly. KGNE has to be allowed to breathe by itself. I just hope it’s not too late. âge knows how to heat the flames in the forge when it comes to the fans, but the steel tends to cool down or burn out in the forge if left unattended, ultimately flame itself burning through all that coal.


If you’ve never seen AyuMayu Theatre, I would urge you to track it down and watch it
Coming Soon? I doubt, unless 2030 is soon for you

I’m glad KGNE is finally getting that English translation. It is a work I do think should be available for everyone. In the same breath, I must mention that I do consider every single sex scene in the work to be of importance. It’s part of the way the story is structured, and one of or two truly feel like traditional VN design where porn was a must. I do think the same way about Muv-Luv‘s scenes, mind you, though only a handful of them are truly necessary and highly important. Funny that really, all of them involve Sumika. Nevertheless. the translation also has to impeccible, but knowing how much love is involved with everything, I’ll show faith in proper handling of the work.


With âge intending to remake Kimi ga Nozomu Eien sometime in the future, I can’t help but I have to consider this to be the right step. Re-introduce the work to the Western audience, maybe try to get some kind of deal with whoever has the English license at the moment to release the Blu-Ray pack to strike gold with that nostalgia even more. With Sayori of Nekopara fame working on the KGNE Remake, I have to admit having no interest in it at the moment. Kimi ga Nozomu Eien Latest Edition was an expansion of the original for modern hardware all the while including new routes from Kimi ga Nozomu Eien Special Fandisc. Even after the Remake/Reboot, whichever they want to call in the end, Latest Edition will stay the definitive version of the original Kimi ga Nozomu Eien and should be considered as. âge doing the reboot means they have an insanely difficult task to surpass the original in every possible way, something I can’t believe they would be able to do. Perhaps a miracle will happen and I’ll be applauding it the finest piece of âge’s history. That’ll remain to be seen.

Latest, the most definitive, Edition



Broken Luv

One pastime I’ve seen Muv-Luv taking part in has been making up ways how the core story could be translated and adapted for animation. Everything from two cours (aka twenty-four episodes) to a series of movies, things have been explored a lot. However, very few of the discussions have been what I’d describe realistic. They’ve been best case scenarios after all. With the announcement of Muv-Luv Alternative in Animation, the issue has become less academical. I’ll be using that in Animation suffix when specifically speaking about the upcoming animation to make a clear difference. It’s not its official title or anything, but I like the sound of it. Sue me. Guesses are left and right what form the adaptation will take and how many episodes, what changes will be made, what studio will be working on it and how the air-intake hairs will survive. Looking at modern trends and the history of Muv-Luv in animation should give us some idea.

The main reason Muv-Luv  as a whole can’t be adapted for television or otherwise is because at its core the storytelling is broken. Fans know that Muv-Luv was originally supposed to be relatively contemporary piece to Kimi ga Nozomu Eien/Rumbling Hearts (which really should be Trembling but âge English is kinda like that.) It was not intended to be three-part sprawling venture, but as KGNE saw success, plans grew and bloated to the point where it had to be cut in half. Extra was meant to be its namesake, an extra chapter after you’ve managed to find the one true love that would prevent world from going to hell with The Day After, not a character-setting twelve hour comedy romp it became. Unlimited wasn’t supposed to be a thing on itself even, but more akin to different routes that lead to similar ending. After multiple read-through, perhaps needing to unlock all other endings or just few at first, you would be able to find the titular True Love route. With ML Alternative putting emphasis on Takeru being cycled over and over again with little to no memory all the while retaining physical attributes, the original core design of the Visual Novel was completely different what we got. Its scale was smaller, more focused and KGNE‘s running success changed that.  âge originally pushed back Muv-Luv to a 2002  release instead of its original 2001 as they revised its scale, but ultimately had to be pushed out in February 2003 due to the company running out on time and money. At that point, the story the original product was already split and broken. Alternative would definitely follow in 2004. It wouldn’t until February 2006, and in the meanwhile some smaller stopgags like Muv-Luv Supplement were pushed out.

Muv-Luv is often described as a trilogy, but in two titles. This still trips people up, which further shows that something went wrong at some point. Maybe making a difference between Unlimited and Extra was a mistake in itself and something better should’ve been implemented. Merch and spinoffs make good use of the labelling though, but only if you already know what’s what. There is no product separately sold as Muv-Luv Unlimited

Muv-Luv and Muv-Luv Alternative has been criticised for being badly paced, and that’s just one result of the work as a whole becoming so huge. The Genre Shift between Extra and Unlimited is a direct result of this as well, which has lead many people to dislike the now-first part of the three core stories. Multiple real-world events changed the plot-line here and there, like the 2005 London bombing. Certain event later in Alternative probably saw the most changes, as âge wanted to avoid accusations of portraying terrorism in a positive light. That wasn’t the only issue, during development âge always feared that their work would be be labelled as extremely right-wing, so the original version of MLA’s Imperial Japan went through revisions. Some hints to the original plotlines still exist in the final work, like having a tsunami at the end of Operation 21st, whereas originally it as supposed to devastate Niigata. 2004 Chuuetsu earthquake was the reason its results are largely glossed over rather than be a significant part of the story, where Kashiwagi was supposed to have a major role. Discussion whether or not real world events should be allowed to influence artistic integrity and vision like this may be relevant, but at the same time we also have to remember how Muv-Luv overall is a commercial product and companies have to be aware of how they depict things in order to avoid bad rap. It’s a careful balancing act, sometimes you have to sacrifice some of your vision for the sake of the product itself.

With numerous revisions that weren’t originally intended, bloat finding its way in with meandering bits here and there, it’s not hard to see where bloat sets in by itself (just like this post, amrite guys?). Things kind of just ran ahead of themselves as the scope grew, but deadlines are a bitch and you can’t delay a product indefinitely, no matter how âge would like to do so. All three parts suffer from spots where the story grinds to a halt. The VNs are somewhat infamous for halting the progress of the story to deliver information to reader in major sections as info dumps. Very few works have managed to drop an hour’s worth of info into the reader’s lap and expect the reader to absorb it, and Muv-Luv isn’t one of them. No matter how interested you’re into the characters and the world, being stuck in a literal school lesson for information that could have been worked in better is simply bad design. Lacrosse arc’s existence is literally just to foreshadow how the character dynamics will clash later in, and has an equivalent even later in the story, yet the arc itself is considered to be low point in the whole body of work. It’s dull and we already knew the character’s personalities at that point. It’s overly long and some people just skip it. Despite the story itself being damn well written at its core, the bloat shows itself here and there. Muv-Luv is at its best when it has a nice jogging pace with few moments to slow down here and there before the events hit a nitro boost. It likes to wallow in going on and on about things, especially during Alternative. Being invested into the characters is its saving grace, but that’s almost a coin toss.

If an animation would like to cover all of Muv-Luv as it stands now, from the very start of Extra to the very finish of Alternative, we’re too late for that. With the lack of success with Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse and near total disaster with Schwarzesmarken, I can assure you Muv-Luv Alternative‘s animation adaptation will not get more than one cours, twelve episodes. The IP may have been in a better in late 00’s when Akane Maniax was supposed to set Muv-Luv animation up, which never happened as the deal fell through, but now the IP is volatile at best, dangerous money waste at worst. âge has not produced anything that has made an impact since Alternative and I’d argue their most successful project after that was the Kickstarter. That of course attracted lot of attention and played large part in the future of âge. A million dollar crowdfunding from an internationally unknown company is bound to raise some attention. We know that something is always going on in the corporate background, and you can bet animation rights were discussed in the background at that time, culminating in in Animation. Avex’s obtaining âge from Acid and ixtl being terminated in favour of /restructured into aNCHOR are all results from âge’s media failures and Kickstarter’s success. We should put an emphasis on the Kickstarter, as it served as a cornerstone for âge’s real realisation that they got international fans and untapped market. Well, as untapped as you can get with Visual Novels, they’re not exactly a success in Japan either with handful of companies going bust each year. The media being sold as games harms it, as it does not represent its true nature as literature allowed by our digital age. In short; VN based IPs are pretty fucked at the moment, unless they can diversify themselves. âge’s both mobile games have failed and closed in about year after their launch, VNs sales have been lacking (mostly due to lack of products) and both television shows were effectively bust. âge might still have faith in the IP, but the surrounding companies will think twice or thrice before throwing their lot in.

All this, and the current trends, tells me that Muv-Luv Alternative will be a one cours show with about twelve episodes. We’ve already seen numerous redesigns of the characters in Exogularity books, and modern take on the characters is effectively required. The show and the story must be retooled to fit the modern age, both in its core structure and in designs. I’ll argue that the Tactical Surface Fighters are the best designs in the franchise, as they’ve been designed to be largely ageless. They don’t really look like mechas from the early and mid-00’s. Hell, if anything the visual flavour TSFs are in has become somewhat popular. Sure, you have the paper thin waist and some oddities here and there, but largely TSF designs are made well enough to still look fresh. The same can’t be said for the characters, who look like they’re stuck in the change of millennium. Anime style has dropped geometrical (and puffy) hair in favour of sleeker, flatter hair. I don’t find anything offensive about the characters despite being an old fart who still buys 1980’s comics like they were new, yet we can’t ignore how each era has its own visual flavour. The above are not the animation designs or anything related to the animation in itself, but this is the direction we’re going to some extent. âge is a trend follower rather than setter in this. Despite Ban being 10/10 in visual style and I would want him to be employed 24/7 with everything I love, you should expect something different still. Something that’s already tested the waters and that is massively successful. Maybe the guy who did Girls und Panzers or the LoveLive guy will do the redesigns for the anime. Those have been popular shows, and something people would recognise. Hell now I want to see Sugimori-style Muv-Luv content just for the kickers.

One cours adaptation might be able to fix Muv-Luv‘s pacing as much as it probably will completely destroy it. If it gets more than one cours, hey that’d be fine too. However, what Muv-Luv Alternative in Animation needs from the original work is its core intention. The original form of Muv-Luv is still there, under all that extended plotlines and content, all that bloat and info dumps, under all the sectioned and split parts. Let’s take it as face value and consider the title as true; it will be just the Alternative portion of the package. This would mean both Extra and Unlimited would be relegated to being flashbacks and references. The series would be build on mystery about this one guy who clearly knows something bad is going to happen if things aren’t done the right way, but at the same time he doesn’t belong here. There’s a crashed giant robot outside his home, but somehow that doesn’t really phase him. Familiar faces, familiar places, but it’s not his home. Muv-Luv Alternative in Animation would have to build itself on the last cycle of the original design, and on Alternative we got, relegating Extra and Unlimited as necessary flashbacks, maybe even visiting those events. You could start the series with one episode of showcasing everyday comedy in Extra setting, then move into an episode ending cliffhanger with the BETAverse. In between this, show Takeru dreaming of all the other possible routes and events, all the misery and death the world would know if he didn’t put the foreknowledge be obtained from repeated deaths into proper and immediate use. While the Visual Novels build on the reader becoming invested into the characters and even falling in love with them, that is the result of the whole product having been restructured. It has become the VNs main strength and weakness. If you’re dedicated and invested in these characters, you will stand through the bloat and bad pacing. Hell, you probably won’t notice them all that much, because you’re heart and soul is in it. If you’re not, the rest will probably kill your interest before you get to the main dish of the whole story. Muv-Luv Alternative in Animation has to focus on the core and leave all what we now consider as set-up as something a mystery. Other characters will get emphasised, lesser ones will be cut. The same applies to events, and some will see modified, rest assured. Twelve episodes is enough to adapt Alternative with some Extra and Unlimited trickled in, but as said, it’s a delicate surgeon’s job. It will be familiar to the fans, but at the same time, this show really needs to be a hit with the larger audience. At this point, a Muv-Luv Alternative animation can’t serve just a commercial vehicle for the Visual Novels, we’re about a decade too late for that.

While we’re at it, go watch Ayu Matu Theater

I have no data why âge’s 20th anniversary stream didn’t put anything solid down on development and releases outside Project MIKHAIL. All we got We’d like to do this and We don’ have budget set. At face value you could almost believe that âge doesn’t have the money to put projects into full development cycle and publish their products. Maybe that rumoured Kimi ga Nozomu Eien translation got stuck due to the same issue, maybe requiring crowdfunding down the line or be split into two products like Schwarzesmarken was. SM VN’s sales were terrible, mind you, splitting a whole product like that is never a good idea. Except they kind of did that with Muv-Luv already. Still, the lack of sales would indicate this for sure, but at the same time I have to question if the fans have been the only thing keeping âge alive? If the fandom wasn’t so solid and willing towards the company, would âge have gone the way of the dodo already? That Kimi ga Nozomu Eien remake has been in the works on some level for at least five years now, and Muv-Luv Integrate seems to take elements from Strike Frontier’s second season but I’ll get to that whenever I write about Integrate. A new The Day After probably will most like maybe be done. Everything’s vague, outside that we’re going to get that animation, and that’s probably a linchpin in all this. If this is the third time a Muv-Luv animation fails, they don’t have much material to work on anymore. The core story where everything else stems from has to hit the mark, there really aren’t any other options.

Just as a quick tangent, what can they hope to do with Kimi ga Nozomu Eien‘s Reboot? The story doesn’t need more elaboration on, it is a full package unto itself. The only worthwhile addition I can see it happening to it if they’d actually make it more an actual game, with scheduled events, character stat management and Adventure game styled options to interact with each scene. I don’t have faith that modern âge can add anything worthwhile to the package. If it’s going to end up being similar to Kimi ga Ita Kisetsu remake, aka worthless waste of everyone’s time, I can say I’m not interested. I may be be a fan, but I’m not one to blow money blindly on products that can’t make their original versions obsolete. Sure, modernise it with new style, tweak the story a bit here and there to fix some of its problems, maybe add a scenario or two, but what are they going to do in order to add unique value? Tie it more to Muv-Luv? I’d consider that a major misstep. Integrate may be a project to bring all that together, but Christ if everything just ends up being Muv-Luv in a way or another, I’d like to have that early 00’s struggling âge back in order to force them to work with smaller scale titles and even more limited budget and staff. It’d be the very opposite of diversifying your product line. KGNE Reboot has to have value on its own, something that will both obsolete the original product and its Latest Edition iteration, and make it stand alone on its own two feet without resorting to nostalgia and other IPs.

It’s both rather funny and disheartening to consider Kimi ga Nozomu Eien to be âge’s breakout title, but also the title that made the company name to be reckoned with. As much as Muv-Luv Alternative is talked to have influenced this and that, like Attack on Titan, it still had less an impact that KGNE. Hell, at the time I was reading Japanese magazines claiming the title solely created so-called nakege, titles intended for the consumer to cry over due to its emotionally hitting writing and topics. Tsundere is often coined for âge and KGNE as the originator, which isn’t exactly all that correct, but sure let’s just go with it. It was also KGNE animation that broke through to the general consensus and people who didn’t care for VNs at the time were reportedly picking up the PS2 version just to check the it out. The sheer success of that one property was never replicated in later works, and ultimately âge became almost obsessed solely to make Muv-Luv related products, dropping their other sub-brands completely and all other types of products they were making. I don’t see this as a healthy way of doing  business. Visual Novel companies never had million dollar budgets to throw around, especially now that they’re a slowly dying niche. It is a small miracle Muv-Luv and Alternative were even made with in their current form, especially by a company who often gets criticised for mishandling scheduling and budgets.

I’m not worrying over Muv-Luv Alternative in Animation. If it fails, nothing has changed and the course of the company will stay the same. If it succeeds, âge should have more resources under its belt to get something off the ground again. While you can live on your core fans to certain point, with remakes, localisations and sequels, expanding that base is required if you want to do more and expand your company. Maybe building a full-fledged strategy RPG could do the trick, or an action game similar to Virtual-On and Another Century’s Episode could do draw in some attention. The setting surely allows all this. Perhaps finally create something new and not rely on Muv-Luv as the only piece they have to offer.

I hope I’m not alone in thinking how Muv-Luv and Muv-Luv Alternative together make a great story, but the way the story is told in the Visual Novels is not exactly a class in masterclass prose. Perhaps the original intention was worse, maybe it was better. Maybe all those revisions, all the work that, blood and tears that went into making its final form, flawed and lacking as it may be, allowed the title to be the very best it could. It might have become somewhat impenetrable to some. Muv-Luv may not have become a pop-cultural juggernaut, but its impact on different sects of popular sub-cultures can’t be denied. If Muv-Luv were ever to get a full-on remake, I’d wish the originally intended form to be implemented, that its original intention would be realised  in full-scale. in Animation has all the chances to fix the spots where Alternative faulters. It’s going to be a tough job, especially all the while it has to be modernised for completely new audience that wasn’t there in the early and mid 00’s. Expectations are high. We’ll have to sit tight to wait and see.

Goodbye ixtl, welcome anchor

On July 6th, âge announced that ixtl, the company that was put up in 2011 to manage their copyrights and IPs, has now been renamed as anchor. Their website has also been revised accordingly. It would seem that anchor’s role is not just to manage âge’s rights, but also to design stories, i.e. story content creation of sorts. XR experience can be loosely equated to VR and other experiences that might come in future, e.g. themed hotel room or such.

This comes in the wake of Avex Pictures acquiring ixtl in 2017, ixtl having a survey for international and Japanese consumers what they’d like to see from them as well as Avex and Graphinica announcing they have established Flagship line, a company to produce goods, such as animation, games and VR titles.

Perhaps most importantly, anchor’s site specifically teases a new project coming soon, there is already something in the works. Considering Avex Pictures took notice of the million dollar Kickstarter, renewed interest to revamp a company branding and other changes, it should not be too hard to guess what they’re ramping up to.

So you’ve finished Muv-Luv Alternative, and wondering what next

Due to circumstances, I haven’t had time to type out anything too wholesome to read for this Tuesday. Hence, I’ve prepared a small suggestion guide what to check next in the Muv-Luv franchise if you’ve finished Muv-Luv and Muv-Luv Alternative. This is a spoiler free listing, splitting between English and Japanese contents.

Official English language options

Muv-Luv Alternative Total Eclipse

Muv-Luv Alternative Total Eclipse TV-series has been officially licensed and released by Sentai Filmworks. While Total Eclipse has rather negative reputation among the fans, it was the first Muv-Luv related product that reached the Western shores. It offers a new cast of characters, with questionable production values, and takes place before the events of Alternative. You can read a larger take on the series here. It doesn’t offer the best the franchise has, but is an expansion to the world Alternative has introduced. It stands as an independent story from the rest of the franchise, like most of these larger sidestories, and its two first episodes are probably the show’s best ones.

If your Japanese is good enough, the PC version of the Visual Novel is a definitive pick, though some argue that the anime is better due to it lacking certain significant revelation.


Schwarzesmarken was officially simulcasted by Crunchyroll, though for whatever reason they managed to misspell the title with a space. Set in the BETAverse’ 1980’s, the story is far removed from either Total Eclipse or Alternative. It has a more dreadful to it than Total Eclipse, with cold war between East and West still raging in Germany, all the while the BETA still push towards Western Europe. Half as short as Total Eclipse, Schwarzesmarken offers some look into earlier days of war against BETA, when not all tactics were put into stone yet and TSFs were heavy coffins. Opinions are split which one is worse, Total Eclipse or Schwarzesmarken, though I recommend watching both to make up your own mind. The two shows may have a connection through one certain character, though that has never been officially confirmed. If you want to read more about Schwarzesmarken, I have a full review of the series on the site.

The Visual Novel was split into two and didn’t sell all that well, but is a better piece of the two, if only by a margin. Only in Japanese though.

Rumbling Hearts

Rumbling Hearts AKA Kimi ga Nozomu Eien was localised by Funimation in the mid-2000’s and is available at their site for free to watch, though this is region locked. Nevertheless, the DVDs are common and cheap to pick up. Rumbling Hearts, while not exactly a prequel to Muv-Luv, shares the same setting as Extra, and certain character appear in their BETAverse versions in Alternative. However, unlike Extra, Rumbling Hearts is very much dead serious in its tone to relationships to the point of being probably one of the more realistic depictions of troubles in romantic relationships in Japanese cartoons. It is a fantastic adaptation, shrinking the core of the Visual Novel while still giving it some originality to it. It’s highly recommended if you haven’t seen it, regardless of your genre preferences. I have a podcast special with Invalidname, a huge fan of the series; Evan, one of the translators of Muv-Luv and all around pretty cool guy and Muv-Luv Alternative; and Doc who I dragged along because the show needed a third party opinion.

If you can muster the language, I recommend reading the Visual Novel as well.

Whenever the Photon collections gets released on Steam thanks to the Kickstarter, this spot will be updated with multiple entries when applicable.

~Unofficial~English Language Options

These option require you to acquire the discs themselves for you to patch.

Before the Shimmering Time Ends

Before the Shimmering Tim Ends is a sequel to Muv-Luv Alternative. This story can be found in the Muv-Luv Altered Fable and Photon Melodies collections. It is a common misconception that the story’s name is Altered Fable, but that’s just the collection’s name it comes in alongside Faraway Dawn and Total Eclipse Mini-ADV . Those who have finished Alternative should be aware of the last events changing things a bit, and this story takes full advantage of them. Alternative Projects has translated three of the routes in the Visual Novel of the PC version, and the required patch can be picked up from their site. The three routes are highly recommended to read, as it soothes the pains lingering from Alternative. Or makes them more exaggerated, depending on you, dear reader.

Haruko Maniax

One of the shorter stories, Haruko Maniax gives you what’s in the title. One of Evan’s spot-on contributions around, before the Kickstarter hit the ‘hood. If you liked Haruko as a character during Alternative, this is a must read. It follows Haruko’s little brother, who seems to have some fixation to his older sister. Filled with comedy and fantasy segments of erotic kind, it’s a fun little read while you’re waiting for other stuff to come out. You can pick up the patch from Alternative Project.

Muv-Luv Alternative Chronicles 01

Much like how Altered Fable is a collection, the Chronicles lineup of fandiscs (releases that are directed at the fans rather than as full-blown, Big Name releases) serves as a backbone to ixtl/âge’s expanding both Unlimited and Alternative through side stories. The Day After is a series that takes place after the events of Unlimited‘s end and offers a world that is very much gone to hell, with half of it turned into an ocean of salt, struggle against famine and BETA an everyday thing. Both Chicken Divers and Rain Dancers give further insight to the struggle against BETA from the viewpoint of your normal surface pilots. Once more, the patch can be picked up from Alternative Projects.

Muv-Luv Alternative Chronicles 02

Chronicles 02 continues where the previous one ended, though this time there are only two stories to read through; The Day After Episode 01 and MLA Chronicles Adoration. The Day After continues with the Unlimited timeline as previously mentioned, while Adoration having a lighter tone to it as it follows Imperial Royal Guard member Makabe Seijurou’s exchange in Euro Front’s Dover base. Not much need to be said about either one, except that Alternative Projects have a separate patches for TDA01 and Adoration.

Various Rumbling Hearts short stories

Evan, one of the Alternative Project’s translators I mentioned above, has a site up called Kiminozo Life, which contains his unofficial translations for numerous Rumbling Hearts and Muv-Luv related side stories. These include, for example, Melvina Maniax’s Kimi ga Nozomu Muv-Luv, which sees the two main characters between the two stories switching places, and True Lies, one of the more comedy filled entries in the KGNE/ML metaverse. There are no patches, as the translations are done through subtitled videos. You can also bother him on Twitter about anything.

Japanese options, for fun and language training

This is not intended as a complete list of all âge/ixtl’s products that have relations to Muv-Luv, but here are some specific picks for those hungry for more and have the language skills demanded.

Before the Cherry Trees Blossom -Muv-Luv After Episode-

A story set after Sumika’s Extra route, starting in February 2002. While having some janky writing, it is nevertheless the first direct continuation of an Extra route, and it’s a must read for those who want to see more Sumika, and how the cast graduates. If you absolutely hate her guts, you might as well skip this. Otherwise, it’s extra for those who like Extra. It can be found in Muv-Luv Supplement, alongside with rectal destroying card game Muv-Luv Duelist and few other stories.

Muv-Luv ~Another Episode Collection~

Stuffed to Muv-Luv Supplement, Another Episode Collection also goes under the name of Heroine Short Story collection. These stories are set in before and during Extra from other character’s perspective. Also in Photon Flowers, so you can dust off that PS3 of yours, or sit tight and wait.

Kimi ga Ita Kisetsu

Kimi ga Ita Kisetsu is the whole shebang that started âge’s Kimi ga line of VNs, that lasted all two titles. Much like how Muv-Luv follows up on Rumbling Hearts, Rumbling Hearts follows on Kimi Ita. The title’s not anything special, if we’re honest, but does give an insight to certain characters that appear as their BETAverse counterparts in some Muv-Luv titles. There is also an updated version, if you find the late 1990’s style garish.

Chronicles 03 and 04

Chronicles 03 follows in the footsteps of Chronicles 02 and has two main titles: The Day After Episode 02 and MLA Chronicles Resurrection. Resurrection follows the exploits of one Silvio Orlandi. While the story opens up as a rather serious take on him praying in a church before he engages a mission, it quickly turns into a more light-hearted romp about him becoming a Six Million Dollar Man and is sent to infiltrate the Yokohama Base as a spy. It’s a rather lengthy story to boot, with multiple chapters and a change in visual style.

Chronicles 04 collects more stories than the two previous installments, with TDA 03 introducing a certain familiar face from the mainline trilogy. Let’s just say all those hours put into Valgern-On really paid off. Last Divers could be called a companion piece to Chicken Divers as the two share themes with each other, with the significant difference of Last Divers taking place in the Unlimited‘s TDA timeline. War Ensemble takes place in 1998, and unlike most other stories, it concentrates on the infantry. While we have TSF running around, the story’s main point is to show how inglorious it is to be a foot soldier, with few powered armours at your side, when a BETA assault lands on you.

And if you’re a fan of anthropomorphised BETA, Chronicles 04  has an episode of Haiburu.

Tactical Surface Figher in Action and other materials

Tactical Surface Fighter in Action, or TSFiA for short, is a series of short stories concentrating on the TSFs themselves and numerous events across Unlimited and Alternative timelines, crossing over with both Schwarzesmarken and Total Eclipse. These were essentially story advertisement for TSF toys and models, and dioramas were made using these. Some of them stories have been translated, but that was some years ago, with this being the latest version.

There are loads of books regarding Muv-Luv, from source books to comics. Some of the comics have been scanlated at least to some extent, and I’m sure you can locate some through use of a search engine. A special mention needs to be given to the Alternative comic, which has gotten a positive reception from those who have read it. Integral Works is also recommended, though its info is used in the upcoming Codex. TSF Cross Operation books are sort of expansions to Integral Works in that they contain expanded information and short stories, including numerous TSFiA ones.

Muv-Luv Alternative Faraway Dawn

Faraway Dawn are two sets of strategy games included with Altered Fable and Haruko Maniax. In essence, your job is to keep TSFs intact and their pilots alive through number of missions in rUGP powered STR. Expect high difficulty and lots of savescumming. The game plays on a field build on hexagons, and while all the menus are in Japanese, understanding them is a small matter of trial and error. It’s about as easy to get around them as it is with a standard Super Robot Wars, though there are more things to consider than in SRW titles.

Akane Maniax and AyuMayu Theatre

Akane Maniax is a name of a visual novel and a three-episode OVA. The OVA was meant to bridge Rumbling Hearts to Muv-Luv in animation form, but that came to naught. However, it is the first time we see Takeru & co. in animated form, and while it does lean on the comedy side of things, it’s a good fan service overall. You can pick the Japanese DVDs rather cheaply nowadays, or if you’ve got the dough, the BD set that comes with Rumbling Hearts, Akane Maniax and Next Season OVA with some other extras. You can freely apply fansubs to these versions, and there are specifically timed versions floating around the net. Next Season is effectively an optional end to the series, made to both advertise then-new Latest Edition of Kimi ga Nozomu Eien VN, and to appease raving Haruka fans.

AyuMayu Theatre, or AyuMayu Gekijouban if you’re so inclined, is an ONA based around making fun of both Rumbling Hearts and Muv-Luv, having cast from both series stepping and having comedy of their and the viewer’s expense. It’s really a recommended watch, and subtitles floating around can be put into good use as the DVD is dirt cheap nowadays. Seriously, it costs one yen if you know where to look and are willing to buy used. If you’ve grown fond of Ayu and Mayu, they got their own Alternative.

AyuMayu Alternative

The last entry on this short list is AyuMayu Alternative, a rather tongue-in-cheeck spin-off with more of the comedic characters from Rumbling Hearts and Akane Maniax getting a huge spotlight. It’s a fun read, especially if you’re a fan of old-school robot anime and Saint Seiya. However, if you’re in mood for something more serious, AyuMayu Alternative also hosts two Chronicles stories.

MLA Chronicles Atonement and Inheritance/Succession (it’s got two competing choices for a translation) follow a select two characters. In Atonement, we see Jinguuji Marimo‘s past when she was a cadet, at her Comprehensive Combat Eval. and her first sortie against the BETA. These expand on the character, and while I’ve seen some argue that it cheapens the character, others have countered that it expands and gives another meaning to the 7th chapter Muv-Luv Alternative; The Unforgiven. Inheritance concentrates on the immediate family of Captain herself, Isumi Michiru, specifically her little sister Akira. Set soon after the events on Sado Island, Akira meets with her sisters after a victory celebration, only to pass out due to PTSD flashbacks. Later, they learn about Captain’s faith. Towards the end, we see Akira taking part in Operation Sledgehammer in 2003, the third known successful Hive infiltration, and the first successful Hive capture for humanity without a need for weapons like G-Bombs.

There is lot more to Muv-Luv as a franchise than what’s on this list, especially if we take into account the rest of the expanded metaverse, but for now these should offer some ideas what to check out next. There is a lot more to come in the future.

Review of the Month; Silver Ring

This review is a bit hard from the get go for me. Previously I have tried to look things from multiple perspectives, but this time I’m with something that could be summed as It’s important to me, I don’t care how it actually is” Don’t let that discourage you, this review will combine that personal post I promised you early in the month.

Let’s get on with the review then; Silver Ring.

I'm not going to go into the package review. It came in a nice black box with Kimi ga Nozomu Eien in silver letters on it. Nothing special
I’m not going to go into the package review. It came in a nice black box with Kimi ga Nozomu Eien in silver letters on it. Nothing special

This silver ring from Kimi ga Nozomu Eien is modelled after the one Takayuki buys to one of the main heroines, Mitsuki Hayase. You may know her from either Kimi ga Nozomu Eien or Muv-Luv. The ring makes its impact in the former, where one could argue it is the reason which sets second half of the story into motion. There are multiple renders of the ring, as the ring tends to change its overall design and shape within the animated series. One could argue that this is bad continuity and whoever was in charge should’ve pointed out that an object shown so prominently should have seen more care when drawn, but one can also argue that the ring’s changing shape reflects the changing relationship dynamics and thoughts the characters are having. The series is pretty heavy on symbolism in general, some more subtle and some heavy-handed. Not that heavy-handed in this case was handled badly, showing a broken person trying to fix a broken shoe is almost an iconic addition to the series.

The copy of the ring I have is an official one, and despite it being different from what consider to be the iconic one, is what I consider the definitive look for it. I personally like the interlocking ring more, but we’ll look at the variations down the line. The definitive version I have at hand is one ring with the top split in two, and then bridged over the path. It forms a sort of infinity symbol, which sort of plays to the whole titular theme of eternity.

Ring itself represents continuation with no beginning or end, and giving it to someone means you are entrusting your own to this person. With this silver ring you have the branching path that also plays into how the story builds itself and ends. It shows how at one point there is a moment where two can be separated, only to meet again momentarily, and then finally to become one again. I would argue that this represents Hayase’s path in the visual novel, but I may be seeing meaning in things that aren’t there.

You can almost see my reflection there!
You can almost see my reflection there!

The ring’s overall appearance is plain and straight. Its curved outer surface is standard and its inner surface is almost flat. The ring doesn’t look necessarily expensive and mass producing this wouldn’t be too hard, but that’s beside the point. The ring itself was bought from a street vendor in Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, and the ring looks like the part. It’s no jewel encrusted, it’s not lined with gold or mixed with it to form electrum. It’s down to earth, simple silver ring and in that it does well. Its split is what makes it noteworthy, generally speaking, and as of late I’ve seen this sort of rings becoming more popular, but always have embed rocks on one of the paths. The overall shape the ring has become known as Infinity ring, and especially Russia tends to make rings that look mistakenly similar to this silver ring, although the ring is not of very special shape. I should probably mention that some Celtic wedding rings use similar infinity theme, but the knot goes through the whole circumference, not just the top bit.

You can see that the paths have something funky going on with them too
You can see that the paths have something funky going on with them too

The sculpt overall is good, nothing to complain about. At the connection points you can see some of the material over the points, but you’d need to inspect the ring closer to see them. Depending on how the ring is made, it may also be a casting error which may not be present in other rings from the same mould. Of course, if this has been present during moulding, then you see slight excess amount of silver in each of the ring produced.

(C) âge

Markings on the ring are âge with a copyright symbol before it and Silver. It would be nice to know what sort of silver the ring is made of. It’s not fine silver, as that is not suitable for jewellery, but I would guess this silver is sterling silver. Sterling silver is 92.5% pure silver mixed with 7.5% of copper or other metal. The silver amount I gave is the minimum amount required, and sterling silver may vary in how much there is of each component. My guess is based on the fact that when I got the ring, it was tarnished because of oxidation. I’ve yet to see any firescaling. I doubt that the ring is made of nickel silver, as that’d be cheating. If I’m proved wrong, I’ll be disappointed, and most likely will use this as a model to replicate a sterling silver variant.


Ring's inside. I should probably mention that the ring is a bit small to me and fits my pinky. On the other hand, this is a girls' ring and I am a grown man, so there's that
Ring’s inside. I should probably mention that the ring is a bit small to me and fits my pinky. On the other hand, this is a girls’ ring and I am a grown man, so there’s that

Overall, the ring fulfils the little expectations one can have for a street vendor-like ring. Some may find its simplicity too plain, but that does not concern yours truly. Now for the ring’s variants.


There are basically four variations on the ring; the iconic one seen at the topmost row with two rings interlocking at two points, a version where the ring is one piece that has two backs, and one that sort of combines the two. I wish there was a better shot of the last one. It looks like the first one, but it ain’t. The fourth one is the one reviewed here. Personally, I like the first one the most, it looks the best and is the most iconic. The rest of the variants are a bit weaker in presentation, though the final design should be the physical variant here. The physical ring was a Comiket exclusive and hasn’t seen a rerun after that (at least reruns I’m aware of), and I overpaid for this piece, about three or four times its selling price. Why? Because the ring means a lot to me, personally. It wasn’t just something to put into collection or the like.

I would lie if I said that I was a fan of Kimi ga Nozomu Eien in the same manner as with other series, including Muv-Luv. KGNE means something personal to me, and by that the ring has a special meaning for me. This bit was originally part of the Kimi ga Nozomu Eien special episode we had a while back, but my rant was too long and incoherent that I decided to cut it out, and so I’ll include the basic gist here.

The reason why Kimi ga Nozomu Eien is special to me is, without exaggeration, has played important part in my personal growth. Early  2000’s was a time when my old man was an alcoholic, spending most of his evenings chugging booze down and weekends were the worst. Some evenings saw him basically thrashing my brother’s room because it was too messy after cleaning, and there were more than few nights when I was woken up and had to sit across him in the kitchen and see him weep and blabber about things I had no idea of.

There were winds of change at the time as well, as it was time to decide what I should want of my life in terms of education and so on, which of course added further stress. People were putting expectations on me that I never knew I needed fulfil, and in my friends circle there were things that added to that pressure. World seemed like it was pressing me down, and I couldn’t handle it. I froze and there were times when I broke down during the night, but managed to gather myself in the morning. Grades and friendships suffered. I was stuck in a personal loop, unable to ask any help or move onwards with anything. Things piled up.

A long time friend of mine used to throw me CDs filled with series and other interesting stuff, and one of them was so-called Blue People Special. It contained the first episode of KGNE, and at the time I didn’t thought nothing of it. The second episode however felt strange, as if had grabbed me. When the final sequences hit, I thought only fifteen minutes had passed. I probably watched the ending fifteen times to make sure that the events did happen.

Time moved one, and the series came to an end. Slowly but surely I began to move on, making decisions what I wanted to do for myself rather than for anyone else. I saw things changing, and all the piled up things began dwindling down. I stood up on my old man’s drinking, and I think that made him realize how fucked up he was, at least a bit. It had been because of Kimi ga Nozomu Eien that I realised that I can’t just stay put. Time does not wait, even if we want to stop. It made me realize that there are emotions that I need to allow to come out, and bottling them up would just ruin me on the long run.

And then, as usual, I fucked things up with my first actual love. I screwed things early on, and used a song called Precious Memories in order to tell her how I cherish the memories, but she took it the wrong way. We fixed things together after a while, thanks to her effort, but it haunted her for a while. Certain things seemed to mirror from the the story and between the events, and because of certain future plans of her we were in a sort of stalemate. I felt we couldn’t move along, and the little under two years we dated had a definitive deadline. That’s how it seemed.

The ring was supposed to be my engagement ring to her. After that, the ring became more or less a symbol of moving forwards and choosing your path. It’s unending road and splitting paths work well for me in this one. For me, that’s how it was and pretty much still is. The ring I have now can’t be given to anyone anymore, and it doesn’t really belong to me either. It has become more or less a reminder of old me and how I need to keep moving on.

It took me about eight years since first getting into Kimi ga Nozomu Eien to get back into it properly and rewatched the series for the third time. Soon after that I got into Muv-Luv, and here we are today, with Muv-Luv Kickstarter and all under our belts. I don’t call myself a fan of Kimi ga Nozomu Eien because of all this. It’s not like with Iczer-1 that I enjoy for what it is, it’s more along the lines I value and appreciate what Kimi ga Nozomu Eien effectively did for me. Having a personal connection, you can also see how I hated the idea of aliens and giant robots being in the sequel, but everything in good spirit.

I’ll leave you with this review and little personal story, and see you next year.

Music of the Month; Neo Tokyo

I hope everybody is having a nice Good Friday, it’s time for the music of the month. Let’s all just chill out, and relax.

We’re a bit late with all this, because damn you life.

Let’s talk a little bit about April’s fools. I don’t really do April’s fools at all, but I’m sure we all can appreciate a good joke or a prank. We all should be able to laugh at ourselves a little bit, but of course there are those who are willing to take things a bit too far or do the jokes in poor taste.

âge has a history of doing elaborate April’s fools by changing their site for the whole day for something completely different. This year they splattered their webpage with Kimi ga Nozomu Eien’s 15th Anniversary celebration, announcing a new animation called Kimi ga Nozomu Eien Next Generation (I’m positive this is a Star Trek joke) and an upcoming dating mobile game of sorts. Didn’t really pay much attention to that, because they also had a tower defence game, where your aim was to keep Takayuki from reaching Haruka and causing the accident. It was really awful to play and yet at the same time I could laugh at the absurd nature of it. Because the site is now dead, you’re unable to access any of this content, but things like this are never completely vanished. For example, some guy could mirror their short video clip about. You never know, somebody may have saved the site itself, much the last year and the year before.

With âge, there has been some level of truth in their jokes. Last year they joked about Total Eclipse’s Yuuya and Yui being siblings, and then it turned out to be true.  What could âge be planning? In all honesty, it may be something KGNE related to celebrate the series’ age, but I’m not seeing a new animation coming up. If there is, then hotdamn sign me in.

Generally speaking, April’s fools jokes tend to be something smaller and more apparent in nature and don’t really need removal. Famitsu’s Photoshop REAL is a good example of this. It’s not too uncommon to see sites changing their layouts for one day either, either modelling themselves after 90’s flashy GIF hells or poking fun at themselves.

Perhaps next year I’ll do an April’s fools that is both awful and something nobody will like. My jokes tend to go flat, especially when I’m joking about giant robots, so it might be better not to do that.

In other news, water is wet and sky is blue.

On April’s fools it would be good practice not to announce any actual news or information. Like how Hideaki Anno is going to direct the 2016 Godzilla film. Still, I can see the value of putting the audience in a state between disbelief, wanting and belief. This can be used to gauge how well the audience are willing to accept outrageous ideas or promote a product that does not yet exist. For example, last year’s Mega Man X redesign is now being produced as a real figure by another company. However, while I want to say that it’s hard to rile customers up for a reaction, the Internet has shown that this isn’t the case. You can do one video or some sort of ad and have that amassing large numbers of hits. It’s all about hitting the right spot, and with fans it’s rather easy to push the right buttons. Like announcing a 15th anniversary project or something along those lines.

Music of the Month; Futashika Tashika

Have I ever told you how difficult it is to choose a song every month? Despite these being more or less rants without any solid theme or anything similar, the music I introduce tends to have some sort of relevance and isn’t just a random selection. Most of the time. Still, any and all songs are absolutely something I personally enjoy. I don’t know whether or not this selfish approach tells anything outside that I really don’t stick with one type of music too much.

Anyway, to the music!

Give other Go!Go!7188 songs a try too. They have an excellent cover of Cutie Honey

 I want to give a shoutout to a RadioDrome special, where Josh Hadley has a very interesting and quite in-depth interview with none other than Buzz Dixon. Dixon worked on multiple cartoon and comics throughout the years, the likes of Thundarr the Barbarian, Transformers, Jem and G.I. Joe, plus whole lot more I’m not even properly aware of. It’s an excellent piece to listen for numerous pop-culture trivias that pop-up, but also just to hear the passion Hadley and Dixon share, but also how the industry has been run. Other than that, I recommend giving both RadioDrome and Lost in the Static a try, as they’re both pretty damn swell radioshows to listen while going to work or otherwise. A fair warning is in place thou, as Hadley has very, very strong opinions on certain matters, to say the least.

I’ve started to work fully on certain projects, so I apologise beforehand if the quality of the blog has dropped recently or will have posts with lesser content. I need to prioritise other things first, as blogging isn’t my job. If it would be, you’d see one or two posts per day. Possibly more.

I’m not satisfied how the last month’s review on the Shiranui Second Phase 3 turned out. It will be revised further when I have enough free time to sit down properly and work with it, as I simply forgot certain important tidbits in my hurry and didn’t even write a proper closure. As it stands now, it’s not even a mediocre review in my eyes. I’d estimate that I’ll revise it sometimes by the end of the month or so, but knowing me that estimation is off by six months. It may be better for me to revise it little by little.

Despite my own busy schedule (aren’t I always?), I have plans to return on TSF posts. If you hate when I talk about fictional giant robots, sorry. I intend to use pre-existing graphs of some of the more popular TSFs and their real world fighter plane sources to point out how the plane elements have been introduced to the design. It’s sort of old thing, but it has been on my to-do list for… few years now. Better later than never, right? My aim really is to write somewhat comprehensive design comparison, which requires some time, so it’ll be done unit by unit, and we’ll start with the more popular or easier ones. I’ll most likely be completely selfish and start with Su-47 Berkut.

Speaking of Muv-Luv, a mobage was released based on the franchise recently. It being your run of the mill browser based game on your smartphone, it’s not very good. Nevertheless, I keep tapping the screen on my almost broken HTC while doing something else. Hell, I’m tapping the screen while writing all of this in order to advance in the Missions/Quests, so there’s most likely more typos and language errors than usual. Then again, I already got the Common Hayase card, so I’m sort of content.

Somebody thought that I had moved on from Muv-Luv on 4chan. I heartily laughed at that
Somebody thought that I had moved on from Muv-Luv on 4chan. I heartily laughed at that

Another post that was actually requested from me was to make a comparison between Kimi ga Nozomu Eien characters and their BETAverse counterparts. It’s something that I’d like to do, but as always time is of the essence. I really need to start writing these bit by bit rather than in one go, like I usually do.

From matters to other, we live an era where childhood heroes and icon are dying. This is something certain generations have to face, and at the same time we have to realize that we need to allow the younger ones to have their own things. Even Leonard Nimoy wanted Zachary Quinto his own room to embrace Spock as his role and character he could work with. We, the older generations, will always have the past stories and products. Those can’t be ever taken away. However, at the same time we need to allow the younger generation to have their own heroes and icons. As much as we may hate certain people producing entertainment or other products, what we love has been opposed by the older generations.

Personally I will not hold the 3DS Langrisser reboot in any negative light because it’s not any of the older games. It has been long time enough since the last proper Langrisser game, and the new generation that are introduced to the world of Langrisser do not have to know anything that has been. They can research that later on and experience the past games if they so choose, but it is not demand or expected of them. I would say that it would be good to know about the past of the franchise if you’re going to discuss about Langrisser as a whole with a fan of the series, but that’s sort of beside the point. The point is, we can’t be stuck on the past, and we as the older generations need to embrace new things as well, rather than stifle the change.

 Dammit, I should’ve put some Jem songs up this month. Oh well, there’s always the next one, unless I go and die.

27.8.2013 速瀬 水月

Around a year ago I threw out somewhat comprehensive article about Kimi ga Nozomu Eien. That article still stands as the longest article on the site, and I intend to keep it that way. I know it’s an exhaustive read and that not all of my readers wish to see such huge things being posted. The post is heavy to load due to amount of links and images.  It’s messy and full of meta-humour that makes little to no sense. Yet, next to the Muv-Luv article it’s one of my popular posts without a doubt. Now, the text has been properly edited as per my current standards and has been modified slightly here and there with new, embarrassing afterwords. The old name, which was just a placeholder name originally, has been finally been replaced with the real name of the article. It’s a little bit new, a lot more something fixed, and then some extra.

This year is also the tenth anniversary of the Kimi ga Nozomu Eien TV animation. The exact date is in October, so I still have time to scheme something for that date. I might do a proper review on the series as a standalone entity, but before that I need to review Total Eclipse. It’s way overdue, but that what happens when life gets in your way.

Why are you releasing the updated article today, you might ask. The answer to this is that today is the birthday of Hayase Mitsuki, and also the day of the accident that threw Haruka into coma. Within the fictional universe of âge, it’s now fifteen years since that accident. As such, I felt that putting the updated version out felt appropriate.

I have to give special thanks to my editor, who edited the whole thing within a week. She absolutely hates the story and would like to stab me in the face for liking Mitsuki, but she was a trooper and waged through all the 40+ pages of text while mostly keeping the cursing and yelling in instant messaging  rather than writing into the article. She’ll be so excited in October, I bet.

Without holding too much back, I present you the remix of To step from Eternity to the Future; This is a story of love and guild; a story of friends Eternal.

Happpy birthday, Mitsuki
Happpy birthday, Mitsuki

Capricious Orange Road and The Eternity You Wished For

Kimagure Orange Road (KOR) is one of those shows that are defining classics across the genres. It’s one of the most popular romantic comedy comics from the 1980’s that most older animation fans know about, but the younger audience most likely has missed it. KOR’s influence is still seen in Japanese romance comedies, but let’s take a look at how many parallels it has with Kimi ga Nozomu Eien. Now I’m basing the introduction to KOR on the animated version, as the comic hasn’t been released in the West in English… yet. There have been promises about that thou. And oh yeah, spoiler alarm for all who have not yet seen KOR.

Damnit the 80’s had gorgeous TV-animation

The story of Kimagure Orange Road starts as our main character Kyousoke Kasuga is walking hundred steps stairs in his new home town. There Kyousuke sees a red hat flying low in the sky, grabbed by the wind. He proceeds to make a bold jump and catches the hat. The hat belongs to Madoka Ayukawa, a girl of his age. The two banter slightly over how many steps the stairs had, and the two seem to enjoy the newfound company. Madoka gifts the hat to Kyousuke as a present, and walks away. Of course, Kyousuke can’t get her out of his mind.

However, Kyousuke isn’t the most normal person. Actually, his mother and her family hold supernatural powers known as the Power. What the Power does varies between the family members. For example, Kyousuke can teleport whereas his cousin can’t. Naturally, Kyousuke and his younger twin sisters are forbidden from using the Power in public, as it would lead into series of difficult situations.

The following day is their first school day, where he happens to meet Hikaru Hiyama, a tough talking rapscallion who is two years older than her friend Madoka. She makes fun of a punk who gave her lift to school, and the punk swears revenge. She doesn’t seem to care for him, Kyousuke or his sisters, and she merely passes them.

Later that day Kyousuke and the twins witness a fight, where Madoka is beating up pun

. Hikaru’s also there, and Kyousuke just watches about, not believing that this is the same kind person who he had met previously. It’s the same punk that Hikaru made into clown of earlier, and now he has his gang in the mess. Still, Madoka kicks all of their asses, and just as she’s about to light a cigarette Kyousuke steps in to stop her by popping her cigarette with the Power and destroys it by hand, telling her straight that if she smokes at a young age, she won’t be able to have healthy babies. He gets slapped silly and Madoka refuses to acknowledge she ever met a guy like him.

The day after the incident Kyousuke reflects on his situation and about his powers. He could use them to win a basketball game, or he could’ve had influenced Madoka’s fight. Yet, he acknowledges that showing off with his powers to Madoka is kind of a real life cheat code and he doesn’t want to use it. As he is reflecting alone in the gym and bouncing a ball, Kyousuke musters up atiny bit of his powers as a test and throws the ball to the other side, and the balls slips right through the net. What he doesn’t know is that Hikaru had sneaked into the gym’s storage room to smoke and saw him do the throw. She’s completely astonished; her opinion on Kyousuke on that moment changes from generic creeper to pretty awesome guy whose also pretty damn cute. In other words, she falls in love that instant.

Later on Kyousuke bumps in Hikaru while chasing his two new friends down the hall, and there she gives him thepetname Darling. Naturally Kyousuke gets in trouble for doing so (laying on girls in the middle of school’s hallway is rarely a good idea) and it is Madoka who gets him out from the teacher’s lounge after some tough talk of her own to the teachers. It looks like she is a sweet girl after all, and stays with him for some time in the school premise. However, Hikaru is a girl who really knows what she wants, and manages to appoint herself as Kyousuke’s girlfriend and acts all lovey-dovey towards her, much to Kyousuke’s own dismay and to certain extent, Madoka’s as well.

And so, our love triangle is ready.

The three friends; Kyousuke, Madoka and Hikaru
The three friends; Kyousuke, Madoka and Hikaru

The parallels with Kimi ga Nozomu Eien are clear at this point; we have a main character falling in love with someone, and not taking real steps toward bringing his feelings out. Ultimately, he ends up dating his interest’s friend.

I’m quite sure that âge has taken this love triangle setup from Kimagure Orange Road almost directly, but without realizing it. They’re fanboys after all, if all those references to games, mecha series and more in KGNE and Muv-Luv didn’t tip you off. It’s not the most uncommon setup ever used, but it saw a large spike in popularity in TV and comics after KOR had started. While KOR keeps the love triangle all the way to the end, KGNE does break it with Haruka’s accident. Of course, it returns when she wakes up.

The main characters of both series, Takayuki and Kyousuke, share very few common elements outside of being somewhat oblivious about their situation and what to do. Takayuki even more so, but then again very few teenage boys do during their first relationship. However, Madoka and Hayase do share a lot of similarities. Both of them act though while hiding something within, and in the end they both are very lovable girls who have fallen in love. While Hayase’s toughness is mostly playful, Madoka is a straight punk beater with her own reputation. She’s sort of a legendary ring leader. Perhaps we can compare that to Hayase’s swimming career to an extent. Nevertheless, there’s some visual similarities as well, like the long hair. In personality the two do put their best friend before themselves, which kinda is the reason things never go anywhere at first, but it takes two to tango. In love triangle it’s hard when the third one has nabbed your man. Madoka especially remembers her giving up on certain memento for Hikaru’s sake. This kind of mindset of It’s OK, I’m close enough to him this way kinda sucks, and I know it first hand.

The comparison between Haruka and Hikaru might seem weird to some, but ultimately they both have a similar starting point. Where Hikaru just falls into mad love within two days after meeting the Kyousuke, Haruka has clearly watched over Takayuki for some time through Hayase’s interaction with him. The two do what they need to do to get their man, and I’m afraid Haruka’s the bitchier of the two, as she clearly acknowledges Hayase’s and Takayuki’s feelings before stepping inbetween them. Hikaru has no idea of the feelings of Kyousuke and Madoka, but as the series continues she clearly realizes that Madoka is not only her best friend, but also her rival in love. The sad thing is, I’m sure she realized at one point that she has no chance to win over his heart. Nevertheless, the two have their sides switched, where Haruka mostly keeps her stronger side hidden while being all girly, and Hikaru does the opposite at first.

Hikaru, a hard bitch and a caring girlfriend
Hikaru, a hard bitch and a caring girlfriend

There’s also the sister character. While archetypical, Akane does wish to see Takayuki end up with her sister, and Kyousuke’s more motherly little sister would want to see him end up with Hikaru. True, we can argue if this comparison is valid as Akane is Haruka’s sister, but my counterargument would be that Takayuki always saw Akane as a little sister to himself and nothing more.

The side characters are more unique to both of the stories, but a comparison between the café Abcb Master and the Doctor Kouzuki Motoko can be drawn. Both of these characters stand in the sidelines watching the main character’s life and decision while giving drops of information here and there, and supporting the main character when needed. Both of them fill the same role, and I have to say that certain warm element comefrom both of them, as they can be stern when needed. They’re not really the archetypical big brother/sister character either, as they live separate from the main character and generally work around the mainframe of the setting while directly affecting it. Not really the most common big brother/sister trope out there.

Seriously, these artbooks have some gorgeous artwork
Seriously, these artbooks have some gorgeous artwork

Then there’s the sex. Kimagure Orange Road dances around this subject quite well without directlyaddressing it any more than you’d expect a romantic comedy to. However, the two films that create a third alternate ending address this matter more directly and with heavy emphasize on the meaning of it to lovers. Kimi ga Nozomu Eien gives a bit more raw image of it mostly because of the VN standards with sex, thou in KGNE’s case it’s clearly about connecting one to another on all levels to ensure closeness. The characters in KGNE are not the most balanced ones, whereas in KOR they have not gone through anything that would make them go all mental with alcohol. I got to give praise to Touru Furuya on his voice acting in the end of the second movie, where Kyousuke tearfully opens his whole soul to Madoka. It’s a beautiful scene, that I won’t forget in a long, long time.

All this fetches something from the back of my mind; is Kimi ga Nozomu Eien a classic? The answer would be no, it’s not. This is because of its VN roots, and while it did affect series that came after and coined the popular tsundere term, KGNE has not become a similar classic as Kimagure Orange Road. The animation is infamous within the hobbyists, and it divides opinions quite a lot. While the story itself is somewhat timeless and can be applied to almostevery era with slight changes, it will never be able to stand on the same ground as KOR. I hate to say, but VN is not really a good form to release high calibre stories, unless somebody manages to lift it into an actually legitimate storytelling form in the eyes of the general populace. It’s put there, but if it had been a comic or a TV-series first, then it would have become more known and more popular. Not by much, but enough to allow me to call it a classic.

Kimagure Orange Road is a must-see classic. Its influence over Kimi ga Nozomu Eien is wider than the few bullet points I’ve brought up, but this kind of similar points can be pinpointed in various other stories as well. KOR didn’t just influence elements of these romance comedies, but also their way to tell it and what to emphasize. Sadly, nowadays the genre’s pretty much dead, replaced by perverted comedies that have some love thrown into them. Mysterious Girlfriend X has influence of KOR written in it, but it as well dances in the sidelines of the new generation of fanservice comedies.KOR wasn’t a hit just with the core animation fan audience, but in the general Japanese public as well. It was like lighting, and it’s cancellation was partly due to the declining sales of the comics, and the upcoming economic crash Japan had in the change of 80’s to 90’s. Still, it got published few times around, and the cut ending got expanded later on in the collected versions.

Kimagure Orange Road’s TV-series and films were released in English in 2001 by now bankrupted ADV. Sadly, these DVDs are rather high prices nowadays and are not remastered. If you want to see the series, I recommend getting the Japanese remastered DVD. In Katsucon 18 it was announced that Kimagure Orange Road has been licensed for English translation by Hivelinx, thou only for digital distribution via NTT Solmare. To my knowledge various European countries like France and Spain have had their own releases, so you might want to do some digging.

Unlike most 80’s stuff, Kimagure Orange Road is a significant piece of influence. Simply by watching it you can notice the numerous allegories made towards it in other works, and how it pioneered a certain genre to a better direction, and also expanded the readership (and the market) by large amount, captivating readers’ and viewers’ hearts for years and years to come.

And you know what’s pretty awesome? The original artist for the comic was influences by none other than YouTube: Uncle Go himself.