Now that we’ve established that I suck at writing jokes, or that I shouldn’t write inside jokes, let’s move a bit more on the mecha design thing we have going on. Oh and /ic/, the anon who linked this post in your thread didn’t write any of this. You should call him out on his bullshit.
The distinction between Super Robot and Real Robots is wonky to say the least. There are mechas that are more or less clear examples of both, like Mazinger Z being a Super Robot just as the show’s opening lyrics say, and then we have Votoms that is pretty damn realistic in portraying Scopedogs on their given role and environment. The further we go in time after the 60’s, we see more and more shows that break this kind of distinction. For example, I can’t categorise Balatack into either category as its showcases both sides of the argument. That’s why some people use the Hybrid nomenclature to describe mechas that are waver between the two. Full Metal Panic is a generic and good example of this.
From design point of view these don’t really fit. The thing you’re designing is automatically something fantastic, something over there with its form and function, that it doesn’t really matter whether or not its Super or Real. What matters is how the mecha is designed in the description before its put into shape. That’s where designers start thinking how to adapt the description properly; how to approach the mecha.
Super and Real are more a product of how the mecha is seen rather than designed. The mental image of something Super most likely brings out very fantastic, very over-the-top robots that pose, have fist fights with flying punches and other more or less unconventional weapons. Real follows more or less what a real world soldier would do in a battle situation, but with added support from the fact that it’s a damn mechanised battle unit. Then again, many shows break these limits, so perhaps careful use of these terms is in place. However, whether or not the mecha is Super or not depends a lot on the setting its in. GaoGaiGar in this sense could be regarded as sort of realistic because of alien technology involved, but then again its a giant robot with a lion head on its chest and uses a giant toy hammer powered by black holes to turn weekly bad guys into light. I’m sure at some point technology manages to produce something that turns matter into a stream of light due to impact, but at the moment that’s a bit overdoing it. Its not what you’d call realistic. [Editor;Maybe someone was having a wet daydream.]
âge has approached the Tactical Surface Fighters in their franchise from the Utilitarian point of view. To boot Kouki & co. decided to take the existing planes and turn then into robots. There are some observable general rules in designing a TSF that I’m going to go over now, but first let’s discuss why they’re all so similar looking.
As you can see, a vast majority of these share more or less the exact same body type. The proportions and measures are shared across the board, and some units visibly share same design elements. Those who aren’t really into Muv-Luv will most likely think these are due to laziness and lack of interest to develop larger variety of units. From the design point of view, which has split opinions, is that all TSFs descent from the F-4 Phantom in the upper left corner. F-5 Freedom Fighter was developed in conjunction with F-4, so we see their elements often repeated and further developed in later models, much in real life planes they’re based on. Actually, here’s the tech tree for all TSFs I scanned a while back.
The advantage, and the problem, in designing a new TSF is that you have something tangible to base your design on, but on the other hand you’re tied down on using existing TSF template and basically add the plane’s elements in there so that it gives the desired design. This is perhaps one of the best way to design a TSF anyway, because it will keep the core idea intact and still allows the designer to give his own twist in there if necessary. Then again, you have units like Takemikazuchi that are not based on any real plane, but are more a reference to pre-existing franchises.
Because of the rules and approach in TSF design we can observe some rules that the designers have followed. This does not appear in all TSFs, so we can say that different designers take more liberties than others. While these bits repeat in the designs, they are just observations.
Nose cone; TSFs often have the nose cone in the skirt armour of the plane they’re based on. The early units do not seem to have this element, thou from MiG-23 onward these groin noses are notable in amount.
Cockpit; Some of the TSFs exhibit general design lines of the planes’ cockpits in their head designs. For example, TF-14 Tomcat’s head has lines taken from the cockpit and adapted into the head. F-15 follows the idea. Even F-5 has certain sharpness similar to the real life F-5.
Intakes; Intakes in general in TSFs’ torso are more or less directly taken from the planes. That smile on F-16’s torso is unmistakeable. You can also spot intakes on atop the legs of the TSFs, and these intakes also follow the already laid out general line language.
Shoulders; The shoulders of the TSFs in general follow either the back or the overall fusalage of the plane, with addition of wings (SU-47) or the engine nozzles (F-14EX). As such, the shoulder often are portrayed in a manner that compensates the selected element, making them either rather bulky or somewhat sleek.
Jump Units; the Jump Units on the TSFs are most often just the real life plane condensed and remodelled. It’s a further nod to the real life plane, to the extent that Berkut’s Jump Unit has those forward swept wings and tailbooms of uneven length.
The rest of the TSF in general follows the policy laid out by the plane and the overall visage of the line its put in. Arms and legs usually seem to be designed to compensate the rest of the units, whereas the torso mainly takes the basic shape of the place and then does its own thing. Russian TSFs are very clear on this, as the torso is designed to convey their fast & fury nature, finally realized in the Su-47 Berkut and its knife dance.
The overall evolution of the Tactical Surface Fighters in this way mirrors the real life planes, where we go from flying steel coffins into sleeker and more dynamic looking units. Now, all of these are apparent observations, and for further study we need the TSF and the plane it’s based on side by side. That way we can see what lines from the plane have been put into use for the TSF.
One problem with TSFs is that they’re really multipurpose machines outside few exceptions, namely A-10 Thunderbolt II and A-6 Intruder. They can be outfitted various weapon settings according to their role, but the overall role of the TSF in-universe is BETA clean-up. Generally speaking, the artillery first bombards the battlefield with their cannons and covers it with a heavy metal cloud. Then, the TSFs set in with guns blazing, swords drawn in order to slay all the Laser- and Heavy-Laser class BETA. Then the airforce flies in and bombs the ever[-]living shit out of them. That is unless BETA have managed a way to combine Fort-Class with an upgraded Laser-Class…
On another hand, I don’t know how many of the planes used in TSFs are multirole. That’s something I need to read and make some research on. Nevertheless, it’s debatable if the role of the TSFs reflects or equals the role of the fighter planes. I’m not sure it’s underhanded from me if I say that the comparison can’t be made directly because of the difference in paradigm TSFs and planes work under. TSFs main role is to fight BETA, but it’s recognized that F-22A is more suited on TSF vs TSF dogfighting, which just tells that even in Alt-verse, humans are dicks.
One distinction needs to be made; Hive infiltration. This is perhaps the main role TSFs will play in-universe, and it’s a damn big role.
I admit again that because of my lack of knowledge on real life fighters, the discussion on TSFs and their inherent roles in-universe is lacking. I have an intention to read on a selection of fighters, which would be used in future posts where I would compare and contrast the design elements of real life fighters and their TSF counterparts. This discussion would still be more adhered to the the looks, the outward design, of the TSFs than on anything else, but the research would me to further understand why such certain decisions in the design has been made. For example, the uneven tailbooms on the Berkut’s Jump Units. There’s a lot of little details like this that might have a rational reasoning behind them.
Now if you have a favourite TSF you’d like to see discussed, do drop a comment.
I understand why some claim that all TSFs look the same, because that’s kind of the point of them. Then again, the same goes for the planes. Not all people know fighter jets inside out either, and those fighters tend to look the same unless they have a lot of gap in the technology. It’s up to everybody’s opinion whether or not they like the philosophy behind the TSFs. I admit that I didn’t really give a damn about TSFs themselves, but after seeing them in action and further learning on their intricacies and details made me appreciate them. Hell, the first time I saw Takemikazuchi in the VN during Unlimited I got a bit giddy. Before you see one in action, you see how some of the less advanced units work and perform. Then, you see F-22A Raptor and Type-00R Takemikazuchi in action and things just get awesome.
Nevertheless, overall the core idea of TSF design has managed to produce some more or less unique designs. Whatever the opinion you may have on them, it can be disputed that the designers have managed design the mechas as intended. I’m sure that all the upcoming TSFs will adhere to the same rules as their predecessors, unless âge decides to revamp the core model TSF for some reason.
I’ve been a bit busy, and I was intending to make up a bigger post to go with this, but due to unseen matters I forgot this altogether. I’ll make that post later this week as well as few other loose things that I’ve been meaning to dig into.
This is follow-up post to previous MuvLuv posts. You might want to check “This is a very small, very large, very precious story about love and courage” first.
Kimi ga Nozomu Eien. That name echoes in my head. Rumbling Hearts. It echoes again. I began to hear a wind blowing grass under that tree. Familiar music plays somewhere far away, and I wonder why this all feels so… nostalgic. I hear steps near, but I do not take notice of them. Something’s wrong. The steps stop near me head and I hear far too familiar voice calling me. I gaze from my laying position upwards towards a young lady I knew far too well.
I wake up. Few drops of tears are running down my cheek. I feel the coolness outside. I forgot to shut the window, thou it’s just minus five degrees celsius. I check my phone for time; 4:48. Still a bit too early to wake up properly. I tug one of my pillows next to me. I lay there for few minutes until I grab my phone again to search for a certain picture. I look at them. I look at her. I tell myself to stop being pathetic in the ever-sarvastic tone I always do and close my eyes for few more hours.
Sometimes I really do wonder how much I got screwed over because of this one thing. It has been an influence over me for a long time, and with every passing year I find something new from it without ever really visiting it. That will come to an end soon, as I intend to sit down and meet these old friends and wonder the same paths I once took.
Kimi ga Nozomu Eien is a dividing love story. It doesn’t hold back its punches. It gives everything it has to the reader. It’s not a fairytale where the princess will be saved by his white knight. None of its characters are perfect beings or complete clichés. It doesn’t pull any easy strings or set up characters doing pointless things. It doesn’t try to create stupid drama with devices like rape. Perhaps because it is too grounded to reality people get divided. There are those who love it due to its bitterness, and then there are those who deeply hate because the romance isn’t what they hoped for.
To paraphrase a friend, he “wanted to have the princess girl ending,” meaning that the main characters Takayuki would’ve end up together with the other main heroine Haruka, who got into a car accident that sent her into a three year coma. My other friend on the other hand can’t really understand why anyone would want Takayuki end up with Haruka, as Hayase’s ending the least damaging to everybody. I understand them both.
Kimi ga Nozomu Eien is a rather realistic love story. Whereas MuvLuv is a sort of fairytale I would tell my children as a bedtime story, KimiNozo is something I’d discuss with few selected friends over a pint. MuvLuv may hurt you, but it always gives something it return. KimiNozo shows you the raw reality.
Let’s talk about the three main characters for a while.
Suzumiya Haruka, the girl who lost time. She is no the most tragic character of the three, but she is the one with most bad luck. She fells in love with a young man who has a good nature, but is dense and aimless. Her love is unrequited. She’s lacking in some self-confidence, and thus hooks up with her friend Hayase to hang around a bit more around Takayuki. One evening, she finally let’s it all out, and then trembles in fear of the words she does not want to hear. Takayuki says that he’ll start dating her. Haruka stands there with a smile and tears of happiness.
Haruka and Takayuki date for a while even with all the small problems they have. They share a meat pie during a picnic and spend a night together. They’re living their lives like any highschool kid would. One day, Takayuki is little bit late for their meeting… and he’d be late for the following three years.
I avoided meat pies like plague for a while after this
She woke up one day when Akane, her sister, was visiting her. To her time had been frozen. She didn’t know that world had forgot about her and moved on. Nothing revolves around one person in this world, and if you were to disappear for three years, the world would move on. Everybody has their own lives to live, as did Takayuki and Hayase.
After a while Haruka starts to notice these little details that are kept from her. Akane has grown, she has grown, her hair has grown, Takayuki has changed and so has Hayase. The world is merciless, and the shock is rather high. She survives it all. She’s a strong woman at heart, but in a frail body. No matter how much rehab she’s going to go through, her most difficult obstacle time has brought is her love to Takayuki. She is strong. She will survive. She always has.
Hayase Mitsuki, girl in the blue. Hayase has been Haruka’s best friend for a long time. Her happy-go-lucky attitude with that cheerful smile has conquered many hearts as she has broken. She’s the upcoming hope and star of the Japanese Olympic swimming team, a place she’s been striving for a long time now. She’s in good relations with Takayuki and they occasionally tease each other or hit each other with bags. They’re friends, and even the stupidest person could see that there was tension between them, even if neither of the two would admit it.
She introduced Haruka and Takayuki to each other, and ultimately admits that if she did that she wished to get closer to Takayuki. While Haruka is strong at heart, Hayase isn’t. Her outgoing appearance hides a frightened soul. One day before her birthday she drags Takayuki to a street vendor to get him buy her a present. She chooses a silver ring, and slides it to her finger. When Takayuki rushes to her late date, Hayase watches after him.
Two rings bind together, embracing each other in a neverending arc
Hayase is the one who will take care of Takayuki for the following three years. Her love soon takes a new devotion to see Takayuki out of his barren shell, to breath new life into him and allow him step outside his room once more… with a smile. After what has to be uncountable tries and situations, she finally convinces him to move on, that he is not only slowly killing himself, but her too. The two mugs from the aquarium are the testament of her willingness to give herself completely to Takayuki, even if would degrade herself to nothingness.
When Haruka wakes up, Hayase’s world becomes fractured, and bit by bit shards are dropping off. She becomes more unstable has Haruka becomes better and spends more time with Takayuki. She feels guilt and hatred, love end detest. She has nothing to stand next to, nothing to embrace. As her world, she becomes broken, shattered by the reality of the situation. Hayase has no one any more, as much as she tries to offer herself.
Narumi Takayuki, the one we all are. Takayuki is a nice person. He lives his everyday normal life with his friends, joking about stuff and hanging around. He has no real wishes or goals in life, he enjoys the way things are. Change is something he seems to fear a little bit… and his grand flaw is his undecicive nature. He goes meddles with Hayase at times, has fun times with this mate Shinji, and ultimately starts to date Haruka. He isn’t loud, but voiceful enough. He can handle people well, like when he is eating with the Suzumiya family for the first time. However, every time Takayuki has to make a decision that changes the status quo he becomes silent, almost catatonic for a moment before telling his decision.
Takayuki couldn’t have foreseen Haruka’s accident. Nobody could have. Yet he blames himself for it. It broke him down, forcing him to face something that he never had faced before; total and complete loss of a person near you. If he had been there few minutes earlier, all of this could’ve been avoided. Haruka and Takayuki would have lived happily together without a moment of grief. His life was changed, and he lost control over it. He became possessed of Haruka, until he as forced away from her for his own good. He would’ve died without Hayase. If not of hunger, then by his own hands. He lived over and over again those moments, the same pains of decision he made.
When Hayase finally managed to drag him out and show the world again, he began his slow recovery. At a later date he got a job from Sky Temple, a family restaurant. He was in a good start after three long years. He was even going to take a step towards Hayase,but then Haruka woke up. He almost fell back into his mind’s abyss, but kept himself afloat. He recognizes that he has moved on with his life, but only a little. His friend has grown much more than he, and Hayase has become a fine woman on her own rights. What he has to decide whether or not he will become one with Haruka again, like he was three years ago, or will he keeping moving forwards as he finally managed to do.
Takayuki is someone who is deeply flawed. The good points he has are his defining traits, but they are overshadowed by his lack of confidence and decision making. These two ultimately cause more pain to the two he cares the most. When he realizes his feelings, it just might be too late for anyone of them. The world moves on. It doesn’t wait you for three years, nor it waits you to say those important words you want to utter. Once you are there, on that moment, tell her that you love her. Tell him, that you wish to be his.
“I want to repay her what she did for me, even if takes the rest of my life.”
Takayuki isn’t a stupid person. He is fearful and lack the insight to understand the people around him to an extent, unlike me who is very understanding of the people around me but I decide to ignore them unless they’re said out loud. I have no excuses for being this kind of asshole. All of what he lacks is humane, and every reader/viewer has seen themselves in his shoes. This is why he is so hated as a main character, as we all see from the outside his situation and scream at him, but when we’re in same situation we wish somebody would be there to tell us what to do. We all know there is none. Some decisions are made in split seconds, and some decisions are lost forever because they’ve never been made.
Ultimately, the ending I regard as the one true ending is with Hayase. The only true bad endings come with the side characters, where Takayuki may be broken down to a child’s level. Him ending up with Haruka would mean that he would become her support, and she would grow as she always has, but Takayuki’s reasons to stay with her would’ve been more about devotion and duty rather than of love. Hayase would become a lonely and broken person anyone to use.
With Hayase’s ending Takayuki and Hayase would grow more together, supporting each other while staying true to their feelings. Haruka would’ve been devastated, but she is strong and understanding. She will find someone to lover her some day, and she will always have her friends.
That is important. Outside Hayase’s endings, the three won’t stay together as friends. The image of the four small animals are from Haruka’s book she would write and illustrate without Takayuki. It tells a story of four friends, of which one of them is left behind. This one small creature strives to catch her friends on top of the hill, and when she finally gets there, her friends greet her with happy faces and open arms.
They all strived to be friends, and to live their lives with their true feelings. The world moved on, and all four had their own lives to go by. Haruka was never left behind; she had her friends waiting for her on top of that hill.
I admit that I am a hopeless romantic. I share fare amount of traits with both Hayase and Takayuki, which coincidentally form an entity that resembles MuvLuv’s Shirogane Takeru quite a lot. I wonder about things too much and never take enough actions, but then again I would be willing to throw my whole life for someone I love. I am rather colourful on the outside, but there is one person who knows, that deep inside I am smaller than I appear to be, that perhaps I am lacking that self-confidence and respect I should have towards myself. It’s almost ten years since Kimi ga Nozomu Eien was released, and back then I was too young to properly learn from it, just as I have learned things from MuvLuv. Learn is actually the wrong word. Replace that with realize and we’re good.
It’s a betrayal to say that you have to think KimiNozo with reason rather than with heart, but if one takes a step outside and looks the picture as a whole one might find that it’s a gut punching story, with few good ways to end. It took me eight years to do that, and I doubt some people are ever willing to think things through from any other perspective other than their own and properly ponder matters at hand.
My place is rather similar to what it was three years ago, and lately I’ve been thinking what to do about it. Perhaps I’ll say something the next weekend, something that I might regret. However, decisions have to be made in a split second, or there are times when they’re going to be lost forever.
Next time I begin to read Kimi ga Nozomu Eien visual novel, it will be the first time in a sense. I’ll walk down the routes as Takayuki, as myself; the bastard who can’t decide soon enough what he wants.
We’ll see how it ends.
Cripple Girl. Katawa Shoujo.
The notion of girls having certain crippling disabilities in a visual novel has caused some sort of… interest. Some have voiced their opinion that it’s just wrong to bang a legless runner up the second portal. Other voice that it’s rather vulgar and even disrespectful to depict a deaf with her lover. However, I have to question if they’re wrong, or even tasteless.
In the end, one can only form a proper opinion after reading the whole visual novel altogether.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to make this into another 10 000 words plus post, thou Katawa Shoujo would deserve that
I have a friend who really hated Katawa Shoujo’s basic idea. Whenever I joked about “crippled wife simulator” he would cringe and look like just killed a puppy with a jackknife. It’s an elephant only if you make it one. This direct quotation from the novel didn’t really hit me, but it did give me a small shudder. I’m not the best kind of person with people with disabilities, at least some years back I wasn’t. Nowadays I treat almost everyone as equals. I made things bigger than they really were. However, I do recognize that me being who I am and trying to help certain people just wouldn’t work, even thou these people have nothing to prove to the world. It’s that they have to prove themselves that they can be independent.
It’s like old people having sex. People really don’t want to think about, and some even are against the idea. Your grandma most likely would like to get banged at least few times if her bones up for the job. It’s a sort of taboo in the society. It’s the elephant.
I might get chest paints from this image if I OHWAIT
I’m not really at my best here I must admit. Visual novels by their nature have a fetish nature, and Katawa Shoujo is no different. However, I can’t but to describe it “normal.” It’s still a story about human beings living their life the best way they can. People in their 20’s tend to want to have sex with people they’re emotionally very attached. At least I did, I don’t know about you, my dear reader. How Katawa Shoujo presents its sex scenes isn’t anything out of ordinary. Let me rephrase that; how it presents its sex scenes it natural. For example, during Emi’s route her first sex scene comes out of nowhere completely naturally, flowing in the scene and capturing Emi’s own nature and he situation. She also has stumps for legs if you’re wondering. If these characters were any other, except children, there wouldn’t be any commotion.
I believe this is a good thing thou. Not many people actually get to face something like this, not even in fiction.
Why do you need glasses if you’re deaf?
Did Katawa Shoujo leave me into same kind of slump and high/low depression as MuvLuv? No. Far from it. This is well written fiction without a doubt, and while I did invest myself into the characters just as much and acted the way I usually do, it was something… similar. I won’t go into details as it would bring up series of bad memories for few people, but there are moments and situations in the novel that we all have gone through in a way or another. Be it someone leaving you for another country or someone saying “I can’t let you be close to me.” It’s what I would call realistic approach, and it has hit a lot of people, especially on a certain video game image board. Granted, I did allow tears to run down my cheeks and my glasses got fogged up few times.
Katawa Shoujo does hold pretty strong stuff, as it should. The subject isn’t the most easiest one to write about.
Half-scottish half-japanese blonds are always the best, right?
Writing Katawa Shoujo has been the most taxing thing the studio has ever done in their lifetime. If I’m not terribly incorrect, there has been some talks how they themselves have felt weird looking at crippled porn, searching for crippled hints and researching everything related. I use the word cripple here far too much in order to hope that it loses its meaning. The word disability sounds clean and scientific. Special sounds like pampering. Calling them crippled wives is a joke, but there’s the seed of truth there somewhere.
Not to mention the artists! God what kind time they’ve been through since RAITA’s original sketches. The feelings they’ve must gone through in order to capture every needed detail in the artificial legs, in the facial expressions and everything around that. Drawing aesthetically and visually attractive sex without going far too to the porn side, but still keeping it erotic, is insanely difficult. Even more so when your character doesn’t have arms. It’s the tact and taste that the artists working on Katawa Shoujo have retained all the way through. It’s beautiful to watch scene after scene of these well made sprites slide across the screen. Five years in development, and the results are more than satisfactory.
Mmm, chocolate… no wait NO
Well, if you still think limbless girls shouldn’t get some lovin’ I have to say I disagree with you. My intention isn’t to change your mind at this matter, never was. Five years in production is one helluva time for a visual novel in any standards for a software. I can’t imagine the amount of work hours, the tears, the rage and the reward of success the developers have had. I want to pay these guys for this dammit and they won’t let me! How did Katawa Shoujo touch me, is the question I want to ask from myself with caution. To be honest, it didn’t touch my as deeply as MuvLuv did, but plenty lot. It made the final push that I needed. I’m keeping my promise for a fictional character even if it kills me (and with these words I might add my legs are on fire, throat soar as hell and chest hurts like no other.) While MuvLuv is making me work towards becoming a better person bit by bit, Katawa Shoujo made me run in the middle of the night to a local harbour and then back via reroute. Sure, it was 30min jog but I’m not in the best of shapes, thou I wouldn’t call myself shapeless either.
I’m also finding myself wanting to drink coffee even thou I don’t really like it. It’s not my cup of tea.
However, Katawa Shoujo is pushing me to become to an resolution about one thing since last summer before the army. It’s something that has been beckoning in my head for some time, and now should be time to give myself a closure on the matter.
Whether or not Katawa Shoujo is about a school of students with disabilities or not, it’s a heart (wrenchingly) warming whole. It’s not long, as you can read a route per day, and has multiple endings per route. Do I recommend reading it? Yes, yes I do. It’s the least we could do to honour the guys who have done the work.
If I’m going to go for manly picnics in the future, it won’t happen on rooftops
Next time; NOT about goddamn visual novels.
Also note to myself; start learning Braille properly and relearn Sign Language.
Edited and tweaked on 25th of December 2012 to honour the yearly Sadohashima Day, also known as the Christmas Day
There exist two stories that I keep close to my heart. One story is from nine years ago, and the other is as recent as from few weeks ago. These two stories are what I reflect much of myself against, and how I will grow in the upcoming years. This is something that I want to tell and share with those who are willing to listen. I want to share the tears I’ve shed and the sorrow I’ve felt for these stories. However, I afraid this post will be spoiler heavy. If you want to enjoy both Kimi ga Nozomu Eien and Muv-Luv to the fullest, please go through them before reading this. Otherwise, do continue onwards.
Some years ago a friend of mind burned me a disc called Blue People Special. The Disc contained the first episodes of then-new series of Sonic X, Kimi ga Nozomu Eien and some series I can’t recall. While Sonic X was fun to watch, Kimi ga Nozomu Eien was the one that, without a doubt, changed my life. The title of Visual Novel and the series translates something along the lines of The Eternity You Wish and is commonly abbreviated as KimiNozo. It is a small story of three friends, love and tragedy. Before we get to the core of this post, Muv-Luv, we need to go through some of the KimiNozo’s plot, and I’ll abbreviate the first three episodes of the series here. They can be skipped, but I’d recommend you either watch the series or read the VN.
“ Like the stars that twinkle in the night sky
Hearts that have melted together will never come apart.
Even though these hands let go
As long as neither of us forget “
Kimi ga Nozomu Eien is a story of your normal life, a story of a love triangle of harshest caliber. Suzumiya Haruka, quite timid girl is in love with Narumi Takayuki and asks her friend Hayase Mitsuki to introduce them to each other. They hand out for some time together, untilOn That Hill Haruka finally manages to confess her love to Takayuki. Takayuki decides to answer to her feelings and they start to date. Takayuki is dense and oblivious to dating and barely can understand Haruka’s feelings, but tries his best nevertheless. Mitsuki feels jealous at times, and even though she doesn’t admit or show it anybody, it’s clear. After some time Takayuki and Haruka become closer to each other to the point that they show their love in physical form. At one day, Takayuki’s late for their date, due to him buying Haruka a book she has been looking for, and for the fact that Mitsuki steals more of his time and makes Takayuki to buy her a present; a silver ring. However, life can be cruel, as even those five minutes or so Takayuki is late decides the fate of all of them for the next three years; Haruka is hit by a car and falls into coma, Takayuki has a complete mental breakdown and suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Mitsuki is the one and only line keeping Takayuki from killing himself, even if it costs her most of her life.
Rumbling Hearts, the opening of the Visual Novel, is the ending song of the second episode of the series
Three years have gone past. Takayuki is a part-timer in local restaurant Sky Temple, and seemingly is doing fine. He meets Mitsuki and Shinji, a long time friend since forever. They spend some time drinking and changing news from each other. Later, Mitsuki and Takayuki spend a night together, where Mitsuki asks him whether or not he would like to live with her. Takayuki leaves the answer open, but asks her in the morning whether she would like to move in with him.
” …Your place is the same as three years ago… “
In all reality, neither Takayuki or Mitsuki are doing fine. Mitsuki is tortured by her love to him and the guilt she feels towards Haruka. Takayuki phases out every time accidents are brought up, and is rather anti-social to other people outside his job and closest friends. However, Mitsuki manages to make things clear with Takayuki and they both manage to agree that they’ll be sharing their lives together. While they’re walking back home, they meet with Haruka’s younger sister, Akane, who is furious at them both, even more so at Takayuki who hasn’t visited Haruka’s bedside in years… due to her parents forbidding him, for her and his own sanity. At one point in the past, Takayuki took comatose Haruka to a date, denying everything that had happened.
Ultimately, Mitsuki decides not to move in with Takayuki, and admits that their relationship is stretched thin to her senior member of the company she works in. At the time, Takayuki phones her to arrange them to meet later that day. Much to Mitsuki’s surprise Takayuki has decided to continue living on and starts to search for a place they both can live together.
” I don’t think this is wrong. It’s not as though we’re trying to forget about Haruka. It’s just that right now, we have our own lives to live. Your’s and mine’s… “
Mitsuki falls into tears (as did I), Takayuki has seemingly taken a step forwards in his life and seemingly admits many things about himself. Months pass on as they search for a place and keep living their life quite happily, eating curry rice. One day Akane makes a phonecall.
Takayuki jumps to the phone, spilling his drink. Haruka wants to see Takayuki, she wants to see him more than anything else in the world. Both of them are startled to the point of Takayuki falling back into his mental breakdown, Mitsuki falling into desperation. They decide to visit Haruka the day together, even if Takayuki doesn’t really want to initially.
Haruka does not know that it has been three years since the accident happened.
And thus, Dr. Kouzuki decides to protect Haruka’s fragile mind and body in form of charade; no one is to tell Haruka that three years have passed, no one is to act that way for her safety. When he sees Haruka, it all floods back to Takayuki, he can barely watch at Haruka, until Mitsuki pushes him a bit forwards next to her, breaking him down to tears due to all the guilt he has beared to that moment.
Akane dumps all her hatred towards Takayuki and Mitsuki, burdening them with more guilt for the love they feel.
From here on, everything changes for the third time and the rawness and cruelness of life lifts its head.
This is essentially the first four episodes of the series in a tight package. What drives the series is the story and characters. The Visual Novel might have those numerous scenes of sex as per genre, and Kimi ga Nozomu Eien uses them to depict how fragile, or strong, the human nature is. KimiNozo is about the feeling of the heart rather than feelings of the flesh. âge’s main writer Yoshimune Kouki researched Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in-depth with rest of the staff in order to convey most realistic depiction they could’ve muster. Kouki managed in this so well, that there is numerous readers/ watchers that have told to have PTSD themselves to an extent. The story is strong, cruel, unhappy, filled with emotions and tears. There is nothing that is supernatural or over the top. It’s the tragedy of it all, how people cope with difficult situations, breakdowns, lies and love.
I wouldn’t say that I enjoy KimiNozo, I doubt very few people actually enjoy it. KimiNozo is a story that mangled my own feelings up and down, punched me to guts more than I can remember, made me cry my eyes out… and made me realize that love is a cruel and selfish thing.
Humans by their nature are cruel and selfish, and this is core of KimiNozo. Because of KimiNozo, I began to wonder what it really means to love somebody. Before that I’ve never thought of loving anyone; I always saw myself as the one guy who every one can depend on, but no one really cares deeply for. It made me wonder whether or not I was the kind of person who deserves to be loved to the point where I shunned people away from me just to keep me from hurting them. I acted like a fool, teased a lot of people and acted like I never understood other people’s feelings and wants just to keep that away by a touch, but close enough so I wouldn’t be left alone. KimiNozo changed me somewhat; to this day I still look how I act and wonder why is it so hard to stop being this kind of idiot. Surely, I act less foolishly than before, but the fact that I still act obliviously about other people’s feelings is a pain.
Ultimately I am a selfish person who wants to be of use for all around me.
You could say that I still have an open wound from KimiNozo, and that wound most likely will stay there until the end of my days. It’s a wound I can’t really heal myself from alone. KimiNozo thus carries huge amount of memories for me just from watching it, but there’s a one particular memory that still hurts me, because KimiNozo once hurt a person close to me. Thou that person is still close to my heart, she’s only a friend nowadays, a good friend at that I would not want to lose.
Just hearing the music of the series make me teary eyed, and sqeamish. A friend of mine remembers me being a total ruin for a half year or so. We’ve both agreed that without KimiNozo I wouldn’t be the person I am today. The story had something that struck me down and struck me hard. It’s a love story, and story that I regard high in value. Without a question, Kimi ga Nozomu Eien is my favouite series.
There’s one more thing I learned in Kimi ga Nozomu Eien; sometimes, to love is to let go.
First time when I saw KimiNozo I was divided by the ending in two. It basically broke me down and it took me a long time to think through whether or not the ending was good. To put it more clearly, only few years ago I decided that the ending was the one I wanted. I rewatched the series while writing this post, and this was the first time I could watch it completely without much trouble. That would be thanks to Muv-Luv.
The ending wasn’t as melancholic as I remembered; it was not as crushing as I remembered. Watching it all again made me realize that the ending, after it all, is a happy ending; Haruka realizes her dreams, fights to make it atop the hill, and meets her friends for the first time in years. After all this time I had somehow managed to miss this small and yet the most important detail in the whole story. A weight of nine years was lifted from my shoulders.
Still, this is the first story to ever make me crumble to pieces. I love the characters, flawed as they may, I love the sombreness of it all and the feeling when it all ends. Loving it would be a wrong word, but there is no real way to convey what I feel properly. To me, Kimi ga Nozomu Eien is important. It’s something I want to keep remembering and mirroring my past and current self unto.
And it has a sequel of sorts. With giant robots. and aliens.
You may imagine the FURY I had. I couldn’t understand why would âge create a story with goddamn aliens and giant robots in the same world as KimiNozo. It was like a sledgehammer had fallen to my head. I denied the very existence of it completely. For years I dropped following âge completely. I wanted to stay true to KimiNozo, and I did. I’m a stubborn man if you hadn’t noticed yet.
Two years ago the sequel was translated. People jumped the ship and read the Visual Novels. Back then I passed it off as bunch raving loonatics who couldn’t understand a good story even if stepped unto them like Godzilla.
But before that, let’s talk about a side story known as Akane Maniax, which serves as the bridge between KimiNozo and Muv-Luv. It’s a tale about Gohda Jouji, a man with a soul of fire. He became âge’s gag character practically in every title he is in and at times transforms into Tekkuman Blade. The OVA based on the Visual Novel is three episodes long and tells the story pretty well. The thing that really irks me is the fact that how I loathe it. Well, more accurately I loathed it. I rewatched it after reading Muv-Luv and watching KimiNozo, and found it highly amusing mix of KimiNozo’s strong, serious feelings and the over the top comedy of Muv-Luv Extra. It soon begins at the end of KimiNozo, and ends at 22nd of October 2001, where Mitsurugi Meiya forcibly takes Jouji’s seat next to one named Shirogane Takeru. Jouji either becomes Tekkuman Blade, or gets transferred to another school.
Passing the torch
As stated, I hated the idea of aliens, giant robots or even comedy in my KimiNozo, thus swept everything under the rug that I didn’t want to see and told myself that they were shit and never could stand to the quality that is KimiNozo.
Jesus Christ I’m glad I was wrong as anyone can ever be anywhere in this existence or in any other.
About three weeks ago the kind bunch of anonymous at an image board of a fourth kind with mechanical tendencies convinced me to give a go with Muv-Luv, explaining that there is a thing that keeps so-called Extra-verse where KimiNozo and Extra-part of Muv-Luv separate from the world of aliens and robots. With this, I ventured in with only two or three spoilers. Oh god I was not preraped to go it all through again, not like this.
All rights to original owners, and thanks to the anon who made this
Muv-Luv is not really a sequel to Kimi ga Nozomu Eien. It takes place in the same world, in the same city but few years later after Haruka’s accident. Muv-Luv is separated in three parts; Extra, Unlimited and Alternative. There is an epilogue, but I’ll get into it much later. Some characters appear in Muv-Luv’s Extra, mainly Akane. Thanks to an imbecile named Jouji Gouda, she got over the events of KimiNozo and doing pretty well. Later, some other KimiNozo characters are to appear… but differently.
From now on you’ll excuse me. I will most likely sound a raving fanboy and all that. What I want to through here isn’t a synopsis of the novel or a review, but my own personal experience with Muv-Luv. It was something that I couldn’t stop, it’s something that almost tortured me, something that broke me down, made me question my own believes and ultimately gave me realizations and a resolution I’ve been seeking for.
For my own sake, I’ll be going through each of the three episodes one by one.
Welcome to Extra; enjoy your stay. You’ll want to come back soon
Muv-Luv Extra begins with a slice of life comedy, contrasting directly to the somber tone of KimiNozo in pretty much every way. The main character, Shirogane Takeru, has a childhood friend and girl-next-door Kagami Sumika. Sumika has a habbit to run through the Shirogane household and wake Takeru up. Otherwise he’d be late for school. Sumika could be described as your-of-the-mill energetic high-school girl with small violent tendencies and strong wish to be with Takeru ’til the end of times. The reader can clearly see where this is all going from this, but then it was the 22nd of October 2001 one morning.
It’s my dream as well to wake up next to a woman with GP02 head. Wait no it isn’t. Not that I wouldn’t mind…
During that morning, Sumika finds Takeru waking next to a mysterious blue haired woman named Mitsurugi Meiya, the sole daughter of Mitsurugi and the one who shall inhert the most powerful corporation in Japan. NOW you can see where this is going.
Muv-Luv Extra does not only begin with a high and fun note, but keeps it up all the time. Meiya’s personality is very dignified and she thinks everything can be solved with money and power. Her status is very and so is her attitude towards everything. Meiya’s is noble to the heart and bears strong believes and convictions. There are slew of other characters as well that are close to Takeru, either romantically or just as friends. As per Visual Novel standard, you can take pretty much any of these characters to bed. How the story goes, the reader is encouraged to read all the routes through for better understanding of events and characters. However, the two main heroines are the main focus, and finishing both Meiya’s and Sumika’s routes open the next part of Muv-Luv; Unlimited.
Extra continues on with high-school shenigans all around with overblown comedy scenes here and there. Takeru’s a gamer-extraordinaire in an arcade game called Valgern-ON, which is by all intents and purposes a Virtual-On expy of the series. The arcade machine has a cockpit where the player sits in and plays the game like he was really piloting it. Takeru always keeps rivaling with his friend, Mikoto Yoroi. Mikoto’s gender is open for question for now and we might never know if Mikoto’s a boy or a girl. In one scene Meiya’s wishes to learn to play Valgern-ON in order to get closer to Takeru, and they play 2-on-2 game which both sides find rather entertaining. Then there’s a sports arc where Takeru has to maintain a team of lacrosse players mainly consisting of newbies. Tensions are even more tight, words are thrown around and people are getting mad at each other… and Sumika’s a klutz.
The class rep. is Sakaki Chizuru, a little uptight girl who has had a hard life, and who’s small light in life is soon going to be taken away as the lacrosse club in the school is going to be shut down due to disinterest. Even then she’s a strong person who cares for people, even is she doesn’t show it. Her direct opposite in the story is Ayamine Kei, a Rei Ayanami clone. She’s silent, direct, playful and incredebly good at close combat in every part of the story.
Then there’s always the classic “mascot” of the bunch, Tamase Miki. She’s an upbeat, short and pink-haired girl who looks and acts like a cat most of the times, but excels greatly in archery. She’s always bringing something happier to everyone’s lives. They all have their own routes in the story if the reader wants to advance romantically with them as per Visual Novel standards. It would be a good idea to walk through these for more insight they give for each character and to their nature. Muv-Luv has one thing that will make you come back to them later on.
From 6 onwards clockwise, it’s Sakaki Chizuru, Kashiwagi Haruko (a true fembro), Yoroi Mikoto of unknown gender, Ayamine Kei the sly Rei clone done right, Mitsurugi Meiya and the one I fell on love, Kagami Sumika
There’s also these two teachers, Kouzuki Yuuko and Jinguuji Marimo. Yuuko makes Marimo wear Morrigan-like cosplay at times and emotionally tortures her as best friends should. Whereas Yuuko is an insane genious with theories about quantum causality theories she got from a PS2 game while Marimo’s kind and sofhearted teacher. She’s actually a good teacher, but her constitution isn’t really that up to her. They both support Takeru in their own way, and Yuuko even has a route of her own.
Just remembering how it all went down makes me feel a bit uneasy, knowing what’s coming after.
Towards the ending there’s the ‘compulsory’ hot spring / onsen arc, where Sumika shows her feelings towards Takeru. The scene is soft and romantic and delivers Sumika’s feelings to the reader quite well, and makes one wonder his selected options again.
Up until this scene my main choice was Meiya. Sumika’s a strong girl, the one who knows to survive anything that’s thrown at her. Meiya felt like a person who would need someone to love her. This scene is where Sumika threw her feelings at Takeru, at the reader, at me. This was the point where I stopped thinking in a manner “who would need me most” and started to think “who I really love.”
Extra might be rather generic at points, but it’s well written and conveys all the characters well. All of its intentions is to make the reader get into the core personality of the characters, to care what happens to them and basically fall in love with them. I couldn’t let myself go for Meiya after all, and decided to stick true to my own feelings and chose to follow the road that lead to Sumika.
And how it did with it all. Extra’s an integral part of Muv-Luv as it sets everything that is going to come afterwards. It’s a happy slice of life that captivates the reader long enough.
Extra leaves a warm feeling after it has ended.
If you have any intentions of reading Muv-Luv, then stop here right now. I think spoiling Extra even to this extend has an impact, but for any further spoiling will be fatal.
Then, one morning Takeru wakes up and wonders why isn’t Sumika barging in and taking names again. School’s going to start soon. When he goes out, the only thing he sees is devastation, empty and crumbled houses… with a giant robot on top of what’s left of Sumika’s house next door.
Welcome to Unlimited.
Muv-Luv Unlimited comes in the same package as Muv-Luv Extra, simply branded as Muv-Luv. However, they’re treated as two separate entities most of the time.
Takeru decides that’s his dreaming; after all, giant robots are obsession of all healthy teenage boys. He promptly walks towards Hakuryo school, which seems to have changed into a military base. At this time he’s strained and detained, and then thrown into detention cell block. There he slowly starts to realize that something’s wrong, really wrong. Then, Professor Kouzuki Yuuko comes to him, releases from his cell and discusses the possibilities from where Takeru has come from. By all logic, they come to an conclusion that Takeru’s from another world.
In this world history has taken another path, and final straw was the extra-terrestrial enemy known as the BETA, or Being of Extraterrestrial origin which are Adversary to humanity. The BETA have decimated the human population to mere one billion from six and ravage the lands so that not even grass grows where they live. Unlimited portrays the desperate struggle against the BETA in most effective way; you do not see the conflicts or the enemy, but you will feel the effects. The strongest weapon the BETA has to them is their sheer insane amount of numbers behind them. The BETA… well, we’ll get to them later on. Unlimited in the end is the second part of Muv-Luv. Here begins Takeru’s growth, and to what he has to be.
Unlimited brings back most of characters you met in Extra, in a whole different world. Here they have grown in a world of war and destruction; serving in the military for their nation and mankind itself is crystal clear. To defeat the BETA is to save mankind. There is no middle line. All the core personalities are there, but they have small changes all around. Meiya for example doesn’t act all that high anymore, and is far more rooted to the ground, understanding “the commoner.” Her ideals and believes are even stronger, and that’s not just because the world is going even more bonkers. Or rather, the world has no hope, literally.
You wouldn’t notice it right away, as Takeru’s very existence contradicts a lot about the world around him. He’s sloppy, talks in a strange manner, has interests that nobody knows about, and generally being one of the few men around.
The one thing I would (not) want to see when waking up for school
Takeru wants to join the cadets of the Hakuryo Military base in order to pilot some goddamn giant robots. Who wouldn’t!? Well, knowing what the world is like…
Personally I got some nice flashbacks and memories from those five days in army. While Extra didn’t really bring up any memories or the like at first, Unlimited did; the schedules, the strict rules, all of it. It was fun and I felt that it mattered to an extent that I was there, even though I acknowledged that there’s not much that I can do just as a soldier; I need to be higher and be used by the higher people in order to become their equel and use them to complete my own goals. However, there’s no need for that in this world yet, we aren’t in war with anybody at the moment, and I hope from my heart that it will stay so.
But Unlimited. Compared to the Extra’s wacky high-school comedy shenigans, Unlimited is more akin to “cadets in high-school with militaristic overtones” setting. There’s a huge change in the atmosphere in between Extra and Unlimited, and it keeps pressing the reader the further one reads Unlimited.
There’s an island arc where the cadet team is sent to their final test whether or not they can become one of the Eishi, pilots of the Tactical Surface Fighter, or TSF for short. Actually, this is the second time this particular cadet team is taking it. The first time around they failed it. Without much of Takeru’s assistance, they somehow manage to survive the ordeal and began their TSF training with simulators in full fledged pilot suits.
I know what you’re all thinking about, but I assure you that it’s not. The suits are form of powered armour that gives greater resistance, protect from external physical traumas. The they’re like that is to get rid of personal shame and all that, as in the frontlines there’s no room for privacy; men and women are to share are places without a second thought. In design and by use this is one of the nicest looking pilot suit out there. Function follows a form a bit, but it doesn’t let it lack. Ultimately it fills the in-universe needs completely.
And yes, the men get exact same suits. The transparent membrane is also cheaper to produce than coloured one. Cuttings costs in a world where the only real economy is in war machines this kind of thing is expected. All the food is artificial in the world. While some things are stil lacking when compared to Extra-verse, Unlimited has some really neat technology, mostly thanks to BETA and the war against them.
As I said, Unlimited brings most of the characters from Extra to this other world. A certain human called Kagami Sumika does not exist in this world. However, there exists a girl named Yashiro Kasumi, a Russian ESP user from Alternative III. The Alternative projects are a plans to understand and go against the BETA. All Alternative Plans from I to III are failures, and Alternative IV is what’s left of III. Russian albino psychic loli girls, anyone?
Whereas Sumika is love incarnate, Kasumi’s cute incarnate
Yuuko worked on Alternative IV with Kasumi, and Takeru wanted to become an awesome pilot to stop the destruction of mankind. 24th of Decemember, the colonel of Yokohama base told the new Eishi that Alternative IV was cancelled, and Alternative V was to step into action; to choose handful of surviving human and send them to space for an interstellar travel towards another planet, which may or may not exist.
In all regards, Unlimited’s Meiya route ends in two ways, and only the other one is slightly more happier. To me, the ending was about Takeru and Meiya switching each other places in one of those space vessels, until they decide that it is Meiya who should go. In the end, Meiya gives Takeru a child in that faraway planet, telling her tales of her courageous father fighting the BETA in a world that used to be her home. Howeber, the second part of Alternative V is to bombard the Earth with G-Bombs, making it practically a dead rock with salt seas instead of oceans in most places. People living in close contact to each other, riots, murders and everything that could ever go wrong when the world in ending happens. Then there’s the remnant BETA forces that keep destroying the last of humanity’s homes, and there’s very little what UN or anyone can do at this point.
To say the least, Unlimited ends in a desperate note. There’s very little that gives actual hope for survival, just the small glimpse of humanity’s life on another planet, on another world. Takeru is willing to defend alone this planet for the true love he has found.
Unlimited asked me to think what I think my position in life, and to an even more extend what I can do, what I’m capable of. It begged me to ask again Who am I? The answer I gave was “A man who can cry.”
In the end, there’s always Alternative
The second you see that, you realize that Alternative is something not to take lightly. Long has gone the pink logo, high-school antics and bubbly music. Extra and Unlimited laid down the base that is Alternative. The name itself should tell you what to expect, and I’d say forget it all. This episode is where the nature of the world steps towards you without a second thought, looks at you and punches you in the gut while grinning. It is raw, grotesque, violent, realistic, warm, loving, brave and proud.
Alternative begins on October 22nd 2001 when Takeru wakes up in his home for school, noting that Sumika’s not there to wake him up. He enjoys thae fact that all of Unlimited has been a dream… until he steps outside to the vasteland that is his hometown.
Naturally, Takeru feels that something’s strange. He walks to the military base again, and the guards once more start ti pin him down. However, this time Takeru isn’t the weak himself, he has served in the militray past three years according to his memories and seen the devastation the world will see because of Alternative V, and thus puts up a nice fight against the guards to the point they draw their gun at him. They call for Yuuko, and Takeru manages to convince her to listen. During their talk Takeru tells what kind of world he comes from… from what two kind of worlds he comes from; one that he was born in, the world of peace, and the world ravaged by BETA and G-Bombs in the future. He wants to save the mankind and he needs Yuuko’s help in order to complete Alternative IV so that Alternative V never takes off.
This is where Alternative begins, where the second core of Muv-Luv lies; in the desperate struggle against time, humanity, BETA and life itself. Takeru is adamant about saving the world from its destined future, but first of all he has to make sure that he and the other cadets graduate before they did last time. Takeru has to meet everyone again; Shizuru, Kei, Meiya, Mikoto, Miki, Marimo and Meiya. Takeru’s training makes it all worth it this time and he is cadet-extraordinaire, successing in everything he does. While he thinks this might damage the morale of the group, his competence and will inspires people around him to think why they are there, and to push themselves to their limits and beyond.
At one point Takeru travels to his original world with Yuuko’s help in order to fetch a theory that helps in the completion of Alternative IV’s most important component; the 00 Unit. Takeru being the causality conductor he can do that. He is the one that connects the worlds together. With Yuuko, Takeru’s going to save the world and destroy whatever made him the causality conductor in order to return to his world.
Takeru manages to make them all graduate earlier than before, and his aptitude test to become an Eishi is top in the whole world history… just like last time. Here starts what he can; Takeru’s an excellent pilot, but an Eishi, not yet. At one point he wants Yuuko to modify the OS (Operating System, like Windows and so on) to make it far more effective and more like the Valgern-ON arcade game. In other words; to make piloting a giant robot easy.
There is an event where the squad is equipped with the experimental OS against live enemies, rebels of sorts. Here, the Grand Shogun appears and Takeru is the one who is trusted with her health. Becauce of Takeru’s manouvers and the TSF’s movements she soon looses her consciusness. This prompts his superior to give him a direct order to administer a drug that could take the Grand Shogun’s life. He is hesitant, even if he has made his decree to save the world no matter what. Takeru questions his convictions if he can’t sacrifice even one person for the good of all humanity.
Theories that he and Yuuko with bunch of engineers in use are proved against real-life aces that have survived in the frontlines against the BETA. Even the ace’s are impressed about the new OS, and one even offers some sexual action, that Takeru refuses.
At this point, Takeru is filled with hope, filled with courage and want to save all those around him. With this new OS and better machines, he can do it, he save them all!
In the middle of the training exercise, the BETA attack the battlefield. None of the soldiers in their TSF’s have real weapons, only paintballs and such. Takeru looses it completely and starts shooting the BETA with with peaguns of paint. He is struck down and almost dies if it was not for Captain Isumi.
Afterwards, Takeru is devistated; all of his work, all of his talent and will couldn’t be of any use. He shattered before the real enemy for the first time, he lost it just by seeing a BETA. Marimo comes to talk to him, tells him about her past and what an Eishi should strife for. Takeru feels a lot better when talking to her.
Even if I knew of this scene beforehand to an extent, I wasn’t prepared for it. It struck me deep and hard. Without a doubt I trembled, I vividly remember my hands shaking and I couldn’t stop them. This, if anything, is a turning point in Alternative that assured the reader that from now on nothing will be easy, no goal is achived without a sacrifice and stained blood. The reader at this point acts like Takeru does; he runs away. There was few morning when I woke up to Sumika waking me in my dream, then another morning where Kasumi woke up, and morning where I woke up in cold sweat to bone gnawing sound and deep stretching and cracking of flesh. Alongside with the sound CODE 991 alarm sound. It’s a sound I do not wish to hear anywhere in this real world ever again. Even during the week I was startled by a sound of an alarm clock and associated it with BETA. Even the sound of people scuttling around made me uneasy.
Takeru is collapses completely, becomes catatonic for a while due to psychosis, drugs and trauma. After he wakes up in his quarters, Meiya comes to concolate him, but Takeru in all of his anger almost rapes him. Meiya offers her body to him if it were to help, but Takeru manages to pull himself together a bit and runs away.
He wants to go home, to the peaceful world he came from and forget everything that has ever happened. Yuuko agrees and sends him to the place where he wants to escape. From this moment a world known as Extra Branch is born, where Takeru’s own selfish nature and him running away from his problems kills a person close to him and… hurts the person she loves the most in far more ways than one.
Takeru hears from Teacher Yuuko that it is because he is the causality conductor, and the only way to revert everything that has happened is to find what made him the causality conductor and destroy it. As long as Takeru would live in this world he would allow memories of other world flow into this one and cause events to happen that would never occur otherwise. In essence, Takeru is the BETA of his own home world, bringing pain and suffering from the other world he has lived in. There are two ways; to end his life there, or to return to the other world, save the mankind and find whatever made him the causality conductor.
Takeru has no choice. He returns to the other world and begs this world’s Yuuko to let him help to finish the Alternative IV and save whatever he can. Seeing the person he loved most hurt opened his eyes and he found a resolution to finish it all, even if was to stain his hands in blood. Lucky for him, during the week he was absent the 00 Unit was completed.
In this world a girl named Kagami Sumika did not exist. Only her remains, a brain in a glass case that Takeru had always seen when visiting Kasumi. Sumika’s part is a painful and traumatic one, filled with hatred towards the BETA and what they did to her and this world’s real Takeru. 00 Unit is essentially a quantum computer in a body that resembles human… with a quatified human persona in it. The theory Takeru brought back earlier let Yuuko to kill of what was left of Kagami Sumika and create 00 Unit. In essence, Takeru’s hands are stained in the blood of the one he never wished to hurt, the one he always truly loved… and he never realized that she was this close, even if it is some other world’s Sumika, she’s always Sumika.
00 Unit is almost catatonic, and only few times react to anything, but with Takeru she becomes unstable and replies with strong intent of killing of BETA. It is up to Takeru to bring out the humanity in her, to bring forth all that is Kagami Sumika. In few days Takeru manages to draw Sumika more and more out of her shell, making the 00 Unit more human. She acknowledges that she is not what you would call human; body of artificial origin, brain of silicon and inner structure of BETA materials. She may have the softness and warmth of a human, but she’s far more than that. Takeru manages to stabilize Sumika to the point she recognizes the world and him. 00 Unit is ready for her first mission in XG-70 ‘Susano’o.’
Takeru and his squadmates are joined the Isumi’s Valkyries far before any of this happen. Well, just before Takeru runs away. Captain Isumi is a woman who I admire in every respect. Without her help Takeru would’ve stayed as an innocent brat. Captain made him realize few facts about what he needs to do. The motto of Valkyries is not to be understated, especially in this world.
“ Complete your mission with all your might
Despair not ’till your last breath
Do not die in vain “
This motto is something I believe in. These words are strong, and hold a meaning of what it means to be one of the Valkyries. I can’t help myself but to think of those five days where I found part of the resolution I came to have during Alternative.
Enter Sadogashima. Welcome to place where hell reigns. Begin mission to eradicate a BETA Hive that has threatened Japan to this day.
Sadogashima is a cruel arc that shows all that has come up to this point in Takeru’s life. He has to use all of his experience and might to overcome the BETA here. The enemy is in tens of thousands, literally. Even when this mission officially is co-operation between the UN, Japanese Army and American forces, the true reason is to test the Alternative IV’s 00 Unit in the field.
When the 00 Unit and Susano’o enter the battlefield, there’s little hope around. In one miraclous flash Susano’o wipes out massive amounts of BETA and decimates the upper structure of the Hive in one blast. Susano’o is the trump card humanity is relying on alongside 00 Unit. Here, Takeru has a flashback from Unlimited where he and Meiya shared their bodies in love. One of Sumika’s powers as 00 Unit is ESP much like Kasumi’s. She tries to be conscious of Takeru all the time on the battlefield and reads every thought and emotion he has. Seeing him having sex with another woman makes her collapse, Susano’o along with her.
The battle turns for the worst. Immense amount of BETA are attacking the human forces from underground tunnels. Takeru has to retrieve Sumika from Susano’o, and the Captain has to make the machine self-destruct. Things turn for the worse, when one of the Valkyries get damaged and stays behind to support Captain, who can’t engage the self-destruct sequence. This Valkyrie, Kashiwagi, dies in the hands and teeth of the BETA. Isumi makes the Susano’o self-destruct by force.
Without a doubt, Captain and her words to the Valkyries during her final moments were carved into my mind. Just as Takeru clenches his teeth, I realized that I would do anything to protect those who I love. I had gained a resolution to protect smiles of those whom I don’t know, the laughs of that I can’t hear. It sounds idealistic, but in this world there’s few deeds that anyone can do to protect those people he loves most. I’ve decided to join the army no matter the condition I am in, to guard over the freedom my friends may enjoy if it ever were threatened. Freedom is a fragile thing that can be lost so easily. In this current world there are people who would like to lose their freedom in order to live a secure and controlled life. Perhaps I’m one of those people to an extent, but I admit it. I want to see how far I can take myself in the service, how long I can make it.
After the mission Sumika is introduced rest of the crew. By all means she is now Kagami Sumika rather than just 00 Unit. She seems a bit uneasy with all these people she is with now, but that’s understandable due to the situation at hand. During the introductions Takeru gets flashbacks from his past, multiple of his past. At this point it comes clear that this isn’t the first time Takeru has looped back in time, but he has indeed looped numerous times, and these flashbacks of the other girls are from those different timelines, and due to him being the causality conductor these memories also flood to his squadmates memories.
In the end, Takeru mans up and confesses his feelings to distressed Sumika. Finally, the very thing Takeru has been fighting for and this world’s Sumika can achieve… and Sumika turns Takeru down. Ultimately, she tells hims that he bother her, his a distraction from her mission and that Takeru isn’t needed anymore. Sumika has already finished making preparations for Takeru’s transfer out of Yokohama base somewhere where he should stay safe. Sumika leaves broken Takeru On That Hill, until Meiya comes up there. Takeru tells her everything, and Meiya tells him that Sumika was runnin past her with a face filled with tears. At that moment, with Meiya’s help, Takeru realizes that Sumika’s Sumika; she always does and says differently what she really wants. The following day he confronts Sumika again and makes everything clear; after that they’re through. Whatever it is Sumika’s hiding won’t make him stop loving her, nothing could.
What Sumika tells and shows Takeru in this scene was shocking. The BETA had caught hundreds of humans and slowly took them away, until only this world’s Takeru was to defend Sumika… and he was killed in the most gruesome way he could see. And what they did to Sumika made me feel sick. It’s something that I never wanted her to experience. Just like Takeru, I felt my stomache turn, but after the scene I wanted to hold her in my arms and loved her even more.
Whatever she said, whatever they did to her didn’t matter. She’s here and now, that’s all what matters.
The following night is the night Sumika becomes one with the man she has always loved, the one she has always longed for.
The happiness did not last long, as the remnant BETA from the destroyed Sadogashima Hive are attacking the base with full force. The fight is long and hard, and things get worse when the military realizes that the BETA are using human tactics against them, something that they have never done before. This proves that the BETA can think tacticfully, but have never shown this before. The Valkyries are the final line of defence against th BETA, as they ram their way inside the bottom of the base where a BETA reactor still fucntion for various purposes, least of which is keeping Sumika alive. At this time, two of the Valkyries sacrifice their lives for other to live; Suzumiya Haruka and Hayase Mitsuki.
To see them in this world at first was a nostalgic scene, but to see them die in the hands of enemies like this struck me hard. Haruka is killed violently by a BETA warrior while she was trying to shut down the BETA reactor. Hayase sacrifices herself to destroy the reactor. Since Takeru’s return, and even before that, death and sorrow has been a constant partner to the reader. âge has been punching my buttons before, but this time they’re using a sledgehammer to break me down. It’s not just the deaths, it’s the absolute despair of it all.
Soon after Hayase’s noble deed he is put into sleep. All of his squadron has been fighting almost a day straight, and with that one pill they can get rest.
Upon Takeru’s awakening, he is now Storm Vanguard 01, the leader of Isumi’s Valkyries. While there’s little they can do, they check their TSF’s condition and stand-by for orders, but they can’t just stand there doing nothing. By Takeru’s command, the Valkyries are to help with food distribution for the wounded. Takeru takes it all as the one who has the responsibility and he knows it.
Because of the recent attack one thing has become devastatingly clear; the BETA reactor was not only the thing powering part of the Yokohama base, but also a BETA computer that spread information onwards to the Original Hive. This means that less than in three days the Original Hive will have all knowledge of mankind’s strategies and tactics due to Sumika’s “blood” being purified by it. Soon BETA would know everything and more. Yuuko starts to prepare fast launch of the Operation Ouka; an all-out assault to the Original Hive with almost-completed XG-40d Susano’o 4 spearheading the attack against the Main Objective with Valkyries serving their role as the protectors.
âge made put a day of comedy and love here. It’s something every reader needs before the ascencion to the Original Hive.
Yuuko’s plan is to send the Valkyries in the core of the Hive alone. All other forces that are to join would only slow them down. The Royal Guard that has been looking over Meiya and the Grand Shogun decide to give their own TSF’s for the Valkyries use, as their own machines are completely bust after the BETA attack. These machines are from the very top of the line, specifically made for those who are one of the Royal House; the Takemikazuchi.
With these, the probability of achieving the object and destroying it rises, as does their chance of survival.
Takeru is to pilot the Susano’o with Kasumi and Sumika is serve as the the main computer for it. All other Valkyrie’s main and only objective is to protect them.
The Original Hive infiltration is a success thanks to the sacrifice of all soldiers send to their deaths alongside the Valkyries. Death takes its tolls inside and outside the Original Hive, and the Valkyries soon find their Main Objective; the Main Hall. They just need to pass two doors and be doen with it. However, the amount of BETA is something they didn’t expect, even if this was the Original Hive where all BETA on Earth originally came from. Chizuru and Ayamine are the first one to admit their feelings towards Takeru between each other, and sacrifice their lives to stop part of BETA invasion by triggering a cave-in with their selfdestruct devices.
They are followed by Miki, who has a damaged Takemikazuchi from earlier fight, and she stays put, sniping them one by one, until her unit is run over. Mikoto engages shut procedure of the first door after the Susano’o has passed it at the cost of her own life.
With Meiya’s help Takeru is face to face against the Main Objective, the which calls itself as Superior Existence. BETA do not see anything carbon based as a lifeform as per their creators’ programming, and see humanity as something to be recycled, a raw material. The Superior’s attacks halt the Susano’o, causes Sumika to regress back to her previous state and Kasumi to lose control of her own self. The Superior speaks to Takeru through both of them, learning of humanity and of him, as does Takeru. One of the most staggering thing he hears is taht the Creators are a silicon based species, and that there are 10^37 Superior Existances in the this Universe. Meiya soon arrives to help Takeru, but struck down and forced to be become shield against Susano’o’s Particle Cannon. The Superior begins to probe Meiya’s body as BETA did with Sumika, forcing her hand and mind into regions she never wished to go. She pleades Takeru to shoot, to end it all in one shot. The catatonic Sumika slowly awakens as Takeru’s own mind is starting to crumble a bit, until Sumika pulls everything she can into one moment where all powers are restored only to Takeru to pull the trigger, ending a life she valued so highly of… and saving the mankind.
” I could not give you my love, thus I give you my life “
This song, the Flame of Life, is my the song I stand by. It’s a sad song, a sad march for all those who have died and potrays the ultimate sacrifice one can give for others to live on. All of the Valkyries stood by their believes to protect those they loved the most, to protect the one person closes to their hearts.
The Original Hive is destroyed, the Superior Existence no longer exists on Earth and Takeru with Kasumi and Sumika are the only ones that managed to escape with Susano’o’s escape shuttle.
Upon waking inside the shuttle Kasumi informs of Takeru that the mission was successful. The Superior Existence is dead. She tells that Takeru can now return his own world that the thing that made him the causality conductor no longer exists. She tells Takeru that Sumika, the 00 Unit, is no longer with him. Sumika had given her all for Takeru to survive, so that he could go back to his world. Sumika shown Kasumi that it was her own will that made Takeru the causality conductor. The very core of her when she was just brain only longed to see Takeru. The purest form of subconscious and the will to trigger causality pulled Takeru’s of various realities to this world in 22nd of October 2001, and she was the one that caused Takeru to loop every time he had died. It was Sumika’s will to see him alive and hold him in her arms again. All this ceased to be when Sumika finally became one with Takeru that one night, the night where 00 Unit was not more and Kagami Sumika was born again in this world.
Takeru asks Kasumi to lock the shuttle doors for five minutes, he asks five minutes where he can be Shirogane Takeru and cry not just for Sumika, but all of that have lost their lives today for him, the Valkyries. In those five minutes he lets himself to be human once more rather than the saviour of all mankind. After that he will greet every person outside with a smile of an Eishi, proudly carrying the weight of the Valkyries and everything he has done to achieve this moment.
Even if Takeru wants to stay in his world and fight the remaining BETAs, there is nothing to keep him in this world anymore. The memory of Shirogane Takeru will be lost from all men in this world, except from the memories of Kasumi and Yuuko, who both will take these secrets to their graves. Nobody will ever remember the name of Shirogane Takeru or the members of the Valkyries, there will never be a person to know what has taken place and what was done in order to humanity to survive.
As Takeru starts to fade back to his own world, Kasumi tells her feelings over the whiteness that overcomes.
The story of Muv-Luv is about love and courage, to the point where one has to stain his hands in order to save something larger than oneself. It’s about a love that could be never given. It’s about untold sacrifices made for us and about those brave souls that did them. With this the story of Muv-Luv comes to an end. A sad end with a bright future filled with tears.
After Alternative there starts a small epilogue called Final Extra. This is the world where Takeru returned to. He holds no memories what has come to pass. As the cause of causality conductor has ceased to exist, all the damage he has done are reverted in all the worlds.
Final Extra begins on 22nd of October 2001, where Takeru wakes next to an unknown blue haired girl, and Sumika rushes to wake him up. Everything seems to play like in Extra, but here Mikoto is clearly a girl… and Mitsurugi Yuuhi, Meiya’s older twin sister, is alive.
There is also one person who did not exist in Extra, and that one person is Yashiro Kasumi.
She comes up to Takeru and Sumika, thanking them both of all what they have done and bursts in tears. With this, all those who have died in the war against BETA will always live on in another world, if only in the memories of two people. From this moment on, the bratty saviour and all of his Valkyries may live in this world peacefully until the end of their days.
As you might’ve noticed, KimiNozo had a great influence on my emotions and view of life’s cruelty. It woke me from my state of sort of self-pity and made me realize that even to me there is love and closeness by. Even if during the last year I’ve returned to the mind-setting of “there’s nobody for me, I’m good as a servant to all” it’s far different from what I was like ten years ago. With Muv-Luv I realized that if I want to become servant to all, I mustn’t be afraid of what lies ahead. Indeed army service might not be the ideal solution for that, but it is something that I want to go through. It is something that I feel I can do for those I want to protect, and that ultimately whatever the future holds it will serve me as well. Takeru’s conviction to make it through spoke to my own loyalty towards my loved ones, my friends and my country. I found matters that I want to defend, matters that I see in the films and books of Winter War. Perhaps it could be said that after Muv-Luv I’ve become a bit more patriotic. I found a sense of duty that I can do.
Indeed, the other thing I found in Muv-Luv is that I can do things with these two hands.
I discussion with during the Alternative arc with a teacher prompted me ask myself whether or not I realize that these hands of mine as skilled. For the first time in my life I was willing to admit that I am good at something, and the feeling has been growing steadily since that.
As I went through a journal of threads I kept as I travelled through Muv-Luv I noticed that few people mentioned me becoming and sounding more like Shirogane Takeru as time went by. Looking it back now I find myself having some of the same elements that build up Takeru. We both are joking assholes most of the time, always dense with other people’s feelings and passing important things by. However, when time calls it we both become serious and do what needs to be done. Some of the words and mindsets are the same. No doubt I become Shirogane Takeru in the story itself, and it affected me greatly. Now, outside the story, I wish something of him won’t ever leave my soul and mind, that I can always carry the burden he did with me so that it may drive me forwards. Is the love I feel towards Sumika real? Whether or not it’s real, it doesn’t matter that much. What matters the most is that I can say that I can love again.
There is something that I can do, there is something I must do. There is something that I want to do, even if it would mean to give my life for all those I love.
While writing this post during these last days I have gone through everything again in my mind from the beginning to the very end. Muv-Luv is my favourite piece of fiction with Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, and 生命の炎 / The Flame of Life has become me favourite piece of music, somber as it is. Every time I listen to this song I find myself become serious and my eyesight becomes less with the tears pushing through. There was times when I wanted to quit and tell myself “Muv-Luv’s too much work, quit here and pretend that the story had a happy end,” but I kept pushing myself forwards, bracing for the impacts that âge would deliver. Whatever I did I never was prepared. The story is well written and extremely well presented, and the passion from both original writers and from the translation team seeps through. Muv-Luv, much like KimiNozo, is an end-product that has been crafted will great care and love. The emotions it dugged up from deep within me will last long, of not until I die. It’s not nothing new that a fictional story affects one’s life so greatly, but to me Muv-Luv is something far larger than just a story. It’s a tale that I want to pass on to the future generations in some form, a story worth retelling to those that come after me.
I’m sure I’ve missed tons of details I wanted to go through and there’s bound to be countless of typing errors and grammar is bonkers. That doesn’t matter as long I managed to tell my own experience with this.
“What’s next?” I’ve been asking from myself. In the future I see nothing as usual, but now it glimmers and shines with hope. Slowly I’m overcoming matters of love that have been pressing me down during the last year. Perhaps somewhere in the days of tomorrow I can let myself fall in love again. Perhaps I can tackle my own skills and use them to create new things and sharpen these eyes even further. Perhaps I will one day stand in the line with fellow soldiers and vow to protect the nation I love so much; a country is nothing without its people, and people are the country. If it ever were to take place, I want to protect these people whom with I live.
We’re human and we hurt each other daily. We are human and we heal these wounds after every day. In the end, I want to see every person smiling and laughing. That is my selfish wish. It’s my own desire to let others go first, leaving me behind so I can support them. However, this wish denies my the chance to protect them. If I have to lose my own smile and laughter over others, I’d be glad to give them away. I believe that there is something good in all of us that wishes the same thing, something that makes us ‘human.’
The ground I stand by is my own principles and believes. These things keep me pushing on after every harship I face… and I was losing them before I read Muv-Luv. I can now stand again with sort of pride in my hands, and clearly say for once who I am. Idealistic view? Yes, very much so, but that’s who I am, and will always be.
There is a flame that burns inside of me brightly. I won’t let it die out ever again.
To end this post with a little brighter end, let’s listen to one more song, the song that serves both as the opening of Muv-Luv, and as the ending.
It’s been about two weeks when I started reading MuvLuv. Now it feels that everything’s just starting.
8.9.2012 Edit. if you enjoyed this post, be sure to read this as well.