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Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse Collection 2 Anime DVD Review

7 min read

Muv-Luv HeaderBut Humans Are Still the Deadliest Creatures in the Universe

What They Say
Even in the face of annihilation by the invading BETA forces, the persistent hostilities between the surviving nations continue to undermine mankind’s chances for survival. Desperate to gain the Type 99, the Soviet Command puts not only their own pilots, but the rest of the human race on the firing line as they sabotage the Kamchatka base self-destruct codes in an attempt to salvage the railgun for their own purposes. Caught in the crossfire, Yuuya, Yui and the other TSF pilots must fight their way to safety through a nightmarish series of traps and counter-traps before the base is bombed or the BETA take them all. Only a series of heroic sacrifices can save them, and that’s just the beginning of the danger. The mysterious arrival of an unidentified TSF and an escalating competition to dominate the new world’s power and military structures ignite a new chain of events that further threaten to undercut humanity’s chances. The war of the worlds continues and only the blood of heroes can save the earth in MUV-LUV ALTERNATIVE: TOTAL ECLIPSE COLLECTION 2!

The Review!
The audio is fairly good in terms of quality, though I have a lot of issues with the voice acting—the English voice acting, that is. A lot of the lines sounded a lot like someone was reading verbatim from a script. While anime are indeed scripted, it’s important to add emotions and appropriate inflections within the dialogue. A lot of the voice acting felt emotionless. The sound effects were pretty good, but nothing to write home about.

While the artwork is impeccable, the video does have issues keeping up. There is some blurriness to the lineart. Unlike Blu-ray, this does not offer the clear, crisp line quality that makes anime really stand out. It’s not bad, by any means, but it’s about what you can expect if you were to watch this through a streaming site.

The DVD packaging is gorgeous. Granted, I’m a sucker for sexy artwork, and the front cover, which features a breathtaking visual of Inia in her TSF pilot suit, is gorgeous. It’s set on a blue background showcasing the TSF that Inia and Cryska pilot. The title is on the top with orange hexagons contrasting with the dark background. The back features different characters, a man and woman with darker skin. On one side are the episode and disc details, which also has hexagon-shaped screenshots of various scenes in the anime. The back feels very high-tech, with a combination of different shapes to present a more sci-fi feel.

Each menu lets you play, setup the audio and subtitles, and select which episode you would like to watch if you don’t want to start from the beginning.

The extras are somewhat lacking. It only has the clean opening and closing animation.

Content: (Please note that this portion of the review may contain spoilers):
The beginning of this anime starts off immediately where season 1 left off—a battle against the BETA in Russia. Of course, if this was just a battle against the BETA, Yuuya Bridges and the others would be lucky. They’re also fighting against Russia, who have come up with a plan to steal the Railgun that Japan made and brought over for testing. Yui does her best to dismantle the railgun before the BETA can find her, but she ends up being attacked. Yuuya, fortunately, arrives to save the day.

The relationship between Yuuya and Yui has always been one of the more amusing, but also one of the more annoying, facets of this series. It starts off with a standard hate/hate relationship between two individuals who have different ideologies before devolving into an awkward romance. I like romance. However, I don’t really like this one. The issue isn’t the romance but its execution. Yuuya and Yui are both adults, but whenever I see them dancing around each other, I feel more like I’m watching a couple of high school kids. That would be fine if they were teenagers, but it’s not when they’re both in their 20s and at least one of them supposedly already has experience with dating. Being that dense is only acceptable when you’re a teenager.

While they get out of the BETA attack in Russia alive and relatively unharmed that is only the beginning of the problems for these two and the rest of their comrades. The next issue comes in the form of a new military exercise. Nations are coming together in order to take part in what’s essentially a competition and information exchange. However, tensions run hot between the TSF pilots. I like to think of this whole scenario as a “my dick is bigger than yours” kind of contest. Everyone wants to prove that their machines are the best.

Another major problem comes in the form of Cui Yifei. She’s a Chinese lieutenant who decides that she wants to marry Yuuya after losing to him in one-on-one combat during the exercises, and I feel like she doesn’t really serve a purpose outside of making this anime seem more harem-esque. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, Cui is annoying. She doesn’t listen to Yuuya when he says he doesn’t want to marry her, hits Yuuya for perceived betrayals to their not-marriage when she finds him with other women, and just makes a general nuisance of herself. Matters aren’t helped by the fact that Yuuya already has three women who love him in some form.

Of more importance is the arrival of the American forces, consisting of Yuuya’s former teammates. I like this because we learn more about Yuuya’s past. He was a test pilot for the American TSFs. During one of the flight tests, he decided to push his TSF to the limit and inadvertently killed his commander during the flight run through a canyon. The revelations of his past explain why he was such a hardass at the beginning of this series back during season 1.

Muv-Luv is one of the more spastic anime I have ever seen. One second we’re in the middle of a life or death battle, the next we’re watching an awkward teen romance between adults, and the next we’re seeing boobs as the obligatory hot spring episode suddenly comes on. Despite how odd that sounds, I approve of these tonal shifts. Life isn’t always grim or funny. It’s an emotional roller coaster that can be funny one second and depressing the next. This sort of drastic 180 in tone mimics real life a lot more than most shows I’ve seen… though most real-life situations don’t involve naked girls trying to bath with a man in a hot spring. That said, you aren’t going to find me complaining about T&A in anime.

While the exercises are taking place, a dark force among humanity is moving and Yuuya, Yui, the Scarlet Twins, and everyone else will soon find themselves facing something much more frightening than the BETA: Their fellow humans. A group calling themselves the Refugee Liberation Force have taken over the base and are demanding equality and for the refugee camps to be fixed. I didn’t know this was a problem, but apparently, it is.

This is a fairly interesting twist for the story. I also feel like it shows that even when humanity is against the wall, with an alien force arrayed against them, they can still find time to argue and fight among each other. It’s kinda sad to think about. However, this sort of plotline makes for great entertainment. It adds an extra dimension to the political tension among the nations, and it stacks even more odds against our heroes, thereby increasing the personal tension that Yuuya and the others face.

In Summary:
I think as an overall anime, this was a really entertaining series. However, there are also a lot of problems with the series as well. The biggest one is that this anime is inconclusive. It doesn’t end. The BETA are never defeated (or humans aren’t defeated), the strange love pentagon between Yuuya, Yui, Cryska, Inia, and Cui never goes anywhere, making the entire romance pointless, and the last part of this anime all but tells you there is more content… except this is a light novel series, so if you want the know what happens next, you have to read the light novels. Since I live in America and Muv-Luv has not been translated, I’m basically screwed.

Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: D
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: A+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: C

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: May 25th, 2015
MSRP: $59.98
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment:
55″ Class AQUOS HD Series LED TV LC-55LE643U, Xbox 360 DVD player

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