Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse is a 2012 anime from studios ixtl and Satelight, based on the Muv-Luv visual novel franchise. The director is Masaomi Ando, who was also the director of School-Live!, which aired earlier this year. Part 1 of Muv-Luv Apocalypse was released back in August on DVD and Blu-ray, with Part 2 released a few weeks ago on October 19th. Being a romantic comedy mecha anime, there is significant focus on the relationships between characters. Assuming you’ve watched the first part, you’re in for more of basically the same.
“Internal strife can be humanity’s ultimate downfall. The BETA aren’t the only forces ruining the population with internal disputes amongst the surviving nations at its highest. The Soviet Command currently has its sights set on the Railgun, risking both its soldiers and innocent civilians to retrieve the weapon from the Kamchatka base. For Yuuya, Yui and the other TSF pilots, this will be the ultimate test of courage as they try and escape from this nightmarish situation. But even if they do manage, what awaits them on the other side is far more dangerous. A new force is trying to overthrow the status quo, undermining the established military and will call into question humanity’s chances of survival.” – MVM
Sadly, as was the case with the first half of the show, the plot never really gets interesting. Any of the romance going on between characters feels forced, or irrelevant to the point that it’s difficult to care about any relationships; the occasional mecha fight provide a few minutes relief from total boredom every now and then. If you like the mundane, this show will likely be better suited to you than it is to me. That said, I’ll probably try the English localisation of the visual novel series when it releases next year, as it may just be this adaptation that falls flat, rather than the franchise itself.
As per the first half of the show, the animation continue to be incredibly generic. Though, in a change of pace, mechas are more present throughout, which unfortunately means there is more CGI to ruin the immersion of the show. There is still judder in the video from the PAL conversion, though this will only affect the DVD version, which is the version I experienced. Subtitles are still white, and the credits sequence features both romanisation of the Japanese lyrics and an English translation.
The audio for both English and Japanese track are quite similar at face value and stereo-only; with the soundtrack being suitable yet dull. The English dub manages to somehow further the depiction of Americans as obnoxious; whether this is some meta-commentary intentionally created by Sentai Filmworks, or just the obnoxiousness itself at play, is irrelevant. The sprinkling of stereotypical accents throughout for non-Americans, that sound forced by American VAs and are painful to listen to, really emphasise the obnoxious attitude of Americans that the show already tries to get across. Whether it is just a product of American over-localisation or meta-commentary by the dubbing studio, it works perfectly for this anime and is by far the highlight of the release.
There are no extras on disc 1, but disc 2 has two textless openings and two textless endings. One of each of these is repeated from part 1. Episode 20 onwards feature different themes; the opening is “Doubt the World” by Minami Kuribayashi, and the ending is “Revise the World” by Ayami. Two of the included trailers actually relate to future UK titles – No Game No Life and Black Bullet. However, Gokoku no Brynhildr has yet to be licensed for UK release.
This half of the show does include a little more focus on the fights than the first half but still fails to impress as a whole. The anime doesn't really focus on the romance in a way that makes you want to continue following character relationships as they develop. By the end of the final DVD, I found myself not caring at all about what was happening and just wishing for it to finally be over. That said, if you did enjoy the first part of the show, you're in for more of the same so will likely be more receptive than I was.