Anime of Tomorrow
Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse Ep. 1
Summer 2012 to autumn 2012 (24 episodes) (more info)
Ok, so Muv-Luv is your standard story about a young pilot in training who is going to have to grow up fast in order to fight back against the alien invaders (at least that’s my impression about how these things usually develop). Fine, it’s not the most original premise, but if this series wants to make a name for self, it’s going to have to stand up on its technical merit. The pacing is pretty good so far and while the characters are still by no means established, I can feel a definite atmosphere of impending doom, futility and desperation which is pretty impressive with the amount of history that was woven into the exposition of the progress of this war. You just know things are going to get much, much worse before they get better.
The tone feels a little off at times with this supposedly being a military training facility and the real potential for death during practice being juxtaposed alongside high school girls living fairly normal lives. Considering this first episode was a buildup of history and emotion leading to what is presumably the real battle in the next episode I’m not comfortable really calling this anime either way just yet. I’m quite eager to see how it handles its action sequences. Thankfully, Muv-Luv is staying away from the big mecha pitfall of blathering on in technical jargon about why their giant robots are better than everyone else’s.
However, the super-revealing flight suits these girls wear with their buttocks on full display make the plug suits from Evangelion look like petticoats. If it’s relying on fanservice to get male viewers lured in at this early stage, my optimism is waning. From past experience I know a lot of people are going to cringe at the poorly integrated CGI mecha against a very flat, out-of-place background. The primary group of girls still only feel main-ish and I’m wondering if the series is going to continue to keep this broad view of the war at large or if Yui is actually going to be the focus of the story. Perhaps the next episode will be a better gauge of how Muv-Luv is going to turn out.