Final Review: Muv-Luv Alternative -Total Eclipse-

DISCLAIMER: Anime reviews on this blog will attempt minimal to no spoilers unless otherwise noted. If a review seems dull or shallow, it’s because I’m trying to make sure not to go into too detail for those who are actually interested in the show before or after reading the review or those who have yet to finish the title. If you want further details, there are usually tons of reviews that can be found elsewhere on the internet. Furthermore, anime reviews in general are the sole opinion of the author writing it and thus differ across the users. There is no such thing as a “right answer” only a majority agreement. You are free to have your own opinions and thereby free to state and/or argue/debate in the comments section below or on the Fansub TV Forums. The review is not necessarily meant to serve as a recommendation but rather a personal opinion of having completed the series.

Muv-Luv Alternative -Total Eclipse- (henceforth known as Total Eclipse) is effectively the third main title in the Muv-Luv universe (excluding fandiscs and the like). Total Eclipse is based off a a series of light novels that began in 2007. 5 volumes have been published to date along with a manga that began in 2009. Total Eclipse follows Yui Takamura of Japan and Yuuya Bridges of the US at the Alaska base where they are placed with a project to counter the BETA. Total Eclipse premiered during the Summer 2012 anime season and ran for 24 episodes with 2 additional specials. It was simulcasted by CrunchyRoll during its run.

Muv-Luv is one of the most popular franchises in the visual novel community, mostly due to its character relations with Kimi ga Nozomu Eien and Kimi ga Ita Kisetsu. The Alternative portion of the franchise is a sci-fi, mecha setting and Total Eclipse is no exception. Total Eclipse starts off with two anime original episodes, which are arguably some of the better/best episodes in the series. You know that when such an event happens, the show may be in for a rough ride. Turns out, the show does only get worse from there. Instead of good mech action against the BETA, we are left with training arc after training arc with the main Total Eclipse cast. Occasionally we see some battles but at the end of the day, the show barely picks up. You really only need to see the first two episodes, a few middle episodes and maybe the final four or five episodes. Together this makes it about a 1 cour series. There really is no reason for Total Eclipse to be 2 cours, especially with such little source material that is presented in a visual novel like fashion. Conclusion wise, the show took yet another nosedive. It needed some sort of conflict to end the series but this was rather an annoying way to do it let alone a cheap way out.

Art is above average but not outstanding like the Alternative visual novel. Character designs are rather weak as well with too many look alike characters. Animation is horrible for a Satelight title. The mech designs are cheap and the animation quality ranging from simple facial expressions and small character details to mech movements are all over the place. Clearly the budget went elsewhere this season.

OP1 is by Kumi Koda, one of the famous hip hop singers of Japan. The song is rather catchy but that’s about it. OP2 and ED1 are by Minami Kuribayashi who continues to be as impressive as ever. Though I will say her Medaka Box themes are better. Ayami performs ED2 which is decent but have never really heard of her. Background music is average as are sound effects. Seiyuu is okay overall.

Enjoyment? Total Eclipse started off with some potential. However, it began to lose momentum quickly as it fell into stereotypical visual novel traps despite not having a visual novel as a source material. Presentation is weak overall, especially in the middle of the series where it felt like a never ending fanservice training arc. The lack of BETA and any sort of “good” action was a major turn off. The show could never balance properly whether it wanted to do a sci-fi mech show or a visual novel romance title and that’s what ultimately sinks this show’s ship. The plot becomes jumbled and resolutions are overly simplistic. Soukou no Strain and Sousei no Aquarion are more competent titles in this field and of course the classic Blue Gender and Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Overall, if Total Eclipse is used as a test pilot for the rest of the Muv-Luv franchise, it’s one heck of a failure and likely to be a hindrance for future Muv-Luv anime titles if any are to be adapted. They should really just bring back the Kimi ga Nozomu Eien cast and staff to do the Muv-Luv titles as they have also worked on titles like Soukou no Strain and Stratos 4, thereby already having experience in related franchises as well as sci-fi mech titles. The series clearly set itself up for a sequel but whether it truly deserves one remains in question given how much time was wasted in these 24 episodes.

 

Story and Character:

  • Premise (1/1): Good anime original setup. Whole alien concept is a bit of wash as Blue Gender has done the same thing but better.
  • Character Personalities (0.5/1): Do I hear Shinji Ikari everywhere? Inia = best character
  • Character Development (1/2): It’s there but cast grows quite large
  • Character Usefulness/Presence (0.5/2): Unnecessary ever growing cast. None of the “main” characters kick the bucket any time soon to add flavor to the show.
  • Pacing: (0/1): The show could easily be 12-13 episodes instead of 24
  • Reasonable/Plausible (0.5/2): Very little explanations despite the roundabout dialogue
  • Conclusion (0/1): What conclusion?
  • Total: 3.5/10

Art and Animation:

  • Backgrounds (1.5/2): Above average
  • Character Designs (0.5/2): Weak with inconsistencies
  • Fluidity (0.5/2): Far too many simple motions.
  • Visuals/Special Effects/Flashiness (0.5/2): Flashy but nothing special about it.
  • Art and Animation “Expectation” (0.5/2): One of Satelight’s worse works.
  • Total: 3.5/10

Sound and Music:

  • OP/ED/Insert Themes (2/3): Decent OP/ED themes.
  • Background Music (1/2): Average
  • Sound Effects (1/2): Average
  • Seiyuu (1.5/3): Okay
  • Total: 5.5/10

Enjoyment:

  • Amusement (1/2): Good start. Inia.
  • Weekly/Next Episode Anticipation (0.5/2): Diminishes very rapidly after first two episodes.
  • Presentation (0/2): Weak middle really hurts the series and bores viewers.
  • Re-watchable (0/1): No
  • Recommendation (0/2): Sousei no Aquarion, Blue Gender, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Soukou no Strain
  • Value (0/1): Nope
  • Total: 1.5/10

Preliminary Score: 7/10

Final Score: 3/10

Comments are closed.