Webchat with Bloggers Kai (Deluscar) & Silvachief (The Geek Clinic) on the Muv-Luv Trilogy – Part 1

DinnerFor the past two weeks I have been in contact with bloggers Kai and Silvachief discussing what we thought of the Muv-Luv trilogy in extensive detail. After getting out most of what we had to say on the subject I split the conversation into different Q&A segments to sum up each topic before splitting it into two parts. Part 1 is made up of the discussion triggered by Kai’s questions to us while Part 2 will be made up of questions Silvachief and I asked. For those wanting a good thorough conversation on Muv-Luv or just wanting to read a conversation between multiple anibloggers and don’t mind a few minor SPOILERS, you’ll enjoy this very much.

Kai’s Questions

Question 1
Should you skip the first visual novel and what was your favorite heroine?

[Lazarinth]
Despite what I think of Extra (almost dropped it I found it so tedious) I’d still recommend someone to play all 3. For me Unlimited was a relief and made me go “thank god, some plot!” I wasn’t the biggest fan of Sumika. My favorite heroine is a tie between Meiya and Ayamine.

[Silvachief]
Sumika is Best Girl! Anyways, I agree 100% that Extra is not nearly as good as the two installments that follow it. There’s not a whole lot that goes on and I can see a lot of people getting tired of the repeat gags. However, I don’t think you can fully enjoy Unlimited and Alternative without Extra because the feeling of connection with the characters just won’t be there and also because you would then be unable to draw a comparison between the original world and the Alternative world…a lot of the initial impact of Unlimited’s story would be lost. Having said that, in my opinion it’s more that okay to skip Extras optional routes; they don’t add anything important to the experience unless you like those characters.

[Kai]
Personally, I also find it a necessity to play all three of them. Although the atmosphere is completely different, there are quite some elements of the story which are drawn from Extra, and since there are just so MANY things going on in Alternative, the plot goes so quick that without a solid understanding of Extra and Unlimited, Alternative becomes even more mindwrecking, in a bad way. In my opinion, all the three titles in the trilogy – Extra, Unlimited and Alternative, goes hand-in-hand with each other, and you can’t just skip one and go straight to the other. Although I agree that you can skip some of the lesser unimportant routes, you still might miss out on some things, but nothing major. For example, a certain character in Kei’s route from Extra, who later on become a significant character in one of Alternative’s arc. Also, Tama and her dad’s interactive dynamics, which would make the same interaction from the duo in Unlimited/Alternative somewhat uncanny, nostalgic even, if one had played Tama’s route in Extra. And Meiya is Best Girl.

– – –
Question 2
What do you think of Alternative’s system and does the lack of CG and music gallery bother you?

[Lazarinth]
Yes, though I could have downloaded the CG and music online it would have been nice to have a movie gallery for the animated cut-scenes. On the system, what annoyed me was the inconsistency of moving mouths in certain scenes where some avatars would and others wouldn’t.

[Silvachief]
While I did notice the lack of galleries (because seriously…what other visual novels don’t have them?), it wasn’t something that bothered me overmuch. If I wanted any of the BGM I would have to find it online anyway, so those features aren’t something that I care about. I also noticed the mouth issues. While MLA objectively loses points for that, it didn’t affect my enjoyment. Now that you mention it that would have been nice, CGs I can live without but I would have liked to relive the animated portions.

[Kai]
Listening to the songs inside the visual novel as compared to finding and listening them out of Muv-luv different IMO though, although I guess it’s something we had to make do with. I noticed the inconsistencies with the mouth movements, but it doesn’t really bother me much. Often times, I’m too immersed with the plot twists to even care about their mouth movements.

– – –
Question 3
What did you think of the anime adaptation?

[Lazarinth]
Didn’t watch it, the only thing I know about the anime is Douchbagchocolat’s ‘should you watch’ review and that its promoters stole some of its poster art or something like that.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PrPRB-JpNQ

[Silvachief]
I ended up watching Total Eclipse because I just wasn’t ready to give up the Muv-Luv universe after Alternative. It wasn’t a masterpiece and didn’t focus on the aspects that I would have liked it to but, as always, it was nice to see a previously static series come to life.

[Kai]
I watched this before even playing Muv-luv myself and I actually barely remember anything. Well, now that I’m more appreciative of the Muv-Luv universe, I might want to rewatch it soon, maybe.

[Silvachief]
I’m not sure if it’s good enough to merit a re-watch XD

[Lazarinth]
I might watch it in the future but it’s a small possibility.

– – –
Question 4
What did you think of the science and science fiction elements in it?

[Lazarinth]
The time, multiverse and ‘causality conductor’ rules are loose enough to do whatever they wanted in the plot. I gave it to my physics masters mate but I really think he’s too busy to analyze it.

[Silvachief]
As for the science-y aspect…I thought it was reasonably well done. It was basic enough that I was able to understand what they were talking about and how it all connected, but complex enough that I didn’t feel like questioning it =P I’m sure that many of the concepts are complete rubbish, though that didn’t matter to me at the time.

[Kai]
Maybe some of it is rubbish indeed, but perhaps some of it reflects real life’s physics. Maybe we can wait for Lazarinth’s physics masters mate to see if he can shed some light into the picture.

[Lazarinth]
My physics mate is actually reading it and is going to give me run down on all the science plot holes, if he can find any. He loves hard scifi so he’ll probably enjoy it bit it will probably take him a while though.

– – –
Question 5
What was your favorite part in the trilogy and what aspect did you like the most?

[Lazarinth]
My favorite aspect of Alternative was the suspense of some scenes. It got to me as much as any thriller or ticking time bomb action film. I’m still on the fence of whether I prefer Alternative or Unlimited.

[Silvachief]
I much preferred Alternative. Unlimited only had one climax point and lacked a real ending, whereas Alternative has multiple heart-pounding, edge-of-your-seat-gripping sequences that up the ante every time.

[Kai]
I agree. Unlimited ended awkwardly, though that last scene with the heroine is nice, bittersweet even.

[Lazarinth]
I don’t fully agree with this, hell it’s not even a sourced statement, but I did think what this quote mentions did make it unique as far a mecha media go. More than a handful of fans see Unlimited as the best part of Muv-Luv, due to the way it paints a portrait of a world filled with conflict without actually showing us any. http://muvluv.wikia.com/wiki/Muv-Luv_Unlimited

[Silvachief]
While I’m not sure about the second half of that sentence, I think they’re just saying that Unlimited is better than Extra, since collectively they’re called Muv-Luv. I don’t think that statement takes Alternative into account.

– – –
Question 6
What’s your position on any sequels, spin-off or remake visual novels?

[Silvachief]
Interestingly enough, there are two Muv-Luv PS3/PS4 games planned that will compile all of the extra visual novel content related to Muv-Luv. However, given that there’s no official translation for the original Muv-Luv games, I doubt we’ll ever see them >.<

[Lazarinth]
What do you think of the idea of a prologue based around the arrival of the BETA with the main characters being a younger Kousuki and Marimo? Check this image out and tell me it hasn’t crossed the makers’ minds. http://muvluv.wikia.com/wiki/Kouzuki_Yuuko?file=Yuuko_Marimo_uniform.jpg

[Kai]
The weird thing is I can totally see it happening. Aside from the three main titles, Muv-luv has TONS of side-stories – Muv luv Unlimited The Day After, which is just right after Unlimited’s end, Altered Fable, a full story on the final world Takeru landed on, and I think there is even a visual novel focused specifically on the Captain and her three sisters and their love interest, basically her “Extra” story. I haven’t search more but I have a feeling there’s more.

[Silvachief]
That image looks pretty legit, as opposed to fan art. I think it could definitely happen and I’d be very keen to read it if it did. As far as I know there aren’t any visual novels that cover the initial invasion so it’s very doable.

[Lazarinth]
Have you ever heard of Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, I watched the anime for it years ago before I had even heard of MuvLuv and was pretty surprised when I saw characters from it piloting mech? AnimeNfo was an old anime website that barely ever updates its Top200 list but it was one of first anime referrals I used as a teen. I think it was like number 3 on that so that’s probably where I got it from.”

[Kai]
Heard of the title from some random mentions here and there, but never knew there’s an anime adaption. I would watch it, but another part of me want to read the visual novel instead, though any possibility of translation seems slim.

[Silvachief]
I also haven’t seen the anime though I’m aware of its existence because of the links between Muv-Luv and the visual novel on VNDB. I think it’s pretty cool that they managed to bring in characters from one of their other productions in a relatively major role.

– – –
Further Discussion
What do you think of the theme of their reasons for fighting for ambitious or personal reasons?

[Lazarinth]
That was a well developed theme, it’s kind of was built from other scenes in the plot like Takeru getting messed up by the BETA and being traumatized via seeing Marimo dying crossed with his thoughts on if he was originally killed by that soldier class.

[Silvachief]
While this may be a bit of a tangent, I found the level of patriotism displayed in MLA to be incredibly interesting. My country doesn’t have the same level of history or culture as Japan so, beyond hoping that we win the odd sporting match, I imagine that a lot of us just don’t feel that kind of connection (Lazarinth may feel differently, It’s cool, I don’t). To then have this foreign concept split into devotion to country and devotion to the Shogun, and also see it from former civilians versus those of noble birth, made the entire subject seem very well fleshed out from my point of view.”

[Kai]
“That was one of my favorite theme in the visual novel too. I like how Takeru find out that mostly all of his squadmates, especially his seniors, fight for personal reasons, and there isn’t really anything wrong with it, despite how serious he was in looking for one. Difference in views and beliefs had been one of the causes of civil war around the globe, which is something the visual novel implement into the storyline – the 12/5 Incident. The thing about this incident is that it is one of the first “original” event which had never happened in Unlimited, and is out of Takeru’s previous experience. And the most interesting thing about this incident is that one of the sparks that caused it, is Takeru’s own decision to forcefully evacuating the villages at Mount Tengen, almost akin to a kidnap. Human rights had become kind of a grey area at this point, but one thing that comes to mind was what makes a country to both Takeru and Meiya. To Takeru, it is the government, but to Meiya, it is the people, and Takeru’s merciless choice in neglecting the people’s wishes become one of the causes of this incident to rise.”

– – –

What do you think of the relationships between the characters and themes of comrade chemistry?

[Lazarinth]
Well, I think the genderless claim was slightly inaccurate considering the routes in Unlimited but yeah Takeru is VERY aware in Alternative how important their relationships are, going so far as to questioning skipping certain interactions or not depending how it affects them in the future. Little did we know how little those decisions made for the game, considering there’s only one route.

[Silvachief]
The whole idea of forming a genderless army in order to facilitate teamwork is an interesting one. Whether it would work or not remains to be seen, as I’m pretty sure it would never stand in a real army XD As for Muv-Luv…it was shameless eye-candy.

[Kai]
Well, if I were to fight in an army, my morale will boost overbearingly if young female soldiers would wear skimpy, revealing outfits like those suits….

[Silvachief]
Perhaps, but what about their morale Kai? =P

[Lazarinth]
Going on what’s mentioned in the visual novel, the novelty of the suits seemed to decrease for the characters over time.

– – –

What do you think of the theme of sacrifice and with respects to the death of comrades? (e.g. The Valkyrie’s creed, Granny Kyouzuka cooking the dead comrade’s favorite food.)

[Lazarinth]
For the thing that killed the sacrifice aspect for me was the timing of introducing the newer characters which die off first. Maybe it was just me because I played it very quickly but it just felt like they were being introduced to die off later on. Though I like the characters this aspect of the story felt kind of contrived to me. Exception for Meiya, that was badass.

[Silvachief]
The Valkyrie’s Creed comes back to my point about patriotism. This is an elite squad that’s willing to die to further the goals of their country. Having such a strong and unyielding concept verbalized would probably be surprisingly important for squad morale and their ability to sacrifice themselves if and when the time comes. I imagine it would also go pretty far for troop solidarity as well, with the knowledge that everyone else is willing to give their lives serving to tie everyone together.  I found the various methods used by the characters to deal with their comrades’ deaths to be a wonderful touch. When you don’t have time to honor a death those traditions become really important for dealing with grief and each person having their own personal (or squad-related) ritual makes them seem that much more human. They want to grieve for their lost ally and friend but they have a job that requires them to free their mind of distractions…so those traditions are all that they have. A quick note on Meiya’s scene though…that clip was cool the first time, but when the exact same thing had been played multiple times it started to get old.

[Kai]
I don’t find the new characters dying too quick imo. The new characters are all given enough screentime, and I still sympathize with their deaths as much as the main cast.  And yes, Meiya’s death scene feels very different from the others – she’s able to retain her human dignity and pride till to the very end :’-) I find that the Valkyrie’s creed are born more on desperation, with solidarity perhaps just a positive after-effects. The motto really emphasized on sacrifices, sacrifices that will bring the squad closer to objective, with survival the least of their worries. Then again, fighting with unknown life forms more technologically advanced, with a hundred times the amount of power of the humans, I can see where the Valkyries are coming from. I also like those seemingly little “traditions” that they upheld whenever a comrade of theirs die in battle. Literally, I don’t think they could even find the body of their dead comrades, mostly, their bodies would be completely obliterated into ashes by the overpowering BETAs, or perhaps they would collect said bodies and perhaps experiment on them much like what they did to Sumika. Chances are, whenever one is fighting against them, the bodies probably wouldn’t even remain for whatever purposes. All these just make those little “traditions” that much important for the characters.

[Lazarinth]
That was all pretty cool. As I said though the brevity of the characters could have been down to me marathoning it so quickly, maybe I shouldn’t have rushed it so much.

– – –

Part 2

http://thegeekclinic.wordpress.com/

http://deluscar.wordpress.com/

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3 Responses to Webchat with Bloggers Kai (Deluscar) & Silvachief (The Geek Clinic) on the Muv-Luv Trilogy – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Kai’s Discussion with Silvachief and Lazarinth on the Many Wonders of Muv-luv | deluscar

  2. Pingback: [Announcement]: Muv-Luv Discussion with Lazarinth (Fantasy & Anime) & Kai (Deluscar) | The Geek Clinic

  3. Pingback: Webchat with Kai (Deluscar) & and Silvachief (The Geek Clinic) on the Muv-Luv Trilogy – Part 2 | Fantasy and Anime

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