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Muv-Luv is the New Zetman

July 3, 2012

Yeah, I liked the first episode of Muv-Luv Total Eclipse Whatevertherestofthetitleis for the same reasons why I liked the first episode of Zetman. It’s all about the pacing.

The first episode of Muv-Luv just tosses you into this convoluted alternate history and makes you piece it together as you go. The moon landing happens at least as early as 1967. Japan is still under imperial rule and the capitol has returned to (or never left) Kyoto. Earth is at war with an alien species whose nature isn’t explained right away. It’s all thrown at you as if its common knowledge. This is most likely due to the anime being based on some visual novel thing, so the assumed audience is fans of said novels. They’re gonna roll with this because the holes are filled in with their prior knowledge.

As some guy who has nothing to do with visual novels, I’m going into this completely blind, but I’m not the least bit bothered by this alternate history stuff. I’m coming at it with the same attitude I had when it came to Giant Robo. That OVA threw you into the mix. There was a lot of backstory that was glossed over at best, and the way the whole thing was paced never really let you settle down and process what’s transpiring. I’m also looking at it the same way I looked at Zetman. Zetman tossed out a bunch of background details in the first episode and pushed us to the most important plot points so that it could get to the meat of the story quicker.

I like both of these approaches, and I’m liking it in this first episode of Muv-Luv. We get the gist of the situation: Aliens are attacking. Humanity is slowly losing ground. The alternate history things are little more than background fluff that don’t really mean anything in the grand scheme of things. Having the moon landing happen earlier in history is no different from the robot designs– simple stylistic flourishes and nothing more.

This pacing also allowed us to get some character bits that most other series would have dwelled upon. One girl lost her boyfriend to the aliens and wants revenge. Two of the characters have a frenemy rivalry based on station in society and the like that’ll probably have its payoff take place on the battlefield. It’s stuff we need to know, but it’s the inevitable consequences these details will have during the actual alien attack that matters the most, so we don’t need to spend entire episodes setting all of this up. At least that’s what I’m seeing here since, yeah, this all felt like the same sort of thing Zetman was going for.

So yeah, Muv Luv-has my attention. It looks like its getting right down to business and I like that. My only real concern is that once this initial conflict goes down, things are gonna devolve right back to the sort of cute high school girl antics that bores me. We don’t need girls cooing over cute shit. We don’t need endless personal drama that goes nowhere.

We need monsters blowing up robots and robots blowing up monsters.

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