Originally a visual novel that was released in two parts—one a romance/dating sim and the other a sci-fi thriller—Muv-Luv Alternative didn’t seem likely for an anime adaptation. The original game released in 2006 but we didn’t see a western release until 2018! Yet, several studios joined—Yumeta Company, Graphinica, and FLAGSHIP LINE—to make Muv-Luv Alternative a reality. Is this sci-fi drama worth your time though, or should you just nab the PS Vita VN? Let’s find out in our first impressions of Muv-Luv Alternative!
A Rather Peculiar Tale
Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of Muv-Luv as a franchise. As we noted earlier, Muv-Luv was originally a visual novel that followed high school student Takeru Shirogane who ends up falling in love with one of the various girls—this was a dating sim after all—and ends up living that great high school dating dream we all have. However, Muv-Luv Unlimited—which was a sequel—shatters Takeru’s world as he awakens in a world filled with aliens, death, and destruction.
Muv-Luv Alternative follows our young Takeru as he awakens once again but before the end of mankind—when they were forced to send 100,000 people into space—and with his memories of the past still intact. Now Takeru must try to avoid the series of events that lead to mankind’s demise using his wits and trained talents from the previous attempt he had saving the human race.
What separates Muv-Luv Alternative from most VN adaptations is that you really don’t need a lot of prior knowledge of the original two games in the series. As of episode 3, Muv-Luv Alternative is keeping the story simple enough for those that aren’t privy to the source material and that is a very hard thing to perform for most anime adaptations.
An Okay but Speedy Adaptation
As fans of Muv-Luv—we reviewed the games here at Honey’s Anime long ago—we remember the tale quite well and worried this adaption would fail to deliver. Thankfully, so far at least, Muv-Luv Alternative is following the visual novel as best as possible but is certainly skipping over some sequences that might turn some of the VN lovers off. The training arc was noticeably reduced in episode 3 but we also realize that sequence would have been several episodes alone. As of right now, we don’t believe this is a bad adaptation but we do notice some of the VN fans having issues with the pacing in the various online forums.
The Darkness of Death and Life
There’s a truly hard juggling act to perform when it comes to sci-fi drama and romance stories like Muv-Luv Alternative. At any time, a story like this could fall apart if one of the genres overpowers the other. What makes Muv-Luv Alternative so good is that it constantly keeps you remembering that this isn’t just a love story or a school-life tale but one of death, war, and survival.
Early on, Muv-Luv Alternative shows the events prior to Takeru and his class of soldiers. This is where we see the BETA—the aliens in the series—overpower the human race and kill loved ones and friends with no hesitation. One minute you see a romance blossoming and then the story rips your heart out by killing possible romances without batting an eye. Muv-Luv Alternative is never one genre for too long and that makes it quite an entertaining story.
Visually Not the Best
Here’s the weird thing about Muv-Luv Alternative. In terms of character designs and mecha action, Muv-Luv Alternatives looks good. The BETA though, are…questionable in design but Muv-Luv Alternative never really pushes the bill when it comes to mecha action. This series probably won’t win any awards for best animation of the year and we won’t be arguing for it to win.
Muv-Luv Alternative is shaping up to be a decent VN adaptation. Mixing drama, sci-fi, mecha, and a tinge of romance, Muv-Luv Alternative is definitely not a series to skip out on but that’s just our opinion. Are you otaku out there watching Muv-Luv Alternative? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments below! Keep stuck to our non-drama-filled hive here at Honey’s Anime for more Muv-LuvAlternative and other fall 2021 anime coverage!