Episode Review: Muv-Luv Alternative ep 14 – Playtime’s over

Time for despair!
Finally, the bell has tolled. And the fated day has arrived.
For those veterans, we knew this day would come. All that pain that we once felt has come back once more.
For the young Cadets, we welcome you to this hell of pain and mental torture. Just remember, this is the only beginning.

Time for some TSF action again! If you recalled season 1, Takeru came up with a new OS for TSF – basically a pro-gamer move from him (finally gamers can save the world). And in this episode, we get to see exactly why it’s superior and enjoy some Graphinica 3DCG. As always, the TSF action is like a dream, possibly the best of the season with the dynamic way the model was rigged. You can even say it’s better than Musashi and Gundam. Although the 2D still leave some room to be desired.

We also see the subversion of the classic “Veteran pilot picking on noobs”. In season 1, we saw the typical way where senior pilots pulled ranks to coerce the Cadets. However, in this episode, we saw the welcome attitude, surprise and even pride towards Takeru. That his creation is something amazing and worth using. It is also a huge pay-off for his effort since the start of season 1. It’s cool to see some gratification for his action. However, it didn’t last long…

The exercise was interrupted by the enemies – none other than the “Code 991” BETA – and people were killed – sometimes a significant one, a setup that has been using since the Starship Troopers day. But it doesn’t mean that it cannot be utilized to great effect…again. With the right timing and execution, an old trick can still hit just as hard.

And then, the infamous CHOMP, for those newcomers you probably have heard about it. Now, you know why us visual novel readers (or manga readers) called it CHOMP because it is exactly what it sounds like. 
One of the most important moments in the Muv Luv franchise as a whole, as it delivered the hardest gut punch in the form of Marimo’s death. It screamed into our faces that Takeru was not a hero, the future has been changed, but for the worse, and that all the hard work that Takeru have been diligently doing all led to the most shocking moment possible. But still, this is not the end. That single scene is just the “prologue” – Takeru has been in the “eye of the storm” – being protected from the harsh reality while surrounded by the looming BETA threat. Now, as he thought he was ready to take on mankind’s enemy and be a hero, the “storm” struck him with a fist made of concrete.

Believe it or not, this is the very first time Takeru “encountered” the BETA in the truest sense. What he remembered for his supposed “past three year” were some major moments, not everything. That also means that even though he still retained his physique and piloting skills, he is indeed still a rookie that just got his first taste of battlefield. 

He took pride in his new OS that it is the game changer for the pilots to be able to survive longer in the battlefield. And yet with it, people still die.

He wanted to show that he is capable of fighting back, of saving lives with his skills and his XM3 that was praised so much before, but he then got hypnotized and got drugged, and then he went off the rail. Lets be honest, the fear that your mecha armor got bitten, got ripped bit by bit, while you are inside, surrounded in complete darkness, just made everything worse for him. He even wet his suit, screaming in fear until he got rescued, something we don’t see a lot of main mecha pilot go through. Not with this visceral intensity of fear and helplessness.

That is it for the plot, the animation for mecha is still awesome, music is great, but one thing stand above even the visual novel, was the sound that the CHOMP made, that was disturbing, made this a great adaptation that turn this “experience” into something different from the Visual Novel and other media. A great improvement in quality compared to season 1.

Next time: How will Takeru deal with all of “this”?

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