Episode Review: Muv-Luv Alternative ep 16: No Brakes On The Pain Train

I thought…only she would remember…
We are at the halfway point of the story – another crucial turning point for Takeru. For some of us, this is something we’ve already experienced, for others, this is their first time through this journey. And from both perspectives, this episode is a great deal of emotional impact, well done from both audio and visual aspect.

We start the episode with another disaster that befalls Takeru: the people closest to him began to forget about him to the point of not recognizing him anymore. The mechanism was explained by Yuuko in a very concise way. This is also one of the thing the anime did a great job with: shortening the lengthy explanation in the Visual Novel. In the original version, Yuuko’s explanation is extremely thorough and detailed. So if you’re interested in studying multiversal quantum mechanics, hit up the VN. Either way, let’s get back to our suffering protag.

One thing the anime glossed a bit over is how affectionate and “enamored” Meiya is with Takeru. She was a Zaibatsu’s heir with all the money and privileges in the world, yet she insisted on pursuing a normal boy like Takeru just because of a single brief childhood encounter. So seeing someone who insistently barged in his life making a 180-degree turn, Takeru was understandably affected heavily. After hearing the full extent of the “forgetting phenomenon”, Takeru was literally whited out. The visual representation of the anime is perfect here. One thing about the visual novel is that it is from Takeru’s POV so we dont get to see the situation from a 3rd-person view.

But even so, there is only one single person that will not have any of that. And that is Takeru’s childhood friend, the person who has been with him since the start, Sumika. Even as Takeru try to push his most important person away, Sumika pushed through all of the boundaries – even so far as listening and believing Takeru’s absurd story about the BETAverse. While we as viewers are no stranger to alien busting giant robots, the people in Takeru’s world would view his story as utter insanity. But even so, Sumika was willing to believe. She knows Takeru too well to realize when he’s lying or telling the truth. After the shocking events of Marimo’s death, it makes more sense to think Takeru was crazy, but Sumika knew that it’s more than that. The park scene was done beautifully and emotionally. The 2D art team did a very, very good job, much better than season 1. The sunset glow was really nice.

Another thing that the staff did amazing is the voice acting. Sumika’s VA – Tomori Kusunoki – channeled the character’s personality and emotion spectacularly. One of the biggest concerns with the series was the entire replacement of the voice cast except one (which was Norio Wakamoto). But by now the new cast has proven that we have absolutely no cause for worry as they delivered a flawless performance. The scene was much more “screamy” in the VN and the manga, but still, the anime did a very nice job portraying both Sumika’s boundless acceptance and Takeru’s desperate hopefulness.

But alas (for the 3rd time), this is Muv-Luv. There are no brakes on the suffering train, as Takeru (and Sumika) is once again hit with another major disaster brought upon him by the whimsical lasy of Fate. After a heartfelt confession and even a passionate kiss(es), Sumika has finally succumbed to the memory loss even after promising Takeru that she alone would not forget. But that’s just the appetizer, the actual gut punch (or rather, “head”) comes just minutes later. The most precious thing that Takeru hold dear has been taken away from him and squashed in a pool of blood.

And then the revelation that Sumika has been reading her diaries to remember Takeru. Not to mention, she wrote about EVERYTHING. Her entire life with Takeru, revolving around Takeru. Not one entry in her diaries is without mention of Takeru’s name. And he finally realizes what he had and what he had lost. From now on, the real struggle begins!

Once again, amazing work by the animation team, Evan Call nailing it again with some amazing OST, as well as a gorgeous performance from the Seiyuus. Finally, buckle up, as we are finally going back…to war!

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