Episode Review: Muv-Luv Alternative ep 19: The Storm That Is Approaching

It’s finally here! The first real battle against the BETA!
We start with a heartwarming scene, but seconds after the OP, we received the news that the mecha fans have been dying for: sortie orders. Operation 21st has been announced and this will truly, finally, mark the start of the BETA fight for Takeru and Squad 207. This episode is dedicated for setting up the operation – tactical plans, equipment check, character’s resolve, and, of course, some “flags”.

Firstly, we get to see the massive scale of the operation. In season 1, the coup is basically just a few squad, and the start of season 2 is just Yokohama base, but this Operation will include the entire UN Orbital Space Fleet, 2 Squadrons from the IJN Combined Fleet which ranges in dozens of warships, hundreds of TSFs. The scale of this op surpasses everything we’ve seen. And with Graphinica’s track record of animating beautiful mecha action scene, we are definitely in for a treat. And we also get introduced to the Mobile Armor of Muv-Luv: the Susano-O Mark II.

The Susano-O Mark II is a massive fortress that has a gravity field generated by an anti-gravity drive (totally not GN Drive). And of course, a giant beam cannon that can wipe out anything in its path. And unsurprisingly, Sumika will be in control of it. Leave it to the unstable young girl to pilot a giant death machines (Gundams am I rite?). The Susano-O is basically the Dendrobium of Muv-Luv just with different gimmicks, and will be the key in the upcoming operation. Enough about the robotty stuff, let’s take a look at the characters:

Tsukuyomi talk with Takeru delivers a surprising twist. Meiya has been effectively “disowned” from the Shogun house and is now just a regular Eishi. This means there will be no protection for her even if she jump to her death in battle. But this also means that she can make her own choice and follow her own path without being tied down as the “Shogun’s double”. Her death won’t be a liability, and the Shogunate’s affair do not affect her anymore. This is basically breaking the chains that have been keeping Meiya safely in her cage. But as Takeru said, Meiya will definitely continue to fight for Japan and its people, as well as her “sister”.

We have some shower room moments between members of the valkyries. The OG 207B squad has their own moment in the bathroom to talk with each other. Although the moment was short, and some may not like it due to it happening while they were bathing (naked), but I just glad the anime still retain some parts of it, and it still did its job. The same could be said to the interaction with Haruko and Takeru’s field commander Isumi.

Both has a fair amount of screen time that people got to know them more. With Haruko, she is struggling with her motivations. On one hand, she thought she’s fighting for humanity and her comrade, on the other, her thoughts are with her younger brothers. In Haruko Maniax (a spin-off Muv-Luv game), Haruko was shown to have 2 brothers who are much younger than she is, and while her demeanor can be aloof with a devil-may-care attitude, she really thinks a lot about what it means to fight as a UN Pilot. The anime glossed over her entire characterization for understandable reasons, so we do recommend reading the manga or VN to explore her more.

Isumi on the other hand, if you are not familiar with other áge Visual Novels, you’d be very surprised to learn Isumi has such a complicated backstory. Her character is actually from the very first Muv-Luv-verse visual novel: Kimi ga Ita Kisetsu – which features a 4-sister harem story. Isumi and her 3 sisters all compete for the same guy – sounds like something out of a fantasy (oh wait!). In Alternative, her backstory is still the same, just that in this world mired by war, there are no time and place for romance. From her words, it’s clear that she has a brave front but deep inside is just a girl in love like any others. However…

The flags are raised, the TSFs are carried out to Sadogashima. Next ep, the Operation begins!

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