Muv-Luv Alternative Episode 6 was probably the best episode in the anime so far. It feels like they’ve finally gotten through all the catching-up/speeding-ahead-to-the-good-part moments from the previous episodes and now we’re into the real meat of the series. I was enjoying the anime so far (even though I missed out on writing last week’s review), but this week’s episode felt like things are going to really improve from here. I did finally notice a few things that might have meant more to me and made more sense if I read the visual novels. But this didn’t interfere with my enjoyment. It simply pointed me to some scenes I had previously misinterpreted.
Friendly reminder: I’m an anime-only viewer, so I’m sharing these reviews from the perspective of someone who hasn’t read the visual novels (but has done a little background research.)Check out this #MuvLuvAlternative review of Episode 6 for anime-only viewers. Click To Tweet
This is a Muv-Luv Alternative Episode 6 review. It will have spoilers for the episode, but since it’s anime-focused only, it contains no visual novel spoilers.
Political Intrigue Opens Up the Episode
I’m not sure why this anime isn’t more popular. It’s pure post-apocalypse, which is a widely popular genre, and the visual novels are apparently very popular too. I’m thinking that if things really kick into gear after this week, then the show’s popularity might grow.
The episode kicked off with that mysterious stranger who confronted Shirogane at the end of last week’s. As it turns out, he’s Mikoto’s dad, Yoroi Sakon. (If you’re still having trouble remembering every character’s name like I am, I list them all in my first review.) Apparently her dad is with the Imperial Ministry of Intelligence and he already knew that this world’s original Shirogane was dead. So he’s come to figure out just who this one is. Kouzuki, while working on Alternative IV, is apparently not communicating much with the Intelligence ministry.
I guess it’s not super surprising that a lot of the members of this elite mecha team apparently have pretty important connections. Meiya’s mom is apparently the shogun? And Tamase Miki’s dad is the UN inspector. Shirogane is working with a lot of VIPs.
But back to the storyline… Yoroi tells them that some factions in the imperial military are making “ominous moves” and formed a “Strategic Studies Group.” If they “take action” they could create a political and military power vacuum in Japan that anti-Alternative countries and factions in the UN would take advantage of. This reveals that despite the BETA invasion, there are a number of countries opposed to all these “Alternative” plans. Which makes me wonder what their plans for defeating the aliens are? (I’m getting some flashbacks to watching Evangelion in this part too, since there were a lot of political groups jockeying against each other for power against an invasion in that anime too.)
Yoroi says that people have gotten suspicious based on how overly prepared Kouzuki’s group has been for some of the recent attacks and other incidents. (And really, who can blame them?)
The biggest takeaway from this whole conversation is that Shirogane is starting to change this world in a major way, considering that he had never met Mikoto’s dad before.
Shirogane Makes a Big Discovery About the Other World
Then in the next scene, Shirogane is having another vivid dream about Kagami Sumika and the time they spent together in his original world. He tells Kouzuki about his dreams. After she runs tests on him while he’s sleeping, she quickly deduces that although his body remains in this world, his mind is actually returning to his original world when he’s dreaming. Theoretically, he could return to that world if he ever figured out how to control the way he travels from world to world. But Shirogane is insistent on his desire to stay in this one and defeat the BETA invasion before he returns to his own. (That’s pretty significant dedication and I’m not sure, in his place, if I’d be the same.)
Kouzuki says that his original world was destabilized when he was removed from it, so it’s trying to draw him back. If he doesn’t want to end up there permanently, she still needs to send him back temporarily so she can get the formulas that her counterpart-self had figured out. She needs those formulas to create an “000” unit. Kasumi plays a role in helping him remain anchored to their universe during these experiments and it takes a big toll out of her. (They still haven’t shared what her abilities are or what that brain-in-a-jar is, which is really bugging me.)
There’s a brief scene where they show Shirogane having lunch with the gang and Kasumi, who really doesn’t know much about proper interactions with other people, tries to feed him. The other women misinterpret this and get really mad at Shirogane. I think this is something I’d understand better if I’d read the visual novels. Are they all supposed to be in love with him or something? Also, I really can’t stop thinking about how much Kasumi is like Rei from Evangelion, and I can’t help but wonder if Rei’s character influenced how she was written.
Kouzuki’s experiments work, and Shirogane is able to return briefly and see Sumika, although he somehow ends up walking in on her using the restroom and is immediately pulled back to the BETA world. The interesting part is that for some reason, he can’t say what he wants to. Instead, he can only watch himself say other things to her. I was wondering if maybe it was because he hopped back into the past and what happened couldn’t be changed. But Kouzuki said it was because he didn’t fully materialize in the other world.
With fresh determination, Shirogane vows to get it right the next day. But once he’s fully materialized, he needs to take care to only talk to Kouzuki so he doesn’t change his original world too much. He focuses on Sumika in order to help fully materialize this time. And that’s when I realize how much I’ve misinterpreted in this show.
They show a flashback to his original world, where Shirogane is kissing Sumika. Prior to this, it felt like most of the scenes portrayed Sumika as being a lot shorter (and younger) than Shirogane. I had actually assumed she was his little sister and that’s why he needed to find her. 😂😂😂 Guess I was REALLY wrong about that one. 💀 This also led me to believe that Kasumi is MUCH younger than him and the others too, and was like a little sister to him. But is she the same age as Sumika? Honestly, I thought it was Shirogane and Meiya who had the romantic connection. There even seemed to be hints that he had connections with some of the others too. So that’s one clear example of where I missed out on quite a bit of subtext based on not having watched the visual novels first. 🤷♀️🤦♀️
It all works, and Shirogane ends up in his original world. It’s November 2001, so he’s also traveled back in time a bit. He quickly finds Kouzuki, just like he was told. This Kouzuki is a much cooler, more lighthearted version of the one in the BETA world. Maybe it’s because of the alien invasion influence or maybe she’s just genuinely different. Kouzuki tells him that she’ll need three days to get the formulas he needs. As he leaves, Kouzuki comments to herself that she wishes Marimo could have seen him. “He’s turned out to be a pretty big deal,” she says to herself, about how he’s become unbound from this world. So now I’m suspicious that maybe, just maybe, Kouzuki did her own experiment that caused Shirogane to be unbound.
Is Shirogane going to spend a few days in this world and then return? I hope so, because I’d love to see how that all plays out.
All in all, I’d give Episode 6 a high rating. It was enjoyable, quick-paced, fun, and maybe one of the better episodes so far.