Muv-Luv Alternative Episode 9, “Battlefield,” was an action-packed episode which had the first major focus on mech battles and war plans. However, for this anime-only viewer, this was also the most confusing of the episodes so far and the one where I felt the most lost. Here’s my review. (Last week’s review was skipped due to the Thanksgiving holiday.)
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.)
This is a Muv-Luv Alternative Episode 9 review. It will have spoilers for the episode, but since it’s anime-focused only, it contains no visual novel spoilers.
It Seems There Are Lots of Shades of Grey in This Civil War & No Clearcut ‘Good vs Evil’
Ever since Episode 7, I’ve really been wanting this show to return to Shirogane’s original world. I find it so fascinating to compare where he originated to where he is now. (And I have some theories that his homeworld Kouzuki was involved in an experiment that caused him to become “untethered” and float from timeline to timeline.
But none of that was discussed in this week’s episode. Instead, we dove headfirst into a crazy civil war type battle. The battle plans, which they discussed in detail, went over my head. And I’m still not 100% clear on the reasons why they’re fighting. (But I did laugh when Shirogane referred to it as stupid human fighting.)
Apparently, the American forces are fighting on the side of Shirogane’s team, who is out to protect the Shogun from the rebel forces (who are also quite strong, as it turns out.) The American forces are fighting with the UN to maintain the status quo in Japan. That status quo includes mass evacuations if civilians from volcanos and BETA attacks. But those evacuations, unfortunately, are not providing for the livelihood of the civilians once they’re taken from their homes.
The rebel forces are apparently worried that America is going to eventually control the UN and not really care about Japan at all. The Americans apparently already backed out when Japan was under BETA attack, rather than helping. Now there’s concern that they will ultimately just nuke Japan to destroy the BETA, without a care for who gets hurt in the process.
But, in this episode, Shirogane and his crew are on the side of the U.S. forces and the UN, and they’re fighting the rebels. It’s a messy battle, and the Shogun’s advisor and friend (Mikoto’s dad, Yoroi) even tells her that they can sympathize with the rebels, and the rebels’ motivation helps them remember that Japan is worth saving. So it seems like there are a lot of shades of gray in this civil war, and not a clearcut good-vs-evil side going on.
Maybe this was made most clear in that really funny quote: “English can eat shit, I repeat, English can eat shit.” 😆
This is what I’m gathering, as an anime-only viewer. It’s possible that I’m wrong or even getting the opposing sides mixed up. I’m likely missing out on a lot of nuance from not reading the visual novels. Like I said, quite a bit of this episode went over my head.
How Does the Anti-Alternative Faction Factor In?
At one point, Shirogane guesses that some of their battle plans were leaked by Ayamine, after he found her two episodes ago with “inspected” letters and confirmed she was a member of the Anti-Alternative Faction. I’m actually surprised that he didn’t turn her in. And this has left me wondering if the rebels and the Anti-Alternative groups are one and the same, or if they simply overlap in some of their goals.
I Enjoyed Shirogane’s Conversations with the Shogun
So most of this episode consisted of discussing war plans (which went over my head) and watching Shirogane race in his mech with the Shogun (Yuuhi) as his traveling companion. I really did enjoy hearing Shirogane and the Shogun talk. It turns out that she and Meiya are twin sisters. Interestingly, in the previous timeline and in his homeworld, Shirogane had no idea that Meiya had a twin sister.
This might be because, as the Shogun reveals, Meiya really doesn’t want much to do with her. She won’t accept her gifts. She won’t use the personalized mech. She doesn’t want special treatment. They were once close as kids, but now are no longer close at all. Is this because they have differing political opinions? Meiya’s made it clear that she actually sympathizes with the rebel faction’s concerns and believes they are right about some of their issues.
The Shogun reveals that she’s practiced 90 hours in a mech (which is a lot more than many of the people on Shirogane’s own team!) Old time tradition had the shogun taking part in battles, and she wants to hold on to that way of thinking. However, despite her training, she still collapses at the end of the episode from the fast travel that Shirogane had to employ in order to escape the rebels.
In the end, we’re left unclear about whether the Shogun is dead or alive. My personal theory is that she will either die or be incapacitated, and Meiya will have to sneak in and take her place. Since Meiya is sympathetic with the rebels, she might make some big political changes once she has that kind of power at her disposal.
All in all, I enjoyed this episode. However, I was more confused in this one than I’ve felt in any of the previous episodes. I’m hoping that next week provides a little more explanation, filling in some of the gaps in my understanding.