Muv-Luv Alternative 2nd Season story: Thanks to Professor Yuuko Kouzuki’s technology and Kasumi Yashiro’s psychic powers, Cadet Takeru Shirogane travels back to his original world. With no time to lose, Takeru aims to enlist Yuuko’s help in his world to complete the Alternative IV project—the last hope humanity has against the BETA, an alien species invading the planet. As the anti-BETA project nears completion, Takeru and other cadets graduate from the Yokohama pilot training academy.
However, during a test of the new operating system for the Tactical Surface Fighters—the giant combat suits used by humanity against their adversary—the BETA ambush Takeru and his team. Barely escaping with his life, Takeru is left traumatized after witnessing the cruel death of one of his close friends.
Losing his will to fight, Takeru flees back to the other world, where he experiences a similar tragedy. According to Yuuko’s theory, people from parallel universes are bound to suffer the same fate. As a result, Takeru must overcome his trauma if he wants to protect the ones he holds dear.
It’s almost like this show is really goddamn enjoyable and peak hype when the focus is on the Mechs and humanity’s desperate battle against this unstoppable, existential threat
Story: This is what we’ve been edging for!
When it comes down to it, this whole thing is about retaking Sado back from the BETA after losing the island in the first episode of Season 1. It’s a simple premise, but up until the latter half of Season 2, the plot and the pacing felt whack and derailed. Sure, the whole thing about alternate realities and jumping between timelines to save the world is interesting, but if I want to watch something like that, I’d watch Steins Gate. I get that it’s a melodrama still, but a lot of times it feels like I’m watching a different show. It’s things like this why Season 1 was such a massive let down, and at worst, felt incredibly misleading. Muv-Luv has a great worldbuilding, has these really cool Mechs based on real fighter aircraft, and the BETA. Why are they not the focus?!
When we do eventually get to the part about retaking Sado though, everything picks up and the show instantly becomes much more enjoyable. There’s still melodrama that would get people a NJP, court martial or even killed should it happen in real life, but it’s not detriment to the story and actually adds more. This is how the show’s melodrama should have been handled.
The climax of the battle is exactly something that you would expect from a show with a premise like this. It’s perfect, it’s bittersweet and the emotional impact felt deserved than forced.
Characters: More enjoyable this time around
The MC in Season 1 was not likeable, like at all. Seeing him suffer in the first half of Season 2, his shit getting kicked in and suffer some more was honestly quite satisfying and lowkey funny. But, because of what he went through, he was able to overcome and grow up as a character. He’s still an angsty anime teenager, but he isnt as insufferable that you are actually able to root for him to succeed during battles.
The original 207B cast and the addition Sumika are still meh, but putting more focus on the Valkyries, in particular the squad lead and the rest of the leadership is such a welcome one. Despite not having as much screen time, the aforementioned Valkyrie characters are enjoyable. They act their part as the seniors and as combat veterans without feeling like bland, generic military characters. If anything, the Valkyries should have been part of the main cast instead of being the supporting ones.
Visuals & Audio: Hype, hype and even more hype?!
Evan Call, the music composer for this show is a peak hype machine. The battles wouldnt be as impactful if it were not for Evan’s music, and that new track that plays during the Sado battles for a few episodes simply out-hypes “Not Yet Dead” from Season 1. The new Opening is also hype and hopeful, which fits the show a lot more than Season 1’s Rinne by VWP. The ending music though, also by VWP is simply beautiful and bittersweet, it perfectly captures the vibes and emotions when it’s played on screen.
The animation and CGI are about the same as Season 1 when it comes to “quality”. There is no sense of weight and realism, it’s fast paced and a spectacle, but it is very enjoyable. There is a very short scene in Episode 8 where we get a cockpit view POV inside the Mech during combat, it’s delicious, it’s hype and it gives us a tiny glimpse of just how fast faced and how much reaction time is such a big thing when it comes to close ranged TSF fights.
Personal Enjoyment: Stop teasing and give us the goods!
I say this as a Muv-Luv fan, the setting is wonderful, the worldbuilding is intriguing, the TSF / TSA designs are fantastic, and the BETA are disgusting and uncanny. The show is at its peak when we get these. For the casual viewer, these are what they probably expected, so give it to us! I don’t care if the adaptation is faithful / unfaithful to the VN, dont waste our time by giving us these filler stuff that feels deralied to the main story.
When a good portion of the show are anything but the mentioned above, it feels like we’re being teased in a bad way. It takes away from the atmosphere, the urgency and when you literally forget that there is an alien invasion going on where billions are already dead, that’s not a good thing.
Summary: Stick to the premise!
If Season 1 was a cold unseasoned bagel, Season 2 is like eating left over cake for lunch. It could be better, there are more nutritious food to eat, but you’ll get by for the rest of your day. You could skip the cold stale bread and only eat the frosting and the toppings and still enjoy it, but that alone could leave you wanting for more. The latter half of Season 2 is a fantastic example of the show’s premise being fully utilized as humanity’s desperate struggle against an unstoppable, existential threat – they really should focus on this way more.
Should a Season 3 exist, it can only get better from here.