AX 2012 - Muv-Luv: Total Eclipse Premiere
One of the highlights of Anime Expo this year was the US premiere of Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse. Since the first episode already aired in Japan, Anime Expo attendees also got to see the second episode. The screening was conducted by Kouki Yoshimune who is the creator of the series, and vocalists Minami Kuribayashi and Ayami.
Muv-Luv is a popular series in Japan that follows mankind's war against an alien invasion. Originally a visual novel game on the PC, there are literally hordes of Muv-Luv merchandise already in existence ranging from figurines to hug pillows. The series' dark theme, kickass giant robots, military premise, and a cast of voluptuous female pilots in skin tight suits gives it a winning combination and it's been highly unusual that it has taken this long for an anime adaptation to appear.
As a warning, Muv-Luv has been infamous for some pretty gory scenes and the television series so far has been no exception. The first episode of Total Eclipse focused primarily on the backstory of the series through mech pilot Yui Takamura. While original I was disappointed with the slow pacing, the following episode was gut-wrenching quite literally. The second episode tries to illustrate the true horror of the alien invaders and probably contained some of the most explicit anime gore shown in years.
As for the actual quality of the show, there were some cutbacks on the animation quality in certain scenes especially during camera pans and the mechs sometimes moved awkwardly. The characters themselves do look great, and fans will appreciate the amount of effort they went into the fanservice.
For anyone new to the Muv-Luv series, I would highly recommend trying to push past the first couple episodes if you can stomach it as the meat of the show starts from the third episode. While I am definitely looking forward to see more giant robot blasting aliens to bits, I probably would be lying to myself if I said I didn't want to see more of the female casts in suggestive situations.