Saturday, May 7, 2011
Muv Luv Alternative impressions (spoilers)
Although it's been a year since I finished it, I feel like writing my feelings on the VN now that the English translation is out and lots more people have been talking about it.
I'm not sure I understand all the praise Alt gets, or why there are some people who say it's a masterpiece. It's most certainly not a bad VN, but it isn't great either. It has a few things that it does well.
The setting for Alt is great. It's very interesting, and I feel it's a well done world. Few VNs draw me in like Muv Luv does (did) so it's doing something right here. I don't feel like I need to go in depth about the setting as I'm sure everybody knows. Humans have thus far been fighting a losing battle against aliens of questionable sentience that have invaded for unknown reasons. The world population is at, if I remember correctly, 1 billion. So here we have an interesting setting.
The writing, however, isn't so great. It extremely drags on at times. Some parts are far lengthier than they deserve to be. There is way too much explanation and inner monologue. It seems, at times, that you have to sit through 10 minutes of drab to get 1 minute of the good stuff. This VN is way longer than it should be.
I don't think the protagonist was done well either. Some people talk about how he really matured nicely, or is a really realistic done character, but I would disagree. I hated all the times where he was berated by himself and others for being too immature. What's wrong with a kid acting like a kid? Big deal, he should be emotional, he should be hot blooded, I wanted to see him with more backbone to stand up for himself and do what he felt was right not just let other people's opinions shape him.
And if they're going to go down the path of him becoming an adult, maturing, whatever, then I wish they would've done it better. They just kept building him up, have the reader think, 'Alright, now Takeru has got his shit down. Let's get to the good stuff!' but no, they'll just throw some other thing at us and have Takeru go back to zero again. And then redo it again.
I didn't understand all the build up of Takeru's supposed skill either. Apparently he is supposed to be a great pilot, which we are shown bits of throughout Unlimited and Alternative, but at the end, his skill plays absolutely no real role, and felt very anticlimatic. I have no idea why they developed him as a character like that to not bother with using it.
The story itself in Alt wasn't that great either. Or at least I should say it felt very hit and miss. The parts about the Beta and what makes them tick I found interesting. However, the fact they kept killing off characters was annoying. When a character dies, you can get a lot of emotion out of the reader. It can be a very impacting experience. But when they keep getting killed off like in Alt, it cheapens the whole thing.
The first character that died in the Valkyries was a minor character compared to the last ones that died, yet I still felt a lot emotion in that first death compared to the last. At some point it just became a 'who is going to die this time?' for me. It almost seemed that because of the fact it was an alternate world, the staff could just go to town on it, and then have a cheap reset end. And that's what they do.
The vast majority of Takeru's harem die, the most important girls seemingly giving their lives for him. And for what? So Takeru can just forget their sacrifices, forget everything that happened and everything he did, and go back to his harem in Age's main world where everyone is alive and fine.
What a shitty ending.
I'm always impressed though by the quality of Age's releases. The system is just great, I wish more VNs were like this. They do, however, recycle their music as always.
I don't remember what I was talking about. Anyway, Alt is OK, but is not that great. And as of now, only serves as a world for Age to release shitty fandiscs and side stories to keep making money. Hopefully they'll start a new series some day.