Muv-Luv Alternative is the final and most highly regarded part of the Muv-Luv Visual Novel trilogy. Following the disastrous ending to Muv-Luv Unlimited, with humanity evacuating the Earth, Takeru once again finds himself reawakening in the same world on the same day 3 years ago with one crucial difference: He remembers what happened in ''Unlimited'' and has all his physical training. With a grimmer mindset than before, Takeru instantly approaches Yuuko and declares his support of her program, Alternative IV; trading information of the 'future' for information on Alternative V and a bigger role in her project.Of course, one thing that didn't carry over was Takeru's rank, so he has to begin again in basic training. This time however, he is physically fit and mentally ready and he and the squad breeze through their former obstacles. Throughout the early parts of the story, Takeru does his best to move events forward and get promoted to a position with some measure of authority to it as quickly as possible. While hurrying the rehash of Unlimited along, Takeru also acts in ways differently than he had before, hoping to introduce changes into the timeline. Sure enough, he succeeds and a brand new story begins. This time, however, there is an inescapable deadline to stop the BETA before Alternative V goes into effect.Muv-Luv Alternative, after the setup of the two previous stories, is finally free to begin really exploring the setting and using the character to their full effect. With everything established, it is free to become a true mecha story full of political intrigue, glory and death in battle and much greater stakes. How can Takeru's actions possibly lead to the peaceful, victorious future he dreams of?Has a spinoff Light Novel, Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse, which received an animated adaptation in 2012, and a serial photonovel sidestory series, Tactical Surface Fighters in Action.
Ace Custom: Meiya's purple Type-00R Takemikazuchi TSF, which was originally the personal TSF of her twin sister the Shogun, and given to Meiya as a gift. Takemikazuchi in general also fall into this category, but Meiya's is a little special.
Ace Pilot: The main cast as well as most of the supporting cast. Takeru with his killing twenty Fortress-class Gravis BETA solo during the Sadogashima Hive operation takes the cake while serving as the distraction.
Action Bomb: The Japanese TSF units (and them alone) are equipped with the S-11 Explosive which doubles as a self-destruct system, allowing pilots to go out on their own terms instead of a horrible death at the enemy's mouths. Mitsuki sacrifices herself using two to destroy the Yokohama Hive reactor, while Chizuru and Ayamine self-destruct at the end of the Original Hive mission after running out of options and to prevent more BETA from coming after the rest of the squad.
All There in the Manual: Several characters and events will not make complete sense unless you've seen/read Rumbling Hearts. Alternative itself cannot be understood fully without reference to Extra and Unlimited. In addition there are the various side stories, artbooks, and other material âge is coming out with. Finally some aspects left out of the Alternative VN are touched upon in its manga adaptation.
Alternate History: While the Japan of the world of Unlimited/Alternative lost World War II, she did not get nuked, forcing an invasion of the homeland and leading to a lengthy occupation ended only by the invasion of the BETA. The Shogunate also continued to exist, as opposed to its 19th-century abolition in our world - together with the maintenance of the two traditional centers of power: the imperial capital Kyoto for the Emperor and Tokyo for the Shogunate (at least until the BETA invaded and the Emperor had to relocate to Tokyo).
Anyone Can Die: Marimo goes, followed by most of the secondary cast and it ends with the deaths of the entire cast!
Apocalypse How: Eurasia, except for several remote peninsulas have been laid bare and devoid of life, and it was only a matter of time before the rest fall as well (Continental/Total Extinction, quickly heading towards Planetary scale). Alternative V will just hasten the process with humanity basically evacuating to live on a new world, something Takeru is determined to prevent.
Atomic F-Bomb: Takeru at the end of the Original Hive mission, after losing all his teammates, being forced to kill Meiya and ejecting out of the Susano'o after the BETA Superior's destruction.
Badass Creed: The oath of the Isumi Valkyries: "Achieve your mission with all your might. Despair not until your last breath. Make your death count!" Also encapsulates the desperation of humanity's struggle against the BETA, and becomes depressing once the events of the final suicide mission set in. The oath also counts as Arc Words.
Bittersweet Ending: Alternative IV is successful, and Takeru has bought humanity three more decades of survival... at the price of the lives of his lover and closest friendsnote all of whom were his lovers in alternate worlds, one of whom he had to personally pull the trigger on. Takeru himself becomes Ret Goned, and only three of the Valkyries remain. And there remain at least 10^37 BETA out in space, though Yuuko expects to be prepared for them if they return. On the bright side for Takeru personally, he gets a reward of sorts when Unit 00 not only returns him to his original world for good, but also rewrites reality so that it's an even better world than Extra was.
Bleached Underpants: The all-ages versions of the trilogy censor the H-scenes. They also censor some of the Gorn over which fans raised an outcry.
Blue and Orange Morality: The reason humans are incapable of making peace with the BETA is because they are essentially organic mining machines created by super advanced silicon-based alien life forms and are pre-programmed to not acknowledge any carbon-based life forms (including themselves) as living creatures, just resources to be recycled and processed.
Book Ends: The ED of the prequel Akane Maniax, the OP of Extra, and the ED of Alternative, is the same song: "Muv-Luv" by Minami Kuribayashi (the voice actress of Kasumi and Haruka). The song has also been stated by the singer to be about Sumika in Unlimited / Alternative.
Brain in a Jar: Takeru often sees Kasumi in a room with this. This is all that remains of Sumika.
Cerebus Retcon: Hayase gets a little pissed at Munakata for not having a proper confession or romantic moment the last time she saw her fiancee. It's played for laughs until we learn that Hayase was never able to have one either before the man she loved died.
Cerebus Syndrome: While Unlimited takes place in an apocalyptic wasteland during a war with alien invaders, it's still mostly lighthearted. Alternative, however, is far more serious. Even the chibi art has almost entirely been done away with.
Cessation of Existence: As the Takeru we followed in Unlimited and Alternative is a composite existence cribbed from more than one Extra-timeline Takeru (with the notable exception of Sumika's route-timeline) being manifested only due to Alternative!Sumika, he ceases to exist and is wiped from everyone's memories with the exception of Yuuko and Kasumi, soon after Sumika dies. See the Alternative Character Interpretation entry on the YMMV subpage, however.
Chekhov's Gunman: Near the end of Extra, it's mentioned that Meiya had a twin sister who died in a car accident when she was three. In Alternative, she shows up alive and well.
Chekhov's Classroom: So, remember all those info-dumping rants by Yuuko-sensei in '"Extra''? Payoff!
Continuity Cameo: One that is lost to those who never played âge's first releases before Alternative: Emi Motoi (Yuuko's voice actress, who voiced Akira Isumi in âge's debut game Kimi ga Ita Kisetsu) also did an unnamed role in Alternative as the Imperial Army grunt saved by Ikaruga at Sadogashima. Succession later confirms that the grunt is indeed Akira Isumi, Michiru's youngest sister.
Crapsack World: After the BETA invasion, humanity is reduced to one billion people from six, a substantial fraction (if not the majority) of the male population is dead from fighting an overwhelmingly-broken enemy (to the point that the draft age had been lowered and military service for women had become compulsory), and the entirety of Eurasia is overrun by the BETA (with 24 of the 26 existing hives, including the first and biggest, within its confines). North America is (temporarily) safe, at the cost of half of Canada being turned into a nuclear wasteland. Australia, Africa and South America are still safe as well - for the time being. Takeru is determined to keep it from getting even worse, which is what Alternative V will do.
Cryptic Conversation: Takeru asks Tsukuyomi, a member of the Imperial Honor Guard tasked to guard Meiya, about something, to which she replies that she has been ordered to "prepare for the day when the setting sun draws the curtain of night on the capital". Combined with Meaningful Name below, we learn that the Yuuhi (the Shogun) was prepared to die when she fled the capital, in which case Meiya would secretly take her place. The American commander was implied to have been unable to pick up on this due to the limitations of his translator.
Deconstruction: Of several H-game tropes, the result being intentional Fan Disservice. The following scene plays a different set of tropes straight, though.
Deflector Shields: Not present in this setting, and a major reason humanity was faring very badly against the BETA. The Susano'o units were later equipped with a prototype, however TSF-sized ones were still impossible to build yet.
Due to the Dead: One responsibility of a Valkyrie who witnessed a comrade fall in battle is to tell of her last moments to the remaining squadron members, so that her memory lives on. For Granny Kyozuka the camp cook, her due is to cook the deceased's favorite dish.
Dwindling Party: The members of original Squadron 207 die off one by one in the final suicide mission against the Original Hive.
Dying Moment of Awesome/Face Death with Dignity: Invoked: all TSF pilots are trained to be prepared for death, so long as their deaths count for something or is something they could be proud of. This is why, in the sidestory Succession set in the aftermath of Michiru Isumi's Heroic Sacrifice during the Sadogashima Hive battle, her younger sister, a pilot in the Imperial Army herself and a survivor of the same battle, was unable to accept the official reason given for Michiru's death: a freak training accident on the day of the assault.
Eagleland: The US, which was among the very few nations not invaded by BETA due to their nuking of Canada when a hive landed there, is seen by many Japanese as opportunistic. Justified, as the CIA instigated and escalated Sagiri's coup in order to bring those with his sentiments out into the open and wipe them out. Subverted in that the American soldiers and field commanders Takeru meets turn out to be as decent and gentlemanly as their Japanese counterparts.
Earn Your Happy Ending: When Takeru tries to weasel out of his responsibility to save humanity from the BETA/find out why he's trapped in that timeline, it really doesn't work out so well, so he resolves to return and finish his work. His efforts not only earn him a return to his happy life (sort of) but the parallel-universe selves of several characters introduced in Alternative (being dead or otherwise not present in the Extra world) get to join him in happiness.
Expendable Alternate Universe: Averted. Takeru (and the reader) comes to care about his friends very much, no matter whose alternate dimension/universe selves they may be. (Yes, that includes their deaths.) In fact, the only person who Takeru doesn't treat as the same one regardless of dimension is himself.
Eye Beams: The signature weapons of the Laser-Class BETA Lux and the Heavy Laser-Class BETA Magnus Lux, and, due to their nullification of the concept of "air superiority", the reason for the development of the Tactical Surface Fighter.
Fade to White: Meiya's death at the end of the Original Hive mission.
Fan Translation: Muv-Luv Extra, Unlimited and Alternative were translated by Amaterasu Translations in 2010 and 2011.
Fatal Family Photo: Prime Minister Sakaki (Chizuru's father) in the manga adaptation of Alternative.
If Takeru were facing more than 45 degrees to the right there would be no HEADCHOMP... Without that death, he never would have had to flee to the world of Extra after having a major breakdown. On the flipside, he never would have grown up enough to actually be trusted much by Yuuko either.
Alternative V went into action because the Unlimited world never created gaming systems. Yuuko thus never played some RPG that showed her that her theory was flawed and thus had no stimulation to fix her theory or even realize it was wrong. End result? The Earth was doomed because Yuuko never played 'some crappy RPG.' Alternative really gets going when Takeru tells her that Extra Yuuko said that Unlimited/Alternative Yuuko's theory was flawed.
Frickin' Laser Beams: The presence of the laser-class BETA (Lux and Magnus Lux) ended air superiority as a viable combat philosophy, and was the reason for the development of the TSFs. In contrast humanity only had conventional weapons and later a Wave Motion Gun, but that's only on two Super Prototypes. No Beam Spam for humanity here, folks.
Gender Is No Object: Takeru is the only man in a six-person unit. Justified in that the men were the first to go out and fight and die against the BETA, and as such, most soldiers are now female.
Gorn: Marimo's death seems to be the most infamous and memetic in the English-speaking fandom of the gorny scenes. The Gorn was so graphic that many Japanese fans complained about it, causing âge to create a gore-censoring patch.
Gratuitous English: Several dialogues are in heavily-accented English. âge's decidedly shoddy English is clearly pointed out in the translation patch's readme: "âge cannot speak English. They just can't. If you see, for instance, an image says 'preceding paragraph' and the text box says 'transferring seat information', trust us and not them."
Gratuitous Latin: The names given to the different BETA classes (e.g. Medium, Lux, Gravis etc).
"Groundhog Day" Loop: Unlimited repeated itself an unknown but large number of times before Takeru happened to retain some memory of what had happened. Every time he died in that world, the world reset back to October 22nd. This means that any ending to Unlimited ceased to be.
Heroic Sacrifice: Go with God in all the dark places you may walk, Valkyrie Squadron. Humanity will never forget your sacrifice.
Gen. Radhabinod: We will carve into our hearts the noble deeds of those who are not permitted to reveal even their names.
Hero Secret Service: The true purpose of the VFA-01 Valkyries was to escort the 00-Unit and her Susano'o mobile fortress into battle and protect her. The trope was played with as Takeru (the main character) was initially among the escorts, but later played straight when he assumed piloting duties (in tandem with Sumika and Kasumi) for the Susano'o Type-4.
Human Resources: The BETA can recycle their own, as well as humans, into more of them. The Soldier-class Venatorstrain is made by recyclng humans.
I Choose to Stay: This bounces back and forth repeatedly throughout Alternative. Initially Takeru helps develop a machine that would send him back to his original Extra world and demonstrates extreme joy at the possibility of going home. HOWEVER, Takeru decides to remain in the Alternative world to ensure Alternative IV's success... until he suffers PTSD and flees back to the Extra world. In the end, he goes back to the Alternative world and stays after completing Alternative IV... until forces outside his control force him to return AGAIN. By the very end, Takeru has been Ret Goned out of Alternative and is sent back to a revised Extra.
Interrupted Cooldown Hug: A Shogun-disguised Meiya was on the brink of convincing Sagiri to stand down and peacefully end the coup d'etat, when an American TSF had to start shooting out of nowhere. Thanks a bunch, CIA.
It's Raining Men: The standard UN method of clearing out hives involves having mechs dropped from orbit to break into hive interiors using sheer gravitational force. This was most likely inspired by Starship Troopers.
Kill 'em All: Allnote except Kasumi and Yuuko of the main cast, as well as the majority of the supporting cast, are dead by the end of Operation Cherry Blossom and its aftermath, many of them via Heroic Sacrifice. Of the three immediate survivors of the operation, Sumika dies due to inability to keep her body working after the Yokohama hive destruction and Takeru ceases to exist in the aftermath. Old Tomino would have been proud.
Meaningful Name: Meiya's name contains the characters for "darkness" and "night", which ties into her role as the Shogun(her twin sister)'s shadow. Yuuhi contains the character for "light of day", fitting in with her role as the Grand Shogun.
Meaningful Funeral: Captain Isumi and Haruko. Then Haruka and Mitsuki. Then Meiya, Chizuru, Ayamine, Tama, Mikoto and Sumika. Michiru's is a particularly-poignant one with the funeral march Flame of Life playing in the background.
Megaton Punch: Takeru has become resistant to it when he goes back to his real dimension through Yuuko's machine, so much so that he actually doesn't flinch at all (thanks to his military training in his other timeloops). This resistance doesn't stop 00-Unit Sumika from flooring him when she does it to him though.
Mood Whiplash: In Alternative: Takeru has fallen into depression in the aftermath of a surprise BETA attack, and won't move from near the remains of his trashed TSF, when Marimo comes by to give him a pep talk. The latter is succeeding, calming music is playing... then Takeru looks up and sees HEADCHOMP.
Murphy's Law: When you "hope of humanity" crashes on its second shot, your mechanic dies at the 'insert command' option, your acting squad leader finds out her bomb was dismantled just as she escaped, your girlfriend's continued life is reliant on the reactor that you failed to save, your own life is dependent on her survival, and when your final victory is dampened by all of you allies dying, you killing one of your love interests in an act of mercy, and discovering that your victory amounted to nothing in the face of 10^37 (or 10000000000000000000000000000000000000) BETA in the universe; it's no longer: "if it can go wrong it will," it's: "it's already gone wrong," and "it got worse."
New Game+: The first part of Alternative is the rare example of this trope happening in-story- Takeru keeps the skills and training he gained during Unlimited, allowing him to breeze through the basic training that thoroughly kicked his ass the first time around.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Takeru's choice not to get Squadron 207 personally involved in the evacuation of the villagers from the eruption of Mt. Tengen (unlike what they did in Unlimited) was the indirect trigger for Sagiri's coup d'etat, which claimed the life of Chizuru's father the Prime Minister.
No Romantic Resolution: The romance plot ends up like this: Takeru is an amalgamation of all of the possible endings of Extra who then went through an unknown number of Unlimited loops until he had at some point been in a relationship with everyone. In Alternative he ends up in a relationship with Sumika, but this is basically retconned out of existence when Takeru 'returns' to the world of Extra thus leaving him single again, only now with more love interests than ever. In essence, Takeru dated everyone and in the end no one.
Not a Morning Person: After having lived in a military livestyle for three years, Takeru has begun waking himself up on time, much to Kasumi's disappointment. Ayamine is still bad at it though.
During the BETA invasion the Soviet government retreated all the way to the northeastern tip of Siberia while attempting a scorched-earth policy using tactical nuclear weapons; it didn't work, however as they acted too late.
The United States, upon learning of a BETA hive landing in neighboring Canada did not waste any time and nuked the hive to oblivion, turning half of poor Canada into a wasteland.
The later US standard tactic of dropping G-Bombs - experimental bombs made with an alien element recovered from BETA hives which are more powerful (and even less well-understood) than nukes - to destroy hives. This strategy was implemented worldwide during Alternative V, and would have been implemented had Takeru and company failed to destroy the BETA Superior.
Rewrite: The Reveal in Unlimited about Meiya being a member of the Imperial family was changed to being a member of the Shogun's family (the Shogunate still exists there) in Alternative. This change was retained in the later all-ages release of Unlimited as well.
Rousing Speech: Yokohama Base Commander Paul Radhabinod gives one at the beginning of Chapter 10, in the aftermath of the BETA attack on the base and as Takeru's squad sets off for its final mission.
Say My Name: At the end of the Original Hive mission, Takeru screams out Meiya's name as he pulls the trigger at her along with the BETA Superior, shortly followed by Meiya (who had always maintained a respectful distance to the Grand Shogun) in her final moments finally calling the Shogun "My sister...".
Schedule Slip: Extra, Unlimited and Alternative were supposed to be released together, but Alternative got delayed for three years due to various problems, thus the Japanese meme "Oruta mada~?" ("Is Alternative here yet~?").
Science Fiction Literature. VN chapters in Unlimited and Alternative are named after plot-relevant sci-fi novels or short stories (most notably Arthur C. Clarke's The Songs of Distant Earth, which gave its name to Unlimited's last chapter and ED). In addition, several plot points in Alternative owe their origin to Starship Troopers, per Word of God.
Video Games. From (among others) Virtual-ON (Valgern-On), Tekken (Dokken), Fire Emblem (the strategy RPG Takeru lends to Chizuru), and Metal Gear Solid (the game Takeru lends to Ayamine, in addition to a line from Takeru where he says he's not a member of "SOCKSHOUND").
Shrine to the Fallen: A short beam of iron was erected on the spot Marimo fell as a memorial to her. It was later moved to the foot of one of the cherry trees in front of the base, and turned into a memorial for all the fallen Valkyries (Marimo with her "children") together.
Sibling Yin-Yang: The twins Meiya and Yuuhi (the Shogun) were supposed to be this (see Meaningful Name above). Subverted in that they turn out to have exactly the same personality and can understand each other's feelings perfectly despite being separated mere days after birth and never meeting each other since.
Silent Scapegoat: Ayamine's father, a general who was imprisoned and disgraced for prioritizing the safety of noncombatants during a battle.
Silicon-Based Life: Takeru later finds out that the Creators of the BETA are silicon-based life-forms. The reason the whole war is even going on is because they simply assumed that carbon was too reactive an element to form naturally occurring sentient life and programmed that assumption into the BETA.
Suicide Mission: In the standard Japanese and UN Army tactical doctrine, once the orbital diver squads break through a hive monument into the interior, they are essentially cut off from reinforcements and additional supplies against a Zerg Rush of enemies in their home territory. Takeru and his squad go off on this when they were ordered to invade the Original Hive, with predictable results.
Super-Deformed: Vastly reduced from their previous common usage. In fact, there are only one or two scenes of this before we see Sumika's diary, which is not a very lighthearted scene at all.
Survivor Guilt: Marimo after losing her squadmates to a surprise BETA attack, as her backstory reveals.
Taking the Bullet: Orbital shuttle pilots tanked lasers and died to a man for the Susano'o during the drop over the Original Hive.
Temporal Theme Naming: Japanese TSF models and equipment (even those manufactured under foreign license such as the F-4 Phantom) are given designations of the form "Type-xx", where the latter is the last two digits of the year the particular equipment was adopted; for example, the Type-74 longsword was adopted in 1974, the Type-77 Gekishin (alternate name of the F-4J) was first used in 1977, the Type-97 Fubuki TSF entered Imperial Army service in 1997, while the Type-00 Takemikazuchi was adopted by the Imperial Royal Guard in 2000.
The Greatest Story Never Told: Not the deeds of the Valkyries, whose names were released post-Operation Cherry Blossom, with one exception. All of Takeru's achievements will never be revealed due to ceasing to exist and being Ret Goned from everyone's memories save Kasumi and Yuuko's, and the latter has vowed to take the secret of the existence of alternate worlds, and therefore Takeru's existence, with her to the grave.
Theme Music Power-Up: Meiya's eponymous theme music plays as she bursts into the main cavern and begins defending the Susano'o, but it's not enough and plays during her death scene, while she begs Takeru to end her life along with the BETA Superior. The music crescendoes to its climax as Takeru pulls the trigger screaming out her name in tears.
They Call Me Mister Tibbs: It's "Instructor Jinguuji", Takeru, not "Marimo-chan". Though she allows Takeru to use the latter after his squad is commissioned.
Totally Radical: An interesting version - due to the alternate history taken by this world, much of the slang that Takeru used in the Extra world doesn't exist, requiring him to often explain what said slang means to people in those worlds whenever he uses it.
Translator Microbes: The standard pilot suit comes with real-time translator equipment, enabling soldiers of different nationalities to converse. The translators are implied to work only on the level of the spoken word and not on how they are written, and this becomes a minor plot point (see Cryptic Conversation and Meaningful Name above). TSFs are also equipped with real-time interpreters, which apparently broadcast translated spoken speech (see Common Tongue above).
True Companions: Squadron 207/A-01 Valkyries, which was invoked by the commanding officer, who recounted that she joined the army out of a desire to protect the one she loved, but ended up caring more for her teammates instead.
Uncanny Valley: Deliberately invoked in the appearance of the BETA. Although monstrous, each strain of BETA has at least one uncannily human feature such as human-shaped feet or teeth.
Unobtainium: Element Gray, which is never found outside BETA hives, and even then only in small amounts. Unlike in other settings its properties are too little-understood to be widely-used, is tricky to use, and highly-toxic to boot.
Vehicular Theme Naming: Almost all TSFs (the later Japanese models being the only exceptions) are named after real-life fighter aircraft, and share characteristics and general roles with their real-life counterparts. This is because of the presence of Laser-class BETA, which forced defense companies to build and develop TSFs instead of fighters.
Victory Guided Amnesia: At the end of the story, Takeru returns to his own reality with all his memories of the events of the Alternative universe erased. See the entry for Alternate Character Interpretation on the YMMV subpage, however. Notable in that it may be intentional to keep the causality conductor effect from happening again.
Wave Motion Gun: The Particle Cannon, of which only two (both prototypes) were made, both equipped to Susano'o units.
Winds of Destiny, Change: In the context of Yuuko's Theory of Quantum Causality, certain people (especially those with strong willpower) have the subconscious ability of picking out the course of action which will give the optimum outcome for themselves, their comrades, or humanity. All who undergo pilot training in the UN are screened for this ability, with those having the strongest latencies becoming members of VF-A01. Sumika trumped even this.
Your Princess Is in Another Castle: During the combat exam, it looks like the squad has finally made it to the target point when a gun battery suddenly attacks the helicopter supposed to pick them up, requiring the team to take a whole day just to get to the next point and disabling the battery. Trouble is, Takeru knew it was coming this time and prepared accordingly.
Zerg Rush: On any battlefield the BETA outnumber human forces at least 20 to 1 (inside hives the ratio is at least 100 to 1), and have perfect One-Hit Kill extreme-range attackers. It got far worse later on when the BETA started using tactics in addition to sheer numbers and Laser types.