Muv-Luv Unlimited is the second of the Muv Luv Visual Novel trilogy and follows where Muv-Luv Extra left off. One day, Takeru wakes up to find that his entire home town is in ruins. In place of his neighbor's house is a crashed Humongous Mecha. Naturally, Takeru begins to have spasms of nerdy joy at seeing real mecha. Since you can only appreciate a destroyed mecha for so long, eventually he begins wandering around the rubble and eventually decides to head up to the school, which looks a little different today. As in, it has become a military base with guards and a massive antenna. Lacking proper authorization or a reasonable excuse for what he is doing in this town, he is quickly arrested and thrown into the military prison until the head scientist comes to visit. Said head scientist is none other than Yuuko, the stranger of his two teachers.However, all is not well quite so easily. Yuuko clearly does not have any idea who Takeru is, and after a brief conversation it is established that Takeru is no longer in the world he knows any longer. Instead, he has been dropped into an apocalyptic warzone where over three quarters of humanity has been wiped out by the mysterious aliens known only as the BETA. Lacking any other ways to get by or go home, Takeru is more or less conscripted and to his delight will be entering the training program to pilot the mechas. On top of that, he is given a strangely high access to the base's inner workings. As he joins his new training squad, he is shocked to see that they are all familiar faces. They are, in fact, all of his love interests from '"Extra'' as well as Mikoto, who is now definitely a girl. Just like Yuuko, they are alternate versions of the people he knows and thus they do not recognize him. Strangely, though, Sumika is not there. In fact, no one there has even heard of her. Unfortunately, Takeru has little time to deal with this as compared to actual soldiers he is dreadfully unprepared.Unlimited is generally viewed as the point in the Visual Novel franchise when the series begins to get interesting. Not only does it show us how a typical harem protagonist fares in a warzone, it also shows what the other characters can be when placed into a different situation and how everyone is forced to mature. Plot threads are established for the most highly acclaimed part of the series Muv-Luv Alternative which, like similar threads from Muv-Luv Extra will take some time to bear fruit.
This work contains examples of the following:
Ace Custom: Meiya's purple Type-00R Takemikazuchi, though she never uses it. However the concept of having TSFs reserved to individual pilots was ridiculed with the reasoning that pilots have to be able to use any TSF on hand during emergencies.
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.
Alternate History: While the Japan of the world of Unlimited/Alternative lost World War II, it was not nuked and instead the mainland had to be invaded, leading to an occupation that lasted until the BETA invaded.
Anime Hair: Deliberately-done by the creators; see Universal-Adaptor Cast below. It is worth noting that the side-stories released subsequent to Alternative have curtailed the use of it, for the most part.
Apocalypse How: By the time of the events of Unlimited/Alternative, 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).
Arc Words: "Even if your own life is what's most important to you, you can't protect it alone."
Brain in a Jar: Takeru often sees Kasumi in a room with this. He gets used to it.
Breather Episode: After the drama following the cast's first field operation, things dramatically slow down with superior officers at Yokohama Base suddenly being very busy and not issuing the cadets any orders or new training. To shake everyone out of their slump, Takeru convinces Squadron 207 to throw a Christmas party. It's a success and Takeru gets to hook up with the player-selected love interest. However, the light-heartedness of the arc is dragged down by the behaviour of their immediate superiors, Marimo and Yuuko; who's ominous words herald the crushing events of the finale.
Crapsack World: After the BETA invasion, humanity is reduced from six billion to 1 billion, a substantial fraction (if not the majority) of the male population is dead from fighting an overwhelmingly-powerful 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.
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.
Fan Translation: Muv-Luv Extra, Unlimited and Alternative were translated by Amaterasu Translations in 2010 and 2011.
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. 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.
Genre Shift: And how. Goes from harem comedy (with lots of mecha and sci-fi shout-outs) to hardcore mecha.
I Choose to Stay: Takeru has a chance at the end of Unlimited to join the colonists on the last shuttle. He says no. "I will protect this beautiful world."
Intimate Healing: In order to keep Takeru warm after he's suffering from the after-effects of snake venom, though it turns out to just be a cold, Mikoto sleeps on top of Takeru naked. In the manga adaptation, the snake turned out to be poisonous.
Just One More Level: When one of the girls discovers Takeru's GameGuy, he passes it off as a training simulator, and lends it to the girl along with a different game. This leads her to getting addicted to the game for an entire week until the battery eventually dies.
Mood Whiplash: Unlimited is a good deal more serious than Extra though overall it's still fairly lighthearted. Still, when the first scene is Takeru waking up in the ruins of his home town it comes as quite the contrast to the silly harem antics from before.
New Game+: Unlimited can only be unlocked by finishing the two possible endings of Extra's "main route".
Not a Morning Person: Takeru and Ayamine are terrible when it comes to waking up. Kasumi starts waking him up in the morning, reminding him eerily of Sumika despite the two having almost nothing in common.
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.
Rapunzel Hair: Almost anyone with long hair will have really long hair. Bonus points to Tama for having hair that likely weights more than she does.
Redshirt Army: The average survival time of a new pilot against the BETA is eight minutes.
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.
Semper Fi: In sidestory/continuation The Day After, the USMC make a number of apperances in supporting roles. They tend to be more effective than their Army counterparts.
Shounen: The manga adaptation, unlike Extra and Alternative, was released as a shounen series.
Shout-Out: Muv-Luv has at least three general sources:
Science Fiction Literature. VN chapters 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).
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").
Suck Out the Poison: Mikoto has to do this to Takeru when he gets bit by a poisonous snake during a combat exam. In the game, it turns out the snake wasn't poisonous; in the manga adaptation, the snake was.
Super-Deformed: In typical âge fashion, characters are drawn as such during moments of levity, as well as in Sumika's diary sketches (see the image on the YMMV subpage for an example)
Totally Radical: An interesting version - due to the alternate history taken by the Unlimited and Alternative worlds, much of the slang that Takeru uses 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.
Universal-Adaptor Cast: Done on purpose by the creators. Part of the experience of those who played Unlimited without knowing about its setting beforehand is the surprise at seeing Anime Haired girls seen in the typical romantic comedy suddenly thrust into a life-and-death war story.
Unsettling Gender-Reveal: Mikoto, who in this world is a girl. Played both for laughs and seriously, as Takeru's initial inability to see Mikoto as nothing but a boy causes him to avoid her, creating even more strife within the squadron against him.
Unwanted Harem: Justified in Unlimited, where Takeru is pretty much the only guy that his teammates know that is in the same age group as them.
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.