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Visual Novel / Muv-Luv Alternative

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A destiny tossed about in an insane world—
A flame of life blazing forth in a dying world—
And now, one more future that is spun—

This is the alternative ending unable to be told before:
A very great, a very tiny, a very precious,
Tale of love and courage.

Muv-Luv Alternative is the final 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.

Created and co-written by âge's Yoshimune Kouki, Alternative is the most highly-regarded part of Muv-Luv, and widely-considered to be among the very top visual novels ever released. It relies on the setup of the two previous stories to begin exploring the setting and using the characters for a much grander, more dramatic effect. In stark contrast to the prior arcs, Alternative is an exceedingly dark story full of political intrigue, glory, death in battle and much greater stakes. How can Takeru's actions possibly lead to the peaceful, victorious future he dreams of?

Has two spinoff Light NovelsMuv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse, which received an animated adaptation in 2012, and Schwarzesmarken, which finished serialization in 2014, received a Visual Novel adaptation in 2015 and an animated adaptation in 2016, and a serial photonovel sidestory series, Tactical Surface Fighters in Action.

On September 25th 2015, having gained domestic acclaim and a sizable international fanbase, âge, in collaboration with Degica (a Japan-based e-commerce company and video game publisher), officially launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund an official English localization of Alternative and its prequels Muv-Luv Extra and Muv-Luv Unlimited. Within less than a day, âge achieved their funding goal of $US 250,000. The campaign concluded on November 4th, 2015, having exceeded the target amount by more than $US 1,000,000. A manga serialization ran in Dengeki Daioh up to June 2017. The official international edition of Alternative was released on Steam on September 19, 2017. Finally, that an animated adaptation of Alternative is in development was announced on October 22, 2019; the adaptation's first season, animated by Graphinica and Yumeta Company, aired as part of the Fall 2021 season, with another season airing in Fall 2022.


  • 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 special even among them.
  • Ace Pilot: The main cast as well as most of the supporting cast. Takeru with his killing twenty Fortress-class Gravis BETA solo while serving as the distraction during the Sadogashima Hive operation takes the cake.
  • Action Bomb: The Japanese TSF units (and everyone else save the Americans and the non-Russian Soviet Army pilots, for different reasons) 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 the other alternative. 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.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Azusa Maxima's manga adaptation integrates material from, among other sources,Chronicles side-stories like Atonement, dealing with Marimo's past. It also ends with a Distant Finale that gives the BETA-verse arc a more definitive conclusion than the original visual novel.
  • After the End: For Eurasia anyway, which has been rendered lifeless by the BETA's infestation. Humanity is still holding on only because the BETA cannot swim, with desperate battles ongoing in the U.K., the Suez Canal, South-east Asia, and Japan itself.
  • Alien Invasion: The BETA invading Earth, after infesting the Moon, and Mars.
  • 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, it did not get nuked, forcing an invasion of the home islands 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).
  • Alternate Universe / Alternate Timeline: And how!
  • Anime Hair: Deliberately-done by the creators; see Universal-Adaptor Cast below.
  • Anyone Can Die: More like Anyone Will Die. Marimo goes first, followed by most of the secondary cast and it ends with the deaths of the most of the main 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.
  • Arc Number: Three years, same as in Rumbling Hearts.
  • Arc Words
    • "Even if your own life is what's most important to you, you can't protect it alone."
    • "I am going to do what only I can do."
    • "You must never hesitate to stain your own hands with blood."
    • "Achieve your mission with all your might! Despair not until your last breath! Make your death count!"
  • Art-Style Dissonance: For the 2021 anime, the CGI used for the BETA is more detailed and textured than the traditionally Cel Shaded Tactical Surface Fighter units to emphasize how alien the BETA are.
  • Artistic License – Military: Besides the obvious discarding of rules on fraternization which you'd expect from an eroge, the Military Coup arc has the US Navy Pacific Fleet pitch in to help restore order in Japan. The problem is, their TSFs are given the names of US Air Force birds: F-15E and F-22, instead of (extrapolating from the stated date) F-14, F/A-18, and possibly F-35C as the Elite Mook model. (Traditional air forces mostly aren't used in Muv-Luv because sending aircraft into combat with Laser-class BETA is suicide, so TSFs are treated more like attack helicopters on steroids and given to the US Army instead of the USAF.) Also, the F-22 didn't enter service until 2005, over four years after the game's setting, although this is probably forgivable given the Alternate History.
  • Ascended Fanboy / I Know Mortal Kombat: Takeru's skills at the mecha arcade game Valgern-On give him an advantage when piloting actual mecha, which he later imparts to his squadmates via an improved TSF OS.
  • 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.
  • Battle Harem: All of the heroines fall for Takeru and each is an elite surface pilot. Heartbreakingly for them, Takeru only has eyes for Sumika this time around.
  • 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 , 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 (10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. TEN UNDECILLION) 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.
  • Bland-Name Product: Valgern-On, Gameguy, etc. Not to mention the defense companies named in side materials: Lockweed Mardin, Northrock Grunnan, Boening, Mitsuhishi Heavy Industries, McDaell Doglam, Onda...
  • 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 Unlimited / Alternative Sumika's Image Song.
    • The animated adaptation begins and ends with the fall of Sadogashima: first to the BETA, then its complete destruction on Christmas Day, 2001.
  • Bowdlerise: Downplayed. The CHOMP scene is still pretty brutal in the anime, but there is no close up of Marimo's gored face.
  • Brain in a Jar: Takeru often sees Kasumi in a room with this. This is all that remains of Sumika.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: Twice.
    • Takeru first tries to drive away Extra!Sumika out of fear she'd forget him, but her refusal to leave him paired with his own heartbreak and loneliness makes him give up.
    • The 00 Unit/Sumika tries to drive Takeru away so she can go on a suicide mission without him by berating him and mocking him for his love for her. It almost works, but Meiya telling him Sumika was crying afterwards helps him realize it was all a lie.
  • Butterfly of Doom: Shirogane's changes to the timeline eventually lead him to facing intense challenges and personal losses that he finds himself woefully unprepared for, even with all his experience in Unlimited. This eventually leads him to suffer a PTSD-induced breakdown as he attempts to flee back to his original world, only for disaster to follow along with him. In the end, however, he returns to the BETA timeline to set things right, and successfully creates a better future, albeit at a massive personal cost.
  • Canon Foreigner: In the anime, the Sole Survivor rescued by Captain Komaki during the fall of Sadogashima ends up as one of Isumi's Valkyries.
  • Cavalry Refusal: In the midst of the BETA invasion of Japan, the United States broke its mutual-defense treaty with Japan, and withdrew its forces, sending them to the European / Middle Eastern front. While earning the ire of a substantial fraction of the Japanese populace, it was acknowledged as the correct decision during one of Captain Isumi's lectures. Setting materials imply that had the US not done it, the Suez Canal defense line would have fallen, and Africa - home-in-exile of many European nations, source of much of the food for the remaining countries and critical materials for the war effort - would have been lost. It would have been Game Over for humanity at that point, fall-of-Japan or no.
  • 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.
    • There is also a notable subversion with regards to Alternative V. Takeru constantly wonders if the emigration plan of the Unlimited timeline even succeeded, since he has no knowledge or memory of what happened to the migrant fleet. However, the endings where he sends his love interest off with the fleet are pretty explicit in showing them alive and well, with a daughter to boot. Hence, the audience knows that Alternative V did achieve some measure of success, even if Takeru doesn't.
  • 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 does not last long beyond the first few chapters.
  • 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!
  • Chest Blaster: The Wave-Motion Gun installed onto the two Susano'o units.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Takeru ruing his inability to save his comrades' lives after being ordered by a self-destructing Mitsuki to abandon her during the BETA attack on the Yokohama base.
  • Common Tongue: English is the official international language mandated by the United Nations. This leads to the following scenenote  during the coup d'etat by Japanese nationalists:
    US Pilot: Attention, unidentified craft! Enable your real-time interpreter. Or, follow the UN mandate procedure, and identify yourselves in English. That's the official international language.
    JP Pilot: You are a foreign nation intervening in a domestic affair. Cease all hostilities at once!
    US Pilot: Repeat. Speak in English, the official language. I don't understand what you're saying.
    JP Pilot (presumably activating his interpreter): To the American Army. English can eat shit. I repeat - English can eat shit.
    US Pilot: What!?
  • 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.
  • Cool Ship: The superbattleships Yamato and Musashi are present in this setting, as well as the Shinanonote . All three were present when Sadogashima fell to the BETA, and sustain heavy casualties covering the evacuation of the remnants of Whiskey Unit. More generally, the setting materials are a paper battleship enthusiast's wet dream, with the IJN having four Yamato-class ships (Mino being the fourth), two Yamato Kai-class superheavy aviation battleships Izumo and Kaga and two quasi-A-150 ships Kii and Owari, forming its core, the US Navy having six Iowas and five Montanas, and so on. The Anti-Air effectiveness of Laser-class BETA limits the utility of naval aviation and cruise missiles just as it does for land-based aircraft, forcing a Renaissance of big-gun warships, much as the real-world US Navy explored the idea of next-generation naval artillery with the Zumwalt-class destroyer as a cheaper alternative to Tomahawk missiles (though it ultimately didn't work out).
  • 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 Royal 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.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: While Alternative is a linear storyline with only one ending, there are a few choices you can make early on that change the outcome of certain scenes. For instance, it's possible for Takeru to surrender to the guards at Yokohama base instead of insisting that he see Kouzuki Yuuko right away, and it's also possible for him to agree with Yuuko's decision to not intervene during an imminent disaster so that she can see if it plays out like Takeru predicted. However, the manga and anime adaptations both have Takeru make the opposite decisions, thus underscoring his idealism and desperation, and downplaying his capacity for pragmatism.
  • Darker and Edgier: Alternative, in comparison with its immediate prequel Unlimited. Also Bloodier and Gorier.
  • Dead Man Writing: Sakaki, Ayamine, Mikoto, and Tamase write Takeru a letter confessing their love and gratitude to him to be delivered if they die in the final mission. Which you get depends on who you spent the most time with.
  • Death from Above: In contrast to the UN and Japanese Army tactics of using orbital divers to break into and shut down hives, the US Army prefers dropping G-Bombs, one after the other, on hives. Only after then are American TSFs sent in, to mop up whatever opposition remains. This ties into the in-universe perception of Americans as having the "shoot first, ask questions later" mentality, though it's admitted to be much more effective.
  • 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.
  • Desperation Attack: What Operation Cherry Blossom ultimately comes down to, because the BETA are rapidly adapting to human tactics thanks to secretly reading Sumika's mind. It's estimated that the BETA will devise countermeasures to the Susano'o and even G-Bombs in less than 19 days (with one countermeasure, the Super-Heavy Laser Class / Laser-Fort Class, already in place for orbital drop interdiction at the Evensk Hive), so the timetable to assault the Original Hive is accelerated massively, forcing the UN to cobble together what forces they can rally and commit the barely-complete Susano'o Mark IV. To make things worse, the revelation that the BETA will become nigh unbeatable gives the Alternative V supporters more justification to go through with mass G-bomb bombardment (without even the planetary evacuation envisioned by Operation Babylon) before they are rendered obsolete. Commanding officers in side materials (Yui in TE and the Zerberus Battalion CO in The Euro Front) independently comment on this in identical terms pre-operation, stating that humanity is staking everything upon this battle.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Several times throughout the course of the VN.
  • Distant Finale: The final manga chapter takes place on New Year's Day, 2049, 47 years after the events of Operation Cherry Blossom. The United Nations has evolved into the Union of Mankind (人類統合体), with Kasumi as its first Superintendent. Earth has been cleared of the BETA, TSFs are now space-capable, Rutherford-Kouzuki Field-equipped Susano'o units are now mass-produced, and humanity is sending an expeditionary force via Fomalhaut-class warp-gates to the silicon-based BETA creators' homeworld to convince them (by envoy or by force) to recognize humans as alive.
  • Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest: Goes both ways for Takeru and the 00 Unit/Sumika. They're both aware they aren't each other's real Takeru or Sumika, but since their personalities are largely the same they still love each other regardless.
  • 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 207B die off one by one in the final suicide mission against the Original Hive. Prior to that, Kashiwagi and Captain Isumi die on Operation 21st, and the other non-207B pilots are either KIA or get too injured in the base defence to participate in the next operation.
  • 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. Not many of them are good at the latter part from what we're shown, though.
    • This is the third part of the Isumi Valkyries' motto, and one that everyone but Kashiwagi accomplishes.
  • 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 and an obvious type B. 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. The American soldiers and field commanders Takeru meets turn out to be as decent and gentlemanly as their Japanese counterparts, and all of the soldiers under his command are likeable, making them a type A.
  • 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.
  • Energy Weapon: 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.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: The aftermath of the defense of Yokohama Base.
    Gen. Radhabinod:During the BETA attack, Yokohama Base sustained tremendous, even fatal damage. Countless lives and valuable pieces of equipment have been lost. Our best efforts, truly, all of our resolve has been in vain.
    • Every member of Isumi's Valkyries is dead or incapacitated by the end of the game. The only ones that aren't are Takeru (who fades away and is forgotten soon after) and Kasumi. Second Lieutenant Suzumiya will inevitably recover from her injuries, but First Leiutenant Munakata and Second Leiutenant Kazama are in the air.
  • 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.
  • Finagle's Law: See Murphy's Law below.
  • For Want Of A Nail:
    • If Takeru were facing more than 45 degrees to the right there would be no CHOMP... Without that death, he never would have had to flee to the world of Extra after having a major breakdown. On the flipside, he might have never grown up enough to actually be trusted much by Yuuko either, in addition to finding the determination to save the world and fix everything he messed up.
    • 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.
    • Takeru told Yuuko about the civilians that refused to evacuate the area around the erupting Mount Tengen so squad 207 never got called to force/help them, saving some precious time. However, doing this meant that in this timeline the IJF to take care of the relief effort, which they did in a very different manner. This was used by a rebel group (that remained dormant in the Unlimited timeline) as an excuse to stage a coup d'etat that eventually snowballed into a full-fledged Civil War.
  • 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, fight, and die against the BETA, and as such, most soldiers are now female. He later joins Isumi's Valkyries, an even larger group of all women. He himself is also called a Valkyrie, though he wears it with pride.
  • 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 fan 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." In fact, an early stretch goal of the official translation's Kickstarter specifically promised to outright rerecord dialogue in order to fix up the janky English, which was fortunately done successfully.
  • Gratuitous Latin: The names given to the different BETA classes (e.g. Medium, Lux, Gravis etc). Averted in the official translation, where they're called Grappler-class, Laser-class, and Fortress-class.
  • 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.
  • "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 engrave 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.
  • Humongous Mecha: The "Tactical Surface Fighters" are Real Robots. The Type-2 and Type-4 Susano'o units technically are, as well, but veer close to the Super Robot borderline.
  • Human Resources: The BETA can recycle their own, as well as humans, into more of them. The Soldier-class Venator strain is made by recycling humans.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: The BETA can use combined arms and tactical awareness beyond simple Zerg rushing if enabled by the Superior, though it took the 00 Unit inadvertently feeding them human tactics because they had (and needed) none until then. When they do, human casualties shoot up massively.
  • 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.
  • I Didn't Tell You Because You'd Be Unhappy: His squadmates actively hide how bad the situation in the Original Hive is from Takeru so he won't get distracted.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: While all of the girls fall for Takeru they still support his relationship with Sumika due to how obviously happy it makes him. Meiya in particular even helps Takeru with his relationship troubles.
  • 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 Can Think: Humanity is caught completely off guard by the fact that the BETA are actually controlled by a higher intelligence that can actually learn and utilize advanced tactics and strategy, as shown from the disastrous Sadagashima assault and Yokohama base defense. The fact that all of Humanity's anti-BETA tactics were devised on the assumption the BETA only know how to perform frontal attacks means their entire war strategy has to be thrown out the window.
  • 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.
  • Japanese Politeness: When Shogun Yuuhi bows and apologizes to the American commander during her rescue operation, all Japanese soldiers present are utterly shocked (and the American soldiers are somewhere between amazed and confused). When she then does the same to the UN cadets of Squad 207 (all of them Japanese) they're horrified.
  • Lonely Piano Piece/Playing the Heart Strings/One-Woman Wail: All three in one track: For You Who Departs. Should be obvious at which scenes this plays.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Courtesy of the Susano'o Type-4 Unit.
  • 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.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Happens thrice. And Takeru is pissed he is powerless to save them.
  • 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 Marimo hanging from the mouth of a Soldier-class BETA, her face having been torn off.
  • Multiple Endings: Subverted. While there's only one true ending, the will, and thus love confession you get near the end of the game depends on which character you spend time with in a few scenes.
  • Narrative Filigree: The BETA timeline world is very well developed. Be prepared to hear the history, development and internal politics of everything from major operations to the TSFs that are never seen in game.
  • New Game Plus: 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. This reflects the original development plans for the title; Alternative was supposed to be the New Game Plus true ending to Unlimited, before production issues caused it to become a separate title.
  • Never My Fault: The manga has a stalker in the Extra branch repeat "It's not my fault" over and over.
  • 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. Additionally, he chooses to return to his original world after witnessing Marimo's horrific death and unwittingly turns it into a living hell by bring the BETA timeline's causality with him. The latter mistake in particular serves as a major motivation for him throughout the remainder of the story.
  • Ninja Prop: Why is this the only VN without multiple routes? Because Sumika would have reset the timeline if Takeru fell for someone else. That is, Muv-Luv Unlimited.
  • 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.
  • Nuke 'em:
    • 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.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting/One-Woman Wail: Original Hive
  • Only I Can Make It Go: The secret of the Type-00R Purple Takemikazuchi is that the suit has a ID lock, meaning that the only person who can pilot it is the shogun and her younger sister, Meiya Mitsurugi. It's lampshaded by Tsukuyomi when she tells Chizuru "You cannot make this horse move on its own". Takeru also comments on how in a war where logistics matter and parts are hard to replace, the Japanese still keep to formalities to make sure the purple Takemikazuchi used by the shogun is still special to their leader.
  • Orphaned Etymology: Some weapons that are air-launched weapons in reality are carried over wholesale, designations and all, over to the Unlimited/Alternative universe, even though such weapons are no longer either air-launched or anti-air weapons. An example would be the AIM-54 Phoenix active radar-guided missile, as the AIM stands for Air-Launched Intercept Missile. Meanwhile, both the launch platform (Usually an American TSF) and the targets the Phoenix missile is usually fired on are ground-bound.
  • Peggy Sue: The entire game.
  • Psychic Powers: Kasumi Yashiro, who is among the last survivors of Alternative III, an attempt to communicate with the BETA using psychics.
  • "Psycho" Strings: The aptly-named Creeping Anxiety, which plays during tense or traumatic moments.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Both the Sadogashima Hive assault and Yokohama Base defense technically end with a victory for Humanity, but the costs are enormous.
    • At Sadogashima, even though the Hive is destroyed, the assault force suffers over 50% losses, the Susano'o prototype has to be scuttled, Japan has three of its Yamato-class battleships heavily damaged by laser-class BETA covering the retreat, Isumi and Kashiwagi are killed, and the entire island is obliterated down to the seabed.
    • At Yokohama, while the BETA assault is repelled, over half of the base staff are casualties, practically all of their TSFs and equipment are destroyed, the base facilities are reduced to a third of their functionality, and the majority of the remaining Valkyries are killed or out of action, leaving just Takeru and his friends to carry out Operation Cherry Blossom.
    • Arguably, even though Operation Cherry Blossom ends with the destruction of the BETA Superior, Humanity suffers enormous casualties among the assault force, the loss of most of their orbital diver forces and dropships, the loss of the Susano'o Type-4, and the complete destruction of the remaining Valkyries. And this is not counting losses sustained in the massive diversionary assaults on the outermost ring of hives, such as at Evensk (TE) and Lyons (The Euro Front). Thankfully, the loss of the BETA Superior cripples the BETA enough that Humanity is able to turn the tide and exterminate all BETA on Earth over the coming decades.
  • Redshirt Army: The average survival time of a new pilot against the BETA is just 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.
  • 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...".
  • Self-Censored Release: The all-ages versions of the trilogy censor the H-scenes. They also censor some of the Gorn over which fans raised an outcry, though this is restored in the Steam release. An official patch to restore the adult content in Extra and Alternative is available through Denpasoft.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Takeru's goal in Alternative is to prevent Alternative V, by ensuring the success of Kouzuki Yuuko's Alternative IV, but he doesn't initially know what Alternative IV really is.
  • Shōnen: The manga adaptation, which ran in Dengeki Daioh.
  • Shout-Out: Muv-Luv has at least three general sources:
    • Mecha and Tokusatsu Series. Muv-Luv and its prequel Akane Maniax has a ton of shout-outs to these. A partial list includes Tekkaman, Ultraman, Getter Robo, UFO Robo Grendizer, Raideen, Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack (see Colony Drop above), and Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory.
    • 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 Emblemnote  (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").
    • Other Anime. There is a scene in Episode 1 on the anime where a BETA emerges from a wall, similar to a Titan's opening scene. Since the Attack on Titan creators explicitly stated they were inspired by Muv-luv, the latter is just repaying the favor. Earlier during the manga run, one of the costumes Yuuko was shown forcing Marimo into was Mami.
  • 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.
  • Signature Style: âge seems to have a thing for Last Stands, and/or Sole Survivor in Alternative stories and spinoffs.
  • Silent Scapegoat: Ayamine's father, Lieutenant General Shuukaku Ayamine, who was arrested, disgraced, and put to death. His execution was ostensibly for desertion during the Japanese-assisted withdrawal of UN and COSEAN forces from Korea, resulting in a massive toll of military casualties. He had chosen, however, to prioritize the evacuation of civilians, and the death sentence was one forced upon the IJA and the government from outside elements hungry for a scapegoat's blood. The Shogun, however, vindicates him and his decision while addressing Ayamine during the coup d'etat.
  • 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. They finally get a designation at the very last manga chapter - "Siliconians".
  • So Last Season: Enforced upon the Empire of Japan by the peace settlement ending the Second World War: it was forbidden from building and operating aircraft carriers and furthermore was forced to maintain in active service its six superheavy battleships (four Yamato-classes and two Yamato-Kai-classes) - each a resource hog crippling the Japanese economy and a sitting duck in the era of American air supremacy. And then the BETA came, giving them a new lease on life as superheavy fire support.
  • Sole Survivor: Kasumi becomes this of Operation Cherry Blossom after Sumika dies and Takeru ceases to exist.
  • Starfish Aliens: The BETA. They were created to harvest resources, with a programming which is essentially: "There can be no carbon-based sentient life. No exceptions."
  • 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.
  • Super Prototype: The Susano'o units, which were the only ones big enough to carry the prototype Deflector Shields and Wave-Motion Gun. They require in turn another Super Prototype to even operate without liquefying their pilots - the 00-Unit.
  • Survivor Guilt: Marimo after losing her squadmates to a surprise BETA attack, as her backstory reveals. Takeru himself suffers this after she dies, to the point of undergoing a Heroic BSoD and trying to flee back to his original timeline.
  • Taking the Bullet: During Operation Cherry Blossom, the orbital shuttle pilots used their crafts as shields 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.note  And in 2004, after the success of the XFJ Programme and successful trials during Operation Sledgehammer, Yuuhi orders the IJA to adopt the Shiranui Second over the F-15SEJ Gekkou / Silent Eagle as the Type-04.
  • 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.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Pretty much the entire cast, compared to their Extra counterparts.
  • 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.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Ayamine's yakisoba bread, as can be seen in this page's picture.
  • 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).
  • Trapped In A Parallel Dimension
  • 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.
  • Utsuge: Once Cerebus Syndrome hits you should probably have tissues on hand.
  • Values Dissonance: In-universe. Takeru finds it odd that while people object to nukes and G-Bombs, they don't object to depleted uranium rounds and heavy metal clouds. He also notes that, as someone who lives in a universe where Japan is at peace, he doesn't have the same mindset those in the world he's in have.
  • 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.
  • Viewers Are Goldfish: The game has a tendency to show a lot of brief flashbacks at relevant times. Most of the time these scenes are from a decent enough time ago, but a few happen just shortly after the scene it's flashing back to happened.
  • 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.
  • Wham Line: To pick two (infamous) examples from Chapter 7, aka the "PTSD Arc": "Jinguuji-sensei was seen eating with another man." and "Good morning, Shirogane-kun!"
  • War Is Hell: A major reason why Alternative gets a lot darker than the earlier installments is that it shows humanity's struggle against the BETA in all its unflinching brutality, with Takeru putting himself right in the middle of it all, instead of taking a backseat like he did in Unlimited. The emotional toll that the war takes is not glossed over in the slightest, with the impact it's had on both Takeru and Sumika being a key plot point.
  • 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.
    • Notably, Yuuko's theory was right. While Kashiwagi's death didn't do anything, the death of the other three Valkyries who do die all steer the plot in the direction it goes in, which ultimately leads to a victory.
  • 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 start using tactics in addition to their sheer numbers.

So how many times do I have to repeat myself? An awkward hero saved this world.
Stumbling, crying, fighting stubbornly for so long, such a bratty hero.
And it's funny: Everybody went along with him knowing nothing, and even after learning the truth they still did... Well, I was one of them too.
Geez, we really were idiots.
...Guess it's useless talking further with you uncultured swine.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Muv Luv Alternative


TSF versus Fort-class

"The State of the World". The gigantic Fort-class BETA assaulting the Imperial Japanese Army fortifications on Sado Island are invulnerable to the Type-77 Gekishins' 35mm chainguns, so Alpha Squadron targets the joints with 120mm armor-piercing shells and are able to bring down several before Kusano Tetsuya makes a mistake and is trapped under a falling Fort-class at the inner defensive wall.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / AttackItsWeakPoint

Media sources: