Alternative was one for Japanese fans at the time of its release, partly due to the three-year Schedule Slip and the fans building up expectations. People who were expecting a light, multi-heroine ending dating sim in the vein of Sakura Wars ended up getting a dark, powerfully-written linear Utsuge with a death count on par with Victory Gundam. The unexpected Gorn and Naughty Tentacles caused an outcry, and there were reports of fans dropping the game after Marimo's grisly death. Eventually however Alternative became the most well-regarded installment of the trilogy, ranking consistently either at the top (or just below it) of both Japanese and Western Visual Novel ratings.
Deny all you want âge, that bit at the end of Alternative certainly looked like it connected to Altered Fable. If Yashiro didn't know, why would she she just spontaneously start crying, and recognizing people she didn't remember? This ultimately got subverted with the official English photonmelodies release that freely advertises Altered Fable as the official sequel to Alternative.
Ensemble Dark Horse: Haruko Kashiwagi, the sixth player in Chizuru's lacrosse team in Extra, appears to be one, considering that âge released the fandisk Haruko Maniax with her taking center-stage.note She also has the most H-scenes out of any Muv-Luv heroine, whether main or supporting.
Genius Bonus: Too many to count. One particular example: history-savvy readers will recall that Operation Cherry Blossom (Operation Ouka) shares its name with the Japanese purpose-built kamikaze aircraft Ouka - apt name for a suicide mission in the Original Hive.
Heartwarming Moments: Each of the heroines' routes in Extra and Unlimited has at least one. In Alternative, Yuuhi (the Grand Shogun) consoling Chizuru, who had just lost her father the Prime Minister in the coup d'etat.
"Is Alternative here yet?"note "Oruta mada~?" in Japanese A common cry by Japanese fans during the three year wait between Unlimited and Alternative. Shortly after its release, this was followed by "Is the fandisc here yet?"note FD mada~?" in Japanese
Noble Confidant, to mock the "Just Friends" treatment of Meiya in Alternative.
X has been shipped off to Extra.note Unusual Euphemism for someone dying in the world of Alternative, originating from Takeru and the dead heroines "showing up" in the happy, fun world of Final Extra and Altered Fable. The cast of TDA's prologue, except Lilia later show up too, in their own Extra-setting game.
In the grim darkness of Muv-Luv, there is only waifus. note Riffing on Warhammer 40,000's slogan, and the series' harem elements
In Total Eclipse we get to see two young pilots ripped to pieces and eaten in rather grim detail.
Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Sumika was a rather divisive character in Muv-Luv Extra, seen by fans as a generic childhood love interest tsundere who is so stereotypical that she brings nothing new to the table. It also doesn't help that her love rival is Meiya, who is a fan-favorite character, to the point where Fans, even the ones that like Sumika in Alternative, felt sorry for Meiya when she does get friendzoned. (Major spoilers) However, she does recieve this in Muv-Luv Alternative due to getting much more characterization and several tragic moments, such as the PTSD Arc and the 00 Unit Arc, to the point where fans that used to REALLY hate her in Extra really think of her better in Alternative, or at least hate her a lot less.
Ship-to-Ship Combat: Please don't ask whether Meiya or Sumika is the best love interest for Takeru. Really, don't do it. It's for your own sake.
Slow-Paced Beginning: Alternative is widely considered by many to be a great Visual Novel. However, one of the major complaints of people who play it are that it is necessary to play through the first two installments of the series and that Alternative, even after it starts, is little more than a rehash of Unlimited until 7 hours in.