Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Muv-Luv Alternative Total Eclipse: the Logic Behind the Alien Invasion

Currently finished: Episode 3

Once upon a time, like everybody else, I too enjoyed animes with big mechas for their metal-on-metal actions. However, after having seen more or less every single animes from last 10 years (in a literal sense, I'm quite serious), I'm starting to notice that pretty much all mecha animes since the late 90's are all just beating on the same dead horse (with few exceptions here and there) both action and plot-wise. So instead of watching the variants of the same fights I've seen so many times, I start to pay more attention to the details and logical consistencies of the stories themselves. That is when I noticed that majority of mecha animes place so much emphasis on actions, they almost always leave everything else unpolished. This, is where my often-unfavorable-biased opinions towards mecha anime come from. Because while it's exciting to watch, blow away the dust storm stirred up from the metal-on-metal actions (which I have nothing against, I too enjoy a good Michael Bay movie once a while), you are left with many logical inconsistencies underneath.

Let me just dissect Muv-Luv real quick to show you what I see:

First, the main villains of the story are those giant alien creatures called BETA who are trying to invade earth. One major pitfall for stories of this kind is that it's really hard for me to image aliens with highly advanced technology that is capable of interplanetary travel who can invade earth with such ease would be such an unrefined savage specie that they wouldn't just send some automated armament to wipe out humankind. Even if you want to argue such technologies are difficult to come by, these aliens seems to be completely naked aside from their natural armor like shells. You'd think if they're technologically advanced enough to invade earth, they'd at least have some sort of armor to protect their infantries' lives, or, you know what, better mecha to fight us, right? Can you image if we human somehow decide to invade an alien planet, all the infantries we're sending to the battle field are butt naked? You wouldn't even do that if you want to invade a rat's nest, let alone rats in the nest are swarms equipped with metal exoskeletons which are capable of firing high velocity projectiles, which I think that's what the BETAs would see us as, LOL. So why would BETAs do that here?!

Second, outside basic exoskeleton, mecha hardly seem to be an efficient equipment for combat--if that's the case, I'm sure the top military research nowadays would all be circled around mecha development research instead of these so called armored viechles, helicoptors, jet fighters, etc. right? Well, of course unless the "mecha physics phenomenon ", where somehow a pilot could make the macha push harder or go faster by simply pushing harder on the lever or stepping harder on the pedal even though the mecha has already previously reached its physical limit, is an undeniable fact in all mecha universe.

Lastly, what's the point of the "TopGun" type pilot training when the enemy isn't another country with comparable mecha technology? Wouldn't it be better to have combat training scenarios where your simulated enemy behaves more like your real enemy instead of your wing man who's going to fight along side with you?

I'm sure by now I have angered some mecha loving or Muv-Luv loving fans out there. If you like to defend your beloved genre with some intelligent comments, I would converse with you in the comment area and would even agree with you if you can bring valid points to the table. But if you have nothing intelligent to say, then don't bother commenting, I'll just ignore and delete them as quickly as you post them.


yoekix said...

Even though I like to watch mecha, I know its logic is usually quite bad.
Most of the setting just doesn't make sense, like the fact they landed in asia and are advancing from there, not like they can land from space everywhere on earth they would like.

So why am I watching this show? Pretty much because i have time to waste would be my first answer, secondly I like the image 30 ton steel and technology soaring trough the air smoother than a bird firing bullets, lasers and warheads to whatever enemy the writer damns wants to fire at.

Does this mean i automaticly give mecha series a high rank? mostly no, only if the story could surprise me or the real focus isn't just mecha but something else and mecha is but a tool for the story to advance.

Comming back to Muv-Luv, I would say that even by mecha standards, it is quite bad. Most of the mecha series go quite far to explain various things just to give it more dimension. Muv-Luv gives you a shitty start story and a world that doesn't work on logic (let us send 16 year old girls to the battle field). From the start i probably already knew, that this one wasn't going to be a show of the season.

Zetro200 said...

Thought I'd throw in my two-bits again.
Once again I'll say, I haven't seen a mecha anime with a proper explanation for why they're humanoid since the Gundam arc that had skin suits for 1 to 1 movement with the things, or maybe Break Blade with the whole "we move it with our 'power' so basically our mind, easier to mimic normal movements" presupposed logic. If your arse is in a chair with pedals and levers, I have no idea how they're making such precise movements as would be required for a sword fight. Surely if the machine is filling in the blanks, wouldn't it be more practical to invert the burden of correction? Have the machine fighting automatically and the HUMAN making the small corrections? Then again that would be just as easily accomplished from a computer and a wireless connection so meh.

As far as the first point from evil cat and yoekix, I think you guys are giving the aliens a bit too much intellectual credit. I could be corrected by the anime of course, them shooting themselves in the foot, but so far I'm getting the message that the BETA are the farthest thing from intelligent and are basically just a mindless horde jumping about feeding on everything. That they've told us so far, the sole reason for the earth invasion was "Here there be food OM NOM NOM NOM NOM". So long as they don't try to push any intelligence into the BETA later in the series I'm content enough with their basic layout so far. Although I raised an eyebrow at the "Laser-class" which was a monkey wrench in the gears of my idea of the impression they were trying to give of the BETA.

Other than those two, I really only have issue with yoekix's comment about them sending 16 year old girls to the battlefield: MOST OF EARTHS CONQUERED. The assumption is that implies most of the armies active members are dead, (which the anime pretty much said, X-time limit average survival makes you above the norm), so they don't really have as many options for recruitment except what's left. Although that doesn't explain why there couldn't have been more boys, other than two possible "this we infer" explanations: They're trying to make a point of emphasizing the desperation in that they have to send girls to fight...or the more probable, the anime industry getting in their necessary two-bits of Fan Service shots. I let out such a terribly disappointed sigh when they came out with the "skin suit that automatically tightens to your form". So yes, it is stupid that all they showed us was young girls, I'm pegging that one on the anime industry's current expectations, but I feel that at the core of the matter the story was trying to emphasis desperate measures being taken.

On the whole though I'm concurring with Evil Cat, this anime has had more inconsistent points than I feel are reasonable.

Reik said...

I wont write a wall of text like the two above me but i will say this the anime is not nearly as good as the game. Im not a mecha fan but i dont dislike it either so i played the game and decided to give the anime a shot. I wont say its bad but it could be better. The game is fantastic in my opinion. If you have spare time definetely check it out.

PS: Its an eroge so be careful :3

The Evil Cat said...

@yoekix logical inconsistencies bothers me, some more than other. Mecha anime has so many logical inconsistencies packed in one place, I just couldn't bring myself to hang around with them for long. Maybe a movie length, but not a season worth.

@zetro200 Broken Blade is one mecha series that has done right, I have given it high praise in the past. Aside from the "Laser-class", as I said in the original post, interplanetary isn't an easy thing, if they are such a primitive specie, it's hard to image they're capable of using such complex technology.

@Reik As busy as I am, I don't think I'll have time to check it, I'll just have take your words for it

yoekix said...

" it's hard to image they're capable of using such complex technology. "

I suggest you watch the movie starship troopers and the anime serie macross frontier. Bugs that destroy space ships, in macross they even grow biologically their own missiles.

Sometimes logic around that needs to take leap, depending of how big that leap is can make it bad show for people.