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Muv-Luv (マブラヴ, Mabu Ravu) is a Japanese visual novel developed by âge and originally released as an adult game for Windows on February 28, 2003. Consisting of two parts, Muv-Luv Extra (マブラヴ エクストラ, Mabu Ravu Ekusutora) and Muv-Luv Unlimited (マブラヴ アンリミテッド, Mabu Ravu Anrimiteddo), the gameplay in Muv-Luv follows a linear plot line, which offers pre-determined scenarios and courses of interaction, and focuses on the differing scenarios of the female main characters. Muv-Luv was followed by a sequel, Muv-Luv Alternative (マブラヴ オルタネイティヴ, Mabu Ravu Orutaneitivu), which was released for Windows on April 24, 2006 and follows the storyline of Muv-Luv Unlimited.

Muv-Luv
Muv-Luv CD-ROM.jpg
Muv-Luv original visual novel cover.
マブラヴ
(Mabu Ravu)
GenreRomantic comedy, Mecha
Game
Developerâge
5pb. (Xbox 360, PS3)
GenreVisual novel
PlatformWindows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita
ReleasedFebruary 28, 2003 (CD) (JP)
April 30, 2004 (DVD) (JP)
September 22, 2006 (all-age) (JP)
October 27, 2011 (Xbox 360) (JP)
June 29, 2012 (Windows 7) (JP)
October 25, 2012 (PS3) (JP)
January 21, 2016 (PS Vita) (JP)[1]
July 15, 2016 (Windows) (WW)[2]
Manga
Written byUkyou Takao
Published byMediaWorks
DemographicShōnen
MagazineDengeki Daioh
Original run20032004
Volumes3 (List of volumes)
Manga
Muv-Luv Unlimited
Written byTomo Hirokawa
Published byMediaWorks
DemographicShōnen
MagazineDengeki Daioh
Original run20042007
Volumes4 (List of volumes)
Game
Muv-Luv Alternative
Developerâge
5pb. (Xbox 360, PS3)
GenreVisual novel
PlatformWindows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita
ReleasedFebruary 24, 2006 (DVD) (JP)
March 3, 2006 (CD) (JP)
September 22, 2006 (all-age) (JP)
October 27, 2011 (Xbox 360) (JP)
June 29, 2012 (Windows 7) (JP)
October 25, 2012 (PS3) (JP)
January 21, 2016 (PS Vita) (JP)
September 18, 2017 (Windows) (WW)
Novel series
Published byShueisha
DemographicMale
ImprintSuper Dash Bunko
Original runOctober 25, 2006June 30, 2009
Volumes7 (List of volumes)
Serial novel
Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse
Published byEnterbrain
DemographicMale
MagazineTech Gian
Original runFebruary 2007March 30, 2013
Volumes6 (List of volumes)
Manga
Muv-Luv Alternative
Written byAzusa Maxima
Published byMediaWorks
DemographicShōnen
MagazineDengeki Daioh
Original runAugust 21, 2007April 27, 2017
Volumes17 (List of volumes)
Manga
Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse
Written byTakashi Ishigaki
Published byMediaWorks
DemographicShōnen
MagazineDengeki Daioh
Original run20092011
Volumes3 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse
Directed byMasaomi Ando
Produced byHiroyuki Tanaka
Masahiro Kawada
Makoto Hijikata
Hiroaki Oshiro
Kyōta Ide
Written byTakayuki Inagaki
Music bySeikou Nagaoka
Studioixtl
Satelight
Licensed by
Hanabee
Original networkTV Tokyo, TVO, TVQ, TVh, AT-X, TSC, TVA, Nico Nico Douga
English network
Original run July 2, 2012 December 23, 2012
Episodes24 (List of episodes)
Anime television series
Schwarzesmarken
Directed byTetsuya Watanabe
Written byTatsuto Higuchi
Music byElements Garden
Studioixtl
Liden Films
Original networkTV Tokyo, TVO, TVA, AT-X
Original run January 10, 2016 March 27, 2016
Episodes12 (List of episodes)
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and Manga portal

The trilogy's story initially presents itself as a light-hearted romantic comedy (Extra), but changes into a alternate timeline coming-of-age story (Unlimited), and finally evolves into an alien invasion war epic (Alternative).


PlotEdit

The visual novel Muv-Luv is divided into two parts. The first part, titled Muv-Luv Extra, features playable character Takeru Shirogane (voiced by Takeshi Aiba in the Windows version and Soichiro Hoshi in ports) who wakes up one morning to find a beautiful young woman sleeping in his bed, just as an infuriated Sumika Kagami (voiced by Hiroko Taguchi, credited as Rika Fujiwara in the Windows version), Takeru's neighbor and childhood friend, comes to wake him up that morning. The young woman, Meiya Mitsurugi (voiced by Aki Okuda in the Windows version and Kazumi Okushima in ports), is the heiress to a financially powerful family and is determined to be Takeru's bride. As the story progresses, both girls compete for Takeru's affections while Takeru has recurring dreams about a marriage promise he made to a girl long ago. At first, he believes the girl was Sumika, but eventually realizes that it was actually Meiya. At the conclusion, Takeru must choose between which of the girls he truly loves. In addition, the player may also make decisions to choose between one of the three main supporting cast: Chizuru Sakaki (voiced by Masayo Kurata), Miki Tamase (voiced by Hitomi), and Kei Ayamine (voiced by Nagashima Yuuko).

The second part, Muv-Luv Unlimited, starts with Takeru Shirogane waking up in his bed, reminiscent of the start of Muv-Luv Extra; however, Takeru quickly realizes that neither Meiya nor Sumika come to wake him that morning. Upon leaving his house, he finds his neighborhood destroyed and Sumika's house crushed under the wreckage of a large mecha. Takeru later learns that he is in an alternate world to Extra, where aliens called BETA (an acronym for "Beings of Extra Terrestrial origin which are Adversary of the human race") have invaded and mankind fights back against the alien aggressors with mecha called Tactical Surface Fighters (戦術歩行戦闘機, Senjutsuhokōsentōki), usually referred to as simply Senjutsuki (戦術機).

Muv-Luv Unlimited explains that the BETA first arrived on Earth in 1973 (in China and Canada) after arriving on the Moon in 1967 and being spotted on Mars in 1958. Subsequent battles with BETA resulted in the global population dropping to 2.4 billion with most of mainland Eurasia having been lost, by 2001. Displaced nations find refuge in the remaining human-controlled areas. Notably, the Soviet Union (which has persisted in this reality) has been driven into the Kamchatka Peninsula and now leases Alaska from the United States of America. Japan was invaded in 1998 by the BETA, and subsequently lost thirty-six million people (approximately 30% of the Japanese population) within a week before the invasion was halted.

Most of the major characters from the Extra timeline are present in Unlimited, notably excluding the Unlimited world's Takeru, who is said to be dead, and Sumika, who does not seem to exist in the Unlimited timeline. The characters are mostly identical to their Extra counterparts, with the notable exception Yoroi, Takeru's best friend in Extra who, for reasons unclear, is a girl in this reality. By the end of Unlimited, Takeru is unable to change the course of the war as the United Nations vote to implement the fifth Alternative Plan. Alternative V's goal is to send 100,000 select survivors to a habitable planet in the Alpha Centauri system, while the remaining forces on Earth make a possibly suicidal offensive against the BETA in the hopes of driving them out completely.

In the sequel Muv-Luv Alternative, Takeru wakes up three years after the beginning of Unlimited to find himself back in his room. Although he first thinks that the events of Muv-Luv Unlimited were a dream, he soon feels that something is wrong, and leaves the house to find that he has been sent back in time to the beginning of the events in Unlimited. Unwilling to accept the events at the end of Unlimited, he decides to help professor Kouzuki save the earth and mankind by bringing Alternative IV, a secretly planned assault on the first BETA hive, to fruition.


GameplayEdit

 
A typical conversation in Muv-Luv featuring the player character talking to Sumika.

The gameplay in Muv-Luv requires little player interaction as most time is spent reading the text that appears on the lower portion of the screen, representing either dialogue between characters, narration, or the inner thoughts of the player character. Every so often, the player will arrive at a "decision point", and be required to choose between multiple options. Gameplay pauses and depending upon the player's choice, the plot will develop in a specific direction. There are multiple plot lines that the player can follow, one for each heroine in the story, and there are nineteen possible endings. To view all plot lines, the player must replay the game multiple times. The game can end in failure if the player makes the wrong decisions. When this occurs, the player can return to a previously saved spot to try again.

Muv-Luv is divided into two segments, or story arcsExtra and Unlimited—which serve as different phases in the overall story. Initially, only the Extra arc is available to play, but once the player has completed the Extra scenarios for the two main heroines, Sumika Kagami and Meiya Mitsurugi, the Unlimited arc becomes accessible. The 2016 Steam release removes this lock and makes Unlimited available immediately, albeit with a warning that the player should experience Extra first.

Spin-offsEdit

Muv-Luv has prompted many spin-offs, and is itself a spin-off of âge's Kimi ga Nozomu Eien and its sequel Akane Maniax, as it features several characters, locations, and story elements from those games. Muv-Luv Alternative also adds a character from âge's first visual novel, Kimi ga Ita Kisetsu.

Muv-Luv Alternative Total Eclipse is a spin-off story set parallel to Muv-Luv Alternative, which focuses on the development of experimental TSF craft and the relationship between Yuuya Bridges, a Japanese-American test pilot and Yui Takamura, a leading figure in the development of a new generation TSF, which may able to change the course of the war.

Schwarzesmarken is a series set in the Germany of the Alternative universe, during the early years of the BETA invasion in 1983. The protagonists are the 666th TSF squadron of East Germany, who fight both the BETA and opponents from the corrupt Stasi (Ministry of State Security). Schwarzesmarken replaced the Muv-Luv Alternative Total Eclipse serialization in the Tech Gian magazine. The series is written by Hiroki Uchida and illustrated by CARNELIAN. The series was followed in Tech Gian by its prequel, Bernhard im Schatten.

Several other prose spin-offs were published as short stories in Tech Gian magazine. In addition, two fandiscs were also released, Muv-Luv Supplement (マブラヴ サプリメント, Mabu Ravu Sapurimento) and Muv-Luv Altered Fable (オルタード ALTERED FABLE, Mabu Ravu Orutādo Feiburu), containing alternate scenarios, short stories, computer wallpapers, and audio dramas. Other spin-off material appeared as short visual novels in re-releases of earlier games, and in the Muv-Luv Alternative Chronicles series. Some of these visual novel segments for PC were assembled into the collections photonflowers* and photonmelodies♮ for the PlayStation 3 in 2014.

Development and releaseEdit

Japanese ReleasesEdit

Muv-Luv was released on February 28, 2003 on Windows CD-ROM, and re-released on DVD-ROM on April 30, 2004.[3] A fandisc, called Muv-Luv Supplement containing a number of short stories, computer wallpapers, audio clips, and a trailer for the upcoming Muv-Luv Alternative. The limited edition DVD was released on December 17, 2004 and the regular edition was released on December 24.[4]

Muv-Luv Alternative is a sequel to Muv-Luv and taking place after the events of the Unlimited arc in the original game. The DVD version of the game was released on February 24, 2006 and the CD version was released on March 3, 2006.[5] A Muv-Luv Alternative fandisc, Muv-Luv Altered Fable, was released on August 31, 2007 containing an alternate version of the Extra arc from Muv-Luv along with a radio drama, a Senjoki vs. BETA strategy RPG, computer wallpapers, and a Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse short story.[6]

"All-age" versions of Muv-Luv and Muv-Luv Alternative with the adult content removed were released simultaneously on September 22, 2006.[7][8] In 2011, both games were ported to the Xbox 360 by 5pb. and simultaneously released on October 27, 2011.[9][10]

English LocalizationsEdit

In the early 2010s, Mangagamer attempted to negotiate an English-language release of Muv-Luv and Muv-Luv Alternative, but talks broke down, and the translator unilaterally released an unofficial fan translation patch, effectively ending Mangagamer's efforts.[11] In 2015, âge partnered with Degica to launch a Kickstarter campaign to officially release the Muv-Luv series in English.[12] The campaign succeeded in late 2015 after raising over US$1.25 million, against an initial goal of $250,000. The campaign also met all of its stretch goals, including ports to Playstation Vita and Android and English localizations of photonflowers* and photonmelodies♮.[13] The English localization of the first Muv-Luv visual novel was released on Steam in July 2016, and Muv-Luv Alternative was released in September 2017. PS Vita versions of both games were released in June, 2018.[14] The English verison of photonflowers* was released on Steam in August, 2019.[15]

Related mediaEdit

AnimeEdit

On July 24, 2011, a teaser website announced that an anime television adaptation of the Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse novels[16] which aired between July 2 and December 23, 2012. Sentai Filmworks has licensed the anime for digital and home video release.[17] The first 13 episodes were released on January 20, 2015, on Blu-ray and DVD.

On September 18, 2015, a teaser website announced that an anime television adaptation of the Schwarzesmarken novels[18] which began airing on January 10, 2016. Crunchyroll streamed the anime outside of Japan.[19]

Manga and Light NovelsEdit

Muv-Luv and its sequel Muv-Luv Alternative have since been adapted into three manga series by MediaWorks (later ASCII Media Works) and are serialized in the manga magazine Dengeki Daioh. Shueisha published a seven volume novel series based on Muv-Luv and Muv-Luv Alternative while Enterbrain published a spin-off novel series, Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse in its Tech Gian magazine. Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse follows a new cast of characters while retaining the setting of Muv-Luv Alternative. This was followed by a manga adaptation titled Total Eclipse by ASCII Media Works as well as an anime adaptation produced by ixtl and Satelight which began airing on July 2, 2012, and licensed by Crunchyroll.[20] Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse was later adapted into a visual novel by âge in 2013.

Tech Gian later serialized Schwarzesmarken (シュヴァルツェスマーケン, Shuvarutsesumāken, nonstandard German for "Black Marches", the correct version of which would be "Schwarze Marken"), which was illustrated and featured character designs by CARNELIAN. Schwarzesmarken is a prequel spin-off to the series detailing events in East Germany 18 years prior to the setting of Muv-Luv Alternative. The novel was compiled into seven volumes following a 41 chapter run from 2011 to 2014. In addition, a visual novel adaptation by âge was announced and will be released in late 2015,[21] which was followed by an anime adaptation by ixtl and Liden Films. Crunchyroll picked up streaming rights in January 2016.[22][23]


MusicEdit

The opening theme of Muv-Luv is "Muv-Luv" (マブラヴ, Mabu Ravu) by Minami Kuribayashi. The closing theme for the Extra segment of Muv-Luv is "I Will" and the Unlimited segment's ending theme is "Harukanaru Furusato no Uta" (遥かなる地球の歌, "Song of the Distant Homeland"), both by Minami Kuribayashi. For the all ages version, the opening theme the Extra segment is "divergence" by Minami Kuribayashi. For the Unlimited segment, the opening theme is "Sion" (紫音-sion-, Shion, "Violet Tone") by Masami Okui. The all ages version featured several ending themes depending on the ending, including "I will" by Minami Kuribayashi, "Kizu wa Kaseki ni Narenai Keredo" (傷は化石にならないけれど, "This Wound Will Not Fossilize") by Aki Misato, "Astraea" by Miyuki Hashimoto, and "Little More" (リトル・モア) by CooRie.

The opening themes for the sequel Muv-Luv Alternative are "Asu e no Hōkō" (未来への咆哮, "Roar Towards Tomorrow") by JAM Project for the original release and "NAME ~Kimi no Na wa~" (NAME ~君の名は~, Nēmu ~Kimi no Na wa~, "Name (Your Name Is)") by JAM Project for the all age release. The ending theme for both releases is "Muv-Luv (2005 ver.)" by Minami Kuribayashi. "Carry On" by Masaaki Endoh of JAM Project is used as an insert song in Alternative.

MerchandiseEdit

 
Muv-Luv merchandise created as rewards for Kickstarter backers. Clockwise from rear: Mitsuki Hayase dakimakura, Destroyer-class BETA plush, Sumika Kagami figure, Muv-Luv Alternative Codex book

The Muv-Luv franchise has prompted the creation of a wide variety of tie-in merchandise, including clothing, model kits, action figures, dakimakura (hug pillows), and more. Several tie-in books provide coverage of the franchise's lore, such as Muv-Luv Alternative Integral Works[24]

The Kickstarter campaign that funded the official English translation of the core trilogy commissioned new merchandise as rewards for backers.[25] Unique items included a plush BETA toy, and Muv-Luv Alternative Codex, an English translation of most of Integral Works along with other material.

ReceptionEdit

In 2003, Muv-Luv was number one in national PC sales following its release.[26] The sequel, Muv-Luv Alternative, released in 2006, was number three in sales during the first half of 2006.[27]

Muv-Luv has received a median rating of 79 out of 100 on Erogamescape (EGS),[28] while Muv-Luv Alternative has received a median rating of 93 out of 100,[29] making it the third-highest rated visual novel on the website. On the Visual Novel Database (VNDB), Muv-Luv Alternative received an average rating of 9.13 (out of 10), making it the site's #1 visual novel by Bayesian ranking.[30]

The English-language release of Muv-Luv has a Metacritic score of 76/100 based on reviews from four critics.[31] RPGFan writer Don Kim gave the game a mixed review, writing "although Extra is nothing more than a glorified character introduction (and a terrible one at that), the game went far beyond my expectations in Unlimited, making the mediocrity of Extra almost forgivable."[32]

Muv-Luv Alternative's English release has a Metacritic score of 83/100, based on reviews form six critics.[33] Summarizing the series for DualShockers, Giuseppe Nelva wrote: "If you love strong storytelling, solid and realistic sci-fi, diverse and engaging characters, quite a bit of charming fanservice, and to be deeply engaged on the emotional level, you owe it to yourself to try the Muv-Luv trilogy out."[34]

According to the manga author Hajime Isayama, his hit manga and anime series Attack on Titan was partly inspired by Muv-Luv Alternative.[35]

ReferencesEdit

GeneralEdit

  • âge (February 28, 2003). Muv-Luv (in Japanese). Windows.
  • âge (April 24, 2006). Muv-Luv Alternative (in Japanese). Windows.

SpecificEdit

  1. ^ "Muv-Luv trilogy for PS Vita launches January 21 in Japan". Gematsu. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
  2. ^ "Muv-Luv is now officially released on Steam!". Kickstarter. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
  3. ^ マブラヴ 製品概要 [Muv-Luv Overview] (in Japanese). âge. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  4. ^ マブラヴ サプリメント トップページ [Muv-Luv Supplement Top Page] (in Japanese). âge. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  5. ^ マブラヴ オルタネイティヴ - スペック [Muv-Luv Alternative Specifications] (in Japanese). âge. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  6. ^ "マブラヴ ALTERED FABLE" (in Japanese). âge. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  7. ^ 全年齢版『マブラヴ』 製品情報 [All Age Edition Muv-Luv Product information] (in Japanese). âge. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  8. ^ マブラヴ オルタネイティヴ - スペック [Muv-Luv Alternative Specifications] (in Japanese). âge. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  9. ^ "マブラヴ for Xbox 360 公式サイト" [Muv-Luv for Xbox 360 Official Website] (in Japanese). 5pb. Retrieved July 29, 2011.
  10. ^ "マブラヴ オルタネイティヴ for Xbox 360 公式サイト" [Muv-Luv Alternative for Xbox 360 Official Website] (in Japanese). 5pb. Retrieved July 29, 2011.
  11. ^ "Fan group decides licensing is too slow, releases things... oh boy". Neechin.net. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  12. ^ "Degica Kickstarting Muv-Luv and Muv-Luv Alternative localization this summer". gematsu. June 29, 2015. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
  13. ^ "By The Numbers!". Kickstarter. Dec 17, 2015. Retrieved Dec 21, 2015.
  14. ^ "Muv-Luv and Muv-Luv Alternative for PS Vita Finally Have Release Dates". DualShockers. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  15. ^ "Muv-Luv photonflowers*". Steam. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  16. ^ "Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse Novel Gets TV Anime". Anime News Network. July 24, 2011. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  17. ^ "Sentai Filmworks Adds Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse". Anime News Network. 2014-09-23.
  18. ^ ""Muv-Luv" Anime "Schwarzesmarken" Scheduled for January 2016". Crunchyroll. September 18, 2015. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
  19. ^ "crunchyroll to stream schwarzesmarken anime". animenewsnetwork. January 5, 2016. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
  20. ^ "Anime News Network Crunchyroll Adds Muv Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse Anime". Anime News Network. Retrieved September 23, 2015.
  21. ^ "Crunchyroll VIDEO: "Muv-Luv Schwarzesmarken" Visual Novel Previewed". Crunchyroll. Retrieved September 23, 2015.
  22. ^ "Anime News Network Muv-Luv Spinoff Novel Schwarzesmarken Gets Anime (Update)". Anime News Network. Retrieved September 23, 2015.
  23. ^ "Crunchyroll Crunchyroll to Simulcast "Schwarzes Marken" Anime". Crunchyroll. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
  24. ^ "Muv-Luv Alternative Integral Works". amazon.co.jp. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  25. ^ "Muv-Luv: A Pretty Sweet Visual Novel Series". Kickstarter. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  26. ^ "Getchu.com 2003 PC sales" (in Japanese). Getchu.com. Retrieved September 15, 2015.
  27. ^ "Getchu.com First half of 2006 PC sales" (in Japanese). Getchu.com. Retrieved September 15, 2015.
  28. ^ "erogamescape 2003 PC sales" (in Japanese). erogamescape. Retrieved September 15, 2015.
  29. ^ "erogamescape 2003 PC sales" (in Japanese). erogamescape. Retrieved September 15, 2015.
  30. ^ "Muv-Luv Alternative". The Visual Novel Database. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  31. ^ "Muv-Luv (PC)". Metacritic. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  32. ^ "Muv-Luv". RPGFan. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  33. ^ "Muv-Luv Alternative (PC)". Metacritic. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  34. ^ "Muv-Luv + Muv-Luv Alternative Review — Emotional Roller Coaster Between Hope and Despair". DualShockers. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  35. ^ Saitō, Tamaki (November 15, 2014). "諫山創 落書きと過去作品。". Brutus (in Japanese). Magazine World. 790. Archived from the original on March 24, 2016. Retrieved October 10, 2015.

External linksEdit