[VN] Muv-Luv Alternative

Muv Luv Alternative

An epic dystopian tale where mankind is forced to revert back to its old militant ways and battle a superior alien species to survive.

Release: 2006 (Age)
Writers: Yoshimune Koki (Kimi ga Nozomu Eien)
Japanese difficulty: Medium
English: Degica
Ratings: VNDB (9.20); EGS (8.86)

Visual Novel

Muv Luv Alternative is without doubt one the most accessible visual novels I’ve read. It’s got a nice, if not particularly unique cast; it boasts an interesting dystopian world; it offers a tense plot littered with emotional moments and mind-blowing surprises; and it’s got a solid story that will stay in your memories for some time.

It’s honestly hard to fault other the fact I feel its accessibility and well-roundness is precisely what held it back from taking bigger risks and venturing into more unique territories.


To confess, I couldn’t stand the original Muv-Luv. It’s an unrealistic love comedy that represents all that I hate about visual novels. I didn’t find it funny, its romance was subpar, and I didn’t like the painfully archetypic characters. As such, it was quite a shock to see the game suddenly jump to an alternate dimension where the same fluffy characters had to get their shit together and fight for their lives.

That said, while I definitely enjoyed it more, the Unlimited chapter didn’t really hook me either.


But then all suddenly changed when I started Alternative. It’s funny how the superficial characters I used to hate suddenly transformed into relatively profound and respectable people with realistic strengths and weaknesses in the middle of the battlefield. I still feel that Alternative could have been even better if it followed a completely original cast of characters rather than recycling everyone from age’s other games, but then it didn’t really take me that long to start viewing them as completely different people anyway.

It’s also quite amazing how an insufferable goofy romcom protagonist manages to grow into this hardened and inspiring soldier around Alternative without upsetting the suspension of disbelief in the slightest.


I also really enjoyed Muv-Luv Alternative’s setting, and not only because I love dystopias where characters tend to die left and right. It has a surprising amount of depth for an alternate world setting with its politics realistically affected and warped by the calamity. I absolutely loved the fact Japan had reverted back to its militant preWWII philosophy to answer the conflict.

You might not want for that to happen in the real world, but you can’t deny the old Japan was one of the most badass countries in world history.


The plot of Muv-Luv is basically about Takeru, the protagonist, joining the army as an ace pilot and doing his best to fight the vicious aliens attacking Earth, all to prolong the lives of his comrades whose deaths he’d already witnessed in different dimension.

Alternative delves much deeper into the world’s lore, even including lectures on quantum mechanics to finally explain the protagonist’s dimension slipping.

It’s also where all the most epic battles and emotional scenes happen. If you’ve only read Unlimited so far, then you’ve got no idea what’s waiting for you. Honestly, the insanely tense and dramatic battles where you never know who’s gonna die are among the best pieces of action I’ve ever read in a visual novel.


On top of everything, despite its significant length, Muv-Luv’s plot grips you and never lets go up until the very ending credits that roll after an explosion of an ending.

It has a slight problem with some conversations going for too long, especially in dramatic scenes — there are some dying speeches that go on for like thirty minutes in the heat of the goddamn battle — but it’s not bad enough to ruin any of the moments.


Muv-Luv Alternative is an incredibly well-rounded and entertaining work of fiction that has very few apparent flaws. To me, this very well-roundedness is what keeps it a step away from becoming one of my all time favorites, but it’s still, along with Stein’s Gate, one of the easiest visual novels to recommend (besides the fact you’re forced to read original Muv-Luv for it).

It’s almost impossible not to find something to enjoy in it (unless you’re unable to stomach war dramas no matter what, but what are you doing here then), so you simply owe it to yourself to check it out, regardless if you’re a seasoned visual novel fan or just a newbie.


Awesome OP
Ugly character designs
Fascinating dystopian setting
Dialogue goes on for comically too long at times
Amazing action sequences
Lots of good music
Likable, interesting, inspiring characters
Enthralling, tense plot full of twists
Memorable, solid story
Awesome ending
Brimming with epic, emotional scenes

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