Muv-Luv Alternative – Total Eclipse – The Politics of the Battlefield
September 2, 2012 Leave a comment
The most recent arc of Muv-Luv Alternative – Total Eclipse has brought to light some interesting but obvious problems with the Muv-Luv universe, and humanities attempt to beat the BETA. The BETA may be a significant and ever present threat within the Muv-Luv universe, but it has not brought all countries together. Quite the opposite has happened with a similar arms race to the ones before WWI and WWII along with the Cold War in full flow despite this threat. Every major country and military power is attempting to design and build the best and most powerful weapons possible, not for the good of humanity, but for their own military and political aims. Those who have the largest and most experienced military force with the best technology will ultimately rule the world. Or at least this is the message that certain countries and groups are sending out during this series.
The latest arc has demonstrated that it is the Soviet Union (we can only assume that in the Muv-Luv universe the Iron Curtain never truly fell, this the continued presence of the Soviet Union rather than Russia) who is attempting to maintain a strong military presence. There were elements during the earlier parts of the series where the Soviet test base had the air of a clandestine operation, with various secrets that they are willing to torture and kill in order to protect. There is little thought of helping others, and instead the focus is on providing their army with the best possible technology. There are certain mixed messages here though, with the Soviets portrayed as power crazy and perhaps mad, whereas the UN in its universal glory is attempting to create something for the good of humanity. However, it is quite clear that there are numerous other powers all jockeying for position in order to create the strongest military forces irrespective of their place in the world and the presence of the BETA.
In the world of Muv-Luv Alternative – Total Eclipse a TSF becomes a political tool with the test pilots as bargaining chips, used to play out a game of political roulette with the apparent fate of humanity at stake. It is therefore possible to look at Muv-Luv Alternative – Total Eclipse and see the BETA as a nuisance, albeit a deadly one, whereas the real enemy are those countries and leaders who would engage in brinkmanship rather than attempting to consolidate power with everyone else. The Japanese and the Americans are both equally guilty of this as the Soviets, with both sides wishing to take control of the XFJ project. It is a joint project in name only at times, and while the TSF may have originally been designed in Japan, there are clear and significant influences from the American side. Furthermore, during there initial confrontations Yui tells Yuuya that despite its Japanese origin, the American military wish to stamp their authority on the entire project by having an American test pilot and weapons.
The presence of America complicates matters further due to its significant political and military power, while also being one of the few countries (that we are told about), which has yet to even encounter the BETA. As mentioned early on in the series the BETA landed in Asia and has taken control of vast swathes of land. The other pilots in the Argos unit are all from countries that have been overrun by the BETA and are therefore without a true home, instead having to content themselves with living in various military installations around the world. These characters along with Yui have come face-to-face with the BETA and survived, however, America has never had this problem. Yuuya has grown up, flown and tested TSF without ever encountering the BETA or taking part in a proper battle, he is therefore inexperienced and viewed with both contempt and pity. The American military can therefore be viewed as emblematic of a world power that has never had to fight for survival, but instead of being a true military force is little more than an expensive and flashy toy.
This point was drilled into Yuuya over and over again by Yui who viewed the various tests as a game, one that can be reset and has no downside. And arguably she is right; the various tests conducted at the Alaska test base are nothing more than a high-tech game, one where the players can keep trying until they succeed. In a real battle there are no second chances as Yui points out, furthermore, she is haunted by the consequences of a battle going wrong having watched her friends and fellow pilots be eaten alive by the BETA. The pilots of the Zhar Battalion echo this argument, viewing Yuuya and all the other test pilots as babies who are able to lead an easy life free from danger. The Zhar Battalion, like all other forward units have to fight to survive, they are right on the front lines and are the first to encounter the BETA. To them, the peaceful lives of test pilots who never have to truly fight the BETA are to be envied, but also ridiculed.
Their attitude towards the UN test pilots, and particularly Cryska and Inia demonstrate contempt for soldiers who they view as lazy and weak. In particular their attitude towards Cryska and Inia, along with the subsequent reaction shows how alienated these test pilots truly are from the battlefield and perhaps reality. During the beach arc Cryska talks about the Motherland coming before her own safety and wellbeing, something that Yuuya views as abnormal. However, when attempting to talk to the Zhar Battalion as if they were equals, Cryska demonstrates her naivety and innocence towards the wider world. For many the Motherland (Russia/Soviet Union) is not important, it is a case of the daily battle to survive, irrespective of who you are fighting for or where you are fighting. This, coupled with the resentment that this Battalion (who are all Georgian – a Eastern European country with a complicated history when it comes to there relationship with current day Russia) shows towards the test pilots further demonstrates the complete lack of unity among those who are supposedly defending humanity.
The Soviets in Muv-Luv Alternative – Total Eclipse are more like a protagonist than the BETA are, demonstrating a secrecy and apparent contempt for human life. Arguably this is unfair – although the history that Japan has with Russia is not a particularly pretty one, with the Russio-Japanese war of 1904-1905 having a significant impact upon the problems that Russia faced during the early 20th century. During the test battle, the Argos unit are once again viewed with contempt, with Fikatsia Latrova the Lieutenant Colonel in charge of Zhar Battalion simply telling them not to get in the way. However, it becomes abundantly clear that promises have not been kept and the Kremlin are unwilling to sacrifice their own troops, ammunition and fuel to allow a non-Soviet test to take place. Such an attitude arguably puts their entire front in jeopardy, leaving not only the Argos unit, but also their own units in a situation where they may be overrun and totally destroyed. Where it not for the quick thinking of Yuuya despite it being his first real look at the BETA, along with the ridiculous power of the Railgun, everyone may have been wiped out.
The BETA threat appears to have split up the world even more than it was before, with numerous countries only truly worrying about their own safety. With this in mind it is clear to see why Yui and Yuuya are under so much pressure – as test pilots they are caught in the middle of powerful forces who wish to bend the XJF project to their will. In the case of Yui, she has the project to worry about, along with her increasing affection for Yuuya to burden her. Her insistence that the test is cancelled when it becomes clear that the Soviet military are not backing them up appears to largely come from her fear that there will be more deaths under her command. During those brief moments we see a Yui who no longer cares about the XJF project, she does not worry about the condition of her TSF but instead fears that Yuuya, like all her friends from school may be killed before her eyes. In the case of Yuuya, his ethnic heritage complicates matters further, being stuck between both countries that wish to make the XJF project their own, apparently regardless of the human cost.
The central cast of Muv-Luv Alternative – Total Eclipse are therefore walking a fine line between military powers; they are there to help create even more advanced weapons in the hope that these can turn the tide in humanities war against the BETA. However, it is abundantly clear that for many in charge, this is a secondary goal, below that of consolidating their own military and political strength. Yui, Yuuya and the rest of the Argos Unit are therefore almost unique in their ability to work together as a cohesive whole, regardless of racial or ethnic background. With this in mind it is little wonder that the BETA have been able to take such a vast swath of the world, they act as one whereas those who are fighting them act independently to the will of those in power.