Its been exactly 1 year since I have gotten into the world of Muv-Luv, and it also happened to be at the same time as me starting to live independently. I wouldn’t be sharing this detail except for the fact that spending time with this series helped me a lot during these crucial times, and rebuilt me from the inside to think about what’s more than myself, in addition to meeting some really respectable friends who share the same sentiments as the one I want to embody while going forward with my new life.
Usually I give every game I play a brief period of time to let everything sink in, will I be feeling fondly about it as much as how its been at first, or will the excitement fade over the years? With Muv-Luv I keep feeling strongly about it with passing moment, simply because of how many of its aspects feels integrated into my everyday activities and the topics that directly influence our current world, in every possible aspect.
Home Sweet Home
If there is any message the world needs right now, its what’s humanity is all about. Are we defined by our language, or principles? Maybe it’s our knowledge, or the social order around us that moves us. It’s hard to pinpoint the location of where our humanity starts manifesting, but I think the director figured out the answer by making the start of the series from the inside of your own home and your own comfort zone, and then moving on from there.
The home is where the heart is, and I believe so too. The charm of the entry point of the series (Muv-luv Extra) is how it made a big deal of the little things in various ironic ways (the sauce gate incident) to exemplify how these things matter. It feels amazing when I am cooking or studying or writing and I find myself visualizing how every single character would address my daily habits in their own way, because the prologue was written with that much depth in mind, and nothing more than what the average reader needs.
It didn’t feel at any point that they were living a life that was slightly different from me, or doing something that feels distant or unachievable. In fact you would be surprised by how much intimacy Muv-Luv can portray inside a limited space such as your bedroom or living room or even the road to school includes some memorable shenanigans (and some plot relevant foreshadowing) that leave a lasting impression on the reader.
Different body, same mind
The title is a translation of the Japanese proverb 異体同心/itaidōshin, and refers to kindred spirits or like-minded people. I see that this is a recurring theme in Muv-Luv and it shows in practically every single entry that characters are being robbed of their home, their origin point or their humanity, and they have to endure so much hardships in order to take back what made them human in the first place.
However with no home to go back to, either destroyed by outside forces or inside forces, it’s so hard to recapture the feeling of living in your home as how we define it in our real world, or according to the groundwork of the series. Therefore, it’s essential to redefine the things that keeps us going, and the aspects of our character that we need to preserve, and where we should look in order to live true to ourselves and our humanity.
Muv-Luv keeps stressing about the fact that despite there being so many facets to the situation at hand, the answer lies in the end about humans, and the love they carry for each other. In other people’s hearts, and the ones we care for, or share the same ideals as us, we can rebuild our home again in any place, no matter how many times it gets destroyed or tarnished with other forces and factors conflicting with the idea of true love.
A World for Everyone
I was pretty moved by this message and how its explored through many political aspects and otherworldly challenges. Muv-Luv never really ignores the harsh realities of conflict and the differences in culture and personal goals, but instead of deliberating over the tight odds, it is actively trying to find a common standing point between all active parties of the story, whom are a reflection of our real world countries and governments, repurposed into a sci-fi inspired world that never fails to attend to the most real things about ourselves.
Anyone of us could easily find a place in the ever increasing cast members of Muv-Luv, with their various identities and reflections between the alternate worlds, because of how each of them mirrors something bigger and more important than the individual. You can always rest assured that every character has something important to say, and an indominable will to carry on with the goodness of humanity, and they are always carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders, and not only themselves.
The characters all come from different backgrounds, nationalities, and many life situations, and its hard to find something similar that resembles the scale of what this series is willing to achieve. One of the characters even goes on a life risking venture to stop a world war all by himself, and it was a shivering moment that reminded me that peace and understanding always starts from each one of us, and the ideals we fight hardly to preserve in our hearts, despite the challenges that force us to act isolated and indifferent.
The First Step
The Muv-Luv series of visual novels are partially inspired by the Foundation sci-fi series, written by the American author Isaac Asimov. The themes of these interconnected novels were about analyzing the trends through which a civilization may progress, using history as a precedent, instead of making allegories to the current modern world. It looks as the trends in a wider scope, dealing with societal evolution and adaptation rather than the human and cultural qualities at one point in time.
In that way, the series could be considered as a timeless classic, that survives the test of time, and it really does that quite well, in fact the topics discussed in it are becoming even more relatable as the times go by, hence the increasing need to read this series and keep up with all the entries and upcoming sequels. I am sure a lot will appreciate the realistic messages and the international scope of this unique story.
As with many Visual Novels though, the series has a correct reading order in order to gain the most out of it, so its very advisable to join the main discord server: Valkyries. The fans there are very helpful and enthusiastic about supporting new readers and preserving the content. It’s amazing how they can talk about a variety of intellectual topics, yet stay the same people with an amount of love that touched me personally. Some games are really more enjoyable with friends, and Muv-Luv is definitely one of them.