Anime Rewatch 2021: Total Eclipse 23-24

Original Post

The final episodes of the series continue to add some new ideas to the story. The major new addition is the Berkut, an advanced new Soviet TSF – in the original novels, the Berkut does not appear at all. The game follows the novels’ version of events as well, with the Berkut only appearing in the second half of the game, after this terrorist arc is completed. The anime staff presumably added the Berkut to the show since they understood by that point that they were almost certainly not going to get a second season to show it off.

Along with the Berkut itself, there’s another related concept that the anime introduces ahead of the game, and that is the strange pod installed in the Berkut, which glows as the Prafka phenomenon is initiated in Cryska and Inia. Although nobody would have known it at the time, this pod is actually a major component of the second half of the story, so much like the Berkut, it was probably included in the anime so that it at least gets a little screentime before the anime ends.

I mentioned before that the anime was also bringing forward from the game the concept of Yuuya wanting to help Cryska the way others had helped him. In the final episode, Yuuya explicitly lays out this whole idea in detail, explaining that he wants to help Cryska as he battles the Berkut. This is, again, not something that happens at this point in the game, as this entire concept is only developed in detail in the second half of the story. It’s another striking example of the anime including ideas from the game that they seemed to know they were not going to get a chance to explore in a second season.

I’ve talked before about how important it is in the original Muv-Luv trilogy that major accomplishments are done as a group, and that individuals are limited in what they can accomplish on their own. Since Yoshimune is also the author of Total Eclipse, you can see the mindset at work in this story as well – in fact, it is even more emphasized, since Total Eclipse is such a smaller, more personal story. One way it is demonstrated here is in the conclusion to the entire terrorist arc – whereas in most stories Yuuya’s group would be the ones who ultimately defeat the bad guys and save the day, here our heroes actually accomplish surprisingly little. The major bad guys like Christopher and Valentine are killed by other people, or, like the Master, simply get away clean. And although our heroes are instrumental in slowing the BETA advance, the actual end to the crisis comes when a bunch of American bombers swoop in out of nowhere to finish off the rest of the BETA. Instead, in true Total Eclipse fashion, the final battle of the terrorist arc is a more personal conflict between Yuuya and the Scarlet Twins.

After the terrorist incident is over, there’s a brief scene of the Master moving on to his next plan, throwing a dagger at a map. The dagger lands in Japan, suggesting that he may well be involved in the HSST incident depicted in the original trilogy. Again, this guy has his hands in a lot of stuff, and I really hope that one day we get a proper end to his story.

By the time this anime was airing, the Chronicles story Resurrection had already been released, and its story suggested that its main character, Silvio, was going to get involved in this terrorist incident in some way. As the anime entered this final arc, fans started pestering Yoshimune on Twitter if Silvio was going to make an appearance. According to Yoshimune, the anime staff originally had no plans to include Silvio (since he never appeared in the original novels), but after seeing the interest from fans, they quickly added him to the scene of Hartwig and Heinemann talking after the incident was over. We don’t really get any more detail about Silvio’s mission than that, but presumably he grabbed Hartwig and Heinemann when the shooting started and hid them somewhere safe until things were over. As far as I can recall, the game doesn’t include any information about Silvio either, so consider this another anime-original appearance.

The novels end on a rather nasty cliffhanger (and by the way, when I refer to the novels, technically most of the terrorist arc was never collected into novel form – it only exists as a serialization in Tech Gian magazine, so pretty much nobody is going to be able to read the original version at this point). The game includes the entire story of the Total Eclipse novels, including the cliffhanger, then continues the story into its second half. The anime staff, knowing that they were almost certainly not going to be getting a second season to cover that new material, chose not to adapt that cliffhanger, going instead with an anime-original ending where Yui is recalled to Japan. According to Yoshimune, that anime ending could have served as the start of a new “Yui route”, different from the story that unfolded in the game. This Yui route would have placed more focus on Yui and the political situation in Japan, similar to the Imperial Capital Burns story that kicked off the anime. Yoshimune’s planned Yui route wasn’t included in the game, and although he stated that he would have pushed for the anime to use the Yui route if it had gotten another season, that wound up not happening either. For a while he was talking about releasing the Yui route as a doujin novel, but that seems to be dead as well. Unfortunately it seems like we’re not going to get to see a possible continuation of the anime’s story in any capacity. I’ll always love Total Eclipse, though, so I’ll still hold out hope that we’ll get to see it one day . . .


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