Muv-Luv Survey

September 13, 2017

In preparation for their talk event at Tokyo Game Show, Age has put out a survey that they want their fans to answer.  They’ve gone to the trouble of putting up an English version of their survey on their own website, and in general I get the impression that they are particularly interested in hearing from their overseas fans, so this is a great opportunity to put in your two cents directly!

Specific details about the talk event, including details about the worldwide livestream, will apparently be provided soon.  The event will happen on either Saturday the 23rd or Sunday the 24th – that means if you live in America, the livestream will likely happen in the evening on either Friday the 22nd or Saturday the 23rd.


Muv-Luv Alternative Releases in 1 Week!

September 11, 2017

Muv-Luv Alternative is scheduled to be released on Steam on Sept 18, exactly 1 week from today. If you didn’t back the Kickstarter, I hope you’re saving up the money to pick this up when it launches, because it is absolutely worth it. Kickstarter backers have already gotten the game in advance, and some have even finished already. Personally, I finished up the halfway point last night, and it’s been a blast. I’ve played Alternative many times over the past 11 years, but the last few times have been “highlight” playthroughs, where I basically fast-forwarded through the boring parts. This is the first time in quite a while that I’ve truly sat down to read the whole thing from beginning to end, and I want to take my time because this is the first time I’m experiencing it with an excellent English translation.

Anyway, with the release of Alternative, now sounds like a good time to get back in the swing of things and put up a few posts.

The Road to Muv-Luv post I made was much more popular than I thought it would be, so of course I’ll be making a similar post for Alternative. I’m very excited for this one since, unlike the road to Muv-Luv, I was actually around for the road to Alternative, and going through all the old material from back then has been very nostalgic. I’ll put this post up on the 18th to celebrate Alternative’s launch.

A few weeks after Alternative launches, people will hopefully be wrapping up their own playthroughs of Alternative, so I plan to put up an analysis of the story around that time, similar to my massive analysis post for Total Eclipse. I meant to put up one for the original Muv-Luv game, but ultimately it was too difficult to talk about the story without Alternative, so I decided to make just a single one for the entire trilogy.

Finally, a preliminary note – Age has announced that Avex Pictures will host a Muv-Luv talk event at the upcoming Tokyo Game Show 2017 on Sept 23/24, and will stream the event worldwide. Details will be announced soon. Maybe it’ll be nothing. Maybe it’ll just be a victory lap celebrating the release of the Muv-Luv trilogy on Steam. But given that 2017 has been a complete wasteland for concrete Muv-Luv news so far, I really hope something interesting comes out of it.

Muv-Luv Released!

July 14, 2016

Today is quite a momentous day: the original Muv-Luv is now available in English from Steam!  Check it out here!

I got to take a quick peek at the game at Anime Expo, and I spent much of yesterday playing through the pre-release, and I’m thrilled to report that so far, the translation is amazing.  I have played this game numerous times for over 12 years and I have a very strong sense of how I would have wanted it to read in English, and this translation is right there.  To finally be able to play this game in English, and to know that it is how I always pictured it, is a strange and exciting feeling.

(They also went with “Surface Pilot” for the translation, which scores massive points with me.  This is the official English term used in all Muv-Luv media, so using this term in the English translation shows an immense respect for the franchise.  When I think back on how close they seemed to be to going with “Eishi”, I realize what a miracle it is that we get to enjoy this translation instead.)

If you’re only familiar with the old Muv-Luv release from 2003, you’re going to be shocked at the improvements made to the game since then.  I’ve mentioned some of them before, but for anybody still on the fence about supporting this release, I’ll go over them in greater detail:

This release seems to be based on the most recent version of the game, the PS3 version (this version was also used for the Vita release).  For Extra, this means the pre-menu OP is “LOVE STEP” by Minami Kuribayashi.  The in-game OP continues to be “Muv-Luv”, as in the 2003 release.  New EDs are included for the Chizuru, Kei, and Miki endings – “I will” remains the ED for Sumika and Meiya.  For Unlimited, the OP is now “sion” by Masami Okui rather than “Muv-Luv” – this is the only opening sequence from the old versions of either Muv-Luv or Alternative to be completely removed from the game.  The ED for Unlimited is unchanged.

The most obvious change from the 2003 version is that this game now uses the same system as Alternative.  The game appears in widescreen and without a dedicated dialogue box.  All sprites now have eye and mouth movement.

All TSF scenes in Unlimited have been completely redone in the Alternative style.  This includes using Alternative TSF sprites, and directed using the more advanced AGES techniques from Alternative.  The TSF HUD has been completely replaced with the Alternative HUD, including character comm sprites.

Music from Alternative now appears throughout Muv-Luv.  Most importantly, “Briefing” now plays during briefing scenes in Unlimited.

Reading it on the page, these changes may not seem like much.  But when you actually play the new version, I promise you will be blown away.  Muv-Luv now actually FEELS like the same game as Alternative.  It actually feels like a real trilogy, rather than different games separated by 3 years of development.

There’s also a small bonus for hardcore Muv-Luv fans.  There are some small differences in setting between the original 2003 Muv-Luv release and Alternative.  Most notably, in the original Muv-Luv the idea seems to be that Yuuhi was the Emperor of Japan, as Meiya is described as being related to the Emperor.  By the time they released Alternative, they changed their minds about that (I think I read once that they decided depicting the Emperor in their Imperial Japan fantasy was a bit too sticky, politically), so now Yuuhi is a Shogun nominated by the Emperor.  For the re-release of the original Muv-Luv, they actually went back and rewrote (and rerecorded) several lines to match up with this new setting.  It doesn’t really affect the story, but I appreciated that the original game no longer contradicted the later works.

Of course, it’s tradition in this industry for re-releases to include new artwork and CGs, so given that the PS3 version is the newest version, we get all the new art that wasn’t included in the original version.

I’ll put up another post dedicated to the actual game itself . . . eventually.  (Just like the Muv-Luv franchise, I don’t keep any deadlines I try to set for myself anyway.)

Kickstarter Bonuses

February 1, 2016

The Muv-Luv Kickstarter added a new update today announcing that they will be translating a Schwarzesmarken Demo and the Total Eclipse side story The Imperial Capital Burns, based on the first two episodes of the Total Eclipse anime. The reason why these two were chosen is clear – they happen to be the same bonuses included with first-print copies of the Japanese Vita ports released just a couple of weeks ago. Basically, they’ll be providing Kickstarter backers with the same bonuses that the Japanese fans got. It also works out well from a technical standpoint – they’ve already been programmed as standalone applications, so they don’t need to any further work besides inserting the English text.

My understanding is that the Schwarzesmarken demo covers only up to Katia’s rescue and return to base – about half of the first episode of the anime. It’s not a lot of material, but that’s what it means to be a sneak preview. As for the Total Eclipse side-story, it is MASSIVELY expanded from the original anime episodes, with a heavy focus on internal Japanese politics. The concept of a modern-day Japanese Empire is one of the most controversial elements of the original Muv-Luv Alternative, and in this story we get to see exactly what that entails. It’s a fascinating read, and the picture it paints of how an antiquated Japanese system fits into the modern world is not what people will be expecting.

At the end of the Kickstarter update, they mention that they may use the leftover money to fund an extra “full project”. There really aren’t that many full projects to choose from – there’s Total Eclipse, Schwarzesmarken (not technically complete yet, but it will be by the time the original Muv-Luv Alternative has been released in English), and, depending on how you count it, Kimi ga Nozomu Eien. If you really stretch things, you might add Kimi ga Ita Kisetsu, Owarinaki Natsu Towanaru Shirabe, or one of the Fan Club exclusive games, but it’s hard to imagine anybody wanting those over the first three. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I want Total Eclipse first, not only because I like it the most, but because both Schwarzesmarken and Kimi ga Nozomu Eien have gotten anime adaptations that finish out the story. Total Eclipse is the only one where you need the game to see the ending.

Schwarzesmarken Episode Count

January 10, 2016

Today is the premiere of the Schwarzesmarken anime! I hope everybody has already watched the first episode.

As I did with Total Eclipse, I’ll be grouping posts by arc, so the first big anime post will come when the first storyline finishes, likely next week. There also haven’t been any major interviews in magazines like Newtype like there were for Total Eclipse either, but that will likely change now that the show has started airing, so I’ll keep an eye out for those as well.

After the first episode aired, the official anime site put up a Discography page, which unfortunately confirms what fans have been speculating over the past month – the home video release will be 6 volumes at the same price for each, a standard release for 12-episode shows. Other preorder pages, such as at Amazon, confirm that each release will indeed be 2 episodes each.

Split-cour shows, in which a second season of 12 episodes airs later in the year, have become more common, but that’s not what’s happening here either. As I mentioned before, Age has confirmed that the intention is for the anime to go through the complete story, followed by a “winter” release of the second game. In other words, by the time they release the second game (likely in April or May), the anime should already have finished the story.

Finally, the first episode pretty clearly shows the anime’s intention to move quickly through the story. At the pace shown in the first episode, I believe it is indeed possible to get through the entire story in 12 episodes, with some judicious cutting.

I’ll have more to say on this topic in the first major anime post, but for now I’ll just say that I have faith in director Tetsuya Watanabe to fit the story into a single season, and that the first episode was a strong example of how to move quickly without losing track of the story.

Looking Back at the Muv-Luv Kickstarter

November 4, 2015



Just before the Kickstarter started, I checked on the Grisaia and Clannad campaigns for comparison.  Clannad had brought in over $500,000, but it had run out of stretch goals long before – if it had had a $600,000 goal, it would have met it easily.  Therefore, I was always confident that Muv-Luv would make $600,000.  $720,000 was a bit of a stretch, but there’s no reason not to shoot for the moon on these things.  But even I would never have imagined bringing in over a million dollars.  That’s insane.

The vast majority of the credit has to go to Degica and the staff running the campaign.  They showed an extraordinary sense of how to manage the campaign to bring in as much money as possible.  It started with the planning of the tiers.  Grisaia and Clannad had a huge gap between the $200 and $1000 tiers, leaving a number of people with a lot of disposable income pledging less than they might have.  Muv-Luv had numerous tiers at the $300-$800 level, with a lot of backers pledging at that level.  They also managed to obtain an enormous number of rewards and add-ons.  Grisaia and Clannad had little outside of tapestries and expensive artist illustrations, so anybody not interested in either had little reason to pledge more than $100-$200.  Muv-Luv had something for everybody, so there was always a reason to pledge at a higher level if you could afford it.

The real genius, though, came after the campaign began.  Most Kickstarters bring in money at the very beginning and end of the campaign, with a plateau during the long middle section as nothing newsworthy really happens and interest fades.  Degica expertly spaced out their updates so that something new and interesting was always happening.  Almost immediately after the campaign started, Degica saw the immense demand for TSF models and worked closely with Kotobukiya to provide them within days.  (This is definitely one area where their close Japanese ties proved invaluable – Sekai Project probably wouldn’t have been able to do such a thing, simply because they aren’t a Japanese company.)  Over the course of the campaign, they continually added new high-level tiers and add-ons, in addition to the stretch goals being unlocked.  While these likely brought in new backers, what was even more important was that these additions tempted existing backers to raise their pledges even further.

Perhaps the most important move they made was unveiling the new final stretch goal right at the point when most Kickstarters are at their lowest level of interest.  This brought a huge spike of interest to the campaign, and again, got existing backers to put in even more money to help get to the new goal.  To a certain extent, it wasn’t even that important whether or not they could reach the final goal.  Just having it there was enough to bring in additional money.  This may be a rude way of saying it, but the ultimate goal of a Kickstarter is not to unlock stretch goals, but to get as much money from backers as possible.  Degica ran a very smooth campaign that was very good at getting people to put money into it, again and again.  I am very impressed with it.

Degica has hinted that they may do something nice with the extra funds beyond the final stretch goal, and I desperately hope it’s a physical edition of Photonflowers and Photonmelodies.  Looking at what’s already been made available, that’s clearly the one missing piece left.  It’s the one reward that still has no physical component to it at all.  There’s very little left in the way of new actual content to bring over – basically just some fanclub-exclusive games that Age may or may not be interested in making available to a wider audience.  Rather than take on even more new content, I would prefer a nice physical copy of what they’re already making.

As for the actual games, I’m looking forward to playing them in English, although I have to say I’m still a little nervous about it.  I’ve played these games many, many times over the last decade, and I admit I have a good idea of how I want them to sound in English.  All these stretch goals, the Codex, the fandiscs, are nice, but I hope that a large chunk of the money is still spent making a really nice, polished translation.  I think that, having put in over a million dollars, we’re entitled to a professional quality translation, and not the kind of stuff that usually gets cobbled together.  I am heartened by several indicators, such as how the term “Eishi” has been slowly phased out of the Kickstarter campaign page entirely and replaced with “TSF Pilot”, that suggest that somebody on the team is actually taking the translation process seriously.  I hope this is a sign that things are going to turn out well.

I’m intrigued by the $400,000 goal, the “improvements” to the game, which they still have not fully specified yet.  They’ve mentioned redubbing the game’s English dialogue, which I don’t think is really necessary.  The pronunciation could be better, but I dearly hope they don’t rewrite the actual lines, which are still some of the best, most natural-sounding English dialogue I’ve ever heard in a Japanese production.  It’s the only dialogue I can think of that sounds like how Americans might actually talk, and not copied from a textbook or ripped straight from Google Translate.  They also mention new BGMs, which I”m a little skeptical about since Muv-Luv already has such a great soundtrack that I don’t see what they could possibly add to it.  Ports like the PS3 version usually add a couple of new CGs to make the product a little more attractive, and that’s about all I can imagine this money getting used for.

(One thing I think would be really awesome is if they commissioned new opening themes from Minami Kuribayashi and JAM Project, specifically just for the English version.  I think it would legitimize the English version in a very tangible way, which I think we’ve earned after spending over a million dollars on it.)

I should mention, though, that anybody who is only familiar with the old versions of Muv-Luv and Alternative is in for a real treat, because the current versions of these games already sport amazing enhancements that go far beyond whatever the “improvements” stretch goal is going to add.  Muv-Luv gets by far the bulk of the enhancements, completely revamping  the game to look like Alternative.  The game is now in widescreen, characters’ eyes and mouths move, and the textbox has been removed.  All of the TSF scenes, both cockpit/HUD scenes and the actual TSF sprites and animation, are also completely redone in the Alternative fashion.  Music from Alternative has been added (for instance, briefing scenes in Unlimited now play the iconic Alternative briefing music).  Some lines have even been rewritten and rerecorded to match Alternative – for some reason, Age changed certain elements of the world setting in the three years between the original releases of Muv-Luv and Alternative, so newer versions of Muv-Luv have been fixed to match the rest of the franchise.  If you’ve ever seen the old version of Muv-Luv, I guarantee your mind will be blown playing the new version.  And that is, again, before even one cent of the new improvements stretch goal has been spent.

Now that the Kickstarter is over, I’m curious what this means for other Age franchises in the future.  According to the video Age and Degica put together, they are definitely down with releasing other games if this Kickstarter did well, and I think it’s safe to say it did.  So what’s next?  There are realistically only three games that might be next: Total Eclipse, Schwarzesmarken, and Kimi ga Nozomu Eien.  There are good reasons for any one of them to be next – Total Eclipse is the next Muv-Luv franchise in line, Schwarzesmarken is the current franchise in the spotlight, and KimiNozo is a highly popular franchise that continues to have broad support even among people who don’t normally play games.  (I would personally like Total Eclipse to be next, so English-speaking fans can finally see the end of this amazing story.)

There’s also the question of whether Degica will continue to use Kickstarter for these games.  They’ll never raise this kind of money again, of course – it has nothing to do with popularity, it’s simply that this Kickstarter was a chance for fans of Age to show their support, legally and directly, for the very first time.  Now that they’ve had an outlet for that, they’ll never round up those numbers again.  And that’s fine.  Both Grisaia and Clannad asked for around $150,000 for the base game, and Muv-Luv originally asked for about the same amount for the single Muv-Luv game.  I bet a future Kickstarter for one of the three above games would be set around that amount, and I’m sure they would reach it easily.  But the immense showing for this Kickstarter may be enough to convince Degica that the support is there to release future games directly.

Finally, amidst the rush of enthusiasm we all feel for a successful campaign, I hope we’re ready to shift to the next inevitable phase of any Muv-Luv project: the delays.  There’s just something about the franchise – the huge size of the games, the interdependent nature of the scripts, the complexity of the game engine, the number of companies involved – that always leads to delays for pretty much any release.  Degica claims Muv-Luv will be out in March, with Alternative to follow in the summer.  I don’t believe them for a second.  Not because they’re especially untrustworthy, but simply because I don’t believe any announced release date for this franchise.  Longtime Muv-Luv fans have been trained to accept this, and even to consider it an integral part of the Muv-Luv experience.  Unfortunately, most backers of this Kickstarter campaign are not longtime Muv-Luv fans, and will probably not respond to a string of broken release dates with the same good humor.  I hope Degica keeps this in mind as we move forward.

Muv-Luv Kickstarter Funded

September 24, 2015

The Muv-Luv Kickstarter is live!

So, this is a pretty satisfying feeling – the Kickstarter got funded before I could even get a post up about its launch. That’s an amazing accomplishment, and we should all be proud.

But it’s far from over yet! There are still some major stretch goals to meet. I never had any doubt that the first two would get met, but after seeing today’s results, I’m even more optimistic about the $600,000 Codex goal. I don’t know how much of Integral Works they plan to translate, but if you’ve never seen what’s in there, the sheer amount of info will blow you away. As for the $700,000 fandiscs goal, I was pretty skeptical, and to be honest I still think it’s not a done deal yet, but there is room for optimism there now too.

And there’s more! The video on the Kickstarter page makes it clear that if things go well, they are definitely thinking of bringing their other games over. Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, Schwarzesmarken, and a brief picture of The Day After are all featured, but seeing as how I’ve spent the last three years talking about Total Eclipse on this blog, I am definitely most excited about the prospect of bringing that game over. If you watched the anime, then this is your chance to see the amazing ending to that story. Nobody’s arm needs to be twisted on this – Ixtl and Degica are absolutely ready to go beyond Alternative and release all their other games. All they need is to see this Kickstarter be a success.

So don’t let the quick funding of the games lure you into thinking the Kickstarter’s over. This is not a standalone project – the higher the final tally, the more enthusiasm we’ll build for future projects. So if you haven’t already, hit up the Kickstarter and pledge some money. You’ll be getting an amazing story, and you’ll be paving the way for other amazing stories down the road. I won’t be satisfied until I see Total Eclipse here, in English, the entire story available to fans.

Again – check out the Muv-Luv Kickstarter!

(I got into the Kickstarter early enough to see the $5000 tier still available. And, for the briefest of moments, my mouse hovered over it. Oh, it hovered over it. The biggest prize in the land was mine for the taking, if I only had the courage to click . . .)

Schwarzesmarken Official Anime Announcement

September 18, 2015

The Schwarzesmarken anime has been officially announced.  (As I mentioned before, the previous news was a kind of “pre-announcement”.)  As predicted, it will air in January, just a month after the first game is released.  The official website is here, and the official Twitter account is here.

For the past few days, a teaser site has been up, which leaked info little by little.  It was designed so that at first even the title was hidden – a true “teaser” – which doesn’t really work when your company name is in the URL and your company only makes one thing.  But, oh well.

Here’s the staff/cast listing:


Original Work: Kouki Yoshimune
Original Scenario: Hiroki Uchida
Character Concept: Carnelian
Director: Tetsuya Watanabe
Story Editor: Tatsuto Higuchi
Character Design: Shuuichi Hara
Sound Director: Satoshi Motoyama
Music Producer: Evan Call
Music Production: Elements Garden
3DCGI: Sanzigen
Animation Production: Ixtl x Liden Films


Theodor Eberbach – Kenichi Suzumura
Irisdina Bernhard – Nozomi Yamamoto
Katia Waldheim – Minami Tanaka
Lise Hohenstein – Yoshino Nanjou
Gretel Jeckeln – Kiyono Yasuno
Anett Hosenfeld – Chika Anzai
Sylvia Kschessinska – Michiyo Murase
Pham Thi-Rang – Emiri Katou
Walther Kruger – Kenta Miyake
Beatrix Brehme – Yukari Tamura
Heinz Axmann – Ken Narita
Kirce Steinhoff – Manami Numakura

The director is the big news here, in my eyes.  It’s Tetsuya Watanabe, the director of the original Kimi ga Nozomu Eien TV anime and followup Akane Maniax OVA.  He did an amazing job on these, at a time when anime based on erogames were rare and of generally poor quality.  Before these, he directed the Zone of the Enders anime, and after these, he did Soukou no Strain, both of which were solid mecha shows that dared to wander off the beaten path a bit.  He hasn’t directed anything major since then, sadly, but he’s continued to get steady work as a storyboarder.

Way back when, the final episode of Akane Maniax ended with a handover from the KimiNozo to the Muv-Luv cast.  Yoshimune has confirmed that this was exactly what it looked like – a teaser for the Muv-Luv anime that was in the planning stages.  Unfortunately, as we all know, the project fell through and the sponsors scattered like the wind, never to return.  But if the stars had aligned, I think it’s very likely that Watanabe, with his experience directing ZOE and storyboarding numerous Sunrise mecha shows, would have been first in line for that job.  It’s great to see him get the job he should have had, albeit in a very different form, over 10 years later.

I have always held the KimiNozo anime up as an example of how great anime can be when its staff is dedicated to telling a good story, without feeling excessively bound by the original work.  The tides have shifted since then, and I doubt he will have the same freedom here.  Hardcore fans no longer tolerate the kind of major changes that he made to KimiNozo.  But it’s still reassuring to know that somebody with his sensibilities is in the driver’s seat.  And who knows, the Total Eclipse anime still featured several major changes that I applauded, so maybe he’ll get freer reign than I think.

The story editor is Tatsuto Higuchi, who leaves behind a string of failed Sunrise shows (Sora Kake Girl, Cross Ange) in his wake.  Luckily, this is an adaptation, not an original show, so he’s not going to be asked to do much, other than copy what’s in the novels and make changes according to what Watanabe tells him.  He’s the weak link here, but I trust Watanabe much more than I distrust this guy.

The music is being done by Evan Call, a recent addition to Elements Garden.  Like with Total Eclipse, the music for the anime and games are being developed together.  They’ve shown a few clips of the game with music included, and it sounds great.  FripSide (whose lead singer Yoshino Nanjou is also playing Lise) is doing the theme to the first game; they haven’t announced who’s doing the songs for the anime yet, but given how closely the anime and games are being developed, I think it’s likely they’ll also work on the anime.

The animation will be done by Liden Films, with Sanzigen on CG.  This is pretty much as expected.  Ixtl and Sanzigen are literally next-door neighbors in the same building, and Sanzigen actually helped out a little on the Total Eclipse game.  As for Liden Films, I believe the head of Sanzigen helped found that company, and they also work in the same building as Sanzigen and Ixtl.  Liden Films worked on shows like Terra Formers and Yamada-kun and the 7 Witches, while Sanzigen is probably most famous for Arpeggio of Blue Steel.  But, as expected for two companies with such close ties, they also work together quite often, currently on The Heroic Legend of Arslan.  They do good work, but I have zero interest in art so I can’t say just how good they are.

As for the cast, this is the first Muv-Luv franchise to be cast with “modern” actors.  It’s hard not to notice just how much younger and inexperienced they are compared to the other franchises.  For example, Nozomi Yamamoto and Minami Tanaka, the two female leads, hadn’t even started in the industry when Schwarzesmarken started up.  Age cast both Total Eclipse and Duty -Lost Arcadia- themselves, grabbing big-name veteran actors that they were familiar with.  Schwarzesmarken has very clearly been cast by the anime producers, drawing on current popular names and trends.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but they’ve released clips of all the actors and the difference is very noticeable.  Luckily, they’ll be anchored by the male actors, all veterans, and by the great Yukari Tamura, playing one of the lead bad guys.

(People have humorously noted that the leads for the three major Muv-Luv franchises are now headed by the leads for the three Gundam Seed anime franchises – Souichirou Hoshi (Kira in Seed) as Takeru, Daisuke Ono (Sven in Stargazer) as Yuuya, and Kenichi Suzumura (Shinn in Destiny) as Theodor.)

Animate has some brief comments from the leads:

Kenichi Suzumura (Theodor): I had heard a long time ago that they were hoping to make this work into an anime.  I’m very happy that this anime is finally happening.  We are recording the show while being overwhelmed by its constant foreshadowing and profound worldview, but I still want to do all I can to breathe life into this work.  Please give us your support!

Minami Tanaka (Katia): I remember that when I first read this story, I thought that Katia was the one I connected with the most!  I think Katia is like an oasis in the middle of this serious story.  I want people to pay attention to how the Company and the others around her change as they get involved with Katia.  I’ve never had to do this kind of acting before so I’m very nervous while recording, but I’m surrounded by more experienced people in the studio, so I hope I can grow along with Katia as the story progresses.  And I hope people look forward to seeing how Theodor changes as Katia keeps sticking to him.  I’m looking forward to all the recording sessions ahead of me!

Nozomi Yamamoto (Irisdina): Irisdina is the commander of the 666th TSF Company even though she’s a woman, so she’s more than a little unreachable to me.  That’s why I’m going to try to face her even in my everyday life by trial and error.  Schwarzesmarken will expand into many places like games and anime so I hope you will enjoy them all.  Please give us your passionate support.

Yoshino Nanjou (Lise): Even though we have the concept of fighting the enemy, this is a very interesting ensemble play portraying an era in which you can’t trust others, even your own relatives.  Please watch with me together to see how Lise can live in such an era.  There are a lot of difficult words and serious moments so it’s a very tense recording studio, but it’s a very friendly place during breaks (laughs).  Please look forward to the broadcast!

As I did with Total Eclipse, I will translate any interviews I find interesting, and I’ll post up episode reviews when the show starts up in January.  In preparation, I should probably start rereading the novels . . .

Schwarzesmarken Anime Timing 2

August 5, 2015

To nobody’s surprise, Age announced today that the first Schwarzesmarken game has been delayed to November. What was surprising, though, was that they stated that the reason was not because they had fallen behind schedule (which they have something of a reputation for), but because they wanted to coordinate things with the anime. Apparently, all the companies involved agreed that this would be best for both the game and the anime.

They didn’t really go into more detail than that, but most fans seem to agree that this likely means the anime production committee has decided that the anime won’t be able to air in the fall. The push back to November seems to indicate that the current plan is to start the anime in January, for the winter season. I wouldn’t normally think it was necessary to postpone a game that Age insists is basically already finished, so it looks like they really are banking heavily on this strategy of releasing the game and anime in tandem, riding the wave of hype surrounding the game’s release directly into the anime’s premiere.

So, for the time being, I would expect the Schwarzesmarken anime to air in January. This is of course only based on what we know for now, and it’s possible for plans to change again before things are settled.

(They didn’t mention the second game, which is certainly going to be delayed to a later date. It’s not a big deal, as I don’t expect them to keep whatever date they wind up announcing anyway. Whoops, there’s that reputation again . . .)

Schwarzesmarken Anime Timing?

July 20, 2015

The newest issue of Tech Gian has revealed some interesting news about the upcoming Schwarzesmarken games which may provide hints about the anime.  According to the games’ director, Schwarzesmarken was split into two games specifically to coordinate with the anime.  Now, I haven’t read the interview personally so I don’t know for sure that people have reported the contents correctly, but the idea seems to be that each release should have something new to get fans interested:

– The first game will cover the first half of the story.
– The anime, which will air in between the two releases, will cover the entire story, so that fans of the first game can see how the story ends before the second game is released.
– Finally, the second game will include not only the ending to the story, but also two additional routes, so that even fans who have already watched the anime will have something new to look forward to.

This is an interesting strategy, making sure that there is always an incentive to pick up the newest release.

Assuming I’m reading this information correctly, what does that mean for the anime? The first game is scheduled to be released on September 18, and the second game is tentatively scheduled for “winter-time”, so based purely on the game dates, the most logical scenario is that the anime will start this October, right after the first game comes out, with the second game coming out right after the anime ends.

Could the anime really be starting this October? The anime hasn’t even been officially announced yet (as I said before, the original announcement only stated “planning in progress”), and this is right around the time that promotion should be ramping up for the fall shows. For comparison, by this point several magazines had published articles and interviews on the Total Eclipse anime, including the massive spread in Gianism Vol. 2. There’s nothing in the Tech Gian interview that says the anime has to air immediately after the first game, so it’s certainly possible that the anime will air later and the second game will simply be pushed back.

On the other hand, there are other shows scheduled for October that are just being announced right now (like the new Gundam), so it’s also certainly possible that Schwarzesmarken could be one of them – for instance, if production is already well underway but there is just one last contract or something that needs to be ironed out before they can make the “official” announcement.

If the anime really is going to air in the fall, the official announcement would probably come within the next few days . . .