Consisting of two parts, Muv-Luv Extra (マブラヴ エクストラ?) and Muv-Luv Unlimited (マブラヴ アンリミテッド?), the gameplay in Muv-Luv follows a non-linear narrative, which offers differing scenarios and courses of interaction, and focuses on the differing scenarios of the female main characters. Muv-Luv was followed by a sequel, Muv-Luv Alternative (マブラヴ オルタネイティヴ?), which was released for the PC on April 24, 2006 and follows the storyline of Muv-Luv Unlimited. Two fandiscs were also released, Muv-Luv Supplement (マブラヴ サプリメント?) and Muv-Luv Altered Fable (オルタード ALTERED FABLE?), containing alternate scenarios, short stories, computer wallpapers, and audio dramas.
Muv-Luv has also made the transition to other media. Three manga series based on the games were published by MediaWorks and later ASCII Media Works and serialized in the manga magazine Dengeki Daioh. Shueisha published a seven volume novel series based on Muv-Luv and Muv-Luv Alternative while Enterbrain publishes a follow-up novel series, Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse in its Tech Gian magazine and follows the events after Muv-Luv Alternative. A modified version Total Eclipse has also been adapted into the manga format by ASCII Media Works as well as an anime series which began airing on July 2, 2012.
The gameplay in Muv-Luv requires little player interaction as most time is spent reading the text that appears on the lower portion of the screen, representing either dialogue between characters, or the inner thoughts of the protagonist. Every so often, the player will arrive at a "decision point", and be required to choose between multiple options. Gameplay pauses and depending upon the player's choice, the plot will develop in a specific direction. There are multiple plot lines that the player can follow, one for each heroine in the story, and there are nineteen possible endings. To view all plot lines, the player must replay the game multiple times. The game can end in failure if the player makes the wrong decisions. When this occurs, the player can return to a previously saved spot to try again.
Muv-Luv is divided into two segments, or story arcs—Extra and Unlimited—which serve as different phases in the overall story. Initially, only the Extra arc is available to play, but once the player has completed the Extra scenarios for the two main heroines, Sumika Kagami and Meiya Mitsurugi, the Unlimited arc becomes accessible.
Plot and characters
The plot of Muv-Luv is divided into two parts. The first part is called Muv-Luv Extra while the second part is called Muv-Luv Unlimited. In Extra, Takeru Shirogane wakes up one morning to find a beautiful young woman sleeping in his bed and an infuriated Sumika Kagami, Takeru's neighbor and childhood friend. The young woman, Meiya Mitsurugi, is the heiress to a financially powerful family and is determined to be Takeru's bride. As the game progress, both girls compete for Takeru's affections while Takeru has reoccurring dreams about a marriage promise he made to a girl long ago. At first, he believes the girl was Sumika, but eventually realizes that it was actually Meiya. At the conclusion, Takeru must choose between which of the girls he truly loves.
Muv-Luv Unlimited takes place in an alternate world to Extra, where aliens called BETA (an acronym for "Beings of the Extra Terrestrial origin which is Adversary of human race") have invaded and mankind fights back against the alien aggressors with giant robots called Senjutsuhokousentouki (戦術歩行戦闘機?, Tactical Surface Fighter), usually referred to as simply Senjutsuki (戦術機?), as almost all conventional weapons were ineffective.
The BETA first arrived on Earth in 1973 (in China and Canada) after arriving on the Moon in 1967 and being spotted on Mars in 1958. By 2001, the world population has been reduced to 2.4 billion people, and most of Europe and Asia have been wiped out. The Soviet Union, and USA have a joint base, operating out of Alaska. When the BETA first arrived in Japan in 1998, 6 million people were dead within a week.
Most of the major characters from the Extra timeline are present in Unlimited, except for the Unlimited world's Takeru, who is said to be dead, and Sumika, who does not seem to exist in the Unlimited timeline. The characters are, for the most part identical to their Extra counterparts.
In the sequel Muv-Luv Alternative, Takeru wakes up three years after the end of Unlimited to find himself back in his room. Although he first thinks that everything that had happened to him was a dream, he soon feels that something is wrong, and leaves the house to find that he has been sent back in time to the beginning of the events in Unlimited. Unwilling to accept the events at the end of Unlimited, he decides to help professor Kouzuki save the earth and mankind.
Development and release
Muv-Luv was released on February 28, 2003 on Windows CD-ROM, and re-released on DVD-ROM on April 30, 2004. A fandisc, called Muv-Luv Supplement containing a number of short stories, computer wallpapers, audio clips, and a trailer for the upcoming Muv-Luv Alternative. The limited edition DVD was released on December 17, 2004 and the regular edition was released on December 24.
Muv-Luv Alternative is a sequel to Muv-Luv and taking place after the events of the Unlimited arc in the original game. The DVD version of the game was released on February 24, 2006 and the CD version was released on March 3, 2006. A Muv-Luv Alternative fandisc, Muv-Luv Altered Fable, was released on August 31, 2007 containing an alternate version of the Extra arc from Muv-Luv along with a radio drama, a Senjoki vs. BETA strategy RPG, computer wallpapers, and a Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse short story.
"All-age" versions of Muv-Luv and Muv-Luv Alternative with the adult content removed were released simultaneously on September 22, 2006. In 2011, both games were ported to the Xbox 360 by 5pb. and simultaneously released on October 27, 2011.
Three manga adaptations based on Muv-Luv and its sequel Muv-Luv Alternative have been serialized in MediaWorks's, and later ASCII Media Works's Dengeki Daioh manga magazine. The first adaptation, called Muv-Luv, is written and illustrated by Ukyō Takao and covers the Extra part of the first game. It was collected and republished in three volumes by MediaWorks. The second series is Muv-Luv Unlimited and covers the Unlimited portion of the first game. It ran for four volumes and was written and illustrated by Tomo Hiryokawa. The third series, Muv-Luv Alternative, is written and illustrated by Azusa Maxima and based on the second game of the same name. It began its serial run in the February 2007 issue of Dengeki Daioh. Template:Asof, seven compilation volumes have been published by ASCII Media Works. The novel series Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse has also been adapted into a manga by Takashi Ishigaki and three compilation volumes have been published Template:Asof.
On July 24, 2011, a teaser website announced that an anime television adaptation of the Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse novels which aired between July 2 and December 23, 2012.
The opening theme of Muv-Luv is "Muv-Luv" (マブラヴ?) by Minami Kuribayashi. The closing theme for the Extra segment of Muv-Luv is "I Will" and the Unlimited segment's ending theme is "Harukanaru Furusato no Uta" (遥かなる地球の歌?), both by Minami Kuribayashi. For the all ages version, the opening theme the Extra segment is "divergence" by Minami Kuribayashi. For the Unlimited segment, the opening theme is "-sion-" (紫音-sion-?) by Masami Okui. The all ages version featured several ending themes depending on the ending, including "I will" by Minami Kuribayashi, "Kizu wa Kaseki ni Narenai Keredo" (傷は化石にならないけれど?) by Aki Misato, "Astraea" by Miyuki Hashimoto, and "Little More" (リトル・モア?) by CooRie.
The opening themes for the sequel Muv-Luv Alternative are "Asu e no Houkou" (未来への咆哮?) by JAM Project for the original release and "NAME ～Kimi no Na wa～" (NAME ～君の名は～?) by JAM Project for the all age release. The ending theme for both releases is "Muv-Luv (2005 ver.)" (マブラヴ(2005ver.)?) by Minami Kuribayashi.