When I think of Christmas in otaku media, MuvLuv is one of the first stories that comes to mind. In previous years here at Beneath the Tangles, however, I was told we must write about anime. No longer am I bound by such a rule! MuvLuv, specifically MuvLuv Alternative is one of the most popular visual novels ever made, and very possibly the most popular visual novel outside of Japan. While some of its writing can be of questionable quality at times, its production values, overall execution of the plot, and just amazing action as a whole are all reasons why it has gained the fanbase it has (also cute girls). For a brief summary of the plot, MuvLuv is about an average high school boy who gets transferred to – not an alternate universe – but a parallel universe. In this universe, an alien lifeform has invaded the Earth, and humans have continued to fight off these aliens, known as BETA, with very little success, losing more and more parts of the Earth as time goes by. The human population continues to decrease and high school children are sent into battle simply because there are not enough humans left in the world (hey, an actual explanation based on logical historical exposition as to why the story is about high school students).
The MuvLuv story is broken down into a trilogy (excluding all the subsequent spinoffs) and it is between Unlimited and Alternative that the Christmas day of interest occurs. For years, humanity had attempted to communicate with the BETA in hopes of learning more about this largely mysterious alien race; however, on December 25, this so-called Alternative IV plan comes to an end and Alternative V is enacted. To focus on a single spoiler, what happens is that Takeru, the protagonist, after seeing the disastrous results of the plan, goes back in time to his original “starting point” but with the twist of retaining his memories. He is the only person who knows the future, and what’s more, he is originally from a peaceful parallel universe. Thus, it becomes his goal and the entire plot of MuvLuv Alternative to use his knowledge he gained in his first “playthrough” of this timeline to successfully fight off the BETA.
Although Takeru has such valuable information that can help save humanity, no one believes him at first. Thus, in many ways, Takeru’s situation is reminiscent of Christians. Even though we understand the Christmas message and want others to hear it so they can rejoice with us, it is often viewed as nothing more than a fairytale. Christians who believe in Jesus are crazy fools. Even so, the consequences of eternal life or death in heaven or hell are serious beyond human comprehension. Like in the world of MuvLuv where the fate of humanity is dependent on the knowledge Takeru possesses, regardless of what people may think of our claims, the message is one which must be conveyed.
Even though no one believes him at first, Takeru is able to keep on believing that what he is doing is right. Why? Because he has seen the fall of humanity first-hand. He has personally witnessed the horrors of the outcome of the war and is determined to prevent that future from occurring. But while Takeru has seen destruction, Christians have seen the amazing love and grace of God. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus. It is not something which denotes despair but something of hope. Jesus brings the light of hope into the world, but it is up to us to spread the good news.