I am a huge fan of the Muv Luv series, which I was introduced to through the visual novel. It has its slow and boring bits, and it does take a long time to get to the action (if that’s what you’re reading it for), but in the end I think it’s a fairly worthwhile experience, especially if you like giant robots. And ever since I finished reading the VN, I’d been craving a good anime adaptation. Muv Luv: Total Eclipse did not have a good reputation, so when I heard Schwarzesmarken (a light novel series) was being adapted, I was extremely hopeful.
Those hopes and expectations paid off. Even though it took a while to get used to the fact that it’s set in a different time and place than the original visual novel, I really enjoyed Schwarzesmarken. The action was cool, the plot was not boring, and the setting (East Germany in the 1980s) actually made the story feel pretty unique. It also felt like a proper Muv Luv show with all of the despair and death that it contained, but it rarely felt like characters were being killed solely for shock value.
In my opinion, the weakest link of the show was Lise, because I just couldn’t take her “onii-chan”-ing seriously. This bro-con aspect of her character, combined with the not-very-surprising mind-break plot twist later on, is the reason why I can’t sincerely and enthusiastically say that I think this show is great in a serious story-driven sense, and I understand if it turns people off from it. After all, the original visual novel also has some elements that are very off-putting (that scene in Alternative). Still, as an action series, Schwarzesmarken is pretty dear to me.