“It truly is a lovely world.” – Asseylum Vers Allusia
Summary: In 1972, a hypergate was discovered on the surface of the moon, and humanity began migrating to Mars and settling there. However, eventually the seeds of war were sown and then the war breaks between humans on Earth and those who immigrated to Mars.
Chris’ First Impression:
Aldnoah Zero was one of the Summer 2014 Season’s most hyped shows, even though little to nothing was really known about its plot other than that Urobuchi Gen would be the ‘Original Creator’. With Hiroyuki Sawano composing the music and A-1 Pictures taking the reigns on animation, the bar was set quite high for this first episode and, to cut a long story short, Aldnoah Zero didn’t disappoint. The story and characters were engaging from the offset and the OST was, to be quite frank, amazing. Yes, the OST is reminiscent of every other piece of composition created by Hiroyuki Sawano,and at a first, superficial glance the story appears like many other mech series (namely, Gundam Seed), ultimately Aldnoah Zero episode one proves to be a perfect set up for the series, it’s ending leaving the viewer desirous of more.
The episode begins with a brief discourse involving Vers Empire princess Asseylum Vers Allusia and her trusty sidekick/lacky Slaine Troyard as they discuss the many beauties of both Vers and Earth. Then the episode cuts to Earth itself or, more specifically, to Inaho Kaizuka and his sister Yuki Kaizuka as yet another day on Earth begins. The students undertake military training, the Princess reflects on her people’s history, and, ultimately – as predicted – she is then seemingly assassinated. I emphasize ‘seemingly’ due in part to, firstly, her prominence in the PV’s and this episode as a whole, but also because she seems to be one the series most important characters. Thus far, she’s the only one of our three main characters who’s even remotely important, her death acting as the catalyst for war and the fuelling of racial tensions brewing once more. Then again, the latter two explanations may be even more reason for her to stay dead, removing an ‘easy peace measure’ to keep the war alive!
The plot in episode 1 wasn’t exactly captivating (until the last half when it piqued my interest and then charged forth into glorious warfare and death!), but the episode’s first half performed it’s duties well when giving the viewer the information necessary to ‘understand’ the world and the world state. And what a world! Visually speaking, Aldnoah Zero is pretty damn nice. Naturally it’s not ‘Garden of Words‘ but I think this is some of the best we’re going to get in a two-cour anime.
The characters…were a mixed bag. Inaho Kaizuka is bland and banal, and, until further notice (a.k.a, until they explain away his personality), I’m going to refrain from passing any judgement on him. Slaine Troyard however, was incrementally more intersting. He didn’t speak much so we didn’t enjoy that pleasure, yet he’s a ‘Terran’ and he’s working for Vers…or, at least, he’s working for Princess Asseylum Vers Allusia. Again, we don’t know much about him at the present time, but it seems as though he has one of the more interesting backstories, leaving him with the majority of the potential to grow.
What sets Aldnoah Zero (as it now stands) a part from other mecha series isn’t so much the episode’s plot as it is the underlying details and themes. For starters we’ve got the usage of children as soldiers. Now this I found most akin to those privately educated school boys pre-World War One in England who, after being told of wars glories and the honour it would bestow upon them, were forced into a war zone and a kind of warfare, the likes of which they’d never seen before. Now, in terms of the story as it is at the moment, I think a better likening would be to that of World War Two, Lieutenant Koichirō Marito being the prime example of someone who served previously (namely in ‘Heaven’s Fall’) and thus knows the horrors of warfare involving these kinds of weapons.
We also have good ol’ racism to consider… What a classic, eh? It seems to me, the further we move out as a species, the more divided we become. It’s been what, 42-ish years since they discovered the hypergate, and still in that short amount of time a divide has emerged between the people of Vers and the ‘lesser’ Earth people. I can only garuntee that race is going to be a prevelant issue throughout, Eddelrittuo’s distaste for Slaine because “we subjects of the empire became a new race distinct from the old humanity we left on Earth“, a delusional sentiment probably shared by the majority of the Vers populace that’ve been brought up believing the same redundant ‘truth‘. Again, it’ll be interesting to see where and how the idea of ‘racial superirority’ effects the plot, even though we know the ‘knights of Mars’ view their war as sport upon lesser beings and thus it has already had effect enough.
To conclude, the first episode of Aldnoah Zero was, by far, one of the best this season has yet to offer. It’s been a while since a truly exiciting mech show emerged out of the anime framework and Aldnoah Zero has the potential to blossom into one amazing gem of a series. Let’s just hope we get more character development in the next episode, you know?
Possibility of Blogging: Garunteed
Oki’s First Impression: