Because people die when they are killed.

Nineteen Months Later

This… this was not how I envisaged the continuation of Aldnoah.Zero to go. There was a lot of buzzing generated from the cliff-hanger they pulled off at the end of the previous season, in which Slaine, having helped facilitate the death of his beloved Princess, kills Saazbaum in a fit of grief before deciding to kill Inaho too, as he was getting a bit too close to Asseylum for his liking. While Chris, who covered the initial season of A.Z, reacted to a lot of the developments with distaste, I was actually rather happy about how things turned out. Because after all, everyone I hated was dead. Not that I have a character I like, that is – I hate them all. There is no best girl with Aldnoah.Zero, and I don’t even like the loli – because lolis shouldn’t be driving Humvees. This isn’t a slice-of-life, where I gush about how cute they all are and how everything is light and fluffy. I love those, but that’s not what this is. This is war, and Princess Peach’s naivety has no place in it. At least, it attempts to be war. At any rate, everyone was dead and I was ready to worship Slaine as my new hero.

And then today, I learnt just how shitty his aim was.

Aldnoah 13 Img010Let’s talk about Slaine first. To be honest, I’m quite confused by his actions. He’s known all along that Saazbaum has been trying to kill his waifu, and that he’s in essence the leader of the ‘rebel’ faction of Orbital Knights attempting to kill Princess and decimate the Terrans in the aftermath. Saazbaum even killed Cruhteo after the latter revealed himself to be a royalist – oh yeah, Cruhteo was a faggot too, but he died for real didn’t he? So the last straw should be the realization that Saazbaum has in fact successfully ‘killed’ Princess, and that Slaine is partially at fault for that as well. So why did Slaine decide to return to Saazbaum’s command, right after riddling him with bullets in revenge, and in doing so decide to do the very thing Princess Peach would not have wanted? Slaine should have lost everything he was fighting for with Asseylum’s death – did he think she could be saved? To be honest, even Saazbaum should have been dead by then. It was almost immediately obvious that Asseylum wasn’t actually dead nineteen months later, regardless of video propaganda and all that, because there’s no way either Slaine or the loli would submit themselves to fake!Princess wholeheartedly as if nothing was out of order. I’m not too sure how I feel about Asseylum being kept in what seems to be a life support tank of sorts, by the way. On the one hand, it leaves her survival as a possibility, alongside a chance that Inaho might rescue her. On the other, I’m sitting here thinking to myself: “This is where all that hope and goodwill got you. Huhah!”

Aldnoah 13 Img046

Aldnoah 13 Img008A bit more on the Versian front before we move to Earth. They seem to have been far more successful in invading than the Terrans have been in defending, probably thanks to the combined efforts of both Slaine and Saazbaum. They never really told us much about what happened in the space of nineteen months – I mean, they seem to be losing, but it doesn’t feel like much happened at all when the first sight of any relevant character is a fanservice scene for Rayet, Inko and Nina. There are apparently anti-gravity Kataphrakts now, much like how all the Knightmares started flying after a similar timeskip in Code Geass. Except when people died in that, they stayed dead. Meanwhile, good old Inaho is still using his orange trainee-level Kat to destroy unique, Aldnoah-powered Versian ones. He should really steal one at some point – apparently, the activation factor for the Aldnoah Drive is indeed a kiss, as many have speculated. It’s what I’d presume would happen when an Orbital Knight becomes a knight, except Princess would probably kiss their hand instead of on the lips. Slaine and Inaho have both satisfied the conditions, and so they can suddenly both use Aldnoah. Cool story, right?

Aldnoah 13 Img031So I dislike Princess. That much should be clear. However, I dislike Inaho even more. And this isn’t even anything to do with his philosophies or world view like it is with Asseylum – he’s just a difficult character to like, because he displays zero emotion regardless of the situation. He even needs his sister to help translate his emotions to other people around him. This apparently has some sort of mitigating explanation now that he’s become a part-cyborg after the time-skip – not that he should even be alive, that is. It sounded like Slaine’s bullet went through his eye and into his brain. He should be more dead than Princess, who was also shot in the head but has the happy coincidence of Versian technology to help her out. So what saved him – the Aldnoah? The only reasonable facet of his survival is that he took nineteen months to do it, although it doesn’t seem to have reduced his capacity to take out far superior Kats with classroom physics. I really should have expected it, but I’m honestly disappointed that Inaho is still alive, because he is not likeable as a main character. And admittedly, if I had to choose between either Inaho or Asseylum being ‘Slaine’, a la what should have happened last season, I’d rather see Princess survive. Just a tiny bit more.

Aldnoah 13 Img020For how unsatisfied I am with everyone surviving, Aldnoah.Zero did manage to surprise me. The initial video broadcast to Earth had me believe that Princess had finally had a change of heart (i.e. grown up), until they revealed that there was actually a second, whole new Princess who doesn’t seem very happy being ‘used’ for her royal blood. It’s quite unfortunate that she’s just as interested in Earth as Asseylum was, because I can guarantee now that Inaho will deduce that this Princess is not his Princess from her remark about why the sky is blue – since Slaine would have told her the same false response he did to Asseylum.

At any rate, I will be blogging this. The events and plot twists are still quite interesting, I really like the mechas, and I do want to know how everything ends. I don’t have too much of a problem with the setting and stuff, it’s the characters I hate. My ideal ending would therefore involve everyone dying in a massive fire, and perhaps Urobuchi’s increased involvement for this season can finally make that a reality.

Possibility of Watching: Guaranteed
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This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Vange Chandran

    I love your caption for this episode! So perfect. I’m honestly disappointed that Inaho, Saazbaum and Asseylum are all alive. What a letdown. Like you, I dislike both Asseylum and Inaho immensely, but that’s not even the issue here. The issue I had with this first episode was what your caption stated: people die when they are killed. Or so I thought.

    On a side note, I think you’d really like Demolition D+’s review of A.Z season 1! If you search “demo Aldnoah Zero review” on Youtube, it should be the first video to pop up. He points out a lot of flaws, especially Inaho’s plethora of issues.

    1. Vantage

      Asseylum is only technically alive! There’s still hope for her (death) yet! I think what I wanted from everyone getting ‘Slaine’ was a complete overhaul of the main cast of characters. A.Z might have had some life injected into it after the reign of the corpse calling itself Inaho. So essentially the success rate was one in three – the Princess was replaced by another Princess. I’m reserving my judgement on her for now, but it honestly doesn’t look too promising.

      That review makes many good points on the flaws of A.Z as a whole. I’m usually very willing to suspend my disbelief though, so long as it’s interesting, takes itself seriously and has a fun cast of characters. It did not have a fun cast of characters.

  2. Wanderer

    I have concluded from this post that you are an evil person and I must break your kneecaps. Please hold still.

    1. Vantage

      Going by the logic of A.Z, even if my kneecaps are broken, they won’t break!

      …How do you feel about the second Princess? If it’s any consolation I’m currently neutral towards her.

      1. Wanderer

        I don’t know. I haven’t watched this season, because the creators of this series are as cruel to the only reason I tried watching most of the first season as you are hateful of her. I’m not going to watch a series about people destroying her and everything she cares about, and I’m not going to read any more reviews about you hating her just because she’s a good person who happens to live in a cynical world.

  3. Kirra Anderson

    I feel similarly about Slaine. I loved him until the last episode of the first season. Until then, it just seemed like he was a guy that bad things happened to (so much suffering), but in the 12th episode, he basically allowed Asseylum’s “death”. Now, this season, he’s turned into another Suzaku which drives me crazy. I hope that he’s obeying Saazbaum because that’s the only way he can guarantee Asseylum’s survival, but overall I’m rather disappointed with this season :/

    1. Vantage

      Yeah, I initially decided to side with Slaine because I didn’t approve of such disproportionate suffering. Then he started deserving it. Yes, that’s possible – maybe he wasn’t in a position of enough power to get Asseylum hooked up to the tank, and so he needed Saazbaum to do it for him. But really, she should have been dead in the first place – and Slaine should have thought she was dead. Pretty sure it was a headshot.

  4. The Traveler (@IWHBYT)

    I’m LOVING it (aside from the obvious sadness of more war)! “Everybody” got back the people they love! Honestly, I’m rooting for people on both sides!

    MARS: Slaine and Asseylum most of all. Why?

    Slaine clearly made a negotiation with, not a submission to, Saazbaum. He still loves Asseylum and her ideals. Frankly, I think he’s really doing this for her.

    What I mean by that is he’s trying to change the Mars Empire for her sake and others who suffer. He could’ve sided with Earth last season, but that would NOT have changed Mars for the better. If he hadn’t hurt Inaho, though, Saazbaum would be VERY suspicious of what Slaine was playing at. I’m not saying Slaine 100% knew how to make it look like he killed Inaho, but he took a risk for Asseylum’s sake, I believe. Let’s face it. Slaine could’ve easily made sure Inaho was dead using the Tharsis.

    I don’t know what the inner workings of Lemrina are, but she seems to detest her high and mighty nature just like (her sister?) Asseylum did. I think that Lemrina and Slaine could be working together to keep Saazbaum at bay. I don’t know what Lemrina’s motives are, but she’s interested in Earth like Asseylum. However, she despises her bloodline and I don’t think even Asseylum went that far.

    Now for the final piece of the puzzle: the past. Remember that Saazbaum revealed that he knew of Slaine’s father?

    When Slaine saved Saazbaum with the Tharsis, he clearly had something in mind. Saving his life would give him leverage, but when Saazbaum exposed himself and shot Asseylum, you could say that Slaine’s plan was maliciously enhanced. He gained even more leverage by putting Saazbaum’s life into his hands. And going through him to get his father back is a lot easier than fighting the entirety of Mars and the Orbital Knights, no?

    EARTH: Inko and Yuki most of all. Why?

    Honestly, I’m a little sick of Inaho being number one. I want to see Yuki’s talents as a commander shine more and I want to see Inko become a better soldier. I mean, I get that Inaho studied concepts that most wouldn’t and I ABSOLUTELY applaud his strategy of using the grenades to keep his Kataphrakt warm. BUT I want to see him train others to be able to do this. As we saw at the end of the last season, he can fall and we need others to be able to think like him. I am also quite glad that he is more sociable and I really hope Inko is able to be with him!

    Regarding Inaho’s survival:

    Also, technology aside, Yuki fortunately states what happened: it went through the eye socket and didn’t exit right at the back of his head, but cut through a portion of the temporal region.

    Temporal lobe: “The temporal lobes are involved in processing sensory input into derived meanings for the appropriate retention of visual memories, language comprehension, and EMOTION association.”

    It’s been many months since Inaho was shot and returned to battle. He could’ve easily been re-trained, or they could’ve used cybernetics to supplement what was damaged in his brain. It’s worth considering that the damage “shook” his emotional center and that’s why he’ll slowly begin to show more emotion as is possibly evidenced in that moment with Inko.

    Sounds possible, no?

    1. Vantage

      While it’s certainly possible, you’re working under the assumption that Slaine was thinking things through rationally and perceptively, as and when the situation changed. Based on his reactions at the end of last season, I don’t think he was in a great mental state. Also, I’m not sure you can claim he loves her ideals when he’s spent nineteen months working against them – he may eventually change VERS for the better, but right now they’re focusing all their efforts on destroying the Earth. And they’re doing a damn good job of it. If Princess wakes up and finds her beloved Earth ruined beyond imagination, she might not be too happy. It’s true that getting Saazbaum to owe him is very strong leverage towards finding his father – if he’s alive, that is.

      …You ship Inaho x Inko, don’t you? I wish I had your level of enthusiasm for A.Z’s characters! I might have done some rooting of my own if I actually cared about them – well, they’ve got an entire season to change my opinion.

      1. The Traveler (@IWHBYT)

        All right 😀 I was waiting to see how you’d analyze this! It’s been great having people both agree and make me reconsider things. It’s true, I’m giving Slaine the benefit of the doubt on a grand scale. But I’ve seen that he can plan, be very sneaky and I’d like to think he was coming up with some way to reunite with his father.

        On the point about his mental state… I should’ve been more clear. In the theory, kind of leverage from saving Saazbaum was that of gaining favour, whereas when he bargined on Saazbaum’s life it had turned into a vicious manipulation of matters since he had finally snapped. All that said, this is still really out there. I think that knowing Urobutchi is more involved this season is making my gears turn more…

        Beyond all theorizing, reasoning and event analysis, I really just feel sorry for Slaine. I want to see him succeed in the best way I can envision (without being a one-shot-wonder like Inaho) and have the heart of the matter fixed: the divide between Earth and Mars. You’re very right that Asseylum may awaken to be horrified at what Slaine has done… It does make me wonder why Lemrina really supports him, though. Perhaps Slaine uses less bloodthirsty methods than other Knights. I was very surprised to see soldiers of Earth being captured rather than executed on the spot 😮

        Speaking of Knights… does it bother you that none of them seem to know how to fight outside of their abilities, other than Slaine and Saazbaum? Subzero- I mean, Frozen Elysium’s pilot didn’t even try anything new when Inaho was just about to come face-to-face with him, nor did he make a move to try and buy time for the frosting effect to kick in once Inaho got to him >_> It’s just a little tiring. I wish it could fight like our favourite frozen ninja.

        YES! I definitely pair those two together, but I want to see them both develop a whole lot more first. Well, Inko might be quite nicely developed, but not on screen.

        1. Vantage

          Yeah, most of the Orbital Knights probably inherited their stations instead of working their way up, given how important hierarchy seems to be in the VERS Empire. It’s most likely arrogance, on top of a genuine belief that the Terrans are ‘lesser’ beings than they are – which, in terms of Kataphrakts only, is certainly true. Take the first guy, the one that Slaine eventually shot – I doubt he ever had to do anything other than walk around in his Kat, because it vaporized everything which touched it. While the element of surprise might have explained their initial string of losses, I was hoping that the nineteen month time-skip would have seen the Orbital Knights start to pose more of a threat, even to Inaho.

          1. The Traveler (@IWHBYT)

            Honestly, the best way to fight Inaho is currently to fight him just like a regular soldier. Hopefully the coming Saturday will explain just how Humanity kept their footing when Inaho was out of it for the past 19 months.

  5. kansounikki

    I also confused why Slaine is with Saazbaum at first. But some people said that perhaps only Martian have the technology to keep Asseylum alive. It makes sense, especially at that time 19 months before, Earth was in disaster, Mars would be better choice in term of technology. And perhaps Slaine and Saazbaum just using each other.

    1. Vantage

      I’m actually surprised that their relationship is so amicable. During that scene when they were alone in the chamber in Episode 14, neither of them seemed particularly hostile to the other – if they’re using each other, which I agree is probably the case, they’re doing a great job of hiding it.

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