“It is not me that you admire. It is my activation factor.”

The Beautiful and Damned

Aldnoah 14 Img013This week, there was good and there was bad. To an extent, I’m surprised there was even good at all, especially considering where it came from – but more on that later. I want to talk about the bad first, and in Aldnoah.Zero you must be aware by now that the term ‘bad’ is synonymous with ‘Kaizuka Inaho’. Amusingly enough, they decided to lampshade the fact that the Aldnoah-powered Deucalion is crewed by children too young to ordinarily serve in the army. I hope that’s actually Urobuchi lamenting on one of the many failings of A.Z’s first season – wait until those guys hear that the ace pilot is one of those children! I was actually thinking that things were looking sunny-side up, since Eggs showed more emotion in the OP alone than he’s ever had throughout the entire series. Then the episode actually happened, and I laughed bitterly. Looks like I’ve been taking a few courses in optimism run by Princess. I almost couldn’t stand it, seriously – he manually calculated Inko’s weight by looking at her? And he sensed stress in the ‘formant analysis of her voice’? Why would you… why would anyone… just, why?! To be honest, if he’s going to figure out that Princess is actually Lemrina from the stress patterns in her voice, I’d actually prefer them using the mix-up over the sky being blue. It’s still not great, but it’s more plausible compared to Inaho activating his cyborg powers and analysing tone deflections in an audio clip.

Aldnoah 14 Img026You’ll notice that I have started addressing Lemrina by name. This is out of a newly-found respect. I am proud to announce that I like this girl. Finally, at long last I have found a character that doesn’t deserve to either die in a sea of fire, or suffer severe post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of seeing others die in said fire. Lemrina contributed to a lot of the good in this episode. She is the cynical light of VERS, an empire otherwise populated by the likes of Princess, Saucybum and Slaine the Master Shooter. Initially, Lemrina didn’t seem to have much of a personality at all, but I now understand that she is more intelligent than she looks. In essence, she knows what’s going on. And because of this, she is everything Asseylum should have been in a princess. This is probably largely due to the totally different worlds the two inhabited – the illegitimacy of her birth has essentially made Lemrina grow up, and see the society around her for what it actually is, through a sardonic lens whilst grounded in bitter reality. Yes, she is her sister’s replacement. Yes, Slaine only wants her Aldnoah. Lemrina hasn’t had the luxury of dwelling amidst the naïve, self-created smoke and mirrors of Princess, and she understands that there is no-one in alliance to her, least of all Slaine and Saazbaum – they find use in her false projections of Asseylum and capacity to use Aldnoah, and Slaine will play the mutual pity card if it means he can fly his Tharsis again. I am looking forward to seeing what she does, and what her ultimate plans are – because she doesn’t look like she has any intention of letting Princess come back. Instead, in wanting to claim everything she sounds like she’s after a bit of revenge. I hope she gets it.

Slaine Troyard. One life, no bombs, no continues, lunatic difficulty.
Slaine Troyard. One life, no bombs, no continues, lunatic mode.

If there’s anything I’m holding an interest in other than Lemrina, it’s the Versian socio-politics – it’s always been an undercurrent though, and as half-baked as it is it’ll never get beyond the speculative discussions between Slaine and Saazbaum. Both of them talk a lot, but they’re either being contradictory or offer no viable solutions. Slaine believes it’s possible for the VERS Empire to become prosperous by conquering the Earth, and that the key problem is how Aldnoah concentrates power in the aristocracy. Okay, great. What does he plan to do then? Spread Aldnoah? Get rid of it entirely? The vengeance of the Terrans will come smashing down upon them if they opt for the latter. And as for Saazbaum, he wants to make change happen after conquering the Earth. This is new! I’ve always thought that for him, avenging Orlane and laying waste to the Earth was the end goal in itself. At any rate, I don’t think they’ll ever get a chance to practice what they preach, because the starting point for anything is conquering the Earth. It’s interesting though – they decided to trash the civil war-style sub-plot potential back in the first season, but there’s still a bit of socio-political awareness in place, which is nice.
On a separate note, have they resurrected Count Cruhteo?

Aldnoah 14 Img041In terms of actual plot progression, we are gearing towards a monumental large-scale clash between the Terrans and Martians in space. What is probably more important is the long-awaited reunion between Koumori and Orange-kun, both of whom have confirmed that the other is still alive nineteen months later. While they made it seem like their exchange this episode was of significance, it feels more like introductory fire to me – other than affirming names, nothing much was achieved. The proper clash will of course occur during the real battle itself, during which they will fight for the love of a comatose blonde girl floating in a tank.

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Vange Chandran

    I find it laughable that Saazbaum thinks change will magically occur once they’ve conquered the earth. He’s one of the aristocrats with power, so I doubt he cares very much about the lower classes. (I don’t think we’ve even been shown the lower classes though, so I didn’t even know they existed.)

    1. Vantage

      We’ve never seen anything of Versian society, let alone the lower classes. People like Saazbaum keep complaining about the disparity, but we’ve never seen enough of Mars to even make a comparison – all I remember are a couple of buildings from when Slaine ‘infiltrated’ the palace to try and convince the emperor back in the first season, and palace buildings aren’t exactly representative of society. They’re not doing much to make us sympathise with them.

    2. Crisp

      The change they are talking about is simply give people resources the upper classes accumulate. Asseylum is very much part of this problem as Mars has scant underground water reserves and she keeps a water wasting bathhouse where she met Slaine. The guidebook offers a glimpse how harsh life is in Mars, nothing grows, no animals, inhabitable atmosphere and no chance to change this even with Aldnoah. They only feed on algae and krill because is what survives there, the common folk have it bad.

      This is a war for resources, first; Saazbaum cannot fight in two fronts at the same time. He needs to use the other Orbital Knights to battle, but if you actually pay attention, he is granting Aldnoah to the lower soldiers (The Stygis unit), who aren’t self-aggrandizing idiots who just want to hog all glory as the noblemen we saw. Once they use the Aldnoah to conquer Earth, in order to distribute it fairly, they either need to get the rid of it or open it to everyone.

  2. The Traveler (@IWHBYT)

    I dearly hope that if it comes to removing Aldnoah from the equation… it will not mean killing Asseylum and Lemrina, or having to see either be killed. Hopefully the sisters may simply force it to sleep.

    Lemrina already showed disdain for her bloodline’s position, but to think that she wishes to have Asseylum’s recognition and Slaine, too? Granted, her negative emotions might just be tainting the delivery of it all. She might just want equal recognition and genuinely be becoming fond of Slaine.

    Saazbaum, is that remorse he’s showing? For him to remark upon lying twice to the Emperor and in almost opposite ways, hmm. I can’t even begin to try and read him in such a way that I could provide evidence (same with Harklight). INAHO! I need that eye of yours.

    Speaking of Inaho, I must agree with Rayet’s statement. However, I feel the advantage his eye gives him makes him seem less OP “just because” and more because he literally has something no one else has, and I’m thankful for that. I understand he studies more and has an innate ability for analysis. However, all should study what he does by now given the military advantage that’s been made clear by it and I would have really liked for his personality and mentality to be backed by some history on him.

    Lastly, damn the director! Yes, cut off the view of Slaine’s father’s face and then making us wonder if he’s really dead…

    1. Vantage

      Hey, what a great idea! …Maybe the tank might ‘accidentally’ break!

      I don’t think Lemrina is genuinely fond of Slaine. I think the ‘I hate you’ was more genuine than the kiss, which was required to reactivate the Tharsis anyway – to me, that scene was one which revealed how they’re each playing the other and trying to come out on top, but maintaining an air of civility over it. She wants to destroy Asseylum, and stealing Slaine is the best way to do it.

      I suppose Inaho’s eye makes him less ‘naturally’ OP, although it does raise other questions. Why exactly is it something that no-one else has? If they can fit a general purpose cybernetic eye with these capabilities, surely they could mass-produce that sort of scanning function into more of the Kats and save a few lives. It’s not like they don’t have the money to do it either – they have enough to equip all the Kats with anti-gravity, which has to cost a hell of a lot more than a camera and a link to an info database. It could mean the difference between a lower mortality rate and a conquered Earth.

      I’m actually interested in Slaine’s father now. That was done on purpose, and there has to be a reason behind it.

      1. The Traveler (@IWHBYT)

        If all Lemrina wants is what her sister had, that includes a more comfortable place in a society she detests, right? At the same time, she seems to be fond of Earth itself. I wonder if she’ll just play everyone, especially Slaine, for as much as she can get before defecting to the Earth forces. Of course, she’d never do that unless the war reached a point where Earth having someone with the second rank of Aldnoah Activation Factor would make them stronger.

        Supposedly the eye is a prototype, but no one else actually needs it as an eye. It can simply be a device like Vegeta’s scouter. In fact, they’re losing money by not investing in it, what with all those Kataphrakts and ammunition wasted just because there’s not a device to share Inaho’s general formula for space sniping.

        Hopefully they deliver when it comes to Slaine’s father. So far we don’t even know why he was either on Mars or sent Slaine there through the capsule.

        On another note, I’ve seen lots of people remarking on the difference between A.Z’s first opening and its second. Since Kalafina did the second opening to Fate/Zero, I tried playing that over the A.Z second opening. It didn’t work too well. However, the first Fate/Zero opening over A.Z’s second was an interesting experience, especially if you know the lyrics!

        1. Crisp

          Slaine and his father lived in Mars, in the palace, until his death.

          1. The Traveler (@IWHBYT)

            That’s probably true that both of them lived there. I know for sure that Slaine did given all the flashbacks. I’m just wondering why he got there in a capsule. If he really did die (can’t 100% trust what Saazbaum says) I wonder what the circumstances of his death were.

            1. Crisp

              You can google his backstory manga that include scenes that weren’t in the show (it came as bonus with BD 2).

          2. Vantage

            Characters like Slaine’s father and Orlane feel like there’s more to them than meets the eye, yet I can just as easily see A.Z deciding to shaft them over and focus on other stuff instead. Like why that one girl on the Deucalion can’t get a date. Crisp, do you know if the guidebook or manga confirms the death of Slaine’s father?

      2. Crisp

        She was lashing out. Play the scenes she has since episode 13 and you’ll see her looking to spend time with Slaine, beaming at his compliments, having fun with him in this episode. She even seemly followed him and spied on him talking to the maid about her sister. She had a very dejected expression in her face. She hates him because she loves him. Her jealousy and inferior complex with Asseylum tainted her feelings and twisted them, but she likes him. She childishly turned off the Aldnoah after she saw him with her sister. She knows everyone is using her, but she only cares to get Slaine’s attention to her. If she wasn’t hurt, she wouldn’t have made that face when she overheard Slaine.

        I think she is genuine in wanting his attention, she just doesn’t want to hurt herself more over it. She could have just turned on Aldnoah herself, but she used it as an excuse to kiss him. She was the one blushing in the scene. She was taken by his words and I think he’s sincere, Slaine has proved he is very sympathetic of those who suffer in Vers system (that’s why he was drawn to Saazbaum’s cause). However, her rage and envy of Asseylum’s position of having all: health, adoration, Slaine’s devotion, her grandfather’s love, her position, made her act.

        1. The Traveler (@IWHBYT)

          I think there’s evidence for either side existing. Heck, it could even be that both sides are present within her and that she’s constantly wavering between the two given her state. I think all three of us are hoping that it is genuine, but we’ll have to wait and see. At least it’s fun to discuss all the while!

          1. Crisp

            I think it’s one of those cases she likes him, but she hates he seemly likes her sister and her jealousy complex turn those innocent feelings twisted. Slaine never denies her accusations either. That probably makes her like him more, but at the same time resent him, her sister and her feelings. It’s a vicious circle.

            The more she could like him, the more she wants her sister’s place. She didn’t act childishly or irrationally until she overheard Slaine’s line how she’ll wake up and smile. She didn’t care if she was used by everyone else, even when her grandfather meeting took a toll on her, but she did care about what Slaine thought and acted petty towards him. I’m rooting for her too, I don’t care if she’s acting childish and petty, she could mature.

            1. Vantage

              You may have a case for her liking Slaine. Yes, I’d forgotten about her happier moments and the whole ‘teach me about Earth’ thing again. If that’s the case, then it means she harbours an even stronger hate for Asseylum. Hooray!

              Do you mean you’re rooting for her love, or her success in revenge? Both? She doesn’t feel like a character that will enjoy longevity and a happy ending, which is very sad.

  3. Crisp

    Slaine’s father abandoned him for the research for Aldnoah, if Lemrina thinks Slaine likes Aldnoah, she’s wrong. He might need it, and he never denies it, but if he admires or likes her, it’s because he empathizes with her. That’s probably why she is drawn to him and why she resents her sister will take him away (she only snapped after she overheard him with Asseylum).

    1. Vantage

      He may empathize with her, and it’s certainly true that he can relate. It’s just very hard to see it as genuine empathy (instead of smooth talking) when at the time he also had the aim of getting her to impart her Aldnoah. If he had shared this with her on a separate occasion, then maybe. Slaine’s empathy for Lemrina still pales in comparison to his adoration for Princess though, and that’s the thing – I think he’d do whatever is needed to reach her again.

Comments are closed.