Asseylum Vers Allusia, I despise you to the very end.
Being Slaine is Suffering
No. No no no. You cannot be serious. This was probably the worst possible ending that Aldnoah.Zero could have had, and I don’t mean that from a storytelling perspective – although I know that may be debatable to some. Rather, what I had hoped for the characters and for the conclusion of the substantive plot didn’t come to fruition at all. My lingering thoughts were mostly pity for the characters I cared about and a deep dislike for Princess. To an extent, I knew it was futile – my desired ending was some sort of a comeback victory for Slaine, or at least one where Asseylum ran into complications with her ascension to the throne. Bar that, I would have been satisfied with Inaho’s death.
The events that happened in the wake of the announcement were actually quite heart-warming, especially with regards to Harklight and Barouhcruz. It was obvious that some of the Orbital Knights would have immediately reverted back to their previous racial prejudices, and it was also unsurprising that the ones who think of their welfare and position first would decide to wait it out before coming to a decision. And there were some warmongering ones who refused to cease and desist, and are apparently still occupying Terran territory by the end of the episode. But I was really touched by what Harklight, Barouhcruz and the Stygis Squadron did, presumably after having come to genuinely respect Slaine. They stayed. They chose to defy orders and stayed to fight alongside Slaine out of loyalty – all while knowing that they had no realistic chance of winning, and that they could easily flee and prioritise their lives if they wanted to. Or they could have even betrayed Slaine, which is what I was expecting them to do. The fact that they didn’t, and instead chose to go out while serving Slaine was definitely moving. Their decision and the clash they eventually had with Rayet, Yuki-nee and Inko were my favourite scenes of the finale. I mean, even Barouhcruz stayed!
What of Slaine’s motives? He knew that he was a criminal, and that he had absolutely no future as either a Terran or a Martian. The idea was probably that he would blow up the moon base along with himself, after evacuating all the personnel who had served him – as well as poor Lemrina. I’m actually really sad she didn’t manage to get the happy ending she wanted, after all that suffering and bitterness. For a few brief moments, Slaine and Lemrina looked like a star-crossed couple. I suppose that will have to do. In essence, with the clear proclamation issued by Princess, Slaine knew it was over. There would be no salvation for him at all, and the very final thing he can attempt is to settle things with his long-time nemesis, even if he would have nothing at all to gain from it in reality. I’m not sure if it was out of hate or otherwise, but a final clash with Inaho would provide a sense of closure for Slaine, and even if he lost his life as a result… well, it’s what he wanted for himself. Slaine should have died. It would have been for his own good, and it would be what any Slaine supporter, including myself, would want given that things have turned out this way. And this is why I strongly believe that Princess should not have intervened, and that she is an absolute shit.
Slaine has no future. He doesn’t want a future. And yet, he has been subjugated to this strange sort of abandonment play, under the guise of Princess wanting to “save him from the chains of misery”. He knows that he is a shitty person, who has directly and indirectly killed hundreds if not thousands. He wants repentance through death. He actually tried to die several times – at first, it was blowing himself up along with the moon base. Then, it was heading into battle with Inaho, and deciding to fall into the atmosphere after he’d lost. And at last, when he presumably failed to drown, he asked Inaho to shoot him in the head and end it all. But he was forced to live. He now has to live with the guilt and the sins of all his actions whilst locked up in prison. He has been blamed for everything, and made into a scapegoat for Asseylum’s assassination, the very thing he strived so hard throughout the entire first season to disprove and work against – while outside, Princess and Klancain visit Earth and have a wonderful time. Inaho occasionally visits him, and I’m sure to him it must look like he’s being mocked somehow. Slaine has not been ‘saved’. He has been left bitter and broken, and even more miserable than he was during his endeavours. This is a classic case, as we’ve seen multiple times in the past, of Princess naively thinking she is doing the right thing while in reality, she is making someone else suffer even more. Whether her ideals are good is debatable. But pushing those ideals onto someone else and ignoring their choices and decisions is just a really shitty thing to do. Slaine is the most interesting character in all of Aldnoah.Zero, and for him to be left suffering like this after so much has gone wrong for him in his life, ironically because of the person he loved most in the whole world… is just too sad.
And that is why, Asseylum Vers Allusia, I despise you to the very end.
At the start of the season, you may remember me remarking that I wanted the entire cast to die by the time the series finished, preferably in a massive fire if possible. You may have noticed that this has not happened, which is rather disappointing. In fact, the entire substantive cast survived, which means the exact opposite happened. If we choose to ignore the fodder Orbital Knights who routinely attacked the Terrans, as well as the nameless Kataphrakts who got blown up equally routinely, hardly anyone has died this season. It was just Saazbaum. If we turn back to the first season, we have Cruhteo and that classmate of Inaho who met his abrupt death in what must have been the first few episodes.
I quickly came to realize that the death of the entire cast was futile, but even after the final battle no-one noticeable had died. For a series from Aoki Ei about an inter-planetary war, I really did expect more than that – in comparison, he had the guts to slaughter the entire introductory cast of Ga-Rei: Zero. I mean, it’s one thing to say that Inaho, Slaine and Princess didn’t die, but even Lt. Marito survived – and to be honest, there’s a strong case for saying that the analytical engine should have killed Inaho sooner or later, which he instead conveniently solved by having it taken out. I still have very little regard for many of the characters, especially the Terrans. If we add Princess to that category and remove Rayet, then the statement ‘I hate all the Terrans’ would be pretty accurate. The characters in Aldnoah.Zero were never its strong suite, although I will profess that Eddelrittuo looks much cuter with her hair down.
The exception that makes the rule is Slaine. I think his development and quest for power drove much of the second season, and I’ve always found his scenes to be far more interesting than that of the Terrans. While I won’t say he didn’t deserve it, it’s a real shame that things ended up the way they did for him, complete with a role reversal at gunpoint that demonstrates Inaho’s complete victory over him. I can’t understand how anyone would prefer watching this soulless robot to a young man slowly losing his morality through his conflicting goals and a series of power struggles. The only consolation is that he never did get Asseylum. Perhaps oddly enough, peace seems to be restored – you’d think that the Terrans would hold more animosity than they’ve been depicted as having, although of course it might have been the case that it all got erased with Slaine’s supposed death. All in all, they opted for a ‘happy’ conclusion in which everyone starts to get along again at the cost of Slaine’s welfare, with Earth and Mars reconciling at long last.
…That is, until someone decides to assassinate Princess again.
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I admit, I was also disappointed in the finale, but for very different reasons. The greatest strength of Aldnoah’s plot was it’s twists, as you stated in one of your previous entries; the writer’s ability to keep us guessing what would happen next kept me on the edge of my seat. Because of that, I was expecting the writers to throw in one last big twist to end the show with, but the only way my expectations were defied was in them not defying them when I expected them to, if that makes any sense. It felt like everything that happened in the finale was just the aftereffects of Saylem’s big move at the end of last episode. As amusing as it was to see the female lead pull the rug out from under the two guys, it made the finale rather anticlimactic.
The fights, to me, felt like the weakest in the series.The fight between the side characters felt too contrived to me, due to how it was set up. Rather then simply going along with Slaine because of how awesome he is, I would have liked to see some more conflict of interest amongst the Versians who participated in their last stand. Instead, Barouhcruz’s personality does a complete 180, while Harklight seems to completely forget his own goal of social reform in favor of SLAINE-SAMA! You weren’t the only person expecting at least one of them to stab Slaine in the back, but I guess Inaho didn’t have a complete monopoly on gary stu points. As for the fight itself, they didn’t even bother showing the end of the battle, which sort of ruined that fight for me. The Versians just turned around when they were done talking and apparently vanished from existence.
The fight between Inaho and Sliane started out promising; I liked Inaho’s solution to dealing with the Tharsis’s predictive ability, but it led to the fight quickly devolving into them simply tearing each others’ mechs apart, in a fashion I’ve already seen several times in other mech anime. The atmospheric rentry scene was a bit more interesting, but not by much. I mentally inserted a blooper scene there where they both burn up during rentry, as Inaho makes a deadpan comment about himself miscalculating something due to a misplaced zero.
The fact that they didn’t kill Slaine doesn’t particularly annoy me, maybe. Rather then to punish Slaine, it seemed to me like they thought he still may be of use to them in some way, and they wanted to be able to bring them back if they needed him. Considering what he’d managed to accomplish, it’s no surprise the people in charge might think he could be useful somehow in the future. That’s the sort of overly rational decision I can see Inaho making while completely overlooking the moral implications. Or, that just may be the writer not having the guts to kill him off in case they decide to make a sequel, in which case, it is kind of infuriating.
One thing I am glad for though; we finally got to see Inaho with an eye patch. I think it suits him.
No, that makes perfect sense. I hadn’t thought of potential plot twists actually, but it is a fair point – and something you’d expect too, given that the first season ended with that massive cliffhanger. I guess they wanted a happy, child-friendly ending, and took the opportunity to shit on Slaine one last time. They might as well have brought Cruhteo back and had him whip Slaine in prison. As for Barouhcruz and Harklight, I guess I’m just pleased that they turned out to be better people than I thought they would have been. I was under the impression that every single Martian was a self-interested bastard, so I was willing to suspend my disbelief to see someone as prejudiced as Barouhcruz look past Slaine’s origins and follow him to the death. From a storytelling perspective, I guess they couldn’t have anyone backstab Slaine and kill him before Inaho got to him.
Having Inaho finally get something wrong and lose his life over it would have been wonderful. Ah, why couldn’t it have ended like that. Note that the people in charge you talk of are the ones which sent the Deucalion, the Terrans’ most powerful asset, on multiple suicide missions. If they were fully in command, I wouldn’t have been surprised if Slaine was publicly executed. It’s a plausible notion, but I’m not sure they know of his rise to power. It does sound more like something Inaho would do, but he cited Princess as his motivation which is what pissed me off.
Well from what I understood about it using his brain, while Inaho could have died from it, the eye would have likely taken over in his place. Since it’s shown to be able to control his body if he falls unconscious.
Yeah, I pretty much agree with everything Vantage said. Slaine deserved to be punished, not to be tortured. I mean, just kill him and let him die like a man instead of forcing him to live whatever is left of his life in despair.
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