Aldnoah.Zero Season 1
Before beginning my rant on why I absolutely loath this episode, I think it would be a good idea to give my thoughts on the first season. I have never thought that Aldnoah.Zero was well written, but it was always bearable. Due to the high production values and sleek visual style, ignoring the hollow people that Aldnoah.Zero calls characters was easy. The terribly written conveniences could easily be shrugged off, as the problems I had with them felt like nitpicking. Some examples of this include, Inaho attacking Slaine after he had helped him, and that everyone other than Inaho charges at the enemy to die in the same way as those before them. My enjoyment of this show reminds me of Guilty Crown. Hiroyuki Sawano produces heart pumping music that sweeps one up in the moment while an overpowered character fights in flashy action scenes. I know it has a lot of flaws but its entertaining to watch on a superficial level.
But there is only so much bullshit I can take before I give up.
This episode of Aldnoah.Zero is so littered with conveniences that a garbage dump would have difficulty containing it. One would think that A-1 Pictures would stop when Edelrittuo, a little maid girl, drives a hummer through battle to get the princess to the ship in the first season. At least that part had an element of unintentional comedy to it, while this episode is as dry as it is moronic.
Slaine’s decision to side with the martians is not inherently flawed, but the way he goes about it contradicts his beliefs established in the first season. After finding the corruption within the orbital knights, he decides to side himself with the martians. Slaine must be a saint to forgive the attempted murder of someone he loves, and being tortured by an orbital knight. Not only does he forgive them, but he decides to help their cause. A purpose that is an opposition to the one he loves.
Slaine is depicted as the one who will continually support princess Asseylum in her own goals. Endlessly devoted, he searched for her believing she was alive. yet when he finally found her, he decides to go against her ideals. Rayet mirrors Slaine in that she also builds the resolve to pick a side, but she was handled with more finesse. Even though characterization isn’t Aldnoah.Zero’s strong point, her motivations are clearly defined.
Princess Lemrina Imitation
A new addition to the Aldnoah.Zero cast, the younger half-sister of princess Asseylum.
Where the hell did she come from?
One would think that the Martians would mention something about a new heir after their previous one has ‘died”. All it would take for me to accept this was that she appeared in the previous season once. Instead, she suddenly appears, and is conveniently posing as princess Asseylum. I feel that the writers are just throwing in new elements all willy nilly,
Princess Lemrina’s main plot point is feigning as Asseylum to promote the war against earth. I can think of any number of situations where this could work such as, sibling rivalry, or vying for the throne. I want to see where this goes, but it bothers me that she seems to seek Slaine’s attention. The females in Aldnoah.Zero already lack agency within the show. Every female in this show is dictated by their male counterparts except Rayet.
Now onto the big one. Aldnoah.Zero is built around science fiction universe with a mystical power called Aldnoah, that is used to bolster the power of machines. The writers could have came up with any reason involving these aspects of the world, but refuse to use them. Inaho was shown leaving the site due to the ship powered by Aldnoah, but it fails to address the fact that he has a fatal bullet wound. At least if they made an attempt at explaining how Inaho survived, I could say its bad writing. But how it is presented now, it can’t be called anything but an ass pull.
Aldnoah.Zero season 1 had Inaho taking on every encounter by himself. Of course it showed him consulting the others and creating plans, but after the first episode most of the assistance the side characters provided was cover fire. After watching Inaho’s “death”, I thought that he was dealing with the consequences of taking on everything by himself and being reckless. Obviously that was not the intent of the writers since everyone lived through the finale. The world lacks any consequences for their actions. Earth’s portrayed as a gruesome war zone yet the only ones to die are background characters.
Though I still think Inaho’s survival is a cop out, the irony of him being a cyborg is intriguing. In this episode alone, he seems to portray more emotion than the whole previous season. And yet, now he is more robotic.
Fish Tank Princess Asseylum
For the same reasons as Inaho, Asseylum’s survival is absurd. At least she has some form of consequences, as her dreams of peace are being crushed while she is stuck in a fish tank. Asseylum has always been used as a plot device and love interest, but she never felt like she was her own character. Then again almost every character in Aldnoah.Zero lacks a personality, but its very pronounced in Asseylum. Like I mentioned above, female agency is lacking within Aldnoah.Zero and this is the perfect example. Before Inaho seemed to dictate all of her actions past a certain point in the first season. Now Slaine literally controls her life, and her image through Lemrina.
Other than the fact that she is alive at all, I do not have too many other complaints about her being stuck inside the tank. I am sure the main plot line will be Inaho attempts to save her, while Slaine’s obsession continues to escalate. Nothing too interesting but hopefully Sawano’s music will be able to carry the show again.
The more I think about this show’s structure and writing, the more I dislike it. I am an advocate of ignoring flaws and judging shows purely on its merits, but Aldnoah.Zero is getting to the point of insulting my intelligence. What frustrates me the most is the fact that it has such high production values and big names backing it. People must have read the script and approved of it before going through with creating all of the visuals and music. All this wasted money that could go to creating a good adaption of some well written manga.
The show is Reminding me a bit of Sword Art Online’s second arc where Kirito has to save Asuna from the guy who is obsessed with her. I hope Aldnoah.Zero does not use sexual assault as a tension builder like in SAO. Just a couple more flaws like that and it will go into the Sword Art Online tier of shit. I want Aldnoah.Zero to get better from here, but I highly doubt it. I Probably am going to keep watching just to watch the train wreck happen.