Recaps for Aldnoah.Zero

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Aldnoah.Zero Episode #24 Anime Review (Series Finale)

For a show so built on its twists, the finale of Aldnoah.Zero is unlikely to have a viewer especially surprised at any moment. Perhaps that in itself is the most surprising thing, which could be argued as one of the show’s meta twists if you’re intent on reading into it more than was probably ever intended. We were left at a point that could seem like the setup of some huge conflict, but with Asseylum finally regained the ability to affect the substantial change that she’s been trying to all along, the original war had little ground on which to stand, meaning the finale really only had to deal with some grudge matches and the more recent involvement of Slaine’s forces as a distinct entity from the empire proper. Given the world-building and scale of storytelling, it might seem appropriate to spend a majority of the episode on the aftermath, but instead we get a primarily action-oriented piece before closing with scenes of how this world progressed after this point. READ MORE...

Aldnoah.Zero Episode #23 Anime Review

It’s the penultimate episode of the Aldnoah.Zero series. After spending a surprising amount of time not doing all that much, every side has to kick it into full gear to accomplish some sense of a conclusion in this final stretch. Although they were engaged in hostilities within Slaine’s moon base in the previous episode, the Terrans and Martians don’t continue on that particular battle for very long this time, instead regrouping with their respective allies one more time before setting off for the big showdown, however that may play out. For the Terrans this means enjoying their time with each other for what could be the last time for some, but with Klancain, the new Count Cruhteo, taking Asseylum away from Slaine, the two Martian sides have to figure out how to treat each other as the decisive moments arrive. After seeing what Slaine has become, Asseylum is more than ready to escape his grasp anyway, but this also gives her the opportunity she had been seeking since the beginning of the first season: to tell her grandfather to stop the war. READ MORE...

Aldnoah.Zero Episode #22 Anime Review

For most of this season, the main characters from the first have been basically letting the enemy come to them and dispatching them as they come but not progressing much. It’s finally time for them to turn that around, as they launch their own offensive on Vers, specifically on Slaine’s new spinoff of the empire proper. If Inaho was able to talk to anyone about important matters such as how negatively his eye has been impacting him lately, they might not make this move at the one time that the one piece of their forces that causes them to win their battles is weakened, with the risk of not being able to accomplish a mission for the first time since the last big venture outward. But hey, that’s what drama is, right? It feels a bit contrived to have it work out like that just for the purpose of presenting an even playing field, but that’s not uncharacteristic of this series. READ MORE...

Aldnoah.Zero Episode #21 Anime Review

One of the most interesting things about this episode is that it’s the first one in a while wherein there’s more focus on Inaho and the Terrans (which sounds like it could be the name of a band… probably with very flat singing) than Slaine’s adventures in double princess trouble. It feels like that should be a good thing, or at least a nice change, but the latter side of the story is still by far the more interesting part of this episode, even in its relatively brief window. But that’s not to say that the majority of the episode is useless! Admittedly, yes, it’s more of the same villain of the week antics demanding that all responsibilities be put on Inaho’s shoulders, and – spoiler of spoilers – he uses his abilities to ensure that his forces come out on top once more. Even if the other part of the episode wasn’t a bit more interesting than usual this week, there probably wouldn’t be much about this chunk to really think about after the fact. But with a bit more time, a few new threats that require more complex strategies and tactics to overcome are able to be unleashed all at once and cause the stakes to feel slightly higher. In the end that doesn’t mean that we get the most magnificent climax (although the music direction is more dramatic than it’s been for these battles in recent installments), but the fact that Inaho has been the go-to for all Terran problem-solving this season is brought into question, particularly as it’s shown that the cybernetic eye pushing his capabilities beyond merely prodigious can start to take its toll if used too much. Even if these squabbles don’t seem to mean much on their own, at least they might amount to a more substantial development as the final showdowns approach. READ MORE...

Aldnoah.Zero Episode #20 Anime Review

Honestly, much of the apparent action in this season recently has been a bit underwhelming. In the end it tends to amount to more of the same, with Inaho’s robotic eye and matching personality swiftly navigating the Earth Forces out of a bad situation against some Vers mecha (which are now spelled "Kataphraktos" or "Kataphraktoi" for the plural form since last episode had this new spelling on screen) after some kind of setup teasing a much more substantial battle. It’s actually a little nice to see the Earthlings having to run away, even if it’s pulled off in much the same way as their usual winning battles, just because it’s some of the rare glimpses at imperfection we get without having Slaine himself attacking. But more importantly, this allows the episode to move on with the main story as the brevity of such squabbles often do, and at this point that’s a far more interesting angle to explore. READ MORE...

Aldnoah.Zero Episode #19 Anime Review

There are impostors everywhere. Or imposter if you prefer; we’ll split the difference and say nisemono. Lemrina masquerading as Asseylum is the obvious one, but our main character for this season (at least from the more-than-half we’ve covered by this point) is nearly as fake. Slaine is reaching for his ultimate success by lying to everyone. But while that may be getting the job done and he’s surely been betting would never fall apart as such situations always do, the worst part of it all is that he’s actually lying to himself most of all. This isn’t the kind of person Slaine is; he fundamentally hasn’t changed that much since the first season. But as he faces the success that seems more and more likely, Asseylum slowly recovers to strike a stark juxtaposition to the corrupt monstrosity that he’s let himself become while convincing himself it was all for her. As she remembers and processes more of what’s happened and how everything has progressed in her absence – and it’s absolutely a definite that she will do so enough to effect major change – Slaine will likely be left waiting for the first domino to fall in his assembly of lies so that it can all crash down on him, whether or not he can ever manage to admit it to himself. READ MORE...

Aldnoah.Zero Episode #18 Anime Review

Because of the cliffhanger the first season of Aldnoah.Zero left off on, it was necessary to make it seem as if Slaine was taking over as the main character in the second. But, while Inaho is of course alive and more well than ever, this season really has been progressing with Slaine getting even more focus than the obvious main character of the first season and presumably the series as a whole. It’s interesting to look at Asseylum as a symbol of the overall plot, as she’s been used as the justification for keeping the conflict going all along and it’s only because of her continued inability to communicate with those who matter in one way or another that it hasn’t ended. That extends to what the storytelling puts the most focus on; when Asseylum was with the Earth forces, that’s where the focus was, and thus Inaho was the obvious main character, and now that she’s back with the Vers Empire, even as incapacitated as she’s been so far, that’s where more focus lies despite that being the blatantly evil side, and Slaine gets to take the starring role as a result. While the series has been a bit more of a mess than it ever should’ve been since that season finale, I can definitely get behind the still much more interesting Slaine being the center of attention, especially since the screen time is much more balanced than when Inaho was the lead. READ MORE...

Aldnoah.Zero Episode #17 Anime Review

Since I spent the past week listening to the Aldnoah.Zero soundtrack that’s now being sold on Right Stuf, I feel that promoting that availability is the best thing I could do. After all, Hiroyuki Sawano’s extremely distinctive music is perhaps both the most notable and the strongest element of this series. But the iconic pieces booming heroic sounds or featuring Sawano’s trusted vocalists make little showing in this episode, a quieter character focus with less action than possibly any episode this season so far. In fact, it’s basically the first one in the season that hasn’t had some kind of interaction between Inaho and Slaine, instead painting their dichotomy in a more subtle light with the interactions involving the upper echelon of the Vers Empire that had been established before Slaine started to work his way up. READ MORE...

Aldnoah.Zero Episode #16 Anime Review

After several counts’ discrimination against Slaine was quickly answered by not only his adoption into the family of a count but his almost immediate succession of the position, it’s only natural that those unhappy with his status as a knight would be significantly more appalled by him climbing the ranks even more, especially given the suspicious timing of Saazbaum’s end. But even if Slaine would let such things bother him at this point, the only people he interacts with are now those below or on the same level as him, along with the new princess who wants him to think of her in the same way as her sister, essentially allowing him to do as he pleases with the obvious restrictions of still being in the best interest of Vers. This kills two birds with one stone, because if there’s anything that can truly silence those doubts, it’s showing results that nobody else could sufficiently deliver, and with Slaine’s experience, drive, and Tharsis, he’s in the perfect position to do just that. Such deep-rooted prejudice can rarely be cured, but there’s no denying that Slaine is worthy of the ornate outfit that now adorns him, probably more than anyone else wearing one. READ MORE...

Aldnoah.Zero Episode #14 Anime Review

With as many talking points as the previous episode had, you’d think it was an hour long or something. But that’s just the nature of having so much to follow up on after the shocking conclusion to the first season. This episode gets to ease into its story a little more calmly, though that doesn’t necessarily help it. The note that the previous episode ended on directly set up for Inaho to expose the Asseylum that Vers is showing to the world as a fake. After all, there were real human indications that a clever guy like Inaho could pick up on and deduce the truth, right? Well given his initial reaction to the broadcast that was almost certainly the case, but for some reason he instead decides to be cyber detective Inaho and rely on his new eye and data to explain what the most basic observation would’ve actually confirmed more convincingly. Despite the growth he seemed to display last time, this is more telling of the Inaho we’ve known all along than anything: using cold calculations in favor of any human logic, particularly ironic given that the calculations focus primarily on the emotional disruptions that indicate a lie while more natural observation gleans concrete inconsistency in a person’s speech. READ MORE...