Fellow Café members, let me just start with what this experience was – a coincidence. Ever heard of one? Yes, I thought so. I’ve seen the masterpieces that are Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Fate/Zero prior to this series, and little did I know that this one was written by the same guy. Gen Urobuchi, for the better, you got me again!
Humankind began migrating to Mars when an ancient alien hypergate was discovered on the moon in 1972. Using the Aldnoah technology they had additionally discovered, the VERS Empire was formed. Soon after, the VERS Empire declared war on Earth. This war caused the destruction of the Moon and the gate, creating a belt of debris around Earth and disabling any known connections. Presently in 2014, the princess of VERS travels to Earth only to be attacked and “killed” during a peace mission. The people of VERS are now furious and stand determined to take Earth this time around as both races are thrown back into war.
Isn’t that a cool concept? Aldnoah.Zero dives into the aspect of human separation, and how it is not Terrans versus Martians so much as it’s humans on Earth and those on Mars against each other. They all want each other’s’ blood even though it is actually the same type. Add this dark theme and giant robot, or “kataprakt,” fights and you have yourself a show that is interesting and worth one’s time.
Speaking of, one flaw that I would like to point out is the fact that the Martian’s could have easily squashed any human resistance with their super powered Aldnoah kataprakts, but what would be the good in that, right? Like seriously, one of the enemy robots can create a dimensional barrier that absorbs all forms of energy, allowing it to walk through buildings without any struggle. WHY DID THEY NOT MAKE MORE OF THESE?? This forced the opening fight to require Inaho’s smarts, as he literally couldn’t go rushing in at the enemy. Perhaps if a fight on this scale of strategy was at the end, then maybe the final boss wouldn’t have been such a snooze.
Our true story centers on the triangle between the Terran Inaho (Orange), Princess Asseylum Vers Allusia, and the Terran Slaine (Bat). Inaho is quiet, resourceful, and a calm, quick thinker. This makes me love him yet dislike him at the same time, for although he rarely says stupid stuff, he follows the bland archetype hero.
On another note, Asseylum receives asylum by Inaho and co. upon her arrival (Hehe, puns). She is a dutiful young lady who, for housing the mysterious power of the Aldnoah, one would think she would have some kind of combat skills, but it’s whatever. In that aspect, she reminds me of Princess Lenessia from Log Horizon. They both act in amateurish ways, thinking that a simple meeting would solve planetary war.
Slaine is the crux of emotional occurrence in ALDNOAH.ZERO. Throughout the entirety of the series, the Terran-born boy struggles between supporting the Terrans and/or the Martians. He doesn’t fully support the Martians, but simply Asseylum. When I think of it this way, it clears a lot of the mud that crowds Slaine’s decisions.
In Slaine’s regard, the end of the first half of the series is probably one of the most suspenseful and unexpected twists I have ever seen. Because I don’t want to spoil too much it will remain your unknowing secret. I can understand complex emotions, but wow, I was not expecting that. For those who have seen the end of the series, how shall we encrypt that last line? I guess we’ll just have to wait for season two in 2015. It’s going to be a long wait. . .
The animation quality for this show is phenomenal! Not only that, but the soundtrack by Hiroyuki Sawano contains epic, pumped up techno action pieces that engage me into combat. It fits the high-tech battlefield mood perfectly. The show is filled with awesome robot combat and explosive maneuvers that left me swerving in my seat to dodge flying metal fists or energy blades of death! It is interesting to note that the studio that animated ALDNOAH.ZERO also did the infamous Sword Art Online, a series which had a second season running at the same time. A-1Pictures must have been very busy, as the animation quality for both series is top-notch – definitely some of my favorite animation.
With Urobuchi comes Kajiura, as Kalafina performs the series’ amazing opening “heavenly blue.” Jesus, I love this music so much! Kajiura pulls out all of the stops in this new opening: the techno groove is hot and upbeat. The show’s ending theme, “I Say Cry” by aLIEz (also by Hiroyuki Sawano), also deserves an honorable mention. Both of these are a must-listen.
I fully recommend ALDNOAH.ZERO to fans of Urobuchi’s works and for people that are looking for something with sci-fi action-packed fights with great background music, and a well-paced plot to where you want more after every damn episode. So isn’t that everyone? Well, yes and no. The last few “bosses” are lack luster and require Inaho to just hack and slash; no real strategy is required. Because of such a loss, the crafty interest in both Inaho and the Martain generals drop tremendously. Nevertheless, I will be awaiting the second half for this great adventure of revenge, tragedy and hope. “Let Justice Be Done Through The Heavens Fall.”
At the moment, you can watch all of ALDNOAH.ZERO on Crunchyroll. I really hope the show receives localization and a dub, because yeah, I thought it was worth watching again. Leave a comment below and thanks for reading! Till next time this has been
– Takuto, your host