Tag Archives: Aldnoah.Zero

Review: Aldnoah.Zero, Episode 15: Toll for the Brave

Review:

If Aldnoah.Zero was getting a little too predictable for you, then this episode should cure that disease. While the entire episode may not be filled with unexpected twists and turns, it is bookended with events that certainly fit that description. Early into the episode, we see that rank does not exclude Slaine from the anti-Terran attitude of some of his Versian allies. On the other side of the fence, we see the Earth forces preparing for the upcoming assault. There’s not much to say here… it’s not really a boring section of the episode, but there’s nothing noteworthy that comes to mind, either. The events in Slaine’s life are certainly much more exciting during this portion of the show.

The best parts of this episode are definitely the combat scenes, though. As should be expected, Inaho steals the spot light during the fight, but when the combat ultimately boils down to Inaho versus Slaine (which, let’s face it, is the ultimate rivalry in this show) then it makes sense that these scenes would follow Inaho’s exploits. It is during this portion of the episode that things get particularly tense, as one character shows up during a fairly intense scene and could certainly be seen getting killed off. The ultimate result, without spoiling anything, is quite unexpected, and signals a turn in the overall events of the story. Where things will go from here is anybody’s guess.

A Christian Perspective:

Proverbs 10:10 – Whoever winks maliciously causes grief, and a chattering fool comes to ruin.

This may be a bit of an abstract application, but within this episode we see a character who was well trusted by another betray that trust—ultimately for his own gain. When I think of the verse mentioned above, I suppose I think of someone who is a close friend saying something to someone else and then winking at you as an inside signal that you know what they say is false. That’s not exactly how things go in this episode, especially since we are not let in on the deception until it happens, but the idea of being betrayed by someone who pretended to be close to you is still there.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “d*rn”, 1 “cr*p”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: A flashback shows a character being shot; a man tries to hit Slaine with a sword scabbard, but is intercepted by Saazbaum; shots are exchanged in space combat; explosions and the general exchange of combat between enemy kataphrakts

Blood/Gore: Blood is shown coming from a character being shot (in a flashback); a flashback shows Inaho with blood on his face; the ending credits show a scene where Inaho has a bit of blood on his face

Review: Aldnoah.Zero, Episode 14: The Beautiful and Damned

Review:

Aldnoah.Zero may better be called “Inaho: The One Man Army”. Seriously, despite the fact that he is surrounded by his classmates and soldiers who are far more experienced, it seems like Inaho is the only one who can actually hit an enemy. This may change as time goes on—after all, the first half of the series did have times where Inaho needed his teammates in order to succeed—but thus far it seems like Inaho is the one-man demolition team.

Okay, moving away from the over-powered nature of Inaho’s character, we also see more of Slaine in this episode. While I still don’t think we have a well-defined reason for his choosing to side with Saazbaum, there is an interesting exchange between the two of them following a conversation with the Vers emperor. It seems there may still be more to Saazbaum’s plan that what we have already seen.

There is a new plot element introduced which, without spoiling anything, will probably level the playing field a bit with respect to Inaho’s new implant-induced abilities. I think this is still very much a show centered on Inaho (and now the Inaho/Slaine rivalry), so at least there is now something that will seemingly present an on-going challenge for him.

A Christian Perspective:

While there wasn’t a lesson that stuck out to me for this particular episode, I think we can learn a little something about humility from Inaho. He has always been the star of the team—the brains, the one with the skills, the guy who gets the job done. Now he has a cybernetic eye, which provides him with even more of an advantage on the battle field. Despite all of this, we never get a feeling of pride from Inaho. He seems mission-focused and set on defeating his enemies, to be sure, but he never seems to mistreat his teammates or look down on them because his skills are higher or better than theirs. As Christians, we should be the same: though we may excel in some area that others struggle, we should not gloat but rather come alongside them and support them, using our abilities to help them instead of putting them down.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “b***ard”

Alcohol/Drug Use: The intro shows a character holding what appears to be a bottle of liquor

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: The intro shows Inaho and Slaine shirtless

Violence: Scenes of battle in the intro; Earth and Martian forces exchange fire in space; units explode

Blood/Gore: A brief shot of blood near the beginning of the intro; Inaho is shown with blood around one of his eyes in the intro;

Review: Aldnoah.Zero, Episode 13: This Side of Paradise

Review:

When we last left the story of Aldnoah.Zero, the Earth forces had managed to shut down the Versian invasion, and Princess Asseylum, Inaho, and Count Saazbaum were presumably dead. Now we pick up 19 months later, with a brief reply of the ending events of episode twelve. Though the Earth forces may have gained a victory thanks to Asseylum and Inaho, the war appears to be far from over, and our rag tag group of high school kids are still very much enlisted in the army. Of course, the war doesn’t stop the animators from bringing us back to these characters via light fanservice, as three female characters are shown lounging on the beach early on. One must question the logic of this—after all, lull or no, beach lounging in the middle of a war just seems like a bad idea. This doesn’t last for long, though, and we are soon brought back into the action that we have come to expect from this series.

Elsewhere, we see that Slaine has made his decision about where he will go. The ending of the twelfth episode sort of left the viewers hanging in regards to Slaine’s fate as he stood alone in a room with three presumably dead people. Now, of course, we know. On top of this there seems to be a plan that has been hatched by the Martians, wherein Princess Asseylum appears to be advocating for further war against the Earthlings and total domination of the Earth. This also lends to the introduction of a new character, and a thus far unanswered question for this viewer—particularly, how a certain character managed to reunite with the Vers. You’ll figure out to whom I’m referring when you watch, I’m sure.

Okay, now for some spoiler commentary. Read past this point at your own discretion.

One thing worth commenting on is the fact that Inaho ultimately comes back alive, and not only alive but seemingly completely healed, save for a cybernetic eyeball. While it would be easy to jump on the criticism train and call the writers weak for not having the guts to kill off a protagonist a la George R.R. Martin, I have to say that I’m quite fond of Inaho and didn’t want him to be dead. Sure, the part of me that can enjoy a good plot twist is probably disappointed, but I think the part of me that wanted Inaho alive was greater. Plus, Inaho’s classmates prove that they are pretty useless against the Martian Kataphrakts without him, especially evidenced in the fact that they struggle against one such unit in this episode, only to have Inaho come along, determine its weakness, and dispatch it within minutes.

On the other side of things is Slaine. As of now, I can’t say his change of character makes much sense. We see that he has ultimately sided with Count Saazbaum who is somehow alive despite the number that Slaine did to him at the end of episode twelve. Hopefully we will get some kind of explanation as to why Slaine has sided with someone who should realistically be his enemy. After all, Saazbaum helped orchestrate the failed murder of Asseylum and then attempted to murder her with his own hands. We see in a flashback that it was mere moments between Slaine pumping Saazbaum full of lead and then ultimately deciding to side with him. What changed? I would like to know, and I hope this will be further explored as we go along.

END SPOILERS

By the end of this episode, you are likely to have some questions. Maybe not many, but certainly some. Hopefully we will begin to get answers as the second half of this series begins to flesh out. Until then, welcome back to the world of Aldnoah.Zero! Let’s see what other shocking surprises may be in store for us.

A Christian Perspective:

1 Corinthians 15:33 – Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” (NIV)

We see in this episode that Slaine has ultimately chosen to side with the Martians. The people who belittled him for being a Terran, attempted to kill his beloved princess, and then seemingly killed said princess in front of his eyes are now his allies. Yes, I know that last one comes out in the wash, but still. Slaine has no logical reason for siding with the Martians, and as of now we have no idea why he chose to do so. I have an idea, though. During his time with Count Saazbaum, Slaine heard why the Martians were choosing the path they were. At this point, I can only assume that Slaine was deluded into seeing the Martian plan as something noble or cause worthy. The fact of the matter, though, is that the Martians chose to go about their plans through the murder and betrayal of their own princess, and the murder of millions (billions?) of innocent lives. No matter how noble their cause may be, the ends do not justify the means. However, looking back at our quote, we see that bad company corrupts good character. Time spent among such mindsets could certainly pervert Slaine’s thinking and convince him that these people had a logical justification for their actions. Remember that, as of now, this is all speculation on my part.

Life can be like that, though. We find ourselves dead set against something, but if we’re not careful—if we listen to the other voices without having a firm foundation in our own beliefs and/or without also surrounding ourselves with like-minded believers—we can slowly begin to slide into the other camp. At the very least, we begin to straddle the line, deciding that something we were once morally opposed to may not be “so bad”, at least in some circumstances. I’m not saying there aren’t times where we are wrong and need to be correcting, but what I am referring to here are those issues that we should be uncompromising on while the unsaved world holds the opposing opinion, and would love nothing more then for us to give up the fight on. Listening to the other side can certainly give us insight on why they feel the way they do, and may even strengthen our own position as we research the dissenting arguments and reaffirm why we believe what we believe, but we must also be vigilant to insure that we do not abandon the correct course of action in the process.

Content Guide:

Language: 2 “b***ard”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Three female characters are shown relaxing on a beach—one in a t-shirt and bikini bottoms, one in a bikini (which shows cleavage; one shot also shows her maneuver in her chair, providing a close up of her bikini-clad butt), and one in a bikini, lying on her stomach—there is a brief close up of her butt as well

Violence: A character is shot twice; a space battle between human Kataphrakts and Vers ships shows exchanges of gunfire; a Versian Kataphrakt blows up several Terran Kats; a Martian Kat freezes and then steps on a human kat; a human kat engages a Versian kat with plenty of explosions, followed up by a close up bullet barage ending in a gigantic explosion

Blood/Gore: A character has blood on his head; the character who is shot is, of course, bloody; a character with blood coming out of the corner of his mouth, as well as blood splattered on the wall behind him; another character has blood on his face, blood on the floor under his head, and blood on an eye patch placed over his eye; blood on a good luck charm given to a character; blood on another character being patched up

Review: Aldnoah.Zero, Part 1: Episodes 1-12

Review:

Aldnoah Zero is, in a sense, not your typical mecha show. While most mecha anime (at least, in this writer’s opinion) focus on humanity developing powerful weaponry to even the odds with an overpowered foe, Aldnoah Zero presents a cast of characters who are woefully underpowered in the face of their enemies.

The year is 2014, and humanity is expecting a visit from Asseylum Vers Allusia, the princess of the Mars-based Vers Empire. You see, settlers on Mars had previously discovered alien technology on the surface of the planet, which formed the basis for the foundation of the Vers Empire. As you can imagine, this technology gave them quite the advantage over their less-technologically advanced counterparts on Earth. When war broke out between Earth and Vers in 1999, the alien hypergate on the moon (which enabled travel to Mars) was destroyed, taking part of the moon with it. Now, after fifteen years, the Vers princess makes a visit to Earth in order to establish peace between the two nations. Unfortunately, some of her own people desire otherwise, and decide to make her a martyr for their cause.

Aldnoah.Zero is, at its core, a typical “aliens attack Earth and Earth must overcome” story. The difference here is that the aliens are, technically, humans. Prideful humans who think they are better than Earthlings due to their ownership and command of advanced technology, but humans none the less. The difference in power is seen quite easily, as the Vers Empire landing castles wipe out entire cities simply by landing in them. In all of this, who would ever guess that a Japanese high school boy piloting a mech would end up being one of the primary protagonists in the series?  Yeah, in that sense, it is kind of typically mecha. What’s not entirely typical is said high school boy’s demeanor.

Inaho Kaizuka is not your whiny, Shinji Ikari knock-off, nor is he the cocky type that you might meet in other mecha anime. While some similarities could be drawn between Inaho and Heero Yuy of Gundam Wing fame, Inaho is not really dark and depressing. In truth, he is best described as apathetic. Highly intelligent and the ultimate brains behind Earth’s counterattack (at least among the Japanese refugees trying to get to safety), you could almost get the sense that Inaho is just going through the motions. We get some more insight into his character throughout the series, but he seems to go about things almost matter-of-factly, yet he clearly takes the situation seriously. For all of his lack of emotion, he is quite the likable character.

We have another primary male protagonist by the name of Slaine. Like Inaho, Slaine is an Earthling. Unlike Inaho, Slaine took a trip to Vers several years prior and has been among them ever since. Despite being looked down upon by the people of Vers, Slaine has stayed around, and one can only assume it’s due to his friendship with Princess Asseylum. While he doesn’t quite play as much of a role as one might expect, he certainly plays enough to be considered a secondary protagonist. If nothing else, he keeps the story moving, and also serves a purpose in a few primary plot points.

The plot of Aldnoah.Zero follows a sort of patterned approach at first: our protagonists fight an over-powered enemy suit while the people they are protecting try to get to safety. What’s nice, though, is that the fights don’t necessarily last for one episode–they are drawn out enough to not feel rushed, and they show that there is indeed a legitimate struggle for Earth to overcome their foes. The viewer is adequately engaged in wanting to see how Inaho will overcome each foe, and the writers do a good job of not making it a one-man show–Inaho may be exceptionally smart and perceptive, but he still needs to rely on his teammates to get the job done. In the midst of all this, we also get to see the relationships between characters grow and change, along with a few Versians who are among the Japanese survivors. There are enough intense firefights here to keep action enthusiasts entertained while simultaneously building character relationships to keep the show from having a one-dimensional feel. There are some twists in the plot that you will not see coming. The ending will also prove shocking, and inevitably leaving you wondering about what happens next.

Artistically, Aldnoah.Zero is a very nice looking show. While I am no expert at dissecting this area, I don’t remember ever having a moment where I thought the art looked sloppy or poorly done. I would assume that some of the art is done by CGI, and if I’m correct then it certainly blends well with the show.

Overall, Aldnoah.Zero may not be the greatest show to ever grace the mecha genre, but it provides an entertaining plot that will make you want to see what happens next. If you like mecha shows then go a head and give it a shot.

A Christian Perspective:

Okay, I usually do this episodically. Since this is a review of the first twelve episodes, there are probably tons of themes that I could draw out, but I’m just going to with this:

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. – Proverbs 16:18 (NIV)

As stated in the review, the Versians are a cocky lot. They look down on the Earthlings because of the overwhelming advantage they have in terms of technology. On the surface, it clearly looks like there is nothing that Earth can do. The Versians come in and quickly wipe out squad after squad of Earth forces. It’s only after sitting down and thinking that Inaho begins to theorize about weaknesses that the initial foe may have. From here on, he ends up having to think on his feet, but the overall point is the same–each enemy mecha they encounter has some fundamental weakness that Inaho is able to exploit. Essentially (and I believe this is even stated in one episode) the Versians became so cocky that they didn’t consider the potential weaknesses their mecha may have possessed, no matter how minute those weaknesses may be. It’s a perfect example of the above-mentioned proverb, as there can be no denying that the Versians are prideful people, too confident in their own technology and overwhelming power.

What we can learn from this is that, no matter how much of an advantage we may think we have, we should always maintain a humble attitude. Just because we think we have the advantage, or the greater knowledge, the greater power, or whatever else might give rise to pride doesn’t mean we’re better than anyone else or that we’re guaranteed victory. Remember: the entire Israelite army cowered before Goliath, but a young boy with a slingshot took him down. Just because you think you’re better doesn’t mean you’re actually better. So, instead of being like the Versians, let us put into practice the words of Romans 12:3 (NIV):

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

Content Guide:

Episode 1

Language: 1 “b**t*rds”, 1 “c**p”, 1 “jacka**”

Alcohol/Drug Use: Lt. Marito is shown drinking in several scenes

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: A character is hit in the face with a cane; an escort convoy is attacked by missiles; a space ship lands in a city and sends out a shockwave that destroys buildings and reduces onlookers to dust

Blood/Gore: A flashback shows a man with blood on his face

Other: There is talk about characters having the “powers of the gods”

 

Episode 2:

Language: 1 “d**khead”, 1 “f**king*, 1 “c**p”, 1 “b**t**d”, 2 ‘h*ll”, 1 “d**n”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: The intro shows the princess lying in a somewhat sensual pose, and her dress reveals soem cleavage

Violence: Missiles are shown being launched at the alien castles, and the impact scene from the previous episode is partially shown again; the intro shows a mech being shot and exploding; missiles are shown destroying stuff; a bunch of planes are blown up; plenty of explosions and destruction; mech battles; planes being shot down; a character is knocked to the ground with his arm yanked behind his back

Blood/Gore: A plane is sliced in half by a beam, and it looks like the pilot’s blood is shown splattering the glass; a man is shown with blood on his face

Episode 3

Language: 2 “d**n”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: Grenade launchers, mech combat; a plane is shot and catches fire; a mech is destroyed

Blood/Gore: A character is seen with blood running down her head

Episode 4

Language: 1 “b**t*rd”, 1 “b**ches”, 2 “h*ll”, 1 “d**n”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: An orbital bombardment destroys a city; a character is shown shooting another character; a character is hit in the stomach; a human mech fires at a martian mech; mechs are cut apart and then explode; a mech destroys a ship; typical battle violence between mechs; a character is hit in the face

Blood/Gore: A character is shown with blood on his uniform, along with blood pouring out underneath him; a character is shown with blood splattering from him as he is shot

Episode 5

Language: 2 “b**t*rd”, 1 “d**n”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None
Violence: Typical mecha fighting–gunfire and explosions ensue

Blood/Gore: None

 

Episode 6

Language: 4 (maybe) “d**n”, 1 “b**t*rds”, 2 “h*ll”, 1 “c**p”

Alcohol/Drug Use: Marito appears to have a bottle of liquor sitting at his feet; a character presumably drinks from a flask

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: An enemy weapon attacks a ship, causing damage and explosions; an enemy weapon destroys human Kataphrakts; the humans attack the enemy’s weapons

Blood/Gore: A flashback shows a soldier’s dogtag with blood on it; a character is shown with blood on his face and arm; a character in a Kataphrakt is shown with blood on him; a flashback shows a character with blood on his head

 

Episode 7

Language: 1 “b***ard”, 2 “d**n”, 1 “h*ll”, 1 “d*rn”, 1 “cr*p”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: A character is shown pinning another character down while holding a gun to his head; a character is shot in the ankle; a character is being shot at; plenty of mecha fighting; explosions

Blood/Gore: Blood is coming from a character’s gunshot wound; a flashback shows a character with blood on his face

Episode 8

Language: 1 “d**n”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: A character is slammed to the ground; a character is shown being tortured while restrained; a Kataphrakt attacks a landing castle and kills a Martian

Blood/Gore: None

 

Episode 9

Language: 1 “a**”, 1 “d**n”, 3 “h*ll”

Alcohol/Drug Use: A character is shown drinking from a flask

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Rayet is shown in the shower, but the camera avoids any “private” areas; Seylum is shown wearing only a towel–she is then shown in the shower, where the camera pans up her body–steam obscures anything below the waist, although a portion of her breasts is visible through her arms; another scene shows Rayet from the chest up, showing the majority of her breasts; a violent scene occurs with the two girls, during which you can see parts of their breasts; another scene shows Rayet falling over and again you can see–you guessed it–portions of her breasts

Violence: Tanks are shown being destroyed; explosions; tanks fire at a Kataphrakt; a character shoots another character; random flashbacks of violence; a character puts a knife to another’s throat; a character chokes another with a chain

Blood/Gore: A flashback shows a character with blood on his face; blood is scene running from a character’s hand and dripping onto a table as a result of him grabbing a knife

Episode 10

Language: None

Alcohol/Drug Use: A character is shown drinking from a flask

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Seylum is shown lying on the floor of the shower, but she’s covered so you don’t see anyting inappropriate; Inaho gives Seylum mouth-to-mouth; Seylum is then shown wrapped ina towel, as is Rayet

Violence: A character fires a gun into teh floor; a character wrestles another to the ground

Blood/Gore: None

Episode 11

Language: 4 “cr*p”, 1 “b**ch”, 1 “d**n”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: Saazbaum’s forces attack the United Earth HQ—explosions, destroyed Kataphrakts, and the like; plenty of things are shot and blown up, with explosions to accompany

Blood/Gore: A man is shown crushed under a piece of a building with blood pooling below him

Episode 12

Language: 1 “a**es”, 2 “d**n”, 1 “b***ard”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: What you would expect: missiles, gunfire, exploding mechs; a man is shot; a character is shot multiple times; another character is shot multiple times; one character is seemingly shot in the head

Blood/Gore: Calm and Marito are shown with blood on their faces; blood appears to be on the headrest of a cockpit; a man is shown with blood pooling under him; Inaho is shown with blood on his facel; a character coughs up blood; the character who is shot multiple times bleeds, of course; blood splatters a character’s face; another character is shown lying in a pool of her own blood; another character is shot, bloodied, and ultimately leaves a bloody smear on a wall