Aldnoah.Zero Ep. 3: The rats strike back

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Well then… the cat is certainly out of the bag. Despite what the screenshot above might suggest, however, Trillram will not be the one to go after Asseylum, seeing as how he is unceremoniously executed by Slaine at the end of this week’s episode. He was hardly the mastermind behind the assassination plot, though. Plenty of people will be after the princess now. Not all of them will necessarily want to kill her, but she is still an invaluable chess piece in the grand scheme of things. More specifically, I wonder if Trillram’s Kataphrakt (I’m just going to call them mechas from now on) was transmitting any recorded video or image back to his base before it went down. ‘Cause if it was, and Saazbaum now knows that Asseylum is still alive, our heroes will not have much time to rest on their laurels. If you’ll recall, Saazbaum still intends to bomb the entire Shinawara area just to play it safe.

The most interesting aspect of Saazbaum’s plan, however, is that he is even willing to sacrifice Cruhteo in the process, which is hardly a small price to pay. That’s why I wondered last week whether or not Cruhteo may eventually question his loyalties. The various Counts are playing nice to each other for now, but you get the feeling that they’re just waiting for any small lapse in attention to strike at each other’s throats. News of the princess’s survival will eventually spread, and I can’t help but imagine that the Orbital Knights will fracture themselves into at least two opposing factions: those who want to aide the princess and those who are against her. Plus, it’s not just the traitorous faction within the Orbital Knights that Asseylum will have to worry about. The people in her immediate surroundings also know she’s a princess now. How will the rest of them react?

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You can certainly expect Inaho to be the good guy through and through. You can almost always expect the main character in these shows to do the right thing. There have been exceptions in the past, but let’s just say Inaho is hardly Lelouch. Anyway, I also certainly expect Slaine to join Inaho’s ranks soon enough, but they’ll probably butt heads at first since Slaine won’t likely trust the main character just yet. I wonder how the three of them will work together. I hope the story doesn’t try to shoehorn in some melodramatic love triangle, but you never know. But beyond the main characters of the show, the big question in my mind is how the rest of the Earth Alliance will react to the princess’s existence. This is the enemy’s princess in their hands, after all. They could make all sorts of demands with her in their possession. The potential power moves that may come about are what currently fascinates me the most about the future direction of this story.

But not only that, Rayet was supposed to have killed Asseylum. What will the girl do now? She wanted to avenge her father’s death, and although she does play a part in bringing Trillram down in this week’s episode, she hardly dealt the finishing blow. Hell, even Inaho didn’t deal the finishing blow. I was surprised to see that Trillram could still escape from his mecha and make it to shore. I thought Inaho would avenge Okisuke and just blow the bastard and his mecha up. In any case, I’m curious to see how Rayet will react to the very person she should’ve assassinated. Will she feel remorse? Or will she still have anger towards the Vers Empire and that might include Asseylum? Hell, how long will she carry that secret with her? In fact, what reason does she have to keep on fighting? With Trillram dead, she will need a new motive to stick around.

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Even Eddy has the chance to develop into an interesting character if the anime will give her a chance. For now, she mostly stays in the background, hardly ever having anything to say. Still, I can’t forget how she looked down upon the Earthlings at the start of the series. Lately, however, she has had to depend on the good will of those same Earthlings in order for both her and Asseylum to survive. Not only that, I doubt both girls are dumb. I’m sure they both know someone within the Vers Empire had a hand in the princess’s attempted assassination. God’s chosen people are thus conniving murderers. Meanwhile, these kids are the only reason Asseylum has made it this far. Without Inaho and his friends, I’m sure Trillram would have stumbled across the princess and killed her after the initial shock of seeing her alive had subsided. Eddy has very good reasons to change her stance. The only question is whether or not the anime thinks she’s an important enough character to develop.

Speaking of character development, Inaho proves himself to be a capable and ingenious leader. But other than that, we still know very little about him or his backstory. He clearly felt he needed to do something to avenge Okisuke’s death, but our main character’s rather placid demeanor is still left unexplained. For now, I won’t go quite so far as to say his calmness is taking me out of the story. I still find all the show’s action to be quite enjoyable, so I’m willing to be patient with Inaho’s character development. I just hope Aldnoah.Zero doesn’t drag its feet too much on this front. But still, this is how these stories are usually structured. The first three episodes or so usually provide our protagonist with a breakthrough moment to become the hero. Now that we’ve gotten past the first hurdle, the story can slow down and develop its characters. Let’s also hope the anime doesn’t slow down too much.

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I also wonder what Yuki will do now about her brother, though it isn’t likely that she will be able to do anything. Nevertheless, she had to acquiesce to Inaho’s leadership because the situation called for desperate measures. Not only that, she was also injured. Now that the immediate danger to them has been eliminated — putting aside Saazbaum’s impending meteor strike since there’s no way the protagonists could know about it — will Yuki continue to let her brother, i.e. her only remaining family member, to continue taking the reins? Or will she become overprotective and prevent Inaho from fighting? After all, he’s still just a student. He hasn’t been drafted or anything. He has no real authority. Having said that, the Earth Alliance isn’t faring too well across the world, so Yuki might not have any choice in the matter. Inaho may very well be conscripted as soon as we see next week’s episode.

Anyway, the action is still thrilling and fun to watch. If I have to nitpick, these kids are a little too composed in the heat of battle for me, but that’s anime for you. Children are always saving the day in anime. Not only that, they become battle-hardened veterans after just a week or two of experiencing danger. Speaking of nitpicks, random characters seem to have some rather unnatural inflections to their voices when delivering their lines. For instance, the way the doctor says the following line to Yuk at the start of the episode: “They (Inaho and his friends) say they’re going to fight. *pause* Using the equipment here.” I know the anime’s going for dramatic effect, but it’s kind of silly if you’re trying to picture this conversation in the real world. At another point in the episode, Captain Magbaredge volunteers herself to Marito’s cause, but not saying, “I’ve taken an interest in you, Lt. Koichiro Marito.” It’s not what she says, but how she says it. Last but not least, I could have also done without Inaho’s unnecessary explanation to Trillram.

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Oh well… nitpicks aside, Aldnoah.Zero is still highly recommended from me for the time being. Definitely in the top three for the season.

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11 thoughts on “Aldnoah.Zero Ep. 3: The rats strike back

  1. Rae (@CSrae)

    Hmm– I am curious about this show but I’m not a fan of mecha/space stories is it a major factor to the plot? I thought SnG was 7/10 despite having a lackluster ending (and other issues).

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      So far, mechas haven’t been the focus although there certainly are mechas in this anime. For instance, the main character doesn’t have a super fancy one when main characters typically do in similar-minded stories. He may very well get one in the future, but for now, the story is primarily about surviving the Martian invasion as well as the whole royal assassination intrigue. Also, SnG was a lot slower in terms of action. Whether that’s a good or bad thing, that’s up to you to decide.

      Reply
    2. higgsbosoff

      Suisei no Gargantia was very good until episode 4, and then took a dip from which it never completely recovered. So yeah, 7/10 seems about right. We can’t know yet if Aldnoah will go the same way, but they’re definitely very different animals. Gargantia was basically a slice of life with mecha and a fish out of the water premise. Aldnoah seems like a political intrigue and war story. I stress the “war story” aspect because it doesn’t look like the typical one-on-one mecha battles are going to be the focus – it’s more a “our heroes are a single cog in a huge mechanism” thing. Though they will eventually raise to prominence in this whole conflict, the scope is remarkably bigger than “SUPERMECHA SMASH!”. So for now it’s fine. I still have to see the next 2 episodes by the way :P.

      Reply
  2. LordreynoldsUglyDadsBunkmatefromwhenhighschoolwasstillsomethingtolookforwardtooandyesthisnameisnonsensebecausefuckyouihadtowatchArschgeschwollenWhichisashittymechaanime

    “Hmm– I am curious about this show but I’m not a fan of mecha/space stories is it a major factor to the plot? I thought SnG was 7/10 despite having a lackluster ending (and other issues).”

    Dude.. did you read the reviews?

    Yes it has mechas. Yes they do fight. And noone can tell you about major plot factors after the third episode.

    How about you do the unthinkable and just watch the damn anime and make a decision based on your own observations….

    Reply
    1. LordreynoldsUglyDadsBunkmatefromwhenhighschoolwasstillsomethingtolookforwardtooandyesthisnameisnonsensebecausefuckyouihadtowatchArschgeschwollenWhichisashittymechaanime

      btw its bascially the only anime this season that didn’t send fckn aneurysm attacks through my head…

      Reply
    2. Rae (@CSrae)

      I’m sorry if I’ve offended you, my friend, even though I wasn’t talking to you :>

      I like to read about OP’s observations compared to SnG and this series. Thanks.

      Reply
  3. Rae

    I wonder how the three of them will work together. I hope the story doesn’t try to shoehorn in some melodramatic love triangle, but you never know.

    Ugh, I would hope not. I hate surprise love triangles. Inaho seems to be be oddly aloof throughout the entire 3 episodes so far.

    If I have to nitpick, these kids are a little too composed in the heat of battle for me, but that’s anime for you. Children are always saving the day in anime. Not only that, they become battle-hardened veterans after just a week or two of experiencing danger.

    True, despite living in relative peace for awhile the HS students seem to adapt quickly to the chaos and invasion of the Martians. I suppose it’d be be pretty boring if everyone just went into shock each time a unpredictable event happened.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      I suppose it’d be be pretty boring if everyone just went into shock each time a unpredictable event happened.

      They don’t all have to go into shock. On the flip side, it’s also pretty boring when everyone’s got nerves of steel.

      Reply

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