Aldnoah.Zero Ep. 6: Old Man Marito and his crazy stories

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Let’s get the good stuff out of the way. If I ever need to scratch that action itch, Aldnoah.Zero would still do the trick. Mecha series have been pretty unimpressive lately in this department. Captain Earth has no imagination whatsoever as its mechas just float around in space, shooting energy blasts at each other until the good guys magically win — and the good guys always win. And don’t even get me started on Argevollen. I could buy this, put the stupid toy together, then film myself smashing it to bits with a hammer and still have better action than whatever you’d find in Argevollen. So if there’s anything Aldnoah.Zero has going for it, it’s certainly the action. I just can’t deny that the show is well-choreographed and well-animated. You can clearly see what’s going on in its action scenes, but more importantly, you can clearly see how the good guys win. This is the crucial element that so many anime series tend to overlook. Too many shows simply take it for granted that when the good guys magically turn the tables on their enemies, the audience will just accept it.

Yes, I know the bad guys have to get the upper-hand at the start of any given battle in order to create tension and drama. I also know the good guys will eventually have to win it in the end because if the good guys die here, we’d have no show to watch. Nevertheless, when you go from point A to point B, it has to make sense. There has to be a causal link between the two points. Recently, however, mecha heroes will just sit there and take a pummeling until some arbitrary time limit has passed. Then all of a sudden, the good guys will to pull some superduper magical power out of their asses, and thus easily and conveniently defeat the bad guys in thirty seconds or less. That’s not fun to watch. In fact, it’s downright boring, Captain Earth. What works for Aldnoah.Zero — for now, anyway — is that the good guys have no special powers. They can only rely on their ingenuity, and even then, it’s not an instant victory. Yes, yes, we all know Inaho’s the problem. He’s the only person who gets to display any bit of ingenuity, and that totally sucks. I agree. But insofar as how the battles play themselves out, Aldnoah.Zero gets it right.

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But yeah, even though I still enjoy the anime’s action scenes, Inaho saves everyone’s hides once again. Sure, sure, Slaine shows up at the last minute to heroically knock the last missile out of the sky. So great, the other hero gets a tiny portion of the victory pie. But still, everyone else is useless, especially Marito, and Inaho had to buy them enough time for Slaine to make his fashionably late appearance. It’s just disappointing to see a show with such a promising start come to this. The worst part is, after six episodes, Aldnoah.Zero is likely set in its ways. Inaho likely won’t become a well-rounded character. He’ll just keep kicking ass with nary an emotion on his face. If anything, he’ll become even stronger in the future. I mean, the tells are pretty goddamn obvious in this week’s episode. First, Asseylum tells the guy all about Aldnoah technology, and how only the emperor and his descendents can bestow super special Aldnoah power onto others. Then when Femieanne shows up — she’s our latest Kataphract of the week — she specifically remarks, “An inferior race with no Aldnoah Drive.” Well gee, won’t the egg be on her face when an Earthling shows up with an Aldnoah Drive!

Of course, it’s not that it’d be a complete lost cause for the anime if this is what truly happens next. In fact, I’m quite curious how the Orbital Knights would react to such a development. After all, only the emperor or his descendents can grant people the power of Aldnoah. So if Inaho, Slain, or even the both of them show up to a battlefield one day with Aldnoah-powered Kataphracts, then the bad guys’ reaction will be quite enjoyable to watch… I think. Still, the main issue here is that Inaho’s just a boring character with no depth or complexity to him. Sadly, he isn’t a side character; he’s the main character. And even if he gets an Aldnoah Drive, he’d still be boring to watch. The anime has taken no time whatsoever to develop his character. As a result, he’s just this super brilliant tactician who saves the day over and over and over again. Sure, Inaho isn’t as annoying as, say, Kirito of SAO or Tatsuya of Mahouka. So great, Inaho’s character doesn’t exude these Gary Stus unique blend of arrogance and smugness that makes them so insufferable to watch. At the end of the day, however, Inaho’s still a Gary Stu whose only flaw seems to be that he lacks emotions.

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To make matters worse, no one else in the anime even comes close to being as useful or capable as the kid. If other people ever do anything right, it’s because they’re just following Inaho’s suggestions. When anyone ever tries to act on their own, they either screw up or are just hilariously ineffective. Once again, Marito tries to do something. ‘Tries’ is the operative word. When the action breaks out, our veteran wants to hop into a mecha straight away, and despite Calm’s warnings, Marito doesn’t care if the vehicle hasn’t been tuned up properly! How badass! But when he gets inside the cockpit, he freezes again. It’s the sixth episode, and we still haven’t seen any progress whatsoever on this front. Okay, I get it. War sucks. War fucks with people, too. I certainly don’t go up to war veterans and tell them to suck it up. But within this narrative, what is the point of Marito’s character? I’m not asking him to get over his mental block, but why is he even here if he’s just going to be the same static character over and over? What does he even add to the story? In fact, when the veteran isn’t freezing up, he’s just pathetically desperate for attention.

Seriously, don’t you feel as though he’s always eavesdropping on the kids? For example, a bunch of the kids will be sitting around, having a conversation, then Marito will interject out of nowhere. With the kids, he’s always jumping into the middle of a conversation, walking into the scene from offscreen. This week, it’s blatantly obvious he’s fishing for attention. He goes, “No one’s seen any war for the past fifteen years. The ones who did are all dead. That goes for the Martians too. All the combatants on both sides are virgins, just like you guys.” This is blatantly untrue, because this is what Marito had said in the first episode: “For fifteen years they’ve been waging war up where the Moon used to sit. Fighting to survive until this day.” So which is it? Are they virgins to war or are they not? Not only that, he himself is a survivor of the last conflict. So naturally, Inaho corrects him because Inaho corrects everyone, apparently (see: that stupid blue sky scene with Asseylum). This then gives Marito the perfect segue to launch into his whole “Oh ho ho ho, they silenced my report” spiel. Ask me, kids! Ask me about my time in the war! OH GOD, WON’T SOMEONE ASK ME. But oh no, it doesn’t end there.

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Later, we see Marito sitting on the deck of the ship with a bottle of alcohol in front of him. Soma, the ship’s doctor, then walks up and comments on the bottle, because hey, it’s early in the morning. C’mon, Marito, I know your inner demons are haunting you, but you gotta set a good example for the kids. You can’t be getting smashed every damn morning! But, y’see, it was a trap! The bottle isn’t for me, Marito proudly states! The bottle is for my dear dead best friend! Do you want to hear about my dear dead best friend who died in a battle that was covered up by the authorities? Do ya? C’mon, you want to hear all about it, right? Marito then dramatically throws the bottle into the ocean as an offering to his dear dead best friend! Uh-huh. Question: why didn’t Marito just do this? Rather, why did it feel as though he was waiting for someone — anyone — to walk up and ask about the booze before he could throw it into the ocean? ‘Cause Marito needs an audience. He can’t just fucking toss the bottle of booze into the ocean and keep that shit to himself. Someone else has to be there to see it. Someone has to ask him about it too. Tell me your story, Marito. We want to learn from you, o’ wizened veteran who can’t seem to do anything in any episode!

Blah.

Stray observations:

— So nothing has really changed on the bad guys’ front. The Vers Empire officially declares war, but we already knew that. People are after Slaine, but Saazbaum wants to interrogate Slaine simply because Slaine’s father had done research into Aldnoah.

— Old Man Marito being a cynical windbag as always: “We’ve always been at war. We just chose to pretend otherwise.”

— Someone as smart as Inaho should know that a blue sky is odd to Martians. I mean, c’mon…

— So Asseylum’s grandfather found Aldnoah technology and built an entire empire with it within his own lifetime? Sure, he has kickass technology at his fingertips, but c’mon, there’s more to building an empire than mere technology. For instance, you can’t just stick people together in one place and expect them to feel as they belong to a single nationality. These things take time. More than a person’s lifetime, too, I’d imagine. Unless, of course, they’ve been brainwashed…

— Oh hey, Magbaredge believes Marito’s story! Why? Because her real family name is none other than Humeray! DUN DUN DUN! Not only that, she believes Marito is responsible for her brother’s death! Oh man, the drama. How come the adults have all the drama and the kids are so boring in comparison?

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24 thoughts on “Aldnoah.Zero Ep. 6: Old Man Marito and his crazy stories”

  1. I’m guessing these writers need to take some beginner’s courses on psychology, sociology, writing or just meeting people outside their usual social circles. At the least, they should observe a group of people as a fly-on-the-wall and see how human interactions work.
    Because the weakest aspect about these shows are its characters. And from these characters we have a look at the writer’s views about humans and how they work and maybe think. And well, we can see that in most cases, it’s very skewed.
    It doesn’t matter if it’s a fantasy or sci-fi setting, humans will still act and think like humans. The basic thing that anyone will learn about writing is that characters MUST have inventory. Likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. And for a compelling cast of characters, exploit those character’s weaknesses like crazy and see how they would react and either prevail or fail.
    One tip that I’ve read about is having an imaginary interview/conversation with yourself and these characters. Just sit down with them and chat and ask questions. It’s used by writers to get to know their own characters past their superficial names and faces, but I’d think you could also just use it as a test too.
    Could you imagine sitting down and having a chat with Kirito, Tatsuya, or Inaho? I’m willing to bet a few bucks that even their own creators would end up thinking, “Wow, I hope I never see this asshole ever again”.

    1. Depends on the interviewer.

      I can’t say much about Kirito & Tatsuya due to not watching their shows but Inaho is fine. I see him as a laidback person (who just happens to have a secret traumatized history which will never be 100% revealed to the audience).

      We’d be friends and teach each other new battle strategies to take out evil Martians or bullies. I know he is boring but for now he’s not being asshole to other chars just because he can as MC with plot armor.

  2. “This is blatantly untrue, because this is what Marito had said in the first episode: “For fifteen years they’ve been waging war up where the Moon used to sit. Fighting to survive until this day.” So which is it? Are they virgins to war or are they not?”

    Actually, I believe he meant that the Orbital Knights have been fighting among each other, not that the Terrans have been fighting the Martians.

    I thought that the build-up of Vers into this massively powerful empire being in a mere lifetime seemed pretty stupid. Turn A Gundam gives the Moonrace a couple thousand years (at least) to have developed hyper-advanced technology and superiority complexes, and even then they don’t come off as ridiculously over-powered as the Martians do here…

    1. Actually, I believe he meant that the Orbital Knights have been fighting among each other, not that the Terrans have been fighting the Martians.

      Yes, I know, but that still counts as war or war-like if we want to be lenient. The Martians are thus not “virgins” to war like he is pontificating.

  3. Could Marito’s attitude actually be intentional on the writers’ part? I mean, it does happen that some people feel the need to have an audience to listen to their problems or are perpetually looking for attention. So there might be a chance that the show actually focuses on that aspect of him puts him in fornt of his own shortcomings?
    But eh, that’s really just me theorizing.

    1. My point isn’t that he’s a bad character just because he’s attention-seeking. My point is that he doesn’t do anything but seek attention, and after six episodes, this makes him feel like a waste of time.

      1. Pretty much this. Depending on how long an anime will span, this type of problem should be an episode long or even two if they reallly have the need to stretch it. Present Marito’s problem at the very start of the episode and then gather everybody up at the end in the mess hall and let Uncle Marito tell his ‘Nam war story. Then, end credits and then we move on to the next problem at hand.
        Seeing how this show will last for 24 episodes, having this sub-plot drag on for a quarter of the show without much resolution is just laziness. Mean while our show’s obligatory Gary Stu be solving problems left and right without so much as a blink of an eye. Some people got the gift, I guess?

        1. Then, end credits and then we move on to the next problem at hand.

          Don’t really have to take care of his problem in one feel swoop. I don’t mind him taking his time to get over his trauma. I just want there to be progress. When you have the emperor flip-flopping on the war thing within a single episode, but Marito continuing to freeze up for the sixth episode in a row now, c’mon. That’s just ridiculous.

  4. I have one question:

    Who designs mecha like that…..
    – We had a large gorilla that uses a super duper shield that blinds him and that could be viably ruined by a freaking landmine or ied because apparently, this shit thing had to walk instead of floatign around.
    – Next was some sort of ninjatype agile jumping jack clown. Again a total departure fro mthe gorilla and again with weird quirks. Why does it not have at least partial shielding or something?
    – Then there was samurai guy, whos only offense was close quarters melee and who did not have any sort of “NO SELL!” shield deployed either.

    Just how difficult can it be to make that gorilla shield for, say, a shild that you can sword and board with your plasma blade? And then the fucker dies by droppin into the water. Instead of, you know, just turning of his lightsaber….

    – Now its a freak-show mech. The thing. Kills things.. by detaching.. its limbs…. the limbs fly very fast. And can still be used to grab shit.
    But again: limbs. Actual parts of the mecha. She, oh yes we hav the first lady pilot btw, a total surpsise considering the chauvy schlong fest that the vers side has been so far…. (no. not really. She is the designated “i want to love you so hard!! My arch enemy! Let me kill you with my rage boner!” mad-person any mecha anime needs ot have… Graham acre with tits….)

    So. We have 4 weird as fuck mechs that no military in the world would run as a combat machine.

    I get it, its a mecha show where the mechs are the monster of the week, but at least be plausible in your own universe.

    They want to sell me on the fact that there apparently are 13 clans of orbital knights(lol!) who operate at least 13 types of mecha, all powered by a magitek drive, but have no common setup or combat tactic that would make using them as a combined force in a military sense, possible?

    Even Other mech shows where the Hero and miniboss-villains usually get customized or “prototype” mechs, there are still loads and loads of “common” grunts, all with a similar setup. You know, just how an army would do. Even code geas, where they pulled a lensman arms race with mechas, had the common decency to show us the bulk of armed forces being samey mechs.

    It is the implausability of the Vers side “military” that currently bogs down the show for me.

    Earth in 15 years has not produced someone capable of taking some basic scanner reading to determine the opposing mechas flaws?!

    HE’S A FUCKIN SCHOOL KID!!! WITH SCHOOL EQUIPMENT!!!!

    I mean come on, he beat the enemy mechs by employing very simple tactics.

    You know what would have worked on all of them?

    15 tons tnt equivalent worth of explosives, hidden right under some remote controled mecha. Because apparently the orbital knights premier combat strategy is… walking up to people and try stabbing them.

    They really want to tell us that after a few thousand years of warfare, the worst probably being the world wars, the height of tactics the human race came up with was.. to send tanks? And build lame robots that offer exactly NOTHING over tanks?

    Noone ever thought of using mines? Hidden gun emplacemnts?
    By now, earth should be a deathtrap rigged to explode.

    1. It is the implausability of the Vers side “military” that currently bogs down the show for me.

      Maybe they feel they’re so much stronger than their enemies that they don’t need to be practical.

      1. actually, thats pretty much believable. The Vers side has not exactly impressed me with competence or shrewdness.

        Heck, they needed proper earthers to do the assasination for them, because when you come down to it, the fuckers from mars would probably have come down with a giant mecha to trample the princess, subtle geniusses that theyare….

    2. Now its a freak-show mech. The thing. Kills things.. by detaching.. its limbs…. the limbs fly very fast. And can still be used to grab shit.

      IDK if it’s because I’ve become desensitized after watching too many gimmicky mecha series but their designs don’t seem that strange overall. I imagine if were a kid, I’d think the Vers mecha to be totally plausible way to design futuristic weapons using unknown alien tech.

      Sadly, those days are gone orz.

  5. Plot twist : Inaho as a crutch character dies horribly somewhere down the road, forcing Marito to finally come out of his shell and work together with Slaine. And the Vers Empire we’re seeing is actually from the future, and the emperor is Slaine’s great-grandson.

    As an aside, that rocketto panchi is glorious.

  6. I thought of a way to make the “advanced empire in fifty years” work. Let there be some kind of time warp so time on mars has advanced much slower. I really, really hope for some explanation for this problem that has bothered me since the beginning. I mean apollo 17 was in the early 70s, and the humans fought the martians fifteen years ago. So in other words thirty years after first colonization the martians were numerous, strong, united and angry enough to take on the entire united human race. What gets me is I doubt Mars was perfectly inhabitable from the get-go. You probably would send explorers and researchers for a few years before anyone had the nerve to send settlers in increasing numbers-just look at the colonization of the new world or Australia. And then you actually have to develop the colony. Even with these alien ruins, would it not take time to decode them and figure out how to use them? Even “rome wasnt built in a single night.” I just can’t buy it!

    Here is my timeline:
    1972 – apollo 17
    (Speculation:
    Mid 1970s- scientists start blindly walking through a hypergate like idiots, but in small numbers because the space program still costs hundreds of billions of dollars. Maybe a dozen missions to the moon every year at first, and they can only stay for about a week because its so expensive to carry food up there.

    Late 1970s- scientists start a permanent research station on mars, and build greenhouses or something so they can survive until they have a scientific breakthrough and figure out how to grow crops efficiently there, or explore enough to find buildings flooded with oxygen and awesome magical skylights. Judging by how long it took us to decode Egyptian hieroglyphics, this would take years, but let’s pretend all of society’s brightest minds are on the problem. Keep in mind computers were still awful back then and wouldn’t be much use for accelerating pattern recognition.

    Early 1980s – another breakthrough increases the speed of rocket propulsion and lowers the cost enough that we can now send a hundreds of people to the moon every year, to be transported by hyper-gate to mars. A lot of people do it, and with this as a national policy certain technologies we developed would have fallen by the wayside. But development would still be constrained by national tensions, namely the USSR and USA would still be building and developing weapons even if they both engaged in a profitable space race. Within a few years other countries would also develop their own space programs.

    Late 1980’s – thousands of colonists flood to mars each year, and as conflicts develop they are forced to develop a system of administration (i.e. government). They still consider themselves nationals of their respective countries though, and all of their discoveries are phoned back home for further analysis where there is more manpower. There are no technologies developed from Martian ruins that aren’t shared with Earth. The first human martians are born on mars. The USSR’s economy and government collapses, and the turmoil results in a minor setback for colonization.

    Early 1990’s – the crazy martian emperor brainwashes his followers somehow to hate Earth. They stop sharing technology and become passive-aggressive assholes, No one on Earth is worried or does anything about this because….. Urobouchi. The number of Martians cannot possibly exceed 100,000-200,000 colonists.

    Late 1990’s – the martians develop advanced weapons within a few years, any remaining diplomacy breaks down and they declare war for some reason. Less than a million martians kick the asses of over 6 billion Terrans, despite being outnumbered at a ratio of six thousand to one.
    )
    1999- the moon is destroyed in a conflict with the Martian empire but the hypergate remains intact. Humanity sues for peace.

    (Humans do nothing but lick their wounds for fifteen years. They do not study their mistakes and launch a counter attack despite having superior production. Suppose the martian empire has ten kids per couple and everyone has kids. We now have about six million martians and most of them are still kids.

    2014- the martians return to wreck havoc again with their kid army.

  7. It’s weird that Marito can fight just fine in ep2 though.

    Also are you seriously think Argevollen mecha action are bad? what part that is bad for you it is raw and well choreographed, i think you just prefer a more flashy with enemy superpower weapons smash everything or everyone time up to smash superpower mecha, instead of two or more mechas fight each other equally.

    1. I agree about this, Argevollen is just way too realistic (yes, I know the MECHAS themselves aren’t realistic lol), the fights are not nearly “cool” to watch as Aldnoah but I actually appreciate Argevollen in its own right… excluding the stupid shit MC.

    2. i think you just prefer a more flashy with enemy superpower weapons smash everything or everyone time up to smash superpower mecha, instead of two or more mechas fight each other equally.

      Cool.

  8. It didn’t register with me how useless Marito was till this episode somehow. But you’re totally right, what is the point of him in this show? Aside from saying the same exposition over and over…? I feel like the writers just wrote down one-liners to describe what the characters do every episode. That’s not uncommon in anime but when this started I expected more from it.

    Considering how unneeded and undeveloped most of the cast is it makes me wonder if they’ll just start killing them off soon. The writer is known for that. But who will really care? We haven’t been given any reason to be attached to Inko, Calm etc.
    And Inaho is still terrible, the sky scene was cringe worthy.

    1. I feel like the writers just wrote down one-liners to describe what the characters do every episode.

      You’re probably close. When you have these many characters, there’s an easy trap to fall into where you feel the need to hit each and every single one of the story’s characters at least once.

  9. The worst part is, after six episodes, Aldnoah.Zero is likely set in its ways. Inaho likely won’t become a well-rounded character. He’ll just keep kicking ass with nary an emotion on his face.

    Eh, I thought there were a few rumors about a 2nd season later on? Isn’t it a 2 cour series? I know MAL didn’t really list everything in details. I’m now mildly disappointed if this is false.

    What does he even add to the story?

    Marito is probably one of the more veteran soldiers on the cast, I think he’s supposed to represent how war ruins people’s lives or something. Not like the audience is completely surprised by this revelation. Completely wasted in the prior episodes though.

    Marito then dramatically throws the bottle into the ocean as an offering to his dear dead best friend! Uh-huh. Question: why didn’t Marito just do this? Rather, why did it feel as though he was waiting for someone — anyone — to walk up and ask about the booze before he could throw it into the ocean?

    I thought he threw the dog tags into the ocean (?) because in the next scene we see Magbaredge holding the bottle. Lol, I agree that he does seem overly melodramatic and a little hard to believe that he had NO idea that his friend had any siblings. Really? Are you sure you were good friends then?

    I’m not saying he needs a total knowledge of his friend’s family tree but sibling is kinda casual knowledge.

    He’s improving but his story is still too slow compared to the plot.

    Old Man Marito being a cynical windbag as always: “We’ve always been at war. We just chose to pretend otherwise.”

    Eh, I thought this line was alright and sums up his whole mentality on life in a concise way.

    So Asseylum’s grandfather found Aldnoah technology and built an entire empire with it within his own lifetime?

    Yeah, this feels like a plot hole from the beginning, I can see a whole new civilization built over a few hundreds of years but a few decades? Something is fishy.

    OT:Anyone know how are the other countries faring in war? Apart from seeing New Orleans become decimated to the BGM of a JP pop song.

    1. Marito is probably one of the more veteran soldiers on the cast, I think he’s supposed to represent how war ruins people’s lives or something.

      I know what he aaaaaaddddddds. “What does he even add to the story?” was a rhetorical question because his role doesn’t change.

      I thought he threw the dog tags into the ocean

      I rewatched the scene. He grabs the bottle out of Soma’s hands and throws it into the ocean. He has his own flask in his shirt pocket to get hammered. Guy thinks ahead. Never not get hammered.

      Eh, I thought this line was alright and sums up his whole mentality on life in a concise way.

      Not if that’s the only thing he ever says. My point is about moderation, not what he specifically says.

      1. I rewatched the scene. He grabs the bottle out of Soma’s hands and throws it into the ocean. He has his own flask in his shirt pocket to get hammered. Guy thinks ahead. Never not get hammered.

        I must’ve missed the part where he carries around a spare bottle orz. I thought this was the one pivotal scene where he decides to be sober for the rest of the series. Now this episode is even less enlightening on Marito’s story…

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