Aldnoah.Zero Ep. 8: Crack that whip!

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Licorice whip! But seriously, color me surprised when the anime takes the time to show us how the good guys came about boarding and piloting their new battleship, but not showing me how Slaine had gotten himself captured. Yeah, I remember Inaho shooting him down and ominously saying, “You’re my enemy,” but how did we get from there to Cruhteo tying the guy up and whipping him (a hot topic for future Aldnoah.Zero fanart and doujinshi, I’m sure)? Plus, why didn’t anyone ask Inaho where Slaine had gone? Needless to say, Inaho’s foil eventually spills the beans: the princess is still alive. Shocked to hear this revelation, Cruhteo immediately calls for a ceasefire. Not only that, he suddenly realizes what Slaine had done. The kid risked everything in order to protect the princess. This thoroughly impresses the count so much that he even thinks, “Forgive me, Slaine.” So I’m sitting there and thinking, “Sweet! Finally, someone on the enemy’s side who won’t be entirely one-dimensional!” So do you know what happens? Saazbaum shows up and kills the guy. Seriously?

Well, let’s hold up for one second. This is anime, after all, so if you don’t see a dead body, you can never rule anyone out. Still, there’s a very good chance Cruhteo really is dead, and this is really the case, I’m sorely disappointed by the results. Why? Because right now, the antagonists are terribly boring. I mean, yeah, everyone’s boring (even Inaho), but c’mon, the antagonists shouldn’t suck this much. Unfortunately, they do. Those like Saazbaum wholeheartedly hate Earthlings, and that’s all there is to it. Their motives are so simplistic, but what’s worse is that, at the moment, Aldnoah.Zero‘s morality is very black-and-white. Sure, I’m not asking for a mecha anime to be super deep, but we could do better. We could do so much better. Sadly, there’s no nuance to the bad guys unless you count Slaine, which I don’t think we should. That’s why I think it would suck if Cruhteo is really dead. If he does somehow manage to survive, he could be the guy who tries to do the right thing, but nevertheless fails because of the circumstances. Y’know, a tragic figure. Sadly, he’s probably dead.

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Speaking of Slaine, I’m not a big fan. I just hate characters with his sort of mindset. I hate characters who obsesses over a single “kiss” from a girl, then proceeds to wholeheartedly devote his entire life to her. Seriously, I’m sick of seeing that scene over and over. I don’t find it chivalrous or gallant. I just think the dude is kind of pathetic. Would I prefer it if Asseylum got with someone else instead? Like, say, Inaho? If there really is going to be a love triangle in this series, I honestly have no horse in this race. I couldn’t care less if Mr. Blandaho ever gets with anyone (just don’t get with your own sister, please). I just really dislike Slaine. I don’t even feel sorry for the guy. If when the story progresses and he ends up fighting for something — anything — besides Asseylum, then maybe I’ll give the guy a break. Otherwise, no thanks. Get whipped, son. In fact, now that he’s in Saazbaum’s custody, who knows what he’ll end up enduring?

I really thought the writers dropped the ball on these torture scenes. It would have been nice to see the characters engage in a serious discussion about what they’re doing, making Slaine’s torture not just of his endurance and courage, but also a battle of competing philosophies between him and Cruhteo. Slaine isn’t wrong, after all. If the princess wanted peace between the two planets, and knights like Cruhteo are supposedly loyal to her and her cause (let’s just ignore the traitors for just a second), then how can they reconcile their war-like ambitions with the fact that they’re basically trampling on her memories? But instead, Cruhteo just gets pissed off and whips the guy. And it makes sense since we’ve seen the Martians do nothing but treat Terrans like dirt. But at the same time, you force yourself into the corner by choosing to portray the Martians in this fashion to begin with. Because you’ve made them so cruel, the only move that makes sense is for Cruhteo to lash out at his victim. You take the opportunity of the serious discussion completely off the table before this episode even aired.

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Finally, we should check up on Inaho. He is, after all, the star of the show… somehow. I think he might have some mild from of autism. No, really, I’m not making an insensitive joke. First, he really gets hung up on semantics. Magbaredge isn’t happy to learn that Inaho had known about the princess’s identity all along: “You… were aware of this, yet neglected to inform me.” Still, Inaho counters, “I didn’t neglect to inform you. I deliberately didn’t.” C’mon, man, this is just semantics. You’re a smart guy; you know exactly what she means. Second, Asseylum thanks Inaho for saving her over and over, but how does he respond? Pfft, I wasn’t trying to save you. I was in danger, so I had to fight. I saved myself. Oh man, I don’t think there’s any childhood trauma here. I think he’s just autistic. Might even explain why he’s such an idiot savant about military strategy.

Stray observations & misc. notes:

— The ship’s name is Deucalion. A quick Google search tells me that Deucalion is also the name of Prometheus’s son, but I’m too lazy to read the Wikipedia entry on the guy. I doubt the connection to Greek mythology means all that much anyway.

— “Reserves are still working,” they say. How convenient, I say. Martian ships, however, have no fuel gauge. Apparently, they are powered by Aldnoah power and Aldnoah power alone. It’s a good thing we have a Martian princess onboa–… whoa, did Asseylum really need to throw the guy to the ground? All he did was grab her hand.

— Asseylum: “There is no cause for harm. I am your friend.” You just threw the guy to the ground!

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— You’d think the Martians with their superior technology would have more effective “interrogative techniques” (read: torture). Y’know, something a little more sophisticated like fucking with the guy’s mind with computers or something. But according to Cruhteo, primitive tortures are more effective. Whatever you say, sadist.

— “Intent? As if this child is capable of thought.” W-what does that even mean? I know you assholes hate Earthlings, but how can Slaine not have intent? What do you think he did, then? Did the guy merely stumble his way to the emperor’s room? Hurr, where am I? Oh hey there, your majesty!

— Does the Deucalion even handle like a regular ship? Yes, yes it does: “The FCS has been adjusted so it feels the same when I steer.” Yeah, we have yet another problem easily hand-waved away. It’s not that this makes or breaks the anime. But if anyone ever wonders why Aldnoah.Zero just falls sort of greatness, these little blemishes add up. If they add up too much, they pull us out of the anime. Of course, the anime’s biggest problem is that the characters are paper-thin, but hey, the small stuff matters too.

— I chuckled at Rayet’s frumpy hoodie.

— Anyway, even though Asseylum has revealed herself to a few more eyes, the situation is still the same. They can barely contact anyone, and even if they tried, it’ll probably just be intercepted. Our heroes have no choice but to maintain, i.e. regroup in Russia. It’s funny how the status quo is so easily maintained.

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— I’m getting kind of tired of Rayet and her emotional outbursts. Why? ‘Cause nothing’s really changed on this front. The show’s characters appear to be paralyzed, unable to move forward in their lives. Old Man Marito locks up every time he tries to be, well, useful, Slaine keeps trying to reunite with the princess but can’t, Rayet is still deeply traumatized by her father’s death but she can’t get any closure, so on and so forth. And yeah, it’s a war so you expect people to have their troubles. But after eight episodes of the same thing, I’m numb. I’m numb to Rayet’s hate for the Martians. I just want to see some progress already.

— So, have they fed Slaine anything? Or given him a drink of water? Saazbaum’s right, man. He can’t say shit if he’s an inch away from dying.

— Predictably enough, Old Man Marito wants to get hammered in the infirmary. You can’t say Old Man Marito doesn’t set the best examples for his kids! The worst part is that this is all the screen time he even gets in this week’s episode. His entire contribution is, “Yo doc, help get me hammered.”

— Bleh, more scenes of Slaine and Asseylum when they were younger. Nothing new to glean here. Asseylum wants the two planets to work together, Slaine encourages her to ganbatte it up, blah blah blah.

— Eddy’s schtick is also annoying, too. She’s the same character she was at the start of the series. I just want these characters to grow and change. Is that such a crime?

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— Inaho tries to bring Slaine up, but Calm interrupts him. Still, I find that really odd. A Martian aircraft shows up out of nowhere to save their asses. Then after the battle, the Martian aircraft disappeared. Why did nobody bother to ask Inaho what had happened between them? Why is no one remotely suspicious of the fact that the Martian aircraft simply disappeared into thin air like a fart in the wind?

— Calm charges up to Inaho, demanding to know where the Martians are. Meanwhile, Asseylum is just standing there in her fancy dress. Calm’s not too observant in the heat of the moment, is he? This is probably why he’s an engineer and not a fighter.

— So he finally tells her about Slaine… kind of. Obviously, he doesn’t know anything about Slaine — his name, what the guy looks like, etc. — so he couldn’t identify the guy for Asseylum. Nevertheless, Inaho really believes Slaine was the enemy. Why would Slaine help them kill Femianne if he wanted to kill the princess? Oh well.

— I wouldn’t say this scene does a very good job of developing either character. It certainly doesn’t develop Inaho whatsoever, since he’s just… well, he’s just kind of there. As for the princess, she tells him all about how she became enamored with Earth after hearing Slaine’s stories about his home planet. I don’t know, does that really reveal anything about her character? Not really. She’s still the peace-loving goody two-shoes that I expect her to be. The music tries to sound all contemplative and shit, but there’s nothing here to really meditate on.

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— We then see Slaine get whipped again. He re-iterates his desire to protect the princess at all costs, whether it’d be from Martians or Terrans. Yeah, so we know he and Inaho will butt heads again. The princess won’t be there so they’ll misunderstand each other again. But the next time, they fight, she will be there, then they’ll learn the errors of their ways!

— I’m somewhat surprised Cruhteo actually managed to come to the conclusion that Asseylum could still be alive. After all, why does he think it’s so damn impossible that anyone could defeat Femianne? Nobody seemed to raise a fuss when both Trillram and Vlad bit the dust.

— Is Cruhteo just stupid or what? Instead of running for his life, he goes, “Ready my Tharsis!” He immediately bites the dust… supposedly. I still hold out hope we get a decent antagonist out of this, but he’s probably dead. Lame.

— I wonder if Saazbaum will use superior torture techniques, and as a result, brainwash Slaine into becoming his loyal minion or something.

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23 thoughts on “Aldnoah.Zero Ep. 8: Crack that whip!”

  1. That calm scene was pretty stupid. Did he really just calm down so quickly because the princess happened to be pretty? Saazbaum will probably just frame count Cruhteo and trick slaine into believing that he too wants to find the princess. I don’t expect anything elaborate. I thought they would have some tech to look into a persons memories for some reason so seeing them have to resort to simply beating slaine was a disappointment.

  2. 99% of all characters are stupid. This anime is just an average shit with flashy fights, shallow story and empty characters.

    1. I think it’s pushing it that we’re calling them “characters”. Maybe flat boards that sorta look like intelligent beings.

  3. Slaine doesn’t just care about the princess, he cares about her goal and shares it. He’s the one who put the idea in her. They believe the same idealistic thing. He has more chances to succeed, plot wise, because he’s seen the darkest side of it and soldiered on while she’s more chances to die and be a martyr for him to complete her task.

    Saazbaum wants Slaine for something related to his Aldnoah researching father. This is is mecha, can’t be done without a mad scientist who experiments on a protagonist who is their son.

    1. Slaine doesn’t just care about the princess, he cares about her goal and shares it.

      Nah, I don’t buy it. He never thinks about the fate of Earth in itself. He only thinks of Earth in relation to Asseylum and what she wants. Whenever he can do anything that isn’t somehow related to the princess, then I’ll care.

  4. Slaine’s devotion to the girl is prett much obvious to us, the audience who was not hammered with the heavy bludgeon of stupid+6 for several days.

    However to our poor and mentally severely challenged count Cruelbro, he is just some sort of toy the princess dragged around with her. You know, like weirdos like her sometimes do. Like me and my dead hamster chain. No don’t ask.

    Why is she a weirdo? Because the apparently superior human breed fails to pick up a god damned book and read about stuff.

    As far as the current episode is concerned:

    My hopes for this series got crushed the moment i saw the reddish thing launch from saatzbau’s
    orbital castle thing.

    I knew exactly that Crueldoh would eventual realize that slaine is a dumb mofo that could not betray his chosen girl if the world depended on it. To think that he would ever go against her… well bro count, that was pretty dumb of you.

    So yeah, Count dumbo got offed and we got to see the final boss mob/mech in a sneak preview. Its as bog standard and boring as one could hav expected: its super fast, super strong ,has gimmicky transforming parts and is capable to, and here it comes:

    With EXTRTEME precision launch a bum rush attack on that castle, destroying JUST enough to get a view on the boy of who’s whereabouts he could not have known and with the PRECISION in its LIMBS and HANDS to not only PICK THE UP but also REMOVE HIM FROM THE FUCKING STRETCHER HE WAS LAYING ON!! AND REMOVE THE BLANKET!!!!!

    WHAT THE FUCK?!

    Why did these Orbital Bimbos ever bother with the FAT FUCK ROBOT AND THE SwORDPRINCESS BOT?!

    SHIT!!!
    SEND THIS GUY IN!!
    HE WILL MOB UP THE WHOLE FREAKING EARTH FORCE SOLO! Why bother with a pretense?! just roll over those poor fucks NOW! You have the ok from the emperor! He declared war! GO!!!! KILL EVERYTHING!!!! WIN IT NOW, SATZBAU! While you still can, before Ivanhoe gets his mid season upgrade robot!

    Victory is close!! Don’t go snatching defeat from its jaws now!!!

    This episode was dreadful and it basically killed the series momentum, what little was left, dead.
    Just like SaoII got smothered in episode 2, under the tight embrace of a girl with no ass.

  5. Seeing that this is a 2-cour series, i wouldnt really give up just yet

    Or the show could just be good from start to finish, and not rely on “It gets better” to carry the day.

    1. maybe so, but in my opinion, this kind of series is the type where you cannot input development too quickly. character development is always a good thing, but what this series emphasizes on is the scale of the plot. Thus i personally feel that if they were to suddenly slot in a change of character or something, it might come out as half-hearted or too rushed. This might be considered a weak episode as compared to the earlier ones, but i did enjoy’s Inaho’s conversation with the princess

      1. You might have a point if this wasn’t the eighth episode of the season and we haven’t already wasted a bunch of time on mecha fights that, while exciting, could’ve been used to develop these characters without rushing any of it.

  6. I think the martians have a spy who smuggled the video footage of the underground mech. I suspect that spy is the princesses’s assistant who keeps warning of Terran spies, as some form of foreshadowing/lamp shading.

    1. They got that footage after they explored the island long after the good guys have escaped. If there really is a spy, I don’t know why she wouldn’t just transmit footage of the princess actually being alive and powering the Deucalion.

  7. whipping him (a hot topic for future Aldnoah.Zero fanart and doujinshi, I’m sure)

    Too late well, at least according the pixiv, it’s already a thing despite the episode airing only a few days ago in Japan. If anything I can admire their quick thinking for fanart of a otherwise boring mecha/space war series.

    So do you know what happens? Saazbaum shows up and kills the guy. Seriously?

    This is the one scene which made me laugh the most out of all the series I’ve seen in 2014. Finally some plot progression and random evil robot shows up at the wrong time and crushes it because why not. I mean, it’s not like the audience would care about something minor like plot in a fighting mecha show with aliens.

    Y’know, a tragic figure. Sadly, he’s probably dead.

    True, I admit they used the Not Really Dead card up in the beginning so Cruhteo is a goner for sure. Oh well, he was kinda a jerk to Slaine the entire time. Is this karma? Maybeee.

    I hate characters who obsesses over a single “kiss” from a girl, then proceeds to wholeheartedly devote his entire life to her. Seriously, I’m sick of seeing that scene over and over. I don’t find it chivalrous or gallant. I just think the dude is kind of pathetic.

    B-but it’s the only cute moment in a otherwise grim episode :<

    I guess the creators needed a reason for his extreme devotion othen than she was kind to him once. I bet Seylum doesn't even remember it because she seems to be amiable to everyone anyway.

    OT:The first time I noticed this trend in anime, I thought it was novel but later on … it's somewhat unsettling? It's a bit naive at best and kinda stalkerish at the other end.

    I really thought the writers dropped the ball on these torture scenes. It would have been nice to see the characters engage in a serious discussion about what they’re doing, making Slaine’s torture not just of his endurance and courage, but also a battle of competing philosophies between him and Cruhteo.

    TBH, the entire torture scene felt gratuitous and I felt uneasy the entire time because well, I think Slaine is 14-15? Not sayin, if everyone were aged up it’d be A-OK. I expected Slaine to faint some time b/t the first 5-10 minutes but he had impressive endurance ಠ_ಠ

    Oh man, I don’t think there’s any childhood trauma here. I think he’s just autistic. Might even explain why he’s such an idiot savant about military strategy.

    It’d be pretty unique if anime featured character w/ASD but eh, I think he’s just falling into the robotic 2D MC box instead. Although at this rate, we might not get to that childhood trauma episode before it’s over :L

    Asseylum: “There is no cause for harm. I am your friend.” You just threw the guy to the ground!

    Maybe she wanted to get everyone’s attention? Oh well, it ‘s always fun to see petite girls manhandle adults.

    You’d think the Martians with their superior technology would have more effective “interrogative techniques” (read: torture).

    Agreed, I was thinking maybe a advanced polygraph machine? Truth serum? IDK I thought we already est. how torture didn’t give efficient results over time…

    Calm’s not too observant in the heat of the moment, is he?

    IDK but I loved his failed attempt to make a light hearted joke during a serious discussion about the Martians and how everyone just starreeddd deadpan for a few minutes.

    I’m somewhat surprised Cruhteo actually managed to come to the conclusion that Asseylum could still be alive.

    Didn’t expect Cruhteo actually believe Slaine until the next episode but I guess he did a get his um, 5 minutes of redemption and realized well, maybe his irrational hatred of Slaine really was pointless? Sorry, for nearly killing you Slaine. I’m sure you’ll forgive me since I was just confused,right (!?).

    I wonder if Saazbaum will use superior torture techniques, and as a result, brainwash Slaine into becoming his loyal minion or something.

    For a few seconds I thought Slaine had also been crushed but then wow, I guess robots are pretty precise tools of destruction when they need to be. Um, will we ever meet Slaine’s father? Where is he while his only son is running around space facing a conspiracy?

    Wait, does Inaho have parents? I don’t remember if he’s living with his older sister because his parents were away or something.

    1. B-but it’s the only cute moment in a otherwise grim episode :<

      Creepy is more like it.

      TBH, the entire torture scene felt gratuitous and I felt uneasy the entire time

      That’s why I think they should’ve talked more. An older Slaine might have had the courage, wits and/or wherewithal to engage Cruhteo in an interesting conversation. As a kid, though, all he did was get whipped. I didn’t feel uneasy, but I found it needlessly repetitive.

      I think he’s just falling into the robotic 2D MC box instead.

      A robot doesn’t really respond that way to a question. Even Tatsuya of Mahouka has social awareness, and he’s pretty robotic. Inaho is proving to be quite inept when it comes to dealing with others, so I’m still going to stick by my autism theory. Of course, I don’t expect the show to every come out and admit he has it. And naturally, I’m not a psychiatrist, but hey, we’re all just shooting the shit anyway.

      Wait, does Inaho have parents?

      Probably dead. If shit breaks out, i.e. stuff like finishing up where Katrina left off, and the kids don’t even mention their parents, then I’m sure they’re dead.

      1. Probably dead. If shit breaks out, i.e. stuff like finishing up where Katrina left off, and the kids don’t even mention their parents, then I’m sure they’re dead.

        Oh well, I was hoping they’d be just busy absentee was parents, because not everyone has to be Batman to be special…

  8. Man, the torture scene is so heavy handed. Slaine is there enduring all this shit for his princess while she dances around Inaho. It reminded me of those kids making that wish for world peace in the first episode on the martian mechs raining from the sky. So cheesy. I see an obvious “unrequited/hopeless love” angle here like Gen always puts in. One character suffers a lot for someone they are in love with and then that person falls for someone else. Happened in F/Z and Madoka. I expect Slaine will either go crazy or died pathetically never accomplishing anything, going by Gen’s track record. Even if he’s not writing the whole thing, someone is definitely following his formula.

    This is like kicking a puppy. It’s such a manipulative attempt at getting the viewer to sympathize with him, make him one a dimensional martyr type and make everyone shit on him. I don’t hate him, he was the one character I was a bit interested in seeing develop but I’m starting to lose interest there, too.

    Were the martians not monitoring the battle last episode? Especially since Slaine was there? I’m sure if they check the voice logs they’d see Slaine mention Asseylum and the giant fucking battleship that could only be powered by her…?

  9. Deucalion either:

    a. built a chest that he and his wife and his dad were able to float in and survive a great flood that Zeus caused
    b. built an ark a la Noah, complete with the two of each animal in the ark bit

    So, fitting for a magical battle ship used by folks imperiled by god-like people. Deucalion and his wife afterward re-populated the planet by throwing rocks – the rocks turned into people.

    But, uguu, d-don’t think I l-looked th-th-that up for y-you. (I just knew that shit, bro! That’s how I roll.)

    1. But, uguu, d-don’t think I l-looked th-th-that up for y-you. (I just knew that shit, bro! That’s how I roll.)

      *tips dakimakura*

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