Aldnoah.Zero Ep. 9: Side characters finally get their spotlight!

Aldnoah Zero - 0912

Are you prepared to watch an episode that has a surprising dearth of Inaho? No, seriously! It only took us nine episodes too!

— Damn, Saazbaum just comes right out and admits that he’s the one who tried to assassinate the princess. And yet, he’s trying to befriend Slaine, claiming that he’s just repaying a debt to the kid’s father. Obviously, the man cannot be trusted, but is he telling the truth about Dr. Troyard? Is he also telling the truth about the incident fifteen years ago?

— After the opening credits, we see Yuki busy helping Inko as the latter puts herself through a combat simulation. It’s nice to see the two of them take steps to make themselves useful. You almost get this hope that they’ll come into their own as side characters and not just pawns for Inaho to play with. Still, I’m sure when shit inevitably hits the fan for the umpteenth time, Inko and Yuki will just default to following Inaho’s orders. All the training scenes in the world are for naught if nothing they teach gets put into practice.

— Calm still hopes to find himself in a combat position. I’m sure he feels this great need to avenge his fallen allies, but on the other hand, he should thank his lucky stars he doesn’t have to put himself into the direct line of danger.

— Even though Rayet is not yet a soldier, she wants to try the combat simulation too. Well, may as well get her to do something. Otherwise, she just seems to mope around the ship. Yeah, it makes sense that she still isn’t over her father’s death, but at the same time, her character isn’t actually doing anything interesting either. All that pathos is going to waste if you don’t develop her character.

Aldnoah Zero - 0901

— I think this picture says a lot. I still think Inaho is somewhere on the autism spectrum, so he’s going on about something in a very dry, monotone manner. Asseylum’s too nice and/or polite, so she goes along with it. Oh, I’m not saying she’s faking her interest. I’m saying she’s one of those people who are so nice, they actually make themselves interested. As for Eddy, she’s just an annoying, little brat, so I’m not surprised at all that she’d openly yawn like that.

— Suddenly, the topic turns to Inaho’s love life, which quickly grabs Inko’s attention. Yuki seems rather pleased with Inaho’s current trajectory, though: “…if he marries a princess, my little Nao would be marrying into serious money!” First, you don’t really think a princess could just easily marry a commer, could you? Second, not just any commoner, but an Earthling! There’s still that whole “most of the Martians hate our guts” dealio, but hey, “serious money!” Ka-ching!

— Inko seems mad about these developments, though; it bothers her enough that she cut her own simulation training short. Don’t tell me she likes the guy too. I mean, that guy? He has no personality! Bam, right there and then, the important part is out of the way. But let’s not kid ourselves. Not everyone’s interested in a person’s personality. Shit, Calm knows what I’m talking about. But even if we look at the shallow qualities that might make Inaho appealing, I don’t see it. He’s not rich, he’s not powerful, and he’s not accomplished. He might be smart. That’s about all I can say about our plain-as-fuck main character. Ah, but of course, he’s the main character, and quite a bit of a Gary Stu himself. Not as offensive as, say, SAO‘s Kirito and Mahouka‘s Tatsuya, but still, a Gary Stu in his own rights. So of course, every girl wants him. Luckily, Yuki doesn’t. It’s kind of sad that the only thing we can take solace in is that there’s no incest in this anime… yet.

Aldnoah Zero - 0904

— Uh… whatever you say, sis. I mean, I can understand. Here’s my own face when I’m on cloud nine.

— Apparently, Inaho’s “ultimate expression of affection” is simply listening to a girl for more than five minutes. Yeesh, I don’t think that will be a very emotionally fulfilling marriage. Knowing how some Asian marriages turn out, though, maybe that’s perfectly fine in Yuki’s mind.

— Yuki then starts teasing Rayet too. I mean, I guess it’s possible, but her too? She’s got too much baggage.

— When the scene changes, Darzana and Kaoru are discussing how they can avoid Martian detection as they fly the Deucalion to their destination (I think they’re headed for some location in Russia). Out of nowhere, Darzana goes, “Would you like to know why you can’t get a date?” Fine, why? Why can’t your executive officer find a man? According to Darzana, it’s because Kaoru always plays it safe! Man, we’re failing the Bechdel test hard, aren’t we? If you think she’s just playing it too safe and you don’t approve of her plan, then just say so. I don’t see what dating a man has anything to do with anything.

— And frankly, it’s pretty ridiculous and unprofessional for a captain to mention someone’s personal life like this. But hey, they’re women and single women to boot! I’m sure in the writers’ minds, there’s nothing single women would love to talk about more than how to find a man!

Aldnoah Zero - 0905

— So Rayet’s doing well in the combat simulation, ’cause she’s gamer. Or so she claims. Obviously, she’s hiding her past. She then has Yuki turn up the difficulty. As a result, she now finds herself face to face with a simulation of Trillram’s mecha. Uh-oh, traumatic flashback time! Naturally, the girl panics and fails the simulation horribly. Man, first Koichiro and now Rayet. Who else wants to lock up as they’re attempting to pilot a mecha?

— Honestly, the second Yuki heard Rayet screaming like that, she should’ve shut the simulation down.

— Oh lord, now the Doc wants to get his hands on the simulation program too. Yuki asks if he’s “joining the fight,” but we all know whom it’s for. But hey, at least Koichiro’s story will finally be moving forward, right…? Right?

— Soma’s intended therapy for Koichiro isn’t unheard of, but it’s also pretty dangerous. Considering how the latter hasn’t made any progress whatsoever, I question the decision to dump Koichiro into such a realistic simulation. Like usually, don’t you want to build the guy up slowly so that he can finally go back and confront his nightmares? I don’t think Koichiro is equipped to relive his traumatic experiences. He locks up the minute he climbs into a mecha. Shouldn’t he manage that before attempting anything else? Making him see the horrors of the past is like telling a beginner to climb Mt. Everest. Plus, Soma is very likely just a medical doctor, not a psychiatrist.

Aldnoah Zero - 0913

— Even now, we see Koichiro sitting by himself, taking swigs from a flask as he thinks about his late friend. Dude’s not ready, man.

— Speaking of people who are frozen in time, we cut back to Rayet. She keeps seeing her father’s death over and over. Man, this is a downer episode, and it isn’t letting up. Something tragic’s about to happen, isn’t it?

— Asseylum wants to join Rayet for lunch, clueless about the latter’s hate. Meanwhile, Eddy continues to be a giant sourpuss in every single scene that she’s in. Didn’t anyone teach her about manners in maid school?

— Rayet then starts bring up all sorts of things at once. First, she wonders why Asseylum revealed her identity. Then, she mentions how the princess’s own people had betrayed her. Unfortunately, Asseylum is too lame to say anything in return. So instead, we just have Eddy as a indignant mouthpiece as Rayet rudely walks away. Rayet’s questions aren’t necessarily bad questions, but I was hoping for an actual discussion. But like every goddamn anime ever, no one ever sits down and just talk. I really wish these two characters would’ve just talked. I’m not asking for them to come to a resolution and become friends right this moment, but that was a golden opportunity for both characters to reveal more about themselves through dialogue. But because the scene is cut short, there’s no character development whatsoever. We just have the status quo where Rayet storms off, the princess looks sad, and Eddy is being Eddy. It’s so lame.

Aldnoah Zero - 0906

— And now we’re back with Koichiro and Soma, those two crazy adults. It really looks like Soma’s going to go through with his plans. Yeah, this is going to be ugly. You’re making a huge mistake, Doc.

— Yo Vietnam vets, wanna go back to the jungle? We hired some Vietnamese people to climb the trees and make fake gun noises. Ratatatatatatat! It’s okay! This is going to treat your PTSD! Hey man, you gotta confront your trauma head on! Don’t be a wuss!

— So apparently, Koichiro was the Platoon Commander, and he ordered all the tanks to attack the Martian mecha. Basically, he feels responsible for all the deaths and shit. Humeray begged for Koichiro to save him, but the latter failed. There was nothing Koichiro could’ve done, though. The guy’s legged was pinned and the whole tank was going up in flames. Sadly, the human mind doesn’t work like that. Even if we logically understand that we’re not at fault, our feelings betray us anyway. To make things worse, Koichiro had to shoot his friend to put him out of his misery (though in all honesty, flames that hot would’ve made the guy’s mind shut down quickly anyway). So I’m not questioning Koichiro’s trauma. I’m just questioning this entire treatment. Seeing as how this is anime, however, I bet you it’ll magically work.

— Nah, I don’t think he’s okay. He just had to relive the most traumatic experience in his life

— Then we cut right back to Rayet, who is now naked and in the showers! On the bright side, there’s a surprising lack of Inaho. Sure, the characters have talked about him, but other than that, he’s practically nonexistent in this week’s anime. But then again, we’re now staring at a naked Rayet.

Aldnoah Zero - 0914

— Essentially, Rayet is all fucked up because of what she’s been through. She can barely keep it together. On the other hand, Asseylum has been just the most perfect princess anyone could ever ask for even though her own people tried and are still trying to assassinate her. This stark contrast not only confuses Rayet, but it really pisses her off. Why does the princess get to be so composed, but I can’t? She’s obviously angry and hurt at the Martians, but she’s just one girl. She can’t do anything to the entire Vers Empire. The princess is symbolic, though; the princess is the perfect target to redirect your anger and hatred. The fact that Asseylum is so calm and composed is just yet another thing for Rayet to get worked up about.

— Oh goodie, we’re back to the two odd couples, Saazbaum and Slaine.

— Saazbaum has never had chicken before. Apparently on Mars, you only eat chlorella, a type of algae, and krill, a teeny, tiny crustacean. So, uh, you guys eat like a bunch of sea animals…

— Saazbaum: “I feel nothing but indignation towards the Terrans who so offhandedly sent them as relief supplies.” He’s talking about the chicken meat again. Damn, man, are you really that worked up about something so petty?

— He also claims that he only started this war so that he can expand his territory. It’s his duty to his vassals, you see… It’s hard to read the guy if only because the man’s motives can’t be that simple, can it? But then again, Aldnoah.Zero hasn’t exactly proven itself to be a very intelligent anime. Not since the first episode, anyway.

Aldnoah Zero - 0915

— The topic then turns to culture, and we now see the two extremes coming to the forefront. Mars has all this amazing technology at their fingertips, but Earth has culture! Well, be careful what you wish for, ’cause you never know what culture you’ll end up with.

— There’s an interesting line in this scene, though: “[Asseylum] is royalty. Her very lineage is her crime.” Saazbaum is not happy about that incident from fifteen years ago. Heaven’s Fall resulted from that short-lived war, and this caused Saazbaum’s betrothed to lose her life. Basically, the count is out for revenge. But that’s not the part that interests me. I mean, such a personal vendetta like that… meh. As always, it’s the class revolution stuff that has potential: “We are a people oppressed under a feudal system centered around Aldnoah.” Apparently, the Vers Empire is not as prosperous as we have been initially led to believe. Rather, it is quite impoverished, and the royal family can only maintain order by whipping people up into a frenzy against Earth. When you fan the flames of war, you shouldn’t be surprise when war actually breaks out.

See, this is the kind of shit I want more from Aldnoah.Zero. The mecha action is fun, but the characters have proven to be a bore. Give me some political machinations to chew on. This stuff is in more in my wheelhouse. I mean, think about it. The princess is on a peace mission to Earth when her own people is suffering. Is it possible that she’s clueless about their plight? Even if Saazbaum is misguided — and obviously, he is misguided if he thinks starting a war with an entire planet is the solution — the Vers Empire will still have to unfuck itself by the end of the story or we won’t really have a happy ending. And maybe the only solution here is to stop being a bloody empire.

Aldnoah Zero - 0910

— Slaine is lame, man. He holds a knife to the count’s neck, but then merely says, “Please don’t kill her.” Please? Please? Puh-leeze, dude.

— Speaking of the princess, it’s now her turn to be naked. The scene’s a bit gratuitous in the way it pans slowly over Asseylum’s naked body. But nevermind that for now, because Rayet is stupidly trying to choke the princess out with a necklace. I-Isn’t the princess the only reason this damn ship can fly?

— Sure enough, the princess falls unconscious, and the entire ship starts going down. Welp, you’ve done it now, Rayet. I like how she managed to keep her breasts covered with one arm as the ship makes a crashes to the ground. More importantly, however, we all know the princess isn’t dead. So when she recovers, what will she do? Will she say that Rayet was the person who attacked her? Or will the girl keep it a secret for some foolish reason? With her lame, peace-loving attitude, I’m not sure what she’ll do.

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20 thoughts on “Aldnoah.Zero Ep. 9: Side characters finally get their spotlight!

  1. flamerounin

    Honestly, the second Yuki heard Rayet screaming like that, she should’ve shut the simulation down.

    That;s the really intriguing thing here. For one, Yuki’s choice training sim for Rayet (Trillram’s mecha)is surely an odd one, considering that she (Yuki) probably knows all to well the trauma the mere sight of that thing would bring to the kid (since she was the one who saved Rayet from it after all). And prior to that, She seems to be subtly taunting Rayet underneath all that silly talk about Inaho’s “harem”.

    I am of this weird notion that Yuki is herself “autistic” like Inaho (she doesn’t seem to be disturbed with his little brother’s cold personality), or at least more cunning and calculating than she lets in.

    Reply
      1. flamerounin

        Probably. And if that’s the case, then she is likely trying to fish out info from Rayet. Notice how she actually tells Rayet face blank that she can tell that the kid is lying, then subtly misleads her into thinking that she (Yuki) is talking about Inaho’s love life. If so, then Yuki could very much be a cruel interrogator not above using psychological torture.

        Reply
  2. mentaromega_clone

    E Minor, what do you think about Rayet’s decision to choke the princess?
    Stupid?, Uncharacteristic?,or Plot-driven? (Like GC).

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      You’re gonna have to choose a different name, because your name currently gets your comments flagged for spam. I’ll answer your question later.

      Reply
      1. Sorrie

        OK, next time I’ll think of my own name.
        I just want to echo MentarOmega’s love for Mahouka, in case of you guys forgetting him.

        Reply
    2. E Minor Post author

      It depends on how you look at it. It’s stupid from an objective standpoint, but at the same time, the girl is obviously in need of therapy. I’m not surprised that she would try to take her rage out on the princess. Unfortunately, this is one of the many consequences of war. No one has time to worry about her mental state. It’s only uncharacteristic if you think Rayet wouldn’t act like this normally, but considering what she’s been through, I think her actions make sense. But whether or not her actions make sense — and I think that they do — she still deserves to be punished for them.

      Reply
  3. Rae (@CSrae)

    Is he also telling the truth about the incident fifteen years ago?

    No idea, but clearly the man is also a little off the deep end for provoking a huge war for “vengeance” for one person. Not sure if Slaine can rely on anyone from Vers atm well, maybe his father.

    Suddenly, the topic turns to Inaho’s love life, which quickly grabs Inko’s attention.

    Eh, it feels strange how everyone around Inaho is talking about how much he likes Seylum but his overall reaction is blank as ever. Personally, I think SlainexInaho has a better chance even though they’ve only met each other once.

    But even if we look at the shallow qualities that might make Inaho appealing, I don’t see it.

    I would assume Inaho fits the “mysterious and misunderstood” young man trope. It’s hard to say if that’s a good personality but it’s a little better than being bland.

    Knowing how some Asian marriages turn out, though, maybe that’s perfectly fine in Yuki’s mind.

    Shots fired.

    I still find it funny how his sister is mentioning marriage when IIRC everyone is 14-16 years old.

    And frankly, it’s pretty ridiculous and unprofessional for a captain to mention someone’s personal life like this.

    Agreed, I didn’t find it amusing the first few times they featured his joke in their planning but it’s kinda dull now.

    Soma’s intended therapy for Koichiro isn’t unheard of, but it’s also pretty dangerous.

    I guess, but the only other alt would have him wandering around the ship in drunken stupor which is OK but not OK when the show is almost over.

    Actually, I don’t mind him going off-screen if it meant Slaine (even Inaho really) got more screen time. I don’t think there’s much the creators can do to help his character arc unless he dies soon ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Meanwhile, Eddy continues to be a giant sourpuss in every single scene that she’s in. Didn’t anyone teach her about manners in maid school?

    Hmm—is it just me or it’s weird how Eddy is Seylum’s maid even though she looks much younger and well, not capable vs Slaine or anyone the same age or older?

    He holds a knife to the count’s neck, but then merely says, “Please don’t kill her.”

    Eh, in the fansub w/edited CR script Slaine simply said, “Don’t kill the princess.” which fits with the scene better IMHO. Slaine has a tendency to speak semi-formally to everyone on Vers and I don’t think he’s pleading here.

    Or will the girl keep it a secret for some foolish reason?

    AFAIK the only “good” choice would be not telling anyone when she wakes up because it’d be too much of a terrible aftermath if Rayet discovered to have attempted to assassinate one of the important Martians out of misguided rage ಠ_ಠ

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Personally, I think SlainexInaho

      Wut.

      I would assume Inaho fits the “mysterious and misunderstood” young man trope.

      Nah, I don’t see him in that way. No one’s misunderstanding him. He’s not being bullied or picked on. Everyone respects him.

      I guess, but the only other alt would have him wandering around the ship in drunken stupor which is OK but not OK when the show is almost over.

      That’s not a good enough to reason to perform a dangerous form of therapy. They should have written the story better if this is the only option they have left.

      Slaine has a tendency to speak semi-formally to everyone on Vers and I don’t think he’s pleading here.

      Even without the ‘please,’ it still sounds ineffectual from his end, and that’s what I’m calling out.

      AFAIK the only “good” choice would be not telling anyone when she wakes up because it’d be too much of a terrible aftermath if Rayet discovered to have attempted to assassinate one of the important Martians out of misguided rage ಠ_ಠ

      What’s the terrible aftermath? It’s attempted murder, so Rayet deserves whatever that’s coming to her.

      Reply
      1. Rae (@CSrae)

        What’s the terrible aftermath? It’s attempted murder, so Rayet deserves whatever that’s coming to her. It won’t happen if Asseylum stays quiet.

        It’s awkward because so far the Terrans don’t really have a reason for the Martian’s to hate them other being envious about their resources on the planet. If Reyet is found out to have directly attempted to attack one of their ambassadors then the Martians could have a reason to retaliate because Seylum is “innocent.”

        OT: About SlainexInaho being a thing is joke how he seems to the the only character (other than Yuki) who can bring out some emotion out of Inaho. Kinda?!

        IIRC for example, how the quote goes: hate is not the opposite of love; indifference.

        IDK why but I always find unbelievable pairings in fanart to be amusing orz.

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          If Reyet is found out to have directly attempted to attack one of their ambassadors then the Martians could have a reason to retaliate because Seylum is “innocent.”

          Eh, I just think we’re beyond that point. If Asseylum can’t convince her empire to not start a war, then it doesn’t really matter.

    2. Gene

      I skipped the Marito scene, I see nothing has changed on that front. One thing I liked about the episode is that Saaz came out and said he’s behind the assassination. That’s about it.
      Inaho gaining a harem is so perplexing, what do these girls see in this walking potato? And I couldn’t tell if the “cloud nine” scene is supposed to be comedic or an explanation for his lack of emotion. Slaine is so one track minded, I am finding his character more and more boring. I wish he and Seylum would show some different sides of themselves and stop being so one note, though everyone suffers from that.
      I wonder what miraculous feat Inaho will perform to bring Seylum back to life next episode, time travel?

      Reply
      1. E Minor Post author

        Inaho gaining a harem is so perplexing, what do these girls see in this walking potato?

        Well, if you take a look around the ship, it’s pretty slim pickings.

        And I couldn’t tell if the “cloud nine” scene is supposed to be comedic or an explanation for his lack of emotion.

        Maybe both.

        Reply
  4. Tyrant Frost

    I wonder if they will ever actually address Inaho’s personality. I really can’t believe that they will leave his character like this.

    Reply
  5. anonymous

    Obviously, [Saazbaum] cannot be trusted,
    Did your opinion change about this with Saazbaum’s final scene? I felt he was being genuine. Maybe that’s just because so far no character has done anything that suggests multi-layeredness. Though with the differing writers, one might just decide to change that on the fly. Seeing as they are obviously not above dicking around with each as exemplified by one writer having Inaho point out that the other writer (who had Slaine say that: “the sky is blue because it reflects the sea”) was wrong. No I do not believe this was purposely done to contrast their characters, it was just too silly and pointless for that.

    If Asseylum can’t convince her empire to not start a war, then it doesn’t really matter.
    Except the case for the termination of the armistice (aside from it probably being domestically promoted as a “Short and Victorious War” that will bring great forth “Great Riches”) is entirely built on the assassination of the Princess. If she’s alive the whole thing collapses in on itself and if the Emperor is indeed the supreme authority of state, and cares for his daughters life; negotiations for her safe return and at least ceasefire are the most likely course for the Empire to take. If she dies on a military (and Aldnoah powered ship!) the government(s) of Earth will undoubtedly be implicated in her death leaving Earth were it was, only this time they are not the scapegoats.

    But since we are assuming that this is, and will be nothing more than, a failed attempt on her life, and seeing as they are, for the moment, keeping the continued existence of the Princess a secret until they reach Russia. Publicly punishing and shaming Rayet for what she’s done and thus potentially telegraphing the act to Mars without the proper context to go with it is like to be counterproductive. I’m not saying or heroes should try to hide it, and certainly not that they should let Rayet go off scot-free, but more like that information needn’t be given away to those that don’t have a direct and intimidate need to know. Not that it matters because that’s not how it’s going to play out.

    I predict it’ll probably go something like this: at first Assaylum will only have a vague recollection of the profile of the person who tried to strangle her, we’ll be shown shots of Rayet feeling guilty, then somehow Assaylum will be triggered to realize that Rayet was the strangler and rather than telling anyone she’ll confront Rayet –who’s now feeling very sowwie– about it and everything will rainbows and skittles and sunshine with maybe a negligible side of token punishment. Also Inaho will probably be involved in this somehow, because he’s the main character and main characters need to be involved in goddamn everything.

    So of course, every girl wants [Inaho]. Luckily, Yuki doesn’t. It’s kind of sad that the only thing we can take solace in is that there’s no incest in this anime… yet.
    It’s ovias Yuki wants Inaho’s eggs. She’s just pimping him out so she can have his eggs and eat them too and then have some other broad (preferably one who’s lavishly rich) pick up the check and take home the scraps.
    In all seriousness though: I get the feeling this series is trying to hook up the shell shocked veteran guy who drinks on the job with the ship’s captain who’s also the younger sister of the tank-mate he killed and I feel this is all kinda repulsive and exploitative. Though I’d be stressed to articulate why I feel this way about it.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Did your opinion change about this with Saazbaum’s final scene? I felt he was being genuine.

      Sure, he’s being genuine there, but I’d still wary if I was in Slaine’s shoes.

      Reply

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