Aldnoah.Zero 2 Ep. 2: Say my name

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“So we meet again, Bat-kun… er, I guess you’re a gull now. Congrats?”

— If there were still any lingering doubts that Lemrina is yet another wheelchair-bound shoujo in a mecha anime, let this episode assure you that mecha anime is hilariously cliche as hell. Seriously, who decided that this had to be a thing? Some cliches appear over and over, because, well, we enjoy them. Who doesn’t get pumped up when a character delivers a big speech that inspires his or her team to victory? Who doesn’t smile when the underdog succeeds against all odds? So that’s what I don’t understand. What is remotely enjoyable about seeing an imouto trapped in a wheelchair? Like what sort of fancy does that even tickle? Her helpless moeness? Actually, on second thought, I don’t even want to know…

— The first cour wasn’t entirely without its merits. Uh, the animation was good. And oh yeah, the soundtrack was pretty decent. Well, we get to see the new OP in this week’s episode, and it leaves me feeling pretty flat. Plus, it has the audacity to include this shot.

— Thinking about it, the story could’ve taken Inaho’s injuries even further. Like maybe he’s lost a few limbs or something, and as such, he’s now more machine than man. This thus serves as an ironic contrast to how he’s less autistic now than before. Somehow, becoming more of a robot on the outside makes him less of a robot on the inside. It takes losing his human shell for Inaho to really appreciate what it really means to be human.

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— We’re skipping ahead a bit, but at a later point in the episode, Inaho reveals that his robotic eye hurts terribly. He could take pain relievers, but that comes with a significant drawback: the neural link is less sensitive or whatever. I take it that medicating himself will reduce the strength and efficiency of his one cybernetic part. Again, the story could’ve taken this a lot further. Supposing that Inaho had been greatly injured, he would thus be fitted with a lot of cybernetic parts. This makes him superhuman in more ways than one, thereby actually justifying his Gary Stu-ness. But of course, his new condition comes at a certain cost: the pain is too great. In some sense, he can actually feel. He doesn’t feel deadened on the inside, and this allows him to actually connect with others and make friends. But in order for Inaho to operate at 100%, he needs to subject his mind to great anguish… and maybe this will slowly drive him mad. In that sense, to be human is to be mad.

One can attempt to feel and understand all of the feelings in the world, but not for long. And in this way, perhaps Inaho acted robotic and cold in the first cour as a defense mechanism. He’s a kid caught up in a war, after all. You can just ask Koichirou what war can inflict upon a grown man’s mind, so how is a kid supposed to cope? Well, it’s easy when you try to approach it the same way that Inaho did. So to take stock, what would happen now is that Inaho finally opens up to others, and can finally connect with others… but at the same time, he feels great pain, and that pain serves as a metaphor for how human nature is inherently unstable, blah blah blah. Nevertheless, he doesn’t take his medication, because he wants to save Asseylum at all costs, because he loves her, love dooms him, blah blah blah. I’m not saying it’s the most original story, but it’s a potentially interesting path that the anime could have taken.

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— Alright, I’ve gone off topic enough. We next see Asseylum sitting in a chair, talking to her grandfather. Of course, because she’s sitting in a chair, we know it’s not Asseylum. One can’t help but wonder why this same fact doesn’t seem to arouse her grandfather’s suspicions even just a teensy, tiny amount. I don’t expect him to sniff out Lemrina’s treachery, but c’mon… is a small doubt too much to ask? Plus, the whole moment seems strange to me. He finally gets to see his granddaughter, whom he thought was dead, but they meet each other in this giant, empty, impersonal throne room? Why? The sad thing is, we see Saazbaum talk to the old man later in the episode, and the count gets to be closer than the princess himself! Sure, sure, the ailing emperor doesn’t want his granddaughter to see that he is bedridden, but if he can sit there in his throne, they can also, well, sit in some other, more personal place. Anyway…

— Hah, you guys don’t even know the half of it.

Here, you see Inaho busy analyzing Asseylum’s speech, because he’s certain that she’s not who she says she is. Inko drops by to visit her friend (and crush), and she marvels at how his cybernetic eye looks just like an ordinary eye. That’s the problem, really. Not only did Inaho suffer nothing more than an injury to one of his eyes, it doesn’t even leave a scar or anything. He looks the same as before. What this boils down to is, again, anime’s fear of ugliness. Imagine if this show wasn’t about kids. Imagine if Inaho started out as a green young man in his twenties, but he eventually becomes a battle-weary veteran with scars all over him. This would actually convey the fact that, well, war is terrible. But nah, we’re gotta be hot, perfect-looking teenagers all the time. Nothing ever truly hurts, and that’s why our hero can just shrug off the fact that he needs to take any sort of pain-relieving medication. I mean, Inaho doesn’t have to be Berserk‘s Guts, but c’mon.

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— Plus, it doesn’t seem as though Inaho has changed all that much. He uses his fancy new eye to ask Inko whether or not he has gained weight. Rayet shows up just to call Inaho an idiot. That’s really all that she contributes in this week’s episode.

— We return to Slaine and the ever-annoying Eddy, and the former has the gall to wonder if it would make Asseylum sad if she knew that he intends to attack the Deucalion. Dude, you’re invading Earth and killing billions of people, and you’re wondering what the peacenik Asseylum would think about attacking the Deucalion? Give me a break.

— Outside the room, Lemrina is listening in on the whole thing. We then get to see her do a U-turn on her wheelchair, and I can’t help but wonder why this was even included. All you had to do was to show Lemrina looking sad, then proceed to the next scene.

— Saazbaum and Slaine then discuss what it would mean for the Vers Empire to conquer Earth. The red planet is gripped with massive class disparities, so Slaine suspects that all of Earth’s wealth would just go to the rich and powerful anyway. For a moment, Saazbaum embodies the revolutionary spirit, and proclaims that change will come when it is all said and done. Uh-huh. We’ll see.

— As Slaine readies himself for battle, he finds that his Tharsis has been deactivated. Obviously, there’s only one person on the ship who can do such a thing. When he confronts Lemrina, she counters with the fact that he’s just using her for Aldnoah-activating abilities. Take notes, kids.

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Simply reveal to the girl that you, too, have scars of your own, and she’ll quickly fall in love with you. Lemrina quickly changes her mind and quickly kisses Slaine on the lips, thereby giving him the power to pilot Tharsis at least this one time. With that, our love polygon continues to take shape. As Slaine leaves, we see Lemrina in Asseylum’s room, swearing that she’ll steal anything and everything that once belonged to her older sister. Yo, let me introduce you to this guy over here by the name of Inaho…

— Lemrina says this as though you’re supposed to stop loving someone just because they’re in a coma…

— They look like such awkward kids. Yeah, yeah, they are kids, but that’s the problem. Slaine commands no presence whatsoever in his standing pose, and yet he’s the hero on the Vers side of the conflict.

— Anyway, the good guys and the bad guys are about to throw down, but Darzana seems confident enough: “But considering that it’ll be a first for the enemy, too, it’s probably nothing to be scared about.” I don’t get this at all. Did the Orbital Knights use to fight each other in the remnants of the destroyed Moon for a long time before this series even started? And even if it is somehow the enemy’s first time at a space battle of “this scale,” whatever that scale is, they still have superior technology to the United Forces of Earth.

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— Plus, the lady continues to be a broken record about Kaoru’s inability to land a man. Is this supposed to be funny?

— There’s a lot about Inaho’s character to quibble with, but I actually like the fact that he continues to pilot that dinky training mecha. The hero always gets to helm some slick-looking machine that is designed to sell toys and anime-related merchandise, but Inaho sticks with his orange clunker. Maybe someone out there thinks that his mecha looks cool anyway, but not me.

— It feels like the CGi is looking even more plastic than before, but maybe that’s just my impression.

— So the battle ensues, but you know how it goes. As we see Rayet take a couple shots and miss terribly, the other characters are only there to be useless. It’s, uh, the complicated space winds interfering with them or something. That’s when Inaho finally shows up and destroys the enemy’s squad all by himself!

— Eventually, Slaine finally has to step in and put a halt to Inaho’s onslaught. This is the one guy that our Gary Stu can’t kill, because the Vers knight has some sort of pre-cog ability. So as you can see, Inaho isn’t really missing. His enemy is just cheating!

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— Anyway, the two boys finally learn the other person’s name, and with that, the episode comes to an end. Meh.

— Also, Koichirou continues to be conspicuously absent from the second cour. What is up with that? The same thing can be said about his doctor friend. That particular arc has come to a screeching halt. Plus, Yuki hasn’t really been around either…


23 Replies to “Aldnoah.Zero 2 Ep. 2: Say my name”

  1. Wait, how can Lemrina even walk in that scene? Even in zero-gravity, a person who is paralyzed won’t be able to move her legs.. So, how the heck does she do all that jumping.

    And just like that, we now have our obligatory “I will take everything you have for myself” soap opera storyline. Sheesh!

      1. Okay I’ll accept that. Though if that’s the case, it really is amusing how Stu-kun gets a robotic eye but Lemrina is never given some leg braces to assist her in walking (just like what Yuki was wearing in season 1.

        But then again, that is the mystery of the wheelchair-bound anime imouto.

        1. It seems like Inaho’s eye is new technology, though why they have new technology and not Vers is beyond me. But in all likelihood, the shitty writer just wanted some dumb wheelchair-bound character, and that was that.

        2. But they wanted to give it a twist so *she’s not really wheelchair-bound*! Only too weak to walk in regular gravity which is, huh, artificially kept throughout the almost entirety of the complex. Even though they are from Mars which has gravity lower than Earth. Though it might make sense since they want to invade Earth – landing to find out they’re too atrophied to move a muscle would be pretty awkward.

          On another note, if Inaho’s eye can do it, why can’t a Kataphract’s targeting computer do it too again…?

  2. I have never been this bored watching a mecha anime, at least with others as much as I may hate them there was some kind of enjoyment in them, like in Aquarion EVOL as much as it pissed me off I enjoyed how the gay angel trolled everyone anytime he made an appearence.

    Here all I feel is the writer trying to shove his ideas down my throat and not question it. Seriously Inaho is being forced onto us as this amazingly perfect being that can di everything, Slaine is given plot induced stupidity to make Inaho look better, Inko is just there ti get her heart broken or possibly die so that nothing and no one stands in the way of the Asseylum x Inaho ship, Rayet is there for “reasons” (two episodes in and all shes done is make comments about Inaho having “changed” which I personally don’t see), Eddelriuto somehow forgot that Asseylum didn’t want there to be more fighting and is making dumb questions and making just as dumb answers, Asseylum is basically being Mikonos from EVOL once more in that the whole story is trying to revolve itself aromid her but she herself is as useless as shes ever been while everyone else “fights” for her especially her “boytoys” while Lemrina dies in her stead because she is not Asseylum “Death Cheater” vers Allusia, Saauzbum is trying to sound like a revolutionary but in the dumbest of ways, etc.

    This has to he the biggest dissapointment in a while, even more so whe it’s trying to make itself seem like it’s the most awesome mecha ever.

  3. if shinji can still jerk off to comatose asuka, why would not slaine still preserve his creepy stalker love mode? that little sister is really ignorant of the way of the world.

  4. It is nice knowing that there is a decent explanation that Inaho pulled those moves in the previous episode. Still, it would had been interesting to see him get addicted to vicodin or something.

    I understand that Earth technology is much more amazing than what we can expect from….2016 or something since they are able to mass emigrate to Mars and establish a lunar base. Therefore, it shouldn’t be too surprising that Earth has some kind of decent space force. However, how the hell did their space base manage to survive for so long when their strongest land base, UEF HQ, was pretty much destroyed within minutes?

    1. That is really the biggest flaw of the story so far. In season I, we saw how overpowered the Martians are. They can casually drop their flying castles on the earth’s cities, creating destruction on par with atomic explosions! They can use only one mecha to wipe the floor with all the fighting force in one city. How come they seem to be fighting on the equal ground with the Terrans now???

      They have to go through great difficulty and nerve wracking maneuver just to get a position in Earth’s orbit and land on their satellite base. Their guns and weaponry are affected by the gravity too. And they go down in one shot. Yeah, those are soldier’s mechas, but, still, seems too fragile to me.

      That’s why the earthlings can stay alive just fine after Inaho out of commission for 19 months.

      Rest in peace, consistency.

  5. The show is a whole lot more interesting when the deucalion crew has minimal screentime. I think I’ll enjoy this season more. Lemrina is amusing, the guilt tripping scene was something else. I look forward to more of her antics. The show has good ideas and concepts but it’s a shame they couldn’t have been put together in a more sensible and cohesive way. Also this has to be Sawano’s least notable OST yet.

  6. The premise itself is so silly: a generation or so of Eartlings somehow get to Mars and become the “Martians”: no longer identifying their roots back to Earth. Suddenly they realize that their planet is a red dust bowl with no flying meat and water, and so they want to destroy Earth and take it? And it’s not like they are any better than the Earthlings; they are just shamelessly abusing an alien technology left there, whose access is limited to a chosen few members.

  7. This series is such shit. At least in Goddamn Shit Destiny the main cast’s reason for being OP is they’re genetically enhanced humans flying prototypes. Meanwhile these two High School students have kicked ass from day one. I don’t even know if I can watch much more, someone just tell me how it ends.

  8. > though why they have new technology and not Vers is beyond me

    the knights seem to think they can win just by showing up.

    Maybe the rest of the society has the same attitude- why develop new tech when they’re already superior?

    1. I just had a thought. What if in-your-hole has been blind through the whole time skip, but was still OP. In fact, he only had a surgery an hour before the battle in the second season began. He took some pain-killers, and blinked his new set of eyes, and then casually mowed-down everyone. If the technology were that fresh, it might explain why no one else has biometric sun-glasses or monitors. Actually…..on second thought, it still doesn’t make sense that only he gets to use it.

  9. I can’t wait for the moment where Lemrina heard about the relatinoship between Inaho and Asseylum and try to NTR Inaho too. AND if she try to use her power as princess to plan to kill Asseylum in the future, Inaho and Slaine will have common goal to fight for – save the princess. Maybe that is what we should interpret from last scene in the opening.

    Eddelrittuo, one of the person who is closet to Asseylum, seems to agree with Slaine’s method and gladly tell him everything she knows about the Earth-side. Good for you,Slaine. At least there is someone to help you apologize to Asseylum when she wakes up. (I think this ep. shows that Slaine is aware that what he is doing won’t please Asseylum.)

  10. It feels like the CGi is looking even more plastic than before, but maybe that’s just my impression.

    It feels that way to me, though the 3D models have always been a little sketchy on how they show off their materials. A big part of it is the reflections and highlights – they’re perfectly glossy because the CG departments of modern television anime are all stuck in the early 2000’s before this was well-understood, and they also don’t even try to match the style of lighting their 2D artists use for the backgrounds and characters. Then again I suppose I could count myself lucky that it’s been restricted to the robots, and horrifying anime CG-people have yet to appear.

    So as you can see, Inaho isn’t really missing. His enemy is just cheating!

    Wait a minute… Kirito, is that you?

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