Aldnoah.Zero – 14

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There’s only one pairing in this series that matters, and I think we all know what it is.

All things considered I was pretty happy with the second episode of Aldnoah.Zero’s second season.  Every scene with Inko continues to have an uncomfortably dated sexism to it, and the short passes at fanservice feel crass for the same reason.  But the show continues to look really great, and it’s still quite entertaining most of the time.  When Aldnoah goes big, it tends to do very well – and the existential staredown between Inaho and Slaine has a certain Shakespearean gravitas.

I’m not sure how much of the current developments with Inaho’s character have been written tongue-in-cheek – I may be giving Takayama Katsuhiko a bit too much credit in thinking that he understood the absurdity of the character all along and is currently riffing on that.  In the end, though, I don’t suppose it matters because it’s pretty hilarious seeing where the character has gone.  In addition to his already robotic facade – and abilities – his new hardware has given him the ability to act as a human lie detector (although in no way lessened his emotional tone-deafness).  The practical import of this is that he’s spotted the lie in Princess Lemrina’s impersonation of Asseylum.

How in the world is Inaho still an Ensign, anyway?  He’s pretty much the only reason the Terrans aren’t speaking VERS already.  I confess I’ve come to rather enjoy his arc, very much for the reasons I expounded on in the S1 posts – there had to be a reason for the way his was, narratively if nothing else.  And there is – Inaho has turned out to be a sort of musing on a reverse-Pinocchio, a real boy who acts like a robot and eventually becomes one (though through a gunshot as opposed to magic – does that make Slaine his Gepetto?).  I wonder if he might be somewhere on the autism spectrum, but at the very least I think it’s now clear he’s not simply extraordinarily calm and impassive – there’s much more going on here than that.

As for Lemrina, there’s an interesting little interlude between she and Slaine.  It turns out that she’s Asseylum’s half-sister, presumably via a peasant mother – and as such she’s unsurprisingly resentful of Asseylum (and by extension, Slaine).  The sense here is that she and Slaine are using each other – she to try and usurp as much of Asseylum’s power (and life) as possible, and he to try and rise to the head of a victorious Martian army, bring Asseylum back to life and eventually cast Lemrina aside and probably eliminate her to ensure her silence.  I saw their little dance – which culminated in a kiss – as a lie (the entire VERS Empire seems propped up by a web of lies) neither one of them really believed, but at the moment it’s better for both of them to act as if they did.

The orbital fly-by of the Earth and Martian bases doesn’t represent a huge plot advancement, but it does give Aldnoah.Zero a chance to stage another lovely battle epic in space.  And, of course, for Orange and Bat (now promoted to Gull) to size each other up face-to-face (in space) once again.  This is the only relationship in the series that really matters in the end – this is the fated pairing, and now they know each other by name.  I suspect this is going to be teased out unti the final episode, but that’s fine – at this point I don’t think there’s really anywhere for the series to go once these two have their adolescent high noon, so you might as well build to that as the crescendo which caps the show.

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  1. s

    This second ep was a bit better than the season 2 premiere. There's still something annoying about inaho being the only competent fighter. Why must everyone play second fiddle to him…it's boring. You know what would make for even better fights? him working together with his team, he needing their help and them needing him to survive and each other showing of their strengths. It creates more tension and makes for better storytelling and fights in general. They sorta did this right in the first 3 eps of season 1, you know….when urobuchi was more involved in the series(despite his storytelling flaws…and he has them).

    Regardless, while i still find the storytelling a bit weak. I know last season i praised the show for being a stylished summer hollywood blockbuster without needing to be deep during the first few eps, but then it killed it's potential to be a riveting action series by becoming stale and repetitive as eps went on. At the end of the day, a story, no matter how deep or shallow should still be told well or in an interesting way. Either way, Aldnoah continues to have slick action and overall series looks good, not to mention the story definitely has enough potential to salvage itself and go somewhere. I still dont think Inaho is written well enough to carry the series, but the fact that he is showing a "new" side to him these past eps is hope that there is more to his character than meets the eye……."see" what i did there?….ok ill stop

  2. j

    I'm very confused as to why earth's forces hasn't implemented eye implants in ALL their people (if not, their most skilled soldiers) since the benefits on the battlefield are clear.

    Entertaining show for sure, but it's still pretty bad.

  3. S

    Eye implants? I mean, if a simple cybernetic eye can pack hardware able to real time compute gravity gradients and calculate precise shots, surely a Kataphract's targeting system should be able to do even better, right? Why do they even shoot by eye in a situation where enemies move at 3 km/s and asteroids mess with the gravitational forces everywhere?

  4. C

    It's so stupid that Inaho is better, faster, stronger thanks to Earth tech, but superior Aldnoah martian tech can't do the same for hime : /

  5. maybe her injuries are worse. Plus, it seems like Martian technology is all funneled into the military, with everything else far behind. Which is common with that sort of society ,by the way.

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