Aldnoah.Zero – 22

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Does it still count as being NTR’d when the guy deserves it this much?

Actually, if you want to really parse it there are a lot of reasons why what happened in this week’s Aldnoah.Zero isn’t netorare at all (not least that Inaho is at least as much the protagonist as Slaine is), but I won’t deny that’s the first thing that popped into my head when Asseylum made her “You’re always a part of me, too” declaration (which she topped off with a talismanic gift).  But whatever you choose to call what happened, there’s no doubt what happened – Asseylum has made her choice, if there was ever really a choice to be made.  What remains to be seen is whether that choice will have any practical application.

You certainly have your choice of headlines in this episode, which threw everything but the kitchen sink at the audience in true final arc fashion.  As speculated here, the mission the Deucalion was conscripted for was an invasion of the Parnassus base – but only as a kind of multi-layered bluff.  In the first place its half of he assault force was effectively a decoy to draw the VERS forces away from the real target, and in the second the whole thing seems to have been a cover to get a special ops team inside Slaine’s landing castle to assassinate the princess.  If you stipulate that the Earth’s top brass aren’t smart enough to listen to Inaho telling them Asseylum is an imposter, I suppose killing her makes sense strategically – though I’m not sold on why it should be the top priority.

Of course preventing that from happening is Inaho’s top priority.  And this being Aldnoah.Zero, the two adolescent arch-rivals are going to be several steps ahead of the likes of Earth High Command.  They’ve both anticipated that a covert operation was going to happen, and each taken steps to keep it from succeeding.  Yes, our long-waited bishoudown is finally upon us – sort of – when Slaine goes to the scene himself when things start to get dodgy in the princesses’ evacuation.  Though the fight itself is kind of a letdown – Slaine wings Inaho with a bullet to the shoulder, but the real drama in this episode (and there’s plenty of it) is sandwiched on either side of this event.

Also sandwiched on either side of this event, and the invasion itself, is Klancain’s role in the story.  It seems a bit iffy to have a character appear so late and play a critical role, but it appears likely to happen.  At first Slaine takes the very logical approach of trying to figure out where Cruhteo’s son stands – trying to make an ally of him before classifying him as an enemy.  There are hints that Klancain may be working with those close to the dying Emperor to try and undercut Slaine, but it’s not wholly clear what his long-game is.  And that question becomes especially important in light of the fact that it’s he who ends up by Asseylum’s side at the close of the episode.

Then there’s the Haruto Effect and Inaho’s eye, which ramps up exponentially this week.  Obviously using it is having a more and more debilitating impact on Inaho, but the reverse Pinocchio, the real boy who got his wish and became a robot, ends up casting logic aside and risking everything to save Asseylum.  Their meeting makes it absolutely clear that it’s Inaho Asseylum loves, though not that it will ever matter.  In a somewhat outlandish development Inaho’s eye goes all Dr. Strangelove and takes over his body after Inaho passes out.  What does this mean exactly – is Inaho now brain-dead?  I tend to doubt it, as Eye, Robot did say “temporarily take over” Inaho’s cognitive and ambulatory functions – but what kind of prosthetic is capable of doing that in the first place?  It’s certainly unlike any other technology we’ve seen in A.Z.

In the final analysis, then, Aldnoah.Zero has turned out to be a pretty traditional and simple anime story – two teenage boys moving Heaven and Earth to try and win the heart (or at least custody) of the girl they love.  I don’t see any happy endings in the pipeline for either of them, though.  Inaho has been giving off a strong self-sacrifice vibe for a very long time, and he really should have been dead at the end of the first season anyway.  And Slaine has been systematically sneering at fate and practically daring the Universe to smite him in its vengeance for his arrogance and conceit to an ever-increasing degree.  His fall, when it comes, is likely to be really spectacular.  But before that happens it seems as if Inaho is going to get one last crack at him – he’s taken two bullets from Slaine, and I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t get a chance at some payback.

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8 comments

  1. v

    For a moment, I thought that Inaho's eye was going to take over his body and assassinate the Princess. That perhaps the Earth High Command figured that Inaho will ultimately try to rescue the princess and this was their ace in the sleeve. Man, that would have been quite a plot twist.

  2. D

    > neotare

    Enzo please, it's "netorare". Come on, get your hentai genres names right! :V

  3. N

    Inaho made some sort of Faustian bargain with the Eye of Aldnoah? We still do not know the creators of Aldnoah after all…

  4. A

    I really don't know if it's because I've gotten used to AZ or they have gotten better at selling their craziness. Either way, I'm gonna try not to question that whole eye thing too much and enjoy the bishoudown…

  5. M

    I don't really buy into so much of the confession simply because this is a mecha show and they always like to make romantic love twisted into platonic love and ambiguous as much as possible so unless they directly said 'I love you!' I reserved my judgement whether this really means romantic love in Asseylum's part. It's partly also because Asseylum doesn't really treat Inaho different from others so I'm a bit skeptical that she really loves him, but then this is the show that had to make a CPR scene romantic to convince us that Inaho loves Asseylum, so maybe I should take the confession at face value after all.

    And I despised the fact that Klancain could be the final villain after all. You already build up Slaine for the whole cour as a villain, let him finish as the villain and not have someone else take his role. Now Slaine have to suffer that someone else taking his spotlight for the grand finale, the staff really are merciless towards him.

  6. Give it up – it's over. She doesn't love Slaine and never did.

  7. H

    Why do they love Inaho?

  8. M

    I guess their love relationship is so badly written that I cannot believe that they both really in love with each other, and they really should stop having romantic moments when the other one is unconscious. Slaine and Lemrina have better chemistry than them.

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