Let justice be done.
Aldnoah.Zero Episode 1 Review
“Princess of Vers.”
There are some 2-cour anime that start off slow, and there are some 2-cour anime that start off with¬†giant explosions, genocide of humanity, and enormous structures falling from the heavens. Aldnoah.Zero is¬†most certainly the latter. (The anime¬†will be split-cour. This means that there’ll be a gap between episodes 12 and 13 of at least one season.)
Aldnoah.Zero Episode 1¬†Impressions
Ah, the glorious first episode of a 2-cour anime with capable staff behind it. It is often the case that these kinds of first episodes, especially when there are plenty of explanations like this one, are fun and interesting to discuss because it’s a new world, with new characters, themes, and so on. This first episode is definitely not an exception. Starting off, we have the innocent princess Vers Allusia Asseylum try to create peace between Vers and Earth.¬†But with how imperialistic Vers is, this is merely the wish of a lone princess that is drowned out by the echos of the coming conflict. Indeed, she is even killed off in this very first episode, but let’s look at this a bit more closely because, well, she was being developed quite a bit this episode, and to kill her off like that¬†seems like it would be a huge waste. One thing that’s especially strange about her assassination is how unguarded she is relative to her importance. Sure, there are a few cars, but you’d think that the Japanese government or¬†the people of Vers would add more protection to a princess like her. This is especially true for the Japanese government since if she dies, then war would erupt right then and there. Shouldn’t they bide their time and try to come up with more advanced weaponry in order to fend off the Vers?
Perhaps because of what happened to Earth fifteen years ago, Earthlings, which I’ll just call “humanity” from now on, seek vengeance. Such vengeance clouded their judgement and they decided that they were in a good enough of a position to face them. Maybe humanity has exploited some of the ancient technology¬†and really do want to face against Vers. Or they could just be incompetent. What could also be the case is that some parts of the government did this on purpose. After witnessing what happened fifteen years ago, they may have lost hope and succumbed to Vers by trading the rest of humanity for their own lives. Maybe this is why the princess was assassinated so easily. That, or the¬†Vers commander on the screen plotted to do this all along in order to wipe out humanity and seize Earth for the Vers empire. These are all possibilities, but what about the state of the princess? Is she dead or not? Well, my instincts say that she’s still alive. Why? Because she’s too important to kill off right now. I see almost no reason to have¬†one of the main characters give her a charm only for her to die in such a way. Not to mention how a fair amount of screen-time has been dedicated to her as well. I mean, the writers could think that it’d be too obvious for her to live so instead they decided to switch things up by having her actually die… That doesn’t really add anything to the show though so, at least to me, it’s a bit silly to be slightly unconventional this way. Yes, she is the catalyst for the conflict, but there’s no need for her to be treated as importantly as she is in this episode if she is only¬†a catalyst for the beginning of the conflict when another side-character could have¬†done the same with¬†much less. I suppose she could be a catalyst for Slaine to do something as well. Even then, her role seems to be more important than that. Then let’s say she does survive. How exactly? Well, at this point we’re not sure if this is a double or not or what powers she has from being a descendant of Emperor Vers who “inherited the authority of Aldnoah.” Whether Aldnoah gives the ability to pilot mechs or if they actually give special powers outside of that, we have no idea. (It’d be pretty damn awesome if the princess started piloting giant mechs.) We don’t even know whether it affects the person who inherits it or if it’s just a piece of technology one can use. If I had to guess, it’s probably both.
Then of course there is one of the most typical¬†themes, discrimination, as you’d expect from a type of show like this with warring nations of different races. We’ll probably see more of how Slaine struggles in Vers as this theme gets explored. It wouldn’t surprise me if he wanted to put Asseylum’s wishes to action, and even switch sides to fight for humanity later on in the series because he was born on Earth. On Earth, the teacher talks of war and how they’re giving children the wrong mindset. The¬†grave theme of war, the reality of it, the loss of life, the horrors of killing, the nonstop bloodshed, the burdens of fighting and the despair of facing against an impossible enemy are ideas that the show will probably tread upon soon enough. What they’re taught and what they will soon experience will be two completely different things. We’ll probably be hearing a lot of screaming, seeing a lot of chaos, and students¬†getting killed off very soon. While we’re on the topic of death and destruction, you have to wonder how humanity is even going to face the Vers empire. Their technology is far more advanced, they have Aldnoah, and their gigantic structures that impacted Earth this episode already caused great damage in many important places of the world. It seems that they’d just be eradicated very quickly unless the princess or some other people from Vers come to their aid, or if they somehow have decent weaponry that was developed in the past fifteen years. It’ll be interesting seeing how humanity even puts up a fight.
Aldnoah.Zero Episode 1 Review
Well, that was quite an explosive episode. I expected this one to be kind of slow, but that nuclear bomb-like explosion at the end sure moved things along very nicely. So far, I’m very satisfied with how things turned out since I usually don’t expect much from the first episode of a 2-cour anime. We get some nice explanations of the situation with Vers without it being dragged out as those explanations are executed properly, the fundamental themes of the show are touched upon, and the serious tone of the show is set up immediately. Back when I did the summer preview, I said that I really wanted to see a more serious mecha anime like Gundam 00, and this episode is very much living up to those hopes.¬†The genocide at the end really sealed the deal. With Hiroyuki’s soundtrack playing in the background as the the climax of the episode occurred, I couldn’t help but feel excited for what’s to come. (Dat Kalafina as well.) Now, exactly what else do I hope to see from this anime now that we’ve seen the first episode? Well, firstly, I don’t really want to see “MUH MECH IS BETTER THAN YOURS SO I CAN DEMOLISH EVERYTHING YOU HAVE WITHOUT MUCH OF AN ISSUE.” C-C-Can we just have some tactics for once? Please? Basic tactics even? Logistics, and proper teamwork would very much be welcome. Secondly, strong characters.¬†Some of Urobutcher’s works have really been missing this point, but I wouldn’t worry that much right now since Aoki Ei and Takayama Katsuhiko are in this too. Thirdly, tackling the more serious themes in meaningful ways. I don’t mind¬†if the characters portray angst, but too much angst is never pleasant to see. The key is for them to show instead of tell. While the part where the teacher is talking in the bar serves as a nice introduction to what we will see in the future, I hope it relies less solely on dialogue. I obviously have more concerns, but the rest of the important parts that constitute an anime like this will show themselves in time, so it’s more fitting to talk about the delivery of such things when they actually occur rather than vainly guess randomly.¬†My initial thoughts were that this anime holds great promise, and this premiere only strengthens this thought. This could be quite a ride.¬†Let justice be done. Though the heavens fall.