Aldnoah.Zero Episode 16: Soldiers’ Pay
It is a poor knight indeed who slays one who defies him.
The Versians tell a far more interesting story than the Terrans do. And whenever the Terrans do anything exciting, it’s because the Versians are trying to blow them up. This has been a recent staple of Aldnoah.Zero, admittedly, but it was too evident this week. There’s been change, upheaval and betrayal within the VERS Empire, with power struggles and socio-political unrest everywhere. Meanwhile on and around Earth, we have Inaho, cute girls wearing swimsuits and being cute, and Lt. Marito drinking and going on about his PTSD yet again. Truth be told, the stuff with the Terrans leaves fuck all to be desired. In a twisted sort of way, I’m actually okay with this – because between the Martians and the Terrans, I hate the Terrans vastly more. Perhaps only because Asseylum is now down for the count, but either way it means that the more engaging scenes go to the side I’m more interested in. Seriously, this week with the Terrans we had a booze session and a meet-and-greet as Marito and Yuki came back on board the Deucalion. If I’m going to be honest, I didn’t actually notice they were gone – I just thought they hadn’t been re-introduced for whatever reason. Marito could have been too drunk, and Yuki could have been… making some eggs. I don’t know. I’ve said this before, but Aldnoah.Zero is not a show where just being a cute girl will get you my support, surprisingly enough. Unfortunately, that seems to be what the Terrans have going for them, except for that one lady who can’t get a date.
This week’s obligatory Orbital Knight encounter was… well, it started off great, and had a ridiculous ending. I say it started off great because it seemed like Marito would actually die! Upon which we would have been eternally free of violent angsty flashbacks of a giant Kataphrakt, dead bodies and burning landscapes. I didn’t always have such a cynical view on this, but I do now after it’s seemingly become the sole purpose of this character’s existence. Anyway, so if he wasn’t going to die, I was looking forward to watching him and Yuki (i.e. anyone except Inaho) solve a problem by themselves. Then Inaho swoops down and saves the day from space. I mean… that’s, that’s ridiculous. He was hanging off the edge of the Deucalion, firing from space and down onto a specific point on Earth, somehow with pinpoint accuracy. Of course Marito would end up patching through to the Deucalion. Of course. If I had a request for next week, it’d be that it focuses entirely on Versian-related exploits. Although I suppose I really mean Slaine-related exploits, because Count Mazuurek was kind of useless as well. This guy definitely inherited his position, for what it’s worth. Not much fighting even occurred on his part – he landed, sat there and pressed a button on his Kat, letting it do his job for him. I thought he’d be more important given that he’s in the OP, and seems to share a different viewpoint on the war from his colleagues, but he’s dead now. I also initially thought he looked like Cruhteo, but I thought that about the other guy too. Most of these counts are in-bred twats anyway. If there’s anything constructive that went on with the Terrans, it’d have had to be the speculation by the doctor that the Martians feel threatened due to a chain of losses and have gone into defensive mode. In reality, it appears that they’re too busy disagreeing amongst themselves and working out how to deal with the latest shake-up to their already twisted hierarchy.
Slaine has done a great deal of growing up. I think that’s what they were trying to portray with his scenes this episode, and it feels like alongside the spiffy new clothes, the look in his eyes have changed. And he speaks like a true noble! All he needs now is to start beating Harklight with a Cruhteo cane. In essence, his current actions are his way of dealing with the fallout from Saazbaum’s death and his new elevated status. He is fully aware that all that status initially brings him is a shallow respect and prestige that exists only on the surface. The racism and hate hasn’t gone away, and I’m actually surprised the other counts haven’t tried accusing him of foul play given the convenient timing of Saazbaum’s death, lack of evidence be damned. The way he’s chosen to reduce some of that opposition is clever indeed, because it not only helps their cause but also forces them to recognize his power. In doing his job well and efficiently, he’ll grow to be so useful that removing him will hurt them, and so powerful that they won’t dream of opposing him, as per Saazbaum’s own statement. And it’s working. Slaine is making a name for himself. Despite the reluctant look in the eyes of most of the Martians on that base, they still salute him. Even Barouhcruz and Marylcian are treating him with a tiny bit of grudging acknowledgement. It’s also interesting to note that there were specific duties and responsibilities inherited by Slaine through Saazbaum, namely his role as Asseylum’s guardian. I think it’s clear that, above all, this was one of the primary reasons Slaine chose to get rid of him when he did – his movements would have been restricted so long as Saazbaum had that sort of trump card over him, and once he was named son and heir there was nothing left from stopping him. Slaine now has custody over Princess, and the only real threat left to him on VERS is Lemrina, who was only too happy to implicitly point that out to him.