Aldnoah.Zero Episode 18: The Rose and the Ring

DO IT, DO IT, DO— NOOOOOOOOOOO!

Impression

Well, shit. I definitely wasn’t expecting that.

Aldnoah 18 Img034For yet another week, Aldnoah.Zero shows off what I believe to be its core strengths: plot twists and beautifully choreographed action scenes. Which is just as well, considering that the rest of it is permeated with a cast of dysfunctional characters, the most irritating of which has just helpfully woken up. And this season was going so well, too. Funnily enough, it’s the final few minutes of the episode that brings the greatest scope of discussion, and at the forefront of that is the marriage announcement and its implications. This will affect everyone. Versian society will be both shocked and incredulous that a Terran will be wed to ‘Asseylum’, and whilst this might create even more dissent it will certainly be unvoiced given its potential consequences. The UFE and Earth may become even greater victims if or when they decide to start expanding to build their ‘new kingdom’. But all this matters relatively less when compared to the future trials facing a certain Count Troyard.

Aldnoah 18 Img009Put simply, it’s a doomed ship. It was doomed before they revealed Princess waking up. Clearly, this is what Lemrina meant by wanting to help Slaine, whilst accepting her role as a substitute. Implicit in that is a hint as to Slaine’s endgame, and at the rate at which he’s ascending in power and influence, I really should have seen this sooner. And Harklight probably wants to ride on his coattails as an easy way up. While I’m not sure as to whether becoming Emperor outright is what he’s after, especially as it’s fairly ambitious even for him, it’s definitely something to do with the creation of a completely new society. One that himself and Lemrina will be reigning over, and can thus control to make sure everything is perfect and wonderful. Anyway, Slaine is using her, and she herself knows she’s being used. The only reason she is okay with it is because this will be ultimate act of assuming Asseylum’s identity. What I think is that she will only be okay with it for now. Eventually, it’s going to hurt that she doesn’t have Slaine’s real love. It might not be such an issue if she’s helping him out with anything else, but a false marriage? Lemrina will have to be masquerading as Asseylum the entire time, in the knowledge that Slaine is in love with the hologram and not her. This cannot turn out well.

Aldnoah 18 Img039Of course, the irony in all this is that Slaine only accepted Lemrina after resigning himself to the reality that miracles do not in fact occur, and that Princess would never wake up. And that is exactly what has happened, perhaps even because Lemrina decided to turn deliciously evil and play around with her life support. The shock of cancelling all but one of the processes sustaining her must have jolted her awake. I was actually anticipating that she might do it, and just claim that she just died of her own accord in there. After all, that’s exactly what Slaine did to Saazbaum after gaining title to his inheritance. He’s the last person who should be complaining. I was hoping so, so much that Lemrina would press the last button. I felt slightly bad, but hey – Princess should have died at the end of the first season anyway. And note that I am only condoning actually attempting to murder Asseylum, as odd as that might sound. Playing around with the controls and pretending to go all the way, only to stop at the last hurdle and claim it was all a joke is kind of twisted. That was the best near-death experience for Princess yet though, I have to give Lemrina props. Rayet, Saazbaum and now Lemrina. Who will be the next to try?

Aldnoah 18 Img031The duel between Counts Troyard and Marylcian was much anticipated, and the episode actually delivered in that respect. I remember speculating it would be a curb-stomp battle, but the way they did it was more effective in the end – it’s significant in the sense that it’s the first real, staked face-off we’ve seen between two Versian Kataphrakts. And it was stunning, not least of all because both of the pilots were good. Although I’m not sure whether the corner Marylcian drove Slaine into was because of his auxiliary feature or because of his piloting skill. I didn’t think those laser-shooting homing missiles would be that durable, especially as they’re usually escaped from by making them run into other debris or material that happens to be present. As you would expect from the VERS Empire, Slaine now gets all his assets, and he rises up in prestige yet again. I was surprised to learn that a Slaine faction even existed, actually. It’s pretty much the remnants of Saazbaum’s faction who were loyal to the man himself and wanted to respect his wishes, but it’s still a pretty incredible prospect. Slaine now has military strength, economic assets, political support and a marriage tie to royalty. He’s outdone himself.

As per usual, meanwhile on Earth… nothing really happened. There was another cannon-fodder Orbital Knight, and it was only because of Inaho that it was taken out. Standard fare. I did gain a bit of respect for Yuki-nee though, she really had balls to face the enemy head-on and tell him to keep monologuing.

Vantage

I love cute things.

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13 Responses

  1. Seen on reddit: ‘So I guess the phrase “Have you tried turning it on and off again?” even applies to princesses.’
    So true! :o

    • Vantage says:

      HAHAHAHA! That deserves reddit gold.

      Another theory floating around the internet is that, if Lemrina turned off everything except whatever was sustaining Asseylum’s life itself, and that did something to wake her up, then it’s possible that Slaine has been keeping her in stasis on purpose, for almost two years now. Which makes everything he did in that room -playing her videos, showing her pictures- very unsettling indeed.

  2. Wanderer says:

    Clearly I haven’t tried breaking your kneecaps HARD ENOUGH. Maybe I should instead see if they’ll break if I hit you in the head with enough force. Or maybe you could stop hating an innocent girl simply for being NICER than everyone around her!

    • Vantage says:

      Lay off my poor kneecaps! It’s not limited to Asseylum – as I’ve said, I pretty much hate them all. Which would make my stance on the characters in A.Z in general very much on the unpopular side. Lemrina doesn’t seem too well-liked and there even exists a sub-reddit dedicated to Slaine haters, r/fuckslaine. Meanwhile, Lemrina is my preferred princess, and I think quite favourably of Slaine. At least I agree with the sentiment of dislike against Inaho.

      As for whether Asseylum really is nicer than everyone around her, I can’t wait to see her reaction to learning her half-sister pretending to be her and acting in her name has married her off and established her own kingdom. Which will coincidentally be in the same place Earth currently is. How she takes all this will either cement my opinion of her or make me think twice.

  3. This was just a pretty good episode, but I don’t have much to say. Another week, another session of cutting down the Slaine and Inaho fanboys :) Oh! Actually, I really enjoyed how the plan this time involved more of the team and I really liked seeing Yuki do something, and something awesome at that. She’s the real genius! She knows how bad guys really work!

    Actually, it’s about time for Slaine to put his skill to unify people to the ultimate test! He’s already been unifying the prideful Knights. Now can he unite the royal sisters?! If he doesn’t, one of them is going to end up killing the other.

    I guess I also wonder who called for the wedding – Lemrina or Slaine? I could see it going either way and turning into characterization. I also wonder if Asseylum will forgive the use of her image and all that Slaine’s done. I mean, it kept her relevant and untouchable to the assassins still lurking about, so it was more or less a necessary evil.

    • Vantage says:

      Okay, I’ll give you that point about the team. It’s true that this fight was a team effort, and in the end it was the Deucalion who played a crucial role in landing the final blow before Yuki-nee would get herself killed. It was just slightly irritating to see Inaho start moving around the battlefield outside a Kat.

      I’m sure you’re aware of which sister I would rather have kill the other. It’s interesting that you mention uniting them though, especially because we’ve never had a chance to see exactly what their relationship is. We know that Lemrina harbours a lot of distaste and jealousy for Princess, but we don’t know what the latter thinks about this, how she’s responded, or if she even knows. As for Slaine’s actions, it certainly wasn’t a necessary evil to keep her in stasis longer on purpose. I doubt any character will mention it, and it’s just mere speculation – but it feels plausible to me, and that opens up an uncomfortable can of worms with regards to Slaine.

      • And I’ll give you that point about Inaho moving around outside a Kataphrakt. My suspension of disbelief was tingling at that point, but fortunately nothing unbelievable happened and they had Rayet helping him. The bit with the eye seeing into space was another similar moment, but it was probably pretty damned blurry and it’s just that Versian Kataphrakt flares are hard to miss even in 240p.

        Assuming that we do get to see Lemrina and Asseylum interact for a good amount of time in the episodes to come, I’ll be really happy. They couldn’t just kill Asseylum off without letting us more deeply understand the sisters’ bond and I’m glad they won’t just be doing it in a flashback either!

        Wait. Induced stasis? Oh, a fan theory, huh? *sniff* Smells like… Slaine hater! Whoever came up with that theory first that is. It would require a horrendous suspension of disbelief, or what we affectionately know as ‘anime logic’ for that to make sense, wouldn’t it?

        Maybe I missed something on the screens, but Lemrina only had to deactivate/reactivate the life support with 4 buttons. She deactivated and then reactivated 3 of them, but I can’t see why whatever would be controlling a coma inducing chemical wouldn’t turn back on either.

        If the life support control was comprised of a vast amount of buttons and she was just deactivating/reactivating them haphazardly, I could then see her just happening to miss reactivating the button that controlled a coma inducing chemical. As it stands, with the small amount of buttons and how carefully she was tending to them, I just can’t see this fan theory making sense. Any ideas on how it might?

        P.S. What would you think of the makers of Aldnoah returning? I’m not saying another civilization would be a good or bad thing. It’s just that assuming all the Orbital Knights are at Earth… Vers is wide open right now. And uniting humans from two different civilizations has a certain charm that uniting everyone on Earth against a common foe wouldn’t…

        • Vantage says:

          “They couldn’t just kill Asseylum off without letting us more deeply understand the sisters’ bond and I’m glad they won’t just be doing it in a flashback either!”

          Implicit in your sentence is the notion that killing off Asseylum remains a possibility, just only after they’ve squeezed out all the character development they can from her. Omega good job!

          Yes, it does sound like one of the many prominent Slaine haters, but what I do find plausible is the notion that he’s not too mentally sound, especially with all the lectures he gives in front of her tank. I mean, he justifies it by doing it in front of Eddelrittuo, but does he really have to do it there? That and his ambitious ambitions may also mean that there’s a role he wants Asseylum to play. and that she has to be kept in stasis until he is powerful and influential enough, or whenever the conditions are right. All that being said, he loves her. Maybe the coma-inducing chemical did turn back on, hence why her eyes were so haggard when she half-opened them. I don’t know either.

          With the number of episodes we have left, it’d be a serious plot twist if we still had anything to do with the makers of Aldnoah and the history of how all this came to be. As for the Orbital Knights… someone needs to do a count (ha ha) as to how many there are left. Count Mazoo said there were 37 clans, and I’d guess around under half of them are either dead or have already been shown.

          • Baha, you really want her dead unless she gets some great development to explain why she is so idealistic, huh?

            Apparently talking to people who are in a coma is a common practice. The emotional benefits for the conscious people missing their coma induced loved one aside, it also provides variety and can help to stimulate the coma induced person’s brain. I mean, most of the time they won’t notice or react to it, but it’s all about the chance of stimulating the brain. Just being in a quiet room with only the same minimal sounds wouldn’t help stimulate anything.

            Aww, I really hope that the chemical theory is a bust. I mean, if it did turn back on as you say, it brings the huge chance of it just having been a tease by the show! It would really be unfortunate to have had that spark of hope and then she just falls asleep again. Well, to be fair, even if that is how it happens at least it somewhat proves that she’s not brain dead and it’s just the body that’s alive. So there’d still be a purpose in such a tease.

            Oh, no, no. I don’t expect them to delve into the ancient race or have them come back in a way that takes up a lot of screen time. If anything it could be a season 3 setup, but again it’s not really necessary. It’s more of an open end that could be explored.

            • Vantage says:

              That’s true, people do talk to the comatose in hopes of triggering something. The creepy factor was quite predominant in Slaine’s case though, given that Princess was suspended upright in a tank and Slaine was giving biology lessons to Eddelrittuo in what was otherwise a dark room.

              Even though I want her dead, it would be bad if she fell asleep again. I haven’t seen Episode 19 yet, but we’re over halfway now and sending her back to sleep won’t let her have the impact she needs to have on the mess between Slaine, Lemrina and the fake marriage.

              • Haha, I will certainly give you that point about the creepy factor. I wonder if it’s even possible to stay upright like that without some sort of anti-grav technology.

                For all I know, you’re typing up the review to the newest episode as I type! But, firstly, thanks for replying despite this being the date of the next episode. Second, I REALLY hope you enjoy the new episode as much as I did :D

  4. I think we’re getting so many cannon fodder knights largely because the main story has moved to the Vers side and they don’t want us to forget that the human side actually exists. that said, they are doing some good work with the characters, particularly Rayet

    • Vantage says:

      I do approve of the shift. It’s so much more interesting with the Versians, and the Terrans are just sort of… there. Technically even Rayet counts as one, given that she was born on Mars!

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