Aldnoah.Zero Episode 19: Here to There
Do as I say.
Here to There
This is terrifying. Can nothing stop the rise of Count Troyard? The general trend has now completely reversed from the way it used to be – in past episodes, being Slaine was suffering. Now, being not Slaine is suffering, and the crux of it all is that Princess has woken up. It might be hard to imagine, but I think the last time Slaine met Asseylum was before the series even began. In the meantime, he’s been through so much, and gone through so many hardships – and finally, he can hear her say his name again. This has been his motivation for the entirety of Aldnoah.Zero. I… I have to admit I’m kind of touched. It was a really heartfelt scene, and I don’t think it’s something I should be disparaging about. I mean, I was hoping that Princess might have not been able to recognize Slaine due to permanent brain damage and amnesia, but… okay, okay sorry. What really struck me when she woke up was that Slaine became incredibly happy and emotional. I think this is the first time I’ve seen Slaine put on such a human expression in a long time, and it serves to emphasize just how far out his actions are from Asseylum’s wishes. There’s a peculiar irony in how there’s such a wonderful, heartfelt soundtrack playing over scenes of the Orbital Knights laying waste to and inflicting destruction upon Earth. Asseylum’s hopes and dreams were being crushed as they spoke. The man she was speaking to was the one responsible.
In many ways, what Slaine has done is admirable. It’s amazing that he’s managed to get this far – from being a ‘lowly Terran’ to the man whom everyone swears unequivocal fealty to without question. Of course it’s admirable. But what I’ve realized this episode is that on his way up, he has shit on a whole lot of people, not least of all Asseylum herself. In many ways, he’s digging himself a deeper hole in continuing to deceive both a Princess who is very ignorant of the true state of affairs and a Lemrina who is now feeling very regretful. The only reason the return of Princess has not prompted the shockwaves everyone’s been expecting is because Slaine’s pulling the strings. He’s essentially two-timing them, and all for the sake of his rise to power – it’s now more and more apparent that he doesn’t actually give a shit about Asseylum’s love for Earth. He’s condemned himself too far down that path to go back. He is also milking Lemrina for all she’s worth, and has sweet-talked her into delegating all her authority to him, including the right to decide upon whom to bestow Aldnoah. With the actual Emperor on his death-bed, Slaine is essentially the closest thing the VERS Empire has to a living god, and conveniently everyone is now flooding their panties with praise for him. Look at Barouhcruz! A mere episode ago, he was seething with anger that Slaine had managed to outwit Marylcian. But he’s now changed his tune completely. It’s not because of Princess – at least, not really because Princess said it. Many of the Orbital Knights have now realized that allying with Count Troyard is not only the safest route, but also the easiest way to get to the top. Harklight has realized this for a long time, and he is honestly one of the unsung winners in all this. Merely by following in Slaine’s footsteps, he is now getting a peerage title alongside Herschel, which belonged to Marylcian. Remnants like Count Mazoo, who I thought was going to be key in turning the tables, are now powerless. Everyone will bow down to Count Troyard, and he can do no wrong.
I like Slaine. This is where I differ from a lot of other people who watch A.Z. I think he didn’t deserve all that suffering, he managed to inflict damage on Inaho and is very clever and opportunistic. But I’m uncomfortable with the change he’s been going through, and I think I’ve mentioned before how he now makes expressions which are identical to Saazbaum. Not only has he stepped all over the rest of VERS in order to get to where he is today, he’s willing to use arbitrary and unfounded accusations to weed out his opposition and strip them of their knighthoods. That would make him no better than a tyrant. He’s now become just like his former Martian oppressors, who only submit to him because of the overwhelming power he now has. He’s even willing to raise his voice towards poor Eddelrittuo, and her thoughts were written all over her face: “I didn’t know he could make an expression like that.” There’s no way he can justify himself to Asseylum now, and I don’t think he’s even going to try. As Inaho himself says, the recent actions of ‘Princess’ as played by Lemrina now means that hardly anyone will listen to her true demands of peace and a cessation of war. Not after everything ‘she’ has broadcasted to the world.
The upside to this, from the Versian point of view at least, is that the Terrans are in for a whole heap of suffering. One of the issues most noted with A.Z is the tendency for each Orbital Knight to attack one at a time, in a manner such that Inaho and friends are capable of dealing with their specialized Kataphrakt on its own. A common justification for this was that they were all divided – all acting within their own feudal capacity and not aligned with anyone except supposedly Asseylum. But this is no longer the case. They are all united, and moving exactly as Slaine is instructing them to. He has become both the mastermind and the last boss. Everything is going his way… except the direction of Asseylum’s affections.
tl;dr Slaine-sama uguu