Aldnoah.Zero Episode 19: Here to There

Do as I say.

Here to There 

Aldnoah 19 Img028This 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.

Aldnoah 19 Img045In 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.

Aldnoah 19 Img012I 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.

Aldnoah 19 Img044The 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

Vantage

I love cute things.

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11 Responses

  1. Wanderer says:

    This series has shown me a serious flaw with your taste in characters that I have not seen in any other series I remember you reviewing. For some reason you hate character who past experience indicates you should love, and you adore characters who past experience indicates you should dislike.

    • Vantage says:

      Hey, I said some good things about her today! But yes, I know. With A.Z I have become as heartless as Slaine has. Maybe it’s because I don’t often cover this sort of thing – I have somewhat of an expectation that it takes itself seriously with the themes it presents, and how cute or friendly someone is has little bearing here. So basically Asseylum was born in the wrong show. I’m not sure how to explain it, I won’t try justifying it. But it’s a strange exception rather than a permanent change. I’ll go back to covering wonderful, fluffy stuff like Nanoha next season, rest assured. I can’t wait!

      I wouldn’t say I adore Slaine, especially not after this episode. Rather, I hate him the least. To his credit, the Martians are giving me an intriguing plot the Terrans have not done once since this season started, and I feel most invested in him as a character. As I said a few weeks ago, the Earth scenes only get exciting when the Martians come down to try and kill them.

  2. Tenshi says:

    I agree that A.Z.’s weak point is probably its characters. There really is no super lovable or amazing character, all the characters are either bland, unlikable, or mediocre. Most of the characters I either kind of like, am neutral about, or dislike. However, I do I agree that you’ve been a little too harsh on some of the characters, and I disagree with several of your opinions on different characters (the three main ones). A lot of people hate Asseylum, but maybe she was born in the wrong show. But to me, Asseylum has a little more purpose than just being a plot tool, I think she’s there to prove that on any side of a war there is good and evil. Inaho, imo, isn’t that bad. He hasn’t done anything wrong yet, but yes, he is an OP MC with probably as much emotion as a cardboard box. Even though it is kind of annoying to see him always flawlessly beat the enemy (unless its Slaine) with his stupid flashy trainer Kataphract which one would think that it’s not very good, because it’s a TRAINER, I like him a lot more than Slaine. Maybe, he’s just grown on me, maybe it’s just because I have a weak spot for stoic characters, or maybe because I really likes how he love/likes the princess now. But, I like him. Sort of. Slaine, on the other hand, I’m not too sure about anymore. I wanted to like him at first during the first season and I almost did until the later episodes. I don’t dislike him because he shot Inaho though, because I was literally like, eh, Inaho is fine, a bad shot like that won’t kill him. I just don’t really understand why Slaine does what he does a lot of the time and he pulls way too many dumb moves for my taste.

    I mean, in the last ep of season one, Asseylum getting shot was partially his fault. Why on earth would you search for the princess with someone that you know wants to kill her? And then he randomly goes and shoots Inaho for like, no reason. Okay, maybe it was jealously, or he needed someone to blame, or just to get Inaho out of the way because it was a good opportunity. But if you’re going to shoot for the kill like that, do a better job. And then he hangs out with Saazbaum for a while and it’s like why, but then we find he was just using him. Smart, but a little too underhanded. I guess it was his best move though. But then, he makes the dumbest move I’ve seen in a while (not really). He has doubts about the Princess for a spilt second, and immediately he jumps to the fake princess’s arms and decides to take advantage of her and play with her feelings to gain power. I don’t really like the fake princess, but still, not cool. A day after that though, the princess wakes up. I literally had to pause the video to laugh at Slaine for a bit. I mean, what a great situation he put himself in. So now he’s basically, as you said, two-timing the princesses and lying to both of them to get the best of both worlds (power and love I guess?) But now. he definitely doesn’t deserve Asseylum after all he’s done. And the thing is, when you weave a web of lies like Slaine has, then eventually, the web will fall apart and all the lies will catch up to you. I can’t wait to see what happens then. Or how Slaine reacts when the Princess doesn’t love him back. I’d also like it if somehow the Princess found out that he shot Inaho, hopefully she completely remembers him quickly.

    (Oops this turned out to be really long, it was mostly me ranting, sorry)

    • Vantage says:

      Do note that it’s been over nineteen months since Asseylum was hooked up to life support. It’s a time period of over two years, and I think that split second you were referring to was the last straw amidst a long build-up of brooding doubt whilst his life was in danger for the first time in a while, instead of an instant decision. Aside from his own recent rise to power, which he engineered by himself, the notion that ‘miracles don’t happen’ kind of sums up his entire life. But yes, his arrogance and deception will all come crashing down on him, and it won’t be pretty. We will have to agree to disagree on whether Slaine or Inaho is better. Slaine is a bastard, but his rise to power has been really clever, and it’s something I’ve been following with a lot of interest. Inaho is someone who is so emotionally retarded he needs Yuki-nee to translate his feelings for him.

      • Tenshi says:

        Yeah, good point. I forgot that the time skip was that long, my bad. Still a big misstep on Slaine’s part, but I suppose it’s somewhat understandable. I mean, two years is a long time, my bad. But yes. I do I agree that Slaine is quite clever and it is very impressive that he went from a Terran nobody to one of the most important Martians in such a short matter of time. And yeah, a perfectly fair point about Inaho (but I would argue that he is somewhat aware of his emotions, but the people around him have no idea what he’s doing and they need Yuki-nee to translate) So in comparison I suppose you could call Slaine a clever bastard, for lack of better words, and Inaho an emotionless genius robot (he does have that robot cyborg eye thing). So, I see your point, I guess Slaine is more interesting.

        ( And sorry, my comment was definitely too ranty, it was just me blurting out most of my A.Z. opinions out loud to no one really I guess and by the time I realized I was just ranting my comment was too long and there was no way I was going to change it)

        • Vantage says:

          No no, you explained your viewpoint, and that’s fine! Disagreement and discussion is great, and your thoughts on Slaine are relatively civil compared to some of the rage hate I’ve come across of him.

  3. OH MY GOODNESS… I don’t even know where to start… Okay. Think. Think… All right 2 things:

    1. DEUCALION’S FORTUNE

    I don’t think that I posted it here, but last week I made comments elsewhere about how Deucalion and more specifically Inaho, have both had the fortune of fighting only ONE Versian Kataphrakt, be it a Knight or a Count, at once! And LOOK what happens! ._. This had better be the best battle yet. I REALLY want to see everyone shine in their own way.

    2. SLAINE’S MENTAL STATE

    So, fortunately, they avoided the whole memory loss route and understandably Asseylum’s recalling her memories in a certain order… “Understandably”. See, it should be understandable that as part of the process she recalls Inaho. I really hope that Slaine’s pain at hearing her talk about that “boy” was just a spur of the moment reaction (because he obviously left before hearing how she couldn’t remember Inaho’s name).

    I hope Slaine composes himself and attacks Inaho as an enemy, rather than due to personal reasons. I mean, even if he loses all rank and title, I want him to turn out a good man by the end of all of this. I can easily see him and Asseylum dissolving the marriage together, in the end, under the mutual expression that it was done for political reasons. You know, because Slaine doesn’t want her or Lemrina to be “a caged bird”. More immediately, I hope he can manage to unify Lemrina and Asseylum at last.

    Those blue flowers mean “the impossible” and “miracle” right?

    Currently, Slaine thinks it impossible that he’ll return to where he once was. I guess that mean Deucalion’s going to have a miraculous (not unrealistic) escape from that situation. After all we don’t know if that last Count who landed, Orga, is siding with Slaine. He’s wise, humble and we last heard his name used when Slaine was telling Harklight to have him swear loyalty (20:00)… this also makes him ripe as an opposer and he might very well be.

    This brings me to one last worry. Might Slaine be too focused on Asseylum, or even unifying her and Lemrina, that he just barely misses the opportunity to gain the maximum number of Knights possible? On that note, with Harklight having a Kataphrakt now and the one that’s given Slaine the most trouble (I know it’ll be customized), I hope they’re not setting him up to “have to” betray Slaine for one reason or another.

    But, all that said, what I’m most worried about is Slaine being turned into just another emotionally driven bad guy, with little justification to his actions other than his feelings. I think this episode marks the first unnecessary evil he’s committed: lying to Lemrina? I just don’t get it. Maybe he thinks she’ll kill Asseylum, but… that’s wonky :/

    3. THE REBELLION?

    I’m wondering why Count Mazuurek said nothing to Count Barouhcruz about why else Slaine is dangerous, A.K.A the possibility of a “fake” princess. Perhaps he thought that would be going over the line since he only just returned and only had the word of a Terran to go by.

    In any case, with Barouhcruz having gone to Slaine’s base with suspicions previously (although he was much more reasonable than Marylcian), he could easily be set up as an opposer to Slaine. Add Mazuurek and Orga to that and that’s at least 3 Knights in opposition.

    Granted, with their less extreme views and ways of action, they may simply not support Slaine rather than attack him. After all, them doing nothing to support him would be about the same as him just shutting off their Aldnoah drives. But there’s something about Orga… that makes me think otherwise (maybe it’s that face when he landed 21:48).

    • Vantage says:

      It’s not Tharsis-level prediction or anything, but I’m already mourning the inevitable death of Mustang 33.

      Yeah the whole scene with Asseylum was a bit confusing. Putting my feelings on her aside, are her memories genuinely impaired? I’m sure it was made vague on purpose, but did she call Inaho ‘that boy’ because she couldn’t remember him? When she initially woke up as well, she sounded a bit… slow, for lack of a better word. I’m not sure if it’s because she’d just woken up for the first time in a couple of years, or because her memories were genuinely fuzzy until she saw Eddie’s and Slaine’s faces.

      He lied to Lemrina simply because Princess has woken up. His previous allegiance to her was conditional on the notion that saving Asseylum was a lost cause, and that he would pursue power with her at his side. Now Princess has woken up, and I’m suspecting that he now couldn’t care less about Lemrina beyond her ‘use’ as a political figurehead.

      I’m hoping it’s Mazoo instead of Orga that ends up being a prominent force within the rebel faction. They’ve invested a bit of character development into Mazoo, and he’s like… the nicest Orbital Knight ever. He probably didn’t say anything more because he realized Barouhcruz had shifted sides completely, and that it would be dangerous to reveal any more. I know he’s lost his Kat, but its ability would be the easiest way to save the Deucalion – just drop it into the middle of the enemy Kats and watch them get destroyed by the gravity.

      • Wait O_O Who’s Mustang-33? I looked up on the wiki and the original 33 and 44 died during the raid on Saazbaum’s castle.

        I’m thinking that it’s mainly due to having woken up and been using her brain consciously for the first time in years. That said, there might be certain things she won’t remember at all… like Lemrina. This, either because of how long it’s been since they were together, or that they didn’t spend a lot of time together at all. I’m kind of hoping that’s the only person she doesn’t remember as it may help them start anew! That said, Asseylum forgetting Lemrina might just hurt the latter for what it’s worth.

        Hopefully, then, he and Lemrina can work it out to dissolve the marriage as I’d suggested previously. Although, even if that’s agreed upon, there’s still the matter of Lemrina genuinely having some sort of affection for Slaine now, right? Hopefully if Slaine has grown cold-hearted, Asseylum can be the miracle that makes it warm again. I think Slaine needs a miracle after doing the impossible, time and time again.

        True, true. It might very well be Mazoo- dude, I just realized that if he does anything awesome we can now have another character name used in a one-liner: “Mazuu-rekt!” *ahem* Lame one-liners aside, what I was going to say is that Mazoo might be the leader in the rebellion after all, but with Orga as his second in command. I could see that working out given both of their humble natures.

        Quick, off-topic question:

        How would you feel about a half spinoff, half direct sequel to Aldnoah.Zero set decades, if not centuries into the future?

        I have no idea how the series will end, but ever since thinking of the possibility of Aldnoah’s makers returning, I’ve been writing 2 alternate endings to Aldnoah.Zero to lead into another story entitle ‘Heavenly Blue’. It’s a reference to more than just the first OP, but I’d just like your opinion on that main question if you can spare the time :)

        • Vantage says:

          Wasn’t there another pilot assigned as Mustang-33 who also met his untimely death earlier this season? I might be wrong, but I seem to remember a cringe-worthy death as bad as the one the original 33 suffered. Could have been another platoon.

          The only miracle that would be a miracle to Slaine would be if Asseylum doesn’t remember anything. At all. And I’m saying this from a purely objective standpoint, because surely Slaine grew cold-hearted exactly because he threw away Asseylum’s ideology? Having her live in ignorance in that garden is the best outcome for Slaine, because if she finds out there might not be much forgiving going on. Of course, for plot purposes she will find out.

          “Slaine? Where’s Saazbaum?”
          “Dead.”
          “What about Cruhteo?”
          “Also dead.”
          “And Marylcian?”
          “He’s dead too. But never mind that, look at our new kingdom!”
          “That’s so sweet of you Slaine, it’s- is that Earth?! Why is it on fire?! What have you done?”
          “Wait, I can explain-”
          “Is that me?! We’re getting married?!

          I think a spin-off set in the far future would depend very much on how the series actually ends. There may well be no VERS Empire by the end of this season. Or no Earth. A spin-off set during the war would sound more plausible though, and the best setting for that is an on-world Mars. It’d pretty much be a blank slate though, given that we know nothing.

          • Of all the things I can’t remember… Well, if there’s a Mustang 33 still kicking we’ll see him/her stop next episode, maybe.

            “Saazbaum tried to kill you.”
            “Cruhteo too?”
            “Cruhteo was Saazbaum’s fault.”
            “So then it was Marylcian?”
            “Marylcian died in a duel he requested.”
            “The Earth?”
            “The Earth’s not on fire yet- I mean, I don’t want to set the world on fire… I just want to start a flame in your heart”
            “Huh?! Okay… the marriage?” *pouts*
            “…” *queue Men In Black Neuralyzer*

            I doubt Slaine would have the gall to say that it was purely political. Going back to Cruhteo, I read that in the source materials Asseylum actually entrusted Slaine to Cruhteo.

            There actually IS a spin-off manga as I found out! It’s set during the first war and is about a rather intriguing Orbital Knight duo, among other things. http://myanimelist.net/manga/83729/Aldnoah.Zero_Gaiden:_Twin_Gemini

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