Aldnoah.Zero Episode 21: The Fortune’s Fool
“You have changed. You are no longer the Slaine I once knew, are you?”
Will the real Princess please stand up? …Oh wait.
The tables were turned. And then they were turned again! And the final outcome is something that was very much predictable, but didn’t really cross my mind for some reason. You see, I didn’t think Slaine had become cold-hearted and uncaring to the extent that he has, especially with regards to Princess – my train of thought was that if anyone can change his mind at this point, it’s her. But Slaine had no reaction whatsoever, even when Princess held him at gunpoint – he just threw both her and Lemrina in prison without a second thought. This easily confirms that, at least deep down, his actions have not been for Asseylum’s sake, putting aside her thoughts on his methods – because in the end, he was willing to throw her away as well, without shedding a tear. His desire for her is not as great as his desire for power – and to an extent I think Slaine himself also knew that it never would have worked out. Inaho being the astonishing object of her affections is one thing, but Princess was never actually in love with Slaine at all, and probably didn’t regard him as any more than a friend her age who knew a lot about Earth. I doubt she ever had the guts to shoot him, but the fact she even pointed a gun at him to begin with speaks volumes. And so, the only option left to our tragic Count Troyard is to go after power, for it’s own sake.
In a way, the whole affair concluding like this feels slightly lukewarm, given how they’ve made a big deal out of Slaine’s turbulent relationship with Lemrina, alongside showing us a recurring image of Princess suspended in a tank. And the initial shocking scene with Lemrina turning a gun on Princess ended up defusing itself before its potential came to light – I know they decided to work together, but I’m not sure how Lemrina went from presumably wanting to kill her to spilling the beans and offering to collaborate. At least they can take the time to get to know each other better in prison. I also did expect more out of the confrontation itself, namely a mental breakdown on Slaine’s part if I’m going to be honest, but what I didn’t take into account was that the boy who cried noisily at seeing a near-death Princess was no longer the same person as the young man who must have indirectly killed hundreds by now. The former may have given in and acquiesced, but the latter knows that he doesn’t actually need either princess any longer, and thus no longer gives a fuck. He has more power than the both of them combined anyway, and as long as his private faction and the people around him shut their mouths, he should be able to continue exerting his iron grip over both the Martians and Terrans.
Speaking of the Terrans, I actually wasn’t too pleased about how they kept cutting to the battle against the three Martian Kataphrakts and fragmenting the scenes with Princess – because the latter is where it’s at, really. In the grand scheme of things, I couldn’t really care less about what’s happening on Earth, because the outcome is practically guaranteed to be a win for Inaho, with a potential side-effect of someone like Marito dying. Incidentally, if he does end up dying somewhere down the line an explosion would be very ironic. It’s true that in practice, it turned out to be quite interesting, especially that the Terrans managed to win with minimal casualties against three Martian Kats – who would have been sufficiently difficult to deal with on their own. I especially felt Count Orga’s to be far too overpowered, in that an ability to generate seemingly limitless copies of both yourself and your mecha must be almost invincible in many situations. Sadly, one of the situations in which it is not invincible is when your enemy has a cybernetic eye, and knows how to use it almost too well.
Okay, now we’re hurtling towards the end, and I think I have a pretty good grasp on how things will turn out. The UFE Deucalion have clearly been sent on yet another quasi-suicide mission by a top brass who must be as retarded as they are old, given that a massive Aldnoah-powered space battleship is the most powerful resource they have at their disposal. It’s on this mission -presumably to the moon- that Inaho and Slaine will have their final confrontation, with Slaine now very comfortably sitting as the last boss with a slew of subservient Orbital Knights eager to do his bidding. With the foreshadowing of the ‘Princess pointing a gun’ scene in the previous OP actually coming true, it’s very possible that Inaho and Slaine will both end up dead by the end, given that broken and torn pieces of both the Tharsis and the Sleipnir are lying on the moon in this season’s OP – and this is likely not only because of their battle but also their personal circumstances. Inaho will almost certainly have his brain fried at this rate, and the political backlash will come to destroy Slaine eventually. The only factor I can see shaking this up is not Mazuurek, but rather Count Cruhteo II. What on earth are they doing, introducing someone like him at such a late stage? We don’t know how he thinks yet, so it’s hard to say what role he’ll play for now. Maybe he’ll end up getting tortured by Slaine as a sort of cross-season grudge.