Fifteen years have passed since the hypergate collapsed on the moon's surface - a catastrophe known as the Heaven's Fall. The war between Earth and the VERS Empire of Mars is now in a cease-fire. The VERS' Princess Asseylum Vers Allusia descends upon Earth as an ambassador hoping to encourage reconciliation while some citizens are not willing to compromise. Inaho Kaizuka, a Terran high school student... and Slaine Troyard, who swears his allegiance to Princess Assylum... Their fates cross as both societies watch in horror as a missile crashes on Asseylum's motorcade. This incident marks the beginning of a new war.
Notice: This review covers both seasons.The hype surrounding this show before it began airing was insane, because there were a lot of big names in the production team. OWWW LOOK WHO SINGS, LOOK WHO IS VOICE ACTING, LOOK WHO DIRECTS! I didn’t care about any of that, since I am watching a show for the actual show, not for if my favorite pop idol is voice acting. Also, the whole thing looked so dull in the promotional videos, like none of the characters was giving a damn. And turns out I was right, as I always am, the first episode tells you right away that this show is not about good characters, or a crafty exploration of its setting. It is all about a spectacle drowning in cynicism and shock factor, trademark of Urobutcher’s writing. It doesn’t have a drop of humanity in it, and is all about treating people as robots and themes as a canvas for ilogical stuff to happen, just because they sound cool. And boy did it work, since your average anime fan was building temples in the name of this show, for the moment he sees big explotions and big names in the production team he loses his shit and writes fifty pages of pretentious overthinking essays.All of which are for naught, since other than fancy visuals there is zero effort placed in the making of this series. Take the history of the world for example; it is nothing but one big mess of random ideas next to which even Code Geass is more logical. For some reason some people got their hands on alien technology on Mars and in less than 2 generations they now think they are a different species to the rest of humanity. Which of course is unjustified since they have the same genes, and only use different technology. This is why the “space Nazi” excuse we see in other shows like Gundam or Space Battleship Yamato, does not count here. The Aldnoah thingy, which gives them control over super technology, is not gene-related. It can be given to anyone with a simple kiss. So this whole fuss they made about many of the Martians being in orbital stations around Earth for 20 years, with the claim “They were stranded away from their homeland on Mars” is pure bullshit. Nobody thought about telling these people how most of their first degree relatives are on the planet below them? Not all of them are on Mars and they are not aliens.Anyways, the backdrop history is not the only thing that is off here; there is also a ridiculous amount of death and mass extermination going on in it which obliterates all forms of characterization, since all you will be noticing is people dying ten seconds after you meet them. You can count numerous scenes where they introduce a soldier, they use him to throw in a fortune cookie proverb, and proceed to killing him on the spot. And it’s not like Gundam shows weren’t full of genocides and multiple character deaths, but they were never focused that much on such things. Aldnoah on the other hand is all about being a big spectacle; focused on the excitement of mass destruction and people getting incinerated while cool music is heard playing in the background. It is not even going for shock factor since the music makes the whole thing feel cool, and is not tragic or sad. You never knew all these people and you are only meant to think “Woah, so many die in this show, it is dark and serious”.Too bad that what you actually get is cartoony evil space people who exterminate billions of innocent civilians because they see them as insects. So mature indeed. I guess none of the tens of thousands who were hyping this bullshit knew that well written characters are those you get to like regardless of their actions or beliefs. Johan in Monster for example is a very cool character despite being a mass murderer. The villains of this show on the other hand are the ones you would encounter in 60s comic books. “Growl, tremble before my divine presence you scum. I pity how you will die without even being able to defend yourselves. Get wiped out by my godly hand as I end your meaningless existence.” The joke doesn’t stop there; they are written to be so cartoonishly evil that they included the classic backstabbing fuss. They kill their own people and blame it on the earth people as an excuse to kill them all. Such lovely characters; very easy to identify and cheer for.And despite all that superiority and malice, they are still manipulated like total tools, falling for the weakest propaganda tricks imaginable. Such as starting a war to avenge the death of their princess. But then they see the princess is alive and well. And yet they keep fighting, this time to avenge Earth because ONE OF THE MARTIANS tried to kill her. And even when they fight for that reason, she is not even the real princess, she is an imposter. They will believe anything, no matter how dumb it is, which makes them too pathetic to care about.There are a few cases when some of them try to question if what they are doing is right, which is a genuine opportunity to become actual people instead of drones, but in just five minutes they either get assassinated or get convinced that the extermination of Earth is a lovely thing to do. Such as the emperor of the evil space people, who was hell bent on stopping the war if no proof of the Earth peoples’ ill intentions were found. And yet as soon as one of his trusted followers reassures him his granddaughter, the person he cared a lot for, is alive and well, he ignores him and allows the extermination to keep going as if he never trusted him for a decade, or loved his granddaughter for twice as much. This keeps happening several times in the show and proves how ill-conceived bad guys they are. The only thing missing is holding huge signs with the words YOU MUST HATE US on them.As for the good guys, the poor innocent Earth people, there is very little to care about them, other than being the victims of an evil plot. The show never focuses much on them, and they have no brains to make the audience like them for not being tools as well. Despite all young people of Earth having received military training, their tactics in warfare are limited to the amazing strategy of standing still and shooting at the enemy. Which, because of the technological gap between the two sides, has the same effect as throwing pebbles at a tank. And if you think they learn from it, nope, they keep using the exact same strategy in every single episode, which leads to their predictable, unworthy deaths.But it’s ok, since they are dying for the sake of making the hero of the story to look cool. He is more capable than all combined military forces of Earth, because he has a superpower which allows him to move during battles instead of standing still and waiting to die like everybody else. Yes, this is unthinkable, I know. He is also the only person who can defeat enemy mecha despite their superior technology because he is the only one amongst the evil space army who has a plan during battle. You see, the villains are busy feeling superior and assuming the super technology is enough to win. Which by the way is the only excuse they have for calling themselves superior, because their intelligence or durability sure aren’t. They don’t think ahead like the carton cutouts they are, and freeze from horror when they realize they can’t defeat an earth guy with simple punches or slashes. This gives more than enough time for our hero to use his ultimate winning strategy of… throwing the mecha in the water. Yes, that is all it takes to defeat these city-leveling monstrosities, you throw them in the water and they deactivate faster than the wicked witch of the west. Later on he uses other types of strategies to win, and they are equally simple stuff only he amongst all of humanity can think of.Well I guess that makes him a wonderful fellow and the only one who actually has personality in this show; right? Hell no! He doesn’t have a personality because he doesn’t have emotions. This trait is even on the name of the anime -> Aldnoah Zero FUCKS GIVEN! I tell you, it is a miracle if the only moving and thinking character in this whole show loses his temper and lets a tiny smirk to escape his permanently frozen to uncaring facial expression. And although they keep trying to fool you into thinking he actually cares about people, even if he doesn’t show it, that quickly ends up being a troll. He will say he wants to avenge the death of one of his friends on one episode with the same interest he asks for his pajamas to be ready when he returns from battle in another. And let’s not overlook how he thinks of a plan to defeat the evil robots only after examining their powers. And by examining I mean sending oblivious Earth soldiers to get brutally killed by the enemy. Lovely Guiney pigs you got there Inaho; their sacrifice is excused if it serves the glory of your exploits. You can thank Urobucher for making you such a humane and believable character.There are more characters that get a focus in this show besides Inaho the Uncaring (meaning they don’t die after 10 seconds) but in the typical Urobutcher fashion they are all plot devises rather than people. Such as the princess who is used as an excuse for the war to begin, conveniently surviving an assassination, conveniently meeting Inaho the Smirkless, and conveniently giving him super technology when she accidentally passes near a hidden base. Did you notice how she didn’t do any of that because of her personality or goals? Nope, they happened because they serve the plot. She is also a fine example of what happens when a story is depending solely on shock factor, instead of good writing. They make it seem like she gets killed a dozen times throughout the story as means to shock the audience. And then, pop, she appears alive and well 10 minutes later. It’s bad enough if you use such a lazy plot twist once. It’s beyond comprehention when you use it a dozen times in a row.There is also Slaine, an errant boy the evil space people kick around just to further show us how irredeemably evil and stupid they are. I mean one of them brainlessly monologues the whole evil masterplan to him in a douchy way that yelled “I deserve to be killed for my stupidity and you to betray us for our satanic acts” followed by him doing so. Notice that he didn’t chose to do it, it was forced upon him by the plot. He then proceeds to go help the good guys, after magically finding them because the plot said so, and after conveniently saving them in the last second, he is then shot down by Inaho the Zero Fuck Giver, and abandoned on the spot because his role in the plot is over for now.The same things apply for the rest of the characters, being plot devices with no humanity in them, doing staged events, just so the story can happen in any way the writer wanted. This is why you have the princess getting a pardon by everybody because she is the needed battery of the ship, when 10 minutes earlier everybody hated her kind and wanted her dead. This is why you have Inaho the Heartless showing no emotion and being a master strategist, falling in love with the princess for no reason, and doing some really retarded things in the finale of the first season because having emotions like a normal person makes you an idiot. This is why you have Slaine, who exists to be kicked around repeatedly by everybody for the sake of drama, doing out of character things in the mid-season finale, which leads to the death of the princess (for yet another time).Lovely script there urobucherfags, your god is never doing something wrong. Oh but wait, he only wrote the first 3 episodes; the rest were written by the guy who made Boku no Pico. This is clearly not a good story. Yeah, and that is why the anime community made 150 topics about how amazing the mid-season finale was, and how amazing the second season is going to be thanks to these ingenious plot twists.And it is true that the series was fun for awhile by doing lots of crazy shit, that were very uncommon in typical mecha stories. Like Martian humans, the moon blowing up, cities being incinerated while cool music is playing, and having the hero not being a typical shonen protagonist, but rather a calculating robot who uses his brains in order to defeat powerful robots. The strategies were ridiculous (like a black hole shield that doesn’t absorb air for some reason, flying cameras which nobody can see and get blinded by simple smoke) but were giving off a feeling of intelligence. And by intelligence I do not include the forced way he explains his strategies to the audience by basically talking to the wall next to him (meaning there is a lot of lazy infodumping going on during pseudo-scientific explanations, in the form of breaking the fourth wall).Of course just like it happened with Code Geass, the tactics soon evaporate and the whole thing becomes brainless robot power ups and fan service. There is a scene where the princess is killed (again) while she is naked in the bath by another naked girl. Inaho gives her first aid by essentially gropping her, and then the naked assassin pops up out of nowhere and starts bitching about the cruelty of life. It was supposed to make you worried and sad but it doesn’t, because all you see is one emotionless dude surrounded by naked chicks. Also, what the hell was the assassin doing, was she hiding for five minutes, waiting for the princess to come back to life before she pops out, instead of running away?There is a prolonged scene where an enemy mecha transforms as if you are watching Power Rangers, and it means nothing in the longrun, or is even presented as scary. There was also an attempt to have political intrigue and mysteries in the form of two different civilizations clashing, but it is impossible to give a damn when the Earth people are useless before Inaho the Peeping Tom. So goes for the villains, who are so shallow to the point you don’t care what is going on with the story as you care about the asspull Inaho the Mobile will use next time to defeat yet another mecha nobody else in the cosmos has the feet to be able to do that.Despite all these obvious problems, the anime community still failed to see what a piece of crap this show is, evident in the mid-season finale, when they made it seem like most major characters got killed. Hundreds of pages were written full of praise and high expectations for what will come up, and the anticipation for the second half was enormous. Of course I knew it was all a troll but who ever listened to reason?And what a plot twist, turns out nobody was dead after all!... Again. As I knew all along they weren’t. Inaho becomes Kano; gets a cyborg eye that makes him even more hax in battle and is otherwise the same uncaring bastard who wins in all battles as he always did. The princess is now a decoration, sleeping in a pod, while another princess that was asspulled in the story appears to take her place. Slaine out of nowhere becomes a Machiavelian asshole and with a complete character rewrite starts backstabbing everyone and keeps the war going by becoming a super elite pilot for no given reason. The earth military magically learns how to shoot straight and can now kill a few Martians towards the end, again for no given reason. And lots of other shit happen, which are never explained or resolved. What blew up the moon, what about the origin of the alien technology, what about that guy who had post traumatic stress disorder? Screw them, turns out they were nothing but fillers, since if you strip away the robot of the week battles that are always ending with Inaho the Jesus Figure using an asspull, the actual plot fills only a few episodes.Down to it, if you want to watch a somewhat well animated mecha show (even if the CGI is subpar and there is very little animation in battles if Inaho is not fighting) regarding one-dimensional villains and emotionless plot devises blowing up stuff for the most unrealistic reasons imaginable, go ahead and watch this show. If on the other hand you want to watch a mecha show with worthy villains, charismatic heroes, and noble causes such as fighting for a better future, then watch Gunbuster or Gundam the Origin and stay away from Aldnoah Zero. There isn’t a speck of reason or emotion in it; it has as much humane warmth as the extent of the facial expressions the main character shows when his pajamas are not ready upon returning triumphant from a battle where he was running around and pushing robots in the water.Also, eggs are in discount, gotta buy those.
This was originall posted on my old blog, Moe Monster. Also, yhis was originally a recap on the finale (containing spoilers) as well as the following final impressions. Aldnoah.Zero title screen. This was the worst show I’ve sat though in a few years. Usually, I’d drop a show as terrible and contrived as this after a few episodes. For me however, I had fun reviewing and trying to convert people. I’ll start wih a brief synopsis, before explaining why this is a terrible show, and you’re a making the world a worse place if you enjoyed it. I need to disclose the following two bits of information. First, I never ever (ever, ever) care who creates an anime. I don’t care who writes it, directs its, edits it, voices characters or creates the music for it. I don’t care which studio animates the story, which network broadcasts or which American company simulcasts it. I care about one thing — the story and how that story is told. Secondly, I don’t like mecha anime. I don’t like any specific genre actually, and should have added genre to the “I don’t care,” list above. I do tend to lean towards more dramatic stuff, sometimes fun and silly stuff, romantic stuff — but I’ll watch anything with a story that’s told well. Aldnoah.Zero is not a story that is told well. More on this later. First, how about a quick series abstract? Show is ugly and stupid, like the person you despise the most. Aldnoah.Zero takes place in an alternative world. That’s right, it’s not the future. In this world, the Apollo 17 mission from 1972 discovered a stargate on the moon. Not a stargate, ahypergate, sorry. The portal would take Earthlings to Mars, where a human civilization develops. There, they discover the Aldnoah, a powerful technology left by a mysterious and never-explained ancient Martian culture. This new Martian civilization becomes the Vers Empire, and through some bad leadership and political intrigue, the Vers go to war with the “old humans” on Earth. Inaho is smartest person in known universe — everyone else, equally dumbest. Ok, that’s done. Next I’ll explain why you’re dumb if you like this show; maybe just empty-headed, or perhaps you’re just not a critical thinker. Then I’ll go over some other things besides the story and it’s execution, and finally, I’ll rate the show. In a nutshell, here’s my problem with A.Z. The world the series takes place in is completely contrived and the storytelling is consistently convenient for the sake of moving the plot along in that world. Many, many things make no sense whatsoever, and people who champion this series turn a completely blind eye to those things. Fans of this show need to get a grip. Also, there’s more information on the series’ web site than there is on a the show. If you really want to understand the seires, the timeline of events, the character’s name and relationships to each other — in any meaningful way — you have to do more than watch the show. That’s fucking bullshit, sorry. For example, in 1972 humans colonize mars and begin a civilization there. They found the Vers empire when they find the Aldnoah technology. Ok, so what’s wrong with that? First, are you telling me that the governments of the planet Earth would allow that to ever happen? You’re telling me, that they wouldn’t’ keep a firm grip over the happenings on the most important event in Human history? Also why, when the Vers empire was created, did the people in the empire begin wearing clothing from the late 19th century. I’ve looked up thousands real life photos to compare the costume design. Seriously, it’s because the people who wrote the story and designed the world thought it would be cool, no other reason. Count Claudius from Mars. We’re gonna’ go back in time! Anyway, several years before the series begins, the “new” humans on Mars and the “old” humans on Earth duke it out. Only, they really don’t. What’s important to know is that the moon explodes in an catastrophic event. There’s a cease fire, but the Vers empire continue to orbit the Earth in their landing castles. As the series opens, we follow Princess Asseylum of the Vers, descend to Earth for a peace conference. However, not all the Martians want peace, and a bad-element uses the Princess to start the war back up, with maximum escalation in mind. Ok, now comes the fun part. We’re introduced to Inaho and his high school friends. When things begin to go bad, this group of high school students become the masters of the universe. All the adults, I’m thinking people over the age of 18, are almost entirely useless. But if you’re under the age of 18, and wear a school uniform, you can do anything. The sky isn’t even the limit. Vers in the satellite belt biding their time. The Vers political stuff continues, and towards the second half of the series, the plot starts to pick up. Prior to that, the show is episodic with its Vers villain-of-the-week-type-format. That’s really it. The main group of Earthlings fight to survive, while certain characters are involved in the larger plots and attempt to establish peace. So, what’s my problem with that. Well, I could literally go from episode to episode and explain all the plain stupid, entirely convenient and obviously illogical things that take place on this show. From the combat, to how the characters act (and react), to — fuck — everything! I probably should spoil it, but I wont. Ok, I’ll spoil one minor fight scene, without specifics. So the bad guy comes down to fight the good guys, right? Ok, the villain, in his ship, lands (dropping from plane), on an aircraft carrier, that’s in the middle of the ocean. Hes defeated when he’s pulled over the edge and his shit explodes underwater. There’s two connected reasons why this happened, and those reasons cross paths over the course of the series. Complete and Utter incompetence. First, the Vers are the most idiotic, bungling, incompetent people in the history of mankind. Secondly, Inaho, un-emoting high school student and main character, is the most intelligent being in the multiverse, ever X infinity all time greatest boy you could possibly imagine forever. Basically the villains are so inept at doing anything. They’re the worst sort of antagonists in any fiction created anywhere in the world. In the European clothing, they're continually prone to make rash decisions, think they’re superior even though they’re living in the past and generally be idiotic hot-headed characters. Have you ever seen Death Note? Remember the struggle between an absolute mastermind and his adversary who with some supernatural assistance barely just gets the better of him?Aldnoah.Zero manages an 180 degree turn from that. Besides the story, which is all I care about, the show is ok at times, and awful at others. The characters are poorly drawn and remind me of the potato-headed children in Skyrim. I don’t know why, I haven’t played that in a long time. The animation is slightly better, but I will say this — which may be important to some of you — the robot suits, the landing castles and all the “cool little boy action figure stuff,” actually looks pretty good. I should defend that statement above. I have no problems with little boys, that’s not to say that I particularly like little boys, but you know what I mean. I mentioned this in an earlier review, but I have a friend who grew up with Gundam and other mecha anime. Through some conversation I learned quite a bit. But when he compared Aldnoah.Zero to Knights of Sidonia– well — I killed him. No, I’m a non-violent person. But, we debated that point. Yes the main character on Sidonia is a young boy, but there’s a reason why he’s a genius pilot. An awesome reason at that. There’s no reason why the young male main character on A.Z is a genius or can pilot a mech with hair trigger precision. The likely reason can only be this — that boys his age are the series’ target demographic. It’s true and you know it; this show is targeted at 15 year old boys. If you’re older than 15 you should be ashamed of yourself. If you’re under 15, grats for being so mature. Don’t get cocky. I’m off track and I apologize for that. So, the show is ok looking overall. And if all the above appeals to you (weird, but ok), the stuff that matters looks good, and feels good to watch. I should mention the several full-body female piloting shots and nude showering scene as noteworthy as well. It was completely exploitative, even to a 39 year-old who still loves ass, titties and occasional, but copious amounts of fan service. I don’t know what my point is here, but I know that Aldnoah.Zero doesn’t have fan service. It’s a serious show, for serious boys. The fun factor of the show is almost nil. It takes itself entirely too seriously, but has no problem showing crotch shots of the character who wears cut off shorts. I guess the following scene happened, so I could be wrong. I’m putting my kid-gloves on for my A.Z rating. Mostly because I realize that as a fan of the genre, you may have inherently gotten more out of this series than I have. Although, I’ve continually tried to imagine what that “more” is, to no avail. If there’s any deep messages, hidden meanings, or perhaps something I just don’t get feel free to explain the show’s mass appeal. As it stands, for the illogical setting that the creators built, along with the most convenient shitty ass story telling I’ve seen in years, and with its weekly predictability, I’m givingAldnoah.Zero a 2 out of 5. You’re probably asking, “why did you rate it so high?” That’s an excellent question and the only excuse I could make would be that it was because of my friend, who enjoys this kind of shit. He was completely sincere when telling me that he enjoys seeing kids suit up and pilot these mechs and fight enemies. The same kind of sincerity exhibited by innocent empty-headed newborn babies. That seems to have left me with two final thoughts. Well, three. First, I don’t like babies. Next, even though I don’t like babies, it’s not their fault that their brains aren’t as developed as adults. Lastly, and why this received a 2 instead of a 1, if your brain isn’t as developed as others and you make poopy time in your little boy pants, you may like this show. So here, have the 1 extra. Thanks for reading my A.Z recaps you one guy from Duluth!
I rated it 7/10 in story because I will actually recommend it to someone (a 6 for me means that I won't personally recommend it, even though I've watched it a few times). The story's definitely not perfect, but it's charming and unique in its own way, in a serious and prompt way, as is what most anime nowadays aren't. It's pretty difficult to explain, but the rivalry between the two of the major roles in the story certainly contributed to that score I gave for the story. Also, the ending was interesting in a way that it will give you mixed emotions, and contrasting opinions depending on what perspective you're viewing it. The action was good, the drama was good, and although the romance still has lots of potential for improvement, I similarly feel like the way their romance was depicted was a big part of the staying impression the anime gave me in the end; that if the way it was was modified into a different way, the anime wouldn't have the same effect on me. Although, I admit that it is frustrating. I gave a perfect score for the sound because the music absolutely deserve it. In the matter of characters, all I can say as of why I gave it 9 is that because the characters have so much raw potential.
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