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.
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!
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