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Aldnoah.Zero Review

Posted on the 17 April 2015 by Kaminomi @OrganizationASG
Aldnoah.Zero Review

At least there was one good joke in this show

  • So I, uh… really kind of took my time on this one. It’s like, what, several weeks late now? First I was really busy with my book stuff, and then really depressed, and then I was trying to catch up on all the hot new anime and just didn’t want to waste my time thinking about this dumb show anymore. But I guess I have to finish my review series at some point, so here we go. I’m going to try my best to get worked up about Aldnoah.Zero one last time.
  • Anyway… this show had a pretty solid start. And obviously when something starts out good, you always kind of want it to continue that way. Going into this season, I was optimistic that it would at the very least not be WORSE than the parts of the first season I didn’t really like, and would provide a decent enough conclusion to the plot to not make the whole thing feel like a waste. Having finished it, I can now say I was wrong to expect that. Aldnoah.Zero just really kind of sucked.
  • But for the first 3-6 episodes or so, it seemed like it could have been great. When we first saw Inaho take down Trillram – who, by the way, was an actual (one-dimensional) character as opposed to almost every other forgettable Martian they faced later – it was genuinely impressive and cool. But naturally you would assume that can’t last, right? Inaho can’t take down every enemy on his own. As the fights get tougher he’s going to have to rely more on his friends, or risky strategies like mind games with the enemy, or even just sheer luck, right? Nope, it turns out taking down literally every other Martian Kataphrakt was just a simple puzzle that everyone else was too stupid to solve. They’re not actual human enemies – they’re like video game bosses, except they only get progressively weaker for some reason. The fights just got so formulaic that they no longer felt necessary, since they provided no tension and served no real purpose beyond reminding us how great Inaho is. Ultimately the only thing that could pose a real problem for him was getting shot in the head by a character who basically came out of nowhere to switch sides, miraculously surviving, getting a fancy robotic eye to replace his missing one, and relying on that eye a bit too much. And I think that’s the difference between making your main character a compelling badass that you want to root for, and making him a big obnoxious Mary Sue that drags the whole story down.
  • I’ve said about all I need to regarding Slaine in previous posts – his motivations were dumb and poorly explained, he didn’t feel different enough from Saazbaum, etc. He was a more interesting character than Inaho, just by virtue of the fact that he changed at all, but he still just… really sucked, especially as a villain. He wasn’t very sympathetic, at least in the second season, yet at the same time he never felt SCARY either aside from the obvious fact that he was doing bad things. I kind of liked his fate in the end, though – if only because for the first time, it felt like there was a bit more to his relationship with Inaho than just saying each other’s full names a bunch. Yeah, even the rivalry at the center of the story just wasn’t very interesting most of the time.
  • And then there’s Asseylum. I guess she finally got some agency in the end, which she was sorely lacking for most of the second season – but even then, all she really did to SAVE THE DAY was give a speech and decide to marry a guy she barely knew. I’m not necessarily saying I expected her to get in a mech and fight or something, but what actually happened just felt kind of underwhelming, both as her big moment and the resolution to the whole conflict.
  • Outside of the main three, there… really isn’t even much to say about the rest of the cast. Rayet was the only one who I can honestly say changed much at all – and she got all of her development in the first season, leaving her with very little to do in the second one. There were basically two types of secondary characters is Aldnoah.Zero – ones with potential that was never properly utilized, and literal nobodies who just happened to have names and vague, simplistic personalities.
  • All that said, I don’t quite think AZ was a complete trainwreck or anything. As I’ve said, it had a pretty strong start, and the final episode was at least better than I expected. The soundtrack stayed solid throughout, and so did the animation – although I did find the second season to be a bit more VISUALLY BLAND for reasons I’m not quite sure of. It’s not a terrible show, but I guess I still just… wouldn’t really recommend it to anyone?
  • I mean, I could definitely see people with lower standards than myself (of which there probably aren’t many) still finding the story interesting. I also have to wonder if marathoning it would help as opposed to watching it once a week – as I think I mentioned in the first post, I found that I was a bit less critical of the first season upon rewatching it than I was last summer while it was airing. But there’s still a whole lot of better stuff out there, so now that Aldnoah.Zero is done I just don’t see much reason for anyone to waste their time on it.

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