My (lovely) wife and I watch a lot of anime, but we don’t watch every anime. Honestly, I think we try but dammit, those Japanese pump it out like nobodies business. As such, we miss certain shows here and there. Aldnoah.Zero was one of those shows! Literally, we found this series on Crunchyroll days before season 2 was to release. We powered through it in about two days and enjoyed it throughly!
In the 1970’s, a hypergate of some kind was discovered on the surface of the moon. Human used said hypergate to travel to the Mars and colonize it. As the colony explores, they stumble upon an ancient power from an ancient Martian civilization. The colonists claim the power for themselves and establish the Vers empire. The Vers empire later declares war on earth and in 1999, a battle on the moon results in the hypergate shattering along with half the moon. The result of this that junks of the moon form a belt around the earth. The Vers, cut off from the earth as a result, establish a number of spacestation-like-castles within the moon belt and sign a ceasefire with earth. In 2014, a Vers princess venturing to earth on a goodwill mission is assassinated and the Vers knights armed with uber-mechs powered by the ancient technology (referred to as the Aldnoah Drive) begin their attack on earth.
You find out, very quickly however, that the princess has survived the attack and that the it was really an attack orchestrated by the Vers knights to bring war. They care not for the princess’ life and even attempt to kill her so that their plans won’t be discovered.
The beginning of the series is extremely dark. The same way Attack on Titan provides you with a sense of hopelessness, so too does Aldnoah.Zero. Both the humans and the Vers have mech battle suits, but the Vers mechs are just way way better. They have different abilities from one Mech to another, from having dimensional barriers that absorb everything to having plasma blades that cut through basically anything. Human mechs are just inferior and, generally speaking, for every one Vers mech that is destroyed, like 50+ human ones are killed…. Quite literally, by the end of season one only about a third of the earths population is around.
The main character is a Kirito-esque type who is amazingly badass and generally unstoppable. A savior-type that can win in
situations in which other, veteran officers, get killed by the boat load. Inaho is a high school student that has been trained, like every kid as part of their school curicullum, on how to use and operate Mech suits. Inaho, unlike most of his friends, is very calm and levelheaded. He can usually analyze any situation and get to a positive outcome. He may not seem like it, but he has a strong sense of duty and wants to protect those around him.
The series does, I think, rely on him a little too much to solve every problem. It is fun to see, but after six to seven times it may get a little old… In season two he gets a bit upgraded with a bionic eye which he uses to be even more badass
The princess, I think, is a bit of an annoying character to me, at least early on. She came to earth on a peace-mission
turned to dust by her own people as they attempt an assassination. She missed, said attempt, because she was not properly accustomed to earth’s gravity and she fell ill. A stand-in died in her place. She disguises herself as a regular human and befriends Inaho and his companion. The reason I find her annoying at first is because it seems like every chance they are hit with ANY adversity, she comes to the same solution. “I will reveal my SECRET identity!” which finally stops when she realizes that neither side really cares if she is alive or dead. She gets shot at the end of season one and is in some sort of life-support tank in season two.
Being that she is of royal blood, however, her usefulness is two fold. One, she can activate Aldnoah drives, meaning that if her companions find a mech or ship that is powered by it, she can activate it for them (like they do in season one). The second part is merely assumed by me but, in theory, she should be able to bestow the power of Aldnoah on others the same way her grandfather did with the Vers knights allowing them to activate their own specific mehcs. Hopefully she will come out of her coma and help save us all!!
Slaine Troyard is a human that traveled to Mars and is saved by the princess. He basically becomes her tutor and loves the princess deeply. He is also mistreated by people of the Vers for being “human scum” and is constantly beaten lot a dog. He is loyal to a fault and thinks only of the princess’s safety. Even willing to kill when her life is in danger. He acts, at least toward season two, as Inaho’s counterpart and rival. He has similar natural and analytical abilities and they are generally on par in terms of skill and willpower. He later becomes Knighted by the very knight who orchestrated the attacks on earth. He fakes being loyal to him only to get revenge on the battlefield in the
name of the princess. He is generally likable but sometimes a bit creepy, he seems like both an enemy and an ally at times to earth and I am interested to see where his character goes as the series continues.
In general, this series is very good and enjoyable. That is coming from someone who is not generally a Mech-Suit fan. The only thing I dislike is the Vers empire and the knights as a whole. Honestly, they are just self-entitled and needy assholes. First, the Vers empire goes out and refuses to share their alien technology with earth and then act all superior. Then they get mad at earth for having an abundance of resources and not sharing them with the Vers. They also act as if they are superior to weak humans and that humans are just scum. Which is insane to be as it has only been like 40 years. Technically most of these people should still be considered human, not Vers… If it were a hundred years later, it would make sense but it just comes off as ridiculous and bitchy. But thats just a small point of annoyance and shouldn’t reflect negatively on the show as a whole!