Aldnoah.Zero – 14

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I don’t usually pay much attention to episode titles, but “The Beautiful and Damned” is pretty damned apropos. Beautiful, damned people are fighting for their respective beautiful, damned worlds.

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Let’s start with Inaho. His new eye (flawed though it still is), has greatly increased his ability to measure and assess situations and formulate tweaks to existing resources and strategy in realtime. It also allows him to determine not only that Inko has put on weight, but whose words are accompanied by a vocal “tell” indicating she’s not being entirely honest with him (due to her feelings for him).

Using Inko as a test subject for his new eye is a dick move, sure, but it’s Pure Inaho. Rayet rightly calls him a dick (well, an idiot, at least), but this is how Inaho flirts. He detects a similar tell in the “Princess Asseylum’s” speech. If he survives the war, he’d make a badass detective.

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To my relief, it turns out Asseylum is in a persistent coma, not intentionally imprisoned in that tube, which makes sense considering her injuries last season (I can see either she or Inaho surviving relatively unscathed, but both? Nah-ah). Eddelrittuo isn’t strictly allowed to see her, but Slaine’s a nice guy so he won’t tell anyone, and promises her the princess will wake up someday.

Listening from the other side of the heavy metal door (she must have really good ears) is Princess Lemrina, who doesn’t seem to like Slaine’s regular visits to Asseylum one bit. To the point she deactivates Tharsis’ Aldnoah drive just when Slaine is about to embark on a mission.

Slaine and Lemrina stand out among all the beautiful, damned people in the world of A/Z. Up to this point, many people were asking ‘Hey, where the heck did this chick come from?”…turns out, that was the point. All her life, Lemrina has been the ignored and forgotten princess; Asseylum’s sister by another mother; the Kato Megumi of the Vers Royal Family.

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No one ever had any cause to admire or love or even take notice of her, until Asseylum was out of the picture. Only then is she unique and indispensable to Count Saazbaum and Slaine. In this context, it’s perfectly understandable that we’ve never seen hide nor tail of her.

When she calls Slaine out on this bullshit, he’s ready, showing her he’s dealt with hardship and isolation as well (and still has the back scars to prove it), getting on one knee, and earning a kiss that gives him the power to activate Tharsis once by himself.

There’s so much good stuff going on in this exchange: Slaine is either being extremely manipulative or extremely sincere (or both), and Lemrina either totally believes him or is willing to let the display appease her. Regardless of whether either or both harbor deceit, the fact is they need one another: Lemrina wants to take over everything her sister once had, and Slaine needs his kat to move.

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Speaking of beautiful and damned, how ’bout that view of Earth from the Satellite Belt? I haven’t mentioned the fact that this week we get a space battle, and a damned good one, at that. The setup is simple: like two ships passing in the night, UE and Vers bases are about to cross paths along their orbits.

The largest UE space force since the very beginning of the war (which didn’t go well for Earth) has been amassed at Trident, while a similarly large force is making the trip to Marineros. When those forces meet, there are lovely fireworks, but the build-up is handled nicely, particularly the logistics of transporting Slaine, Saazbaum, and the Stygis Platoon where it needs to be.

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The tension also builds on the EU side, allowing Darzana to get another little dig in on her uncharacteristically nervous XO. Not surprisingly, Inaho isn’t the slightest bit flustered at the prospect of his first space battle. He simply floats over to his by now highly-modded but still orange trainer, steps into his office and gets to work.

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There are few backdrops to a space battle more attractive than the big ol’ Blue Marble itself, partially obscured by clusters of satellites, which we learn create a gravity gradient that must be compensated for in order for weapon shots to hit their targets (gravity gradient=”wind”).

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Inevitably, Orange and Bat encounter one another, but between Inaho’s mad skillz and Tharsis’ superior stats, neither Inaho nor Slaine are even able to land a love tap on the other. Their brief skirmish this week was a stalemate, but now Slaine knows Inaho is alive, and Inaho knows what’s become of Slaine.

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I don’t think I’m alone when I say I’d truly like to see these two not only at each others’ throats on the battlefield, but trading dry insults in person. We’ll see how and when the show decides to bring them back together in either setting, and when Chekhov’s Comatose Princess wakes up and puts the kibosh on both Saazbaum and Lemrina’s ambitions.

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Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

7 thoughts on “Aldnoah.Zero – 14”

  1. This ep was a bit better than the last ep(i went back to watch ep 1 again and realized the whole gravity gradient thing during my rewatch which made me realize that those dialogue about wind werent entirely stupid…not to mention they’re still around earth’s upper atmosphere i believe which is in turn causing this wind). Either way i still find the story-telling to be a bit bland…but certainly not as bad as it could be. Last ep was a hard pill to swallow, and it still is but if the narrative becomes something more interesting, the series can salvage itself. It still bothers me tho that only inaho is the competent one…that’s getting really boring.

    1. Yeah, Rayet missing and saying “we can’t hit anything in these conditions”, followed by Inaho swooping in and hitting the targets spot-on, was a little irritating, because for the second episode in a row he’s bailed out the female pilots. I know, he’s The Man, but he can’t do everything. Some balance would be welcome; maybe Inaho needing to be saved by one or both of them in the future?

  2. Fake princess is very perceptive. Everybody likes the cute blonde princess with a better personality more than her. And she rightfully sees that she is nothing more than a tool, a plot device. Man, I would be bitter too.

    Anyway, Team Slaine will win over Team Autism in the end. I guarantee it.

    1. ON one hand, it would almost seem like trolling to keep Asseylum in that coma, never to wake up at all, when they could have killed her off last season (indeed, in my review at the time, I thought they did). I say “almost” because there is value in keeping her in a coma.

      This episode made me understand and like Lemrina a lot more, but she only holds power as long as the impostor ruse holds (Inaho has already figured it out), and as long as Asseylum is out. As soon as she wakes up, she’s back to second fiddle…unless she openly opposes her sister, which is technically rebellion, but Lemrina has the support of Saazbaum and Asseylum. Alternatively, if she wakes up and Inaho & Co. save her, Asseylum may abdicate and join the Earth forces.

      In any case, I don’t know how things will shake out, but there are several satisfying possibilities rattling around in my head. I guess the outcome I want most is for A/Z to surprise me with something I hadn’t considered, yet not feel like it came suddenly out of left field.

  3. The earth military incompetence is reaching epical proportions. How come no one is able to even “land” a single hit? I mean, it’s ok that Inaho is the ace of the team, but for god’s sake HE IS THE ONLY CHOSEN ONE?! Give him a break writers!!

    And Slaine… You cowardly piece of s**t I can’t wait until you discover that autism KILLS :#

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