Aldnoah.Zero – 15

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As Captain Magbaredge and Inaho’s pre-battle match so subtly implies, this episode is a game of chess being played by Troyard Slaine, and his opponent doesn’t even know he’s playing until it’s too late.

The match is also a chance for Darzana to note just how valuable Inaho has become to Earth’s defense, now that he has the Aldnoah activation factor. Even so, she’s doesn’t feel it’s right to keep him away from battle.

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A couple of garden variety racist counts try to put Sir Slayne in his place, but Saazbaum stops them, going so far as to name Slaine his son. Sure, it sounds sudden, but he’s surely been thinking about this in the last ten months since Slaine came back to him, and the situation called for a gesture that would make any action the counts take against Slaine a act of war against Saazbaum, something they’re far to cowardly to try in the open.

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Now that Slaine has been named Saazbaum’s son an heir in the presence of witnesses both common and elite, his manservant Harklight congratulates this next step towards achieving his dreams, to which Slaine responds above. Sure you don’t, Slaine.

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With his new skills, Inaho isn’t just a hero. He’s become The Hero. With Vers’ overwhelming military superiority, if they lose him, they lose everything. Some have expressed frustration that Inaho and Only Inaho is the only one who can do much of anything, but that’s the natural result of the events.

Earth’s survival dangles by a thread, and he’s that thread, grabbing and clawing and maintaining his grip, finding every advantage and blind spot…yet as his quips indicate, the same old Inaho is still in there somewhere. Inko, Rayet, Calm and Nina are there to keep him grounded, but he’s always threatening to float out of their reach.

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Then the battle dawns (last week was just a glancing taste), and, well, A/Z has always been pretty unassailable when it comes to combat, and the orbital setting continues to dazzle. Here we see the UE kats protected (for a time) by energy-absorbing umbrellas, along with Inaho’s Space Tarzan-like use of swinging cables against the rocks to speed up his maneuvers.

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Still, Inaho’s out here to fight Slaine, as Slaine is apparently out here to fight Inaho. Inaho suspects Slaine is able to somehow see a hint of the near future in order to dodge attacks, so he tries to launch an attack he won’t be able to totally dodge in time But events force us to consider the possibility that Slaine allowed Inaho to hit him (an outcome that surprised even Inaho), so that Saazbaum would come to his son’s aid.

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He does, right on cue, aboard his new kat Dioscuria II, and suddenly Inaho is a bug being swatted at by a raging papa bear. When Inko flies in to offer relief, my heart sinks, warning A/Z “If you kill Inko here, I’m through with you”, but she obeys Inaho and stays put, which is wise, because Inaho gets Saazbaum into the precise position to be pelleted by high-speed debris he detected was incoming.

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What Inaho didn’t know is that the debris was a cloud of bullets, fired by Slaine in the Tharsis using the maximum extent of its time-bending ability. Originally a gambit meant for his face-off with Inaho, Slaine pivots and instead uses Inaho as a chess piece in order to cripple and destroy…Count Saazbaum.

The count might have shout “Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!”, if he weren’t simultaneously heartbroken and proud of how Slaine played him. Saazbaum, in his typical Versian arrogance, believed he’d won Slaine over, but Slaine wasn’t going to serve under the man who shot his princess a second longer than he needed to.

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As Inaho is busy becoming the Savior of Earth, Slaine ascends to the rank of count, vowing via broadcast to exterminate all remaining Earth resistance in the name of Princess Asseylum before slipping on the burgundy coat. Both lads have risen higher than ever…but even this only feels like one more step on a long road for Count Slaine. Those dreams he claims not to have: what are they, truly? And will Inaho be able to divine a way to stop him?

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Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

8 thoughts on “Aldnoah.Zero – 15”

    1. Seriously, if only we’d had a teensy-weensy taste of this coming, it would be a perfect ten. As is, it felt a little out of left field, and unearned, if not believable.

      Man, if only that first season closer wasn’t such a turd!

      1. I’m just glad Slaine is finally doing everything and anything to achieve his goal. Let justice be done through the heavens fall.

      2. I absolutely agree; it’s a back and forth thing going on for me with this series. I love the potential plenty of this plot developments have but then the execution falls flat and it leaves me indifferent. And in my opinion, inaho being the only person able to do anything against the martians would be fine if it added something to the narrative or nuance to how the characters behave, but it doesnt which is where my problem arises. It was a breath of fresh air though to see Inko finally step in and be adamant about helping inaho…and actually succeed in doing something to the enemy. Unfortuanately, ive been feeling death flags rise for her as of late (her love for her friend is going to get her into a situation she wont be able to simply brush off)

      3. (what is it with Google+, these days….somedays it works… somedays not… today is a “not” day)

        Well, if anything. It does explain the complete 180 degree turn in his apparent support for Saazbaum in the season opener.

        I was trying to wrap my head around how he could support the man who shot Asseylum, and it turns out he didn’t.

        He was just biding his time.

        I do support your assertion that this could have been made clearer, but the behavior does make some sense given Slaine’s devotion to Asseylum throughout S1. It also explains why Slaine shot Inaho as well.

        Quite simply, Slaine saw Asseylum’s friendship with Inaho as a threat (and rightly so). He was simply removing the competition.

        So it’s one down, one to go. And now there is this whole new sub-plot of Slaine possibly being some messiah-type to the downtrodden people of Vers.

        It will be an interesting path to take. Let’s hope the treatment is done right. My head is still spinning from all of the twists this show is throwing at us.

  1. Anyone notice “The Creation of Adam” in the ED?

    Team Slaine will win the Asseylum-Hime prize over Team Autism.

  2. I think its perfect they surprise us with Slaine’s cunning thinking. Its been 18 months, and we see clear as day Slaine’s hidden growth as character.

    He’s no longer conflicted or naive, as in finale of S1. Now he is determined and cunning, probably learning the art of manipulation from Saazbaum in the months he served him.

    Inaho now teases his friends more, and does more things against logic. He first refused to eat with Calm citing logical reason, then changed his mind to have tea, because he “might not get another chance”. All these subtle developments are easy to miss.

    1. It is a fantastic, operatic twist. I really was considering a 10 for this episode, but I want to see where this huge new development goes. This is the beginning of what could be masterpiece-worthy material, not the end, and a promising sign the second season will be trying to step out of its predecessor’s shadow after a rough (for many) start.

      You also make a great point about Inaho’s growth, which is indeed hard to quantify but definitely there, as soon as he reunites with Inko and Rayet. Yet he’s still fundamentally the same stoic, analytical, CALM protagonist. Much has been said about the writing of late, but to its credit, losing the princess hasn’t turned him into the angsty brat leads so common to the genre.

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