19 CommentsFirst Impressions / By Scamp /

Aldnoah Zero episode 1 – Terrible things happen to everyone

[HorribleSubs] Aldnoah Zero - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_22.01_[2014.07.06_23.02.46]After this episode, I have decided what I would like Butch Gen to do next is a ridiculous parody of his own writing style. There was a scene at the end of the episode where two little innocent kids saw shooting stars and wished that the world would have eternal peace. It just so happens that those shooting stars were giant machines of death with the intent of destroying the earth. It would only have been more hilariously tragic if one of the death machines had landed on their heads and killed them both instantly in stupidly gory fashion.

Aldnoah Zero is pretty similar to the classic Gundam story outline. One part of humanity emigrates to space, in this case going to Mars. Then generations pass and differences become pronounced until the two sides declare war on each other. It even has the Mars race setting up in the old feudal lords and ladies system, so toss in comparisons to Code Geass and Legend of the Galactic Heroes while you’re at it. Also there are giant robots. Almost forgot to mention that similarity too.

ALDNOAH ZERO - 01 - Large 16The writing in Aldnoah Zero doesn’t flow as normal character dialogue, but it also doesn’t feel like it’s supposed to. It’s a pretty common aspect of Butch Gen’s writing in that characters are there to represent ideals and themes rather than be people and that is reflected heavily in how they speak and what they say. The princess refers to earth as the ‘blue planet’, emphasising the difference in a purely visual, non-partisan way. The knight in charge of her ship refers to the human as a dog that he has to take responsibility for. I’m not quite sure what the word for that style of writing is, but it’s the style plays are often written in. It’s a theatrical, grandstandy sort of speech pattern. I do personally like it, although it does make the show feel distant which can be at odds when it’s trying to draw an emotional response rather than a pure story-interest response. It’s the same style Gen uses in Madoka, Fate/Zero and Psycho Pass.

I did enjoy the episode. It gets a little exposition heavy, but it works it into the characters conversations and through more general world building news reports. It never got into the “as you already know” style of awful exposition and sure wasn’t two men walking around in a circle talking at a dude who already knows all of this. By the end of the episode you understand the stakes, why there was a war, why the war stopped, why there’s a war now and everything that entails. I already have a bunch of theories going around in my head, such as how this war was deliberately started by the knights so they could settle their differences by fighting for earth between them. No idea whether the story will deliver on its promise, especially when they have mysteriously decided to make the main character the most boring berk imaginable, but we shall see on that front.

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19 Comments

  1. whemleh
    Posted July 6, 2014 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

    Take note that the guys who launched the missiles were speaking about years spent ‘laying low’, which certainly adds fuel to the thought that they were sleeper agents from MARS.

    I know what you mean about his characters always being themes, but I think this is the first Gen series where I actually engaged with them. The lead is fairly boring, but I found the scenes between Slaine and the princess pretty charming.

    Never commented here before, but I quite like this blog, so I look forward to hearing your thoughts as Aldnoah progresses.

  2. Amarrez
    Posted July 6, 2014 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    The main character is so boring and uninteresting (perhaps the word here is uninterested though) that I find him interesting. Just why does he seemingly not care at all? PTSD?

    Also, I guess they’re doing the whole VVV dual protagonist thing. I can dig it. Cream to the coffee, ham and eggs.

  3. BeeDee
    Posted July 7, 2014 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    I can’t stand watching another Gundam SEED.

    Down to the Princess, Slain Zala and Kira GiftedBlankSlateMaincharacter, they’re all in there, along with the plot being near identical, with the Gundam being hinted at by the end, just like it was in the first SEED episode.

    I could already see all the soap opera relationships these characters were going to have by the end of the episode, and expected some of them to die.

    Hell, I do not expect MainCharacter’s friends that were involved in the garbage “let’s explain how this world works and what the history of it is to the viewer” drive to school to make it by the third episode.

    Hope it’s better than what I prophecize it’ll be, but…

    but…

  4. bokusen
    Posted July 7, 2014 at 2:36 am | Permalink

    I tend to not watch mecha series, so I can’t compare it to much, but before the explosion it was about to put me to sleep. The characters seemed really dull, and the long info dumps lost me. There’s only so much explosions & the soundtrack can do to save a series.

    I’ll give it a few more episodes to see if it turns itself around, since I liked parts of Fate/Zero (which was also a slow starter), but I don’t have much hope that it will. Maybe I’m just not the right audience for this series.

  5. Someone Else
    Posted July 7, 2014 at 2:52 am | Permalink

    Are you going to cover this in your weekly reviews? I hope someone cover this

    • Andrew
      Posted July 7, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      Heh,did you notice the (military) time when the city got nuked? 20:05.

  6. aethelwolf
    Posted July 7, 2014 at 3:07 am | Permalink

    1. I’m going to keep watching this show solely based on the expression on the stonefaced Martian count’s face at minute mark 1:56 (when the count turns around, but keeps watching that Earth kid a half second longer). You could just *feel* the contempt in that look, and it’s proof that this anime understands the concept of “show, not tell.”

    2. The (schoolboy) main character’s personality seems to be…that he doesn’t have a personality. Interesting.

    3. Hooray for blowing up New Orleans! It’s nice to finally see a city in the US that isn’t Los Angeles, New York, or San Fransisco getting blasted to smithereens for once. Flyover country, represent!!

  7. Jaysus
    Posted July 7, 2014 at 3:59 am | Permalink

    I was so hoping that those two kids would get butchered at the end. Sadly, it didn’t happen……………… yet.

  8. T1g
    Posted July 7, 2014 at 4:03 am | Permalink

    has it been confirmed that he is writing everything? because i have been worried about that. I liked this episode though

  9. Shadow
    Posted July 7, 2014 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    This series has Nobunaga the Fool’s same issue. Way too many characters. The more villains are added the more it will feel rushed as fuck when they start dying left and right.

    It looks ok, i really do hope the series improves. The shows looks promising.

  10. Fifteenth
    Posted July 7, 2014 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    I’ve always want to give Mecha anime a try but never get past first episode before I lost interest. Aldnoah Zero is a perfect chance for me because I’m a biased fan of Takako Shimura that I’m willingly pause to read the exposition instead of skipping it.

  11. Erif
    Posted July 7, 2014 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    okay that’s great scamp no can you please get on to what everyone is really waiting for

    sailor moon

  12. lostsage
    Posted July 7, 2014 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Why did the show even pretend like the princess is dead? Direct hit with a missile while not facing the camera after some hand-waving about Martian powers? Yeah 0% chance

    • T1g
      Posted July 7, 2014 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      Do you have a theory on how she survived a missile strike?

      • Shadow
        Posted July 8, 2014 at 2:47 am | Permalink

        We do not even know if that girl is really the princess. We never saw her face. And based on real life. Royalty has been known for having doubles in case stuff like that happens.

      • T1g
        Posted July 8, 2014 at 3:50 am | Permalink

        fair enough, i just wanted something other than “i am sure that a human being can survive a missile strike”

  13. Canary Paint
    Posted July 7, 2014 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Just watched it… Sticking with it… As for a boring lead character, I guess he was so unremarkable that I did not even notice who he was. Not really kidding here… Who is the lead character supposed to be?

    • Outcast
      Posted July 9, 2014 at 3:13 am | Permalink

      Japanese Cypher Raige?

  14. Posted June 17, 2015 at 4:38 am | Permalink

    Thank a lot for sharing details.

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