Aldnoah.Zero Episode 2 Notes – Past Ambitions Murder the Future

(Note: Episodic notes are still mostly to be found on the Episodics Notes’ page, but up to a couple every week will have their write-up appear on the main page, when I think they warrant it. For those who don’t know, I take the notes as I watch the episode, and merely re-order them afterwards.)

So, last episode ended with the Princess dying, but seeing as she’s on the key-art, I think it’s not the last we’ve heard of her. Plot-wise, it was the usual “Status quo? Not anymore!” with pride coming before the fall (literally!) as the Martial Moon Knights (hee hee) make Earthfall, and the kids with rubbish in their head will have to fight them, or try to live? Anyway, what really mattered last episode was the dream for the future, and the sins of the adults. Let’s see where we go from here.

Going to get more concentrated “paragraph” notes.

Screenshot Album.

Thoughts and Notes:

1) Subjugation Porn:

Aldnoah.Zero anime episode 2 notes - Superior Martian Mecha

1) Humanity’s plan is a sad one, but a realistic one – The Martian Moon Knights’ plan is “brutally simple”, to land and both decimate the opponents, and then use it as their beachhead. Humanity knows they can’t stop them, and that lives will be lost, so the plan at that point is to rob them of the ability to disembark. Caught on the ground? Sucks to be you.

2) The landing castle looks as if it’s something that could never cross the atmosphere, that it’d burn up during entry, which shows how advanced the Martian “magic-Technology” is. It’s a flower that blooms death and destruction. But unlike their appearances, the Martians know the first part of war is to blind the enemy, sow confusion, and take out the communication.

3) “Subjugation porn”. Last episode the lieutenant said how teaching the children how to fight, giving them the impression mankind can stand against the Martians is a lie, and now we see the truth of it, how a single Martian mecha decimates entire fighter and mecha squadrons, and then annihilates a city in an instant. This is to drive home how utterly incapable humans, or at least adults are. As always, it’ll all be up to the teenagers of the (anime) world.

Kill all humans in an instant, offer them the option to swear allegiance, or show to them their armaments are useless. Many methods to showcase the Martian superiority, and the different mindsets of the various hosts. The Martian Knights aren’t even dressed as soldiers within their cockpits, but as officers from the 19th century, ready for a tea-party.

2) Speaking of Trivialities:

Aldnoah.Zero anime episode 2 notes - Kakizuka Inaho is oblivious

1) Cruhteo’s aid sees this whole thing as done, speaking of pinning the flag where the princess was killed, and now wishing “the honour” of securing the landing zone. Well, they said so last episode – it’s all about gaining the honour of the conquerors to them.

2) Chit-chat, even when life ends, life never ends, eh? It’s not real to them just yet, perhaps? Seeing the rockets from range zero is not the same as losing someone they know personally. Also, everyone’s put in the reserves once they graduate. “Fun”.

3) Inaho is probably our main character, is he an airhead? Does he simply not care? I wonder. “Oh, right, I could’ve evacuated with everyone else.” Instead he’s cooking.

4) “Meaning no disrespect, but may I ask you a few questions while I’ve got you pinned down with your face in the dirt?” – That’s not courtesy, that’s rude, adding insult to injury. Then again, as a royal handmaiden (assuming that’s not the princess herself), I guess courtesy was drilled bone-deep, rather than common sense.

5) Of course, the girl who died was a stand-in, how… Star Wars, or quite a few other stories.

6) “Slaine Troyard” is our other male main character? Troyard, a trojan horse? One who goes to war for the prettiest of them all? Oh, the possibilities!

3) Living Dangerously with Caricature Villains:

Aldnoah.Zero anime episode 2 notes - Trillram is a caricature villain

1) Remember how I spoke of “close and personal” earlier? Inaho’s sister is fighting for her students’ lives, including her own brother’s. And if something happens to her, it’s to someone all of the students, and especially Inaho, know personally.

2) “Joys of the battlefield.” A glory-hound, and so annoying to boot. Of course, it’s intentional, not giving him a gravity and seriousness of presence. We’re not supposed to take his kind seriously. Or rather, we should look down upon him, who does not respect lives, and his opponents and allies.

3) Modern fighter jets don’t look like doves, but in comparison, it’s as if a huge-ass killer whale is going after a small seagull.

4) That jerk then kills the one he’s behind last, and destroys his wing first, to let him taste fear, before ramming into him physicallyHe’s almost a comical overbearing villain.

4) Building A Shitty Future:

Aldnoah.Zero anime episode 2 notes - Selfish conspirator adults

1) And as many people suspected, those who killed the princess, or thought they did, were actually Martians. They were looking for a casus belli, an excuse to start a war. But that also means, that should the Princess find Martians to declare to that she’s still alive, they may yet turn on her and kill her, again, to make sure the quest for glory can continue unabated. The question is whether it’s only Trillram, or whether Crutheo is in on this as well. I suspect Cruhteo is a jerk, but obeys his sort of honour.

Poor child, seeing adults aren’t to be trusted. Seeing the death of the future in the callous hands of the past.

2) Trillram is a child swatting bugs away, who only then realize they are indeed bugs. Only those who went to save the civilian will survive, getting away from the carnage. Awesome music.

3) “Die with cowardice, or die with useless honour. That’s not a noble or meaningful choice.” – You can hear Urobuchi speaking here. But you can also hear Trillram condemning himself. “Honour” is meaningless here. Especially since you’re going to win anyway.

5) The Sensibilities of Youth:

Aldnoah.Zero anime episode 2 notes - Kakizuka Inaho loses a friend

1) Inoha, I’m pretty sure he knows his sister’s going to die, and with one more glance, he leaves her behind.

2) The old man, as all adults in anime, ran away, and now it’s up to the children to save themselves, and the half-adult they can trust.

3) “Need a hand?” – I burst laughing out loud. That’s such a B-movie or action film one liner! What a cartoonish villain. Rotten and sadistic to the core.

4) Now it’s a personal loss, one that happened in his immediate presence, and for which he can “blame” himself. How will Inaho react?

“Now it’s our time to fight, against an enemy that seems superior, after the lieutenant tells us not to be heroes! We will show them!” Yeah…

This episode we can see the OP – yeah, it reminds me even more of Madoka – Yuki Kajiura and Kalafina, but of course. Art-wise, we see the humans and martians compared and contrasted, war and peace, and war even comes to peace (martian princess with the gun). I liked how we see the Earthling walking and then the mecha. It’s as if we’re seeing the OP of any Sunrise mecha show out there, even with “The Girl” :P

ED – Quiet and nothing special. Spells out that the girl who knows martial arts is princess Asseylum, in case any of you somehow missed that… The watercolour artstyle is lovely.

Post Episode Thoughts:

Aldnoah.Zero anime episode 2 notes - Kakizuka Inaho is ready to fight

This episode had great animation, even better music, and at least one moment where I laughed out loud. That’s a win, right? Well, even as it was an enjoyable episode, one which focused on “plot” – giving us not just antagonists, which would be the entire Martian Knighthood, it had actually given us a villain, a comical and over-the-top sadistic dude who wants glory, betrays his allies who do his dirty job for him, sacrifices others to advance, and wishes for their fear before their death.

Villains don’t make for good shows. They make for shows we can invest in, as we can empathize with wanting to defeat them, but they’re not nearly as interesting as antagonists we can identify with, and don’t add as much to a good story.

The real issue with this episode is that it felt… wasteful. In terms of plot, what we had here was what was important: We find out the princess is alive, our MC gets reason to fight and decides to actually do so, and we see that the earthlings are in the right, and dickish glory-hounds from the Martians orchestrated this whole thing. It also opens the way for “Good Martians”, who truly thought the humans are to blame.

But in terms of themes, the villainous Trillram, aside from being annoying to watch, took up too much time. We could understand how he works after 20 seconds, yet we saw him for about ten times that. We could understand humanity is outmatched, but that kept being hammered at us.

All of this leads to our MC’s actions just being… bizarre. He appeared to be calm and collected, and yet now he disobeys orders to go after the enemy. Of course, that means he has a plan! The inability of the adults only for the teenagers to swoop in and save the day is such an anime-trope. I wish it weren’t necessary. Thus far we don’t see any magical powers that make the kids different.

If I look at it more… cynically, then this is the “payoff” of last episode. The Lieutenant complained about how the kids’ heads are filled with the idea that they can fight back, so now they think they can, and march off to their death. I’d be surprised if that’s how it turns out though. Still got quite a few episodes this MC needs to be in.

Return to the Aldnoah.Zero Episodic Notes page.

5 comments on “Aldnoah.Zero Episode 2 Notes – Past Ambitions Murder the Future

  1. FlameStrike says:

    Nice summary. Although I think the MC is NOT disobeying orders. Wasn’t he ordered to be a diversion? Or maybe I misread it and it was actually the opposite. I can’t wait to see how they’ll do anything to the invincible Martian mecha. I’m guessing there’s a time limit on that barrier, otherwise he wouldn’t have stopped chasing them because of a mere tunnel.

    • Guy says:

      Diversion, but he’s saying he’s going to fight.

      And he’s not exactly a soldier anyway. I think this is the time for MC-kun to be MC-kun, or for Princess Asseylum to somehow intervene and obviate that.

      And I suspect it’s not an issue of time-limit on Trillram’s barrier, but that he was sent to Earth to accomplish something within a certain time limit, and his allies would suspect him if he were to run around. He’s still a soldier sent to carry out a mission.

  2. firemagnet says:

    ““Honour” is meaningless here. Especially since you’re going to win anyway.”
    Which takes away any concept of glory whatsoever. Glory is won in that you defeated a worthy opponent. This episode came as no surprise to me whatsoever, and left me completely disappointed; the first episode was a blatant false flag attack, and this episode wasn’t even about the “glory” it’s about making war to confirm your own biases and religious beliefs. Think the crusades, but worse. Beyond the initial severing of communications, which seems pointless given the energy shields and the glory-hounding, the whole summary of the episode can be boiled down to: “martians piloting particle-shielded steamrollers.” Disgusting. At least the villains of the series are now worthy of Nuremberg-style war-crimes trials. Which I want to see:

    “[insert villain names here], under the codices of the Geneva Convention, you are guilty of:
    37 counts of conspiracy to assassinate a head of state,
    two counts of conspiracy to conduct aggressive war, a crime against peace
    –conspiracy to deprive the citizens of the earth of their sovereignty, based upon patently false religious conviction
    –conspiracy to deprive the citizens of earth of their independence, based upon the same

    Four counts of major war crimes, which will be enumerated here:
    –2.3 billion charges of murder in the first degree, given that the destruction of the moon was a deliberate part of this extant plan to wage war upon the Earth
    –37 charges of conspiracy to commit genocide, as evidence shows that, based upon your religious creed, the war consisted in no small part of a deliberate plot to deprive the citizens of earth of shelter, sustenance and life should they fail to submit to your rule.
    –one charge of impressing a citizen of earth, against his will, into your armed forces
    –numberless counts of deliberate conspiracy to enslave the various peoples of earth.
    Enumerating all these would take time, and we will not give you time, just as you did not see fit to give the citizenry of earth time; you did not investigate, for all matters served the singular purpose of launching your “just crusade.” For those knights who stayed in orbit, your punishment will be to live amongst the society of “primitives” you attempted to destroy. However, the punishment for those who were directly involved in the genocide that took place in the beginning of the war is more final. Cruhteo, as the leader of these forces that attempted to exterminate humand-kind on earth based upon nothing more than religious conviction, you and your co-conspirator knights who attempted to re-impose ancient tyranny upon the democratic nations of earth will be executed by being burned at the stake; primitive even by Earth’s standards, but more than fitting considering the billions of innocents you condemned to die by fire. God will have no mercy upon your souls, and your names will go down in more infamy than even Adolf Hitler.”

    “I’m guessing there’s a time limit on that barrier, otherwise he wouldn’t have stopped chasing them because of a mere tunnel.”
    Most Probably, that or–given how the energy shields appear to work–they can only absorb mass equivalent to the mass of the mech they’re shielding.

  3. Artemis says:

    This show looks and sounds great – after Terror in Resonance, I’d say it’s visually and aurally the best series of the season – but I admit I was a little bored with episode 2. It didn’t really do anything that had me shaking my head and frowning at the screen, but I think it was also lacking a bit in the intrigue department. A part of that’s probably due to our villain getting far more screen time than was warranted, as you point out here, but I feel like there’s another piece to the show as a whole that’s still conspicuously missing… even if I’m not exactly sure what that is just yet.

    • Guy says:

      I still can’t get over them naming it “Terror in Resonance” and not “Terror of Resonance”.

      I think episode 3 will be the final “Setup episode”, and then we’ll finally get movement. I hope. We’ll see…

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