Aldnoah.Zero Episode 5 Notes – Honour’s Only Useful for Dying

Greek Tragedy in the making! You can check out my outline of the “dilemmas” the various characters are facing from last episode’s discussion. That seems to be the real source of tension and interest to me, right now. Not the tensions between the nations and factions, but how it will force characters to question their own beliefs and situations.

But yes, increasing the tension from without certainly brings the pressure cooker of change to boil – with how Marito is told, recognized, or accused of having wounds from 15 years ago, Rayet who is akin to Asseylum, in that her situation would be dire if the truth were to be revealed, and speaking of truth – poor Slaine, who must get the work done, which would require telling the truth he cannot speak.

Thoughts and Notes:

Screenshot album.

1) The Present is But Glorious Remnants of the Past:

Aldnoah.Zero anime episode 5 notes - Slaine Troyard and Princess Asseylum meet

1) This show is really pretty, isn’t it? When I look back at how many screenshots I take, when there are so many, and it’s not due to funny reaction faces (Barakamon!), then it’s usually due to being very pretty, or having a lot of lines that are “obviously important”. Aldnoah.Zero has some of both. Pretty and interesting architecture.

2) Ah, see, this is such a lovely shot. Aside from the fact that it makes me think of Neon Genesis Evangelion (entry plug, is that you?), there’s also the cold light of day from outside, though it’s a lie, since we’re on Mars. It’s like an angel meeting a mortal – but who’s the angel? The blonde girl saving the man drowning in oxygen, or the man who came from the skies? How about both? Both of them might see the other as an angel from an alien culture.

3) Speaking of alien culture, I’ve read the promotional material. So they are just humans, who came upon great technology. The way Cruhteo and the rest look down upon the “earthlings” isn’t really justified. Then again, our real world is full of such cases.

4) The grandfather, eh? In promotional material that simply wasn’t translated for us, we learn he actually came from Earth. He was a scientist. “The Royal Blood”? Maybe they imprinted the technological miracle somehow, but there’s nothing special about their blood – he’s a regular human. He also abdicated the throne, but reclaimed it when his son died.

5) Such pretty shots, when he speaks with his underling. “Yes, there is war, but what do they stand to gain from it? Is it possible it was done by people not affiliated with the regime, and thus they aren’t to be blamed for it?” – He clearly doesn’t want this violence, and more than that, he’s willing to consider the situation and the underlying reasons behind it from the perspective of the other side. You know which other character he’s most similar to in the show? Inaho. Don’t forget, he’s just been informed of his only remaining heir, his granddaughter, having been assassinated.

Also, “It’s possible the United Earth government carried out the assassination under the guise of a terrorist attack”? You don’t say!

2) Of Teachers and Students:

Aldnoah.Zero anime episode 5 notes - Nina Klein is afraid

1) I thought Saazbaum asked of Trillram because he’s a potential loose end, but he did worry about him – well, still a loose end that’s tied up.

2) “You dare say I was unharmed? My honour has been tarnished!” – I suspect these people will not take kindly to the Emperor’s envoy informing them they can no longer “distinguish themselves in battle”.

3) “Of course we’re not going to send you to battle, we’re just covering our bases.” – And Nina understandsperfectly, that they will not be sent to battle, but there’s a chance they’ll be thrust into it anyway, simply because everyone else, well, will be dead.

4) I’m with Inaho on this one. What good are medals for anyway? You often get them posthumously. And if not, they’re mostly there for others to be excited about. Marito also has a point – while medals are “Glorious”, as the Orbital Knights know, glory means battle, which means death is involved, or at least the risk of it.

5) “Instructor? Does this look like a school to you?” – And then Inaho fucking salutes. Of course, he stops saluting without getting a salute back, and he’s not a soldier so he shouldn’t be saluting anyway.

3) “Wartime Honour” is a Bad Joke:

Aldnoah.Zero anime episode 5 notes - Kouichirou Marito feels guilty for surviving

1) “Dying for honour isn’t so bad, because it’s hard to survive and live in misery.” – What a grim outlook. He is the one living in misery, seen from drinking himself senseless in the first episode, and crying last episode. “Honour is all you can be rewarded with, in war,” that is, if you die. And it’s hard to think of one’s life which one risked as a “reward”.

2) “I can’t say that I appreciate you shattering those kids’ illusions, Lieutenant.” – This doctor is Marito’s drinking buddy from the first episode. The nature of hopes and false hopes is their common discussion topic. They joke about “trust”, but this sort of ease with one another, in regards to distance, speaks of trust, or really being comfortable around one another. I actually thought they’d hug or something.

3) There is no escaping one’s past, and one’s decisions. Dilemmas, greek tragedies hinge on people who must remain true to their nature, until it damns them.

4) Such a declaration of “peace”, “Even as we feel shame for our shared ancestry with you.” Oh my.

5) “Over our heads? Without consulting us?!” – Dude, he’s the emperor, and you serve him. He doesn’t have to consult you. Also, did you consult him before starting this war? You can’t have it all one-sided then cry foul when someone else does.

6) Such trust! “Infiltrate Castle Cruhteo,” then again, when you’re a schemer, your starting position already is one of mistrust.

4) Cool Shit, Bro:

Aldnoah.Zero anime episode 5 notes - Cool action sequence

1) “Pathetic!” this Knight said to Slaine when he thought he wished to hunt for glory, and yet here he is – trying to redeem his honour, and break his own Emperor’s armistice. Then again, he might agree that he himself is pathetic, which is why he needs to obtain more honour.

2) Two Swords! More pretty shots. Marito is still haunted by his past, so will a new hero appear, someone like Inaho? :P

“Where are my pajamas?” – Inaho pls. Though he has a point, injured or half-trained, it’s not full capacity either way.

3) Inaho, always made to look like a genius, but just like last week – the “solution” is pulled out of nowhere, there is no foreshadowing, and it feels like magic. First time we hear of this “reactive armour”, first time we hear of how the explosions will disperse the blades’ plasma. Yes, yes, he’s so cool and smart, but the show isn’t really selling it, and it comes across as, “The MC is OP” instead.

4) “Backpack dumped. Bailing out.” Just as the first time, he clearly announces each move he’s using. It’s as if Inaho is still training. And when you train after all, there’s no cause for excitement, right? Though I can tell you, there’s adrenaline even when you merely train with firearms.

5) “What happened?!” and Inaho explains, is it to himself, to the watchers, or via his communication device to the ship?

And we’re back to the quips about Magbaredge’s second’s dating life. This show is quite aggressive with tonal shifts. Is it a case of the characters trying to relieve pressure, or going for that “cool” and witty air?

5) Matters Escalate:

Aldnoah.Zero anime episode 5 notes - Emperor Rayregalia Vers Rayvers renews his declaration of war

1) Why did Rayet go and fetch Inaho first? She understands he is her best chance, for both survival, and revenge. Support the enemy of your enemy, especially if he’s a Lelouch-class “mastermind”.

2) “He who speaks first, is heard last,” eh? Saazbaum accused Slaine of deceiving the Emperor before Slaine came to the Emperor, so Slaine’s words were filtered via the lens of distrust. But I think the Emperor knows what he’s doing – he sent an envoy to uncover the truth. There is no need to do anything until he has more information, is there? Though Saazbaum now knows Asseylum is alive.

Scratch that, it’s war again. But why? Should’ve at least checked how things are. What do you stand to lose?

Also, green and red, this combination of colours in anime often speaks of corruption, of things going downhill, and death. The Emperor is old, and death is everywhere right now.

3) “Ironic”, and he didn’t mean in the sense that in trying to stop the conspirators he helped them. Now we’re given some hint about Slaine’s father (or mother, or grandparent).

Post Episode Thoughts:

Aldnoah.Zero anime episode 5 notes - Kouichirou Marito kills the students' hopes

Overall, another fine episode, though again, things are mostly progressing on the plot-level. Ok, I’ll correct that, things are mostly happening on the plot-level. What “progress” did we have? The war was put on hold and then reinstated, so the only real change is that there might be a fact-checking mission, and that Slaine will now be a target for the schemers.

Inaho being calm and collected, ok, used to that. Him bringing the “Scientific Solutions” without them being really hinted upon is a bit of a deus ex machina. I have no real problem with the plasma swords and the steam explosions, but the reactive armour being there, no one using it, and how it’d interact with the plasma swords? But it’s only a minor annoyance.

We’ve kept going about Marito’s past, about how he feels, and that he feels it is his duty to burst the children’s hopes, lest they end up as he did, with regret in their hearts, unable to face the future. The talk of honour and life, that’s probably the most “important” thing this episode, because there wasn’t much else that mattered.

And yes, it had great shots, and great music, and more action. I’ve enjoyed the episode quite a bit. That doesn’t contradict my previous paragraph, as I appreciate shows on multiple layers that can be observed separately.

Return to the Aldnoah.Zero Episodic Notes page.

6 comments on “Aldnoah.Zero Episode 5 Notes – Honour’s Only Useful for Dying

  1. lifesongsoa says:

    Do they need to foreshadow solutions that are obviously based off real concepts? I don’t think so. Inaho isn’t working magic at all. He is just logically dealing with threats. The logic is easy enough to find in real science. It’s a sort of marriage between science fiction and science. The fiction part obviously needs to be explained, but the real science part is all the more impressive if it’s only mentioned in passing. The thing with Inaho’s solutions is that they are based off things someone paying attention in chemistry class with military training would probably know. Steam explosion on google The explosive armor is a real thing as well. I see someone else already provided a link a link for that above.

    I don’t think it is accurate to compare Inaho to Louche. Some people react really well under stress and that is what we have seen Inaho doing. Panic is not the only reaction people have to extreme stress. Hyper focus can also happen as a result of adrenaline and such a person will look calm and in control even though their body is exerting itself to the max. Look at the way doctors medicate ADHD if you need evidence for how this works. They stimulate the body in order to focus the mind. Inaho was shown to have his mind in the clouds before he went in combat mode. It seems pretty obvious to me that he is meant to be that kind of practical character and not a super genius. That was reinforced again by the way he didn’t care about being awarded medals and the way the people on the bridge saw him as a tool to be used. I don’t think there is any genuine attempt to sell us on Inaho as a genius. Actually I think the themes of the story rely on the fact that he’s not. He may seem like a genius to his classmates, but as far as he is concerned he is just being practical. That seems to be an important nuance the story is focused on.

    • Guy says:

      but the real science part is all the more impressive if it’s only mentioned in passing.

      That’s not the best way to handle narratives, sadly.

      The thing with Inaho’s solutions is that they are based off things someone paying attention in chemistry class with military training would probably know.

      I was in a “Scientific Class” in high school, I was in a Medic course in the army, where the general educational level of people is higher than in the army at large. That’s… a nice story. It’s not at all actually true. Trust me on this one.

      Louche

      Is this a combination of “Lelouch” and “Douche”, or just some misspelling? :D

      Inaho

      Inaho isn’t much of anything right now. And no, he doesn’t really display much feelings or care even in small moments, where it’s not “calm down to focus” on the matter at hand. See, you’re trying to give me reasons as to why he might be that way. That’s fine. Those will help make in-show logic, but what I’m talking about is the much bigger issue, as far as I’m concerned – how he is right now isn’t helping the narrative. Let’s say we have a character without feelings, as a hypothetical, alright? It might help the show make some great points, but at the same time, it might also harm the show as a narrative experience.

      Foreshadowing, technology, etc.

      Ok, first of all, I didn’t have much of an issue with the steam explosion, that’s something that makes sense once you think of it even a moment. My bigger issue came from the Reactive Armour.

      No, just referencing something and having it work is not good storytelling. They didn’t need to talk to us for 5 minutes about how Plasma Weapons work, about what Reactive Weapons are, about planning to use them, and how it’d work out, that’s another kind of terrible. But showing us the reactive armour for a second or two in the background, or some mention of how explosions could disrupt the plasma sword (and if so, why didn’t the bullets it exploded didn’t do so earlier), they’d have done a great deal to help.

      You can explain things after the fact, and in fact, many movies do, but it works better in one cohesive experience such as a movie, and it’s still harder to do it when it feels as if it came out of nowhere without proper build-up, the best “reveals” are what you go, “Ah ha! I had enough information to suspect it!” or where a rewatch feels richer. This is the case for Madoka Magica, or The Sixth Sense. When you rewatch this episode of Aldnoah.Zero, there’s nothing extra for you to go by. Unlike last episode where we saw the cranes and the shipping containers before they were used, and nothing was unique to Inaho.

      Here, we have to ask – why did they have reactive armour? Why did no one else use it? It came out of nowhere, and Inaho used it, and the explanation came after the fact. It’s not a big deal, I’m not terribly troubled by it, but it’s inelegant and clumsy, and is too much of a deus ex machina, or making too much of Inaho, when any other character could’ve done so as well.

      It’s not terrible, because it’s only a small part of the plot, but that’s exactly part of the point I’m making – using it in this manner is the biggest danger about not foreshadowing things properly, or at all, small resistances build up that you take what follows less seriously, and then call it “deus ex machina”, because it is.

      • Anonymous says:

        even if the HE rounds did disperse the blades, the explosion only dispersed the blade for a split second, which would have no real difference, the reactive armor explosion was much larger, and he was swinging his sword, by the time the plasma blade reformed, his sword would already have gone pass inaho, which is what inaho was betting on. IMO, i do not see the “MC is OP” and i dont understand those who do =/ all of these were foreshadowed 1 episode beforehand; key point for this fight being extremely hot plasma blades, which inaho took note of in episode 4

      • Anonymous says:

        rereading my older post i realized i sounded alot harsher than i originally intended >_< Dont get me wrong, i enjoy reading your episodic notes, the analysis in here are really good and well written, just voicing out/wondering about the "MC is OP" thing. The way its done so far seems fine to me, its alot better than the MC having legendary godly skills for unknown reasons or the likes.

      • lifesongsoa says:

        Is there an absolute rule on how to handle narratives? I think you may be missing the point by focusing on the way stories should be instead of what Aldnoah is actually doing. We may just disagree, but I’ll try to explain my perspective at least.

        I’ve always had a hard time with Lelouch’s name… >_> My fingers love to betray me.

        Inaho’s aloof nature was demonstrated in episode 1 and his emotions come out whenever he is dealing with his sister or talking to his friends. My explanation is a way to make sense of it, but it has been demonstrated either way. I think he is meant to be a smart character, but I don’t think he is meant to be a genius on the level of creating magical happenings. Really I don’t think he is the primary focus of the narrative, so far it’s been the Martian. There is an initial sense of awe in the way he deals with things sure, but all the information we need is at our fingertips for making sense out of it. What we have seen of Inaho’s personality is cool, practical and somewhat aloof. He is smart, but that isn’t the focus of the narrative. I don’t really need to have his personality explained in detail. The way he is protective of/worried about his older sister is enough for me to understand that he isn’t emotionless.

        It may be accurate to call Inaho’s reactive armor a “deus ex machina” if we focus on the fact that it wasn’t explained before hand, but so what? It gives the show a sense of nerdy logic that is fun to follow and makes sense without needing to be foreshadowed. Sure maybe some of the audience are rejecting it because they don’t know about military equipment and think it was BS, but that seems silly to me. Such a person either thinks too highly of their own knowledge or is oversensitive about their critical ability I think. I didn’t know if such a thing was real or not at first. I questioned if it was sensible, but I didn’t reject it. As it turns out it was sensible. The unpredictability of it adds to the excitement. It’s unpredictable exactly because it is unexplained. If they had explained that his unit had reactive armor it easily could have ruined the flow of events and made the focus on Inaho instead of how terrifying the Martian attacker was.

        As far as Inaho’s knowledge goes I just don’t think his character is that much of a stretch. Obviously I don’t know your military training, but I’m not really all that worried about real world authority. Knowing that his trainer has reactive armor or the way steam explosions work all seems plausible enough to me in universe. Inaho is obvious a nerd regardless of how brilliant he is. Would everyone know those things? Probably not, but is it a stretch for someone to know those things? I don’t think so. Again I don’t really need Inaho’s personality explained. They are doing enough to demonstrate it while giving us enough hints to piece together his concerns. I think he is interesting to think about because he isn’t spelled out in detail.

        I think the trainer was supposedly equipped with reactive armor the entire time? I don’t feel like going back through the show to check for visual differences or references to it. I don’t think that is really important either way. I don’t really care if there are secrets hidden for a re-watch or not. Those secrets have no impact on my initial viewing regardless. Being blind makes events more exciting to watch play out and helps prop up the Martians as something truly terrifying. Sure if they wanted to sell Inaho as a genius they should foreshadow his actions and give us a sense of fulfillment from knowing how things are working, but that isn’t what I see the narrative doing. Instead the focus is on survival from an insane threat.

        Each time we see the Martians attack they start terminating people with extreme prejudice. Instead of focusing on Inaho as a genius the focus is on the monstrous technology of the Martians. Explaining Inaho’s logic in any detail would undermine that and make it about him. I think both are a valid approach, but I appreciate the way it is happening in Aldnoah.Zero. I can say that the overpowering nature of the Martians was my initial impression. The Martians are terrifying because we don’t know how to take them down. Inaho can take them down in large part because they underestimate humanity. The narrative doesn’t really need to explain that point in my opinion, it’s demonstrating it clearly enough with the actions of the Martian people.

        I think there is a good chance that the focus will start to shift as the show goes on and that Inaho will get more of it, but I don’t think that has happened yet. So far the show has been selling us on how terrifying the Martians are. Depending on how things go with Slaine I could easily see that change. Especially if Inaho somehow gets an Aldnoah drive. I’m not sure if I want to see that happen or not.

        There is a degree of difference between the shipping crates and the reactive armor. Shipping crates were great in the sense that they added depth to the event. They do that the first time through the episode. I don’t need a re-watch for the shipping crates to be an important part of immersion. Pulling a shipping crate out of your ass would be a far bigger deal than the trainer with reactive armor I think. One has a dramatic effect on the choreography of the event, the other does not.

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