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