This show has slight pacing issues. It feels as if they want to reach the first half’s finale at a certain point, which requires slight padding. Last episode had solid action, but most of the content within it could’ve been covered in considerably less ground.
What did matter last week? Humanity now has the power of Aldnoah on their side with Princess Asseylum’s aid, and Inaho shot down Slaine. Here is me going through why Inaho shot down Slaine, and what their little dialogue meant(Section 4, “Inaho’s Choice”). I’ll probably not do a super long note-taking write-ups for this show from now on, but rather focus on scenes as a whole.
Thoughts and Notes:
1) Catching Up:
1) “Deucalion,” the son of Prometheus (he who gifted humanity with fire), he built an arc, an equivalent to Noah’s Arc. So this ship is the last hope of Earth, so to speak. A fitting name. Hidden for a rainy day, when a “rain” will pour to wash away all life on this planet, a rain of debris from the moon, a rain of Orbital Knights.
2) “I command you in the name of Asseylum vers Allusia!” – Oh man, that line should’ve been delivered withstrength, but it felt as if a mouse roared. Well, not all voice actors can do all voices. Regardless, Aldnoah drives are a great idea, the rank and file can’t betray the officers and steal the ships, because they can’t even fly them. And should your weapons fall into the hands of your enemies, as has happened here, they can’t be used against you.
Of course, that means that betrayals run even deeper. It means you gave someone the power to use your own powers against you. It means the only way your weapons could be used against you are in case of betrayal. But is that really any different from the normal feudal order? You give people arms and soldiers, which they could turn against you, and trust that they will not. This is merely a way to materialize that in objects.
2) On Ranks and Societies:
1) From a memory of being awakened by Asseylum’s kiss, a Martian who had shown care for a fellow human, to being awakened by being electrocuted. Quite a plight. But it’s for the sake of these memories that Slaine remains silent. Guess he didn’t get recovered by Inaho and the rest, poor boy.
I do wonder, why does Saazbaum keep him alive? He knows that Slaine knows the Princess is alive. Is it to see what else he knows, or to find out who the Princess is hiding with?
What I found to be most interesting in the scene is Cruhteo. He truly does think of Slaine as a dog, as a lowlife. He is not angry with him, because it’s useless, it’s like shouting at a dog for peeing in the kitchen. He thinks him incapable of higher thought, of loyalty, of being worth his anger and time.
2) Well, “Why did you neglect to tell me this information?” – “I’m a civilian, I’m not obligated to tell you anything.” – You can’t just force civilians to obey orders, or even soldiers. People obey because they choose to, in the end. And Inaho’s, “I chose to not tell you.” – Which doesn’t answer the question, you’re not answering the “why?” though it’s been answered anyway.
Not too fond of the little status games, with her constantly calling him, “The little brother” and his insistence on his name. But I’m not fond of it because I don’t like that sort of thing. It made sense. A reminder he’s a kid, and that his decisions don’t carry as much weight, and even his name isn’t worth remembering, so to speak.
3) Rayet’s little speech though was interesting. A super-advanced society, using an archaic form of society, and their technology is actually ancient. In a way, it all speaks of how far behind humanity as a whole is, the so-called “advanced new race” are actually using an old form of government, and the advanced technology beyond their reach was something created aeons ago.
More than that, talking about glory-hogs, and how people must prove themselves in combat to advance, some would say it’s not too different from capitalism, except here if you lose, you die. And if you “succeed”, all that gives you is the chance to send others to their deaths, or to go outside and kill more people on your own for glory.
And then the next scene brings us back to it, in the end, torture is primitive. It’s not really about the methods, it’s about the act, about the physical aspect of it. “They’re more effective for it.” Cruhteo understands that in the end we’re just animals, especially when you break down someone, for those on either side of the procedure.
3) The Small Moments:
1) Talk about an overt metaphor – humans and animals do not coexist, where there are plenty of humans, the animals and plantlife recede, only to return when humans are gone. But of course, the same can be said of Terrans and Martians. It sort of makes sense, what led to the original war was that Mars relied on resources from Earth, but Earth didn’t want to hand them over and charged high prices. We’re two groups of people competing for the same resources, rather than sharing for the benefit of both.
2) Slaine has a nice point here. These people are using the Princess’s death in order to crush her dream, how could they think of themselves as people on her side? It’s a similar situation here. When you die, your death will be used first and foremost by those who wish for more war, and harsher measures, and if your family says you only wished for peace, then because they cannot be accused of using their own family member’s memory illegitimately, they will be tossed aside, while those who will not forgive for the loss of a family member will be constantly interviewed whenever concessions for peace are mentioned.
It’s a nasty business, all around.
3) There were plenty of lovely shots during Inaho’s little chat with Asseylum. Too bad from that scene of calm we went once more to Slaine being tortured. Inaho heard Slaine’s name, didn’t he? So he now knows he might have made a mistake, perhaps. Yes, Slaine too knows how the Princess is exploited, in death as well.
“Thank you for saving me.” – “Just doing my job, it wasn’t in order to save you, but myself.” – “Even so, thank you.” – Well, and all the other kids just being silly. I’m not a huge fan of the rest of the kids, as characters, they’re not really characters as much as they make the point of hating Martians, or seeking glory, or just being a comic relief.
4) Down and Dirty:
1) Well, it should’ve been obvious why Slaine laughed, he laughed because it should’ve been obvious to him that Cruhteo isn’t one of the assassins, or is an actor, but perhaps his pain got to him. Cruhteo said, essentially, “There’s no reason to worry about the Aldnoah Drive being removed from the Kataphrakt and inserted into the Duacalion, as they have no one to activate it.” – But those who know that Asseylum is alive would know of the possibility, so Cruhteo’s line gave away he doesn’t know the princess lives.
Of course, that doesn’t mean he didn’t order her death, via Trillram, merely that he’s unaware that she is alive once more, which is true whether he’s a traitor or not. It did tell Saazbaum who they are facing, and that Slaine knows the truth, so he moves in to act.
Cruhteo, at least we got the answer about him. He’s hidebound and stiff, but he will do what is “Right”. He will follow justice, and take down those who are traitorous. More than that, to strike them down is what his honour demands, and is part of paying amends for this war against innocents. He must also stop the war lest the Princess die in the crossfire.
But Saazbaum, he knows what’s going on now, so he moves in. If he eliminates Cruhteo, he can keep the war with Earth going. If he eliminates him by striking first, he won’t have to worry about being found out. Speed is of the essence. Also, Saazbaum’s Kataphrakt reminds me of some samurai armour I’ve seen.
2) Welp, no more Cruhteo, and Slaine is truly in enemy hands now. I can already see that he will be exploited in order to manipulate the Princess now. Unlike Inaho, he did sacrifice his life for the Princess, not for his own sake or anyone else’s.
Post Episode Thoughts:
Well, this was an episode alright. Fighting for what you believe in. Letting your actions speak instead of your words. Miscommunication born because when you don’t actually say what you think, it’s easy to overlook one’s intention. Two people, one torturing the other, and the other being tortured, for the sake of the person they believe in, for the sake of personal honour.
Or is it? Cruhteo does look down on the Terrans. Cruhteo will make peace with them because that is what his Princess asks of him. He would have ended the war because it did not have a just cause, and because its mere existence is a stain upon his honour. But I guess first you need to talk to the other side before you can think of them as people, as equals, eh? But make no mistake, to Cruhteo this is about honour, and nothing else. Yes, it’s about “Justice”, but he doesn’t really see the two issues as separate.
And what about Slaine? Is Slaine truly doing this out of care for Asseylum as a person alone, or is there something here about his own code of honour, in how he feels he owes his life to Asseylum? He probably tells himself it’s about honour, and duty, but we all know it’s more than that for him.
The real question for me right now is about Saazbaum. Cruhteo would’ve made for a better “villain”, it might be ridiculous, considering Martians are humans, and only left Earth about 30-40 years ago, but he truly believes he’s part of a superior race. What about Saazbaum, does he believe he’s part of a superior race, or is it the same as Trillram, a bid for honour and glory and personal power? I suspect as much, but we’ll see.
Right now Saazbaum is willing to kill anyone for his objectives, but after being willing to assassinate the Princess, it should come as no surprise. I’d like to see him being forced to make a sacrifice in order to obtain his objectives, though. The last character that is slowly being built in the background in terms of tension who is a loose cannon is Rayet. A lot will come down to her eventual explosion and redemption, I suspect.