Aldnoah Zero: Episode 2 — Survival Mode

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I don’t think I’m going to do a grab bag for this season because the rest of the shows I’m watching are stuff I want to give more attention to (Zankyou no Terror) or easy entertainment that I’m not interested in dissecting (Space Dandy). And if I want to blog an OVA or movie that comes out this week, I’ll just do a short “Anime Look” (for the record, I tried watching the Panzer Anzio OVA, but I turned it off half-way through because the tank jargon was boring me to tears).

Honestly, I’m not even sure if I’ll blog Aldnoah Zero all the way through. It’s reminding me a little too much of Gundam with all its main heroes inexplicably piloting robots and casualties coming from war, and the two sides at this point aren’t exactly the apes and humans in Dawn in terms of moral ambiguity. I don’t care how good the writing is or whatnot. If that was all it took to make me like a genre I don’t care for, I’d still be watching Barakmon – and I’d argue the serious stuff in that show isn’t well-written in the least unless you’re a fan of Scrubs. Thankfully, the show has not turned into one of those “war is bad” dullfests, with this episode playing out more like a survival story. And I’m not talking about the obnoxious Black Hawk Down survival story either, although the laughably evil dude in the robot that evaporates things by touching them wasn’t helping.

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So yeah, the princess is still alive, the war has gone out of control to the point that I doubt her survival will mean anything at the moment, and Slaine is nowhere to be seen. Not sure how I feel about our “supposed main character” Inaho being stoic to the point that he doesn’t react much when his friend dies. It makes him interesting for now because you don’t animate a scene like that unintentionally without another agenda, but they’re going to need to explain that sooner or later or else it’ll just come off as poorly planned incompetence. I’ve heard people complain about how they don’t care about the characters, but unlike Kyoukai no Kanata, the show hasn’t pushed them to the forefront as of yet so their flaws can be overlooked for now.

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The key word is “for now” though. The show has delivered relatively well on the action and setting up stuff without being confusing like Tokyo ESP’s premiere was or obnoxious like every war drama ever, but eventually it’s going to have fix those problems if it wants to survive in the long-run. Again, I’m not expecting anything on the level of Dawn because that’s a f*cking high bar, but there are basics you need to fulfill in order to be at least decent, and so far Aldnoah hasn’t quite completed them.

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