Aldnoah.Zero – Mecha Anime done (mostly) right

Twelve episodes of this seasons breakout anime hit Aldnoah.Zero has come and gone. In my first impressions post about Aldnoah.Zero I noted that it had the foundations of what could develop into a good story and had some interesting characters. I happy to say that the anime lived up to my expectations and is easily the most talked about anime within my (small) anime-loving circle of friends and via social media.

Aldnoah.Zero Plot Summary

In 1972, the Apollo 17 mission discovered a hypergate to Mars on the surface of the moon. Soon a war breaks out between Earth and Mars, and Martian soldiers begin to descend from the sky, riding steel giants, intent on exterminating humanity.

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When the Martians finally Attack

Right from the early scenes in the first episode Earth is portrayed as the underdog, immediately put on the back-foot by the vengeful Vers Empire angry at the alleged assassination of their Princess Seylum. In jumps Inaho and his band of friends, high schoolers with military training of course, as no mecha anime is complete without child fighters. At this point was not very impressed as it was pushing all the same notes that earlier lackluster mecha anime had pushed but then a giant robot appeared that spewed unfiltered death and destruction and I had to pay attention.

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Multiple plot threads

Aldnoah.Zero proceeded to create and explore multiple plot threads punctuated by various flavours of revenge, a love triangle, war related clashes and a main character who is an excellent tactician. Add in a magical princess, her insufferable assistant , various named giant robots and their pilots and you have a mecha obviously influenced by Gundam but does enough to stand on its own.

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Episode 12 left me conflicted

Without spoiling two much I must say that episode 12 left me conflicted and screaming at my screen. The twists were unexpected and the deaths were hard to accept but in the end the fact that I cared highlighted how well executed many of the story elements of this anime were over just 12 episodes. In the end it left me with many talking points and from my reading it seems that come next year there will be 12 more episodes of Aldnoah.Zero ready to be consumed but its rabbit fan base.

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Have you been watching Aldnoah.Zero? If not go check it out! If yes, leave a comment or tweet me @Jamaipanese with your thoughts on the first twelve episodes and what think will happen when the series continues next year.

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4 thoughts on “Aldnoah.Zero – Mecha Anime done (mostly) right

  1. Overall I found the story a bit derivative, but extremely well directed as such I loved when they found Space Battleship Yamamoto and by the end I was a slobbering mess. Sad for the characters and happy for such a well executed anime. Can’t go without mentioning that bad ass Japanese-Germand ED.

    PS.

    Do you not mean “by its rabid fan base” instead of “but its rabbit fan base”?

  2. “…no mecha anime is complete without child fighters.”

    That right there contradicts your topic as far as I’m concerned. It is the #1 reason so much of the mecha anime genre makes me want to puke, even though I would otherwise be a raging mecha fanboy.

    The #2 reason would be the popularity of the “power of love” theme, and variations thereof, which I could only count the original Macross as having done well (since the elimination of biological reproduction and gender association amongst the essentially human alien enemy made their confusion over vestigial arousal responses a very sensible plot device). Not sure if that’s to be found here, but with a “magical princess” in there, it would be par for the course.

    I will be giving Aldnoah.Zero a look, but it sounds like an all-too-mixed bag of anime cliches, more than particularly “done right.”

  3. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a good mecha anime. The last thing that comes to mind that was similar is Heroic Age, though that was not giant robots so much as giant transformations. Anyway, I see one comment mentions Macross, which is a real classic. I somehow doubt this will live up to the expectations set by that series, but I’m willing to give it a shot.

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