Episode 1 Impressions: Aldnoah Zero

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Written by Gen Urobuchi, creator of Fate/Zero and Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Animated by Studio A-1 Pictures who worked on Magi, Sword Art Online, and Oreimo. This kind of pedigree tells us one thing, that Aldnoah Zero could easily be something spectacular.

e1aldnoahzero12Synopsis
When mankind landed on the Moon with Apollo 13, they discovered an ancient martian relic that provided the means to travel great distances. Called the Hyper Gate, this warp device was then used by mankind to travel to Mars where even more ancient artifacts were discovered. Dating back 30,000 years.

This great discovery would soon cease as the Vers Empire would arrive to lay claim to the martian artifacts as well as the Aldnoah, their ancient technology. This continued in 1999 when the Vers Empire declared war on Earth which resulted in a devastating battle on the Moon. While history books claim that the Hyper Gate went out of control and destroyed the Moon, others who survived claim it was an incredibly powerful mobile suit called Aldnoah.

e1aldnoahzero1515 Years later, the after effects of the now sundered Moon effect every day life. Weather patterns, gravitational effects, meteors, and even earthquakes. Many of its fragmented core still orbit the Moon where isolated soldiers of the Vers Empire still remain. Lying in wait for their day to claim Earth.

On earth, life continues as students are trained every day for a possible martian invasion. However Leitenant Koichiro Marito who trains the students feels that it’s useless as he is one who survived the destruction caused by Aldnoah.

Elsewhere, floating above the Earth’s orbit, the remaining Vers Empire lay waiting as they send forth Asseylum Vers Allusia, Princess Royal of the Vers Empire as a token of peace between Earth and the Vers Empire. The princess herself, after meeting a Terran (name given to humans from earth) on the ship she rides, seems to be all for the idea of peace. Claiming to her hand that if dated back far enough, Vers are also from Earth.  Though the hand disagrees since their belief is that they are a changed raced thanks to the Aldnoah’s gift.

e1aldnoahzero7Upon arriving, students from a nearby school would get a front row seat to a tragic event. As spy members of the Vers Empire execute their assassination plan of the Princess Asseylum in order to trigger a war that has been at bay for too long. While it seems peace was in the minds of some of the remaining Vers Empire, others would sacrifice their princess in order to push the domino over.

As the Vers Empire make their decent on Earth, the impact levels entire cities. As data is given on their exact collision course, it’s obvious that each of the Orbital Knights of the Vers Empire seek to become King of the Hill before the others. Signifying even more bouts than just Vers and Earth.

Thoughts
e1aldnoahzero4Let me repeat for any new readers of this site; I’m not a fan of mecha anime. The only anime I enjoy that involve mecha are ones that don’t focus on them. With Aldnoah Zero featuring mecha in their artwork, I was of course hesitant to enjoy this series. However one thing remained in my mind, Gen Urobuchi.

I’m a huge fan of Fate/Zero, and despite my misgivings I thought that Puella Madoka Magica did a great job in breaking from the Magical Girl mold. That’s where my hope rests, that even with mecha in this show, Gen Urobuchi won’t allow it to be the center point. Either that or “deconstruct” it.  Of course, we already seen hope of this focus change with his series Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet which never put mecha in the forefront.

e1aldnoahzero17Add to this the fact that with his history in writing both Fate/Zero and Puella, he’s not afraid of getting real and dark. Let’s face it, this is a war. Unlike most shows that show an invasion where cars explode and people are seen fleeing from them in the nick of time, In real war, people die and Gen Urobuchi proved in this first episode that he wasn’t shy of that.

If you have not guessed by now, I’m absolutely hyped on this show now. I had hints of Neon Genesis Evangelion as the Koichiro Marito spoke with Soma Yagarai at the bar about fueling children’s heads with victory in war. I was quickly hooked into the political intrigue. Then when the impact happened and the vocals hit with who I imagine is Mika Kobayashi Mika, I was sold. Hook Line Sinker.

Episode 1: Princess of VERS

THUMBS UP!

THUMBS UP!

IMPRESSIONS VERDICT:
Amazing!

Pros:

  • Great build up
  • Amazing ending
  • Great universe building
  • Great pedigree behind it

Cons:

  • Soulless doll boy?

Impressions are based on a single episode and don’t necessarily reflect the series as a whole. Unless dropped, we will continue to give updates on thoughts and impressions of the series as time goes by.

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Co-Founder of OtakuSpirit.com and Co-Host of the OtakuSpirit Animecast. A huge fan of anime since the early 1990s, consuming over 800 shows. While he's late to the collecting scene, he's found a lot of joy in filling his DVD/Blu-ray collection as well as collecting figures. Once a week, he posts unboxing and feature videos on anime goods to YouTube.