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A/Z 'running commentary' (Ep 16)

edit (2015-02-07): post locked. Please comment on my latest A/Z post if you want to respond to anything. Oh, and Happy Birthday, Inaho!

LOL. The first thing that Soram and Inorittuo say on the radio show is that…they’re not in the episode! Also, they were sooooo mean to Natsukawa-san [Lemrina]. First, her Vers name is “Lebanira Nāsu Sōnansu…” The first part means “liver and chives stir fry” — though this bit’s actually courtesy of Hanaho and ToroKen, who suggested “Lebanira Shōyu (i.e. soy sauce) Converse…” The one part that she wanted changed…was not changed! In the end, they’ll be calling her “Lebāsu-san…” And then, the way they teased and ‘bullied’ her for trying to steal Slaine…I’m not sure which was worse: the second show (guest = Hanaho) or this one! Probably the second one - Hanae still held a bit of a grudge against them at the end of last season, and he was probably only half joking (^_^;;)

On to the episode itself...

  • That smile of Slaine’s when he indicates to Harklight what he’ll be doing about the Vers Knights and the others of Vers that hold enmity against him…was rather frightening. He really picked up a lot from Saaz in those 19 months…the gentle and kind Slaine of the past — is he no longer around? That would have been one of the things that Asseylum loved about Slaine, and what would most break her heart if she saw him now: that’s probably what those lyrics from 「&Z」 (“Please stop what you’re doing for me. It’s not very good for you”) are about. As for the lyrics of 「0.vers」— the vocalised version of 「十61yard」 from the OST — it may have been Engrish, but my heart just about broke when I read them…

  • NB: At this point, I still think Slaine really sees himself as having no choice but to take this path of deception and destruction in order to achieve his main objective (changing Vers society) — putting the conquest of Earth aside, the question is whether he will be able to stop himself once he achieves that? Or will A/Z have him creating a monster whose destruction brings about the possibility for peace as people strive to avoid repeating that history (i.e. a Lelouch end)?

  • Neither Yuki (still a warrant officer; NB: Inaho is now one rank above her) nor Marito (still lieutenant) were promoted. Though I understand why in Yuki’s case...

  • Glad that Marito seems to have gotten over his trauma. Did Marito call for the attack from above? Seems like he realised that there was a possibility that the gravitational waves may not cover the Kat from above — that’s why he asked for a satellite base with the ability to detect gravitational ways. So it was probably Marito that put through the request for an attack from above, which, apparently, only Inaho (aiming) and the Deucalion (firing the shells) could carry out… (*sighs* those two girls on the radio show are pretty unobservant…oh well, it is the nature of the radio show to make fun of Inaho… That said, he was aiming from more than 100km above the surface, through the entire Earth’s atmosphere, so it is pretty insane… If it were a guided missile, I could understand…but it really didn’t seem to be?)

  • Btw, Marito asked Yuki to check if there are any satellite bases with the ability to detect the gravitational waves. Although Slaine took down the Trident base, does that mean that the UFE has other bases in the satellite belt?

  • Oh, and now we have Count Mazuurek as a prisoner of the UFE. Should be interesting to see what his people can do without what appears to be the main firepower of each landing castle. Furthermore, given how moderate he seems to be, where will this lead?

  • Loved the opening flashback to Inaho waking up to Yuki at his bedside. And also the exchange between Yuki and Rayet. (いいお姉さんだ。ユキみたいのお姉さんが欲しい!)

  • No meeting between Inaho and Yuki in the present (T_T). Why, Nao-kun, why? What happened between the two of you when Yuki was trying to make sure that the UFE wouldn’t use you? Though, despite what we were shown, I think Yuki is probably also keeping her distance…she did take 7 drops of the Calvados in her tea, compared to the 2 of the commanding officer… The strain that has appeared in their relationship because of this war is so sad: she wants to protect him, but she knows that if she's with the group, he'll always be going that extra mile to try to protect her. And Inaho probably understands that that's why she left the Deucalion as well. Then we have Inko as a point of contrast: she's staying by Inaho because she wants to ensure that episode 12 doesn't happen again. That "No!" in episode 15 said soooo much!!

  • And we still haven’t had that line from the teaser: “I became a soldier because I wanted to protect you and the world that you live in…” All of this makes me even more frightened about the next episode than I already was (because in the real world, it’s Inaho’s birthday on Feb 7, and so far, birthdays have not really brought anything to be happy about for our characters - Asseylum's (Sep 20) corresponds with episode 12 and Slaine's (Jan 11) with episode 13).

  • As for Inaho’s “I guess I have no choice…” Is it because he didn’t actually want to confront Slaine, because that’s his only clue to where Asseylum is, and possibly the only reason she’s still alive?

  • Oh, and as an aside, I think Inaho’s around 170cm now, compared to 164cm in the first cour. Mizusaki is meant to be 166cm, but she wears ~5cm heels…

  • Finally, as twitter reminded me: in Norse mythology, Odin is killed by the wolf, Fenrir, during Ragnarök… They are laying the symbolism on pretty thickly, huh? However, in the mythos, Odin is avenged by his son, Víðarr, who is a god associated with vengeance = Asseylum, with that shot in the opening of her aiming her gun at someone? That…would be awful. And it should also be the antithesis of what Slaine wants, since it would not bode well for the possibility of ending the cycle of hatred (that line of Saazbaum’s being the final trigger for the actions that have taken Slaine down the path he is currently walking). So, Slaine and Inaho (and Asseylum), what will your choices be?

  • Edit (2015-02-02): Ah, and one more thing I'm curious about: how does the Vers side think that the UFE is operating the Deucalion? Do Slaine (and Saaz when alive, too) assume that it's still operational because the princess is still alive, because they don't know that it shuts down when the heart of the person who activated it stops (even if one manages to revive it)??


Where to next? A quick analysis of the episode titles thus far in this second cour.

  • EP13: The Japanese subtitle, “The Sleeping Moon Maiden” very obviously refers to Asseylum (and gave away her status at the start of this cour…), but the English subtitle is pretty interesting too. This Side of Paradise (F. Scott Fitzgerald) apparently examines the lives and morality of post-World War I youth, exploring the theme of love warped by greed and status-seeking… A hint about where Slaine is going? Although greed doesn’t seem to be a factor in his case…

  • EP14: According to wiki again, the next one, The Beautiful and Damned (F. Scott Fitzgerald) is at once a morality tale, a meditation on love, money and decadence, and a social document. It concerns characters' disproportionate appreciation of their past, which consumes them in the present. Seems appropriate for both Inaho and Slaine, though especially Slaine. The Japanese subtitle in this case, “The People from the Neighbouring Stars,” probably refers to Inaho and Slaine on the one hand, but also to the people of Earth and Vers on the other.

  • EP15: Toll for the Brave (Jack Higgings) is a (mystery/thriller?) novel about a soldier that underwent brainwashing when he’d been captured 20 years earlier in Vietnam, and who has to try to discover the truth about his life as a Vietnam POW. To be frank, I’m not clear on how this novel connects with the episode. Or it might be just the title? The Japanese subtitle is once again obvious, with “The Revolving Trap” indicating not only the physical characteristics of Slaine’s trap, but also how Saazbaum’s trickery and deception have now come back to bite him.

  • EP16: Soldier’s Pay (William Faulkner) revolves around the return of a wounded aviator home, an obvious reference to Marito — though I would say that it can apply to Yuki too, who seems to have taken Inaho’s injury very badly (understandably). “A Charge on Hot Sand” is once again obvious, though perhaps there is a hint of how the ground beneath these characters is still pretty shaky?

  • That brings me to the final episode title that we have at present, episode 17’s “Dawn of Intrigue” / The Turning Wheel (Philip K. Dick). Dick’s novelette is about a class driven society where Asians and Native Americans rule over the rest of humanity, so this might be referring to how Slaine’s rebellion is about upturning the order of Vers. (Alternatively, it could simply be another reference to the strict class hierarchy of Vers.) If, like the other episodes, the Japanese subtitle is to be taken quite literally, then what we’ll see next week can perhaps be characterised as ‘the beginning of the end’.


Addendum: some thoughts on the effects of Heaven’s Fall

  • Someone I follow on twitter was using current climate patterns in Japan to try and work out exactly when the story of A/Z started. However, if you think about it, that’s simply not going to work. The effects of Heaven’s Fall — the impacts of many of the larger pieces falling to Earth, the changing of tidal patterns due to dispersed mass of the moon across the satellite belt, possible variations to the earth’s orbit around the sun, or to the rotation of the planet on its axis — these are just some of the changes that would greatly affect the climate of the planet on which we live. Depending on exactly how bad the damage was, the amount of destruction suggested by what we’re shown in A/Z might actually have been underestimated by the show’s creators…


Some thoughts on the Martian Kataphrakts of Aldnoah.Zero...

  • Just like everyone else, I've long wondered why in the world the Vers Knights don't arm their Kataphrakts with other weapons, such as knives, rifles etc, for emergency use. Like, it makes sense from our perspective to have some kind of back-up weapon, right?

  • However, as I've read through the historical set-up that Urobuchi, Aoki and co. have developed for this series, I think I'm getting a clearer idea of why they don't. First, most of the Martian Kats only have one Aldnoah drive, and thus type of power, which gives them one weapon. However, all of those weapons have functioned quite well for both attack and defense. Saazbaum was trusted enough by the Emperor to have been granted access to numerous drives even in his twenties, but everyone else we’ve seen so far has only had two at most (in the case of counts, one for the LC, and one for their Kat). And second, the proud knights probably don’t see the point of conventional weapons in the face of their overwhelming ‘super powers’. Cruhteo was unusual in that he used his drive for an ability that did not in itself include an attack, unlike all the others, so perhaps he had to rely on conventional bullets since he’d already used his Kat’s Aldnoah drive for that prediction ability?

  • Also, here is an excellent analysis of the weaponry of the Martians Kats we've seen this far. The reasons that most of them have no weapons other than that provided by their Aldnoah drive is actually very logical. I haven't gotten to the mechanics section of the guidebook or I-IV's mechanics archives in BD/DVD vol.5, but I wonder if there will be information there that confirms some of this....

  • To be frank, if it were me, I'd still have developed a Kataphrackt with backup weapons that can be used when the 'superpower weapon' is disactivated, just in case. I guess we do have to conclude that Vers counts are arrogant and somewhat stupid?