I don't normally do this. Argh! A/Z really is going to be the most annoying show I'm watching this season, me thinks. Though the jury's still out on whether it'll be annoying in a good or bad way!
In a sentence: my suspension of disbelief has been pushed to the max, but what I liked most about the first series is still there, and enough questions have been raised to keep me watching.
- Time skip of 19 months - as I suspected based on the fact that the in-universe magazine released just before the first cour started was Harmony vol. 8 (August 2014), whilst the ones released on December 27 last year were the two versions of Harmony vol. 25, which would correspond to January 2016. Though I expect that it's a bit later in the year than that.
- Trident base in the satellite belt? When did the UFE create this? And how difficult can it be for the Vers forces to find it? (Actually, don't mind me, I have no real sense of scale - if they had to rely on Asseylum's transmission to locate the Earth HQ, then finding something in a much bigger space should be more difficult...)
- Princess Lemrina Vers Envers, Asseylum's younger sister by a different mother. Does the reason that they haven't told us much about Asseylum's mother have something to do with this? (Going by the fact that Vers has gone back to a feudal system, it might not even be surprising if her father had several wives or a wife and a few concubines. Or perhaps, had a few affairs?) In any case, that Asseylum always called herself the "first Princess of Vers" has always suggested that there may be at least one more...
- Who's collecting info on the Vers Kataphrakts, such that they even know who pilots each one?
- Geh...why didn't Yacoym use any other weapons to attack Inaho as he was approaching? He was overconfident and didn't bother attaching any?
- So Inaho survived a bullet that went through his eye? And without brain damage? (I'm not sure about Yuki's assessment about it's trajectory through his head - I mean, no x-rays! but I'll trust she not blind to anything that would have been visible... so if there was an exit wound upon which she based her assessment, he really should be dead! Or at least, have significant brain damage!) I said I'd call BS on that, and I am. Perhaps I'll have to put it down to the Aldnoah power...
- But speaking of which, the suggestion is that Inaho received the power only when a tiny amount of Asseylum's blood went into his mouth (by means of Yuki's tear)... At this point, I really don't know whether the CPR ('kiss') or this is more logical. E.g. if it's the blood, that was pretty damn quick! And it wouldn't have helped Inaho survive. G'eh! あおき監督、kwskください！！
- Of maybe I should just forgo logic about this: I'll take Mizusaki's assessment - it's basically a miracle... That said, they will probably want to explain it more, right? Given that Slaine also has activation rights...
- I'd grown increasingly sure that the princess shown in the PVs and CMs was someone wearing a hologram, especially after the title to this episode was made public, and after Vs/025 suggested that she'd done a 180 upon returning from Earth. But well played Aoki and co.: by being cagey and misleading about Inaho's fate (e.g. the "BOGUS" on the back of his key visual in A/Z Report Vs/024), they distracted us from thinking about the extent of Asseylum's injuries. And it turns out that out of the three, she's the one who hasn't actually recovered.
- Because of that, I'm feeling more and more sorry for Slaine. Especially if the person that Asseylum turns her gun on in that symbolic shot in the first opening is meant to be Slaine. I had three possibilities - Slaine, Inaho or her grandfather...it may be too early to say this, but it feels increasingly likely that it will be Slaine...
- Speaking of Slaine, just what is his objective? I know that he basically snapped when he realised just how powerless he was, unable to protect the one person he had wanted to protect. So what he seems to be trying to do now is to gain enough power to do so - though the person he wanted to protect remains in a coma. But since you could argue that she is in that state because of how her father (and grandfather) instilled hatred and envy of Earth into the Vers citizens as a means of governing them, is he now trying to change that system? I expect that the set-up of this season will largely revolve around understanding what Saaz and Slaine are trying to do.
- and Eddelrittuo... does she know that Asseylum is in a coma? Has she been assigned to Lemrina against her will? How does she feel about the message that Lemrina is propagating in Asseylum's name?
- And finally, what else has happened in those 19 months? Where are Marito and Yuki? Inaho's become an ensign (second lieutenant), which is one position above Yuki's (warrant officer) back in the first season. Yuki should have moved up too, right? And since Inaho would have been out of commission and in rehabilitation for quite some time - maybe a year? - there have to been others fighting the Vers knights, such as the twins(?) in the gaiden manga. Are we going to hear an update from the Earth side, like we did from the Vers side in this episode?
- Can we also just get a bit of a clearer picture about how Vers society is set up?
- An aside about the knights: in the first season, we learned that there are 37 landing castles. But given that there are knights like Trillram and Vlad, who do not have their own castles, there are obviously more than 37 major enemies. Can we assume that it's the Counts like Saazbaum, Feminanne and Cruhteo that have the LCs? So if we assume there is one other Kataphrakt piloting lord attached to each Count, then there are about 70 Kats to battle in total. Inaho and co. took down just four of them (one pilot lived, though the Dioscuria was destroyed, according to the UFE report (Vs/024+Tx/024)) and Saazbaum himself killed Cruhteo. So what's happened to the other 60+ Vers knights? Lemrina can activate Aldnoah drives as well, so presumably a few knights have been promoted to replace those that were lost? We still haven't seen anyone deal with the 'long distance beam' Kat, the electricity-using one (= the bug-like one that was on the ground?) and the 'wired' one... Actually, the wired one was in Beijing, and apparently the UFE has fought back in Beijing!
- Going back to EP1-2 and adding Saaz's, there are 20 landing castles that have come down to Earth, with one each in Tokyo (Cruhteo and Vlad - Trillram was visiting from Saazbaum's LC; Feminanne's apparently landed further south), Beijing (wired Kat), New Orleans (beam Kat?) and Mozambique (electricity Kat). (Interesting that they said "Mozambique" instead of a city, especially considering that Mozambique is approximately the same size as Japan...). We learn in EP13 that the invasions of the Americas and Africa have proceeded well, but that LCs in Eurasia and the Far East have fallen (see the most recent visual posted on the website after E13 aired). We know that two LCs were taken down in Japan (Cruhteo's and Femianne's) and that Saazbaum's LC was taken down in Russia. Also, the gaiden manga, Aldnoah.Zero Twin Gemini, is about twin knights sent out from the LC from Beijing to attack Sapporo, and the twins that are involved in fighting against them. Inaho's group took down 2 LCs, Saaz killed Cruhteo, and the Beijing one is presumably down too. So what's happened to the 16 other LCs, as well as the 17 that, for all we know, were left in space? Have more of them come down to Earth?
- Speaking of the defeated knights: three LCs and four Kats from Inaho and co. => 9 Aldnoah drives (assuming that Dioscuria had 3 for his three abilities). Vlad's is at the bottom of the ocean => there are 8 more drives for the Earth forces to use? And assuming the knights from Beijing all got taken down, that's at least 3/4 more drives. But 19 months might be too short a timeframe to develop anything, especially since they're probably constantly under attack...
edit (2014-01-12): LOL, I forgot about the elephant in the room. I really did not need Inaho to be given Aldnoah activation rights. That was probably what surprised me the most, because I didn't expect them to actually go with this. But I do remain interested in see exactly what they intend to do with the two protagonists (Slaine and Inaho) and the new, relatively important positions they have in their sides of this huge war... To be frank, I actually like that I don't really know where they are going with this!