Aldnoah.Zero just keeps getting better. Some grudges, a few modifications, space battles, and a big surprise at the end, ohoho. Finally, Slaine’s doing something right. What away to get a plan started and it seems like we’re in for a little pivoting around the Satellite Belt.
Inaho and Captain Magbaredge discuss a few things over a game of chess: Inaho on the front lines of battle when he’s the Deucalion’s activation factor, how much Inaho’s artificial eye makes decisions, and what really constitutes Aldnoah’s activation factor.
Slaine fires some test shots into the Satellite Belt. When he gets back to the docking bay, Counts Barouhcruz and Marylcian give him trouble but Saazbaum steps in. The three counts then argue about Slaine’s appointment as a knight with the two counts anticipating betrayal from him. Slaine interjects, saying that if they go into the battlefield, it is they who will betray him. Before Marylcian could strike Slaine, Saazbaum addresses the entire docking bay to name Slaine his son. Annoyed, the two counts leave. Slaine apologizes for putting Saazbaum in an awkward position but the latter reassures to him that everything he said was sincere.
In her chambers, Lemrina muses about the oncoming battle. She teases Eddelrittuo about her loyalty and jokingly bets Asseylum’s life if Vers wins.
In the Trident Base, Nina looks for Inko. Meanwhile, Inaho thinks about Slaine and reveals that he has his pendant/locket/thing. He starts talking to himself (although it seems like he’s really talking to the mechanical part of his brain) while Calm overhears and compares him to the Norse god Odin. He then admits to wanting to leave service after the battle in Russia but the memory of Okojo stopped him. They go out for some tea.
Nina finds Inko and Rayet but encounters some gossip that there’s a Martian aboard the Deucalion. Rayet affirms it but Inko comforts her.
The Trident and Marineros Bases are reaching their approach. Slaine, the Stygis Squadron, and Saazbaum in the Dioscuria II launch. The Deucalion also launches while their kataphrakts do so from the Trident Base and open their umbrella shields as they make their way to the battlefield.
The battle commences. The Stygis Squadron begin firing. Things don’t look too good for Inko as her umbrella is hit but Inaho arrives right on time to save her. He shows some maneuvering using new pivoting upgrades but is deterred by Slaine.
The two bases make their closest approach. As the Earth kataphrakts get out of its line of fire, the Deucalion fires at the Marineros Base. As they start to move away, Trident Base orders all units to disengage. Still caught up with Slaine, Inaho ignores the order. With Inaho’s last attack, the Tharsis takes a hit.
Saazbaum gets into the picture when he’s seen that Slaine is hit. The Dioscuria II flaunts everything it has and flusters Inaho. Inko comes to rescue him but he orders her to hold position. He manages to find a gap in the Dioscuria II’s barrier and he pulls out before Saazbaum hits him.
Just then, Saazbaum gets immobilized in a debris cluster. Slaine reveals that it wasn’t actually debris but bullets he fired earlier meant to defeat Inaho but expected him to manage it. He lets out all his grudges toward Saazbaum, that he could not forgive the man who pulled the trigger against the Princess. The second volley of shots comes. Slaine bids goodbye and Saazbaum dies impressed. *pauses to wipe tears*
In his eulogy, Slaine rallies the orbital knights and reveals to those who are watching (the crew aboard the Deucalion) that the princess is alive.
Afterwards, having come from a similar background, Harklight affirms his respect and loyalty for Slaine. Slaine beckons Harklight to begin their plan and walks off donning the count’s jacket.
Wow. This is one good episode but it has received a lot of flak. People complained about how everything, especially Slaine, turned out so I’ll try to demystify it for you.
Hark back to the first cour when Saazbaum rescued Slaine from Cruhteo. When they were dining, Saazbaum enlightens us that his deal is with the royal family and the feudal system centered around Aldnoah and that in killing the princess, his vengeance will be fulfilled.
In the end of the first cour (a.k.a. when Slaine finally decides to do something), Saazbaum was given the choice to be imprisoned by the United Earth or to escape with Slaine and the Princess. Obviously, his plan didn’t work because the princess is still alive so he had to devise another plan.
So what is his plan? Skip nineteen months later to his conversation with Slaine in the audience chamber. They acknowledge that the problem is with Aldnoah (or at least those who possess it).
I believe it is impossible for our society, with its powerless, impoverished citizenry, to become prosperous by conquering Earth, making it a domain, and taking its resources. However, that wealth is likely to find its way only to the upper classes and will not improve the lives of the citizens in the slightest. Those who possess Aldnoah control everything. That is the problem in a nutshell.
I think Saazbaum realized that “sacrificing” the princess was selfish and killing her at this point would be unnecessary, that bringing down the system is a greater cause with an even greater effect: eradicating the source of the problem. Hence, the socialism.
But the problem is he is a high-ranking part of this feudal system so he resolves to sacrificing himself (in contrast to sacrificing the Princess) at that moment to give Slaine a start. It seems as though Slaine and Harklight weren’t intending to kill Saazbaum that early (Slaine letting out his grudges seemed improvised) but I guess it couldn’t be helped if Inaho outsmarts them. It was a bit sooner than he thought as he would’ve wanted to see the new world they created but he wanted to give Slaine a start. Also, it would’ve been useless altogether if he hadn’t named Slaine his son beforehand.
Now you all think Slaine has gone crazy killing off Saazbaum but mind you, right now he’s being more rational than Inaho. How? Slaine has a clear goal – vanquish everyone, get to the top and change the system, everyone lives in peace, dattebayo – and starts acting toward it. On the other hand, Inaho disobeyed an order to what? Prove that he was better than Slaine? Frankly, I think they’re supposed to work for the same side but circumstances dictate otherwise. (I think they’re going to work together in the end though.)
And of course, Slaine is also working to achieve Asseylum’s dreams. We spent twelve episodes of Asseylum wanting peace without ever knowing how to achieve it and now we have a concrete solution. As to what the Princess will think about it, we’ll only know when she wakes up. But so far, this looks like a solution that will result in real, actual peace, not just a short and fragile one.
Slaine says he doesn’t have any dreams but he’s working to achieve the dreams of those he cares about.
On a much lighter note, the battle sequences have leveled up now that the Earth kataphrakts are upgraded with umbrellas and pivot gear. I’m not sure about the physics but it sure looks awesome and reminiscent of Shingeki no Kyojin.
If there’s one more thing that needs an upgrade, it’s character development. I would like to see the others break out of their two-dimensional shells. This episode had some attempts but it still lacks impact.
Oh well. Here’s to hoping Aldnoah will not falter this time.
What do you think of Slaine’s big surprise?
Read on Tumblr.