Aldnoah.Zero – Episode 5

Like the second episode, this one started off by bouncing an idea from a few angles – this time, it was “what you gain from fighting.” The defeated martian knight was probably the most childish in his desires here, scoffing at Slaine’s reasons for fighting while bemoaning his loss of “honor” on the battlefield. The childishness of this desire was then pretty much immediately highlighted by framing it in the actual voice of a child, as Inko mused over how nice it’d be to get a medal in battle. Their instructor was quick to provide the cynical counterpoint there – “dying for honor isn’t so bad when you’re living in misery.” He’s talking about his own regrets, of course, but if you’re not living in the war-story dreamland of the martian knights, “using yourself for the cause” may be the only way to actually gain the will to fight.


Following this, I very much enjoyed the little exchange between Asseylum and Rayet. Rayet’s one of the more clear pragmatists here, whose very uncertain position and immediate experience with loss has left her with none of the childish optimism of the other kids. In response to Asseylum’s high-minded “I must stop this war” speech, her response is “if you want to die, that’s your concern. But leave me out of it.” She’s right to say this – for all the niceness of the princess’s rhetoric, her position here is clearly very dangerous, and giving her location away would put everyone on board the ship in extreme danger. Her moral choice can’t really be considered a “personal” sacrifice when she’s deciding the fate of every person around her.

On the visual side, I liked how this episode constantly isolated Slaine in the frame, casting him in massive shots where he only occupied a small portion of the screen, often shoved to the side. He is without ally in his position, trapped in a hostile machine far larger than himself, and the show’s cinematography really helped highlight that. The martian empire is vast and terrible, and Slaine is just one small boy. Though the episode’s last-second revelation may end up offering a clue to Slaine’s escape from powerlessness, since apparently his father is somehow deeply involved in either the cause or power of the martians. Which will also tie into how Slaine found himself on Mars in the first place.


And then, as usual, we had a final battle. This one wasn’t as satisfyingly constructed as the last couple (the episode was pretty busy with other things, but it still should have foreshadowed Inaho’s blade-countering trick), but I really liked the speech patterns of the martian knight. From the beginning of the fight to the end, he was playing a role – this was the glorious conquest he’d been waiting for, and he would embody it even if the world refused to agree. There’s a kind of inherent sad humor in him saying stuff like “so you show yourself… my nemesis.” He’s built up the idea of what this battle and the “honor” it represents so completely that he immediately assigns a teenager in a trial robot the role of “nemesis” in his personal story. And in the end he gets to die for his honor after all.

Also, Inaho’s “where are my pajamas?” How do people not like this guy!? Look at that smile.

27 thoughts on “Aldnoah.Zero – Episode 5

  1. I agree with your complaint about no foreshadowing for the reactive armor. It is reasonable that he came up with such a counter since he fought the plasma blade before, but to me it seems foolish that he outfitted his own mech with it rather than give the suggestion that the actual soldiers use it. I’ve noticed a pattern where he comes up with a solution, and always places himself in the key position to solve the problem. I’m hoping it will tie into some kind of character development about him either not trusting others to do what he can do himself, or wanting to prove himself, or simply wanting to take all the risk onto himself. Something to make his actions make sense and not just be that the main character defeats the bad guys himself because he’s the main character.

    • Yeah, we’ll see where they go with Inaho. Everyone else has pretty clear motivations for their actions, so even though this is a somewhat plot-focused story, it seems inevitable that he’ll undergo more development as well.

  2. This seemed very poorly communicated, but I think Inaho’s pajamas comment was supposed to be a reference to the armor. (At least some people on reddit were claiming so.)

  3. Don’t you think your comments about the Martian knight’s “so you show yourself…my nemesis” stuff are just skewed interpretations of a really corny. cartoony villain? The previous martian knight that they defeated was the same.

    • The opposite question could be asked as well: Don’t people who dismiss Vlad as a corny, cartoony villain think that their assessment is reductive, or even false?

      Thats not to demonize one or the other, but just to say that the question is not of skewed or not skewed, because it’s interpretations we’re talking about, and the viewer is ultimately the one who decides how complex or cartoony his/her interpretation is going to be (confirmation bias and all that). In practice, the question is one of wasting or not wasting joules on your anime.

      • I have to agree with MrHero here. I found the martian character badly written. I wanted him out of the picture from the first moment he appeared on the screen. It was the same wit the previous guy who died and it is the same with the cunning Martian at the end of this episode.

        Why is this show trying to show fraction of the Martians as bloodthirsty, immoral, evil and cunning individuals? I think we all get it that there will be a peace message at the end, but pointing your finger at one group responsible for all the bad deeds is not how it should be done.

        The only interesting characters at this point is the martian guy who commands the ship Slain is on board, because he seems actually able to think and he might convert later after finding out the truth about princess and the female earthling commander – for her stylish haircut and sharp look that lets her see other people’s personalities.

  4. So… random thing I found ironic here.

    The emperor neither trusts the terrans nor does he believe them to be idiots. It was the idiocy apparent in the UE assassinating Asseylum that gave him pause, but to have a informant/spy disseminate the claim that Asseylum was not only alive (thus negating the Martians’ Casus belli) but also was attacked by the orbital knights themselves (thus seeding conflict within the Martian military/government) is not an idiotic plan; in fact, it is quite clever, if very risky. Ironically, it is the clever plausibility of Slaine’s theory that made it so difficult to wholeheartedly believe.

    Does that not make sense? Because if it doesn’t, the show is doing its job; the emperor is very much caught in this labyrinthine web of mistrust and doubt. If he continues the ceasefire or orders investigations, he knows he may very well be playing into the Terran’s hands. If he does not, he knows jeopardizes the possibly alive princess, not to mention even more Terrans.

    • Yeah, the emperor’s in an awkward position no matter what he does here. What really matters is his motivation, of which we’re not yet certain. Asseylum has already proven she probably thinks more optimistically than she should, and she’s family, so we can’t really trust her opinion. It’s true that Slaine’s (theoretical) plan here would have been an extremely risky one (given it would undoubtedly bring about a Martian counterattack – which may be what he would want, depending on what the emperor thinks of his motives), but if the emperor’s motivation is anything similar to the orbital knights, or if he thinks showing the appearance of weakness is more damaging than continued warfare, than he might have ordered the continued attack either way.

      Jeez, that’s a tangled sentence. It’s tricky discussing potential motives and counter-motives like this!

  5. Slaine represents very well the weakness of humanity against the martians, easily deceived …. he probably will be considered as a traitor in the next ep and will be executed, and that will be a huge plot twist, urobuchi make it happen i beg you.

    • Nah, Slaine’s probably gonna last for a while. The other side of the story could spare a character or two, but Slaine’s an entire thread of the story by himself.

  6. Really liked Inahos delayed salute. It really felt like such an afterthought on his part. “Hang on… He’s my commander now, isn’t he? I should probably salute.” I do like him; He feels more Zen than emotionless to me.

    While Rayet is right, I can’t help but feel she has her own designs that would require Esselyum to stay hidden. Along with Slaine, she’s the only character completely without allies at the moment. And also like Slaine, Esselyum is really the only person she can be in any way comfortable around. I’d imagine she wants to keep any possible friends she can get at the moment, so she can’t have the princess go and reveal herself.

    • Agreeing with you on the salute, I’ve seen some people label it as ironic but it makes much more sense if he just thought of it while talking, that would really match what we’ve seen of his thought process so far.

    • Yeah, Inaho’s delayed salute was great. A very Inaho touch.

      I’m not really sure what Rayet’s “designs” would be so far, aside from trying to find people she can depend on or trust. It seems like her thought process has largely been “I don’t want to die” since episode two, so her jumping to retrieve Inaho here is pretty much her first positive action.

      • Well, Rayet was willing to sacrifice herself for the disguised Asseylum after their car was shot, so there’s definitely something more than “I don’t want to die”, although that’s definitely a large part of it. I think she’s already figured out that Inaho is pragmatic enough to keep her alive if she has something to provide, even though he might be the only person in the solar system who doesn’t want her dead or locked up. The question is, what does she have to offer? If she’s going to fit with the series tagline, there must be some strategic benefit to keeping her around, but her value as an information resource is still unknown.

  7. The salute thing reminds me of all the people who claim Inaho’s emotionless. He isn’t! He doesn’t verbally express it but Inaho does have emotions. The salute he gave is an ideal representation of subtle sarcasm, plus at the end of ep 4, when Inko calls him reckless, he looks at Seylum and says “Maybe, I was reckless,” So I think, we’ll have a Slaine/Inaho/Seylum love triangle in future.

    • Based on his actions in episode 4, I think Inaho actually kind of looks up to the princess, who is outspoken and has clear convictions and is always ready to act on them. He’s definitely not emotionless, and I could see the kind of person he is being impressed by the kind of person Asseylum is.

  8. The show seems to have a real thing for aggressively hiding the solutions to fights until the climax. In the first fight it didn’t show us any hint of the flying remote sensor drones before their big reveal, in the second fight it didn’t show where Inko was being told to go, and now it surprised us with the reactive armor. I’m sure it’s a deliberate choice but at the same time I don’t really like it; this sort of information hiding feels like a cheap gimmick.

    (It is clear information hiding in the first two cases because the show chose not to show us things in the camera frame that the characters themselves saw or could have seen. The reactive armor was less annoying to me because came across as less of a trick of directing.)

    • In the first fight it didn’t show us any hint of the flying remote sensor drones before their big reveal

      I think that’s unfair. They actually showed the camera drones launching out of the Nilokeras as it landed after being launched from its carrier plane. And with the crane thing, I think they have to balance giving the viewer information and making fights interesting and dramatic.

      • Ah, my bad; I’d forgotten or missed the drones appearing at the Nilokeras’ launch and only remembered the show prominently cutting to them later. I still would have liked to have seen them in the background in other shots.

        As for the crane thing, I think the fight would still have been dramatic with the crane in the shot at some point and (as with the drones) it would have felt more like foreshadowing and less like a magician whipping the table cloth off to reveal a tiger.

        (I personally believe that the directing around Inko being directed to it was unnatural, in that it artificially withholds the answer to the natural question of ‘where is she going that’s so important?’)

    • The cranes and the whole part with the loading containers were in the backgrounds for several minutes, so that bit at least was there.

    • Eh, as others have said, I don’t think episodes 3 and 4 really hid their solutions. All the pieces were there in the frame, we just didn’t have big telling shots of Inaho staring at the crane or whatnot. This episode was the first one that struck me as a “magic” solution.

  9. I really need some background story that will help us as viewers understand why Inaho is smarter and more resourceful than any soldier on the planet. His immense and precocious wisdom is more vexing to me at this moment than cartoony Martian villains.

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