Category Archives: Aldnoah.Zero

Year In Review 2014: N-Listing

Just trucking along. Happy 2015 guys. Still celebrating Christmas for 12 days right?

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In Context of Giant Robots: Captain Earth, Aldnoah.Zero

[There are some spoilers for Aldnoah.Zero and Captain Earth.]


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The Problem with Turn-A Gundam as Comparative Analysis for Aldnoah.Zero And Why You Should Do More

I read this and it just reminds me why I don’t read that much blogging these days. It is missing the essence that makes the comparison compelling–context.


Nonetheless, the article raises some good points. I think it can do a better job using another show for the point of comparison though. Like, Nadesico. Both Turn-A and Nadesico are product of their times. If we go back 15-18 years the world of the teenage, male protagonist in a giant robot show is different that how it is today. The post 9-11 world brought us things like the Celestial Beings and Eden of the East. But the whole giant/super mecha genre, as far as that protagonist dude goes, has already ran its course by the time we got Evangelion, and that predates both.

These two shows that dates after are probably better framed in that we’re getting different spins on them. Nadesico, for example, has a harem cook who doesn’t really like fighting but was thrusted into the position. The tragedy (and thematic concern here) is that ultimately he goes back to devoting his life to fighting in order to “end it” for good, even if he does end up with somewhat of a happy ending.

In Aldnoah, we have a stoic dude who uses some commodity components to go up against specialized, overpowered special mecha that are piloted by people who probably could do a better job using their nice giant robots. It’s in essence the antithesis of Gundam, where some angsty teen pilot some super-power tech and blows up the sea of commodity components. Sounds like a thematic statement to me!

It’s all the more funny to see the comparison to Turn A in that context, because in that show there were no commodity components. Everyone’s giant robot is some fossil from the earth or from the moon. It’s one of the more fascinating aspects about Turn A, actually. Imagine wars where once you lose your equipment, it is irreplaceable.

The comparison with Nadesico doesn’t fare better, but it is. In that show, the Jovians used their exo techs to create a lot of autonomous fighting machines, which is the commodity components Earth forces had to go up against. In that sense, both sides developed different ways of fighting that suited them, using some similar, newfound and game-changing technologies such as the phase transmission technology. The funny thing about that is how the story takes a turn via the super-robot inspired Jovian special units, making good on real robots versus super robots. In terms of Aldnoah, which is probably a step down to non-robots versus real robots, I wonder if you can actually make a point about all of it. In that sense, Akito’s luck or drive or circumstances, whatever, allowed him to be an effective element on the battlefield. What attributes that Inaho possesses which enabled his success in these skirmishes, so far, are not an unique element, merely uncommon. Perhaps he is in the right place at the right time, so there’s also that.

With the latest episode bringing (or maybe merely upgrading) the White Base trope, I guess it isn’t unfair to compare Aldnoah.Zero with every Gundam and Gundam-like anime out there. But I think whichever show you use, the approach has to be the thematic and not merely on superficial aspects. And to get that far you have to get an idea what the context of these shows we’re evoking.

Now, someone please do one with Gundam Build Fighters, because it would be fun to see someone possibly talk about that one UC dude who lost because LOL, wrong genre wrong show. I mean a big reason why I walk the meta path as a fan is because otaku mecha genre is an ongoing dialog between fans and creators, creations to creations, and ultimately it’s a disco hall where themes commingle, not so much like a database but more like an orgy where things sometimes don’t make sense, and it’s okay. And that’s really what makes Aldnoah.Zero stand out, it’s like that one straight line in a sea of noise, narratively.

Aldnoah.Zero Wins Round One

I haven’t sampled everything this summer season but I think I’m at a point where I can comfortably say I’m ready to take my picks and go on. Part of this is thanks to not having to worry about 2 noitaminA shows, because of the double-length Psycho-Pass rerun. Part of this also has to do with how FUNimation’s picks this season whiffs everything except The One Show Every Season They License That I Must Watch, so there isn’t any chaff like Daimidaler or Soul Eater Not where the fact that I have negotiate their services put enough of a strain on my attention span that I end up dropping them. [Free S2 completely whiffs at episode 1. It turned into K-ON except with guys and…sorry. Give me some Koushien story please. Oh, there’s Tokyo ESP I suppose, which is in limbo but…]

It’s easy to see why I take a liking to Aldnoah.Zero. It’s got the rich SF background, it takes plot progression seriously, with a lot of mind paid to tension and emotional response. Amamiya Sora is icing on the cake (I think she’s getting hype specially in P circles, but also in general now). Ohara drives a mecha? When’s the last time that happened? Wait, don’t tell me Sidonia. Well the real reason is it pushed all my Nadesico buttons.

At any rate, that’s just the prereq. Butch lays it on thick Gargantia-style here with the setup. This time it’s a lot more palatable as someone who at least got to episode 5 of Senkou no Night Raid. Joking aside, there’s enough to the series that I want to see how the setting and theme play out. The pacing/plot being enjoyable enough is what keeps me awake, I guess.

Ami looking like Ami from Million Lewd. Million Live I mean.

Speaking of which, I was surprised Hamayamata keeps me awake because it’s pretty dull other than the eye-jabbingly prismatic visuals. I mean that in the best possible way. I rewatched episode one a couple times and it just looked so hyperrealistic in that fancy, let-us-pour-all-the-filters kind of way that it feels out of place. I would be lying if I didn’t enjoy Yaya being not-Kaya and Hana being from scenic New Jersey, though. Can’t wait for Nu’s character. More seriously, it channels a little of Chihayafuru in the feels, and I can’t wait to see what that means in a dance…club sense.

I didn’t expect to enjoy Akame ga Kill, but I did. Another Amamiya Sora show! But this one is clearly a notch down. Could be fun if it has more of a setting to play off of.

I want to like Argevollen, but it is turning out to be the perfect foil to 08th MS Team. As if you ever wanted to see an example of a crap squad mecha anime, there you go. At least do us the favor and make the main character as chill as the ones from Gunparade March or something. Really wanted to like it but it is basically in every way a subset of shows like Aldnoah.Zero … or Sidonia. Minus the KOTOKO.

Glasslip…Satojun takes on Nagiasu? I don’t know what to expect but I’m sure I’ll enjoy the hell out of it. That said, so far it’s a little snoozy. The whole super power bit is a little vague. It’s okay to get started this quickly but I wish we had a little more time to get comfy with the cast first.

Locodol is another show that I thought would be trash but is turning out pretty okay. Kind of wish we can swap Naru from Hanayamata with the protagonist here. I would probably dig this show a lot more if it was as long as Yama no Susume 2. It’s not, which means now it has to have some kind of plot to carry over 15 minutes.

Nozaki-kun is like the shoujo anime that isn’t. I can’t really say I like it because the humor doesn’t work for me as much, but it helps that the MCs are both tsukkomi. Maybe girls like that? Anyways while the concept is intriguing it is pressing all the wrong buttons for me. Can’t fault it for pressing buttons but maybe it’s just not for me.

Rail Wars is the one show this season where I like everything except the actual story here. I love the depiction of faux-real world Tokyo Station or the Japanese attitude about customer service. I like how there are real trains in the anime, down to the last bolt or screw. Unfortunately the rest is sort of bad. Bad in a way where I’d rather go and rewatch parts of Tenchi Muyo? I guess.

Ao Haru Ride is going to be pretty cool in that we finally get Mayayan in a proper shoujo protagonist role. She deserves it. I wish I can say more than that though; just not my kind of thing and when I watch shows like this I get all old fogie like, “Why can’t shows today be like Karekano good”? Maybe this Otaking rant has something in the making of.

Sabagebu is okay. I watched one episode and it was largely forgettable, but it’ll probably be fun enough to keep me up to 3.

I want to try one episode of Love Stage but I’m not that bored yet. Bladedancer could be interesting, and it doesn’t have that “yet another Nobunaga thing” stigma attached, so I might try that at some point.

The new Encouragement of Climb anime is great, but I feel it’s too long.

I watched the Tokyo Zombie live action movie some years back. It was a riot. I hope Tokyo Ghoul is at least around the same level. Somehow I doubt it.

I looked at the 2ch matome posts for Momo Kyun Sword. I had enough.

How can I go back to OFA at this rate? Hopefully by dropping half of the above. I still have 4 more idols to unlock!

PS. None of this really shakes the fact that Zankyou no Terror might still be the best show of the season, but so far there’s not enough data to make that call. Rather than calling it a win for Aldnoah, it’s more like a personal victory for Aldnoah that it did not crash and burn in the pack before it thinned out. It’s almost like watching NASCAR for the car crashes.

PPS. I’m sure to watch more show not mentioned thus far this season. I also owe myself a Puchimas catch-up after my Sidonia catch-up.

PPPS. I’m digging Cap’n Earth a lot more since they switched gears with exploring all the other designer children stuff. ED2 is awesome. Ace is slowing down as expected; finally getting to see baldie pitch should lift spirits. And I omitted the other continuations that I’ll surely catch too, like Illya and Ai Mai Mii… Goes to show how great Encouragement of Climb is.