Aldnoah.Zero: Episode 1 – “Princess of VERS”

Aldnoah.Zero is an anime series created by Gen Urobuchi and produced by Nitroplus, A-1 Pictures, and TROYCA. The series is directed by Ei Aoki. As of this writing, Crunchyroll is simulcasting the series, and Aniplex of America holds the North American distribution license for Aldnoah.Zero.

This series is set an alternate version of Earth, where an ancient alien hypergate was discovered on the surface of the moon. Humanity used this technology and began migrating to Mars to settle the planet. When the settlers discovered more advanced technology, they founded the Vers Empire. This new empire claimed the planet and the technology for themselves. The Vers Empire then declared war on Earth. During a battle that took place on the moon’s surface in 1999, the hypergate exploded and shattered the moon. The moon’s debris created a belt around the Earth.

The series begins in 2014, which is 15 years after Heaven’s Fall. On Earth (specifically in Shin-awara, Japan), we meet a high school student named Nao Inaho and his sister, Yuki Kaizuka. Yuki is a Warrant Officer in the Military Personnel of the Earth Alliance. Yuki helps instruct at the high school, because military training is part of their high school experience. She works alongside Koichiro Marito, a lieutenant who also teaches at the school. Marito appears to be a bit of a heavy drinker, and believes that the kids are being lied to about things. He was in the military 15 years earlier, and saw things that have been hushed up by the top brass.

Princess Asseylum from the Vers Empire decides she wants to make a goodwill mission to Earth. Unfortunately, many people in the Vers Empire don’t agree with her decision. As she heads to Earth, she is accompanied by a young man named Slaine Troyard. He’s an Earthling living on Mars, and he and his father had been rescued by the princess five years earlier. Even he tries to dissuade her from the visit to Earth, but she insists on going.

When the princess arrives on Earth, her motorcade is attacked by missiles set off by a couple of terrorists. It appears that the princess has been killed, and the Vers Empire launches an attack on Earth in order to get revenge.

This episode had a bit of “info dumping” included in it. However, seeing as this is the first episode of a series, I can’t fault it too much for that. In order to establish the world and the characters that inhabit it, this was the best way for this series to accomplish that task.

When we’re introduced to Princess Asseylum and find out about her goodwill mission, I was able to predict that something would happen during her visit that would cause the Vers Empire to attack Earth. However, that was the only thing I found to be predictable about this episode.

Animation-wise, I think the look of the series is pretty decent. It may not be anything that truly stands out as something unique or different, but it doesn’t look bad, either. So far, I like the look and feel of the animation. But I hope that as the series continues, it’s able to maintain this quality. I’d hate to see the quality of the animation noticeably go downhill as it goes on. The style of animation being used for this series helps to complement the story that’s being told.

After watching Episode One, it looks like Aldnoah.Zero has a lot of potential. I’m looking forward to continuing this series in order to find out whether or not the potential I see will manifest itself.

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