Aldnoah.Zero: Episode 2 – “Beyond the Horizon”

Aldnoah.Zero is an anime series 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 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 Heavens 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.

At the beginning of Episode Two, the Martian forces invade Earth after the assassination of Princess Asseylum, who had come to Earth on a goodwill visit. We see parts of the battles in various fronts, and the Martian forces easily overwhelm the Earth forces.

Nao and some of his classmates help out with the evacuation advisory that has been given for Shin-awara. While this is going on, Nao encounters two girls, and one of them claims that Princess Asseylum is still alive. She didn’t take part in the parade because she was ill due to being unaccustomed to the gravity of Earth.

Sir Trillram, from the Vers Empire, goes to Earth in a mecha that’s piloted by Slaine Troyard. When Sir Trillram orders Slaine to attack some Earth fighters, he’s unable to do it. Because of this, Sir Trillram takes charge of the attacks. We learn that Sir Trillram was the one behind the assassination attempt on Princess Asseylum, and he attacks and kills the men he hired to pull off the job. Rayet, the daughter of one of them men, escapes. She’s chased by Sir Trillram. Nao and his classmates help Rayet to escape, while Yuki and Marito take on Sir Trillram. At the end of the episode, Nao declares that he and his classmates need to try to help Yuki and Marito fight against Sir Trillram.

With how much mecha appeared in this episode due to all of the fighting, there was more blatant use of computer animation than there was in the first episode. I have to say that overall, the computer animation used for the mecha meshed somewhat well with the regular animation. I’ve definitely seen worse attempts at meshing computer animated mecha with regular animation, so I have to give some credit to Aldnoah.Zero‘s attempts at this.

When it came to the actual story, I was able to predict a couple of things that happened during the episode. However, I was wrong about one other prediction I had made. In that case, I had predicted that a character would potentially die in the conflict, but they didn’t. I’m glad I was wrong on that, since my other guesses were correct. Between the two episodes I’ve seen so far, I was able to correctly predict three events that happened. I hope this isn’t a sign that Aldnoah.Zero is going to end up being a series that is written in such a way that it becomes predictable.

I’m happy to report that the “info dumping” that was so prevalent in Episode One was hardly present at all in Episode Two. Hopefully, the “info dumping” was essentially limited to Episode One and doesn’t come back again anytime soon.

I’m still seeing the potential for Aldnoah.Zero that I was seeing while watching Episode One. Hopefully, this potential will continue to appear and begin to manifest itself as the series continues.

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