Aldnoah.Zero: Episode 9 – “Darkness Visible”

Aldnoah.Zero is an anime series set on 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.

The episode opens with Slaine waking up in Count Saazbaum’s Landing Castle. During the course of a conversation between Slaine and Saazbaum, the count admits to being the traitor who plotted Asseylum’s assassination. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy how this played out. I really saw no reason for Saazbaum to come out and admit this to Slaine, and I honestly believe this would have worked better if Saazbaum had tried to hide this from Slaine, but Slaine somehow found out on his own since that’s more realistic and more dramatic. To me, this just felt like more sloppy writing to add to the sloppy writing that’s appeared in the past couple of episodes. Honestly, I believe Aldnoah.Zero should have been a longer story than just 12 episodes. This sloppy writing to try to rush things along seems to support my belief.

Meanwhile, the doctor with the Earthlings is trying a therapy on Marito for his PTSD that involves having him go through a simulation over and over to relive the event that brought about his PTSD. The thought is that by having to relive it over and over, it’ll stop affecting him so much over time. Through this scene, we get to see a flashback that gives a full explanation as to what happened between Marito and Humeray. The simulation was kind of amusing at first, since the simulation was designed by the doctor in such a way that it looks like it came out of the early days of CG. This is quite a stark contrast when compared to the simulations that the soldiers are using to practice their fighting skills.

Rayet also plays a major role in this episode. When she gets to use a simulator, she’s given a simulation that includes the mecha that killed her father. This freaks her out, and she spends time in the episode remembering her father. Unfortunately, she decides to take out her hatred of the Martians on Asseylum, but it appears that she goes too far…

Sigh. Another episode with sloppy writing, which is making it harder and harder for me to truly care about this show anymore. And with only three more episodes left to go, I’m afraid they’re going to end up rushing the story to its conclusion. And at this point, I just can’t give a flying fuck about Nao since there’s still been no character development for him. It’s rather sad when you think about it, since Nao is supposed to be one of the main characters.

I’m this far along, so I’ll go ahead and finish Aldnoah.Zero. Unfortunately, I’m just not expecting much out of it anymore.

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