Aldnoah.Zero: Episode 10 – “Before the War”

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.

Episode 10 opens with the Deucalion crash landing, and Asseylum is discovered collapsed in the shower. Inaho discovers that both her breathing and pulse have both stopped. Inaho is able to revive her with a defibrillator and CPR, but as Asseylum is about to say who attacked her, Rayet grabs a gun and holds everyone at gunpoint.

A rather intense scene takes place here, with Rayet explaining the truth about herself and Asseylum apologizing for everything. With some of the shots I saw, I assumed that Rayet was going to be gunned down, but I was happy to see Inaho tackle Rayet and get the gun away from her. Rayet is taken into custody, and the last we saw of her in the episode was in a cell.

Asseylum also tries sending a message to the Vers Empire through the moon base. Unfortunately, as we learn later, those in the Vers Empire that are at the moon base believe as Count Saazbaum does and won’t be forwarding her message to the homeland.

Slaine, along with the audience, gets a history lesson from Count Saazbaum about the Vers Empire and how he lost his fiancée, Orlane, during Heavens Fall; she was the pilot of the Deucalion. Saazbaum basically admits that it’s his revenge for Orlane that fueled him to launch the assassination plot against Asseylum. Right near the end of the episode, Saazbaum releases Slaine from his restraints and says his debt to Slaine’s father has been paid. And with this, Saazbaum gives Slaine a choice: he can either fight with the Vers Empire or he can join up with the Terrans. We don’t see Slaine make a final decision in this episode, so I suspect we’ll see what he decides to do in Episode 11. My guess is that he’ll ultimately side with the Terrans since Asseylum is with them.

Episode 10 also brings a resolution to Magbaredge’s grudge against Marito, thanks to something that was provided to her by the doctor that’s been treating Marito. Yes, this resolution needed to be made, but did the doctor really have to violate doctor-patient confidentiality in this way? With this being part of the final three episodes, I guess this was the only way the writer could figure out to resolve this story line. And it needed to be resolved, because with what’s said in this episode, it looks like Saazbaum is about to launch a major strike against the Terrans’ final stronghold. My guess is that this battle is going to end up taking up the remaining two episodes of the series.

There was still some sloppy writing in this episode, but it was nowhere as bad as the sloppy writing that appeared in the previous two episodes of the series. And where is the character development for Inaho? Sure he saved Asseylum’s life, but the audience still knows so little about him as a character. Honestly, it feels more like Slaine should be the main male character and not Inaho.

There’s only two more episodes remaining for Aldnoah.Zero, and in a lot of ways I’m glad to be seeing it come to an end. It’s a show that had a very promising start, but the writing started falling apart around the halfway point of the series. Overall lack of character development for many of the characters and rushing through some portions of the story contributed to sloppy writing that weakened the series overall. Sadly, I don’t think there’s much they can do in the final two episodes to truly salvage Aldnoah.Zero.

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