HBO Max to Add More Anime Titles to Its Catalog in August 2020

HBO Max and Crunchyroll have announced that the HBO Max streaming service will add Aldnoah.Zero, Inuyasha, Mob Psycho 100, The Promised Neverland, and Puella Magi Madoka Magica on August 4, 2020.

HBO Max launched on May 27, 2020. Crunchyroll offered 17 anime series at launch, and added four more in June 2020. Crunchyroll will offer more anime for HBO Max every quarter. Crunchyroll previously confirmed that only select content from Crunchyroll will be available on HBO Max.

The HBO Max streaming service costs US$14.99 per month.

Source: ANN

FUNimation Entertainment Announces Additions to Its Streaming Catalog

FUNimation Entertainment has announced that it will add eight anime from Aniplex and Nozomi Entertainment to its streaming service.

The anime from Aniplex include:

  • Angel Beats!
  • ALDNOAH.ZERO
  • Valvrave the Liberator

The company will add the following titles from Nozomi Entertainment:

  • Tamayura – Hitotose
  • Boogiepop Phantom
  • Sound of the Sky
  • Sengoku Collection
  • Ninja Nonsense

Tamayura – Hitotose, Sound of the Sky, and Sengoku Collection will be available in the United States and Canada. Boogiepop Phantom and Ninja Nonsense will be available in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland.

Source: ANN

More English Cast Members Announced for Aldnoah.Zero

Aniplex of America has additional English cast members for the second season of Aldnoah.Zero:

  • Ben Pronsky is Harklight
  • Kira Buckland is Lemrina Vers Envers
  • Derek Stephen Prince is Marylcian
  • Kaiji Tang is Barouhcruz
  • Robbie Daymond is Mazuurek
  • David Vincent is Zebrin
  • Amanda C. Miller is Rafia

Aniplex of America plans to release the second season in two parts on both limited edition Blu-ray sets and standard edition DVD sets. The fist half will ship on January 26, 2016, and the limited edition will include a special box illustration, manga booklet, and pin-ups. The second half will ship on April 19, 2016. The limited edition will include a special box illustration, “mecha archives” booklet, and pin-ups.

Source: ANN

English Cast for Aldnoah.Zero

Aniplex of America announced the English cast for Aldnoah.Zero during the company’s A-Kon panel.

The cast includes:

  • Max Mittelman is Inaho Kaizuka
  • Zach Aguilar is Slaine Troyard
  • Erika Harlacher is Asseylum Vers Allusia
  • Cristina Vee is Rayet Areash
  • Erica Mendez is Inko Amifumi
  • Bryce Papenbrook is Calm Craftman
  • Christine Marie Cabanos is Nina Klein
  • Bobby Thong is Okisuke Mikuni
  • Erica Lindbeck is Yuki Kaizuka
  • Matt Mercer is Koichiro Marito
  • Ethan Murray is Soma Yagarai
  • Julie Ann Taylor is Darzana Magbaredge
  • Trina Loo is Kaoru Mizusaki
  • Sandy Fox is Eddelrittuo
  • Lex Lang is Cruhteo
  • Kirk Thornton is Saazbaum
  • Todd Haberkorn is Trillram
  • Patrick Seitz is Vlad
  • Kyle McCarley is Kisaki Matsuribi
  • Lucien Dodge is Yutaro Tsumugi
  • Alan Lee is Shigo Kakei
  • Carrie Keranen is Femieanne
  • Ben Diskin is John Humeray
  • Mela Lee is Orlane
  • Geoffrey Chalmers is Rayregalia Vers Rayvers

Aniplex of America will host an English premiere event at Anime Expo. The company will show the first three episodes and host a Q&A event with voice actors Max Mittelman, Zach Aguilar, and Erika Harlacher. Aniplex of America and Bang Zoom! Entertainment will also hold open auditions for additional cast members at Anime Expo. Aniplex of America noted that Aguilar and Mittelman were previous participants of the open auditions event.

The two companies will also host an Open Auditions Kick-off Panel at Anime Expo on July 2, 2015 to announce another title from Aniplex of America that will be getting an English version, and attendees can also audition for that title as well as Aldnoah.Zero.

Aniplex of America will release the first 12-episode season on both Blu-ray Disc and DVD in two sets. The sets will include Japanese and English audio with English and Spanish subtitles. The first set will be released on July 21, 2015, and the second set on October 27, 2015. Pre-orders for both volumes start on June 8, 2015.

The first limited edition Blu-ray Disc set of Aldnoah.Zero will include the textless opening, promotional videos and TV ads, the “Count to A/Z” interview program with the cast and staff, a 36-page “Character Archives” booklet, collectable pin-ups, and a box illustration by mecha designer I-IV. The limited edition will retail for US$94.98, but the store price will be US$74.98. The DVD will include the same video extras, and will retail for US$39.98, but the store price will be US$29.98.

The second limited edition Blu-ray Disc set will include the textless endings, the English version trailer, a 36-page “Mecha Archives” booklet, collectable pin-ups, and a box illustration by mecha designer I-IV. The limited edition will retail for US$94.98, but the store price will be US$74.98. The DVD will include the same video extras, and will retail for US$39.98, but the store price will be US$29.98.

Source: ANN

Aniplex of America to Release Aldnoah.Zero Soundtrack

Aniplex of America has announced that the company will release the Aldnoah.Zero anime soundtrack. The imported soundtrack will ship in the United States and Canada on February 10, 2015 with an MSRP of US$44.98 and a sales price of US$34.98.

The soundtrack features 20 tracks of score composed by Hiroyuki Sawano, who has also worked on Attack on Titan and Kill la Kill.

The anime’s second season, which was also scored by Sawano, began airing in January 2015. The series is being simulcast by Crunchyroll, Hulu, and Daisuki.

A-1 Pictures and TROYCA produce Aldnoah.Zero, and Ei Aoki is directing. Katsuhiko Takayama is in charge of series scripts.

Source: ANN

2014 In Review: Summer 2014 Season

I’ve posted about the series I watched in the Winter 2014 season and about the series I started watching during the Spring 2014 season. Today, I’m posting about the anime series I started watching during the Summer 2014 season.

Sailor Moon Crystal: So far, this series seems to be following the manga much more closely than the original anime series did. I’ve only seen a portion of the original Sailor Moon anime, but from what I’ve seen of both that and Sailor Moon Crystal, I think that the storytelling and feel of Sailor Moon Crystal is stronger. The animation in Sailor Moon Crystal was very rough for a while, but the quality seems to have improved with more recent episodes. The main weakness that Sailor Moon Crystal has is the fact that it only airs twice a month; because of that, momentum is lost between episodes. Hopefully once the series becomes available on home video in the future and viewers can see episodes much closer together, that the storytelling will feel stronger than it does now. This is a series that will be continuing into the Winter 2015 season, so expect to see it appear in a retrospective for 2015!

Free! Eternal Summer: This is the second season for Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club, a series that aired during the Summer 2013 season. When I watched the first episode of Free! Eternal Summer, I saw much more blatant “fanservice” included in it than I had in all of the previous season of Free! I found myself fearing that Free! Eternal Summer was going to try to focus more on the fanservice than on the story. Fortunately, the fanservice was toned down tremendously after Episode One and that there was more of an emphasis placed on the story. Not only did Episode Two tone down the fanservice, it also did a great job of setting up the new elements that were being introduced to the series. With Episode Five, I was very happy to see Nagisa get a character development episode. While most of the other characters had received character development episodes in the first season, Nagisa was the only one who hadn’t. After watching Episode Five, I felt I understood where Nagisa was coming from a lot better than I had previously. With how the prefecturals progressed in Episode Six, it allowed Free! Eternal Summer to differentiate itself from the first season, since there would be a story that focuses on the Iwatobi team going to nationals. I also appreciated seeing the way that Free! Eternal Summer came to an end, which is with a montage that shows what happens to the various characters during the next school year. But from seeing this montage, it leads me to believe that there more than likely won’t be another season of the Free! anime. While I do enjoy this series quite a bit, I really can’t see where they could take the story, especially with Makoto and Haruka no longer being on the school’s swim team. It just wouldn’t be the same without all four of them.

Aldnoah.Zero: After watching the first episode, I thought that Aldnoah.Zero showed a lot of promise; however, I did have some issues with how much “info dumping” took place. During the first couple of episodes, I found myself being able to predict some of the events that happened; however, this ability to predict what would happen in the story went out the window as the series progressed. The info dumping came back in Episode Six; at this point, I found myself wondering if maybe the series needed more episodes, because the info dumping felt as if it was being done to help the story move along faster in order for it to fit into the allotted number of episodes for the series. At the end of Episode Seven, I thought the storytelling had become even more of a mess than what I’d seen during Episode Six. At the end of Episode Eight, I thought that the writing had gotten sloppy, there was a relative lack of character development, and that there were radical changes in characterization. It almost felt as if someone was making up the story as they went, and that was the only way I could explain how the storytelling had fallen apart as much as it did over the course of eight episodes. Unfortunately, the quality of the writing never improved over the remaining four episodes of the series. After reaching the end of the series, I found myself thinking that I’d wasted 12 weeks of my time watching it.

Re: Hamatora: This is the second season of Hamatora that I’d been looking forward to watching after watching the cliffhanger at the end of the Winter 2014 season. After watching the first episode, I felt that even though there was a more serious tone than there had been to the first season of Hamatora, the second season seemed to be a strong continuation for the series. I pretty much felt this way through Episode Five. With Episode Six, though, the series started to become much more weird and dark than it had been. At that point, I had hoped that perhaps this would be the weirdest that the series would get. Unfortunately, the episodes continued becoming stranger and stranger for the remainder of the series. In the end, I didn’t enjoy Re: Hamatora as much as I did the first season of Hamatora. Right at first, the darker and more serious tone of Re: Hamatora was a refreshing change of pace; however, as the season wore on, the storyline in Re: Hamatora just continued to become stranger and stranger. Ultimately, the two seasons of Hamatora were as different as night and day: the first season was more light-hearted with the occasional serious moment, while the second season was more serious with the occasional light-hearted moment early on. But by the end of Re: Hamatora, any light-heartedness was basically gone. In the end, Re: Hamatora did present some interesting concepts, but I’m not convinced that the execution of those concepts worked as well as they could have.

Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun: After watching the first episode of the series, I thought it was off to a good start. I liked the main characters and how they interacted with each other. The story also kept my interest, and the humor was very enjoyable. Episode Two did a good job of building off of Episode One, and the story continued to be amusing. That episode introduced Yuzuki, who ended up being the only character who never truly grew on me; I found her to be rather annoying. I have to admit that my interest started to wane a little with Episode Five, because the humor in that episode wasn’t quite as amusing as it had been in the previous four episodes. This slump in the humor lasted for two episodes, then started getting better for a couple of episodes, and then there was another minor slump in Episode Nine. Fortunately, the final three episodes of the series help to make up for the slump in the humor that appeared around halfway through the series. But even with the episodes that weren’t as amusing as the rest of the series, the stories presented in those episodes weren’t bad. My main gripe, though, is that there seemed to be too many characters, so some characters couldn’t get the development and screen time that they needed. The characters who really felt as if they didn’t need to be there are Nozaki’s tanuki-loving former editor, and his upstairs neighbor who’s also a shojo manga artist. In the long run, those two particular characters really didn’t add a whole lot to the series and didn’t contribute much to the overall story. Even though there was no real conclusion to the story, I think the series needed to end the way that it did. This is due in large part to the fact that the manga is still ongoing in Japan; also, if any of these potential couples did officially get together by the end, it would have had a strong effect on the series’ humor. Overall, Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun was an enjoyable viewing experience from start to end. In fact, I would have to say that this would be one of my overall favorite series that I watched during the Summer 2014 anime season. I’d even be willing to go so far as to say that would rank up there among my favorite series that I watched during 2014.

Blue Spring Ride: After watching the first episode, I thought that Blue Spring Ride was off to a promising start. I liked the various character interactions, and the episode did a good job of establishing the characters and the story. And after watching Episode Two, I thought it was even better than Episode One had been. By the time I finished Episode Six, I thought that there were a lot of ways in which the plot twists and turns in Blue Spring Ride remind me a lot of what I saw in Strobe Edge, another manga by Io Sakisaka. Since I enjoyed the twists and turns in Strobe Edge, I also enjoyed them in Blue Spring Ride. After I finished watching Blue Spring Ride, I thought that it was a well-done shojo anime series. The series had characters that I became interested and invested in, and the romantic and friendship storylines were done in a way where they really didn’t come across as “over the top.” Blue Spring Ride is a series that I’d happily watch again at some point in the future. It’s another title that would rank up there among my favorite anime from 2014.

HaNaYaMaTa: After watching the first episode, I found myself thinking that the animation was very bright and colorful. Also, all the female characters seemed to have a rather “cute” look to them, which gave the series a moe feel. Storywise, I thought HaNaYaMaTa was off to a decent start and appeared to have the foundation for an interesting story. At the time, I hoped that the series could continue in the style I saw in the first episode and not devolve into yet another “cute girls doing cute things” show. By the end of Episode Three, I had to give HaNaYaMaTa some credit for the fact that while it had a “moe” look and feel to it, the girls came across as actual characters and not as girls that fit various character types. There was also an overarching story that helped to keep a viewer interested, unlike many of the more recent moe type shows that seemed to focus more on vignettes and simply being cute rather than having much in the way of substance to its story. At the end of Episode Six, I was impressed by how the series’ plot kept the story moving and how the portrayal of the characters endeared them to the audience since they were actually characters and not simply character types. I appreciated HaNaYaMaTa for proving to me that a show with cute girls can actually have substance to it and be enjoyable to watch week after week. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as satisfied by the ending of HaNaYaMaTa as I hoped I would be. A major event happens at the end of Episode 11 that really affects the Yosakoi Club, but Episode 12 brings a resolution to that roadblock in such a way that I had a hard time using my “willing suspension of belief” or finding any way to the ending to be anywhere near realistic. Also, I thought there was a major loose end that was left resolved at the end of Episode 12. Overall, I did enjoy HaNaYaMaTa, even if I was a little disappointed in how the expected resolution with Hana ultimately transpired.

Love Stage!!: After watching the first episode, I saw that Love Stage!! was leaning more toward the comedic side; from what I saw, the comedy seemed to work for the story being told. I also thought that the series showed a lot of promise. Episode Three, however, made me a little uncomfortable when Ichijo tried to force Izumi to strip down and then became rather romantic toward him when he saw Izumi’s face. I wasn’t bothered by the fact that this scene featured two guys; in fact, it would have bothered me just as much if this scene had taken place between Ichijo and a female character. Honestly, if Shogo hadn’t come at just the right moment, Ichijo could have potentially raped Izumi. And that would not have been cool at all. But it still wasn’t cool how far Ichijo had managed to get before Shogo’s interference. By the end of Episode Four, it was very blatant that the series was heading into boys-love territory; as I watched the remainder of the series, I thought that the boys-love aspect was handled rather well. The series ended pretty much as I expected it to, with Izumi and Ichijo becoming a couple. With the way this episode ended, it could work as an ending for the series, but if there’s more content in the manga that hasn’t been covered, there could always be the potential for a second season if the first season performed well enough. As of this writing, there’s only been an OVA that’s been released in Japan in addition to the television anime series. Overall, I thought Love Stage!! was an ok series, but it’s not something I’d personally rush to see again anytime soon. I’m not saying that because it’s a boys-love title, because if this had been a series with a straight couple that was done in this manner, I’d feel the same way.

Terror in Resonance: After I watched the first episode, I thought the animation looked good, and that Yoko Kanno was delivering another good anime score. Story-wise, I thought the series was off to a promising start, even if it was a little slow to get going. Once the story started to become more established over the course of the episode, it intrigued me enough to keep my interest. By the end of Episode Five, it felt like the story had been kicked up a notch, due to the introduction of Five and the potential issues that Shibazaki faced in this episode. But at this point, I found myself not feeling terribly sure about Lisa as a character, because she just didn’t seem to have much of a purpose; she was starting to feel more like a prop than anything else. At the end of Episode Six, I found myself wondering if should truly be rooting for anyone. Nine and Twelve were the main characters, but I wasn’t sure I could root for them with everything they’d done up to that point. Five may have been affiliated with the authorities, but she was only looking out for her own interests, so I couldn’t root for her. Lisa still hadn’t done much of anything at that point, and the closest character there was to a “good guy” was Shibazaki. At the end of Episode 10, I was still rather frustrated with Lisa as a character. At this point, she’d either been a prop or becomes the “damsel in distress.” Also, I was also feeling frustrated by the overall lack of character development for both Nine and Twelve, who are supposed to be the main characters of the series. After finishing the series, I came to see how the series only touched on its themes and the majority of its characters on a purely surface level. The only character to truly have any character development was Shibazaki. Lisa seemed to have the least development; all we seem to know about her is the fact that she was being bullied and had an extremely clingy mother. Episode 12 made an attempt at trying to make Lisa a more important character in the series, but at that point, it was simply too little, too late. Two of the characters were killed at the end of the episode; however, since they were really only known to the audience on a surface level, it was hard to feel any kind of emotion when they died. Terror in Resonance is a story that had so much promise, but in the end, it didn’t deliver as I’d hoped. It’s got good animation, great music, and an interesting premise; unfortunately, the series was ultimately lacking in its overall execution. It reminds me a lot of cotton candy: it looks good, tastes great, but in the end it still leaves you feeling empty.

Tokyo ESP: After watching the first episode of Tokyo ESP, I thought that the animation was rather well-done. I also thought that there seemed to be an interesting idea being presented, but that the pacing felt a little on the sluggish side. I also found myself feeling rather confused, because the episode was done in such a way that it felt like it was being assumed that the audience already knew and understood what was taking place. With Episode Two, it became clear that the trick of starting at one point in the story and then backtracking to fill in the gaps to get back to where the story started was being utilized. After watching Episode Two, I did have a better impression of Tokyo ESP. But as the series continued, I found myself thinking that it probably would have made the series stronger if the second episode had been the first episode and had just gone in chronological order. By eliminating that first episode, the writers would have gained one episode that could have potentially allowed them to develop the characters or the story a little more. When the final episode concluded, it didn’t feel like the story had come to an end; in fact, it felt as if the stage was being set for a second season. However, there was nothing at the end of the episode to announce that another season would be coming in the future. After finishing Tokyo ESP, I found that I never was able to enjoy it as much as I’d hoped I would. The way the series started didn’t really help anything, since it left me so confused as to what was going on. When the actual story got going in Episode Two, the pacing of the story tended to feel slow, although not quite as slow as the first episode; but the pacing never really improved much after Episode Two. I also found that I just couldn’t get into the characters, not even into the characters who had some clearly defined development, such as Rinka and Kyotaro. Looking back, I realize I had this underlying sense of detachment from the characters. In the end, Tokyo ESP had an interesting concept behind it, but the execution just wasn’t as strong as it could have been.

Additional 2014 In Review posts:

New Cast Member Announced for Aldnoah.Zero’s Second Season

The official Twitter account for Aldnoah.Zero has announced that Daisuke Hirakawa will be joining the cast for the second season of the series and will be playing a new character named Harklight.

The second season of Aldnoah.Zero is scheduled to debut on Japanese television in January 2015.

Source: ANN

Anime Spotlight: Aldnoah.Zero

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. Aldnoah.Zero aired on Japanese television between July 5 and September 20, 2014. As of this writing, Aniplex of America holds the North American distribution license for Aldnoah.Zero.

Aldnoah.Zero is set in 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.

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 to get revenge. The assassins who carried out the plan are given “gratitude” by Sir Trillram when he kills them; this leaves a girl named Rayet as an orphan.

It turns out that Asseylum is still alive, because she was ill due to being unaccustomed to the gravity of Earth, so a stand-in was in her place instead. Asseylum, her assistant, and Rayet end up traveling with Inaho and the others. Inaho and the other students are drafted into the military after the Vers Empire launches a war on Earth in revenge for Asseylum’s death.

Captain Magbaredge ends up leading the forces that fight against the Vers Empire, and it turns out she has a secret that’s tied in with Marito’s service during Heavens Fall.

After watching the first episode, I thought that Aldnoah.Zero showed a lot of promise. However, I did have some issues with how much “info dumping” took place. During the first couple of episodes, I found myself being able to predict some of the events that happened; however, this ability to predict what would happen in the story went out the window as the series progressed.

The info dumping came back in Episode Six. At this point, I found myself wondering if maybe the series needed more episodes, because the info dumping felt as if it was being done to help the story move faster so it could fit into the allotted number of episodes for the series. At the end of Episode Seven, I thought the storytelling had become even more of a mess than what I’d seen during Episode Six.

At the end of Episode Eight, I thought that the writing had gotten sloppy, there was a relative lack of character development, and that there were radical changes in characterization. It almost felt as if someone was making up the story as they went, and that was the only way I could explain how the storytelling had fallen apart as much as it did over the course of eight episodes.

Unfortunately, the quality of the writing never improved over the remaining four episodes of the series.

Aldnoah.Zero is a series that started out with a lot of promise, but it ultimately fell apart as the story progressed due to uneven story progression, sloppy writing, and underdeveloped characters. Now that I’ve reached the end, I find myself thinking that the past 12 weeks of watching this show ended up being a waste of my time.

At the end of Episode Twelve, it was revealed that a second season for Aldnoah.Zero would begin in January 2015. At this point, I have no intention of watching this second season. About the only way I’ll watch it is if I can’t find enough shows to fill my schedule for the Winter 2015 anime season.

If you’re looking for a mecha anime series to watch, I’d recommend Captain Earth over Aldnoah.Zero. Admittedly, Captain Earth has some issues, but those issues are nowhere as bad or as prevalent as what appeared in Aldnoah.Zero.

Additional Anime Spotlights:

Aldnoah.Zero: Episode 12 – “Childhood’s End”

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 12 is the last episode for Aldnoah.Zero, and it focused completely on the battle that Martians launched against United Earth Headquarters. Because the Deucalion crashed at the end of Episode 11, none of them are able to help out with the mission to get Asseylum to the Landing Castle. It’s up to Inaho, Yuki, and Inko to get her there safely.

Count Saauzbam tries to stop them, even going so far as to assemble several smaller mecha together into one giant mecha called the Dioscuria. Now, wait a minute… this is the first time we’ve ever seen that the Martians are capable of something like this. I found myself thinking that this was simply added into this episode in order to power up Saazbaum and make him a tougher opponent. Inaho tries taking on the Dioscuria.

After a short stuggle, Asseylum is able to make it to the Aldnoah chamber and shut down the Aldnoah drive. Unfortunately, it’s not a “happily ever after” ending after Slaine finds Asseylum and Inaho. Saazbaum shoots Asseylum, and Inaho tries performing CPR on her. Slaine becomes a real asshole and shoots Inaho; it’s intimated that he’s jealous of Inaho being with Asseylum. With the way the episode ends, it’s unclear whether or not Inaho and Asseylum are still alive. The only reference we hear is in the ending narration, where it’s said that that there were many casualties on both sides and that Asseylum’s whereabouts are unknown. After ending on this note, a message came up saying a second season will begin in January 2015.

Well, then. I’m guessing that Slaine took Asseylum with him after shooting Inaho, and is probably trying to revive her or nurse her back to health. Personally, I’d be surprised if Inaho is still alive, but with the way this show’s gone, anything is possible. And if he is dead, well I’m not too choked up about it, considering how little he was developed as a character before the end of the series.

Aldnoah.Zero is a series that started out with a lot of promise, but it ultimately fell apart as the story progressed due to uneven story progression, sloppy writing, and underdeveloped characters. Now that I’ve reached the end, I find myself thinking that the past 12 weeks of watching this show ended up being a waste of my time.

At this point, I really have no intention of watching the second season when it comes out in January 2015. About the only way I’ll watch it is if I can’t find enough shows to fill my schedule for the Winter 2015 anime season.

Additional posts about Aldnoah.Zero:

Aldnoah.Zero: Episode 11 – “Wind, Snow and Stars”

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 11 sees Saazbaum launch a direct attack on United Earth HQ. Saazbaum and his men break into the headquarters in the Kataphrakts and start wreaking havoc. His troops are ordered to find Princess Asseylum and shoot her on sight.

Asseylum contacts Inaho and tells him that she has the ability to shut off Saazbaum’s Aldnoah drive since she’s from the Vers emperor’s bloodline. Inaho says he’ll escort Asseylum to the enemy’s Landing Castle, but Yuki argues with him. As expected, Inaho uses his emotionless logic to argue his position; and after Asseylum agrees with his plan, Yuki agrees to forward it to the captain.

Later, we see Asseylum being driven by her assistant in a jeep to get to the Deucalion, but Saazbaum’s men see her and begin shooting at the jeep. A Kataphrakt piloted by Rayet appears and protects the princess so she can get on board the ship. I’m sorry, but I have a very hard time believing that Rayet would help out the princess like this. Just two episodes ago, Rayet tried to strangle Asseylum and kill her; this just doesn’t work for me, because I can’t see Rayet having such a rapid change of heart. I don’t think sitting in that cell suddenly made her realize that Asseylum is someone she should be helping. This just felt forced to me.

As the episode is ending, a plan Inaho came up with launches; unfortunately, something unforeseen happens that has the potential to derail his plan…

And Slaine only makes a couple of quick token appearances in Episode 11, and all we see is that he’s concerned about Princess Asseylum. At this point, it appears that while he doesn’t seem to be fighting with Saazbaum’s forces, he also doesn’t seem to be joining up with the Terrans, either.

In the end, not a whole lot happens in Episode 11. Yes, the action really picks up after the slower pace of the past couple of episodes, but all this action is essentially just setting the series up for the final battle, which will be taking place during Episode 12.

It’ll be interesting to see how Episode 12 brings the story to an end, and to see whether or not these last couple of episodes will be able to improve my opinion of this series or not.

Additional episodes of Aldnoah.Zero: