Well, that was ballsy way to tie this pilot off with a cliffhanger. The title character’s gets assassinated! A whole city gets nuked! Holy shit -- what could happen next?!
I was about to dismiss this episode as another textbook example of why frontloading is one of the deadliest - - and sadly, most common -- pitfalls for a series opener. There was a straight and sharp line separating that parts that worked from the parts that didn’t here. All the scenes involving our sweet-but-woefully-out-of-touch title character played best. Her aide condescendingly explaining interstellar politics to her, the one underling getting punished for speaking out of turn to her; even the recklessness that leads to her brutal assassination. Those all held my interest.
What didn’t? All the scenes of ‘everyday terrans’ (or whatever they were called) exchanging info-dumps about the history of Earth/Mars relations. A faux history lesson is just never entertaining.
Now, that said, I can understand why they included the latter - - even beyond just wanting to just show off this detailed future historia you’ve worked out. If the princess isn’t going to be the main character, then you’d best focus on the people who will be. Obviously. And we’re going to care more about the nuclear war at the end if we have an idea of who’s going to suffer all those nukes.
So, I guess those scenes aren’t bad, in theory – it’s just they could be done better.
And the scenes with the princess are preferable because there’s a character-based through line driving them. Her scenes aren’t just there to explain who she is, and what her world is. They’re driven by this kind of ditzy girl needing to have things dumbed down for her, and causing problems with her ignorance. There’s humor. There’s personality.
I don’t think I’ll be catching more of Aldnoah, but this pilot was interesting, if only to illustrate how scenes in pilots seem to work only by degrees, sometimes.
Watch “Princess of Vers" and decide for yourself.