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I'm Trying Really Hard to Like ALDNOAH ZERO #2

...but it's sooooo self-serious!

You know, I’m quick to say that Gen Urobuchi is my favorite anime writer, but it’s easy to forget the other edge of his body-of-work. While I might find series like PSYCHO-PASS to be transcendent pieces of genre fiction, it’s worth stating that my first introduction to his oeuvre came with BLASSREITER and PHANTOM: REQUIEM FOR THE PHANTOM - - two insufferably self-serious and boring shows.

(Hell, PHANTOM was so dour, it prompted me to name the Amnesiac Child Assassin as the single most annoying character trope in anime).

The first episode of ALDNOAH was a serious info dump, but the cliffhanger and the twist on the princess’ characterization - - coupled with the revelation that Urobuchi was involved, natch - - piqued my interest enough to catch Episode #2. Now that I’ve seen it, and it’s even more of a slog, I think I’ve gotten a better sense of when Urobuchi flies, and why.

For my money, he works best when he’s coupling his heady economist philosopher’s perspective on a subject that’s already fundamentally colorful. For example, the Magical Girl genre in MADOKA MAGICA and the Ghibli-esque setting of GARGANTIA ON THE VERDUROUS PLANET. When he’s starting with a premise that’s already serious, there’s no counter balance, and that’s when things get overly somber.

(For the record, I feel the same way about a lot of Nolan’s movies, and that’s why DARK KNIGHT works the best for me).

So… here we have world-building, and mechs battling, and nothing else in the way of any emotional through-line. Maybe it comes down to the writers he’s delegated the individual episodes to? Either way, I find myself not giving two shits about any of these characters, nor any details of this universe, and that’s too bad.

With this in mind, maybe I’d like his KAMEN RIDER series more?

Watch “Beyond the Horizon" and decide for yourself, then read my thoughts on the previous episode.

Kino88on Aug. 19, 2014 at 6:11 a.m.
So Urobuchi is the Nolan of anime, that actually makes perfect sense.
metalsnakezeroon Aug. 19, 2014 at 8:11 a.m.

Watch episode 3 and see what you think.

Marshal Victoryon Aug. 19, 2014 at 5:44 p.m.

Not sure how much your supposed to care about characters by a 2nd episode. For me it takes 3 episodes to get the feel of the show an its world build besides what characters I like. I mean seriously its a huge cast!

By the 5th episode I liked the teacher . By the 3rd the main brain student who is a solid tactical genius, tho he is cold. By the 4th the terran among the martians an he quest to save the princess.

Yup it takes it self seriously an thats a good thing in my book. The other works of his did as well so not seeing the problem. Then again ya might be missing how the "martians' gained incredible power an for the most part seem corrupted by it.

Yes the over story was wrote by him an its broke down by different writers. He gave the the skeleton of the story it seems. How they flesh it out may be a problem tho. But for a mech show in say the last 3 years this is solid as it gets at least for me.

sickVisionz moderator on Aug. 20, 2014 at 2:33 a.m.

So the major complaint is that it stays serious the entire time? That's actually a plus in my book.

takashichea moderator is online on Aug. 20, 2014 at 12:55 p.m.

If I didn't watch Aldnoah.Zero with Argevollen to balance it out, I would have dropped this show. The only character I care about was Slaine who was caught in this Martians' plans of conquering Earth after assassinating the princess. The main character is a bit unique for me, Inaho, uses intellect instead of hi tech mech and luck which you see in other mech shows like Argevollen and Valvrave the Liberator. I guess you could call him a child assassin since we don't know much about Inaho. How does a young kid without previous military background achieve success in bringing down Martian mechs whose tech are far advanced than Earthlings?

Marshal Victoryon Aug. 20, 2014 at 1:03 p.m.

@takashichea: He has background tho. All of those kids do. They learn to use the mechs as part of school.

takashichea moderator is online on Aug. 20, 2014 at 1:04 p.m.

@Marshal Victory:

Thanks for the correction. Then, that should take care of Tom's most hated trope, amnesiac child assassin.

YotaruVegetaon Aug. 20, 2014 at 6:21 p.m.

This show is serious, but it's not too serious. No, not a lot of comic relief, but I think for this type of series, I can accept that we're not getting any laugh injections or winks at the audience.

I just want Inaho to be a genius creep who takes on OP uber-villains. I don't need it to be less serious if the show is good.

Blassreiter was not a great anime, on top of being a bit too serious.

@Kino88: I think that's a fitting comparison.

Dig Deeper into Aldnoah.Zero

Fifteen years after the Heaven's Fall incident, the princess of Vers is assassinated, throwing Earth and Mars into war again.

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