Ei Aoki. The director of Fate/Zero and the Kara no Kyoukai series.
Gen Urobuchi. Writer for shows such as Fate/Zero, Madoka Magica, and Psycho-Pass, to name a few.
And Hiroyuki Sawano. Soundtrack composer for Guilty Crown, Attack on Titan, and Kill la Kill.
3 big names in the anime world. Each one has their own claime-to-fame that makes them especially well-known around the industry.
One is famous for, ahem, “overlooking” (comment down below if you got that) the creation of a superbly brilliant anime film series.
Another is famous for creating riveting stories and for…ahem…”Uro-buching” any preconceived thoughts and assumptions that you have about said stories.
And, finally, one is famous for composing heavenly orchestrations that make killing titans, morphing “power rangers” style, and slashing through giant mechs with giant swords 100000x more epic.
Imagine them all on one show.
But, all things considered, how does this show stack up in terms of the hype it garnered from its A-list staff? Is it AMAZINGBALLS AWESOME? Or does it prove to be an utter disappointment that should be tucked away under a rug, never to be brought up again? (HINT: IT’S NOT)
What’s up everyone, and welcome to my First Impressions article. My name is Ken, from prince_kouhii’s Anime Reviews, and today, I shall accompany you guys as we delve into the first few episodes of the most high-profile mech anime of the season: Aldnoah Zero.
Now, before I carry on, I must put a disclaimer that these are MY opinions and only concern what I think of the FIRST FEW EPISODES AS INDICATED. Therefore, if you have any opinion or complaints about my opinion, or this show, my opinion of this show, or if you just wanna rant about how every mecha anime series is just another reiteration of the Gundam franchise, then please direct them to the comment section down below.
Alrighty, I think that does it for the intros. It’s time to allons-y into this first impressions.
Shall we begin?
First off, the premise:
In 1972, an ancient alien hypergate (you know, those space-teleportation thingys) was discovered on the surface of the moon. Using this technology, humanity began migrating to Mars and settling there. After settlers discovered additional advanced technology, the Vers Empire was founded, which claimed Mars and its secrets for themselves. Later, the Vers Empire declared war on Earth, and in 1999, a battle on the Moon’s surface caused the hypergate to explode, shattering the Moon and scattering remnants into a debris belt around the planet. Cut off from Mars, the remnants of the Vers Empire established several massive orbital space stations within the debris belt and a ceasefire was established. 15 years later, in 2014, an attack on the Vers princess, Asseylum, during a peace mission causes the Empire to launch a new attack on Earth, this time determined to conquer it once and for all
Now, the premise is something that isn’t new in today’s standards. However, it still proves to be quite interesting because Gen Urobuchi does a great job so far in creating settings that cause a decent amount of intrigue. So far, we’ve only seen Earth and the Martian base in orbit, but surely there are still plenty more that Urobuchi can cover over the course of the show. It makes you continuously wonder, makes you ask the wheres and the whys and the whos and the what ifs, which sets this show apart from others.
As for the animation, I have………fairly no complaints at all. Settings are beautifully done, character designs are above average, and the mechs….well…..I’m okay with them, but I would like them better if they were a little more fluid (but then again you can only do so much with CGI, sooooo….yeah).
The characters for the show so far are really interesting in the sense that almost each of them have the potential to develop into characters that we can care about by the end of the show. Urobuchi does a great job in setting up the characters for development, giving them character motivation and slight peeks at their pasts, so I’m sure that we can expect great things from them. The onloy person I’m particularly concerned about is Inaho, who’s vacant and almost emotionless expression can really be a let-down at times. Sure, he’s pretty smart and strategic, kinda like a more silent version of Lelouch, buuuuut……..when a friend of your just died right in front of you……and your facial expression doesn’t move an inch……..then we might have a problem here. But other than that small, changeable dust speck, I have no problems with the cast of the show.
Finally, the soundtrack. It’s friggin’ Hiroyuki Sawano, what can I say? Combine Hiroyuki’s grand combination of orchestrations and the occasional techno (or both) with the action-y nature of this show, and you’ve got some great magic going on here. No surprises here. The opening theme, sung by Kalafina, is also majestic and beautiful and consoling, especially the chorus, ESPECIALLY the chorus. The original ending theme provides a beautiful and serene end to every episode, as it is supposed to. The ending theme to episode 4, however, just blows the other ending theme out of the water for being no less than epic, and I wish that they would keep on using that ED theme in addition to the original.
Now, with all that in check…
What I want to happen:
He seems like the kind of character who can become really stagnant after few episodes. Giving him a bit more personality can help.
Develop the central story arc.
Running only on 12 episodes, we are already halfway there. The central arc can still take form, but it must be done hastily so as to avoid a potentially sub-par ending, but not too hastily so that it can come out fully developed within the allotted time frame.
Expand the setting.
The biggest thing that sets this show apart from other mechs is the expansionable setting. Limitless possibilities can be concocted with the premise, so work with those.
So far, this is the least amount of expectations I’ve given a seasonal show, and for good reason: I don’t need to. The story has so much potential, the characters are interesting and serve promising development in the future, the animation is lovely from what I can see, and the music, well, you know where I am going with this, right? Its doing so well so far, I couldn’t really ask for a lot more, really. Just let it keep doing what its doing, give it a few twists and turns once in a while, and I’ll be much contented.
If I have piqued your interest in this show, you can fortunately stream it on Crunchyroll, although premium subscription to their site is required to access the newest episodes as soon as they arrive. Nevertheless, it still pays to visit the site, as they have a wide selection of anime, streamed legally for your viewing pleasure.
As per usual, leave a comment down below pertaining to your thoughts on this topic, on the show itself, or if you would like me to review or make a first impression about anything. And, speaking of liking, give the article a thumbs-up if you enjoyed it.
With that, I bid you all adieu. Until next time, ladies and gentlemen, this has been Ken, and I’ll see you guys in the future.