Oh wow, if you read my review for the first seven episodes of Aldnoah.Zero’s first cour, you knew that this is a show you need to be ready and prepared for anything. The final 5 episodes of this cour has been a ludicrous ride of action, exposition, and: ‘what the hell? Why?’ In the best ways of course. Aldnoah.Zero has been strong from its start and has provided an exceptionally strong finale before it takes a break for a season to return in January. Yes, Aldnoah.Zero is getting a second season in 2015 and dear god will the wait be hard.
*If you haven’t been watching this series by now, this review will be hard to talk about without talking possible spoilers, so I’ll do my best, but reader beware, some may slip out.*
In the last review, I lamented the characters speaking in circles but that all changed in this span of episodes. I guess they decided to get all of the middling pacing out of the way early, because these episodes were practically nonstop and helped drive to a finale that will surely leave a lot of watchers breathless until January. I won’t hold my breath however that whatever happened will not be salvageable or redacted in some way, but it was definitely a nice cliffhanger to leave the show on. I know, I know, I marred Tokyo Ghoul for doing something like a cliffhanger, but it was done so sloppily and hastily on that end of the spectrum, that it’s forgivable here; Aldnoah.Zero knew it was returning for a second season, whereas Tokyo Ghoul was never confirmed until post-credits.
Earth and Vers’ war truly comes to a head in the final two episodes, and produces some of the most gallant, over-the-top fights the series has shown yet. They’re not as intelligent or methodical as a couple of the earlier ones, but they’re still a blast to watch. Also, Slaine’s growth from the first to twelfth episode has been a real show stealing effort on the part of the writers. He was practically a sniveling dog of Vers when the show started, but by the end, he’s become almost maniacally stern on ensuring everything is definitely answered for. It’s not perfect storytelling as it stumbles here and there in its delivery, but Aldnoah.Zero is a strong series, even for being in the mecha genre.
My only other complaint lies with Shino and his otherwise stoic, cold personality. At least, for a good portion of the series, I was complaining about this, but I’ve come around. I like to see his personality as enduring, with signs of being a good soldier, but since he’s the main character, sometimes it’s hard to relate to him, though it’s rather understood why. He is a good soldier; he’s not supposed to allow emotions to impede his duties, but every now and again we see him smiling ever so slightly to show he is indeed human and capable of caring and maybe even loving. It’s minor and it’s small, but it’s done so minimally that it’s actually quite powerful. His smirk in the closing moments is so telling and poignantly powerful, that it’s almost heart wrenching what happens immediately after.
*PHEW* That was tough to get through without spoiling, but I did it! Seriously though, if you like excellent characters, thoughtful battles, and political and, frankly, other-worldly politics in your anime (as odd as all of those combined sounds, it works) Aldnoah.Zero is certainly a series you should check out. Crunchyroll still have the series in its entirety, so head to their Aldnoah.Zero page for the full episode list. Keep checking out Geekenstein for more anime reviews as the summer season wraps up and I have more reviews coming your way!