Aldnoah.Zero Episode #14 Anime Review

I’ve found you. Aldnoah.Zero Episode #14 Anime Review

What They Say:
With the help of his new cybernetic eye, Inaho notices that there’s something off about Princess Asseylum’s behavior. Meanwhile, Princess Lemrina divulges her insecurities to Slaine and Count Saazbaum launches an offensive.

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With as many talking points as the previous episode had, you’d think it was an hour long or something. But that’s just the nature of having so much to follow up on after the shocking conclusion to the first season. This episode gets to ease into its story a little more calmly, though that doesn’t necessarily help it. The note that the previous episode ended on directly set up for Inaho to expose the Asseylum that Vers is showing to the world as a fake. After all, there were real human indications that a clever guy like Inaho could pick up on and deduce the truth, right? Well given his initial reaction to the broadcast that was almost certainly the case, but for some reason he instead decides to be cyber detective Inaho and rely on his new eye and data to explain what the most basic observation would’ve actually confirmed more convincingly. Despite the growth he seemed to display last time, this is more telling of the Inaho we’ve known all along than anything: using cold calculations in favor of any human logic, particularly ironic given that the calculations focus primarily on the emotional disruptions that indicate a lie while more natural observation gleans concrete inconsistency in a person’s speech.

On the other hand, we see that as questionable as Slaine’s actions have been, he hasn’t completely lost his humanity, and he does have some bigger ideals to execute in all this. As we see more of who Slaine appears to be at this moment, I become more certain that we’ll never reach a conclusion in which I can look on Slaine’s character as it’s been depicted throughout this story and say it was all for the best. Seeing the way he works himself into each area of the Vers world and interacts with each person, doing his best to balance promoting his ideals while still boosting his status, is at least interesting to watch (more than Inaho using his fancy eye to take advantage of Inko’s good nature) and shows that he has learned that simply shouting out his ideals at every opportunity sadly doesn’t get him nearly as far.

The point of the series, of course, is often to bring these two evolving but always clashing personalities together in conflict, and it’s only natural that this episode ends with them on opposite sides of the battlefield again. Both have advanced in their unique warfare prowess and continue to provide valuable opposites for each other, to say nothing of the effect this increasingly bitter rivalry has on both of their psyches.

This episode also marks the debut of the new opening and ending themes with their full visual sequences. The former comes from series composer Hiroyuki Sawano, perhaps the most prominent voice in this show, whose style that was perfected in Attack on Titan and Kill la Kill is in full force here, bringing along vocalist mizuki for his nZk vocal project once again. I’ll take Kalafina any day myself, but it fits the second half of the series for the opening to have the same sound as the show itself. The animation is nothing special but continues to accentuate the motif of duality between the two leads. The ending comes from Aniplex regular Eir Aoi, not one of her strongest pieces but a reminder that she rarely sounds bad, and with simpler, more subdued visuals.

In Summary:
Much less eventful than the season premiere, this episode almost seems to contradict much of the major character changes we had seen from both leads, but only in the way that the series always often reveals countless elements it hides from its audience. Everything is in service of bringing the two together to clash in every way possible, and for that end one can’t say it fails. The character development seems more and more questionable as things progress, but Slaine in particular at least has a lot of motivations to juggle and try to find the best balance for, even if many of his decisions seem horribly misguided.

Grade: B-

Streamed By: Crunchyroll

Review Equipment:
Custom-Built PC, 27” 1080p HDTV.