It’s been forever since I reviewed any anime, but I recently finished the first season of Aldnoah.Zero and was quite impressed by it. It’s a surprisingly interesting watch, particularly if you’re into mecha shows with an old school feel.
Aldnoah.Zero is set in a future where astronauts discover a strange alien portal on the moon that is connected to Mars. Not too long after arriving on the red planet, the astronauts find an alien technology called Aldnoah. The astronauts use this technology to begin making Mars habitable, and soon after this is accomplished they declare independence from Earth and form the Vers Empire. Many years later, Orbital Knights, soldiers of the Vers Empire, return to Earth in order to claim it for the Vers Empire.
Not long after the initial invasion a strange malfunction causes the hypergate on the moon to explode, destroying part of the moon and creating a huge fallout known as the Heaven’s Fall. This fallout brought the two warring sides to an uneasy truce. Many years later, the Vers Princess goes to Earth to try and negotiate a peace treaty, but she is assassinated, and once again the people of Mars and the people of Earth find themselves at war.
- Great animation
- Cool action
- Well paced
- Giant robots!
- Some really great edge of your seat tension
- Fairly complicated (in a good way) politics
- Doesn’t pull punches when it comes to the story
- Quite a few nods to old school mecha shows
- The end of the first season had me actually go “Did they just do that?”
- Engrossing to watch, but at times emotionally distant
- A few interesting characters, particularly some of the antagonists
- Some questions regarding the story’s timeline (it’s only a couple of decades where it feels like it should be closer to at least a century for it to really make sense)
- They get a bit lazy with the adversaries/challenges towards the end of the first season
- Stereotypes (of course the protagonist is a high school kid…)
Aldnoah.Zero is not without it’s problems, particularly when it comes to the characters and the audience engaging with them, which means some of the emotional moments have less impact that you’d have expected. Sometimes we feel like distant spectators, slightly detached from everything going on, instead of feeling like we’re in the thick of it and rooting for the characters when the chips are down.
However, the show has a lot of positives going for it, like not being afraid of death, great action, and an ending that had me thinking that this show’s creators really had some guts. If you like mecha shows that have great animation, are steeped in political intrigue, and will keep you glued to the screen until the very last moments, you should check out Aldnoah.Zero.