Aldnoah.Zero: Toll for the Brave (Pivoting Trap)
January 25, 2015 9:38 AM - Season 1, Episode 15 - Subscribe

UFE and Vers forces prepare for battle in their respective asteroid bases. Magbaredge informs Inaho about some findings from research on activating Aldnoah Drives using Asseylum's blood. Slaine continues facing contempt from other Vers Counts for being a Terran, but is defended by Saazbaum. Finally the battle starts when the Trident and Marineros bases near each other. Saazbaum also joins the battle in his refurbished Dioskuria II.
posted by needled (11 comments total)
Count Slaine Saazbaum Troyard. That's all.
posted by needled at 9:40 AM on January 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

An interesting discussion of the chess match between Magbaredge and Inaho. It's easy to read too much into it -- especially if the writers themselves weren't knowledgeable about chess -- and in hindsight, if all it telegraphed was that one of another of the leading characters is going to snuff it before the series is over, it's not doing a good job of indicating which one it might be.

In fact, aside from a particular sudden inheritance, the whole episode seems to be mostly about setting up the remaining story, with the exposition coming down like a shower of bullets and battle scenes wedged into the cracks.
posted by ardgedee at 10:17 AM on January 25, 2015

Slaine will have to up his hair game if he's going to fit in with the other counts. Pomade and two spit curls, at the very least.
posted by Iridic at 10:25 AM on January 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

Which leads to the unnecessary question: How inbred is the Vers nobility, and how inbred can it possibly get within two generations anyway?
posted by ardgedee at 10:41 AM on January 25, 2015

I thought it was a good time to reread some of the comments on ep 12, since we discussed what the next season would bring...

needled: If interviews with series staff can be believed, Slaine will play a larger role in the second half. I hope this means the focus now shifts to the Martians and we get a more expansive view of how the war has progressed across various regions of Earth, as well as some more backstory on the Vers Empire and how they came about to use Aldnoah. Oh, and how come Slaine managed to activate Tharsis.

ding and bzzt. Aside from Slaine playing a larger role and the Lunar (shrapnel) orbit being the new center stage, none of this has come to pass. So far.

Pyry: I don't think I can take a season of Slaine moping around now that Asseylum and Inaho are dead.

bzzt, bzzt and bzzt. Thankfully(?), Slaine has become a positive actor in the second season (meaning that he acts of his own volition and moves the plot along, rather than being purely a plot complication). And neither Asseylum nor Inaho are dead, albeit maybe Asseylum's merely not-dead on a technicality.

needled: A really terrible 2nd half would involve Slaine being the villain committing all his villainous acts in the name of Princess Asseylum.

Thankfully this hasn't come to pass. Actually, maybe it has.

uh, me, blathering: Princess vs. Slaine. Possibly literally thus, since she seemed to have concluded the Martians had forsaken her, while Slaine, after wandering aimlessly for most of three episodes, had decided to cast his lot with the Martians. [...] I don't want Slaine to be the villain -- if for no other reason than because he seems incapable of decision-making most of the time, and incapable of making good decisions all the time. He would be an inadvertently comical villain.

bzzzzzzzzzt. Hah, wow, pretty much wrong on all points. So far he's been evolving into a very efficient villain.

Ian A.T.: Where does the show even go from here? The loss of Inaho and Asseylum is HUGE...not the characters themselves, but their roles: the Earth forces have just lost the one pilot capable of figuring out how to defeat the Martians AND their secret weapon who can shut down Aldnoah drives.

The writers seem to have dealt with it by making Inaho the Jesus of Earth and reserving Asseylum as one of the set of plot-convenience macguffins.

me, really blathering: I guess they can't simply have a second series without a war going on. The dynamics of that war should have shifted drastically though. [...] There's more potential for the show by moving the main storyline to the Moon and Mars.

ding. ding.

...The martian war leader's and Terran bases are now next door neighbors, the martian war leader is (very most likely probably) dead, and there threatens to be a disruption to either the martian royal lineage or at the very least to the control of the Aldnoah technology.

bzzt. bzzt. The bases on Earth are totally irrelevant now, or at worst are somebody else's problems; our cast is in outer space and terrestrial concerns are behind them. The writers were clever enough at least to let Saazbaum keep an ace up his sleeve. Although see where it got him?

...Rayet is the remaining main character who had to come to grips with her conflicting earthling and martian identities. By the end of this show she, unlike most of the other major characters, finished the series physically unscathed and with some story potential remaining in her. [...] Rayet is poised to be a leading character and opposite Slaine, because her conflicting martian/earthling background has similar half-truths and mysteries underlying it. The Inaho/Princess/Slaine triangle could become a Rayet/Princess/Slaine triangle although that sounds cheesy.

Rayet's story is still a thing and could stand to become pretty interesting in light of Slaine's apparently populist motivations. She's a walking, talking Chekhov's Gun but since she's second or third fiddle to Inaho (Jesus of Earth)'s storyline, I dunno whether her storyline will be handled in more than a cursory way.

...So for the series to plausibly continue (and not be set up for an abrupt apocalyptic end within the series' milieu), there has to be somebody in the coming generation to pick up the glowing white orb and run with it.

ding. I don't think anybody expected it to be Inaho. Er, Princess Garlic-Bulb. It seems to both matter a great deal and not matter at all, if all that's needed is a small blood transfusion and kiss on the lips. Why Inaho is up in space dodging meteors rather than solving Earth's energy and defense crises both at once is one of those things that I think we're not supposed to be considering.

Iridic: back in episode 8, Slaine pointed out to Cruhteo that a Kataphract dudded up in dimensional armor would be invulnerable in a meteor bombardment. What do you want to bet is the first upgrade that Saazbaum made to the Dioscuria after he barely survived Heaven's Fall?

ding (with a bullet)

needled: Then there's the ending of the first season opener, with her holding the gun. If she's alive, she's aiming that gun at Slaine. This makes the "A/Z" ending song a bit more ominous, as the visuals show her wandering around on what appear to be Vers ruins. Could this imply that she destroys the Vers Empire?

She'll have to wake up first. Looks like that might happen soon, depending on whether garlic-head has a say in it.
posted by ardgedee at 5:25 PM on January 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

This was episode 3 of the second half. Episode 3 of the first half ended with:

-Inaho and Inko teaming up to reveal the weak point in a kataphract's armor and disable its pilot.
-Slaine showing up after the battle to kill the vulnerable pilot in a hail of bullets, primarily because of the threat they posed to the princess.

The main difference is Slaine. That first time he emptied his chamber in a fit of rage. This time he calmly fired his salvo hours before the battle began.

Inaho spent the time skip cementing his monopoly on tactical genius. Slaine spent the interval learning to think strategically. In combination with a mech that lets him see the future, he now seems to have the advantage.
posted by Iridic at 7:39 PM on January 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

This episode in particular added complexity to Slaine's character, especially his last confrontation with Saazbaum. I felt Saazbaum found Slaine to be a worthy successor, while Slaine had indeed come to regard Saazbaum as a father figure during the 19 months since Novotalisk. Slaine respects Saazbaum's assessment of the Vers Empire and the need for change, but he has a higher regard for Asseylum as a person. We'll see how successful he is reconciling Saazbaum's vision of a reformed Mars with his own personal attachment to the princess, who is a representative of the current Vers power structure.

Interesting that while in previous episodes Slaine spoke in keigo to everybody, even insisting on doing so to Harklight despite the latter's protestations, at the end of this episode, after taking the count's clothing from Harklight Slaine drops the keigo. (I loved the background music in that Slaine-Harklight scene.)
posted by needled at 5:39 AM on January 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

Slaine will have to up his hair game if he's going to fit in with the other counts. Pomade and two spit curls, at the very least.

Ah, but that's if he's going to play their game, and he's not. He's in it to destroy the nobility and share the wealth with the little people. With that, he has to stay true to his roots (heh) and keep the scruffy look.

Interesting that while in previous episodes Slaine spoke in keigo to everybody, even insisting on doing so to Harklight despite the latter's protestations, at the end of this episode, after taking the count's clothing from Harklight Slaine drops the keigo.

Only then was he really up to the level of Vers nobility. Being adopted is one thing. Being the heir to survive your father is another.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:02 AM on January 26, 2015

My question: what are Harklight's capabilities? In the beginning of this episode, Slaine is conferring with Harklight about the timing and trajectory of the hail of bullets as if Harklight was almost the brains behind the action.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:08 AM on January 26, 2015

It probably depends on whether he's named after Richard Arkwright, the prototypical self-made man, or Luther Arkwright, the interdimensional secret agent.
posted by Iridic at 10:30 AM on January 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

Slaine wearing red.
posted by needled at 8:51 AM on January 27, 2015

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