Aldnoah.Zero: Point of No Return (Knights in Pursuit)
July 27, 2014 11:27 AM - Season 1, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Friends reunite on the rescue craft, and wait for the ship helmed by XO Mizusaki to arrive to escort them to safety. Slaine decides not to reveal to Cruhteo that Princess Asseylum is still alive. Cruhteo orders another of his knights to eliminate all survivors in Shinawara.

Inaho, Inko, and Calm manage to hold off the Vers kataphrakt Argyre long enough for XO Mizusaki and her ship arrive with reinforcements. The damaged kataphrakt chooses to withdraw and the Earth forces leave port.
posted by needled (14 comments total)
Finallly realised that the theme song reminded me of Black Lagoon.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:30 PM on July 27, 2014

I like how the incidental technology the Terrans use is actual stuff people use right now, like the UAV last episode, and the exoskeleton "sling" in this one.

This week's Martian gimmick was sort of stupid. I mean, a beam katana that can deflect bullets? At least they dealt with this one quickly.
posted by Small Dollar at 12:48 PM on July 27, 2014

Visually I couldn't tell what was going on during the sequence Inaho, Inko, and Calm fought off the Martian kataphrakt.

I'm still not sure where Cruhteo's (Count Teutonic McBlonde, courtesy of MartinWisse) loyalties lie. This line he says when Slaine advices against further killing of Terrans, implies he's also a moon-based Knight? "For 15 long years, we Orbital Knights ingloriously looked out at the earth fro the shattered Moon, yearning for the day we would reach out and take it!" Or does it mean his allegiance to fellow Vers Knights is stronger than his allegiance to the Vers Emperor?

One nitpicking detail, I'm curious why the English subtitles refer to the Vers Knights as "Orbital Knights." The kanji / hanja used is 火星騎士, literally "Mars Knight."
posted by needled at 1:10 PM on July 27, 2014

Minor plot point: pleased to see I was right about the princess' holographic rather than magical disguise.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:34 PM on July 27, 2014

So I think the only point of that skirmish with Argyre was to further drive home the point that the Martian strategy of shock and awe is not going quite as they would like to think, and their arrogance and inability to carry out a cohesive plan of attack will be their undoing.

Perhaps in the next episode we will get to see what is going on in Mars. The episode name hints the emperor will make an appearance.
posted by needled at 2:39 PM on July 27, 2014

The Vers Empire is basically the Empire of Japan under another name (hopped up on industrial superiority and racial essentialism; uses a false flag operation as a pretext to invade the mainland homeworld; obsessed with honor, but not above slaughtering civilians), so I figure the inclusion of a high-ranking asshole with a vanity katana is icing on the bitter allegory cake.
posted by Iridic at 8:38 PM on July 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Visually I couldn't tell what was going on during the sequence Inaho, Inko, and Calm fought off the Martian kataphrakt.

Same here. Why did Inaho have to shoot a grappling hook and dangle a few feet off the ground at the end? I feel like I missed something.

The CG looked better this episode, probably because they weren't moving much. I should have mentioned this in my earlier comment, but the mechas all look great in stills. I like the designs and I feel like they're executed well, but when they're in motion they have that robotic, too-fast, weightless animation that ruins everything.

I like the idea of all these noblemen having bespoke mechas with custom-fitted weaponry, and that at least part of their purpose is to impress and shame their fellow noblemen.

Finally, someone mentioned the moon issue in another thread. That is, that blowing a big chunk out of the side of it is an extinction-level event. They addressed that a little bit in the episode—apparently it wasn't as bad as we think it would be, ha—but it's really funny that I can just totally overlook that while being driven to distraction by the "forty years" aspect of the setup. "Moon blows up, everything's pretty okay? Sure, no problem. An entrenched nobility created in just four decades!? Welp, there goes my suspension of disbelief!"
posted by Ian A.T. at 7:36 AM on July 28, 2014

> The Vers Empire is basically the Empire of Japan under another name

There should be plenty of material for Vers intrigue, then. There's the May 15 Incident, in which the civilian prime minister was assassinated by members of the Japanese Imperial Navy. Or the February 26 Incident, another coup d'état attempt, this time by Imperial Japanese Army officers who aimed to purge factional and ideological rivals. So if the Vers Knights are anything like the Japanese military in the years leading up to WWII, they'll be trying to get rid of the civilian government, pay lip service to the Emperor's authority, and in general do as they please. And don't forget fighting among different factions.
posted by needled at 5:47 PM on July 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think a subtext here may be how hopeless the Earth force's situation is. With cleverness and overwhelming force that can defeat single enemy mecha- but against the fortresses, against orbital bombardment, they are helpless. I suspect any real war will be between rival Martian factions.

Also, in first episode, I was "planets don't work like that". It's similar to how they depicted the Moon in Cowboy Bebop, and equally annoying.

Hm, they probably actually got that depiction of the Moon from Cowboy Bebop. Something else to add to the reference list.
posted by happyroach at 1:36 PM on July 29, 2014

Also, in first episode, I was "planets don't work like that"

What do you mean?
posted by MartinWisse at 12:52 AM on July 30, 2014

The big round chunk taken out of the Moon. Sometime I'll have to get someone to model what would happen to a planet or moon if a big chunk was bitten out of it, but just eyeballing it, the corners should collapse inward (tossing enough stuff into space top cause a KT event), and then there would be massive seismic shifting until the Moon was more or less round again.Also, the removal of mass would shift the axis of rotation and...The more I look at it the more messy it gets.
posted by happyroach at 9:39 AM on July 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


That's more a rule of cool thing, but yeah, I can see why that would bother you.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:22 AM on July 30, 2014

Crescent celestial bodies are unrealistic? How else could you fish off of one?

Regarding the CG: I don't think I mentioned it previously, but the reason there's such a sharp contrast between the cel-style characters and settings, versus the obviously 3D rendered mecha. Some shows have done a better job at masking the 3D renders, so it was a design decision at some level to render the mecha as such. I agree, it's weird.

I'm surprised that there isn't more of an effort to destroy the exterior sensors and exploit the weak spots in the Vers mecha. Perhaps the weak spots are different in every suit, so you can't shove them all into the water and look for the anomaly, but throwing up chaff or particulate matter would work as well. But no, let's keep shooting at them, even though we know that does nothing but distract and/or anger the knights. Still, it's a fun show.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:26 AM on August 1, 2014

It does look like the Martian mecha are all highly variable. Like the equivalent of, some medieval knights finding and using some modern vehicles. One has a corvette, another a backhoe, etc..

I do like that this site does seem to look at the consequences of some of the technologies involved. Add in, after the first neck appeared, some people were asking "Does that field absorb everything? Including light? If so, how can the pilot see? And how can he walk?" And then next episode, those very things were brought up.

Personally, if I were humanity, I'd probably concentrate on mines. At least until a mech shows up that flies.
posted by happyroach at 8:27 AM on August 1, 2014

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