Aldnoah.Zero: Phantom of the Emperor (Before the Audience)
August 3, 2014 6:28 AM - Season 1, Episode 5 - Subscribe

The Vers Emperor declares an armistice, to the dissatisfaction of the Orbital Knights. Saazbaum orders an investigation into Trillram's death, while Cruhteo is ordered by the Emperor to investigate Asseylum's death. Ignoritng the armistice, Vlad seeks a rematch with Inaho.

(Note on the title - "audience" as in an audience with royalty. The English title as provided by the series is listed first, then translation of the Japanese title is provided in parentheses)
posted by needled (9 comments total)
I wasn't really able to follow the plot machinations among the Martians, can someone give a brief recap? Sorry, I was too distracted by the emperor's gorgeous hair. Maybe he's born with it...or maybe it's ancient Vers technology.
posted by Ian A.T. at 4:50 PM on August 3, 2014

> I was too distracted by the emperor's gorgeous hair. Maybe he's born with it...or maybe it's ancient Vers technology.

I'd vote for holographic technology - his hair doesn't look that great when he's lying in bed, and for some reason the emperor on the throne is missing the scar on the nose that the emperor in bed has.

I don't think there's much to recap regarding the Martians, as we were shown a lot of hints but nothing explanatory. We do know for sure that Slaine is in deep trouble. The emperor flip-flopping regarding the armistice and resuming the invasion of Earth, I'm not sure if it's because Saazbaum convinced him or if the Emperor is playing Saazbaum. Regarding Cruhteo, I'm starting to think of him as the teacher's pet of the Orbital Knights, who's not that close or well-liked by the other knights as he thinks he is.

Did anybody else think the Argyre repair looked rather sloppy? The new head they put on it made me think of a donut spare tire. It's really making me wonder about the extent of the Vers command of the ancient Aldnoah technology. Terrans have a good enough understanding of their technology to be able to mass produce mecha. The Vers seem to be able to handcraft one of a kind mecha but not mass produce them. Oh, and we also learned the Vers can't deal with large bodies of water. (I learned there really is such a thing as reactive armor!)

And just for laughs:
Inaho's screen when his kataphrakt was damaged by Argyre
strangely familiar looking text
posted by needled at 5:33 PM on August 3, 2014

Inaho's screen when his kataphrakt was damaged by Argyre

posted by MartinWisse at 12:30 AM on August 4, 2014

The show starts to wobble into status quo a bit, what with the failed attempt to let the emperor know his granddaughter was still alive, while the princess in question was talked out of revealing herself.

Hope it doesn't settle into a "Martian Knight tears through the professional soldiers, Inaho finds out how to defeat them, doesn't share knowledge beforehand". That ERA armour was something the other soldiers could've have used too, though I noticed they did only use AP ammo this time, having learned HE wasn't useful last time.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:35 AM on August 4, 2014

I was surprised by how fast the plot moved, what with Slaine being able to tell the emperor directly that his granddaughter was alive in just the fifth episode. But then at the end nothing seemed to have changed except that now Slaine is in a different position.

Anime status quo and the title of the next episode ("phantom of the emperor") makes me suspect the emperor on the throne was not the real one. I don't know though.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 4:36 AM on August 4, 2014

Huge development for Slaine this week: he was able to complete a conversation without being backhanded to the floor.
posted by Ian A.T. at 6:52 AM on August 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

> Huge development for Slaine this week: he was able to complete a conversation without being backhanded to the floor.

But will this development hold next week? Or will he be slapped around extra to make up for the absence this episode?

This episode was rather worrying for me as a viewer, because it made me think the series is not heading in a good direction, especially with respect to Inaho. The series needs to take a break from the mecha battle of the week format, because it's turning Inaho into a Gary Stu, and making the adults (both Terrans and Vers) look way too incompetent, besides becoming repetitive. I also got annoyed at Inaho's developing harem. I don't need another Shiba Tatsuya character in my anime viewing.

I feel the series needs more of an expository episode, say telling us what's been going on elsewhere on Earth, or even a full-on flashback episode focusing on Slaine, which would also tell us more about the Vers Empire.

The Japanese title for the next episode is "Island of Memory," so it may be some kind of flashback episode. Anybody have any idea what the English title "Steel Step Suite" might imply? (I assume it's referring to Prokofiev's Le pas d'acier.)
posted by needled at 7:54 AM on August 4, 2014

Here's some relevant bits from the timeline:

1975. The first exploratory team is sent to Mars. Dr. Rayregalia, a scientist, is part of this team.

1982. Rayregalia leads armed rebellion against Earth.

1983. Rayregalia is arrested and imprisoned by Earth forces but Mars colonists storm the prison and free him.

1985. The Vers Empire is created, with Rayregalia as its first emperor. It declares its independence from Earth and cuts off all contact.

1986. The United Forces of Earth is formed. Earth and Mars enter a cold war period.

1991. A scandal involving favoritism in the awarding of military contracts by the United Earth Forces results in a temporary lull in calls to subjugate Mars by force.

1996. Anti-Mars sentiments on Earth increase after a series of terrorist acts for which an organization claiming to be formed of Martians claims credit.

1997. Rayregalia abdicates because of illness; his son Gilzelia (sp?) inherits the throne.

1999. The Vers Empire declares war on Earth. Heavens Fall ensues. Gilzelia dies in battle. After Gilzelia's death, Rayregalia returns to the throne. Asseylum is born.

2000. United Earth and the Vers Empire agree to an armistice. As part of the agreement, military forces from both sides must withdraw, and a neutral demilitarized zone is to be established.

2002. The Vers Empire re-establishes a route between Mars and the moon. Some of the Vers Knights disobey the order to return to Mars, violating the terms of the armistice.

2003. Due to political instability after Heavens Fall, large-scale rioting erupts all over Earth. Kataphraktos are used to for riot control.

2007. Political situation on Earth stabilizes.

2010. Ten years after the war, both sides make moves towards establishing a more permanent peace.

2014. There is a mood of expectation for peace negotiations.
posted by needled at 11:15 AM on August 5, 2014

> ctrl-alt-psychoanalyse-mecha?

Hey now. It's not Evangelion.
posted by ardgedee at 5:49 PM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

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