Aldnoah.Zero: Steel Step Suite (Island of Memory)
August 10, 2014 7:06 AM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

At Emperor Rayregalia's formal declaration of war against Earth, all Earth personnel with military training are conscripted, including Inaho and friends. Captain Magbaredge sets course for Tanegashima, sparking memories of the battle in Tanegashima 15 years ago. Meanwhile, Slaine escapes from Cruhteo's landing castle, even as Saazbaum asks that Slaine be captured alive for his knowledge of Dr. Troyard's research.
posted by needled (11 comments total)
Bit of a meh episode this, a bridge between the initial storyline and whatever comes next. Entertaining but no more than that.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:12 AM on August 10, 2014

After this episode I am convinced the Vers knights spent the past 15 years re-watching old giant robot anime in their landing castles. When I saw the rocket punch (6 of them!) I was flashing back hard to Mazinger Z.

I thought it interesting that in the scene where Asseylum and Inaho are chatting together on the deck, Asseylum's explanation of Aldnoah and Vers mini-history lesson was followed by Inaho correcting her on why the sky was blue. Is it hinting that what we've been told about Aldnoah technology and Vers history is all a load of bull? Hmm, given that the source of her incorrect knowledge regarding the color of the sky was Slaine, is this also a hint that Slaine doesn't know as much about Aldnoah as Saazbaum seems to think?

Upcoming episode titles:
7: The Boys of Earth (Unexpected reunion)
8: Then and Now (The day I/we saw the bird)
9: Darkness Visible (Memory device)
10: Before the War (Until the storm)

So Slaine and Inaho will finally meet in the next episode? And Slaine and Asseylum meet again? Could there be one or more Vers kataphakts or other bits of Vers technology buried somewhere in Tanegashima? Why are both sides hushing up what happened at Tanegashima 15 years ago? Just why did Slaine and his father go to Mars?
posted by needled at 10:55 AM on August 10, 2014

The show is about how contemporary military technology + regular physics + "Real Robot" mechs can beat Mars magic "Super Robot" gimmicks. First was the colony drop, then two episodes of force field guy, then two episodes of beam katana guy, and now at least two episodes of rocket punch lady. The next Mars magic mech's going to have lazer guns, mark my words.
posted by Small Dollar at 2:03 PM on August 10, 2014

It looks like they're sticking with the monster-of-the-week formula: New mecha introduced in part A, Inaho's MacGuyvered method of destroying it is finalized in part B.

At this point the only reasonable excuse for why Inaho can do everything the rest of the Japanese military force cannot is because he's allowed to formulate his own tactics in the field while everybody else is obliged to orders issued by central command. Which reminds me of Columbia vs. Japan in the recent World Cup, in which Japan's sole offensive strategy was to set up a cross for a striker to drive in from the penalty area, and did this repeatedly regardless of where Colombia's men were on the field or even if Japan had a man available at the moment. But anyway.
posted by ardgedee at 3:38 PM on August 10, 2014

> 9: Darkness Visible (Memory device)

Slaine and/or Asseylum have a USB key with the Aldnoah documentation in PDF format?
posted by ardgedee at 3:39 PM on August 10, 2014

At this point the only reasonable excuse for why Inaho can do everything the rest of the Japanese military force cannot is because he's allowed to formulate his own tactics in the field while everybody else is obliged to orders issued by central command.

Wasn't it lieutenant PTSD who came up with the solution this time though? Also, central command has been unreachable since episode two, hasn't it?
posted by MartinWisse at 2:19 AM on August 11, 2014

Possibly. I missed whether Marito had anything to contribute besides flashbacks and drama.

That CentCom is unreachable would have a lot to do with Inaho's independence, but that doesn't explain away the reason why the rest of the military can only deal with the enemy as if they're doing tactical drills designed for confronting a conventional (in their context) military force rather than solo kataphrakts with unusual weapons and defenses.
posted by ardgedee at 4:15 AM on August 11, 2014

It's the usual lazy way to show an enemy's strengths: have them beat up some mooks or grunts, before the hero overcomes them through superior moxy.

I like Small Dollar's idea of this being "Real Robot" vs "Super Robot" but if Adenoid.Zero really wants to go this route, they need to go beyond Inaho as saviour.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:55 AM on August 11, 2014

Compared to the grunts, Inaho has the advantage of not having to be a first responder, so he does have some time to analyze the situation and formulate hypotheses on how to respond to a kataphrakt. The grunts who are getting shot at don't have that luxury.

One of the ship's guns managed to hit and and alter the trajectory of one of the robot fists - no idea if that was Lt. PTSD or some random gunner in the ship - which I think gave Inaho the idea of shooting at the fists to deflect them. And then he misses the last one, runs out of ammo ... and Slaine saves the day! So they do seem to be moving away from Inaho as savior. I do think that so far only the fight against Argyre involved Inaho's superior moxy, and even the earlier encounter required help from Inko and timely intervention of the military. Defeating Nilokeras involved the participation of a lot of different people, too. So Inaho is not super-powerful just because, he is effective because he has good support and knows how to use it.

I think the series is good popcorn entertainment so far. None of the characters have been super-annoying and events have been mostly plausible. (Or perhaps 2 seasons of Valvrave really lowered my standards for mecha anime).
posted by needled at 7:04 AM on August 11, 2014

Just got caught up, and...yeah, not a lot to say about this one. Oh, I did notice that Earth's HQ is in Russia, which implies that the Cold War went quite differently post-1970. Not that the Soviets conquered the world, but that there was a much greater incentive for the superpowers to cooperate.

As others have noted, Marito continues to be a drag. It's interesting that anime's target audience in Japan seems to have a much healthier appetite for this sort of storyline than their counterparts in the West do. I'm not trying to make any ham-handed cultural comparisons here, it's just that once you notice how often characters are shellshocked and indecisive, you can't stop noticing it. Attack On Titan was like 40% composed of kids staring wild-eyed just off-camera and swallowing in panic.

But maybe that's not a Japan vs America thing, maybe that's more a youth vs adult thing? That is, maybe teenagers appreciate storylines about being haunted by and eventually overcoming their crippling fear in a way that adults don't, and this has nothing to do with cultural differences. I don't play video this a trope there as well?

The CG has gotten A LOT better.

Finally, I'm glad the female knight not only didn't have a feminine mech but had the most badass DIO-album-cover one we've seen yet.
posted by Ian A.T. at 12:03 AM on August 17, 2014

If you hate indecisive teenager main characters, stay the hell away from Guilty Crown.
posted by needled at 1:03 PM on August 17, 2014

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