Aldnoah.Zero: Season One is an anime that should’ve been a lot better than it ended up being, but the final product is one devoid of creativity – completely.
Aldnoah.Zero has a cool concept that sounded great on paper but the execution is poor. With wars waging, plenty of moral decisions and politics, and tension between Terrans and the people of Vers (essentially Earth-born humans and Mars-born humans) leading to both sides strongly disliking eachother all come together – on paper – in a way that should make for a great show. Sadly, Aldnoah.Zero wastes this opportunity by having these facts laid out but poorly explained, making it hard to buy into the actions of characters as well as sluggish pacing.
Aldnoah.Zero is offensively generic and the protagonist Inaho suffers from almost have zero personality, and he’s one of the most unlikable characters in anime – well, it’s hard to have much of an opinion on him at all considering he hardly passes as a character at all. Slaine fares a little better with a personality that stands out across other characters in the show, but it’s hard to understand or agree with his motivations and I think that the writers weren’t sure how they wanted to use his character. Some characters definitely fared better but overall there weren’t any characters that I cared for, and everyone felt pretty flat and one-note.
A-1 Pictures have created some truly breathtaking shows (Sword Art Online, Tsuritama, etc), and Aldnoah.Zero is impressive, although I wouldn’t rank it up there with their highest shows. The blend of 2D and CGI is some of the best in anime, but I’m not a huge fan of the art style and found that it was overall missing something that made it stand out – eyes felt dead, characters aren’t particularly brimming with expression and the world feels muted with its limited, dull colour palette. The action scenes hold up, but there’s nothing breathtaking to be seen here although it’s far from anything that can be described an awful looking anime – it’s solid, it’s just simply boring to watch.
If anything, it’s got a solid English Dub cast with Erika Harlacher voicing Asseylum Vers Allusia and Max Mittelman, who was perfect as Hikari in A Lull in the Sea, somehow manages to give one praiseworthy aspect to the utter bore that is Inaho. Many notable names including Matthew Mercer, Cristina Vee, Erica Lindbeck, Bryce Papenbrook and Zach Aguilar (who voices Slaine) have roles in the show, too. The music isn’t half bad either with some catchy OP’s and ED’s with aLIEz being very catchy.
I really don’t have much to say about this show. It has some great visuals and audio but the story and characters are uninspired, cookie-cutter characters that seemingly have had little thought put into them. Inaho is by far one of the worst characters in anime – maybe not quite as appalling as the lead male in No Game No Life – and this anime has greatly suffered due to his presence. Slaine isn’t much better either but at least he’s clearly had more development going on, although I’d happily not watch season 2 because I think I’ve seen enough of this series now. If you’re already a fan then you should love how Anime Limited have handled it’s release but otherwise you should steer clear – Anime Limited have published many great titles, so you should try one of those instead.
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