One of the most hotly anticipated shows of the season, Aldnoah Zero recently debuted on Crunchyroll. The question is: can it live up to the hype?
If the first episode is any indication, I would say the answer is yes.
Aldnoah Zero’s premise is far from unique in that it involves a martian-earthling war. How they get there, however, is a bit more interesting. During an apollo mission to the moon, humans discover a massive “hyper-gate” that leads to Mars. While exploring this gate and the technology behind it, they rouse the Vers Empire, descendants of humankind who abandoned the planet 30,000 years prior with the assistance of “the power of the gods”: Aldnoah. 30,000 years apart from their native homeland have transformed the Vers empire into quite the elitist bunch, and the war that follows on the moon culminates in the destruction of the hyper gate, and with it, half of the moon. The results are devastating to earth: meteors rain down from the heavens, and without the moon to regulate tides, tsunamis and other natural disasters cause countless deaths on the ground. This event is named “Heavens Fall”, and begins an uneasy 15-year truce between the Vers Empire and Earth, or “Terrans”, as they are disdainfully called. Seeking to help move forward a more lasting peace, Princess Asseylum Vers Allusia plans a goodwill trip to Earth with all of the Vers empire and Earth watching with unease.
The story definitely hits the ground running, and although you can call the dramatic twist of the first episode from about the 5th minute in, it doesn’t change the fact that the tragic twist of the young princess’ visit, followed by the swift and crushing retaliation by her people, is completely enthralling.
The character design is a fresh take on Gundam archetypes, as fans of Gundam Wing will likely draw a handful of comparisons between the young princess and Relena Peacecraft. Aldnoah Zero hasn’t revealed too many of the mechs yet, but based on first glimpses, I’m very interested to see how these mechs move and interact, particularly in the many, many mech battles that are to come.
The standout element of this show so far is the music. Hiroyuki Sawano, the head composer, worked on the vastly popular Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan), Kill la Kill, and Guilty Crown. His stamp on the series is felt from the opening credits, but it’s really the final moments of the first episode that his signature style really jumps out at you. I’m excited for next week’s opening theme, since Shingeki no Kyojin was one of the fan favorites last year.
In short, I am very pleased by the start of this show, and will definitely be keeping a close eye on it as the season progresses.
By: Jeremy Snow/Mithrandiel