Spoilers for the first twelve episodes. Obviously.
I never really gave a toss about the plot in Aldnoah.Zero. Firstly, it wasn’t a terribly well-written story and it had more than its fair share of contrived moments and convenient plot devices. Secondly, I was watching the anime without subtitles, which made the politics and the mecha-related mumbo jumbo even harder for me to understand. Not that I would have understood all that gobbledygook if I had turned the subtitles on. So I basically just gave up following the story and started shipping the characters instead. Half of them I don’t even remember their names.
But I did know the main three characters! I even wrote NTR fanfiction about them! And boy, was following their tumultuous love triangle the highlight of the season for me. I got really emotional during the last three minutes of episode 12, crying a river and drowning in my unending feels. I’m still not over it, so I wrote this post. These are just some various impressions about how I perceived their dynamic, with emphasis on the ending.
Point One: Inaho was a better match for Hime than Slaine was
At the beginning of the series, I was hoping for Slaine and the princess to get together. I just felt so sorry for Slaine, you know? He kind of deserved a break. But then it turned out I had a major thing for torture porn, so I wanted to see Inaho steal the princess away from him for maximum butthurt and rage. I wasn’t really thinking about Inaho and Hime as a couple, really, until the very final moments of the season.
Then it hit me that Inaho didn’t show his emotion not because he was an unfeeling robot but because he was focused on self-preservation first. He wanted to be calm and rational because that saved lives. He put his own romantic feelings for the princess aside and ignored them. The reason he constantly told her he was only saving her because she was useful was to distance himself from those feelings, but the princess obviously saw right through that every time, because she continued to treat him warmly.
As for Slaine, we never really saw him interact with the princess at all outside of flashbacks. He knew about the princess’s kindness and her wish for peace, but I think he idolised her too much to really understand her as a person. Inaho got to know her better in their few short weeks together than Slaine did in years.
Point Two: Slaine did not kill Inaho out of jealousy
Slaine might be an idiot, but I think he acted with the best intentions, given his limited understanding of the situation he was in. He saved Saazbaum because Saazbaum was kind to him, and he wanted a solution that could save everyone. This obviously backfired, but Slaine had absolutely no way of knowing the princess was in the vicinity. Then Inaho pointed his gun at Slaine, thereby provoking him to shoot. At that point, Slaine no longer had anything to lose because the princess was dead. There was probably no other circumstance he would have shot to kill in cold blood.
In fact, had the princess remained alive and Slaine caught her making out with Inaho or something (lol), I don’t think he would have gotten into a flying rage. He had a crush on the princess, but he had always perceived himself below her station. So, much as it would have pained him to see her with someone else, he would not have voiced his jealousy. It was not his place. I doubt he would have been best buddies with Inaho even in the best of circumstances, though.
Slaine’s concerns for the entirety of the season was ensuring the safety of the princess. He cared about nothing else. Because of their misunderstanding in episode 7, he thought that Inaho was trying to exploit the princess. So when Inaho pointed his gun, it was natural for Slaine to shoot first.
I think Inaho wanted Slaine to kill him, though, because he was already weak and dying from the battle earlier and he saw no hope now that the princess was dead. Succumbing to self-defeat was the first irrational act we ever see from him. But even in the end, he is calm, because he has seen the way it will go and he accepts it with grace. I see that scene as an assisted suicide, but I doubt Slaine was aware of what was going through Inaho’s mind.
So I think that whole scene deliberately sidestepped the whole jealousy issue by being very plainly about more pressing things. We also never actually learn who Hime might have chosen had she lived. She obviously cared for them both deeply. My money would have been on Inaho, though.
Point Three: Aldnoah.Zero would make an excellent shojo manga
With all the main ships in A/Z being pretty much sunk like the Titanic, only fanfiction and coming up with dumb Alternate Universe scenarios can keep my interest in this anime alive.
If A/Z were a shojo manga, Hime would be the daft and clumsy but well-meaning heroine. Inaho would be the stoic cool guy who slowly shows more dere characteristics as the story progresses and his TRAGIC PAST is revealed. Slaine would be the overly possessive childhood friend who is kind of rape-y in the way male childhood friends characters in shojo manga often are. Inaho would probably be the best character in this scenario, because unlike the majority of male shojo love interests, he would not be an asshole or an idiot.
Inaho and Slaine would be the best couple in this scenario, because here they actually get to interact in an unfriendly way, thereby proving how much better they are together than they would be with the goody two-shoes princess. But either way, Slaine x Suffering would be the OTP, and the story would end in a threesome involving Cruhteo x Slaine x Saazbaum. Hime would be very proud of Slaine for finding true love, while Inaho gets to buy the eggs that are on sale.
This story would be perfect. I should send my script to A-1 Pictures in hopes that it will get animated instead of whatever lame continuation the scriptwriters are planning for the second season.
Point Four: I don’t think Inaho and the princess are actually dead
Aldnoah.Zero is a series that is full of bullshit. It likes to pretend that it is full of SHOCKING TWISTS when in fact it pulls all of its punches. I do think on a thematic/plot level, the series would be more interesting if the series had the guts to follow through on this twist, but somehow I think this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Inaho or the princess. My guess is that Inaho will return as a cyborg.
But whatever, this show is still entertaining. I really am attached to these characters and await Slaine’s suffering some more next season. I hope the love drama continues in some form. January can’t come soon enough!
I would ship Inaho X Eggs (on sale).
They’re a pretty good couple
Eggs might be too tsun, though.
“I-It’s not like I went on sale for you or anything, baka!”
Hmm.. so eggs without sale are kuudere, and eggs on sale are tsundere.
Aaahhhh, I really agree with you on point 1. >_____< I actually know people like Inaho in real life (not in OP-ness, but in the sense that they aren't emotionally expressive). But just because they aren't expressive doesn't mean they don't have feelings! I think you're right in speculating that Inaho was looking for assisted suicide in his last moments.
I'm not entirely sure if I agree with you on point 2. If you recall the dialog, it goes something like this:
Slaine: [reloads gun *click*]
Slaine: "That's far enough. Don't touch her highness…"
Inaho: [turns around. sees the gun 5 feet away from his face]
Inaho: [smiles, then pulls out his gun]
I think it was jealousy that drives Slaine to point his gun at Inaho in the first place. He doesn't shoot right away, but it's clear that he has no qualms about it. He has a easier time putting the finishing shot in Inaho's head than Saazbaum's, after all. I would argue he even feels good about shooting Inaho.
As for shipping….. I think we all agree that Adnoah.zero was actually a kinky S/M anime with Slaine as the real protagonist. Slaine x Suffering OTP! Stockholm syndrome!
Hmmm, yeah, I do agree with you that Slaine’s jealousy probably made it easier for him to actually pull the trigger, since it was mixed in with his other feelings of resentment, but I still don’t think it was a main contributor to his actions. I doubt he even thought of it as jealousy at the time. He just wanted to blame someone for the princess’s death, and now that he’d already killed Saazbaum (or at least, thought he had) it was easier for him to pull the trigger the next time around.
But.. whatever. What really matters is that it was all buildup for the Slaine x Suffering OTP. That’s the important thing!
No, it wasn’t jealousy. I don’t mean to offend you, but I don’t see how people don’t get something so obvious.
There are a couple of facts about Inaho that get on my nerves, and then people say that it’s all Slaine’s fault…It’s not.
On their first encounter Inaho was very interrogative of Slaine. All Slaine did was help him. Though the real rivalry started when Inaho says “What would you do, if I were to exploit the princess?” and Slaine didn’t like that of course, being that it would seem he’s not on his side, and exploiting the princess could have been bad in that situation.
Slaine fires at him, and Inaho fires back. Bad move on Slaine, but why does Inaho say Slaine’s “his” enemy, rather than “the” enemy.
Immediately after this encounter he asks the princess about Slaine. Putting two and two together, it’s quite obvious that he knew it was Slaine from the beginning, and knew what side he was on. So why did Inaho do it? Im not sure, maybe he’s thinking with what’s between his legs.
At the end Slaine points his gun at Inaho, who is already seen as the enemy, how is this jealousy? He doesn’t even have a clue what relationship Inaho has with the princess, all he “knows” is that it’s bad, judging from their first encounter. Obviously, Slaine shoots Inaho because Inaho points a gun at him and their relationship was already pretty rocky. I don’t see how that’s jealousy at all. If someone who you already think is bad points a gun back at you, why wouldn’t you shoot?
Slaine’s not as smart as Inaho; he doesn’t know anything about Inaho besides the fact he was taunting Slaine with negative actions concerning the princess. Inaho on the other hand is fully aware of Slaine’s relationship, and his goals, I hate to say it, but Inaho definitely had it coming, as a character and according to his actions. Dude has won every fight he’s been in, he has no character development whatsoever because he can’t develop. Despite Inaho being one of my favorite characters, the only logical thing Slaine has done was shooting him. Saving Saazbaum was not logical, and is the only mistake Slaine has made so far…besides being dumb. Inaho rarely makes mistakes;
shooting down Slaine, interrogating Slaine, none of those are mistakes. You see where I’m getting at?
Thank you froggy, for writing this endlessly entertaining piece. Could use more lolis driving jeeps, but I love that tangent at the end of point three :). I completely agree with you here, though it didn’t properly dawn on me until the finale. I thought I shipped SlainexHime, but deep down there was only one OTP.
I maintain that the best thing about Aldnoah Zero is actually its fanbase. It’s tries really hard to be serious, but it all gets turned into memes and it’s amazing. It just inspires you all to create ridiculous and hilarious things. You guys are the best. So yes, congrats Frog-kun, you are the true protagonist of Aldnoah Zero.
I’m glad you have come around to the correct ship! All aboard the Slaine Pain Train!
Also, haha thanks for the compliments. Come to think of it, the fan reactions really were the best part of watching Aldnoah. It really did remind me a lot of my experience watching Code Geass. Not for the plot, per se, but the memes and the heated debates about who was right and who was wrong. Aldnoah really blurred that line between the serious and the preposterous. I think we fans were emotionally invested, but we can’t help but poke fun at all the ridiculousness and the terrible writing. It sure has been a lot of fun contributing to the ridiculousness myself! Man, I’m gonna miss this show.
Only three months until next season! In the meantime there’ll be doujins and fanart and AMV’s to keep it in my mind!
Man, I really wish I watched Code Geass back when it aired. It sounds like it was a blast. It reminds me of Attack on Titan last year, when the fans don’t take it at all seriously, and they all seem more interested in making gifs of Titans with toast in their mouths, or AMVs set to broadway musicals. That was fantastic. I think Aldnoah has inherited that group. God, I just love fandoms like this one.
How am I going to live until January? Oh yeah, by writing horrible Aldnoah. Zero fanfics. For example:
Slaine:Hime sama, I found you at last! All my pointless escapades proved successful! Wait, what are you doing? OH MY GOD, you’re getting tentacle fucked!!
Hime-sama: Yes, I am getting tentacle fucked and I am loving it! You never do me the way Inaho does. Plus all that torture probably made you a masochist.
Inaho: (doesn’t say anything but has his Cloud nine face on)
(Takes out a gun and shoots them)
10/10 I CAME
Wow, you really feel strongly about this!
You know what, I really wanted to see a show like this were lots of people die at the end but when I watched it I was so angry. I guess I was hoping for a happy ending with peace after all. Haha.
Let’s hope things work out in January!
Funny how that is, right? I didn’t realise how much I was attached to the characters until they started dropping dead. Maybe it’s a good thing the show managed to get such a strong emotional reaction out of you, or maybe it’s just a sign of bad writing. Who knows!
Question: How important is your personal preference in this ship? Just remember your old post about this matter.
Actually, reverse the matter. With all these points laid in bare, would Inaho and Hime be together? If they do, well, it would be quite a kind of love. Not star-crossed (Law of Force and Opposite Force), not cold-and-hot (Law of Complement), not even complete devotion (Law of Boderline – A.K.A It makes no sense in real life.)
I didn’t really ship Inaho x Hime, per se. See, when you take the overarching narrative out of the equation, Inaho and Hime’s relationship was very hollow. It’s not that they wouldn’t make a good couple realistically, there just wouldn’t be much of a story. But they definitely make more sense from a narrative perspective than Slaine x Hime.
By the way, Inaho and Hime struck me as star-crossed lovers in the context of the story, seeing as they both die without ever having actualised their feelings for each other.
In the next season I want to see some interaction between Slaine and Rayet. Slaine is a Terran “working” with Martians and Rayet is a Martian on the Terran’s side. It could be interesting.
Also… more Eddelrittuo plz…
I kinda agree with almost everything except point 2, i think Slaine kill Inaho to discharge his rage in somebody and who better than the person the princess was with before die*. Respect 4 point, i think the princess is alive in some way but not inaho (but i like Orange Inaho though lol). PS: Sorry for my bad english, feel free to correct me.
“I even wrote an NTR fanfiction”
Goddammit froggy you’re awesome. I don’t know why, but I like Marito as part of the series, why do you think that is?
I have a friend who loves Marito a lot. It’s because she has a beard fetish ;)
But to seriously answer your question, maybe it’s because he’s an adult character who deals with his own problems, and you get the feeling he’s going to do something important in the show’s second half?
[…] me. Although I was only ever capable of taking the narrative half-seriously at best (as my dumb shipping posts should attest), I actually did find the themes interesting on paper. Or perhaps it would be […]