Review-Roundup: Aldnoah.Zero 21, CROSS ANGE 22
It’s one thing to notice how that line and the image shown don’t fit together but the whole thing becomes downright grotesque when you imagine someone somewhere has consciously decided that this image should be shown when Embryo says this line.
Aldnoah.Zero 21: The princesses have a heart-to-hear-talk… off-screen. Also, Slaine imprisons them as the two confront him together. Meanwhile, Inaho saves the day for the Earth-forces… again.
Cross Ange 22: Salia gets spanked for misbehaving. That’s how we know that all Embryo wants is strong and intelligent women. ‘Cause those would just love to be treated like that, right?! Also, Ange fucks Tusk because if you put your head often enough between a woman’s legs, she will of course fall in love with you at some point.
Aldnoah.Zero 21 Review:
Well, and if he controls both Earth and the Vers-Empire, it’s him they fight against. Slaine seems really naive in this scene here as he states his belief that this will be the war to end all wars or some bullshit.
Why is Slaine a villain? It’s clear why he killed Count Saazbaum. That was revenge for Saazbaum’s plot to assassinate his beloved princess. It’s clear why he wants to kill Inaho. After all, he has earned the love of the real princess while he hasn’t. It’s clear why he wants to start a revolution that changes the Vers-Empire while also strengthening it by conquering Earth. Slaine wants to prove to the real princess that he has earned himself her love and admiration. And yet Slaine goes into full villain-mode in this episode. Both princesses (the fake-one and the real one) end up betraying him but Slaine simply imprisoned them both. And when did he even earn himself the sort of loyalty among the troops that allows him to imprison two members of the royal family?
We don’t know – because this series’ characterizations are very broad. Actually characters are broadly written to such a degree that they don’t change. Slaine is the one exception where a character has actually experienced some sort of character-development and unsurprisingly his plotline has been the most dramatic of the series up to this point. If you look at all the other characters then you realize that the context for their behavior may have changed but their characterizations haven’t. Inaho is, of course, the most obvious example for that. He was the emotionless wunderkind with a heart of gold in the first half and in the second half… he has a supercomputer in his right eye that slowly kills him. That isn’t exactly character-development – but at least he got a power-up, I guess. The entire rest of the cast hasn’t gotten ANY character-development of note.
Without the character-development the characters have no momentum in this second half. It’s not like anyone beside Slaine has an actual character-arc right now. Sure, Inaho may be a little suicidal due to how he’s using the tools that kill him in order to win but it’s not like the series offers him an alternative. It’s not his choice, is what I’m saying. Therefore that inevitability makes it sad at best but it certainly doesn’t create tension. Side-characters don’t even matter at this point. And that includes the two princesses as it turns out. This episode avoided any drama between the two girls and instead they’ve immediately become a team, it seems.
The reason why Slaine seems so villainous right now is because he isn’t repeating the same old character-beats as the rest of the cast does. He’s changing and he tries to change the world around him. You don’t see that sort of initiative from any other character in this series. At the same time, though, Slaine’s characterization isn’t deep enough to make every single character-development seem sensible. The way Slaine talks in this episode you might as well consider him to be a sociopath. You just don’t know what he’s capable of. He just seems as emotionless as Inaho now with the way he just decides to put the two princesses into prison. Maybe that’s the whole point of it: Inaho, the sociopath, is becoming the passionate Slaine while the latter becomes the former.
But this series should’ve a second season (a genuine one). Because if the series doesn’t already know, it will get a second season then the pacing in this episode is just terrible. Once again we get a setup for a dramatic moment in one episode and right in the next episode it gets resolved in a very anticlimactic manner. And what’s up with the lengthy battle-sequence in this episode?! This is the 21st episode! Does this series really have no idea how to set up a dramatic confrontation beyond the one between Inaho and Slaine?! This series has this little tidbit to offer about how the Martians have conquered this area around a lake and… it’s simply meaningless. I still have no idea what the hell is going on and what’s at stake.
Stakes: That’s another important topic here. If you look at the cast of characters in this series’ second half you will realize one thing: One maid and two princesses are the ONLY non-military characters in the series. What about the rest of the world? Actually what is the Vers-Empire doing in conquered regions? How do they establish a government there? This series just doesn’t care about that stuff. You have no sense of what is Earth going through in this war currently. It always bugs me about war-centered series like this one whose stakes seem to solely ground wars in personal vendettas. The bigger picture gets just sort-of addressed by the series and isn’t deemed important. Like the way mechas in this series get destroyed and how the Earth-mechas indiscriminately shoot you would think that all the resources and money for that grow on trees. And each time a Martian Kataphrakt gets destroyed some noble family in the Vers-Empire undergoes a change in leadership and maybe the next leader doesn’t have the same loyalties as the previous one. Each death in this war should have an impact on both sides but when people die in this series they seem disposable and irrelevant. Despite all the lengthy battle-sequences in this series, it does a lousy job of portraying a war.
The Inaho-side’s war-troubles take the cake, though. This second half has been very busy to telegraph the fact that the military-leadership of Earth are a bunch of assholes and the current big thing is that their plan is really to just throw as much stuff as possible at the Vers-Empire. Well, then again I don’t blame them how the Deucalion with Inaho seem to be the only force that is able to take on Martian Kataphrakts in the Earth-Military-force. But the Vers-Empire’s greatest idea in strategy seems to have been to put a bunch of Martian mechas in the same place. And why hadn’t they done that right from the get-go? Because the Martians thought it would be easier to conquer Earth. And why had they thought that? Oh, right, because the entire first half made it seem like the Vers-Empire had practically already conquered Earth until the brutal turnaround during the semi-finale. And then there was a time-jump after which Earth had suddenly gained a considerable defense-force and the Vers-Empire wasn’t even close to conquering Earth (for some reason…).
I’ve already talked about how this series had turned into a bit of a soap-opera with how it focused more on the characters then the war that served as the setting. But most of the characters of this series haven’t experienced any sensible or interesting character-arcs and the series has just been stalling this entire time until it could create another dramatic confrontation between Inaho and Slaine.
Cross Ange 22 Review:
Guess, that’s one way to explain racism… It’s nobody’s fault if someone’s a racist, it’s just his/her “programming” turning him/her into an idiot.
Doesn’t it seem like there’s a bit of a dissonance between what Embryo is saying and what the series is showing us? It’s almost schizophrenic how this series talks about the need for intelligent and strong women but then shows scene after scene where women get abused in one way or another. After all, we get more scenes in this episode of women getting abused or suffering than scenes where women prove their worth. Embryo sounds like an idealist who wants the best for humanity by creating a new world but his deeds are sleazy and arrogant from start to finish. That character is getting very close to becoming a villain that’s way too scummy to stay effective (at least in the way this series has chosen to portray him). Embryo is becoming so deplorable that he’s just distracting from what the story wants to do. And that the story isn’t doing much is also a part of the problem.
In general, Cross Ange’s view on humanity is very negative. The Dragon-people have ceased to be entirely human and have become dragons, Embryo’s people are hateful by default and the Normas/Ancient people are defined by the hatred they receive from other people. The world Ange (and Tusk) long for, doesn’t seem to exist in this setting. So, it’s fitting how Tusk and Momoka died in the last episode. What those two characters wished for simply doesn’t exist in this world. Simply preserving the world they live in won’t be good enough to create a setting for such a dream. Although, as with Momoka, I guess, this series wouldn’t shy away from the cheesy option of an inexplicable happily-ever-after-ending.
And it’s not like Momoka and Tusk stayed dead anyway. They just suddenly appear when Ange has hit rock-bottom… or shortly after that moment, I guess (bad direction to not have Tusk literally stop Ange from killing herself). It gets worse as Ange’s solo-scenes do all the talking with shitty montages of stuff we’ve already seen. Especially the moments where Ange wonders about what Tusk’s mindset had been before he died rang false as she had always been there when he uttered the words shown in the flashback-montages. She should already know about it because we, the audience, already know about it and we know that she knows about it.
That the series is still doing it is a sign of distrust. This series seems to believe its audience is too stupid to remember what Tusk has said in the past and how this informs Ange’s motivation in the story. This would’ve been the time for a good flashback to a time when she had been very young. Maybe something about what she thought her future would be like when she had been 10 years old and then you contrast that with a montage of the stuff we’ve seen in the series. It’s such a shitty script-writing-job to think that the groundwork for the finale rests almost entirely on what has been done after the start of the story. If your reasoning for a character-scene is just “because plot”, then you might as well move on. A script shouldn’t create a tension-break just to recapitulate the previously established story-stuff. And as far as Momoka and Tusk miraculously surviving is concerned… That’s either the seed for a nasty plottwist during the finale or it’s one of the dumbest things this series has done.
What is happening in the rest of the episode are the usual plot-machinations setting the stage for a finale. The world is turning into shit as Embryo wants to create new one. God knows why he thinks he’ll do much better with the next one. There are a couple character-moments in this episode which are all fairly predictable: Ersha abandoning Embryo because he just doesn’t give a shit anymore (which also means that he won’t resurrect dead children), Salia blaming Ange for not getting enough love from Embryo, Hilda prioritizing the rescue of Ange over everything else, that orange-haired girl holding a grudge against Chris and Chris still being stubborn as always. Nothing surprising there. What was a little bit surprising was Sala offering an alliance to Hilda – with no demands. Like usual it’s the Dragon-people who get to play the heroes in the exchange as Sala also gets to utter the cheesy “I firmly believe in Ange to find her way back in time.”-line.
I would like to say that I look forward to the finale but frankly I don’t care. The series mentions the stakes in this episode as Embryo needs the Super-Dragon and a bunch of mechas to perform his little ritual in order to create a new world. And the series has already shown what it looks like when Embryo is trying to fuse two worlds. I mean, that’s it…? The whole thing’s pretty straightforward and easy to understand. The series doesn’t try to ramp up the tension here or raise the stakes. Instead of an “Oh my God, how will we ever succeed against those odds?!”-atmosphere, the series is going for a more tepid “Guess, we gotta do this shit. So, let’s get this over with…”-atmosphere. There’s nothing energetic about how this series sets up its finale.
Posted on March 8, 2015, in Aldnoah.Zero, Anime, Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryū no Rondo, Reviews and tagged Aldnoah Zero, aldnoah.zero, Anime, CROSS ANGE Rondo of Angel and Dragon, Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryū no Rondo, reviews. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.