Aldnoah Zero – Episode 5 Review – “Phantom of the Emperor”
Princess Asseylum revealed her true identity to Rayet and Inaho. She plans to contact the Emperor so he can call a cease-fire. However, there is a Vers spy hidden among the Terrans so she can’t let anyone else know her secret. Inaho, Calm and Inko fight and win against a Kataphrakt named Argyre.
Slaine begins to get to the bottom of the conspiracy surrounding the failed assassination of Princess Asseylum. He realizes that it goes far beyond Count Cruhteo. Cruhteo also soundly denies him the right to fight in the war.
We start off the episode in the Vers Empire in 2009, five years before the current events of the show. It’s Slaine and Asseylum’s first meeting, where he literally crashes into her house. There seems to be some romantic feelings between the two.
In the present, the Emperor Rayregalia Vers Rayvers calls for a momentary cease fire, so that he can get to the truth of the assassination. He isn’t blaming the United Earth forces just yet. He wants to make sure they weren’t actually behind the tragedy.
Slaine still wants to fight in the war, but no one will let him. News of the cease fire reaches both Cruhteo and Saazbaum, and neither is happy about it. Saazbaum is also suspicious of the circumstances around Trillam’s death, and how Slaine is connected. Slaine seeks an secret audience with the Emperor, but something seems off about the Emperor’s response to his appearance. I won’t ruin it here. 😛
Meanwhile, the Terrans are travelling across the sea when Argrye attacks them. The pilot Sir Vlad is out for revenge after being defeated last episode. Lt.Marito is set to join the fight, but he is too caught up in memories of the war to actually get in a mech. A name from his past has propped up – a John Humeray. This time around Inaho faces off against Vlad by himself. He gains the tactical advantage again, and efficiently kills Vlad. Makabaredge is starting to notice just how special Inaho is. In her words “he hardly seems like a student, doesn’t he?”
To me at least, the plotline with Slaine is far more engrossing that what’s going on with Inaho’s group. I would even go so far to view Slaine as the main character, though in reality it’s split between Slaine and Inaho. I feel bad for the guy, as he’s got no friends or allies around him. He is trying to follow his heart and do the right thing for the Princess, but it’s only getting him in trouble more. The way the Martians look at him is increasingly interesting, as they view his personal emotions as pathetic and impudent. With Slaine as their counterpoint it makes them seem even more aloof and righteous.
As for Saazbaum, I’m curious to see if he really is the mastermind behind the conspiracy. Perhaps he is just a figurehead, or a second in command? The Emperor was a confusing character, at least in this first impression of him. He is rational enough to look further into a matter, even in the face of the death of one of his family members. Yet he is also easily influenced in other moments. It’s the only case of inconsistent character portrayal so far in the show.
Lt.Marito’s quick bit about dying for honour and the worthlessness of military medals stood out to me. I’m curious to find out more about who John Humeray was, and why it dominates Marito’s mind so much. While a lot of his storyline is familiar to us, he doesn’t feel like a cardboard cut out – to me at least. Inaho was his usual self in this episode, but I’m not going to join in on the complaints about his personality being boring. I like having him as the calming effect of the show, as each episode is getting more and more tense. His cool exterior and well constructed planning make the show easier to watch without getting paranoid.
Next Episode: “Steel Step Suite”