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Dated 5 August 2014: Aldnoah.Zero is the best show of summer 2014 so far

Inaho
Reading, writing, arithmetic, and robots.

The name Urobuchi Gen makes some anime fans uneasy because he's perceived as an author who occasionally embraces a certain unpredicable malice towards his own characters. However, Aldnoah.Zero couples this pervasive unease with excellent execution to give us one of the more satisfying starts you could hope for in an anime.

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Dated 4 September 2014: In re Aldnoah.Zero episode nine spoilers

Asseylum
I still don't know where this is. I hope it's not her bathroom.

I don't often indulge in text-heavy blog entries, but the events from the most recent episode of Aldnoah.Zero provide an opportune moment to deviate from my normal fare. I have a short window in which to speculate and ruminate before the next episode drops on Sunday. Obviously, this entire entry is emphatically spoiler-heavy for events leading up to and including episode nine. Moreover, the spoilers in questions are substantial enough that anyone who doesn't already know what happens and retains even a modest interest in watching Aldnoah.Zero should avoid reading this post altogether.

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Dated 23 September 2014: This is a pretty good season for asexual male protagonists

Nozaki and Chiyo
Never gonna happen, Chiyo.

I watched two shows during summer 2014 that featured male leads who were committed to their work above all else (three, if you consider Inaho instead of Slaine the male lead of Aldnoah.Zero). Despite being the author of a romance manga, Chiyo's titular crush in Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun failed to see her as a potential love interest at all even after working in close proximity with her for months. Normally, this should probably be a pretty heavy blow to Chiyo's self-esteem, but basically all of Nozaki's interests are related to his manga itself, so I guess it's somewhat less insulting that even teenage hormones weren't enough to interest him in her.

Miwa, Tamako, and Seishuu
It's not a date.

As I mentioned earlier, Seishuu's case in Barakamon is a bit less straightforward because he essentially has no suitable potential love interests to pursue. Naru and Hana are seven, the nurse is married, and everyone else is old. Well, not everyone else. There's still Miwa and Tama, the middle school girls who hang around him every day. Both of them are appalled, by the way, that he appears not to have had any interests other than calligraphy even when he still lived in the big city. It's canon.

Dated 30 September 2014: Summer 2014 season conclusion

Slaine
Slaine has seen some shit.

Aldnoah.Zero was far and away the best show from Summer 2014. I know a lot of viewers disagree with this opinion, but I thoroughly enjoyed all of its episodes. I've written a lot about it. Probably too much, considering I don't like it thaaat much even though it did almost get a perfect score on my little chart jobbie.

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Dated 26 October 2014: Aldnoah.Zero is basically about Slaine being a failure

Asselyum
How is Assey's dress not completely filthy by now?

My spoiler-avoidance efforts led me to watch the first cour of Aldnoah.Zero essentially isolated from the contemporaneous reactions and opinions of other viewers. It was not until after watching the 12th episode that I learned how different my impressions of the show were from the apparent norm. For one thing, it appears I liked the show on a whole much more than most viewers. Secondly, I hadn't realized how polarized the "Inaho v. Slaine" camps had grown. I also raised an eyebrow at the sheer number of motorists on the Information Superhighway who decry Slaine as terrible character. Personally, I find Slaine to be a good character. He tragically fails at essentially everything he attempts, but success does not determine whether or not I consider a character good. (Or else Kirito would be like the most goodest character, yo.)

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Dated 23 December 2014: Two voices

Sento
It sort of bugs me there are no sights on that weapon.

I first noticed Kakuma Ai because of her Aldnoah.Zero supporting character. She voices Nina, the schoolgirl refugee who nearly collided a ship with a giant obstacle the instant they let her steer. There's not much to the character that really stands out, but her panicky cries as she nearly wrecks the boat were pretty amusing. But then I noticed she's also in Amagi Brilliant Park, voicing Sento who sounds completely different than Nina. Sento didn't do any panicky yammering in the episodes I watched, but I did like the way she said "brilllyant paahk." I'm not particularly familiar with the rest of her work, but given the contrast between Nina and Sento and their aforementioned highlights, I'm encouraged to pay more attention to her in the future.

Emi
Emi's piano? Also a weapon.

Hayami Saori, who voices Emi from Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso caught my attention for the same reason I really enjoy Ito Kanae: She speaks with a normal voice. I find artificially squeaky "anime" voices a bit tiresome at times, and perhaps moreso when that fake-sounding anime voice is one the seiyuu uses as her "real" voice. Hayami Saori, on the other hand, sounds like a genuine person to me, which contributes a great deal towards my positive impressions of her character. Emi, if you don't know, is pathologically passionate about piano in such a way that would be sort of grating if I hadn't fully bought into her character. Emi's success in this regard speaks volumes to Hayami Saori's contribution to the show. It turns out I've also liked her in a few of her previous works, so she's another seiyuu to keep an ear out for, as it were.

Dated 19 January 2015: Slaine is still a fuck up

Slaine
You may want to upgrade to a better side arm.

By now, if you've had any interest in the second cour of Aldnoah.Zero, you likely already know a number of spoilers that could be quite disconcerting in their own right, merely from a narrative perspective. Pretending it's possible to talk around some of the specifics to preserve some modicum of spoiler avoidance, I'm going to address one of my concerns while ignoring the bigger problem(s) entirely.

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Dated 20 February 2015: War is all Hell, even on a healing anime such as Aldnoah.Zero

Slaine
Slaine's pistol in episode 13 looks the same as
the one Asseylum waves around in the first OP.

Guess what's about to hit the fan on Aldnoah.Zero. Go on, guess. The rest of this entry contains substantial spoilers for both seasons of Aldnoah.Zero and quite a bit of speculation as well. If you're not prepared, avert your eyes, etc.

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