The definition of a trainwreck series is usually where a hyped series (usually with high production value) that began decent enough, slowly started to failed on storytelling or narrative department due to stupid (sometimes hilarious) decision on narrative choices. Whether that be plot holes, the way characters started to make stupid, out of logic decision that wasn’t in line with their established personality, or beginning to reveal absolutely idiotic twist/reveal that usually just there for the sake of shock value, anything. On 2011 the title fell to Guilty Crown for many. On 2013 it fell onto Valvrave (although i began to suspect this was intentional) for some. And arguably on 2014 the title fell onto Aldnoah.Zero.
While some regard A.Z as an interesting failure, for others its just a joke. The reasons is all the more apparent from episode eleven to twelve. After the reveal of visual promotion for the second season of A.Z that depicted Inaho, our main character, somehow managed to survived despite being clearly shoot to the head at the end off the first season, most of anitwitter/aniblogsphere ready themselves to jump on hyped train/bandwagon not on basis of that it’ll be “great”, but rather on the basis that it’ll be hilarious/enjoyable trainwreck.
For some reason, i just can’t join on whatever silliness that will potentially come out.
Also, i just couldn’t laughed at Aldnoah.
One of the major factor for my hyped on this series, is when the name Gen Urobuchi was credited for its creation. Granted, he’s only credited as the original creator and only wrote the first three episode, but just through those first three episode alone, A.Z really do showed its potential as a great series. Urobuchi did a good job establishing the foundation for the series to go. And that’s also one of the factor that makes the series rather tragic.
The first episode served to establish setting, characters and themes for this series. The theme that it touched upon was quite interesting enough. Racism, war and how Earthlings treated the ongoing tension and the upcoming potential war between Earthling and Martian as a game both by underestimating the Martian power’s and also by training teenagers to fight for the war. The Martian themselves treated the war as nothing more than a mere hunting sport. With them being the predator and the Earthlings as the prey.
The majority that happened in episode two is just the Martian hunting down Earthlings and pretty much emphasizing Martian superiority. It’s pretty textbook Gundam episode. But what i liked in this episode, is that the series managed to use its cast to capture the epic/grand scale of the war and also creating legitimate stake for the conflict.
The third episode is probably my favorite episode of this series. Its fun, clever and cool. The major event is how Inaho and his friends planning on how to beat Martian Kataphrakt. The whole event felt like an actual military operation and the resolution for the conflict is also smart. The audience can also follow and understand the resolution because there are already clues spread throughout the scenario regarding the enemy’s weaknesses.
Of course, what goes beyond those episode is something you knew already.
If there’s also one of the most wasted potential and tragic in this series is have to say its Inaho’s character.
The way he act on the first three episodes and what goes after those episodes was surprisingly different. In Urobuchi’s version, Inaho come across not just simply stoic, but rather emotionally distant. Unable to parse what’s happening around him as reality. From the way he only focus on egg sale during parade and casually saying there’s a missile like it was something ordinary and also the way he’s casually still at home, cooking when EVERYBODY ELSE IS EVACUATING. I really think he had the making of an interesting and complex character.
But by the end, he became a spock clone that can do anything. An archetype. A joke and also one of the most silliest part of the series.
I said he’s the most wasted and tragic element was because almost all of the silly element that happened later on was all due to him. The narrative actively framing his thoughts and action as correct and the reason why he managed to do the thing the way he does became less of a clever tactic that the audience follow, but more of because its Inaho and the plot says so. He just became a somewhat fulfillment fantasy for the audience. Like Lelouch except its less entertaining to watch.
I guess what i am trying to say is that no matter how much i joke upon what’s happening in this series, somewhere in the back of my mind only lies disappointment and i just couldn’t laughed about it.
The series became less of a joke, but more of a wasted tragic potential for me.
Seriously, i really wanted for this series to suceed. There’s just so much potential for this series to hit big time and scenario that could’ve gone better, to the point where it’s not even funny.
But who knows? Maybe i am setting too much hope and expectation for this series. Maybe i am just not mature enough to just let it and laughed at it.
Nevertheless, i am still going to watch the second season, but not to enjoy myself of the silliness, but just to cling one single hope that it MIGHT got better.
– If they are ended up using arbitrary, contrived, BS reason for Inaho’s revival, maybe i’ll be more accepting toward it. After all, Mass Effect 2 did started with Shepard literally died and revive without any sort of consequences and the story didn’t even bother to touched upon this fact again. Granted, A.Z is by far not like ME 2 but still….