「夢幻の彼方 -The Fortune’s Fool-」 (Mugen no Kanata -The Fortune’s Fool-)
“Beyond the Dream -The Fortune’s Fool-“
This is starting to smell quite strongly of a tragic ending, at least for the principal characters.
I’m sure the Sl-apologists will find a way to write off his actions this week just as they have all the others, but it’s hard to see much good left in Slaine at this point. It’s not so hard to see where the good was, perhaps, but as he’s dug himself deeper and deeper trying to make a foundation for his castle of deceit, any goodness in Slaine has been buried so deeply it’s hard to believe it’ll ever see the light of day again. “I’m doing all this evil so things will be good in the end” has been the sop of many a genocidal megalomaniac over the years. Indeed, the only real question at this point is whether Slaine’s actions on the personal or socio-political level are the more despicable.
The sad thing is, I’d really hoped for better because the VERS system was rotten to the core and desperately needed someone to come along and blow it up. But many an upheaval with the potential to do good has turned evil under similar circumstances. As his lies are exposed Slaine is going to have no choice but to become more and more vicious now, and a big one was exposed this week when Lemrina discovered the truth about her half-sister. At this point Asseylum was also being let in on the truth of her situation, Mazuurek’s gambit having prompted Eddie to spill the beans.
Meanwhile, on Earth, the combined lightning-invisibility attack is wreaking havoc even with Inaho’s tactical ability. The authorities have apparently decided the best use for their only weapon of consequence is suicide missions, though so far (thanks to Inaho) the Deucalion has stubbornly refused to be destroyed. But this one is perhaps Inaho’s toughest challenge yet, and many of the assumptions he makes about the enemy turn out to be wrong (he certainly didn’t predict quantum teleportation). And a lot of pilots die as a result, though certainly less than if Inaho hadn’t been involved. Turns out lightning and invisibility are taking the “combine” thing literally, pulling off a gattai move that allows them to use the complementary powers of both. Very clever indeed.
Of course Inaho gets the win in the end, as he has to at this stage of the story, helped by using a clever ruse of making his Kataphrakt the same capacity as Lightning to avoid its electrical attacks. But to do so he has to use his eye to literally assume control over every gun in the fleet, and I have to say his ending is looking a lot more Haruto-like (ironic, as I’ll touch on in a minute). And Central Command is retrofitting the Deucalion for a big-time mission, which sounds suspiciously like it could be an attack against the VERS moonbase. Our long-awaited bishoudown may be coming, if the parties live long enough to see it.
Slaine is doing his part to survive, at least for now. I wasn’t sure where this was going when Lemrina confronted Asseylum and pulled a gun on her, but apparently her notion was to join forces against the guy who’s been lying to both of them. But their choice to confront him was rather a foolish and naive one, and doomed to failure. Sure, it was clever to have Asseylum turn the tables and impersonate Lemrina – there’s no way she can deny the truth about what Slaine has become now. But they should have pretended everything was all right and plotted an escape from Slaine’s clutches, because Slaine is way too smart to think Asseylum would ever have pulled the trigger. And he’s obviously unbound by any sentimental attachments to Asseylum – he still loves her, but he’s so thoroughly given up hope of her ever returning the favor that committing any atrocity in order to achieve his goal has little obvious downside.
So Slaine’s plan to wipe out most of Earth’s population and create a joint Earth-Mars empire (what would that be called – Ears? Math?) to present to Asseylum proceeds apace – though just what he expects her to do with it, I have no idea. But there are more cracks in it than the hull of the Titanic, and another one just appeared – apparently Slaine’s racist guardian Cruhteo had a son, Croncain(?). And yes, he’s played by non other than Ohsaka Ryouta, Haruto himself, who joins Aldnoah.Zero just as it’s beginning to take on a pronounced Valvrave tint. Hard to say what role he’ll play in the increasingly explosive VERS situation, but he’s damn sure not making things any less complicated for Slaine, who now also has to deal with the lack of a royal mouthpiece to endorse his leadership (unless he tortures or coerces one of the Princesses to do so). This is going to be a shame.
Zephyr’s Quick Impressions:
I didn’t see that coming.
It seems like we’re saying that every week, and it goes to show just how (as Enzo put it) “predictably unpredictable” ALDNOAH.ZERO has become. Just when you think you’ve pinned down the potential paths this story could take, the next episode throws that up in the air. Best of all, it forces you to reconsider the obvious signs you might’ve missed previously, and there are few words to express just how great the last string of episodes have been. And honestly, the screenshots tell everything here. One moment we have this, the next we have them teaming up to take down the noticeably shocked Slaine, and then we realize he had already prepared himself for this by surrounding himself with people who didn’t quite care for the original VERS hierachy in the first place. The utter destruction of all “three” (if you don’t count in quantum teleportation) Counts on Earth, the Deucalion prepping to go back into space, and the issues Inaho is starting to face with his new eye are just toppings on the dramatic cake that is ALDNOAH.ZERO, and I’ll admit I didn’t expect to be this excited for the series’ final episodes.
Perhaps the most interesting part of it all though, is how Slaine’s actions are setting things up so things will work out whether he succeeds or not. Because on one hand, the success of his plan would have him firmly planted as the leader of a united Earth/Mars world, one presumably free of war for the duration of his reign. On the other, his defeat would allow both of the Princesses + Inaho and Co. to find the common ground that could lead to the same thing. Of course, that’s assuming that they manage to navigate through the bureaucracy at the head of the Earth Nations, and that’s something that would be made much easier should the Deucalion succeed in their next operation. The fact that both Cruhteo’s son (that was a surprise!) and Mazuurek are in the picture bode well for the situation should any of the Princesses not make it, and it looks like there’s more than adequate amount of backup to ensure this story ends on a happy note in regards to Earth/Mars relations. The question is, who from the main cast will live to see it? Things are certainly looking grimmer and grimmer for both Slaine and Inaho at this point…