While I think that this show's established and fascinating "world" is going to be way too big to maximize its true potential in a format of 24 episodes at this point, I have to say that the show has pretty much gotten back on track now. Something threw the beginning of this season off for me. I can't quite put my finger on it exactly--maybe it was a bit too much Inaho-to-the-rescue with his "super eye," or the fact that things suddenly shot into space warfare, or the switch away from the Orbital Landing Castles, or just that Slaine started to dominate the narrative in a style not unlike Char/Lelouch while everyone else seemed to stagnate some. It may have been a combination of all those, actually. I don't know. The almost dismissal of Season 1's ending didn't necessarily help, either.
But I think Episode 16 started things back on the right track in terms of balance. The Landing Castles started to play a part in the story again; and Yuki, Marito, and the doc came back into the picture (Thank goodness! More older characters are sorely needed; why not have a new Earth team also to contrast the crew from S1 and tell us more about what's going on at Earth HQ?). Inaho's last-minute save sort of spoiled the episode a bit, and brought into question how effective the Earth forces can be WITHOUT Inaho--and how they've been dealing with the Landing Castles in the interim without being wiped out. Nevertheless, there were more good developments than bad. Earth became a focal point again, Count Mazuurek is an interesting new character and chess piece on the board (with a cool mecha to boot), and we're starting to see more counts appear and reappear (with some better definition like in Season 1) while Slaine, the second princess, and others start to slip back into (or began) more naturalistic development that doesn't feel so stereotypical.
Things are looking up. But again, with six episodes left, it puts the series in a tight spot. I was pleased as punch to see one of the MIA Orbital Knights return from Season 1 in Episode 18's opening fight. Anybody else remember him? So happy the writers didn't leave that hanging, and made that connection back to Season 1's developments. (Nothing has shown me that those Landing Castles and their Knights were taken out between the seasons, and they were all part of the world building.) I hope the other MIA Orbital Knights I mentioned earlier in the thread reappear, as well. I liked that Tharsis wasn't shown to be invincible for once, by the way. So, yeah, lots of good stuff going on.
At the least, I still want more information on Heavens Fall, Slaine's mysterious dad, the workings of the Earth government, and humanity's interaction and knowledge of the source of Aldnoah. But...given the choices made, I think we're basically looking at a more limited, intimate story about Inaho and Slaine's relationship with the original princess and carrying out her wishes under two different mindsets. (Happy ending? Slaine ends up with the new princess, reforming Mars, and Inaho ends up with the original princess, reforming Earth. That's too simple, but I could see them pulling that.) While I mentioned issues I've had with the flow of this season, I think the biggest disappointment in Season 2 is how blithely the cliffhanger of Season 1 was resolved and how fast Inaho got back into action without any further development about who he is, or a twist about that even which might have given a new spin on his previous actions and skills.
In the end, I still have to say that despite some stumbles from my perception of it after Season 1, this has still been a notable and enjoyable series overall. I think Season 2 has gotten to a respectable zone, and it might still get better. Plus, there's always the possibility this will get upped for a movie sequel or OVA side-story or something. Do we know if it's performing well in Japan?
About that, I recommend Night Raid 1931, a somewhat uneven but very ambitious, charming, and ultimately underrated A1 Pictures show that focuses on a team of four gifted but flawed agents prior to WWII. It's been one of the more memorable and unique anime of the last several years. I'm a little surprised it didn't get more notoriety or buzz. Think Mission Impossible meets Cowboy Bebop meets Witch Hunter Robin.Soma Taozi wrote:Hey guess what? Inaho won some positive points with me this episode! He showed concern for his sister, he worked with a TEAM instead of just soloing it like other protagonists A1 has produced (cough Kirito cough)