Aldnoah.Zero is a 12-episode science-fiction and mecha anime that ran from July 5th, 2014 until September 20th, 2014 for a total of 12 episodes. The anime is currently on its second cour titled Aldnoah.Zero 2, which airs in Japan and streams internationally.
This is an original anime series, which means it was not adapted from any original manga or light novel series. A-1 Pictures and TROYCA jointly produced Aldnoah.Zero and Aldnoah.Zero 2, which Aniplex of America currently holds the North American regional license.
If you are not in Japan, you can stream the series on Crunchyroll, Hulu, and Daisuki.
The story is reminiscent to Full Metal Panic and Patlabor because it takes place in an alternate version of the modern world. In the case of Aldnoah.Zero, the time setting is 2014.
It is a unique story that blends science-fiction, political drama, military drama, and mecha to tell one compelling story. I personally felt that Aldnoah.Zero reminded me of Cowboy Bebop, Mobile Suit Gundam and Zone of Enders.
Aldnoah.Zero reminded me of Cowboy Bebop and Zone of Enders for similar reasons.
In Cowboy Bebop, Earth was devastated by rock showers created from the Hyper Gate accident that blew up part of the planet’s moon. That was one of the leading reasons that most of humanity left Earth and settled across the Solar System on space colonies, different planets, and different moons.
Most episodes of the series took place on Mars.
In Zone of Enders, the conflict between Earth and Mars was one of the leading factors in the story. The hero in the anime series Zone of Enders – DOLORES had to prevent a full-scale war between the forces of Earth and the forces of Mars.
Mobile Suit Gundam centered on the ongoing war between the Earth Federation Forces and the Federation of Zeon, with the latter residing in space colonies.
The story of Aldnoah.Zero originates in 1972, where alien technology was discovered that allowed easy travel between Earth and Mars. Mars’ settlers discovered more technology and kept it to themselves, which led them to create the Vers Empire that is reminiscent to the Federation of Zeon.
In 1999, the Vers Empire declares war on Earth and ends up being cut off from Mars.
In 2014, Princess Asseylum of the Vers Empire is seemingly assassinated. It turns out that it was her body double and the real Seylum joins protagonist Inaho Kaizuka in a resistance against the invading forces of the Vers Imperial Army.
Vers is out to conquer Earth and take all of its resources by claiming that it represents the new human race.
Why Should Martial Artists Watch Aldnoah.Zero?
There is a lot of combat involved in Aldnoah.Zero, which led to many exciting fights between Earth and Vers.
Even though Aldnoah.Zero does not emphasize hand-to-hand combat, the anime provides valuable lessons that martial artists let alone professionals can draw upon. You have to examine the fight scenes carefully and look closely at the characters.
Vers is on the winning side of the battle because of its military and technological superiority due to the alien technology discovered on the moon. Earth is primitive compared to Vers, which means it is outclassed and overpowered.
One would assume that the United Forces of Earth were wiped out, but that isn’t the case because they were saved repeatedly by high school student Inaho Kaizuka.
Watching Aldnoah.Zero has taught me many valuable lessons, which I can apply to my martial arts training.
LESSON ONE – ALWAYS KEEP YOUR COOL
Inaho had entered every major battle outclassed, outgunned, and overpowered. He does not allow anything to get to him, which allows him to think clearly.
His clear thinking was the key to finding and exploiting the fatal weaknesses of every opponent that he has fought.
One example is Inaho’s fight with Vlad in episode five.
This allowed Inaho to come prepared in his rematch against Vlad, which caught the latter by surprise and allowed the former to secure a victory at the end.
All of Inaho’s opponents, which Slaine Troyard is the exception, were condescending towards him and underestimated him. They were blinded by their overconfidence, arrogance, and egos. When Inaho proved them wrong, they expressed surprise and lost their cool causing them to make reckless mistakes.
LESSON TWO – LEARN FROM YOUR PAST BATTLES
If you are not a competitive person, you will be practicing against the same people in your class.
It does not matter if it’s Boxing class, Wrestling class, Judo class, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class, Fencing class, Karate class, Kung-Fu class, Tae Kwon Do class, Jiu-Jitsu class, Kendo class, or something completely different.
You and your fellow classmates are constantly growing and improving, which means one sparring or rolling session will be different from the previous session.
Inaho’s final battle with Vlad was actually the second time they fought let alone in that episode.
It was a matter of time that Vlad would return to complete his mission, which Inaho predicted was going to happen. He came prepared for the second battle with Vlad and ended up victorious, which made him a serious threat by the Vers Imperial Empire.
LESSON THREE – NOBODY IS INVINCIBLE
The early days of the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) perpetuated the myth that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was the one invincible style.
Wrestlers fell to skilled BJJ practitioners in the past, but that has changed over the years because current and future generations of fighters have become more intelligent. Striking had little relevance in the past and changed thanks to fighters like Maurice Smith, Georges St. Pierre, Anderson Silva, Ben Henderson, Anthony Pettis, Dennis Siver, Lyoto Machida, and many more.
Many wrestlers wised up and added BJJ to their training regiment, which gave BJJ specialists something to worry about.
This applies to one of Inaho’s major battles in the third episode of Aldnoah.Zero.
Teamwork allowed Inaho to exploit his opponent’s crucial weakness, which allowed him to emerge from battle victorious.
It takes time and effort to exploit an opponent’s weakness, but it is worth it.
Everybody has a weakness, which includes the Frozen Elysium battle in the first episode of Aldnoah.Zero 2.
This goes back to the first lesson, which is “keeping your cool.”
LESSON FOUR – MAKE OPPONENTS EXPLOIT THEIR OWN WEAKNESSES
I always wondered why Slaine allowed Count Saazbaum to live at the end of Aldnoah.Zero even though the latter show Seylum twice in the back. The answer was ultimately revealed in the third episode of Aldnoah.Zero 2, which Slaine had set up a trap for him.
Slaine knew that he couldn’t kill Saazbaum by himself, which is why he tricked Inaho into doing the “heavy lifting.”
He fooled Saazbaum by launching an attack originally used for Inaho, and allowed Saazbaum to “walk into the same trap.”
If you cannot find your opponent’s weakness, then make that person do it for you.
LESSON FIVE – INTELLIGENCE & PROPER TECHNIQUE > POWER & OVERWHELMING FORCE
There is a quote that I learned from one of the Magic the Gathering novels: “Power makes people stupid.”
Inaho finds himself constantly battling powerful and deadly opponents, but he kept cool and took advantage of every weakness that he found. This reflects on many martial arts styles that focus on developing proper technique in place of strength and sheer force.
Every Orbital Knight underestimated Inaho for being “weak” and paid the price with their lives.
Inaho had only the “bare basics,” which served him well.
The enemy mechs have powerful abilities, but each one had a unique weakness that was exposed.
It reflects upon Judo philosophy: leverage and proper technique overcomes force.