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Anime: Aldnoah.Zero
"War is coming..."

A sci-fi action anime which began airing on July 5, 2014, created by Gen Urobuchi and with a soundtrack by Hiroyuki Sawano.

In 1972, the Apollo 17 mission to the moon discovered an alien Hypergate that allowed for instantaneous transport to Mars. A massive effort to colonize Mars soon followed, and the first explorers and settlers quickly discovered Lost Technology there dubbed "Aldnoah" that allowed them to become self-sufficient. Eventually, they declared independence as the Holy VERS Empire, named after their expedition's leader Rayregalia Vers Rayvers, and even formed a religion (if you could call it that) based around the technology found on Mars. In 1999, a war broke out between the Holy VERS Empire and United Earth, ending with a Pyrrhic Victory for VERS after the Hypergate on the moon overloaded and blew the celestial body in half, cutting off all access to Mars and causing massive destruction across the Earth thanks to major population centers being heavily damaged by environmental shifts and the falling shards of the moon.

It is now 2014, fifteen years after the devastating events of "Heaven's Fall." The VERS soldiers who were left behind after the Hypergate's destruction now live in the remains of the moon and massive space stations in orbit between Earth and the moon, forming themselves into 37 clans. Only recently has space travel advanced to the point where travel between Earth and Mars is practical, and tensions remain extremely high between Earth and the Holy VERS Empire.

The full plot begins after the Martian princess, who had come to Earth in order to help negotiate peace, is assassinated by members of her own government. The Terrans are framed for the tragedy, and now a full-scale invasion of the Earth begins.

Crunchyroll is streaming the anime, and can be viewed here for people living in the following areas:note 


This work contains examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: The characters from VERS have unusual names as compared to characters from Earth. They consider themselves to be a completely separate culture, despite only having left Earth thirty-odd years ago. As it stands, though, there are even some Earth characters who have some pretty weird names. "Calm Craftman" is one such example.
  • All There in the Manual: The show's website contains a detailed timeline describing the Martian colonization effort, the rise of the Holy VERS Empire, and other information about the Vers royal family and the Heaven's Fall incident and its aftermath.
  • Altum Videtur: Averted; the series tagline is the English translation of a famous Latin saying.
  • A Mech by Any Other Name: The mecha used are called "Kataphrakts."
  • An Arm and a Leg: Trillram invokes this in episode 2. Due to his shield's ability to vaporize anything that touches it, whether it's bullets or a bridge, he casually swats at some of the mechs. One mech gets its arms vaporized before he destroys it, almost as if he was just toying with them.
  • Asshole Victim: Trillram by the end of the Episode 3, and the Martian sleeper cell earlier that episode.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Done brilliantly by Inaho in episode 3 after he reviews enough footage of Trillram's mecha to learn how to get around the latter's seemingly impenetrable shield. He and his allies "blind" Trillram by shooting smoke rounds above them, so the drones Trillam was using could not figure out their position. He then shoots the bridge the mech was standing on to force it into the river below. Seeing a spot where water isn't being vaporized, Inaho attacks that spot.
  • Black and Grey Morality: On one hand, we have the Martians, who use teenagers, have massive Fantastic Racism towards Earthlings, and members of their government attempt to assassinate their own princess in order to get an excuse for a war. On the other hand, we have the United Earth government that requires most high school kids to take courses on using military tech, and according to Lt. Marito, is covering something up that is related to the war that happened 15 years ago and filling its citizens' heads with lies.
  • Blood Knight: Several of the VERS knights revel in taking out UE forces.
  • Bloodless Carnage: For an extremely high body count, this has little blood. Episode 2 prominently showcases the number of explosions and the AT-like Field used to disintegrate mechs. Could be justified in the fact that due to the nature of their shields, anything the VERS knights touched or was thrown at them vaporized, whether it was bullets, buildings, or even people.
    • Averted in episode 3, when Trillram is executed by Slaine in an extremely bloody manner.
  • Brick Joke: In Episode 1, Inaho makes scrambled eggs when his sister wanted a rolled omelette. At the end of the episode, he is reading a supermarket flyer during the Martian princess' arrival parade and notices that eggs are on sale. One episode later, during the evacuation of the city after the Martian attack, he's making a rolled omelette.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Inaho seems strangely calm when he tells his friends they should run away from the parade area when he sees a missile flying by.
  • The Cavalry: Subverted in episode 2 when some of Earth's forces attempt to attack Trillram in order to distract him so they could rescue Rayet. Unfortunately he makes quick work of them, as nothing they throw at him penetrates his shields, and soon pursues Rayet again.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster/Mood Whiplash: So far, episodes have been happy —> bleak —> really awesome before ending in bleak, in that order. Only time will tell if this holds.
  • Child Soldiers: Neither the Martians nor Earthers seem to have any qualms about allowing teenagers to fight and die.
  • Colony Drop:
    • The Heaven's Fall incident destroyed half of the moon when the alien Hypergate exploded. Unlike Endor, the resulting asteroids caused much devastation on Earth; about half of the United States, much of Brazil, eastern Australia, and large parts of Africa have vanished beneath the ocean. No word yet on how much of an Apocalypse How it was in terms of lives lost.
    • A more literal example happens at the end of episode 1 with the Orbital Knights' castles crashing into Earth at predetermined locations. New Orleans is shown in particular as people stuck in a traffic jam on a bridge watch as one lands near them, before being vaporized by the force/heat of the impact created by said castle.
  • Conspicuous CG: The various mecha in the show. Most of the vehicles also are this, such as the cargo truck that Rayet drives in episode 3.
  • Cool Plane: F-22 Raptors are deployed over Japan and New Orleans to engage the Vers forces invading Earth. In the 2014 of Real Life, the Raptor is one of the most advanced warplanes that currently exists. In this 2014, they are easily defeated by the enemy Kataphrakts.
    • The sky carrier that Slaine pilots has a very intimidating forward swept flying wing style design and while it may be big and slow, it is extremely maneuverable and can make tight turns that would normally be very difficult for a craft of its size to pull off. It has otherwise been described as a transport vehicle.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The Martian Kataphracts, despite their overwhelming power, have a tendency to suffer from this. The only weapon equipped by the Argyre is its massive beam katana, and the Nilokeras can't carry any weapons at all due to its vaporizing barrier, which also robs the pilot of the ability to see out of the machine through normal means. Inaho exploits these specializations as much as possible to get an edge on them in battle.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The attack of the Orbital Knights in episode 2. After wiping out several cities by dropping their enormous "castle" spacecraft onto them, they destroy all undersea cables and satellites to block communication and deploy powerful EMP jammers... none of which really matters, because all of their vehicles and mechas are Immune to Bullets and can casually massacre Earth's armies without taking a scratch.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: The Orbital Knights attacks during episode 2. When they fire some missiles out of their castle, said missiles seem to go off randomly, and doesn't even go after any of Earth's military forces. However, said missiles destroy undersea cables and communications towers and buildings, while ones launched in space destroy comm satellites to prevent Earth's forces from coordinating an effective counterattack.
    • The Nilokeras Kataphrakt has a weak point in its shield placed in a very hard to reach and obscure area. Specifically, it is found on the right side of the back, at roughly the spot where the mech's lower right arm meets the main body. This is a very unintuitive place to attack, especially considering that in most fiction, a mech's vulnerable points are the head or limbs, not the side of the torso. And it's only a few feet wide.
  • Death from Above: In episode 4, several asteroids are lobbed into the city where Inaho and the others left just moments before they struck. Slaine uses this attack as a convenient excuse to explain how Trillram died.
  • Delaying Action: Inaho, Calm, and Inko do this in episode 4 to buy some time for their forces to start the ship's engine back up. Fortunately they receive some help from a friendly ship arriving in the area after taking a longer but safer passage to reach the base.
  • Detonation Moon: The Moon was shattered in the fighting between the Terrans and the VERS empire fifteen years prior to the start of the series. Earth has the "Satellite Belt" in orbit and half a moon now.
  • Disintegrator Shield: The Nilokeras Kataphrakt makes good use of a weaponized shield that instantly atomizes anything it touches, except for the ground it stands on. Luckily, Inaho is Genre Savvy enough to realize that a perfect shield equals being deaf, dumb and blind, and quickly exploits the weakness.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: In episode 4 after Yuki gets an exoskeleton arm brace to help her use her arm despite the injury on it, accidentally hits a railing too hard, and bends it. She later utilizes this technique again to help move a wrench that needed more torque to fix the engine on the ship.
  • Earth Is a Battlefield: At the end of the first episode, the Orbital Knights of the VERS Empire have made planetfall on at least Tokyo, Beijing, Maputo, and New Orleans.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: She's murdered by members of her own government in the first episode in order to cause a war with earth. We find out in the next episode that it was a body double who died, however.
  • Everything Is an iPod in the Future: Used to highlight the technological superiority of the VERS Empire. The Martian Kataphrakts have a very smooth, elegant aesthetic and are mostly colored white. Contrast Earth's mechas, which have a much more rugged look and camouflage colors and what looks like the pseudo-Windows Phone in GTAV.
  • False Flag Operation: The death of the Martian Princess. Doubly so, when found out that she's actually alive and willing to fight, something they as a whole did not plan.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • The Martians towards the Earthens. The religion they founded states that they're superior because they found the alien technology on Mars.
    • Conversely, some of the main Terran characters feel the same way about the Martians after the fighting starts.
  • Feudal Future: The Vers Empire has styled itself like this, complete with a royal family, knights & knighthood ceremonies, and aristocrats holding much of the power.
  • Foreshadowing: The Kataphrakt training class in episode 1 sees Inko primarily training on the heavy anti-materiel sniper rifle. In episode 3, she's on the same rifle to snipe out the bridge under the Nilokeras's feet.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The OS used in the series is named Accuracy System Image Module for Optimum Velocity - referencing this guy.
  • Government Conspiracy: On both sides. The Martian plotted to assassinate their own princess. The United Earth government is suppressing the truth about something related to the Heaven's Fall disaster.
  • Gunship Rescue: Inaho and Calm are having trouble fighting the Argyre Kataphrakt... then the Watdatsumi shows up in the harbor and provides suppression fire from its deck cannon and the squad of Areions in its hangar.
  • Human Aliens: The VERS Empire sees itself as this.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Lt. Marito rushes a Martian Kataphrakt with a knife in an attempt to delay it while Kaizuka escapes with a surviving conspirator. He survives.
    • Okisuke is annihilated after being knocked off the truck after climbing out to recover Kaizuka.
  • Humongous Mecha: These machines dominate all ground warfare now, with few conventional vehicles in sight.
  • Insane Troll Logic: The VERS' "religion" boils down to "We found the technology first, so we are superior and you Earthlings are inferior."
  • I Will Fight Some More Forever: The UE forces fighting the first wave of Martians quickly see their weapons have no effect, but keep fighting anyway.
    • This seems to be the default strategy of the UE Kataphrakts. Obviously, it never works out well for them.
  • Japanese Beetle Brothers: The Nilokeras Kataphrakt seems to be based on a rhinoceros beetle, though if there's a corresponding stag beetle we've yet to see it.
  • Jump Jetpack: Kataphrakts use these mounted on the hip sections as a sudden burst of speed or to make quick 180-degree turns.
  • Just Plane Wrong: F-22s, which are supposed to be air superiority fighters, are sent to attack the Landing Castle in New Orleans. But later in the same episode another squadron of F-22s engage the aerial transport moving the Nilokeras Kataphrakt in the skies above Japan. The scene shows them correctly launching missiles out of an internal bay and using a single Vulcan cannon mounted on the right side.
  • Kick the Dog: Trillram attempts to kill Rayet in episode 2, after the former kills her father and some of his associates. Fortunately she's saved by some of Earth's forces who distract Trillram long enough for Yuki to grab her and flee.
  • Klingon Scientists Get No Respect: Zig-zagged. VERS scavenged most of their technology from aliens, so they don't need a whole lot of scientists or other noncombatants. But they look down on reluctant warriors like Slaine, and think nothing of (unsuccessfully) assassinating their own peace-loving princess to create an excuse to go to war.
  • The Cutie: The VERS princess is cute, sweet and lovable. She is excited to visit Earth and bears no ill will towards its residents, unlike some other members of the VERS empire. She's doomed. The person who was killed was a body double who took her place due to illness. If the Spoiler Opening is any indication, she's probably much more than just a cutie, too.
  • Leave No Witnesses: The Martians murder the sleeper agents they used to carry out the princess's assassination attempt. One gets away and winds up with Inaho and co.
  • Lost Technology: The Martians got ahead of the Earth by finding a bunch of this on Mars and took to calling it "Aldnoah."
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Both sides of the fight utilize missile attacks, though the Earth forces attacks don't do any harm to the VERS mecha.
  • Mildly Military: 2nd Lt. Marito is apparently allowed to drink alcohol while supervising trainees.
    • Discussed in-universe. Marito has seemingly gotten in trouble for drinking on the job before, but due to the shortage of capable instructors, it's overlooked for the time being.
  • Mighty Glacier: The Nilokeras Kataphrakt's shield destroys any projectiles fired at it, but on the other hand, it is extremely slow and lacks ranged weapons.
  • No Sell: Nothing Earth's forces uses on the Orbital Knights affects the latter. Trillram even ends up "playing" with them, casually swatting away their arms before destroying them.
  • Planet of Hats: The VERS population is an offender of this trope. Although in all fairness, of their population we've seen only a few aristocrats.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    Fuck the VERS!
  • Precursors: The aliens who left behind the Hypergate on the moon and the "Aldnoah" remnants on Mars. They've been gone for at least 30,000 years.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: The anime plays with the trope. The protagonists are ordinary high school students - but since the situation between the VERS and Earth is tense, ordinary high school education includes combat lessons, which explains why exactly would high school students be able to skillfully pilot mechas.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: The Princess' royal gown, very much so.
  • Real Robot: The KG-6 Sleipner as developed for the United Earth military, for use as training models. The UE military uses the KG-7 Areion.
  • Red Shirt Army: The Terran forces are ridiculously outmatched by the VERS mecha, which can dispose of several Terran mechas with little to no trouble.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: The Martians who carried out the operation to frame Earth are killed by Trillram to avoid having unnecessary witnesses. They are not exactly "traitors" per se, but they did do something extremely unsavory.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Invoked. High ranking members of the Martian government attempt to murder the princess and frame the Terrans in order to kick start an extermination war. Even though they don't kill her, they still get their war because the body double's death was convincing enough.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: The final frame of the opening is the Princess pointing the gun at the camera.
  • Secret Keeper: Inaho is asked to keep Princess Asseylum being alive a secret, due to being unable to determine how the other people around them may act considering the war that's going on right now, along with there being a VERS spy somewhere amongst the Terrans. Rayet says that if push comes to shove, she's going to spill the beans on it.
  • Shout-Out: Accuracy System Image Module for Optimum Velocity.
  • The Seventies: The portal on the moon was discovered in 1972.
    • The series proper, however, takes place in an Alternate History version of 2014 stemming from the discoveries on the moon and Mars.
  • Shown Their Work: Inaho name-drops the Leidenfrost effect when he sees the Argyre Kataphrakt blocking his shots, a valid chemical phenomenon that would allow a Laser Blade to deflect bullets.
    • The Wadatsumi is referred to as an "amphibious assault carrier", which is correct. It is certainly not an aircraft carrier as the flattop is too short to launch fixed-wing aircraft, and actual aircraft carriers would not be equipped with on-board cannons. Its main purpose would be to launch landing craft carrying Kataphrakts to storm beachheads.
  • The Stinger: Episode 3 has one, which shows Trillram's fate after suffering a loss. He survives, but is shot by Slaine after the latter learns the truth that Princess Asseylum survived and the former was going to kill her to conceal the truth behind their invasion.
  • Super Robot: The Orbital Knight's mechs, which have such a powerful shield that nothing thrown at them by Earth's forces harm them. Meanwhile they're able to take out several mechs and fighter planes with relative ease.
  • Surprisingly Good English: An insert song during Episode 3 is done in perfect English. All the background text that appears on computer screens such as names of file folders and headlines is also in perfect English. Also, Inaho's boot-up screen also calls the mech by the Greek singular term of "Kataphraktos."
  • Theme Naming: From what's been seen so far, the United Earth Kataphrakts are named after mythological horses, such as the KG-6 Sleipnir and the KG-7 Areion. Meanwhile, the Vers Empire names its Kataphrakts after geographical features on Mars, such as the Nilokeras and the Argyre.
  • The War of Earthly Aggression: When the Martian settlers discovered Lost Technology that put them ahead of Earth, they declared independence and founded a pseudo-religion based around the technology that deemed Earthlings as savages who didn't have the gods' favor. They then started a war that destroyed the moon. It's many of the higher ups in the Martian government who also conspire to murder the princess for an excuse to start a war.
  • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: The Vers princess's shuttle drops her off at Tokyo and is where her goodwill visit begins, also becoming the site of her assassination. Consequently, it's one of 4 locations targeted for invasion by the Vers Empire. Though, as noted by Calm in the first episode, Japan was one of the nations on Earth that got away relatively undamaged from Heaven's Fall, which may be why the princess's tour began there.
  • Veteran Instructor: Marito is a veteran of the war against Vers from 15 years ago, and one of the first things we see him doing is instructing high school students who are training to pilot Kataphrakts.
  • X Meets Y: A Martian invasion of the Earth with landing craft slamming into the planet and deploying incredible mechs that utterly outclass all of Earth's weapons? It's Mobile Suit Gundam meets The War of the Worlds.
  • War Is Hell: The framing trope here.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The terrorists who assassinate the Princess in episode 1 await retrieval in episode 2 by Trillram. He congratulates them on their successful mission, then immediately kills them to silence them in case they have second thoughts later and reveal their part in the assassination.

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