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 a terrorist coup. The Terrans are framed for the tragedy, and now a full-scale VERS invasion on Earth begins.

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

The show's second half aired from January to March 2015.

In addition to a manga adaptation, there is also a manga Spin-Off entitled Aldnoah Zero Gaiden: Twin Gemini about a pair of twins from Earth and a pair of twins from Mars.


This work contains examples of:

  • Ace Custom: Subverted and arguably inverted with Inaho's Sleipnir-class Kataphrakts. Its Highly Conspicuous Paintjob of bright orange makes it stand out enormously from the regular Red Shirts in their military green/gunmetal machines, and the Martians clearly ASSUME that it's some sort of elite custom machine. In truth, however, it's just an obsolete trainer, one of many handed over to schools for use in live-fire exercises - it's entirely down to Inaho's intellect and ability that it repeatedly goes toe-to-toe with the martian Super Robot level Kataphrakts. Even when he's given the option to upgrade to a newer model, he refuses, stating that the main advantage it has over the older model is better armor (which wouldn't have helped against any of the overpowered Martian weapons they've encountered), and while the additional weight from that is compensated for by a superior powerplant, it has pretty much the same performance as the Sleipnir, so he might as well stick to what he's familiar with.
    • Played straight in the final episode. Inaho's Sleipnir is equipped with a huge booster pack complete with even more rocket anchors and adding melee blades, gauntlets, and shields, seemingly to counteract Slaine's Tharsis.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Marito gets one in episode 16, when he attempts at Delaying Action against a Martian Kataphrakt. Since Inaho isn't there to help, he has to do what he can with Yuki and his other men to keep the Martian from entering a nearby city and killing civilians. In the end, they get assistance from the Deucallion in orbit with a missile drop on the enemy Kataphrakt.
  • 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.
  • A House Divided: Episode 17 reveals that not all of the VERS knights are behind Slaine. Marylcian even openly challenges him to a duel to determine who gets the honor of guarding the moonbase and Asseylum.
  • Alien Invasion: In a variant of the trope, it's human colonists invading Earth using plundered alien technology.
  • Aliens in Cardiff:
    • Episode 9 has a map of all 26 Landing Castles' sites, and while some of them are perfectly understandable, being either world megacities like Tokyo, Beijing and Moscow, or having had a potential to become one in their world's Alternate History, like Maputo, New Orleans and Novosibirsk, some of them, like Dushanbe, Magadan or Addis Ababa are in the proverbial middle of nowhere and can hardly justify landing there.
    • Episode 9 also shows us where United Earth headquarters is in Russia, and it's in the steppes of southern Siberia.note  Now that is in the middle of nowhere. The closest major city would be Krasnoyarsk, which is a five and a half hour drive away, or, for some really loose definition of "major", Minusinsk, which is about three hours off.
    • Magadan also was a major military base and resource extraction center during the Cold War in Real Life, so it might've retained enough of usable facilities to interest Martians, who are very resource poor.
  • Alien Space Bats: The whole premise of the story is how alien technology discovered on the Moon and Mars changed human history. When it comes to the Sliding Scale of Alternate History Plausibility, it's still pretty down there.
  • All There in the Manual: The show's website contains a detailed timeline as well as tons of other promotional material 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. This thread has collected most of the images and information together and translated much of it.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Saazbaum launches an assault on the Earth HQ in Russia during episode 11. They manage to do severe damage to it, though the Deucalion escapes with Asseylum. Unfortunately he shows up a few moments later and attacks the ship directly.
    • Then turned around in the next episode, when the Earth Forces rally and invade Castle Saazbaum, forcing the attacking Martians to withdraw from UE HQ and race to shore up defenses back on home turf.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Saazbaum's transformed mecha in episode 12 utilizes every specialty the other kataphrakts seen earlier have. Inaho, having survived every encounter, naturally manages to exploit all of their weaknesses as well.
  • Alternate History: Earth history progresses normally until December 1972, when the Apollo 17 expedition discovers an ancient moon-to-Mars hyperspace gate on the moon.
  • Altum Videtur: Averted; the series tagline is the English translation of a famous Latin saying.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: The collar airbag helmets used by Earth Kat pilots? A real thing.
  • Anyone Can Die: A body count starting to approach Attack on Titan levels. Quite a lot of Red Shirt troops along with civilians in major cities are killed throughout the show, along with some of the villains piloting kataphrakts. Episode 12 also strongly implies that several major characters are killed off. Subverted! Turns out this was all a big Red Herring, as the second season previews reveal that almost NONE of the named characters (yes, even Saazbaum survives multiple gunshot wounds to the abdomen — good job Slaine!) die.
    • Though given the level of power displayed by the various Aldnoah Drives it's quite possible everyone was saved by liberal use of the series Applied Phlebotinum.
    • As of Episode 15, Count Saazbaum, the seeming Big Bad has been killed.
  • 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.
    • Inaho's mecha loses its right arm in episode 21 after a shot from one of the Martian knights hits it. Despite that, it's not enough to stop him, or his ordering of Earth's forces.
    • In the final episode, Yuki and Harklight's mechs both lose an arm during the final battle.
  • An Ice Person: The Frozen Elysium Kataphrakt in Episode 13 projects a field that turns everything within a 1 kilometer radius into solid ice and bypassing the de-icing units in Areions. But it's actually a Subverted Trope: it is not freezing everything, which is why the de-icing units don't work. It is reversing entropy.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The Aldnoah Drive which serves as the power source of all advanced Martian technology and the reason for their massive advantage over Earth.
  • Armor Is Useless: Lampshaded by Inaho in Episode 10. The reason he prefers to stick with the KG-6 Sleipnir training unit is because even though the KG-7 Areion has more armor, every Martian Kataphrakt they've come across has weapons that are able to destroy them with no problem, so he might as well use the Sleipnir which has more maneuverability.
  • Artifact Alias: Princess Asseylum originally introduces herself as Seylum when in disguise. However, even when her true identity has been revealed to him, Inaho persists in using 'Seylum'.
  • Asshole Victim: Trillram by the end of the Episode 3, and the Martian sleeper cell earlier that episode.
  • A Truce While We Gawk: In episode 23, Slaine orders all of the VERS knights under his command to launch an all out assault on Earth, with some fighting beginning in various battlefronts. Asseylum then appears in front of them, having hijacked Slaine's broadcast, as well as broadcasting to the Terrans as well. The fighting on both sides stops entirely while she's talking.
  • Asteroid Thicket: The Satellite Belt in low Earth orbit thanks to the Moon blowing up is this. Space battles in season 2 show us that micro-meteoroids are a problem, though Kataphrakts are armored enough for those impacts not to do any serious damage.
  • 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.
    • He also uses a case of Hoist by His Own Petard against Vlad's Kataphrakt in episode 5. Inaho simply grabs him, then has the ship they're on tilt immediately to cause them to fall into the ocean. Inaho ejects from his mech, whereas Vlad is stuck in his while also being held by Inaho's mech, and is killed in a steam explosion when his heat blades superboil the water.
    • After suffering a few Rocket Punch attacks from Femieanne in episodes 6 and 7, Inaho again correctly intuits how to attack her effectively. He waits till the arms open up their hand, then shoots them since they're not shielded while moving their digits. He later shoots her exhaust ports, which was the only spot that they could damage her.
    • The weaknesses Inaho has learned from the Nilokeras and the Hellas later come into play when he faces off against Saazbaum in the Dioscuria, which has all the abilities of the previous three Vers Kataphrakts. In particular, now that Inaho knows how the dimensional barrier works, he can pinpoint the exact place to shoot it in its unshielded area when it powers on and off when launching the rocket fists.
  • Badass Boast: Yuki does one to the VERS knight in episode 18 after she goes out of cover and gets hit by him, crippling her Kataphrakt. She then fires some shots at him along with Rayet to help pinpoint his location for the Deucalion's next barrage.
    Yuki: Stand right there and monologue at me!
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Done several times throughout the show, usually by Inaho, though other characters get a moment to shine as well.
    • In episode 22, Klancain saves Asseylum and Eddelrittuo from a Terran special ops soldier attempting to assassinate her.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In the end, the war is stopped. Earth and Mars make peace. But Klancain and Asseylum end up married to ensure the peace, meaning neither Inaho or Slaine get their love interest. Earth has to rebuild as well while Slaine is imprisoned for life, despite wanting to die. Inaho moves on with life, though minus an eye.
  • Black and Grey Morality: On one hand, we have the Martians, who have a feudal government that treats its commoners like dirt, 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. The backstory also shows us United Earth had quite a few questionable economic and political policies towards its former Martian colony, the biggest being a massive scandal in 1991 when it was revealed the UE government was taking bribes from Private Military Contractors to buy more weapons to reinforce its lunar garrison, which in turn fed conspiracy theories on Vers of a coming invasion of Mars (which were ultimately proven false, but the political fallout was nasty).
  • Blood from the Mouth: Slaine coughs some up after taking a hit from Inaho in episode 24.
  • 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.
    • And also averted in the first season finale, as many characters are shown bleeding from their injuries, such as the crew on board the Deucalion after it's shot down by Saazbaum. Blood can also be seen pooling around Asseylum and Inaho after they're shot near the end of the episode.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The last we see of Inko and Yuki as of the first season is them shutting the door to Castle Saazbaum's Aldnoah Drive chamber while they fight off the Castle's security force to buy Asseylum time to deactivate it.
    • The second season shows, though, that they are okay and actually managed to save the seriously wounded Inaho, taking him to Deucalion in time.
    • In Episode 24, the last we see of Harklight and Barouhcruz is them leading the few surviving VERS pilots in a suicidal charge against the Deucalion. It's unclear whether they're actually killed, but it's likely.
  • Book Ends: The plot of season 1 is kicked off by an attempted assassination of the VERS Princess, which doesn't succeed. It ends with another attempted assassination of the VERS Princess, which almost succeeds.
    • The first scene of Episode 1 and the last scene of Episode 12 both feature Slaine and Asseylum in a Landing Castle.
    • In the first scene of Season 2, after surviving being shot repeatedly by Slaine, Saazbaum taps his forehead as if to say, "You should have shot me here". At the very end of the series, as Inaho holds him at gunpoint, Slaine does the same thing.
    • The first episode ends with two children mistaking the falling Landing Castles for shooting stars. In the final episode, two children mistake Inaho and Slaine's falling Kataphrakts for a shooting star.
  • Boom, Headshot: Lampshaded by Count Saazbaum when he taps his skull after Slaine shot him up with his pistol until it jammed, failing to kill him instantly, after the Count himself just offed Asseylum in the same fashion. Slaine executes Inaho a minute later by this method. The second season upholds his Butt Monkey status in that he fails to do so, barely wounding Inaho, who returns featuring a nifty new cybernetic eye.
    • Slaine himself lampshades it in the very last episode. As Inaho holds him at gunpoint, Slaine taps his forehead as if to say "Shoot me here". Inaho refuses.
  • Boring but Practical:
    • In episode 18, the Terrans face off against yet another VERS knight, who is swatting down every cruise missile they throw at him due to his Beam Spam attack. So Inaho goes on top of a tall building to spot for the Deucalion, which then uses plain old battleship turrets to lob shells in coordinates that Inaho gives them. The knight is utterly perplexed at how their shots are so accurate.
    • The Martian Kataphrakt in episode 19 has invisibility and uses a bow with explosive tipped arrows in order to take out Earth's Kataphrakts. This helps it because gunfire or Beam Spam would give away its position every time it fired, so using a ranged weapon with no way of tracing where the attacks originated from makes it harder to attack it. Not that it stops Inaho any, but before Earth's forces can finish it off after they find out where it is, several Martian forces, including a Landing Castle, show up in the vicinity.
  • 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.
    • In the first episode, Slaine tells Princess Asseylum that the sky is blue because of light refracting off the atmosphere (a rather simplistic, if correct, explanation). In Episode 6, Inaho gives us the more detailed, scientific explanation that it is due to Rayleigh scattering. She is quite surprised/embarrassed believing that Slaine was wrong, when in fact he was just LESS right.
      • Happens again in Episode 13, as Inaho is watching one of Asseylum's speeches, he notes that she got the reason for the blue sky wrong again. This is how he begins to realize that it's not really Asseylum.
      • And then one final time during the epilogue, when Asseylum mentions Rayleigh scattering to Klancain.
  • Bullets Do Not Work That Way: Beyond Improbable Aiming Skills, to cut Slaine loose (announced as a debt repaid to Slaine's father), Saazbaum just turns around, points the handgun and severs the chain of Sleine's handcuffs with a single shot from a few feet distance. Slaine's cuffed hands were not even raised, just hanging in front of him. And nobody got hurt in the process.
  • Call Back:
    • In the final episode, Asseylum tells Klancain that the Earth's blue sky is due to Rayleigh scattering. When he notes how knowledgeable she is, she tells him that a kind Terran (Inaho) had taught her about Earth during her brief time there.
    • In the same episode, Slaine points at his head when Inaho points his gun at him, just like Saazbaum does to Slaine in the first season finale.
  • Car Fu: Well, it was a spaceship, but Femieanne's Kataphrakt gets run over by it in episode 7. She somehow survives the impact, though a follow-up shot in her weak spot destroys her suit.
    • Used again with the same spaceship to breach Saazbaum's landing castle after he disables their engines.
    • Slaine uses his Kataphrakt to tackle Saazbaum and Inaho before they can kill each other.
  • 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.
    • Magbaredge makes a habit of offering "advice" to improve Mizusaki's dating life (or lack thereof) in the middle of combat.
  • Cataclysm Backstory: The Moon's destruction caused immense damage across the globe. This map provides context on just how much of the Earth's total landmass was lost.
  • 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.
    • Subverted again in episode 12: some Areions that survived the Martian attack on United Earth HQ unexpectedly show up to back up Inaho against the Dioscuria, but they are destroyed within seconds.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster/Mood Whiplash: Episodes typically follow a pattern of happy —> bleak —> really awesome before ending in bleak, in that order. Only time will tell if this holds for the second season.
  • Char Clone: Slaine Troyard. No mask, but he does become The Rival to Inaho later in the series (in addition to having blond hair), as well as having traits similar to those of Harry Ord. By the second season, he's already in the process of becoming like MSG Char, and by the end he's a full on CCA Char.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: That pendant Slaine gives Asseylum at the beginning of the show turns out to be important multiple times. Specifically, Rayet uses it to choke out Asseylum in Episode 9, and it also triggers the return of her memories in episode 20.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Inaho explaining the scientific fact of Rayleigh scattering to Asseylum becomes this in Episode 13.
    • And done quite literally (and magnificently) in Episode 15.
  • Child Soldiers: While many of the named cast are teenagers, they are an aberration, not the norm in the story. Episode 14 makes clear that Earth, at least, does have serious issues with children taking to the battlefield. While Mars seemingly has no problems killing children as part of their war doctrine (kill everyone, and when nobody is left to object, claim the territory as your own), they are not shown deliberately sending their children to the front lines. Rayet was part of a sleeper cell, and not intended for the front lines. Eddulrito was present only as Asseylum's bodyguard, and Slaine, originally a Terran, was originally refused permission to go to the front lines. The main cast, the crew of the Deucalion, are special commandos and are on the front lines only because they have consistently proven their competence and tenacity. Every other soldier in the series is an adult.
  • Cliff Hanger: Episode 11 ends on one, with the Deucalion severely damaged, and the fate of those aboard the ship unknown.
    • Season 1 as a whole probably has one of the biggest cliffhanger endings in recent anime history.
    • Episode 19 ended with two Orbital Knights joining the battle with the one the Deucalion's Kataphrakt platoons had cornered. The first time this is has ever happened in the war.
    • Episode 20 had a particularly cruel one with Asseylum appearing to regain her memories of Earth, and Lemrina finding out Asseylum is no longer in her chamber.
    • Episode 21 has some loose ends yet to be tied, while introducing some new elements into play, such as Slaine putting Asseylum and Lemrina under house arrest. Additionally, Count Cruhteo, who Slaine served under in the earlier episodes, has a son who has become of age and is heading to the moon base in order to meet Slaine. Meanwhile the Deucalion receives new orders to go into space.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Slaine suffers this at the hands of Cruhteo after using the audience room to inform the Emperor of Asseylum's survival, then stealing a jet to go out looking for her.
  • 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. The show itself hasn't elaborated on how much of an Apocalypse How it was in terms of lives lost, but this chart covering the populations of the U.S. and Japan pre- and post-Heaven's Fall indicates it was really bad: the American population plummeted from 240 million to 130 million, while the Japanese population dropped from 140 million to 60 million.
    • 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.
    • Saazbaum destroys Inaho's home city with a meteor bombardment in order to hide the evidence of the Princess' assassination. Fortunately, the city was already evacuated beforehand.
  • Combat Tentacles: The Geryon Kataphrakt that landed in Beijing sports these, and they're also electrified.
  • Combining Mecha: Saazbaum's kataphrakt combines with several others to form a larger one to fight against Inaho in episode 12.
  • 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.
  • Continuity Cameo: In the final episode of the show, the Terran twins from the Twin Gemini manga show up standing next to the Deucalion's crew (the young boy and girl on the left).
  • Convection Schmonvection: Averted with the Argyre Kataphrakt: the heat that is emanating from its plasma blades is so hot it superheats the air around it and causes a Leidenfrost effect that detonates explosive rounds and melts ammunition tips. Later when Inaho immobilizes the Argyre's arms with his Sleipnir Kataphrakt, the heat from the blades is increased to the point it begins to melt the Sleipnir's armor without actually contacting it. Argyre is eventually defeated when Inaho causes it to fall into the ocean. The temperature from the plasma blades causes the water around it to instantly evaporate into steam, and the resulting pressure wave destroys the Argyre.
  • 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 Martian sky carriers have a very intimidating forward swept flying wing style design. In Episode 7, it turns out to be extremely fast if it's not carrying a Kataphrakt, and it performs all kinds of advanced aerial maneuvers that would be impossible to do in a real-life vessel of this size, including barrel rolls and a Pugachev's Cobra. This thing is supposed to be a transport vehicle.
  • Cool Ship: The Watdatsumi amphibious assault carrier, which serves as the protagonists' home base for a few episodes.
    • The experimental battleship Deucalion the protagonists recover under the ruins of Tanegashima.
  • CPR (Clean, Pretty, Reliable): Inaho is able to resuscitate Asseylum after she was strangled by Rayet because he didn't doze off during first aid training (which Magbaredge noted most students do), and it's played entirely straight: there's no throwing up, no broken ribs note , and Asseylum is back to action barely a minute or two after, even before The Medic arrived, and is entirely well afterwards. On the other hand, the strangling itself looked a bit too short to cause the death, so it all kinda cancels out. Also, Inaho used a defibrillator, which would be of no help in such a case — it is used to set the heart into rhythm when it starts to flutter aimlessly, not to restart it after it stopped, for which CPR is used.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The Martian Kataphrakts, despite their overwhelming power, all suffer from this, usually in the form of having a single combat ability which leaves them completely useless if subverted. When several Knights start working together, including complimenting their abilities, it starts creating major problems for the
    • The Nilokeras has a completely impenetrable shield that disintegrates anything it touches but it doesn't cover it's feet which also robs the pilot of the ability to see out of the machine through normal means.
    • The only weapon equipped by the Argyre is its massive beam katana, making it invincible in most melees and against conventional Kataphrakt rifles, but vulnerable to higher-caliber weaponry and grappling.
    • The Hellas can engage multiple targets with its nearly invulnerable attack drones but has no other weapons if they are destroyed.
    • The Elysium Kataphrakt only has the ability to project a seemingly impassable field that rapidly freezes opponents and ammo within a 1km range, but is easily dispatched if you can close the distance where it's ability can't work in time.
    • Saazbaum's Dioscuria combines the abilities of all 3 previous Season 1 models but has every strength AND weakness they had. It can also only use one at a time, which means it reveals weak spots whenever it switches. This allows Inaho to exploit them as much as possible to get an edge in battle. Twice.
    • Count Mazuurek's Sirenum can project waves of gravitational force that deflects all attacks, removes air from the local environment, and tears anything close to it to pieces but does nothing if hit from above.
    • The Solis can project incredibly powerful and long-range energy beams in a steady stream or rapid-fire bursts, allowing it to shoot down incoming opponents and missiles with ease. But it's lasers can only shoot in straight lines and thus can't retaliate against warships firing artillery over the horizon.
    • The Herschel can deploy multiple Attack Drones to fire from every direction at once, but is less effective in confined spaces where the drones cannot spread out or maneuver, making them easy to shoot down, and if it loses its drones, all it has left is a single beam rifle.
    • The Ortygia has an amazing cloning ability, but like the Nilokeras & the Elysium, it carries no weapons and its only attack is to punch its enemies in the face.
    • The Electris can use lightning as a powerful weapon and defensive shield, which is completely subverted if you match potential with it.
    • The Scandia has almost perfect optical (and functionally perfect sensory) camouflage but pops like a zit when revealed by simple smoke grenades.
    • The Octantis's only weapons are a pair of Killer YoYos. They can cut through anything and block anything by spinning really fast, but they are limited to attacking or defending along only one axis, which is a big problem in a three-dimensional environment like outer space and leaves it vulnerable to being hit from another direction.
    • The Tharsis, piloted by Slaine, is a subversion. It has no easily-exploited weakness as a general combat unit with no special abilities other than Combat Clairvoyance. But as demonstrated during the duel with the Herschel, this ability can be overwhelmed when facing too many opponents at once. Inaho finds another weakness, namely that Slaine has to be able see the threat in order for it to be effective, meaning that he can be caught up in the rocket anchor cables after dodging the initial projectile.
    • The (original) Deucalion also counts as a subversion, as the only reason it was defeated was due to the cataclysmic events of Heaven's Fall. Prior to that, its gravity manipulation provided perfect defence, a powerful offensive weapon, and flight.
  • Cruel Mercy: A variation in the final episode, in which Slaine, despite his crimes and his wish to die, is left alive and imprisoned instead. Not only is he denied his death wish, forcing him to live with his guilt, but he's no longer able to see his beloved Asseylum. Inaho tells Slaine the reason he let him live was in fact because Asseylum had begged him to, but it's doubtless that Inaho had much control over what punishment Slaine ultimately received, so there's likely still an element of this trope in there.
  • Cultural Posturing: Citizens of the Vers Empire are frustratingly haughty toward Terrans, acting as if they're of some ancient noble bloodline when their country is only 29 years old. Saazbaum is fully aware of how insane this attitude is, considering that Mars has no natural resources (including the all-important waternote ) and no atmosphere, is culturally stagnant, and is governed by a feudal monarchy. How are you supposed to realistically feel superior to the naturally beautiful, abundant and (relatively) fairly governed planet that you originated from?
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Several of them occur throughout the show:
    • 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 matter, because all of their vehicles and mechas are Immune to Bullets and can casually massacre Earth's armies without taking a scratch. But this ties into the VERS being Dangerously Genre Savvy. The VERS Kataphrakts all have distinct weaknesses that take careful study to notice. They can also be overwhelmed by tactics and vastly superior numbers, as demonstrated by Inaho and the timely arrival of the escort ship and its own mechs. Thus, removing the Earth's ability to coordinate greatly reduces the chances of exactly that happening.
    • Inaho delivers one to Saazbaum in episode 12. Despite having a superior Kataphrakt, he's utilizing all of the same powers that Inaho's other opponents used. As a result, Inaho is able to counter every single one of his attacks, and were it not for Slaine's intervention, Saazbaum would've been killed off right there.
    • Inaho delivers one in episode 13. After finding out the new Kataphrakt's attacks, he manages to get close enough to destroy it, whereas a Red Shirt squad was wiped out moments before when they tried to fight him.
    • Inaho once again in episode 14 against the Martian's sneak attack group. They assume their distance and speed will keep them safe from the Terran's attacks, and for the most part it does. However, using his observational skills and calculations, Inaho is able to predict their movement patterns, and times his shots so that they hit the Martian units. Slaine would've suffered this as well were it not for his Kataphrakt having the ability to predict Inaho's shots and dodging them.
    • Slaine destroys Trident Base single-handedly after the Deucalion leaves with Inaho in episode 16. This helps to cement his position within the Martian ranks, though a few still refuse to accept him due to his Terran origins.
    • The three Martian knights who attack together deliver one to Earth's forces in episode 20, and Inaho is forced to retreat with the other survivors due to the disadvantage they were at. He repays them in the next episode, and Earth's forces are able to take all three of them out during a pitched battle.
    • The remaining Martians who attack the Deucalion in episode 24 suffer quite badly against the Terran forces. Though Inaho is fighting Slaine at the time, the combat data his cybernetic eye gave them allows them to be much more effective at fighting, and it's implied that the remaining Martians go out in a blaze of glory.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Count Saazbaum makes a regular habit of being this.
    • Slaine makes deadly use of this in episode 16. He takes out the Terran base that the other Martians had no luck whatsoever with in the previous episodes, on his own no less, by waiting until the Deucalion left, presumably with Inaho. He then deliberately waits until the shuttles resupplying the base enter, then destroys them to maximize the damage to the base. Not only does he deal a deadly blow to Earth's forces, he also puts the Martians who still had a grudge against him in check, as they can't argue with his results.
    • The Kataphrakt attacking in episode 19. Its main power is invisibility, and it uses a bow with explosive arrows to take out Earth's forces. Inaho notes that this does make it harder to fight, as they have no gunfire to trace back to where it's at. However, that doesn't stop Inaho and co., as their platoon fire a ton of smoke rounds in order to figure out where it's hiding from changes in the air. They're nearly about to take out the Kataphrakt when some additional Martian forces arrive on the scene.
    • Despite his youthfully earnest appearance and occasional attacks of naivete, Mazurek is a shrewd and perceptive man, easily able to confirm Inaho's intel of Asseylum being impersonated by Lemrina and to crack Eddelrittuo's deception (not that the girl was very good at it, but still) and use her to pass the pendant to real Asseylum in episode 20, leading to her regaining her memories.
  • The Day The Music Lied: The orbital drop sequence in Episode 11. Everything's going according to Inaho's plan, the Earth Kataphrakts are kicking ass, 'BRE@TH//LESS' is blaring in the background... and then Saazbaum lands on the Deucalion's deck, the music stops, and everything goes to hell. Given additional impact by the fact that the Deucalion and its crew had had a successful Theme Music Power-Up just minutes before, when they blasted free of Earth Command's ICBM silo to the tune of 'Keep on keeping on'.
  • Death by Pragmatism: The army sergeant driving the evacuation APC in Episode 2 decides to abandon the civilians and make a break for it while the Nilokeras is fighting Yuki Kaizuka's Kataphrakt. A piece of debris that goes flying from the fight kills him as soon as he gets out of the vehicle.
  • 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.
    • Used against the Martian Kataphrakt attacking in episode 16.
  • Deconstruction: Of Super Robot genre tropes such as Ace Custom war machines, Awesome but Impractical weaponry and Hot-Blooded but incompetent pilots. Meeting a Weak, but Skilled opponent that has common sense and tactical awareness does not go well for the Martians.
  • Defiant to the End:
    • Inaho at the end of episode 12. Despite being badly injured, he still pulls his gun on Slaine. He gets shot in the eye, but just barely manages to survive it.
    • Though Asseylum orders a cessation of hostilities and Slaine orders them to abandon the moonbase in episode 24, several Martians disobey, and continue the fight against the Terrans. It's heavily implied that they all die in the process.
  • Delaying Action:
    • Inaho, Calm, and Inko do this in episode 4 to buy some time for their forces to start the hovercraft'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.
    • Performed again by Inaho in Episode 12, when he takes on Saazbaum in order to buy time for Asseylum to get to the Aldnoah control room.
    • Marito, Yuki, and two others attempt this in episode 16 when a Martian Kataphrakt lands and threatens a nearby city.
  • Demoted to Extra: Not a character, but as of Episode 13 onwards, Martian Sky Carriers barely appear. This is in stark contrast to the first 12 episodes when the invasion made heavy use of them.
  • 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.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Calm in episode 8. He angrily approaches Inaho after finding out the latter knew there were Martians hiding amongst them, and demands to know where they are so he can beat them up. Asseylum then steps up, claims to be one of them, while offering an apology for what her people were doing to Earth and doing what she could to stop it. He blushes, and immediately forgets why he was mad in the first place, and wishes her luck. Inko and Nina immediately call him out on this and tease him about it.
  • 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.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: It's a world war that begins after a royal family member is assassinated by terrorists, which is then seized upon as an excuse by a vengeful empire to launch a massive attack. The show also premiered in July 2014, 100 years after Franz Ferdinand was shot dead.
    • Take away the Applied Phlebotinum and the Vers Empire is just another impoverished, tin-pot dictatorship that relies on a cult of personality, a massive army, Patriotic Fervor, and the scapegoating of wealthier outsiders to keep its ruling elite in power. Sound familiar?
  • Doomed Hometown: Shin-awara gets wiped out by orbital bombardment in Episode 4.
  • Dramatic Irony: In episode 4, Eddelrittuo asks Inaho to keep the news of Asseylum's survival a secret because there is a Martian spy somewhere who would want to see her dead. They have no idea that Rayet, who is standing two feet away, is the very spy in question, nor that she's not planning to kill the princess anyway.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness:
    • Slaine displays these in episode 8 while being tortured.
    • Rayet in episode 9 due to the mental trauma of her dad's death.
    • In episode 20, Lemrina has these near the end due to the pent up emotional stress over thinking she worsened Asseylum's condition and Slaine neglecting her lately by spending too much time in his Landing castle where Asseylum who has actually regained consciousness is.
  • 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. Episode 9 reveals in total there were 26 Castles that landed on every continent.
    • While some of the landing spots are perfectly logical, some are... not. Moscow one can understand, but Dushanbe?note  Addis Ababa?note 
    • By the time the second half of the show begins, Vers has conquered Australia, the Indian subcontinent, a huge chunk of China and Southeast Asia, South America, and 90% of North America save for a few areas of Canada that are still resisting. The major contested regions at the moment are in Europe and Africa.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: United Earth Headquarters is actually part of a massive bunker complex 600 meters below ground and built to withstand a nuclear strike. There are very large living spaces with enough supplies to last three years... though, as Yuki somberly notes, they have so much food because so many refugees didn't make it.
  • Elite Army: The Martian forces are forced to be this due to their low population and the unique nature of the Aldnoah Drives.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Done in episode 15, during the battle between Inaho and Slaine. Saazbaum jumps in, eager to give some payback to Inaho. Despite this, Inaho still manages to exploit his weaknesses, though he ends up getting killed by a trap Slaine had set out earlier in the episode. Though Slaine meant for it to be used on Inaho, he takes this opportunity to stab Saazbaum in the back for shooting Asseylum, then uses Saazbaum's death to further his own goals within the Vers ranks.
  • 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.
    • Lemrina in season 2.
  • 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.
  • Evil Is Bigger: The Vers Kataphrakts are much bigger than their Earth counterparts. The smallest Vers Kataphrakt seen so far is the Argyre, and even that still stands 3 meters taller than the Areions.
  • Face Death with Dignity: The pilot of the Elysium Kataphrakt in Episode 1 of the Second Season. After a stunned look of surprise when Inaho subverts his defences, he simply smiles in respect before Inaho blows him away with extreme prejudice.
    • In Episode 15, Count Saazbaum, when he's caught in Slaine's trap. There's an element in tragedy because they really did think of each other as Godfather-and-son.
  • Falling into the Cockpit: Heavily averted. Inaho and his friends already know how to fight and pilot Kataphrakts due to compulsory military training and are obligated to defend Earth from Martian attack. Even before being formally drafted, they all chose to board a Kataphrakt and fight.
  • 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 Earthlings. 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.
  • Fisticuffs Boss: In episode 12, Inaho faces Count Saazbaum's Dioscuria with only his Kataphrakt's fists.
  • 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.
    • In episode 11, Inaho requests to be on the first squad that attacks Castle Saazbaum because in his words, "I'm probably the pilot who has the most experience fighting Martian Kataphrakts." This experience turns out to be essential in the next episode, because the Dioscuria has all the attributes of the previous Kataphrakts Inaho has fought.
    • "Let justice be done, though the heavens fall" is attributed to Seneca's story about Piso's Justice. Inaho, Asseylum, and Saazbaum's (supposed) deaths in the finale directly reflect the three deaths of the story - Asseylum's verdict had already been passed, Saazbaum failed to execute her, and Inaho was responsible for the deaths of both.
      • Though it's based on Piso's justice, it's not a complete rehash. Slaine was responsible for the supposed deaths of all three.
    • The Season 2 opening starts with a montage of various scenes depicting Asseylum, including the scene in which she is shot. The exact same montage is used in episode 20 to show the amnesiac princess recovering her memories.
      • Everything in the montage is used except the very first scene.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Some of the Vers mechs use these as their primary weapons, such as the Solis and the Herschel. While the Herschel more or less plays the trope straight, the Solis demonstrates a rather true to life version of lasers besides the bright red visibility. They're impossible to dodge, hit instantly, and have a range that reaches out into space from sea level. They also are unaffected by gravity, which means they can't hit anything beyond the horizon.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The OS used in the series is named Accuracy System Image Module for Optimum Velocity, referencing this guy.
  • Future Food Is Artificial: Most Martians subsist on algae and plankton, because despite their pride in Aldnoah technology, it doesn't include food production, and Mars is desperately resource poor for the traditional Earth-based methods. Even the relatively humble meal of fried chicken with vegetables is an incredible luxury only a high-ranked noble like Saazbaum can afford, and even then only because it was shipped from Earth as a part of an aid packagenote  and is basically a bit more advanced version of MRE.
  • Genre Savvy: Yuki, in Episode 18, referring to the villains' tendency to monologue whilst in the middle of a mecha shootout.
    "Just stand right there and monologue at me!"
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: In the later part of the fight against Saazbaum's Dioscuria, Inaho decides to discard his auto-cannon in favor of using his Kataphrakt's fists.
  • Government Conspiracy: On both sides. The Martians plotted to assassinate their own princess. The United Earth government is suppressing the truth about having the mech from the Heaven's Fall disaster.
  • Graceful Loser: Count Saazbaum gives a little smile just before his Kataphrakt is blasted to pieces by Slaine's second Chekhov's Barrage.
    "Not too shabby."
  • Gratuitous English: In the "A/Z" ending theme lyrics, a word per line is in English (or Engrish). Its full version has a semi-chorus piece which is nigh-impossible to reproduce even with practice, the single album booklet puts it as follows (and, no, most of the rest of the song really is in Japanese):
    Start/End/Die/Live
    Rythm/AL/Stage/No/Light
    Go-Back-No-Yes
    Scene1/Rise Again/&
    Stop/End/Die/Out
    It's Show/Rage/no/My Mind
    Go/Back/1-9
    B-5/round 2 fight
  • Gravity Master: The Kataphrakt that Marito and Humeray fought 15 years ago had this power set, manipulating gravity around itself to fly, deflect enemy fire and send Earth tanks flying.
  • 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.
    • Happens again in Episode 7, when the Deucalion battleship activates, launches a salvo of missiles at the Hellas, and then bursts out of the mountainside to make its triumphant debut.
    • The Deucalion does this for Inaho, Marito, and the others still stuck in the ruins of the city when they get surrounded by three Martian Kataphrakts. Though the ship doesn't escape without taking some damage, at least the ground troops are safe for the moment.
  • Hammer and Sickle Removed for Your Protection: Averted in Episode 10, when a hangar door at United Earth HQ prominently displays a hammer and sickle. This suggests that a) the base was built at the height of the Cold War, and b) either the Soviet Union never collapsed in this timeline, or just that nobody cared enough to remove it afterwards.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: A justified example here: Earth Kataphrakt pilots do not wear helmets because their pilot suits come equipped with a rapid inflatable airbag that encloses the entire head and neck whenever a strong enough impact is detected or manually activated via a pull cord. It is very similar to the Swedish Hövding airbag bicycle helmet.
  • 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.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: In Episode 19, Count Barouhcruz drops a saying, "Do not try to fight against an Olympian sandstorm," referring to the frequent dust storms that occur on the Martian surface.
  • Hope Spot: A rather long one is played out in episode 11 as the Deucalion launches an assault against the enemy landing castle. Heroic music plays as Inaho and the others make a successful landing on the castle and knock out the anti-air weaponry on the castle to ensure safe passage for Asseylum. Then Saazbaum shows up near the Deucalion, and launches an attack on it. The ship gets severely damaged, and they attempt to ram it into the enemy castle.
    • After Slaine rams Saazbaum and Inaho through a wall into the Aldnoah control room, he is visibly relieved to see Asseylum alive and tending to a badly injured Inaho. And then Saazbaum shoots her in the back.
  • Hover Tank: Count Sebring's Electris Kataphrakt, in contrast to all the others, moves at high speed floating a few feet above the ground because it does not have legs while dishing out lightning strikes.
  • Human Aliens: The Vers Empire sees itself as this. For the royal family, this is true in a genetic sense: the Aldnoah technology literally altered the genes of the Emperor and subsequently his descendants so they could activate it.
  • Humongous Mecha: These machines dominate all ground warfare now, with few conventional vehicles in sight.
  • I Call It "Vera": In a weird crossover with Meet My Good Friends "Lefty" and "Righty", one of the VERS pilots has names for each of her mech's rocket-propelled fists (all six of them), and gets rather emotional when any of them are damaged or destroyed.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: In Episode 6 a bunch of guys shooting at Slaine can't hit him. Even though he's on a (very slowly) ascending cable into a sky carrier going up in a straight line.
  • Invisibility Cloak: Countess Raffia's Scandia Kataphrakt has this as its special ability. It's quite an advanced one as well, even being able to mask its thermal emissions. On the other hand, it suffers from Invisibility Flicker when caught in a smokescreen.
  • Ironic Echo: The Season 2 ending has a scene that slowly zooms out to show Slaine and Inaho pointing their guns at each other. At the very end of the season, after the pair crash-land back on Earth, there's an almost identical shot of Inaho holding Slaine at gunpoint, with the pair positioned exactly opposite to how they were in the ending.
    • It goes one further: Slaine proceeds to tap his forehead with a finger, as if to say, "Shoot me here", which is exactly what Saazbaum had done at the very start of Season 2, after Slaine had shot him.
  • Island Base: There's a small supply base on Tanegashima Island where Magbaredge was hoping to be able to restock and recover before continuing on to Russia. The place has been abandoned since 1999, as it was the first place on Earth where the Heaven's Fall meteors hit. The base turns out to be much bigger than expected; completely unknown to anyone in the rank-and-file military, there is an entire underground level housing both a captured Martian Kataphrakt from 1999 and an enormous flying battleship built by Earth based off of its technology.
  • 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.
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: Lemrina pulls this in Episode 22, as she, Asseylum and Eddelrittuo flee the Terran soldiers attacking the moon base.
  • Japanese Beetle Brothers: The Nilokeras Kataphrakt seems to be based on a rhinoceros beetle. The Octantis appears to be the based on the corresponding beetle.
  • 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.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: In episode 11, while doing an orbital drop, Inko prays that none of the attacks from the Martian landing castle hit her. One of the soldiers dropping alongside her tells her she shouldn't be so scared, as bullets are more likely to hit a jittery target than a calm one. He tells her to relax, and the attacks should simply go around them. Then he gets hit by one of said attacks and blows up while he's in the middle of talking.
    • There was also that poor martian soldier who saved Slaine. They were in heated discussion of the (lack of) difference between terrans and martians on the battlefield, and then he got shot by a sniper and died.
    • Asseylum gets shot twice as she's recovering Inaho from his destroyed mech.
  • 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.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: Played with. Inaho regularly pilots an orange Sleipnir while almost all other UE pilots use the dark green Areions. However, the Sleipnir actually has lower specs than the Areion, since it's a training unit for novice pilots.
    • And zigzagged: when Inaho is asked why he uses a Sleipnir over the superior Areions, Inaho explains that the lack of heavy armor makes the Sleipnir more agile. Martians tend to use very heavy weapons which can destroy a mecha in one hit, armor or not. Taking this and Inaho's outside-of-the-box tactics into account, the Sleipnir really is the superior unit in this particular situation.
  • 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. The assassination of the Princess is carried out using an M270 MLRS disguised as a civilian truck, though the man firing the weapon launches the missiles only one to two at a time.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The whole crew of the Deucalion in Episode 19, after the Martians completely change their tactical doctrine in an unprecedented move, deploy multiple Kataphrakts and Landing Castles to win a single battle.
  • Mecha Expansion Pack: The Deucalion's Kataphrakt platoon is outfitted with missile pods and additional rocket boosters when they do their sub-orbital drop onto Castle Saazbaum.
    • Now standard issue for all UE Kataphrakts as the battles move into space. Mounted on the shoulders, the pack now comprises thrusters and Shingeki no Kyojin-style wire pivot systems, giving the Kataphrakts the overall appearance of classic Mecha Wings.
  • Meet Cute: Princess Asseylum and Slaine Troyard first met when the latter's escape pod crashed into her bath.
  • Me's a Crowd: The ability of the Ortygia Kataphrakt is this, being able to constantly generate copies of itself so long as they are within a 30 meter radius. In a twist, they're not copies: every single "copy" created is as real as real can be and also comes with its own duplication ability.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: Interestingly, the major upgrade is not for the main characters, but rather the Wadatsumi gets beached at Tanegashima, and its crew quickly upgrades to the Deucalion after its Aldnoah Drive is activated.
    • In Episode 10, Saazbaum gives Slaine the Tharsis Kataphrakt. Quite a step up from his sky carrier airplane.
    • An upgrade of a very different sort: Slaine goes from vassal to Knight over the 19-month timeskip, from Knight to heir presumptive of Castle Saazbaum in 3 episodes, then from heir presumptive to Count Slaine Saazbaum Troyard in one.
  • 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.
    • In Episode 13, Nina arrives on the bridge not in uniform, with the reason being that her issued uniform wasn't cute enough. Capt. Magbaredge lets this slide thanks to a Martian Kataphrakt bearing down on them at the moment.
  • 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.
  • Misapplied Phlebotinum: The technology afforded by Aldnoah can do incredible, often physics breaking things, up to an including reversing entropy and full-blown quantum replication. But the primary usage of the technology is in warfare. And not very sensible applications at that..
  • Monster of the Week: Every one of the Versian Knights' Kataprakts is highly customized with it's own appearance, weapons and gimmicks. Inaho's battles against them are not unlike facing Robeasts from a Super Robot show.
  • Mood Whiplash: Though people are killed regularly throughout the show, episode 12's Cliff Hanger fate for many of the major characters who lost their Plot Armor through all the fighting definitely changes the tone quite a bit. Made moot by the second season, which THEN reveal that all of the named characters — Asseylum and Saazbaum included — survive, though not everyone in one piece.
  • Mooks: The second half introduces these in the form of Martian mass-produced fighters for space battles.
  • More Dakka: Inaho puts this to use in episode 21. As the camera cuts away to a large view of the field, a hail of bullets suddenly flies out, and just as quickly stops.
  • Mundane Object Amazement: While he is having dinner in Episode 9, Saazbaum muses that the simple meal he is eating of chicken, gravy, and some light vegetable garnishments would be an incredible luxury on Mars. The majority of the Martian populace must make do with eating food made out of algae and krill. Even in Saazbaum's case, the only reason he is eating meat and vegetables is because it was part of an aid shipment sent to the Landing Castles from Earth in the aftermath of Heaven's Fall, and he is even resentful that people from Earth have no idea how good they have it in terms of food and water. Even moreso when Slaine points out that the chicken is freeze-dried and specially packaged to survive a spaceflight, making it even more mundane than normal chicken meat.
    • In Episode 18, Mazurek is impressed with the compass from the survival pack Rayet gave him. A compass would never function on Mars due to its weak magnetic field.
  • Never Found the Body: Princess Asseylum, in Episode 12. A narration states that her body has yet to be found. A bright dot can be seen leaving Saazbaum's castle, presumably Slaine using Cruhteo's kataphrakt to escape from the area with her body. The second half of the show reveals Slaine did take her and she was in an ICU for nearly two years.
  • Never My Fault: Rayet tries to kill Asseylum simply because her father died when he was betrayed by the Martians, yet Asseylum despite being a Martian as well has been trusted and taken in by the Terrans. For some reason she thinks the entire war is Asseylum's fault, despite her father being greedy and wanting to start the war in return for power and riches.
  • New Meat: Lt. Marito says in Episode 6 that for almost everybody on both sides of the conflict, this is their first real experience in war. To date, Marito and Saazbaum are the only people we've seen who have actual combat experience from the previous conflict.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Inaho ends up antagonizing Slaine, who had helped them earlier and could have been a valuable ally to them. Of course, he had no idea what Slaine's endgame was, and Slaine was refusing to tell him. Ultimately, the whole thing is a misunderstanding caused by both parties being on edge - Slaine refuses to trust anyone but the Princess herself, while Inaho has no idea that Slaine isn't technically even a Martian and is as opposed to the war as anybody else.
    • Asseylum initially comes to Earth in order to foster better relations between Earth and Mars. However, all her visit really accomplishes is to provide a pretext for invasion when she's apparently assassinated.
    • In Episode 10 Asseylum makes a spirited speech, informing the Earth and Vers about her survival, and calls for an immediate cease fire. Due to Earth's comm network being destroyed in Ep 2 and Vers jamming the radio, the speech has to be transmitted via directional laser to the Vers Lunar base. Which is full of conspirators, who stop it, and trace it back. By the end of the episode Saazbaum is dropping his personal castle right on top of UE HQ, that also happens to be Earth's biggest (and possibly last) civilian refugee shelter.
    • Inverted example in episode 12, when Slaine saves Saazbaum from Inaho's final attack by rushing into him shortly after Asseylum successfully shuts down his landing castle. Asseylum is fine at first, but then is shot several times by a severely wounded Saazbaum as she was attempting to help Inaho get out of his mech.
  • 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.
  • Not Quite Dead: Everyone who was apparently killed in the first season finale is revealed to be still alive in the first episode of the second season, including Princess Asseylum. Slaine finds out firsthand in episode 14 that Inaho isn't quite dead when he spots the orange Kataphrakt destroying the Martian attack force.
  • Oh, Crap: Trillram's expression when he sees that Princess Asseylum is still alive, since it could potentially unravel their entire false flag plot.
  • Old School Dogfight: Several justified examples. The aerial skirmish in Episode 2 begins as an aversion, as the F-22s launch their missiles from beyond visual range. But the Martian sky carrier has to close in to extreme close range to engage the F-22s because its only weapons are howitzer cannons, which are not meant for aerial combat. In season 2, the space battles have to take place at close range because they all occur within the Satellite Belt where Earth and Mars have made their space bases, and the messed-up gravity makes long distance shots very difficult.
  • Once-Green Mars: Saazbaum's history lecture to Slaine in Episode 10 comes complete with a pseudo-PowerPoint presentation that illustrates the once green and watery surface of Mars 30,000 years ago, when the aliens who created the Aldnoah technology were still around.
  • One World Order: The series timeline indicates that the United Nations formed into the United Earth Federation in 1986 as a response to the Holy Vers Empire declaring Martian independence in 1985, with its headquarters in Russia. Judging from the map shown in Ep. 9, it is somewhere to the southeast of Novosibirsk, in the rural southern spur of Krasnoyarsk Krai. If the subnational borders are unchanged from Real Life (which seems to be so), then it should be in the village of Karatuzskoe in the vicinity of Abakan and Minusinsk, with the closest major city being Krasnoyarsk some five-to-six hours drive to the northwest. The place the HQ is located in is called Novostal'sk (a fictional name meaning something like "New Steelia").
  • Off with His Head!: Averted with the UFE's Kataphrakts as destroying the head does not destroy the Kataphrakt since the pilot is seated in the abdomen area. It seems destroying the head doesn't even cut off the optics as well. This is played straight with the Vers' Kataphrakts as the head serves as cockpit for certain models such as the Herschel and the Tharsis.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: The anime plays with the trope. The protagonists are ordinary high school students - but since the situation between the Vers Empire 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.
  • Our Centaurs Are Different: The Scandia Kataphrakt is built like a centaur, complete with four legs, a broad back that allows it to carry another Kataphrakt, and arms equipped with Automatic Crossbows.
  • Panty Shot: Subverted: when Nina leaps off to find Inko in the low gravity of Trident Base, her skirt flutters up - only to reveal she's wearing sweatpants beneath, much to Yutaro's disappointment.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: The Princess' royal gown, very much so.
  • Pin-Pulling Teeth: Yuki Kaizuka does this in Episode 12 while Storming the Castle. Klancain also does so when fighting off the UFE assault team in the lunar base in Episode 23.
  • The Plan: Several are used by both sides:
    • Some of the more radical VERS knights use Asseylum's assassination on Earth as an excuse to resume the war against the Terrans. Though they're very successful initially, once Inaho starts taking part in the war, the war begins to gradually shift in favor of the Terrans instead.
    • Earth attempts to use Asseylum to send a message to the VERS Empire that she was alive and well, and to cease hostilities immediately. Unfortunately the Martians who received the message are loyal to Count Saazbaum, who is still intent on conquering Earth, so her message goes unheeded.
    • The VERS Empire later uses Asseylum, or rather Princess Lemrina disguised as Asseylum to urge her citizens to continue support for the war on Earth. Inaho quickly deduces that this Asseylum is an imposter.
    • Slaine attempts to have three VERS knights attack in the same area simultaneously, something they would had never done before due to their pride. But after Earth's constant victories at defeating them, they swallow their pride and attempt to help each other. Unfortunately for them, Inaho is Dangerously Genre Savvy, and once he learns about their individual weaknesses, the Terrans successfully manage to defeat their combined forces.
    • Earth launches an assault on both the moon and Slaine's landing castle in episode 22. The objective is to have the Deucalion assault the landing castle to divert troops away from the moon, so a second assault on it can be more successful. However, Magbaredge is suspicious about this plan, and secretly has Inaho go to the moon. There they find that Earth's true objective for this assault was to slip in a spec-ops platoon in to find and assassinate Asseylum. Slaine also suspects this, and attempts to have the princesses moved to a more secure location, but unfortunately they run into the spec ops troops more than once while attempting to flee.
  • 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.
  • Please Kill Me If It Satisfies You: Slaine spends the finale zig-zagging between this and outright Death Seeker.
  • Point Defenseless: Zigzagged. Generally when it's just a Terran Red Shirt or Martian Mook, said defenses are largely effective. However, played straight if a minor character is attacking a major one, such as one of the Martian knights destroying Terran forces.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • After the battle in Episode 7, Slaine refuses to give Inaho a straight answer about his intentions, which leads Inaho to assume he is an enemy and shoot him down.
    • Also, throughout Slaine's interrogation in Episode 8 (and even before). Had Cruhteo dialed down his racism and tried to listen to Slaine, instead of just fuming at the Puny Earthling's uppity, he would have been prepared for Saazbaum's treachery.
  • 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.
  • Put on a Bus: Both Yuki and Marito are conspicuously absent within the Deucalion when season 2 starts. However, they both show up in episode 16, and both of them were offered positions on the ship, but declined for personal reasons.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The Battle of Novostal'sk ended in this for Earth. Even though Castle Saazbaum was successfully deactivated and United Earth Headquarters held the line, the Deucalion is out of commission, its crew is in seriously bad shape, and the United Earth military took horrendous casualties. That said, the Martians aren't in much better shape, and are unable to conduct any further large scale assaults. So both sides are forced into a stalemate as they lick their wounds, reorganize and build their forces back up.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: The use of wind affect the Terrans' shots in space in episode 13 was ridiculed by some, when in fact, there can indeed by bouts of wind in space. Though its also possible "wind" is a colloquialism for the unstable gravity in the Satellite Belt thanks to the Aldnoah-powered teleportation portal exploding.
  • Real Place Background: Downtown New Orleans is recreated in painstaking detail for both Episode 1 and Episode 18.
  • Real Robot Genre: The KG-6 Sleipnir as developed for the United Earth military for use as training models. The UE military uses the KG-7 Areion. This comparison image notes that the KG-6 is more maneuverable, while the KG-7 is more armored.
    • Same goes with the Martian-made Kataphrakts. Though some of their qualities could go to super robot territory.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: It is implied that Yuki was transferred to Yemen due to her repeated attempts to have Inaho discharged from the military, and the UFE brass got tired of dealing with her.
    • The crew of the Deucalion also get this feeling when they're constantly being redeployed, since they get the feeling the UFE brass really have no idea what to do with them.
  • 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. Made pretty evident in episode 12, when some surviving Terran mecha attempt to help Inaho against Saazbaum's transformed mecha. He promptly disposes of them with little trouble. If Inaho isn't on the battlefield, they will almost certainly be on the receiving end of a Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • The Reveal: Episode 21 has a major one involving the Martian princesses. Lemrina, getting frustrated with Slaine's runaround answers, confronts him directly and asks him what exactly he's planning to do with the war. Slaine says he's going to conquer Earth and have Asseylum rule it, never mind the costs in terms of resources and especially lives. Lemrina seems quite upset at that answer, then stands up, and turns off her disguise, revealing her to be the true Asseylum, while stating he's no longer the Slaine she knew. She orders him at gunpoint to stand down, but he essentially does a coup d'etat on them, and orders both princesses under house arrest and continues on with his plans.
  • 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.
  • Rocket Punch:
    • The Hellas Kataphrakt uses it's six mounted arms for this. Also an example of Crippling Overspecialization due to the fact that that's its only attack, though it has an alternate mode that can be used if all six arms are destroyed.
    • Saazbaum's unit is capable of such an attack as well, and like the Hellas, Inaho exploits its weaknesses to counter Saazbaum when he attacks with this.
  • 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.
    • This becomes moot in episode 8, after Asseylum reveals herself to the main characters.
  • 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.
  • The Unfettered: Inaho, full stop. He is extremely indifferent and ruthless, but also eerily rational and devoid of hate. He does have emotions, but usually fails to express them in any meaningful way, focusing on his own goals instead. On one hand, this makes him a complete tactical genius using analysis, constantly designing awe-inspiring plans that destroy advanced, seemingly-magical weaponry with sticks and stones. On the other hand, this causes him to utterly fail at enemy negotiations, which really ruins a lot of potential chances to end the war.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: Slaine's entire plotline is just a series of Shaggy Dog Stories. First, he tries to inform the Emperor that Asseylum is still alive, only to have it turn out that Saazbaum already convinced him that Slaine is lying. Second, Slaine steals a plane, finds the Watdatsumi, and helps Inaho defeat Femianne, only to get shot down by Inaho and later captured by Cruhteo. Third, he withstands continuous torture at the hands of Cruhteo before he finally tells him Asseylum is still alive. Cruhteo is on the verge of stopping the war to get to the bottom of the conspiracy when Saazbaum kills Cruhteo and kidnaps Slaine. And we haven't even reached the halfway point in the series yet!
    • And when he saves Saazbaum's life for rescuing him from Cruhteo's castle, he is rewarded with seeing the man he rescued shoot Princess Asseylum, who he had been trying to rescue for the duration of the entire season, before his eyes. He did bring this upon himself to an extent - Saazbaum had told him earlier that it was his intention to assassinate the Princess.
  • Ship Tease: Asseylum and Inaho have feelings for each other.
  • Shout-Out: Accuracy System Image Module for Optimum Velocity.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • The geography of New Orleans in the first episode is spot on: in fact, this is most likely the reference image the animators used to create the scene. Viewers who are familiar with New Orleans can actually identify that the Landing Castle hits directly in the French Quarter. And in a bit of real-world irony, one of the buildings that survives the Castle's impact is the Plaza Tower, which is something the New Orleans municipal government has wanted to get rid of since 2002.
    • Before it can do a meteor bombardment over the city, one Landing Castle has to do orbital corrections. The Count aboard it correctly notes that it will take a few hours, giving Trillram time to hunt down the Terrans.
    • 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 conventional take off and landing fixed-wing aircraft (STOVL birds like the Harrier and F-35B are a different matter), 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. It's even correctly shown with the well decks for the landing craft.
    • In the first episode, Asseylum asks Slaine why the sky is blue, and he tells her it is because of light refracting off of the atmosphere. She repeats this in Episode 6, but Inaho does one better, explaining HOW refraction works, by informing the princess that the sky is blue because of Rayleigh scattering.
    • While Slaine is evading Femieanne's fists in his sky carrier, the extreme maneuvers he pulls cause him to briefly experience G-LOC.
    • In the flashback where Slaine is depicted crashing onto Mars, he ends up coughing up a fair amount of unknown, water-like liquid. It is likely this is an example of Liquid breathing, something theorized to allow both extended space travel and greater shock absorption upon reentry.
    • In Episode 9, Saazbaum notes that the majority of the people on Mars subsist on chlorella and krill. In the aftermath of World War II, chlorella, a type of algae, was seriously considered as a food source that could be produced in mass quantities cheaply. Krill was also seriously considered as food to feed the British populace during World War II. Considering the lack of resources on Mars, algae and krill likely would have to form the foundation of an average Martian's diet.
    • In Episode 12, Slaine's gun jams while he is shooting Saazbaum in a grief-filled rage. The jam is termed a stovepipe as evidenced by the fact that the shell casing is sticking out of the ejection port, and it was caused due to him having an improper grip on the pistol while firing. He clears the stovepipe by pulling the slide all the way back and dumps the casing out.
    • In Episode 13, the Frozen Elysium is not freezing everything around it. Its Aldnoah Drive is creating a reverse entropy effect. The Meissner effect is also referenced to explain why the reverse entropy field causes bullets to not hit it: there is a magnetic field that is locking the now-superconductive bullets into a predetermined trajectory that leads away from the Kataphrakt, which is why an enemy unit must close to point blank range to avoid the Meissner effect.
    • The space battles that have been showcased in the show's second half do demonstrate a decent understanding of physics in space. The United Earth Kataphrakts mainly use their boosters for maneuvering and rely on inertia for movement, while the Martians can freely use thrusters thanks to Aldnoah Drives. The Martian convoy in Episode 14 utilizes a slingshot maneuver to travel around the Earth and realistically use spacecraft with massive circular shields to survive flying through the atmosphere.
    • Episode 16 shows that the debris from the space battles needs to be cleaned up afterwards.
    • In Episode 18, it really can't be overstated just how much work was put into the New Orleans battle: the coordinates that Inaho gives for the location of the Solis Kataphrakt (29.951103, -90.085579), do indeed correspond to the actual I-90 interstate bridge in New Orleans. The coordinates are slightly off from where the Kat is, but it's still quite close. Even so, a reason for the inaccurate coordinates may be because Japan uses a different geodetic data standard, so the coordinates may be accurate according to Japanese maps. This image from the show's official website tells us exactly where the combatants were: The Solis is in the middle of the Crescent City Connection bridge, Inaho is somewhere between W. Judge Perez Dr. and St. Claude Ave., Marito and his forces are on the southern shore near the Timberlane and Woodmere districts, and the Deucalion is directly east, likely in Lake Borgne. Also, the battle against the Solis showcases one reason why lasers are Awesome but Impractical weapons in real life for ground warfare: they only shoot in straight lines, and can't account for the Earth's curvature when firing at long range.
      • In the same episode, when Mazurek is wandering around in the Arabian desert, he's somewhat fascinated by the compass he has, noting that it would only work on a planet with a magnetic field. Mars has a magnetic field, but it is far weaker than Earth's, and a compass would definitely not work there.
    • Episode 21 has several:
      • Inaho's plan to destroy the Electris Kataphrakt relies on very advanced knowledge of how electricity works. He launches his attack from the air to avoid the effects of grounding, and tags himself with his suit's grapple onto the Electris so that he can maintain the same electric potential so that its attacks won't affect his Sleipnir. Finally, when he touches down on solid land, we can see his suit grounding itself.
      • The ability of the Ortygia Kataphrakt, unbelievable as it may seem, has at least a thin basis in reality. Of course, the quantum cloning it was doing is orders of magnitude more complex than "mere" quantum teleportation.
      • Asseylum's grip on the pistol she points at Slaine is the proper grip that trained shooters use (spoilers in image link). For those who don't understand, this short clip from a firearms hobbyist explains why holding a semi-auto in the right way is very important if you want to avoid Fingore.
  • Single-Use Shield: Inaho uses reactive armour to stand a fighting chance against the Argyre's beam sabers.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: The Martians. Despite claiming that they're superior to Earth because of their better technology, Saazbaum makes it clear to Slaine that in many was the Vers Empire is actually way worse off than Earth is. Mars's surface is still barren, so the population has to subsist on algae and krill instead of anything that normal Earth humans would eat, plus their culture is stagnant. Saazbaum even says that the reason the war between Mars and Earth that led to Heaven's Fall broke out in the first place was a Despair Gambit initiated by the Emperor to turn attention away from the poor status of the colony and turn the negative feelings aimed at his government into jealousy and hatred of Earth.
  • Space Fighter: The Martians get these in the second season, armed with machine guns and capable of linking up around a central unit in groups of five for speedier transit.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Count Mazurek, whose name derives from a traditional Polish dance. The subs spell it in the aforementioned way, which is correct in Polish, while the Japanese narration clearly says "Mazurka", after the more popular spelling, usually used outside of Poland.
    • Beginning with the second half, official subs are rather inconsistent in how they refer to the show's mechs, alternating between anglicized "Kataphrakt/Kataphrakts" or using the Greek singular and plural terms "Kataphraktos/Kataphraktoi."
    • Countess Raffia & Count Sebring's machines are called the "Skandia" and "Elektris" according to the official subs, but the actual Martian albedo features they are named after are spelled "Scandia" and "Electris."
    • Subtitles spell Sebring, Raffia, Orga, and Cronkine, but the Japanese website calls these characters Zebrin, Rafia, Olga, and Klancain. In "Olga's" case, the subbers may have gone with Orga since "Olga" is a female Slavic name.
  • Spoiler Opening: Averted with Season 2. Its intro isn't shown until Episode 2, because otherwise it would spoil the fates of Inaho, Asseylum and Saazbaum.
  • Spotting the Thread: In the first episode of season 2, Inaho realizes the "Asseylum" appearing in the Martian propaganda is a fake, because she uses the less scientific explanation for why the sky is blue, instead of the one Inaho taught her (see Brick Joke above).
  • Steel Eardrums: Averted in Episode 7 when Inaho has to open fire with his Kataphrakt's rifle on the Hellas's rocket fists next to the refugees. He orders them to cover their ears. Even so, it's still extremely painful for everyone involved, with even the sound of the empty shell casing hitting the deck causing Shell-Shock Silence.
  • The Stinger: Episode 3 has one, which shows Trillram's fate after suffering a loss. He survives, but is shot dead 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.
    • In Episode 18, the final shot of the ending, showing the comatose Asseylum suspended in her statis tank, transitions into an extra scene in which Lemrina attempts to shut off her life support so she can permanently usurp the princess' place, only to not go through with it. Just after Lemrina leaves, Asseylum then starts to wake up.
  • Stray Shots Strike Nothing: Averted with a vengeance in Episode 15: that barrage of bullets Slaine shoots at seemingly nothing in space comes back and does hit something significant... six hours later.
  • Strictly Formula: A lot of episodes follow the same pattern. The first half of any given episode tends to be dedicated to a lot of exposition. Then the second half introduces a Martian Kataphrakt that shows off its overpowered alien weaponry. A squad of United Earth Kataphrakts will, without fail, think they're hotshots who can go toe-to-toe with the enemy but end up getting hosed. Then Inaho will use some crazy physics phenomenon that manages to destroy or at least slow down the Martian machine. Then something dramatic happens at the end and we get a Cliffhanger.
  • Storming the Castle: During the Battle of Novostal'sk, the Deucalion launches a HALO drop of its Kataphrakt platoons to invade Saazbaum's Landing Castle, making this trope literal. Later, the rest of the United Earth military from HQ reinforces the Deucalion's forces and joins the invasion of Castle Saazbaum.
  • Summer Blockbuster: Pretty much this for the Summer 2014 Anime season. Comparisons to films of this category such as Pacific Rim and Transformers are not unusual. Ironically, the summer season is the anime equivalent of the Dump Months.
  • Super Prototype: Deucalion, the Earth-made battleship with an Aldnoah drive.
  • Super Robot: The Vers Kataphrakts compared to the UE ones. Each Vers Kataphrakt has its own special abilities and weapons, whereas the UE Kataphrakts are mass-produced, Zaku-style. While the Vers Kataphrakts are individually much more powerful than the UE Kataphrakts, their pilots tend to fight like an average Super Robot show protagonist would: alone, with no respect for tactics, overt confidence and Blood Knight attitude. A calm demeanor, planning and exploitation of weaknesses gives Inaho and crew the opportunity to take them out.
  • Surprisingly Good English: An insert song during Episode 3 is done in perfect English. It pops up in the subsequent episode's ending in German as well. All the background text that appears on computer screens such as names of file folders and headlines is also in perfect English, taken further in episodes 5 and 6 where entire written lines and descriptions were written in perfect English as well. Also, Inaho's boot-up screen also calls the mech by the Greek singular term of "Kataphraktos."
  • Suspiciously Small Army: The first season is surprisingly light on Mooks. The Orbital Knights begin with the sensible tactics of Colony Drop of their Landing Castles that causes massive devastation in a wide radius, unload a Macross Missile Massacre at vital communication facilities... then deploy in their personal Kataphrakts with little to no backup. While the Castles look like they house an army each, we barely see any mass-produced Martian forces until Episode 11.
    • While the viewers United Earth HQ is invaded in Episode 11 by the Dioscuria Kataphrakt, two of its Attack Drones, and two Sky Carriers carrying at most, 100 troops in total. UE HQ is a massive Underground City that can house thousands of people... it may have been beneficial to bring a bigger army. However, the small number of troops may have been because the explicit goal of the mission was not to conquer HQ, but to find and assassinate Asseylum, necessitating a lightly armed and highly mobile force.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: When Mazuurek confronts Eddelrittuo in Castle Troyard about Princess Asseylum, Eddelrittuo accidentally lets slip she knows more about Earth than she should have.
  • Tanks for Nothing: The tank platoon commanded by Lt. Marito 15 years ago was utterly destroyed by the Deucalion Kataphrakt and its gravity warping engines. None of their shots were even able to hit it.
  • Tempting Fate: Every time a Martian knight says some variant of the phrase "This is the end", something goes wrong for them. This goes double for Femieanne, as she said it twice and was foiled both times!
    • In Episode 22, during The Siege against the lunar base, one of the United Earth pilots remarks that they're wiping out the Martians with ease. About two seconds later, he gets chopped in half by Count Barouhcruz, followed by his whole squad, and Harklight then joins the battle with his Herschel.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: The anime has three Insert Songs on rotating duty for when Inaho and his buddies swing into action - 'MKAlieZ', 'BRE@TH//LESS', and 'Keep on keeping on'. The second half switches out 'BRE@TH//LESS' for 'No Differences.'
  • Theme Naming: The United Earth Kataphrakts (which itself is the name of a type of armored cavalry) are named after mythological horses, such as the KG-6 Sleipnir and the KG-7 Areion. UE Kataphrakt platoons are named after horse breeds like the Appaloosa and the Friesian. Meanwhile, the Vers Empire names its Kataphrakts after geographical features on Mars, such as the Nilokeras and the Argyre.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: In Episode 22, Slaine deals with some UFE infiltrators with the Tharsis's machine guns.
  • 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.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: Played with in Episode 23. At the crescendo of her broadcast speech, Asseylum appears to do this, stepping out of her wheelchair as she triumphantly declares her accession to the throne of Vers. However, she was never actually disabled to begin with, nor had she been Obfuscating Disability; her sister Lemrina, who had been impersonating her during her coma, actually is disabled, so she'd had to pretend that the events of Episode 12 had left her paraplegic.
    • Then in Episode 24, Lemrina herself steps right out of her wheelchair to protest as a dejected Slaine tells the Orbital Knights to surrender. Justified, as it is shown that the hangar they're in is a gravity-free zone and thus Lemrina would not have to use any leg strength to remain standing.
  • Time Skip: The show's second half begins in July 2016, 19 months after the events of Episode 12.
  • 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 managed to recover pretty well from Heaven's Fall, which may be why the princess's tour began there.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Thanks to Inaho's combat data recorded via his cybernetic eye, both Mustang and Clydesdale platoon become much more effective in combat against the remaining Martian forces in episode 24.
  • Tripod Terror: The Deucalion Kataphrakt was three-legged, though it also had an anti-gravity engine that allowed it to float, thus making it a hybrid of the literary and 1953 movie version of the archetypal Martian war machine.
  • Urban Warfare: The entire conflict the protagonist and antagonist gets cities and towns involved.
  • Underground City: United Earth HQ is not only big enough to house thousands of refugees, it's so big that aircraft can fly around the base at top speed.
    • It's been speculated that it was built in the abandoned open-pit mine, which then has been covered and built up. Open-pit mines can be so big that they have their own climate inside.
  • Unperson: Slaine's father, Dr. Troyard. You'll hear him mentioned by a few characters, but good luck finding out his first name or what he even looks like.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Pretty much every Martian count. They have incredibly powerful Kataphrakts with seriously broken abilities, but they have pretty much no actual battle experience, and as soon as someone can get around their advantages, they simply can't put up a fight.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Slaine's response to Lemrina in episode 21 after the latter confronts him about why he's still dragging the war on. He knows the costs in lives and resources will be extremely high, but he wants to utterly annihilate Earth's resistance so that Asseylum can rule over it. Lemrina then turns out to be Asseylum in disguise, and she attempts to order him to stand down at gunpoint. But he puts both princesses under house arrest and continues his plans anyway.
  • 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.
  • Villainous Rescue: Inaho and the others are saved from Femieanne's final attack in episode 6 when it's deflected by a shot from a Martian plane being flown by Slaine.
    • Also in Episode 15, when Inaho is saved from the Dioscuria's relentless pursuit by a trap Slaine had set up beforehand. Played with, as Slaine had originally set up the trap for Inaho, and Inaho managed to capitalise on it with a little help from Inko.
  • War Is Hell: The framing trope here.
  • War Refugees: The majority of Season 1 is Inaho and his friends trying to safeguard and evacuate a substantial group of refugees to United Earth Headquarters in Novostal'sk, Russia, the Martian princess being among them.
  • We Do the Impossible:
    • In the chaos of the initial invasion, Vers Kataphrakts were almost unstoppable, until Inaho and crew took out the Nilokeras and the Argyre.
    • Played down a little in the second cour, since less Vers Kataphrakts take the field and are also taken out with less ceremony, even though Inaho is still the only one shown explicitly destroying Vers fighters.
      • That said, the Deucalion crew plays it straight, as Magbaredge comments that Earth has no idea what to do with them, so orders them from various places to fight or defend against VERS incursions. Even their operation in episode 22 has them act as bait to lure out the bulk of the Martian forces on the moon so a second group can successfully assault the moon base. Magbaredge later correctly suspects that the true objective was to assassinate Asseylum by inserting a group of Terran spec-ops troops while the fighting was raging on above the moon base.
  • Weight Woe: In episode 17, Inko, Nina, and even Kaoru are shocked that Rayet has never been on a diet. They ask her how she keeps her slim figure, but she never gets around to telling them after finding out Inaho is interrogating the Martian knight they captured from the previous episode.
  • Wham Episode: In fairness, the last four episodes of the first cour count, as do two of the three episodes thus far in the second cour, for varying levels of Wham. The really standout ones in terms of true HSQ would probably be the following:
    • Episode 8, Count Saazbaum singlehandedly crashes Castle Cruhteo, trashes the place, and makes off with Slaine, just as Cruhteo was about to intervene to stop the war.
    • Episode 12, with the massive, massive cliffhanger and apparently a total cast wipeout.
    • Episode 15, when Slaine is promoted to Saazbaum's heir and then later to Count of Saazbaum Castle.
    • Multiple events occur in episode 18. Slaine defeats Marylcian, helping to quell dissent of him within the knight's ranks, Lemrina as Asseylum proposes the orbital knights break off from the Mars colony and start a new kingdom on the Moon as well as marrying Slaine, and perhaps biggest of all, the real Asseylum starts waking up from her coma.
    • In episode 19, Asseylum finally wakes up, but her mentioning Inaho seems to make Slaine uncomfortable. Additionally, while fighting against one Martian Kataphrakt and learning about its abilities, two more show up before Inaho and the others can take the first one out.
    • During episode 20, Earth's forces realize at least some of the Martian knights are now starting to work together, whereas in the past they often attacked on their own due mostly to their pride. Lemrina also begins to get quite upset that Slaine seems to spending a lot of time away from her, and when she goes to Asseylum's medical chamber, finds that she is no longer in there. Meanwhile, Asseylum sees the necklace she dropped after she was shot back in episode 12, which seems to trigger some of her memories of her time on Earth, after Slaine had hoped she would not recall them.
    • Episode 23. To summarize, Asseylum tries talking to her grandfather to stop the war, but his mind is too gone to do anything. Slaine decides to have his forces on Earth completely wreck Earth. Asselyum then decides to marry Klancain and become Empress, then tells everyone on Earth and Mars that the war is over...meaning that if the war continues, the Martians (and Slaine by extension) will be fighting against their kingdom.
  • Wham Line: "You... are my enemy."
    • Ending of Episode 21
    Vers Knight: The blue planet where my father lies interred...
    Vers Soldier: Yes, Count Cruhteo.
    • In episode 23, Asseylum broadcasts a message to both the VERS and Terrans, succeeding her grandfather as the new Empress of the VERS Empire, and orders the fighting to stop. She then gets up from her wheelchair, and announces she's going to marry Count Klankain.
    • In Episode 24, the newscast says that Slaine planned the assassination of Asseylum all along. This might be a cover story, as it also claims that Slaine is dead when he's actually imprisoned for life in secret.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In Episode 2, we get a montage of 4 Vers pilots laying waste to Beijing, Tokyo, Maputo, and New Orleans. As the series progresses, 3 out of 4 of these pilots are eventually fought and defeated by the UFE. But the pilot that landed in Beijing never appeared again. Considering the state of the war as of the second season, it's likely he was killed off-screen as the UFE recaptured China. He has a bigger role, however, in the Twin Gemini manga which revealed his name was Count Keteratesse and his Kataphrakt was called the Geryon.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Inverted/villainous example used in episode 21, after Lemrina learns about Slaine's plans to conquer Earth and have Asseylum rule over it. Except that Lemrina turns out to be Asseylum in disguise, who was told about Slaine's plans by the real Lemrina. Asseylum is quite upset that Slaine turned away from any peaceful resolutions to the war.
  • Worf Barrage: Marito, Yuki, and their squadmates do this to a Martian Kataphrakt in episode 16. They shoot quite a bit at it, and though their shots connect, that doesn't seem to slow it down much. Once the Martian starts up his attack, the best Marito can hope for is a Delaying Action and luring it away from the nearby city.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Just about any Orbital Knight believes they're The Ace that should be impervious to mere Mooks, while in actuality they're Monster of the Week.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Shinawara is destroyed by meteor bombardment after Inaho and his friends evacuate.
  • 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.
    • Rare heroic use of this trope in episode 7. After Slaine helps Inaho to deal with Femieanne, the former asks him if they're exploiting Asseylum. Mistrust starts to grow between them after Inaho gives him the runaround, and he then causes Slaine's plane to crash into the ocean. While Slaine survives the crash, he's next seen being tortured by Cruhteo in episode 8.
    • Not so rare for this show: Slaine plays up the impression of loyalty to Saazbaum, enough to be named Saazbaum's heir. Almost immediately, at the end of the same episode, he backstabs Saazbaum to usurp his position and become Count Slaine Saazbaum Troyard.