Inaho's obsession with eggs in the first episode may be humorous to us, and odd to his friends, but to Inaho, it's Serious Business. Remember, according to the official timeline, Inaho's parents died in Heaven's Fall, and he was raised by his older sister, who was a Kataphract pilot during the food riots. That means his sister, he, or both of them, had to literally risk their lives for every meal, for most of his life. The thought of having food so readily available that it can be easily abandoned in the event of evacuation is likely to be highly anathema to him. So much so, that he responds with Dull Surprise when he's reminded of it.
Inaho:"Oh. Yeah. I could have done that..."
Supposedly in the prequel novel, Yuki has wanted to remake their mother's rolled omelette so Inaho can taste it but was never successful. Could be the reason why Inaho was so focused on making his sister a rolled omelette when asked.
New Orleans is destroyed at precisely 8:05 PM, or, as the on-screen text tells us, 20:05. Remind us again, what year did Hurricane Katrina happen in?
In the second episode, when Calm sees Eddelrittuo and Asseylum, he starts wondering aloud what their ethnicity may be and settles on either Russian or Scandinavian. Considering that the first major colonization effort to Mars started in 1980, the most developed space programs at that time would have been the USA and the USSR. It's likely Eddelrittuo and Asseylum may have some Russian ethnicity in them.
With all the German names around, they may have some East Germans on loan like they did with Sigmund Jähn in Real Life.
And now we have Count Mazuurek, who is outright said in Episode 17 to have been named after a style of music. "Mazurek" is the Polish word for mazurka.
The series has some similarities to another mecha series, Code Geass:
The Martians were intentionally made overpowered. It's clearly less of a battle and more of a massacre. In the first 2 episodes of Code Geass, Clovis ordered the massacre of the Shinjuku Ghetto. Trillram here is playing the same role as Clovis. However, here, instead of an army massacring a bunch of civilians in the beginning of Code Geass, we have two armies fighting each other for survival. Even if one vastly outpowers the other, it's still two armies with combatants knowing exactly what they're getting into, aside from a few civilian casualties. Furthermore, similar to how Clovis's death showed us both the tactical mind and the cold mind required to shoot one's half-sibling in the head in cold blood of Lelouch - the murderer, Trillram's death showed us the tactical mind of Inaho, the cold mind required to shoot one's victim several times in the middle of a conversation of Slaine => Both Inaho and Slaine could be considered Trillram's murderders.
Slaine's the Suzaku here, as opposed to Inaho's Lelouch. He's originally from Earth, more specifically Japan, as stated in episode 2. He's also fighting for the empire invading his home, complete with the flip flop of alliance like Suzaku. Inaho here is wearing the same game face as Lelouch in his civilian identity: emotionless and blithely ignorant of any danger or suffering. God only knows what lays beneath that mask... He has also shown himself to be callous and even a bit cruel, as evidenced by the "experiments" he conducted on the robots his sister was in and the Kat of Inko, one of his classmate, in the final episode of season 1, the general indifference to his classmate's demise, the initial intention to use the princess for his own gains and the heartless elimination of someone he had just worked with minutes ago. He has also proved to have another quality in common with Lelouch: they're both manipulative bastards. Though, their eyes also suggest a hint or two about their personalities, considering the whole Good Eyes, Evil Eyes... To further complicate things, they both care for the princess, who has the role of Euphemia here and the reason they ended up pointing their guns at each other, but only one was fired at the end of season 1, just like Lelouch and Suzaku at the end of Rebellion. Bonus point for Inaho's blood streaming down his face, courtesy of a cut above his eyebrow, all the while mourning the seeming death of Asseylum, finally admitting that he care for the princess after all and discarding his emotionless mask, reminiscing of Lelouch's bleeding forehead after his mask was cracked by Suzaku.
Count Cruhteo could be this series's Jeremiah Gottwald: racist and cruel bastards whose only good points are their loyalty to their respective lieges. Like Jeremiah, he also tortures Slaine - the series's Suzaku for a good while.
The conflict born of the clash of societies and technologies here draws a parallel with the clash between the Real Life Western world and the rest of the world during their world-conquering and people-oppressing days, which became the inspiration for the first conflict between Britannia and the Black Knights, Lelouch's idealism given form.
Similar to Code Geass' theme of masks, here in Aldnoah.Zero, one could easily see the underlying theme of lies throughtout the series:
While the usual ending theme was A/Z with the theme of lie has a surprisingly pessimistic undertone, the ending theme aLIEz was depressing outright. A/Z was the lies hidden carefully behind a facade of optimisms and the promise of a happy ending. aLIEz hinted at the truth, although vaguely enough that no one suspect anything. The silent ending of the last episode of season 1 was the real truth displayed in all of its cruelty. Urobutcher struck again!
The lyrics of the opening and ending themes, while at first glance was from the point of view of Slaine, Inaho and Princess Asseylum, was actually from Saazbaum - the chief douche-bag's point of view.
Slaine had been lying most of the time to the Orbit Knights, for a good reason though. The moment he finally spilled the bean, the emperor didn't believe him. His truth was unaccepted because of someone else's lies.
Inaho, his unknown past and his obvious mask of non-reactions. Nuff' said. He also happened to initially consider the princess as only a tool to further his own agenda.
It wasn't just Inaho either but most of the cast seemed to have had some terrible undisclosed pasts. Rayet definitely didn't tell anyone of her role in the assassination plot at first. Asseylum only told her real identity to the people that already knew, even though she was stopped by her maid, the point still stands. Marito was forced to lie by the government about a past incident and he was definitely not OK despite his protest. Said government itself has actively trying to cover up the incident for the past decade. Both Nina and Calm had been survivors of the previous Heaven's Fall, as a result, both had had traumatic pasts, though we don't know what the circumstances actually were. Trillbam was lying to Cruhteo about the reason he went to Earth and to the spies about their "rewards". Saazbaum was lying to both the king and Cruhteo from the beginning and Saazbaum himself was deceived by the propaganda before the first Heaven's Fall.
The Martian seemed to be specialised in hologram, which was essentially a fancy way of saying illusion. The first major Kataphrakt we saw in action was the Nilokeras Kataphrakt, which had its entire outer appearance covered by darkness. What we saw was just another hologram. The Martian also used holograms to communicate with the king, as seen in episode 5.
The emperor was just a puppet king. The figure of an all-powerful ruler that Terrans and most Martians alike had was nothing but an illusion.
As revealed in episode 3, the Nilokeras Kataphrakt's barrier served to block all forms of matter and external effects, making it not only immune to all conventional weaponry, but also undetectable by radar and laser detection. All radio waves, sound and light were completely absorbed by it, consequently rendering the interior of the barrier completely opaque. However, this being the case, then why was the Kataphrakt visible beneath its barrier? Why was the barrier not opaque on the outside, too? Light should not have been able reach the machine to refract off of it, except for the small, necessary gaps in the barrier. The obvious Doylist answers are that only the gaps being visible would have made the gaps in the barrier much too obvious for the protagonists — and that it was more cool to actually be able to see the cool armored pillbug robot rather than the big black blob its barrier should have rendered its exterior. The Watsonian answer for this might be that the Martians were fully aware that they couldn't have the gaps be plainly visible and worked on a solution around that. A possible theory is that on top of the camera receivers, it has some sort of hologram projectors which display the robot's surface over the barrier. Furthermore, when the barrier is raised or lowered, the mech it covers turns black for a moment. This strongly supports the theory that there is a holographic emitter of some sort being used. Probably connected to the shoulder lights which bloom whenever the barrier is raised or lowered. While a giant shadow-robot with no discernible features would actually have been an awesome idea in theory, it would have made it harder for the pilots to see themselves via the flying cameras, making it impossible for them to hit a specific target properly with the machines' hands, which would render them dependent on bullets that could run out and be outright useless on the battlefield where the opponents can dodge and use knives extensively. However, this means that technically, the Martian Kataphrakts actually can turn invisible when the situation calls for it, which means that Trillram lost mostly because he underestimated the kids.
In fact, the hologram theory has been revealed to be the mechanism behind the princess's disguise. She's wearing her princess regalia. When she reveals herself as the princess, she turned off the of mini-projector that's in her necklace that's been projecting her civilian appearance over her true form, creating the illusion of the Transformation Sequence. Though it can't have been very convenient running around in a puffy gown.
With the above in mind, it's easy to spot when the Nilokeras has its shield active: it depends on whether Trillram's cockpit is clear or dark. Anytime the shield is active, the cockpit is dark, which is explicitly shown in episode 12: the Dioscuria also has the same shield, and when it reactivates the barrier, during the brief moment when the mech turns completely black, there is a very blatant spot on the side that is not black and stands out like a sore thumb which Inaho promptly targets and destroys.
When fighting the Nilokeras, Marito rushes it head-on and attacks with his knife, going for the "eyes". If it didn't have the camera drones, there would need to be a hole in the shield over any onboard cameras. Guess what, the Nilokeras was not the first Martian Kataphrakt he's heard of with a shield.
We learn from episode 3 several important things about our main characters from Freeze-Frame Bonus:
Inaho keeps all of the information in his tablet in archive form. He has about 40 archive folders and 20 archive data files solely dedicated to maps. Students usually don't need that many maps. They are usually not that paranoid either.
Slaine had never killed a person before. He's a crack shot though while Trillram was basically at point-blank range, the world's police records are chock full of shootouts where tens of shots were fired at the same range with zero hits. It's psychologically difficult to shoot to kill, basically.
While the UE army was shown to be hilariously outmatched by the Martian Knights, one would wonder why a bunch of kids with rudimentary military training and inferior weaponry, possible past fighting experience of certain characters aside, could defeat not one but two Knights armed to the teeth. The UE army lost because they were fighting a conventional war while vastly outnumbered and outgunned instead of using unconventional tactics like the kids did. This strange obscurity of guerrilla warfare might be due to the alternate history. The series timeline tells us the Cold War still happened, which explains the Raptors, it just ended in a different way and a lot sooner: the United Nations negotiated an end to the Cold War in 1975 and laid the foundation for a One World Order in preparation for the Martian colonization effort. Perhaps in this timeline, the ATF project got started in the mid-70s instead of 1981. Everything up to The Vietnam War still happened; Vietnam may have even ended differently as well. 9/11 definitely didn't happen though; Heaven's Fall made sure of that.
The Wadatsumi's armaments seem oddly outdated for a 2014 amphibious assault ship: most ships of that class today field missile launchers, heavy machine guns, and gatling guns, not single-shot deck cannons. However, in the real world, the trend to arm amphibs with missiles and gatling guns mainly occurred in the late 90s and the 2000s (one of the best-known examples of an amphib, the U.S. Tarawa-class ships, had their Mark 45 cannons removed in 1997 & 1998 and replaced with more modern weapons). One can easily see the Wadatsumi's upgrades getting cancelled because of Heaven's Fall.
In the second ED, the Japanese part of the lyrics is obviously from the Slaine's new point of view at the end of episode 4. However, it could be interpreted to be from Inaho's point of view, what's with the pessimism and all. In the English part of the lyrics, the visual cues give us some further insights to the characters' mentality at that point:
"I say, cry" - a picture of Inaho => possible reason for his outward non-reactions.
"I say, lie" - a picture of Slaine. He was certainly lying at the end of episode 4.
"I say, rise in hell" and "I say, gazing down at death" - silhouettes of Slaine and Inaho, gazing at the destruction of Earth with the spaceship in the distance. Well, they both were certainly from Earth.
There are several fishy things about the "history" of the Vers empire:
After the first initial survey of Mars by a scientific research team, the colonization effort began. The series timeline tells us 340,000 colonists were sent to Mars. That's a tall order for the world's space programs to outfit and send to the Moon.
While the Character databooks show that the first and current Vers emperor is 70 years old. 1972 was when the Hypergate was discovered, but for three years, the world's governments didn't do anything major with it, they were probably still reeling from the shock that humanity was not alone in the galaxy. 1975 was when the scientific expedition went to Mars. 31 years old is pretty improbable to be the head of a research mission to a freaking other planet. As far as the real scientific hierarchy goes, the head of such mission ought to be at least a full tenured professor with at least a full decade of experience under his belt, which would imply a man at least in his forties. What's interesting here is that in the translations of the official timeline, there is a footnote (written from the perspective of an in-universe analyst) that this is all based off of the United Earth government's "standardized official history." The footnote goes on to say that this particular entry is the truth, "perhaps due to foolish carelessness", but "I advise the readers that, instead of focus on what is written, you should pay more attention to what is left out."
There's also the question of why the Martians chose absolute monarchy, which by that time period, has long been proven to be an ineffectual system to rule a country, instead of either capitalism or communism, both of which had been very successful at the time. When done badly, as is the case here, the system had already started to fall apart some time pre-series, with the power mostly in the hands of the Orbit Knights instead of the central "authority" on Mars. As a result, the out-dated system was actually part of the reason why Saazbaum kicked start the whole plot.
Capitalism and communism are ECONOMIC systems, not POLITICAL systems. Absolute monarchy is a version of dictatorship, something that was happily running a good chunk of the world, including the USSR, when the show's world broke away from the real world, timeline-wise.
The Martian Kataphrakts are probably named after Martian geological formations because those formations are the defining features of any land they hold in fee from the Vers Emperor, much like knights. In effect, it'd be like naming UE Kataphrakts Kilimanjaro, Everest, or Marianas or something similar.
In the final episode, it's no surprise Yuki's ending narration states that Asseylum is missing. Slaine would have taken her body to give her a proper burial.
A MASSIVE ONE in regards to the series' tagline. While one may take "Let justice be done, though the heavens fall" as a general description of the war, the first season finale makes it clear it is a reference to Piso's justice, thus making it a literary allusion as well. In the original story, Piso orders the deaths of three people: the person originally set for execution, because his sentence had already passed; the centurion who halted the proceedings, for failing to do his duty; and the sentenced's friend who was thought to be murdered, for being the cause of two innocent men's deaths. This matches up rather closely to the events of the finale, with the characters taking up the roles in the story. Asseylum is the sentenced, having avoided death once. Saazbaum is the centurion, having failed to execute Asseylum the first time. And Slaine (Piso) blames Inaho for both Asseylum and Saazbaum's deaths, executing him for that.
Of course, the roles and the characters can vary, depending on the audience's interpretation of the characters. For example, Asseylum can be argued to be the person who caused Inaho and Saazbaum's deaths.
In the first few episodes and the last episode, bridges play a large role. At first, we were shown the princess, the metaphorical bridge between Earth and Mars, seemingly killed under an actual bridge. During the colony drop montage, another bridge got vaporised. Rayet's father and company was also killed on a bridge. In the OP, Slaine's shadow was shown under a bridge, along with a couple of white lilies, which while sympolise purity and grace, also are a favourite at funerals. Cue the final episode of season 1, where Princess Asseylum - the above mentioned metaphorical bridge, whose white gown pretty much stated that she was purity and grace personified, got killed, may be for real this time, demolishing any possible peaceful resolution of the conflict between Earth and Mars, making another war inevitable.
During the Bat and Orange cooperation, the background music was "Keep on keeping on", from which we have such gems as: "...game over, now we hate our brothers, no longer can move my feet..." and "...and it's I just wanna know, inside it's I don't want to know, over head they fly high it's going on and on and on...". Now why would such things be played when the cooperation was going so smoothly? Because it was alluding to the finale of season 1, in which the gaps between Mars and Earth, which considering their recent separation, could be seen as "brothers" has widen more so than ever, with the princess - the bridge that was supposed to bind them together, initially the excuse for the war, actually became the reason why Slaine - representing the Martian Orbital Knights, and Inaho - representing Earth, turned against each other even while they had the exact same motive and goal: Inaho and Slaine just wanted to save the princess at that point, Martians and Earthlings just wanted to live peacefully, without fear of war or starvation. Furthermore, the "over head they fly high it's going on and on and on" part could be an allusion to a scene in the OP, which itself was a foreshadow to the season finale: the princess was lying in a puddle of water, trying to reach the 2 parallel flying objects in the sky, only to gave up and dejectedly let her hands fall back into the water, implying that she failed in her endeavour to make peace between Earth and Mars.
Countess Femieanne's Landing Castle was the one in Shanghai. Magbaredge was surprised to see an enemy mech so far out at Tanegashima in Episode 6, and she didn't come from Cruhteo's castle in Tokyo. The next closest castle would be the one in Shanghai. Her death at the end of Episode 7 would have shut down that castle instantly, and certainly contributed to United Earth managing to hold on to China throughout the war.
Though there's still another one in Beijing...
One common complaint about the series is the huge kill disparity between Earth & Mars. But this (for better or worse) makes perfect sense in the scope of the story. United Earth is a world government. We know there are 37 Landing Castles. So far, we haven't seen large numbers of Kataphrakts being deployed from them. The most we've seen so far was 3 from Castle Cruhteo, which had the Nilokeras, Argyre, and Tharsis. Even if we're generous and assume a Landing Castle may have 10 Kataphrakts at the most, that still amounts to the Martians having 370 Kataphrakts. United Earth most definitely has thousands of Kataphrakts, especially because Russia and China were largely undamaged from Heaven's Fall. In the real world, as of 2013 these countries had a combined total of almost 25,000 tanks. Areions are of course much more complex to build than a tank, but even if we take 10% of that number, the military might of Russia and China alone would be over 2,500 Kataphrakts. Then add in the contributions from all other nations (especially mainland Europe which is also largely unscathed) and your number will probably double to nearly 5,000 Kats. To put it simply, United Earth can afford to lose dozens of Kataphrakts per battle and not even blink. But every Kataphrakt the Martians lose is a significant blow to their fighting ability. It makes further sense when you look at a map of the war's progress as of the second season's beginning◊ and notice that while the most devastated regions (the Americas, Australia, Southeast Asia) have fallen to Martian control, Russia & China are still firmly in UE hands.
Another reason for the kill disparity: Heaven's Fall. Not only does the UE government have the resources of the entirety of earth, but as shown by Season 2's extensive space logistics by the UE, they also have access to any asteroids or chunks of the moon in orbit. The Martian's are also up there, but they can't effectively take advantage of those resources, since their numbers are limited by the availability of Aldnoah drives, while the UE, with it's less complex designs, can produce as many Kataphrakts as they can pilot.
Another cost saver, in the show, every UE Kataphrakt is the same model, minus the training Kats which are just regular Kats with slightly less armor. This means that not only does the UE get to take advantage of the availability of resources from Earth, and the remains of the moon, but they also take advantage of economies of scale. Basically, an economy of scale means that the more someone buys of something, the cheaper the individual item. So, building one Kataphrakt is extremely expensive, building ten is less expensive, and building ten thousand Kats is only pennies on the dollar. The only issue is finding enough people to pilot them, hence why children with skill in piloting, like Inaho and the others, are allowed to pilot war machines.
Related to the above, we find out in Episode 20 that United Earth's main strategy for fighting the Martians is indeed to just keep throwing bodies at them. Then remember that UE HQ is found in Russia, and Russia and China are the major powers on Earth as of the episode's timeframe. The Zerg Rush strategy is generally attributed in most Western media to precisely these countries. While both Russian and Chinese military doctrine is of course far more complex and developed than this, Pop-Cultural Osmosis has led most people to believe this is how they win wars.
As mentioned under Aliens in Cardiff, some of the Landing Castles came down in downright illogical places. Seizing New Orleans, Beijing and Tokyo makes a great deal of sense, but what interest could the members of the 37 Clans possibly have in Tajikistan? However, the introduction of Count Mazuurek indicates that not all the Orbital Knights are champing at the bit to expand and conquer. It's conceivable that one or two of the more moderate Knights would simply land their Castle in an out-of-the-way, strategically unimportant location. That way, they could keep their hands reasonably clean and/or avoid all the trouble and effort that comes with conquest, while still nominally contributing to the invasion.
To a certain extent, Aldnoah.Zero revolves around and the goals to which they have devoted themselves. And in the end, all three see their goals realized. Inaho's loved ones, friends and homeworld are spared from further harm with the war's end. Slaine's vision of a new world, combining the superior technology of Mars with the bountiful resources of Earth, becomes reality. And finally, Asseylum manages to bring an end to the hostilities between the two and usher in an era of peace.
One fandom complaint about the ending is the continuation of the Martian feudal system. However, if Aldnoah activation rights are indeed made common domain, as Asseylum and the Terran researchers intend to accomplish, the system, which revolves around Aldnoah activation by the select elite, will fall apart on its own.
Having Slaine become the public scapegoat for the assassination plot seems like an odd choice, to say the least, particularly since the original culprits could be blamed instead. However, it does make sense as a move of cold, hard Realpolitik. With the "culprit" having been officially killed right at the end of the war, the road to reconciliation between the two parties becomes that much easier. (Indeed, the news announcers during the finale said as much.) Furthermore, Slaine was undeniably popular among a portion of the Vers forces. Casting him as the man who attempted to kill and/or exploit the young princess - whose actions ended the war and brought about a new era of cooperation and prosperity - would greatly reduce the chance of him becoming a martyr for the cause of Martian domination, which would be an assuredly messy and dangerous situation.
Ultimately, that makes it an inversion of Piso's Justice, the source for the series' tagline. In the tale of Piso's Justice, justice is realized, regardless of the moral consequences. Here, injustice is done in order to prevent more conflict and suffering.
In terms of what triggered them, the First and Second Interplanetary Wars parallel the Second and First World Wars, respectively. In the case of the former, the aggressor nation's leaders both riled up the people over injustices and encouraged them to consider themselves superior. In the case of the latter, the assassination of the heir to an empire by an extremist faction was the spark that set off a disproportionally large conflict.
Asseylum's choice of words to Klancain when she explains the color of the sky, and the fond memories she associates with it: "A Terran I had befriended was kind enough to teach me." Worded like that, it could mean either Slaine or Inaho. All things considered, she probably means both.
One wonders why the Kataphrakts would be a One-Man Army in the second war, one must remember that even if Aldnoah technology can spread to multiple units (say a couple of Greyons mounting weapons used by the Argylle and Solis). The Martian face the issue that they would ultimately be surrounded and outnumbered. A situation that the more advanced Germans faced against the allies during the second world war where even though their tanks can gain a better kill to destruction ratio. So their mechs are built around the No-Sell defense system, which when overcome meant their destruction. Spreading out their arsenal would only delay the inevitable.
In Episode 10, Saazbaum explains the origins of the Very Empire's Fantastic Racism to the people of Earth. One of the contributing factors is the lack of the all important water! But in Real Life it turns out that Mars has plenty of water, it's just frozen in the polar ice caps. Also this information had been available for years prior to the start of the show. But that's just it. Most of Mars's water is frozen solid either underground or at the poles, where the temperatures can be -125 °C (or -195 °F) in winter, and during that time the ice sheets are made of dry ice (which is not made of H2O), the actually water being berried beneath them. So it's possible that what Saazbaum means is that it is extremely difficult to collect any water. And, as seen in Slain's flashbacks to when he first meet Princess Asseylum, most of the water that is collected is used by the Royalty and Nobility to fill entire rooms for some odd reason. So, technically, Saazbaum is right in that there is very little water: much like food that isn't algae and krill, only the Royalty and Nobility can afford water in large qualities.
Count Saazbaum is remarkably fine with Slaine assassinating him and taking his position. Besides the fact that Saazbaum has no problem with dying, there's another reason for it. Saazbaum's origin is that the woman he loved died under the reign of the Emperor of Vers, so he is trying to reform Mars's feudal system and is willing to kill anyone in his way. Slaine is fighting for the girl he loves, is willing to kill his own father figure to do so, and he wishes to revitalized Vers's government. It's not just that Saazbaum doesn't care about dying, it's that his successor just proved that he is willing to do anything to accomplish his goals and save the person he loves.
Ive been wondering for a while why Baron Trillram was so quick to turn off his dimensional barrier after falling in the water. He couldve probably just maneuvered slightly to keep his weak spot away from enemy fire and kept it up for as long as his life support lasted - not even sinking to the bottom wouldve bothered him, with the barrier atomizing the water before they could apply any pressure. It certainly seemed in character for a cocky idiot like Trillram. Then it occurred to me - as a Martian, its possible that he literally could not conceive of a plan which would result in the utter waste of such a titanic amount of Earths water. It never occurred to him.
Uh, at what point did Trillram turn off the dimensional barrier when he fell into the water? As far as I can tell it stayed on the entire time he was in the water.
The series timeline on the show's website reveals that the first thing the United Earth government did after developing Kataphrakts was use them to quell riots that erupted after Heaven's Fall over basic supplies like food, water, and electricity. Think about how bad the situation on Earth must have been if you have to deploy Humongous Mecha to put down rioters.
The Old-School Dogfight in episode 2 between the F-22 squadron and the aircraft transporting the Nilokeras Kataphrakt. On one side, you have a whole squadron of one of the most advanced air superiority fighters ever developed. On the other, a big, lumbering transport whose only weapons are a pair of light cannons that weren't ever meant to be used for dogfighting and most likely only for clearing out a safe landing zone. And even before this, the Vers aircraft already detected the F-22s when they hadn't even fired any weapons yet, showing that the Martians can see right through the Raptor's vaunted stealth capabilities. It's this battle that really drives home how incredibly huge the technological discrepancy between the two sides are when the transport ends up destroying the F-22s.
A briefly seen map of Earth seen during the landing shows that "Heaven's Fall" reconfigured the continents. To wit, most of the USA's two coasts have been replaced by crater-shaped bays, along with large portions of Brazil and Australia. Oh, and France is basically gone now, too.. Two-thirds of the United States (pretty much everything east and west of Texas and Louisiana) is literally gone. Australia looks like it had all the coloniesdropped on it. The Atlantic coast of Africa is absolutely devastated, South America has lost about half its landmass, and the Southeast Asian peninsula that once contained Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia is a memory. Additional places damaged include huge chunks of Norway and India/Bangladesh underwater. The WorstKorea is now an island. All that remained of the Best one is a couple of islands in the general vicinity of Pyongyang. No wonder the Earth is so desperately far behind that they're teaching teenagers to fight: They've spent the previous fifteen years just rebuilding from the last war. This was explicitly confirmed by Inaho in the first episode during the bus ride.
Related to the above, the Martian landing zones make a lot more sense. While Beijing and Tokyo are still major world cities that would logically be targeted, Maputo and New Orleans seem too out of the way to attack until you look at the state of the world now: With West Africa and the East and West coasts of the USA gone, these places likely became the new major cities of their respective regions thanks to the devastation that occurred.
In episode 3 the Nilokeras Kataphrakt is shown atomizing the water. In theory it could have atomized a large amount of water. Possibly all the water in the world, given enough time.
That was the face of a Martian Kataphrakt made from the strongest materials the Martian elite could afford. And a steam explosion did that to it. Now imagine what happened to the man inside...
It's mentioned in Episode 10 that the United Earth Forces HQ in Russia was also designed to be a shelter for refugees in case the Martians attacked, and has enough supplies stockpiled to keep a very large number of them fed for three years. However, less supplies are being consumed than expected, meaning the majority of refugees never reached the shelter. If you think about it, they were either killed by the Martians when trying to evacuate.
When it's revealed that the Ortyga Kataphrakt isn't just creating illusions but full blown IDENTICAL copies (pilot and all) with its ability, it's easy to appreciate the combat potential. But what happens after a battle is finished and you have possibly hundreds of copies of YOURSELF hanging around. It should also be noted that thus far, the Ortyga has always started a battle on it's own. What happened to the others? In addition, it seems likely that the original pilot died a long time ago.
It's odd that a nuclear device is never used at any point in the war so far as we know. Of course, it's possible they were being saved for a last resort resource-denial plan. Essentially, if the war went badly enough surface forces were wiped out, then the missile silos would nuke... everywhere, to spite the martians by making all their sacrifices and effort a Pyrrhic Victory. This would be decided shortly after the reports on the technological disparity reached the leadership (they're fighting a war, so clearly they can still communicate somehow) and the idea of simply nuking the castles got tossed around before being rejected by virtue of being near large population centers. As the silos would likely be targeted if nuclear launches were detected, no nuclear devices were used, even though massive civilian casualties would likely have made people much more willing to use them as the conflict went on.
Think about what the post-series universe is going to be like: Future human colonization will either become taboo or only done with an ironclad, borderline tyrannical Earth stranglehold on any potential colonies. The notion that Earth would ever let a colony even get approval as a project would be through complete subjugation and overwhelming force being always present—so no independence from Earth in any way, either culturally, economically, or politically—in fact, even mere equal rights and citizenship would be under heavy doubt. But the worst part? It would be justified. If all it took for the collective population of Mars to go insane, become genocidal warmongers with grand delusions of superiority, and cause the destruction of the goddamn Moon, was simply finding some advanced alien technology for the taking, then Earth would have every reason to be that paranoid about any notion of colonial independence or even equality.
What had really driven Martian population into a military frenzy was the crushing poverty of the masses and the megalomania of one man apparently, all those ideas of Aldnoah worship and Martian superiority stemmed from Gilzeria's personal foibles, if we are to believe Saazbaum. It seems that the Martian government cannot or didn't want to control the population growth so it far outstripped the growth rate of life support and food production facilities, and Gilzeria also added the rapid industrialization of the Vers empire based on Aldnoah technology (despite the obviously inadequate resources) into the mix. This had led to the increasingly dire conditions for the average Martian, but Gilzeria, who already was an Emperor then, managed to turn the population's disaffection with the Martian government into the jealousy and hatred of Earth.
If the Nilokeras Kataphrakt's barrier works by atomising everything it touches, then the air around it will also be atomised, creating a suction effect around the Kataphrakt. As we've seen in episode 2 and 3, this doesn't happen. Furthermore, between the barrier and the Kataphrakt, there may be a near-vacuum, seeing as one of the ways to mount the barrier on the Kataphrakt is the mechanism behind the creation of the vacuum flask. This near-vacuum would also creating a suction effect through the gaps in the barrier, as the Le Chatelier's principle dictates, making detecting the gaps a lot harder than episode 3 made it seemed to be. Even more mind-boggling, air would also be sucked in, making the near-vacuum unstable at best and non-existent at worst given enough time. This layer of air would undoubtedly: 1)get atomised overtime because they are also in contact with the barrier, making the unstable near-vacuum suck in even more air, which doesn't happen, as mentioned above. 2) create bubbles when submerged in water, which as seen in episode 3, also doesn't happen.
-Disintegrating is most likely explanation. Such is easier explained. The barrier consist of multiple dense layers of different hyper-excited matter that will disintegrate other matter that comes in contact (think hot metal burning through paper) by transferring said energy, vaporizing concrete into plasma form. Because of the dense layers it also blocks lightwaves and radiowaves. It also explains why there is no vacuum left in Nilokeras presence; because the matter disintegrated turned to plasma, which still takes up space.
One theory is that the barrier is in fact a one-way portal. This is far more likely because if it was simply atomizing or disintegrating the matter that came into contact with it, then there wouldn't need to be a gap for the communication signals from its observation drones, or a need for observation drones at all since light and EM waves aren't matter and therefore can't be disintegrated or atomized.
How in the world was Inaho able to fight toe-to-toe (and win, to boot) against Slaine in the final episode? Earth mechs are supposed to be way inferior compared to Martian mechs, and the fight was a straight up slugger, not a Puzzle Boss scenario as was the case in all the other fights.
Such would be the case normally, but it's explicitly shown that time and resources were put into making Inaho's Kataphrakt an Ace Custom for the final battle. That, combined with Inaho's innate skill, could have reasonably given him a solid edge.
Inaho also managed to damage the Tharsis's prediction screens, making the fight more even anyway.