As I was browsing the shelves at Barnes and Noble, I found myself instantly drawn to a small orange book (no it wasn’t Icha Icha…) and the sans serif white font displaying the title Aldnoah Zero 1 brought an influx of memories.
Being the completely sane and non-emotional wretch that I am, I immediately nabbed the copy and purchased it without checking the price, which I probably should have done…
Aldnoah Zero is a mecha story about a young Martian Princess named Asseylum who is due to make an appearance on Earth in the hopes of strengthening ties between these two planets, however, things turn for the worse when she’s ‘murdered’ on the day of her visit. Taking the opportunity to attack Earth, Martians descend in a race to see who will stand at the top, uncaring of all the death and destruction in their wake.
Meanwhile, Earthlings are left to defend themselves from Martian’s superior technology and destructive power.
Like many of you may know…a while back I was really in an AZ frenzy as I suffered over Slaine and his role in this whole story. You’d think that after finally moving on I’d do everything I could to not go back to such…misery…heartache…hell…but I guess I’m a masochist
The first thing I noticed was that the manga appears to be pretty faithful to the anime, which makes sense since AZ is an anime original. It starts off with Asseylum and Slaine talking and her being fascinated with Earth. It’s three days before she’s due on Earth and Slaine’s just explained refraction to her, though in a more uncertain way than what I remember in the anime.
Likewise, on Earth we have Inaho as he’s cooking up breakfast for his sister, asking the question “scrambled or omelet?”, only to not take into consideration her answer. Too bad she woke up late
One of the things I really enjoyed from the manga that I didn’t really get with just one sitting of the anime is the focus on the characters’ facial expressions. In the manga, Inaho makes so many expressions that I just couldn’t help but squeal like a Naho-fangirl! In the anime, he just looked the same in many scenes but here we see a tint (///) to his cheeks, a furrow in his brow, and his eyes widening in surprise like the time where his friend’s hand escaped him…
For all the excitement I had, I was also rather disappointed in both the art and the pacing. While the art isn’t bad, it felt too simple and I really wished it would look a bit more like the newer series. There were also some things I noticed with anatomy and stiffness in the body, the necks disappearing sometimes…None of the panels stuck out to me, which could have been different if there’d been more detail or contrast. The fight scenes especially eluded me as I couldn’t follow what was happening (not enough details or panels dedicated to the action). Really, I could only follow because I’d watched the anime.
Time was also something I had to always double-check. When the story starts, the news is announcing that Asseylum was due to arrive on Earth in three days’ time, and without any type of transition, we get Asseylum already on Earth. Another part was right after her murder. I was left wondering why Inaho was at home by himself (and away from his friends) as the evacuation was taking place. I thought he’d gone home to get stuff but then realized it was already a different day as the assassination date.
These jumps felt like they’d fit in better in the anime and that the necessary changes weren’t made for the manga.
And at the end, we get my beloved Slaine. I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around how meek he appears in the manga. It could be that his boldness and leadership from season 2 is completely overshadowing how he was in season 1, but I just feel there’s something off. Just, his posture and expressions make him feel like a completely different character. That said, he has just lost the most important person in his life so I suppose it makes sense.
Like any devoted AZ fan, or more specifically Slaine and Inaho fan (wink wink), I’ll definitely be buying the rest of this! I am curious what others think about the manga, especially if you haven’t watched the anime.
The second book is scheduled to be released tomorrow! (Feb 23)