To give credit where it’s due, Aldnoah.Zero did have a nice final scene in the first episode. It was a good way to set the tone for the series, even though the tone wasn’t entirely convincing. The tone wasn’t the worst thing about the show, though. Actually, I can’t tell what the worst thing about the show was, because it felt like such a total train wreck to me. The main character’s stoicism quickly got so extreme that it was impossible for me to relate to him. The conflict between worlds was interesting as a premise, but the character writing on the side of the Martians was absurdly obviously meant to make them look like the villains, which undermined any ideas of moral ambiguity. Ok, ok, but “what if it wasn’t about moral ambiguity?”, you ask. What if it was an underdog story? Well, in that case, it took all of, what, 3 episodes to establish that the main character was going to be able to defeat anyone in single combat. Which he eventually effectively did.
And then there were the CG mechs. Now, I’m not a person who has something against CG in principle. I understand and accept the usage of CG to animate mechs nowadays. The first mecha series I watched was Suisei no Gargantia, which had CG mechs, and I was fine with that. But, Gargantia also taught me that mecha series are usually about more than just the giant robots. And that’s where I think Aldnoah.Zero failed the hardest. It focused way too much on its awful-looking robots(also, boring designs), and I just couldn’t care about it. The only character I cared about was one of the Martian soldiers in the final episode of the first season. He was shot to death like a minute after he was introduced, but what he said felt genuine. He didn’t care about the CG mechs, he cared about the world itself. I wish all the characters had been like that random soldier guy.
Ok, I’m nitpicking and exaggerating a little, but I stand by my main points. I felt like the writing was really one-sided and way too focused on the bad-looking mechs. It felt like it was written by someone who thought the Gundam was the most interesting thing about Gundam 0079. I never even bothered to watch past the first episode of Aldnoah.Zero Season 2.