Aldnoah Zero is an epic anime and i really can’t stress that enough.
Anyways, after watching all of the episodes just now, i now have this very strong urge to share the episode 12’s ending analysis of someone else. Why is it that its not my analysis of the show? Well, to put it bluntly, i’m too lazy at the moment so, i bring you youryandere‘s ENDING ANALYSIS!
SPOILER ALERT! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!
“I wrote the following analysis of the ending of Aldnoah.Zero. As many of you can probably tell, I drew heavily from the posts of a number of users from reddit (as well as Wikipedia), and you’ve probably read a number of these ideas somewhere on reddit already. Also, this is meant to be entirely self-contained (hence the explanation of Piso’s justice, rather than just a link).
Episode 12 of Aldnoah.Zero drew much criticism because it suggests, but does not totally confirm, the deaths of Inaho and Asseylum. The killing of these two main characters may seem abrupt at first glance, and leaves the watcher puzzled as to how the second season of Aldnoah.Zero would progress without these important characters. However, closer inspection of the underlying themes of Aldnoah.Zero reveals that these deaths are rather the results of masterful writing, and they are fully necessary in order for the anime to fully explore and flesh out its themes.
To begin take Inaho, the tactical genius who is arguably the greatest factor towards the survival of the Earthlings onboard the Deucalion. From the very first episode, Inaho is portrayed as a pragmatic figure, always taking calculated risks. Indeed, in each of his many confrontations with Martian Kataphracts Inaho decides on a plan that gives the best chances at success, recognizing that his and his comrades’ individual survival is not guaranteed. For example, in episode 2, Inaho’s friend Okisuke is disintegrated by an enemy Kataphract. Yet, Inaho proceeds with his plan, unfazed by the casualty. For the majority of the anime, it is utilitarianism of Inaho that grants him success and survival. Thus, Inaho’s death in episode 12 is the ultimate fulfillment of this characterization; Inaho finally pays the price for these risks he has been taking. Though his plan does result in the overall success of the operation, it comes at the cost of his life.
On a deeper level, with the events of episode 12, Inaho’s death is inevitable. As already discussed, Inaho had written off his emotions as they were unnecessary impediments to the success of his plans. Yet, while Inaho and Asseylum are still outside Saazbaum’s landing castle, we see that Asseylum begins once again to doubt herself, putting herself as the blame for the hatred that exists between Martians and Earthlings. Inaho, listening to this, interjects, saying that that even without hatred wars would still be waged. Though he presents this under the guise of a logical fact, the watcher cannot help but wonder if the comfort Inaho offers to the princess foreshadows the strengthening of his emotions.
Sure enough, with the conclusion of the first season, Inaho finally makes an emotional decision. In his last moments before Slaine shoots him, Inaho does not act according to calculations. Rather than choosing the more rational decision of staying away from the princess after she is shot by Saazbaum, Inaho crawls even closer to Asseylum. When Slaine instructs Inaho to back off of the princess, Inaho makes the emotional, irrational decision to instead turn around with his own gun out, even though he is in no fighting condition. Inaho, acting for the first time upon his newfound emotions towards the princess, has violated his characterization. It is fitting, then, that this emotional decision leads to Inaho’s undoing. Slaine, on the other hand, is the embodiment of emotions. His purpose revolves not around his own well-being but strictly that of the princess. His affection for Asseylum likely comes from the fact that she had saved his life in the past. Driven by this love, he performs several noble deeds for the princess including shooting one of Asseylum’s assassins, approaching the emperor of Vers to save Asseylum, and enduring the torture of Count Cruhteo so that Asseylum might live. Though Slaine’s characterization is markedly different from that of Inaho, he, like Inaho, is able to achieve his goals for most of the anime.
As the ending of Aldnoah.Zero draws near, Slaine’s emotions which had served him well so far become his downfall. A number of events sway Slaine to view the Martian cause more favorably: Count Cruhteo briefly shows sincere repentance and kindness to Slaine after having tortured him, Count Saazbaum takes Slaine in and nurses him back to health, and a Martian soldier recognizes Slaine as an ally of equal status. These all influence Slaine’s emotional mindset, which is ultimately manifested in his saving of Count Saazbaum. Soon after, Slaine is unable to fire the final shot into Count Saazbaum, further reflecting the fact that Slaine’s emotions have betrayed his purpose. This paradoxical behavior of rescuing one who is hell-bent on assassinating the princess can only be justified by the effect of recent events on Slaine’s emotions. As a result of Slaine’s emotions, Count Saazbaum has the opportunity to shoot the princess, which he immediately takes. This, combined with seeing the princess’ fondness for Inaho, puts Slain into a rampage, shooting both Count Saazbaum and then Inaho (an idea we will explore in what follows). As such, in the first season of Aldnoah.Zero, emotions result in Slaine’s failure to protect the princess. It is not unreasonable to expect that the second season of Aldnoah.Zero will continue to detail the decay of him as a character. For example, should Asseylum have survived the shot, Slaine may resort to underhanded and unethical tactics in order to hide the truth of Inaho’s death from her, bringing him deeper and deeper into moral wretchedness. Then the final scene of the opening song may foreshadow Asseylum’s revenge on Slaine upon discovering the truth, in which case Slaine will have been completely undone by the one he had so desperately tried to save – all due to Slaine’s tendency for emotion.
Furthermore, the ending to Aldnoah.Zero is more than just the completion of the characterizations of Inaho and Slaine. Its subtitle, “Let Justice Be Done Though the Heavens Fall”, derives from the Latin legal phrase “Fiat justitia ruat caelum”. In one of its classical forms, this phrase refers the story of Piso’s justice. According to this tale, the Roman governor Piso, while he was angry, ordered the execution of a soldier who had returned without his comrade on the grounds that if he could not produce his companion, he had presumably killed him. As the soldier was about to be executed, however, the very comrade who had supposedly been murdered appeared. The executioner thus halted the execution and brought the condemned soldier back to Piso, expecting a reprieve. But Piso, in his rage, ordered for the three of them to be executed. The condemned man was to be executed as his sentence had already passed, the executioner because he failed to carry out his duty, and the man who appeared because he had been the cause of the death of two innocent men. Today Piso’s justice is viewed as a justice carried out under the influence of emotion that may have been technically correct, but morally wrong.
Piso’s justice is analogous to the three deaths that conclude the first season of Aldnoah.Zero. Here Asseylum is the condemned soldier whose sentence is long overdue. It is only after many attempts on her life and near death experiences that she is finally, but wrongfully, put to death. Count Saazbaum is the executioner who had failed to carry out his duty the first time. Lastly, Inaho is the third man. Inaho shows up at an opportune time, able to save the princess on multiple occasions. However, in the eyes of Slaine (who in this allusion is Piso), Inaho simply endangered the princess with his plots and defeated the count. From the watcher’s perspective, indeed Slaine has carried out a justice driven by emotion that is morally wrong. Though Piso’s justice ends here, Piso’s story goes on. In an unrelated event, Piso is put on trial by the emperor of Rome. However, this trial never occurs as Piso died, with rumors claiming that Piso was poisoned by the emperor. This supports the previous prediction that Asseylum may have survived to eventually extact her revenge on Slaine in the second season.
Urobuchi Gen, the concept designer for Aldnoah.Zero, is well known for his anime that criticize utilitarian justice (for example, Psycho-Pass). With the both seasons of Aldnoah.Zero perhaps Urobuchi is trying to address the flaws within an emotion-based justice like the one Slaine carried out. Whether this is true or not, the first season of Aldnoah.Zero has already illustrated several important points about human emotion. First, that emotion is intrinsic in human existence; even the most stoic man cannot avoid it. Second, that emotion, especially in excess, creates paradoxical behavior which easily leads to ruin. Therefore, the ending of Aldnoah.Zero is neither abrupt nor existing purely to provide shock. Instead, it is the culmination of masterful writing and character development.
EDIT: changed “death of Slaine” to “death of Inaho” in the second paragraph
TL;DR: Inaho’s death makes sense because of the kind of character he is. It is fitting that upon his emotions influencing his actions, he dies. Slaine on the other hand is very emotional. However, his strong emotions prove to be his downfall. The events leading up to the ending only confuse Slaine as to whether he should side with the Martians who are trying to kill the princess or the princess. This results in him saving Count Saazbaum, who in turn kills Asseylum, undoing Slaine. Also, the three deaths in the ending of Aldnoah.Zero allude to Piso’s justice (discussed in greater detail in the third and second to last paragraphs).”
…And yeah, this is the link of the original post.