Review: Aldnoah Zero Extra

(pictured: Aldnoah Zero fanart by aki)

(pictured: Aldnoah Zero fanart by aki)

(Note: This site’s central focus is on light novels officially translated and published in English, but at times I will post reviews for stories that have only been translated by fans. Please support the Japanese books that don’t get English releases.)

Aldnoah Zero (Blu-ray set 3)

Aldnoah Zero (Blu-ray set 3)

Aldnoah Zero, for those who don’t know, was an anime that aired in summer 2014 and winter 2015. It’s a mecha series about a future conflict between the people of Earth and Mars, and overall it was an anime I enjoyed watching. The action sequences were exciting, the soundtrack was fantastic, and I really liked the character Slaine.

This tie-in novel that was bundled in Japan’s third Blu-ray release for the series features none of these things. It is a prequel story about Inaho and his older sister Yuki, back when they were orphan children simply trying to get by in a world that has been severely impacted by the destruction of war. It’s a shorter novel, and has a “slice-of-life OVA” feel to it that will likely only be appreciated by those who are fans of the anime.

The story is told from the perspective of Yuki, the older sister (a refreshing point of view for light novels, right?). She is a character who is much easier to relate to than Inaho (who was the protagonist of the anime), and it’s not hard to sympathize with her dilemma. After an incident that forces the two siblings to leave their orphanage, Yuki (despite still being a child herself) takes it upon herself to raise her little brother… but he is an unusual boy in that 1) he doesn’t emote, and 2) he hardly needs any supervision whatsoever, repeatedly proving the more capable of the two in everyday, practical matters. This extra episode is thus about how Yuki struggles to connect with her little brother, and all in all it’s a sweet and tenderhearted story. It makes for a good addition to the series, as it gives some useful context for understanding the two characters.

It makes me wish something along these lines could have made it into the anime, actually! And makes me wish Yuki could have had a bigger role in the series, for that matter. At any rate…

Cho’s Rating: Recommended… for Aldnoah Zero fans

(Note: For those wanting a prequel story for Slaine and Princess Asseylum, there is an “extra episode” for that too, in the form of a short manga Frog-kun translated.)

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