Aldnoah.Zero... I want to recommend this anime to everybody who likes drama, and war stories, and tales of almost insurmountable odds stacked up against the steadfast protagonist, but I also want to warn potential viewers about a very difficult to watch final episode without giving away any major spoilers, because anybody who spoils this series needs to be flogged with Simon Belmont's morning star whip.
Aldnoah.Zero is a very complicated anime. The set-up for the show is so detailed and complex that I think a prequel series showing us everything that took place before the opening episode would be just as amazing as this show was in the end. I'll just abbreviate the important pre-show info now in order to get into the real meat and potatoes as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Things started out in 1973 when an alien hyper-wormwhole-Tannhauser Gate is discovered on the Moon which opens up a portal to Mars. Shortly thereafter Mars is colonized, and more ancient Martian tech is discovered by the immigrants, and soon they start thinking "Fuck Earth! WE should be the ones to kick their asses and rule them all! Look at this kick-ass mecha we found here! And this powerful Aldnoah tech, which can only be run by the Crème de la crème of Martian (or as they now call themselves, Versian) society. Come on, homies, we can DO this!"
Soon the Vers Empire and Earth declare war on each other, and in 1999 the Moon and its Hypergate blows up due to some retarded battle that was taking place there. This "Heaven's Fall" incident has caused millions of tons of Moon rock to form a debris-belt around Earth, which is just one more thing that the planet-side humans needed in their daily threat levels.
It is now 2014 and Earth finally has a weapon that can kind-of, sort-of hold its own against the Aldnoah-powered mecha that the Versians have filling up their arsenal.... Well, these Earth mechs can maybe hold their own when there are at least 5-6 of theirs against one Aldnoah device. Earth teenagers now go to mech-training schools to learn how to fight, and the planet is constantly on high alert, while Vers royalty park their giant, threatening war ships above their heads just itching to start a fight in order to grab all the natural resources that their new Mars homeworld does not possess.
Okay, here's where we first meet our main stoic hero, Kaizuka Inaho, and his rather large group of friends and family (who are all either in the military or currently in training). They all go to see the Martian princess, Asseylum Vers Allusia, as she travels to Earth in order to preach peace (something the rest of her people are kind of against). But before her motorcade can even make it to the secure UN building that the peace talks are to take place in, a missile attack blows the fuck out of the princess' car, and the Martian Vers Orbital Knights launch a retaliatory attack on the Earthlings below them. Inaho and pals then go on the run, using their military knowledge and Inaho's own tactical GENIUS mind to either avoid the all-but-indestructible Vers mecha, or to strike decisive (though unlikely at first) victories against their enemies when the almost savant-level of Inaho's abilities becomes clear. The kid can fight somebody for 10 seconds and then see their Achilles' heel and exploit it like no other! It is truly fucking awesome to see Inaho's mind in motion.
We also follow Troyard Slaine, a Terran teenager who is on the Vers side of the conflict after his father and he literally crashed into the Martian princess' bath 5 years earlier (nothing kinky). We see all the terrible plotting and backstabbing occurring in the Vers' factions and learn the truth about the war through Slaine's eyes. See, Slaine loves Princess Asseylum Vers Allusia for saving him after the crash, and for treating him like an equal when the rest of the Versians literally beat him and spit on him whenever the princess isn't around. Seriously, like she'd just walk out the door and the nearest Orbital Knight will kick the poor kid in the johnson. Then the belittling begins when he's on his hands and knees. Aristocratic douches. All of them.
This show is all about power, or should I say "POWAH!" Power, and who can grab the most of it. It's about unfair advantages, and those willing to rise up and challenge those who think that because they have the bigger stick they're right. It's about revenge, and fear, and bravery. It will make you cheer many times, but then it'll turn around and kick you in the gut with steel-toed boots just to see the look on your face.
Aldnoah.Zero is like a mix of Code Geass, Crest of the Stars, and Gunparade March. It is a very brutal and desperate story, and that ending is one of the biggest..... GYA! I can't even TALK about it without spoilers, and I don't even want to hint at what goes down in that last episode. They say that there's another season coming out in the new year, but I don't know when I'll actually get around to watching it. I'm still in shock with how insane this first season ended. That's the only warning I'll give you, and if somebody tries to spoil any of the storytelling to you, aim for their larynx.
Also, this series has got a fantastic soundtrack (and very memorable op and ed songs), and for somebody with feminazi friends, it's got a lot of strong, but realistic female characters. They're all soldiers in this show, and I can't remember one character running away and crying or whining over anything (well, no more than any real person would). They do their duty and that's that.
Aaaaaaand, that's all I have to say about that.
Holy shit, G! This Aldnoah show was IN-TENSE!!! I couldn't believe when that one guy ██████ ████ and ██████ tried to ████████ his █████ by severing the █████ ███ ████████ when that one Vers psycho said "████ █████ ███ █ ███ ██████" and everybody lost their shit! Then that one chick just had to go and ███ █████ ██ █████████ ██ ███ █████! It blew my mind! Then, in that final final scene when that guy with the █████ and the ███ ███████ the ███ at the ████ ██████████ but that one chick with the ██████ ████ ███ in the ███... Or maybe he meant to... Hmmmm, I'll have to rewatch it to see if ███ ████████ was because of ███ ████████ or because he ███ ███ ██████ asshole who just had to shit on everybody's parade because ██ ██████ ███ ███████ ██ ███.*
(*Spoiler-proofed by the Rossman)
So, yeah, it blew my mind. Good times.
Oh yeah. So original. This show is just the bees' knees, isn't it... Let's see, there's a war going on, one side doesn't like getting ruled by the other, humanoid mecha are created to fight the war, a huge tragedy occurs with the help of a satellite either on or near the planet Earth and a lot of people die, one kid with a lot of friends rises from the canon-fodder to become the greatest mecha pilot ever... I could go on, but you get the gist.
Alls I'm saying is that it's been done before. Some would argue it's been done MUCH BETTER before.