Aldnoah.Zero S2 countdown Tー1 day: Aoki on Slaine and Inaho
January 9, 2015 6 Comments
|Director Aoki Ei, from COUNT TO A/Z|
I’d actually wanted to see if I could translate a range of things, but I’ve just run out of time (these interviews are loooonnnng!), so I’ll come back to some of those other tidbits another day. In the meantime, here’s some of what director Aoki Ei has said about Slaine and Inaho and the ending to S1…
From Aoki’s interview in Animedia November:
One of the features of this show is that it has two protagonists in Slaine and Inaho. What roles have you had each of them carry?
The axis of Aldnoah.Zero is the conflict between Earth and Mars, and we wanted to place them within the forces moving this conflict. On the one hand, we have Slaine as the protagonist on the Mars side. In the early stages of planning, he was actually a character hiding a strong, rebellious spirit. Despite the abuse and oppression he received at the hands of the Vers knights, within his heart burned a strong desire to return the favour one day. However, as we kept developing the story, he changed into “a boy who’s spirit has been broken through that oppression.” Even if he fights back, he has no allies, and his only reward is even greater pain, so he has no choice but to obediently follow the orders he’s given. His one solace is Asseylum, who brings kindness and warmth to his life. It’s because of this background that Slaine became a character so focused on Asseylum, to the point that he would give his life to protect her, like a faithful dog.
(Skipped Qs about how Slaine was at the start; and most of why he helped Saazbaum, because it’s covered briefly in a later question. He does make the point that it wasn’t as if Slaine chose the livelihood of the Vers people over Asseylum’s life — rather, when he saw Saazbaum at the mercy of the orange Kat, he chose to save the person he knew (and who’d saved his life) from someone he saw as an enemy.)
Turning now to the protagonist on the Earth side, Inaho: how would you describe him?
Inaho is the character created so that we could demonstrate how the attacks from Vers affect the people of Earth, from the point of view of a normal high school student. In order to show how our protagonist could defeat the far more powerful Martian Kataphrakts with the weaker Earth ones, because of his keen observation skills, calm demeanour and good judgement, we gave him a calm and reticent personally right from the get-go. However, the further we got in the planning stages, the more calm and collected he became. But even though his expressions don’t change much because of this personality, it’s not that he’s emotionless. He actually thinks about his friends more than most others would, and he also has good leadership qualities.
Could you tell us why Inaho is always so calm and collected?
It’s not really touched on in the show, but Inaho lost his parents during the “Heaven’s Fall” incident, when the Hypergate explosion blew the moon to pieces. Since then, he and Yuki have basically supported each other. They’ve had help from others, but because the two of them have had to manage everything themselves, they’ve probably gone through some difficult times too. Within that kind of daily life, he’s probably developed the view that “Just thinking and worrying about something won’t get it solved. I have to choose the best action to take and just get on with it.”
(Again, skipped the question about how Inaho has changed, for the same reason as above. Also skipped a question about what Aoki likes to focus on, because Takayama mentioned it in his A/Z Report interview. But I may translate this one later if I can find the time!)
Which scenes do you think best show how much these two protagonists (Slaine, Inaho) have changed?
I would have to say episode 12, without a doubt. For the Slaine we met at the start of the story, his reaction in this scene could believeably have been to run to Asseylum and fight with Inaho to protect her. That he didn’t shows that, due to his understanding of Saazbaum’s great cause, his view of the world in which Princess Asseylum was held above everything else has been shaken greatly.
Another thing about that scene is that Inaho’s actions after Asseylum is shot are completely different from what we (the production committee) originally envisioned. That scene has changed a lot from what we planned at first. Originally, even though Slaine turned his gun on Saazbaum, he was meant to be unable to shoot because he had started to sympathise with that great cause. On the other hand, Inaho didn’t turn towards Asseylum, but instead tried to finish off Saazbaum by shooting him, even though he himself was heavily wounded. However, because he was reeling (from his injuries), he would miss several times, and Slaine would shoot him in the end.
So the end result of Slaine shooting Inaho remained the same, but the way it happened was completely different.
At the start, we thought that Inaho wouldn’t really change that much even though he was acting alongside Asseylum. But as the story progressed, Asseylum’s existence had much more of an impact on him then expected. Until that point, Inaho had always strived to complete the objective, based on that cool, logical side of his. The fact that he has done something so unthinkable, given his personality, shows just how much he’s changed.
edit: (2015-01-10) Just realised that lots of people made some interesting interpretations of this section when I first translated it here, so I’ll just clarify. It’s not that Asseylum didn’t change Inaho at all in the original plan – she did. The question was how much she’d changed him, and in the course of filling out the story, writing the scripts and the storyboard, the change turned out to be bigger than any of them had imagined at the start. -karice
Since Aoki’s interview in Guidebook 1 says something similar about both Slaine and Inaho, I’ll just leave it aside for the moment. In fact, a lot of what I’ve read so far was also covered in the radio show episode that I’ve already translated! The major point that comes through time and time again, however, is that Aoki is the one responsible for the characters. Generally speaking, what he’s most interested in is how characters and their relationships change in the course of a story.
But in signing off, let me highlight again something that Aoki said on the radio show:
Amamiya: So Inaho and Asseylum having fallen in that final episode, was that also in the original story outline?
Aoki: No, it was slightly different.
Aoki: The story has remained the same, but the route we are taking is different.
Minase: Waaah…I’m really curious about the route you didn’t take!
Amamiya: Yeah, I really want to ask about that!
The thing is, the ending that Aoki describes in his Newtype interview above seems to have Inaho and Asseylum both falling as well. So, if Aoki was answering Amamiya literally, then does that mean the the original story outline was different yet again? Or was he not answering the question that literally, taking it to mean “was the ending exactly as you first envisioned it?” instead? I wonder if he’s discussed it in any other interviews!