Aldnoah.Zero: The Black-tailed Gull

It took me one full day to realise that the Japanese people on my twitter timeline weren’t just pulling things out of thin air. I can’t figure out if English speakers recognise the same degree of symbolism, but in Japan, there is a ‘language of birds’ in the vein of the ‘language of flowers‘. In fact, each day of the year has a ‘bird of the day‘, so-to-speak, and each of the 366 birds that appears in the calendar has a specific meaning.

It turns out – and I am now sure that Asseylum coming back this week was no coincidence – that the black-tailed gull ( umineko / ウミネコ ) is today’s bird: February 22. What’s really significant, however, is what it stands for:

Black-tailed_gull Aldnoah_Umineko
“Co-existence and co-prosperity” (共存共栄)

…Though I think I’ll leave everyone to ponder for themselves what this means for the story of Aldnoah.Zero… My own reflections on it are in my episode post

Since birds were the major motif touched on again in episode 19, I also tried to work out exactly which species of migratory birds it was that Inaho saw. The Japanese A/Z fans on twitter seem to agree that they’re wild geese (雁; they sound like it too), and one suggested that they’re the greater white-fronted goose. However, that doesn’t match the colour scheme of the birds depicted in the show. I’ve had a good look around google, but am having no luck finding a goose with plumage that’s dark except for a white underbelly and lightly coloured wingtips…

But perhaps that’s not necessary, for wild geese in general have a special meaning as a ‘pillow word’ in classical Japanese literature:

Aldnoah_Geese1 Aldnoah_Geese2
“Someone who is coming from far away” (遠つ人)

About karice
MAG fan, amateur translator and political scientist in training. I also love musicals, photography, travel and believe it or not, the game of cricket. よろしく!

16 Responses to Aldnoah.Zero: The Black-tailed Gull

  1. pira97 says:

    Very beautiful the symbolism of the birds in Japan, Asian culture constantly surprises me.

    Slaine knew Asseylum wanted a peace with Earth so what he is doing now is a betrayal of the princess dreams. Slaine’s fans can justify his actions which I do understand, the right thing for him to do was to join Earth force when he had a choice (of course Inaho can be blamed for). The same reason I don’t like Slaine character goes to Taichi, both use their individual needs to justify the collective good. And same thing goes to Politics, politicians that does policies that will favor a few’s or policies that will favor more people, the constant battle between good and evil.

    Yuki-ne will always defend Inaho even if he is wrong, that is family. Yuki-ne is like a mother and sister to Inaho.

    “As for the Aldnoah activation factor”
    Yuki-ne tears got mix with Asseylum blood and went to Inaho moth, he was able to activate.
    Lemrina kissed Slaine, he was able to activate.

    Thank you for the review of 19 and I will answer Inko in the same post.

    BTW, I think you like space exploration, you should check anime Knights of Sidonia, they followed a lot of physic laws in the anime.

    Like

    • karice says:

      I’d basically decided to skip out on posting yesterday when I looked into it on a whim, and realised that it was something I had to post yesterday because of the date! I was really caught off guard, and it meant that I didn’t finish a couple of other things I’d wanted to do, but I’m glad I gave in to my curiousity this time!

      …I think it would have been difficult for Slaine to join the Earth forces. Because I don’t think he wanted to surrender in episode 7, and that is really what he needed to do. Inaho’s response to his question about “are you planning to use the princess?” was strange, and I’m still not sure why he chose to answer it that way. In the end, however, Slaine was still the one who chose to shoot, and that’s why Inaho shot back and labelled him an enemy. What’s a little bit interesting to me this season is that Inaho has shown signs that he may not actually want to kill Slaine, despite everything…

      The same reason I don’t like Slaine character goes to Taichi, both use their individual needs to justify the collective good

      I’m still not sure what Slaine is trying to do, but my impression at the moment is that it’s the collective good (for Vers) that’s driving him at the moment. Especially now that he knows that Asseylum still wants that dream that he has abandoned.

      Re: the Aldnoah activation factor
      The problem is that the ways that Slaine and Inaho were given the factor are different. With Slaine, it appears like a kiss was enough; on the other hand, Inaho only got it when Asseylum’s blood got into his mouth. There is no pattern at the moment, so I really want them to show us clearly what is necessary…

      LOL…yeah, looks like I will have to check out Knights of Sidonia!

      Like

  2. pira97 says:

    “…I think it would have been difficult for Slaine to join the Earth forces. ”
    Yes, that is why people defect from one country to another. Slaine knew clearly the policies of the knights of Mars were wrong and he saw the princess helping the Earth forces. Slaine was born in Earth and now he is attacking Earth, it is a double betrayal, he is betraying Asseylum and his “Mother country”. I would accept if Slaine was a smart character in the beginning. The reason he didn’t defect because it would be the end of his story in A/Z.

    “I’m still not sure what Slaine is trying to do, but my impression at the moment is that it’s the collective good (for Vers) that’s driving him at the moment. Especially now that he knows that Asseylum still wants that dream that he has abandoned.”
    That is one reason, the other reason I see is that he is doing for her, instead of co-sharing Earth to her, he wants to conquer Earth for her, the reason he end up doing all this because once he became a Knight, he has to play their rules and that is to gain power, it is the only way for him to survive and protect her. That is why I keep saying he should defect because he is getting into some environment that he is not born to handle, that is why all the actions he has to do to survive in that environment.

    Slaine’s love for the princess is more like “adoration”, he wants to conquer the Earth to give her as a gift. While Inaho saw her as equal, yes I agree with you that Inaho main motive is not to conquer her love, but he likes her, especially when she got shot, instead of him trying to shoot back that person, he went to her.

    I also agree that the pattern for Aldnoah activation factor is DNA, when Lemrina kissed Slaine, she was also passing saliva to him, saliva has DNA, DNA has a life span. That is why they can only activate for a short time.

    PS: Knights of Sidonia is not only space exploration, but there are some social issues, individualism and collectivism and of course a lot of sci-fic. I would love to read what you have to write.

    Like

    • karice says:

      That is one reason, the other reason I see is that he is doing for her, instead of co-sharing Earth to her, he wants to conquer Earth for her, the reason he end up doing all this because once he became a Knight, he has to play their rules and that is to gain power, it is the only way for him to survive and protect her. That is why I keep saying he should defect because he is getting into some environment that he is not born to handle, that is why all the actions he has to do to survive in that environment.

      You are right that this was his second goal (other than changing Vers) — to gain enough power to keep her safe. Or perhaps, we could even say that changing Vers is necessary so that Asseylum can be safe in the long run. Unfortunately for Slaine, the methods he has chosen to do this have led to his betrayal of her ideals.

      The problem for Slaine is that in wanting to save the princess, he needed a clear way to do it. And to him, the Earth forces were using her; the only way he could think of trying to save her was by using Saazbaum and his standing in Vers. Even if Saaz masterminded the plot to assassinate her, Slaine was in a position to bargain for her life with him. He was in no such position in terms of the Earth forces. Not to mention that he’d already had a run-in with Inaho.

      Like it or not, Slaine literally had no choice for that primary goal of wanting to save Asseylum’s life. He had to team up with Saazbaum at that point (episode 12). It is ironic, and extremely sad, that his decision has led him to the very sin that he accused Inaho of (using Asseylum). But it is clear that it really really hurts him…and that’s why his fans can’t hate him. Honestly, my heart is aching for him too…

      Slaine’s love for the princess is more like “adoration”, he wants to conquer the Earth to give her as a gift.

      Er…I honestly don’t think that’s what he wanted to do. He knows that the war will destroy most of Earth, so I can’t see him honestly thinking this.

      I also agree that the pattern for Aldnoah activation factor is DNA, when Lemrina kissed Slaine, she was also passing saliva to him, saliva has DNA, DNA has a life span. That is why they can only activate for a short time.

      The problem with this idea is that it doesn’t explain why Slaine could activate the Tharsis the first time around (in episode 12)…

      PS: Knights of Sidonia is not only space exploration, but there are some social issues, individualism and collectivism and of course a lot of sci-fic. I would love to read what you have to write.

      Urgh…let me finish A/Z first, yeah? (^^;;; ) Though…I also have a whole lot of episode commentaries to summarise, so I’m not sure I’ll be able to do much with Sidonia… Besides that, Sidonia is based on a manga series, and I get the feeling that I mostly go into series to this extent when I’m actually looking at the original work (e.g. Chihayafuru, A/Z)…

      Like

  3. Alex says:

    Hey Karice was reading your rammblings on ep 19 and just curious of the comments of the rental CDs you heard.

    Like

    • Alex says:

      I meant running commentary instead of rammblings lol._ sorry about that.

      Like

    • karice says:

      haha… you can call them ramblings if you want. They’re really not much more than that, even if I try to dress it up!

      As for the rental CDs…well, I’ve only read little snippets so far (haven’t had time to go looking for any full write-ups), and they’re just about fun/crazy things so far. Nothing specifically related to the plot etc of the main story… Since they’re rental only, they’re pretty much impossible to get unless you live in Japan though, unfortunately…

      Like

  4. Alex says:

    Thank you for the reply! If I can ask one more thong. I’ve been lurking on the forums and is it true that in the latest aldnoah radio they hinted at perhaps helping Slaine.

    Like

    • karice says:

      …hm…not that I recall. I’ve listened to that one about twice, and mostly what I remember is Amamiya and Minase saying that it hurts to see Slaine the way he is. But they can’t hate him (because it’s not like he’s ‘evil’ — he clearly feels very guilty about what he’s doing, even though he feels that he can’t turn back anymore), and they want him to be saved. But I don’t remember them talking about how that might happen (if it does).

      If someone can post more details about what they supposedly said, then I can try and search for the section in question — if it exists. But the last time I listened to the show was today, and I just don’t remember hearing anything about anyone helping Slaine… (Nor would they reveal that on the radio show anyway, if it hasn’t happened in the anime itself yet!)

      Like

  5. Pam says:

    The problem with this idea is that it doesn’t explain why Slaine could activate the Tharsis the first time around (in episode 12)…

    Didn’t Asseylum give Slaine CPR, which her saliva passed on to him? I could see it as one theory. Also him being Dr. Troyard’s son might have something to do with it, since the scientist researched Aldnoah… maybe he secretly injected Aldnoah genes into Slaine when the latter was a kid, so idk. I’m hoping the show explains more about how it’s exactly passed on because sheesh.

    Also what do you think of the people who kept insisting that Slaine is being genocidal, even though he usually reserves his attacks on the UFE military at the front lines?

    Like

    • karice says:

      Hi! Thanks for dropping by and commenting ^^

      For the first part, pira was saying that

      I also agree that the pattern for Aldnoah activation factor is DNA, when Lemrina kissed Slaine, she was also passing saliva to him, saliva has DNA, DNA has a life span. That is why they can only activate for a short time.

      Basically, the ‘short-term activation’ idea is out. We also didn’t see any light signifying transfer of the factor when Asseylum saved (‘kissed’) Slaine, so yeah, perhaps it has something to do with Dr. Troyard’s research? I agree: I really hope they clarify it!

      Also what do you think of the people who kept insisting that Slaine is being genocidal, even though he usually reserves his attacks on the UFE military at the front lines?

      By the definition of genocide under international law, Slaine wouldn’t be guilty of it yet. It’s really going to depend on what his actions from here on are going to be. I don’t think his intent is to kill all the people on Earth, so I think it comes down to what he has in mind for the people who survive the conflict. If what he does involves destroying their cultures and ways of life (the ones they had before the war) so that they can exist under a new system, then yeah, he’d be committing genocide. But we don’t know what he wants to do yet.

      Like

  6. pira97 says:

    “The problem with this idea is that it doesn’t explain why Slaine could activate the Tharsis the first time around (in episode 12)…”

    Kataphract Tharsis belonged to the Cruhteo, the emperor already activated it. Saazbaum killed Cruhteo and gave it to Slaine, he didn’t have to activate it.

    When Aldnoah Drive is activated, it does not belong to a certain person, anyone can use it.

    Like

  7. Pingback: For the record: Matare yo! | HOT CHOCOLATE IN A BOWL

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: