Aldnoah Zero: why the hate for Slaine?
People hating on Slaine seem to take issue mainly with two things that Slaine did in episode 12, that being
- saving Saazbaum
- seemingly killing Inaho.
Considering that, despite what many may believe, Inaho is not the main character but a main character, and that Slaine is also such a character, I think it is valid we look at things from his perspective as well.
- Why Slaine saved Saazbaum
To understand why Slaine saved Saazbaum, one has to at least try to understand the type of person Slaine is. Slaine is a Terran who grew up on Verse that was treated with contempt and abuse by everyone except for Asseylum, and as a result, he became so devoted to her that out of loyalty he would rather die a horrible death than betray her.
Slaine’s willingness to not only become a deserter to the Vers Empire but also fight alongside Terrans makes it clear that he does not stake is loyalty in nations but in people that are worthy of it, those being people that treat him with kindness and compassion, and of course Princess Asseylum was such a person. Asseylum was the first and only Martian to treat Slaine like a human being and he loved her because of it. Slaine’s loyalty to Asseylum has absolutely nothing to do with her royal background and everything to do with the kind of person she is.
Now, you might wonder why I would bring this up in relation to Saazbaum, the person responsible for the attempts on Asseylum’s life and who is most determined to end it.
Well, the funny thing about Saazbaum is that he is the only other Martian aside from Asseylum to have treated Slaine with some level of compassion. Yes, he wanted to kill Asseylum, and yes Slaine was aware of that, but Saazbaum also gave Slaine his freedom and opened up to him, explaining his motives and thus fostering a bond of mutual understanding if nothing else.
When it came to Asseylum, they both knew exactly where the other stood. There was no question where Slaine’s loyalties lay because they were and always would be with Asseylum.
It is important to understand that when Slaine came to Saazbaum’s rescue he did so on impulse. Princess Asseylum was nowhere to be seen.
Slaine could only see Saazbaum and Orange, and out of the two, from Slaine’s perspective, only Orange had actively impeded his efforts in reuniting with Asseylum, only Orange had tried to do him harm, and as far as he knew, Orange was simply using Asseylum.
And thus, with no princess in sight, only the man that gave him his freedom and treated with some level of respect, and Orange, who was his enemy no matter what the circumstance, Slaine chose to attack Orange.
It was a snap decision made in the heat of the moment out of some sense of misplaced sense of loyalty that he immediately came to regret.
It is easy to criticise and hating characters for making mistake, but we shouldn’t forget that these characters are meant to imitate real people, and real people make mistakes. We are all inherently flawed and imperfect and all make mistakes. It’s how we learn from these mistakes that matters.
- Why Slaine shot Inaho
This one is a lot less difficult to understand. In fact, it’s pretty easy to once you look at it from Slaine’s perspective.
The first time Slaine and Inaho met, they worked together to defeat one of the Orbital Knights. They succeeded, however, immediately after, they turned one another. Slaine aimed his gun; Inaho aimed his as well and then after a short exchange opened fire.
One could say that Inaho was justified in shooting Slaine down when aimed his turrets, and I would be inclined to agree.
What wasn’t justified, however, was leaving Slaine for dead. This wasn’t just random Martian turned rogue, this was someone they knew was looking for Asseylum and had been willing to risk death to help them if it meant saving Asseylum.
Now skip forward past the torture, past the fighting, all the way to the moment Asseylum gets shot.
Slaine fucked up. More than that, he knows just exactly how much he fucked up by saving Saazbaum. He knows he’s responsible.
But he’s not the only one.
Saazbaum is the one that actually fired on Asseylum and seemingly killed her. Slaine took him out.
And then there was Inaho, trying to crawl over the girl Slaine loved, the girl who hadn’t even noticed he was there when she was shot, and there was Orange, his enemy, trying to get to her.
It’s completely understandable that at that point Slaine had been broken and wouldn’t allow anyone to get between him and Asseylum, least of all the person that prevented them from reuniting and had taken Asseylum along on his dangerous mission.
Of course, as with their last meeting, both aimed their gun at one another, however, this time Slaine wasn’t going to be the one to be shot down, so he fired first.
It was an entirely tragic situation, but Slaine is not the only one to blame. His actions makes perfect sense if you look at it from his perspective. Yes, he made mistakes, and yes those mistakes cost him, but that’s what makes Slaine relatable. He is human, he makes mistakes and he suffers - he suffers more than anyone else.
I wish more people would try to empathise with Slaine.