Aldnoah.Zero takes the common archetypes of the Gundam franchise–teenaged mecha pilots, a military ship transporting civilians/refugees, indestructible giant mecha, and (my personal favorite) aristocracy in space–and makes them into something new with the help of the world building. This is not the year 2014 we know, though it shows as many similarities as it does differences. There are smartphones and internet and regular Japanese high schools, but there is also a hostile space empire literally hovering over everyone’s heads somewhere around the destroyed Moon. Therefore, it is plausible that the United Earth mandated military training for all high school students, which in turn informs why a group of teenagers can pilot a couple giant war machines and the military is totally okay with this.

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