In a usual anime series, there should be a big overarching character or group of characters that oppose the main character’s goals. There is some sort of generalized conception that almost every villain exists for the purpose of making the good guys look good.
However, there are a good number of instances where characters get wonderful writing when it comes to their backstory, motives, and character development that labeling them as mere “villains” is somehow harsh. One of those villains is Slaine Saazbaum Troyard from the anime series, Aldnoah.Zero.
In the distant future, humanity has set up shop in the planet of Mars but they form their own faction against the humanity of Earth. The reasons for this conflict come from certain factors like how the planet Earth is a valuable resource for both sides, and more.
Going to a lower level, Slaine Troyard, the son of a researcher based on Vers (Mars), crash lands on the planet. His life was saved by the Vers Empire’s young princess, Asseylum, and from that moment he has dedicated his entire being to be of service to the princess.
After his father’s death, Slaine was despised as being of Earth-origin and he subjected to cruel treatment by his peers on Vers, with the exception of Princess Asseylum who comforted him whenever he needed it.
It would seem that the entire world crashed around him when Princess Asseylum, in hopes of creating peace between the humans of Earth and Mars, was assassinated by terrorists. With that, the flames of war were set ablaze as well as the angry heart of Slaine Troyard, who vowed to avenge his beloved princess.
He officially becomes the villain as he makes the wrong conclusion that our main character, Inaho Kaizuka, had abducted the princess who was gratefully alive. Slaine was shot by Inaho and he found himself within the care of a landing vessel.
The leader of that vessel, Count Saazbaum, put Slaine under his tutelage and has adopted him as his own son. Slaine was also made known by the count that the assassination of the princess was done in order to spark the conflict. Because of this, he’s kept information of the princess secret.
Under Count Saazbaum, Slaine quickly rose through the military ranks and gain the fame, attention he once lacked from his peers in Vers. Hell, he even married Asseylum’s half-sister, Lemrina, thus multiplying his political power within the empire. Somewhere along the line, he even faked Saazbaum’s death to inherit his properties and titles.
Slaine was no ordinary human now. He was a Count, an Orbital Knight, a high-ranking individual within the Vers Empire – but is this what he really wanted?
Slaine’s ultimate goal was to ensure that both humanities of Earth and Vers would be under one banner. But by trying to achieve this goal, he has done nothing but made his own mentality warped by power and greed.
The war had worsened. No hint of peace was in sight. Slaine had failed.
Countless instances of wrong movements, mistrust, miscommunication, failed diplomacy, unkempt secrecy. All of these failures were chasing after Slaine and ultimately, by the end of the show, caught up to him which led to his demise by Inaho Kaizuka.
Looking at Slaine’s development as a character throughout the Aldnoah.Zero series, he had a great ambition for both humanities of Earth and Mars. But his means of achieving these goals warped his understanding of what was important all along: having a moral ground.
Slaine Troyard is an example of a good guy went bad – a kind of villain that deserves a little bit of respect and admiration for, at least, trying to accomplish things in a manner that he thought was best.
Can you share your favorite villains in anime? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!