What defines Aika Zero? The fact that it deliberately imitates fetish porn? The fact that the overarching target for the first story arc is a giant phallus, which must be destroyed before it succeeds in emptying its fiery load? The fact that the show goes further than the original Aika, blurring the line between titillation and parody of pornographic content?
The men are almost nonentities. Even the “poppa” who shows up in the original Aika as a badass gunman seems limited to a support function. This isn’t just in terms of plot – the very character designs of the men in Aika Zero are generally limited and lacklustre compared to the outfits the women wear. They are visually designed to be less noticeable.
Perhaps it’s unsurprising given the content. To take the visual metaphor at face value, there’s a lot of penetration in Aika Zero, all of it girl-on-girl. Men, who lack the ability to thrust at a distance with rigid rods made of pulsing energy, are comparatively (and ironically) emasculated. Aika herself doesn’t do this, instead destroying and subverting the essence of those who attempt to invade her body. There’s a lesson in that, if one wishes to see it – the hard-edged, aggressor women seem almost male in their obsession with dominance and penetration, and the “pure-hearted” Aika who uses more stereotypically feminine means to turn encounters around is the ultimate victor.
But really, if this is a show that tries to teach lessons about female empowerment, they’ve disguised it well.