Double Feature: Knights of Sidonia 2 +3

Predictable yet rather unsettling.

sidonia-no-kishi-opening

It’s been a long while internet.  Where have I been? Certainly not detained by the police in relation to my alter ego, supervillainess The Sinister Scissorer and my Aerial Simian Army.

But in short it’s good to be back and I will be doing a lot of catch up. There may or may not have been scares regarding complications in my recovery, among other problems involving the roof caving in.

Knights of Sidonia returns where we left off last time, the Gauna attacking the students.

Flashing back, we have a bit of a bonding moment as some of the trainees are warding off bad luck with a handshake ritual. Yamano is of course a snooty bitch about how it’s childish nonsense.  Mostly, she’s rather bitter about Tanikaze being made a pilot for basically no other reason than he tickles the Captain in the right places.  Apparently GARDES pilots are something of special forces in Sidonia.  Not just anyone can be accepted into the ACADEMY, let alone graduate.

Yamano is devoured by the Gauna.  Sucks to be you. Perhaps you should have been more friendly with the Chosen One.

Sorry, it just feels heavy handed here.  We’re going to see the recurring theme that the best of the best are no match for the power of Tanikaze’s….heart. Not his dick his heart.  Because of course.  Notable though, is that the Gauna fights after the mechs to get the tasty Human candy inside.  So either it is able to differentiate energy signals between the robot and the Human, or, the more pants-soiling option, this is a Gauna who has experience with Humans and knows how to fight them.

Sidonia readies a Mass Driver, and fires it at the Gauna.  It’s, strangely, like an oil drum that they designed for this specific weapon. The show doesn’t explain this, so I will, as while this may be a science fiction staple, many of you may not be here for the sci-fi. A Mass Driver is basically a giant railgun.  The idea is that you can harness asteroids and other space debris as a weapon.  It is a purely kinetic energy weapon, which is why Sidonia is using it to distance itself from the Gauna by altering the Gauna’s momentum.  But these seem to be engineered projectiles.  Kind of a waste of all that metal when your colony is scraping by.  The trainees are given the evacuation order.

Except for Tanikaze, who engages the Gauna even after being killed by heart failure.  This doesn’t seem to phase the commander at all.

He’s rescued from his bloodlust by his teammates, and the Mass Driver impacts, obliterating the asteroid and sending the Gauna into deep space.

Knights-of-sidonia-Talking-bear

After the break, we see that the demilitarization protest has been reduced to a single old man.  That’ll show you for doubting your government betters!  Again, Kobayashi reaffirms that communication with Gauna is impossible.  Naturally this will be a plot point later in the series.

The trainees are in business as usual, having classes about History.  With a Gauna three days away, you’d think there would be more prep for some major operation or something. We learn more about the history of Sidonia, both here in class and afterwards, that photosyntheis was adopted about 100 years ago after the last major Gauna attack.  The explaination, however, is that food synthesis technology was lost during this last war.  Okaaaay.  You mean it’s easier to engineer Humans to absorb light than to design rice with minimal nutritional requirements?  Don’t get me wrong, the photosynthetic thing is a great idea.  It just seems like the fact it was a response to a crisis, rather than a directed goal once the technology was developed, that seem to strain credulity here.  Even accepting that most of Sidonia’s food is grown in a greenhouse-like environment, it seems odd to me that THIS was the easiest solution.  And how would it have been implemented without the entire previous generation dying off from starvation?  And it obviously isn’t capable of being implemented in already developed Humans, as that should have been one of the first things done to Tanikaze.

Of course, I’m not willing to gamble this isn’t part of the theme.  Much like Shinsekai Yori, later on when we get deeper into Sidonia’s political structure, even if this is never addressed…is this the conclusion we are meant to take away?

We also get treated to the kids playing pranks on Tanikaze.  Sure there might be a Gauna flying at the colony, but fuck it if we can’t be dickbags in our downtime.

We’re also introduced to the gravity harness.  And a little bit of exposition. The Kazizashi spears, those weapons used to fight Gauna, were only brought to Sidonia 100 years ago during the war, by Tanikaze’s grandfather it seems.

Wait, what? He just “brought back” a bunch of spears? From where? They’re in deep space. There’s more to this story, but don’t just fly by it like the most natural thing in the world, show.

We see the elites come to the academy to meet Tanikaze.  We’re supposed to be shocked and impressed but….why? He is the ONLY mortal man to have fought the Gauna and gotten away.  Naturally you’re going to probe him for some information when you’re expecting to battle one in the near future.

Episode 3 picks up here, and it seems Tanikaze has a stalker, Yuhata.  I like her, since she’s actually doing some emoting with her lines.  About damn time.  We’ll also find out she has a brilliant tactical mind and is being recommended for command.

So, we’re having this “Gravity Festival” on Sidonia.  In it is a GARDES tournament, where our elite squad responsible for killing the Gauna is competing.

Look, we knew RIGHT from the point last episode where Yamano was killed for not being Tanikaze that these guys are going to fail. I’m not spoiling shit by saying that right now.  But on top of this, not only are we holding a festival a day before a Gauna arrives, but jousting with mechs and forcing them to undergo needless repairs? This shit kind of makes sense when it’s been 100 years since you encountered one.  But there is literally a Gauna breathing down your neck, less than a light year away, spitting distance in galactic terms.

Now our elite squad, the Akai squad, humbly named after its commander, is nice to Tanikaze. They even invite Tanikaze and Izana to the ocean.  About 1/4 of Sidonia is a massive water reservoir. Much like in Doctor Who where “oxygen processing” is just a big forest comprising an entire deck of the ship, the idea of holding a miniature ecosystem on board gives it a sense of sustainability.  Two of them even talk about their love and how they hope the fighting’s over soon.

Oh they are so dead.

Well the mission commences and yes, it’s gone to shit.  What I find most odd is that while the last fight was strictly classified, this one’s being broadcast for the trainees to watch.

I will credit this, though you see it coming a mile away and it’s completely predictable, the way it is shown is credible.  The combat squad isn’t SO incompetent that you wonder how they even got into the military, they are doing things as professionally as possible.

It’s just an extension that was seen by the supposed relationship between two members, how military discipline has slackened a bit in the era of peace.  And despite simulations being well and good, their judgment is still compromised. Such as Akai heading off to save Momose.  He lacks the experience to know if/when a teammate is lost. And really that kind of knowledge is lost to the human race on the whole.

Though, strangely, I have to cite video games.  If you play a game with small-scale pvp, you may be tempted to help your friend being wailed on. While sometimes you save their ass, other times you may just end up giving the other guy the opening to kill you both. And that’s just relative judgment, it’s always hard to say one way or another.  These are things that the Top Gun in the Sidonia universe may address, but it’s going to vary how much that trickles in person to person.

I think this elevates this to something worth watching, whereas normally I’d be tapping my non-existent watch asking how soon until they’re all dead.

Kobayashi orders the Mass Driver fired again. But this time the Gauna swings over it, its body unencumbered by space ice.

You know how the toilets say “In the event of emergency”? It applies now.

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