It cures what ails ya.
Sidonia begins with one of its huge recaps. This is becoming a hallmark of the series, and it really confuses me when so much of the exposition is being handled in your imagination. We could have Shinsekai Yori style flashbacks for the introductions of these episodes, showing us the history between Humanity and Gauna before the credits…I dunno, it just feels like the biggest waste.
So, if you’ll remember last time, the Gauna has dodged the mass driver. So in order to avoid it, the commander orders uneven acceleration. This is terrifying. But more terrifying is the idea that a Gauna will smash into Sidonia, and if you’ll recall, only two Gauna were involved in the last “war”, and that nearly destroyed Sidonia. Sure, they will probably beat it, but it will be a Pyrrhic victory. So the alarms go off, time to use those gravity harnesses!
Unfortunately, this seems to be something that Sidonia was ill-prepared for. Buildings are ripping apart from the stresses involved, and people are falling out buildings to their deaths, splattering into little puddles of blood. That’s a little much, guys, don’t you think? It’s almost comical in how the Humans just…vanish to be replaced by blood splatter. Kind of undermines the horror of this scene. Another issue is, while there may be enough harnesses for the inhabitants of Sidonia from the pure mathematics…no one seemed to take into account some areas will be high traffic, so our heroes spend a pants-soilingly long time looking for a brace.
But they come through more or less unharmed, though even with the harnesses, some people are badly bloodied and bruised.
All hands are launched, every available GARDES is being deployed to block the Gauna. The trainee squad, that is the ones on the ice-mission (seems they’re considered skill enough to be full pilots, of a sort) will be retrieving the spears lost to the Akai squad’s death.
Tanikaze is having a flashback to Akai and the others…but am I the only one who really hates these kind of flashbacks? You’ve met the guy TWICE, so to fill out any meaningful memory of ALL of them, you’re just going to use the SINGLE time you interacted with them. It just bothers me. It should either be ONE image in his head, something he latches onto as “symbolizing” Akai, to him. Or you need to only pull these out in characters with long histories. But a montage of the three hours you spent with them? That’s just silly in all the wrong ways.
Meanwhile, the full-fledged pilots are forming a defensive screen with their GARDES. This is a pretty visually impressive scene, and we meet the new field commander, rank 5, Samari. I like her, she emotes, and in just the few seconds we see of her, watch her deal with the responsibility of keeping morale up, and yet harboring doubts about their capability. In just twenty seconds she is way, way more interesting than most of Tanikaze’s classmates have gotten in three full episodes.
But there is good news, the retrieval squad have found the spears without much hassle, so even before the combat squads engage the Gauna, they’ll be on the way home. It’s a small victory, but command seems relieved to have ANYTHING go smoothly today.
Oh, did I misspeak? Yeah, the Gauna changes direction. It’s now headed for the retrieval squad. But they bail, and even the Gauna can’t pursue them at their little warp speed. And the Gauna…sigh, I’m going to get censored by the FCC for this, aren’t I? The Gauna’s penis is shooting a Hyggs cannon. Yes, really.
Everyone but Tanikaze’s frame is broken. Even Kanato’s comm is broken. Hoshijiro’s engines go haywire, and she’s forced to abandon her frame, but is adrift. Tanikaze studies the Gauna, determining the Hyggs’ cannon is probably a weak point. He blasts it, exposing the core and takes it out, but really did you expect less of the Chosen One?
The show is unclear if this is an ability the Gauna obtained from the frames, or just an ace it was saving in the hole. Seeing as the defining characteristic when they encountered it in Episode 1 was “an unusual mass of Hyggs particles” it really could go either way at this point.
Either way, Tanikaze isn’t letting Hoshijiro go, and goes off to pursue even though the battle with the Gauna has left him severely damaged, leading to episode 5.
You know the drill though, if you’ve seen ANY “lost at sea” type story. Interestingly, we spend the entirety of the episode with our stranded heroes, no cut backs to Sidonia at all. It adds a sense of tension and mystery as to what will save them (because we know we aren’t dumping the hero halfway through).
But…this is also Knights of Sidonia, where the characters have fewer emotions than their faces. The interaction between these two is what’s going to have to drive the episode. …Joy. Tanikaze deploys some solar sails, it at least might give them a chance if they point in the direction of Sidonia and try to close the gap.
A nice bit of continuity, there are eight meals on board. Tanikaze freaks out (I think), saying there should be enough for two months! Well, now that Humans only eat once a week, it IS. But with only a week’s worth of water for the two of them, the quantity matters little.
There’s some bonding while Hoshijiro photosynthesizes. Whereas this is done passively on the Sidonia, here she does it naked. Because science. Okay so there isn’t a mathematically tuned artificial sun here, though judging by the light they must be pretty damn close to a star. The only thing to note is Hoshijiro is evasive about why she became a pilot.
On the Sidonia, we learn some exposition. I know, I know what I said before, but this isn’t about the rescue effort, it’s a cheap way to get us backstory that the pilots who are good enough to fly into battle conditions are still getting lectures about history. Yarite.
This while Kobayashi chats with the bear. Apparently they are BOTH members of that exploratory squad 600 years ago. No reason is given for their immortality, possibly related to this mission. Another such member of that team was Tanikaze’s grandfather.
Sidonia passed an alien object (well, presumed alien) that contained the “kabi”, a strange compound that bonds to nothing, except Gauna tissue. It’s why it can rip Gauna apart. We learn about the Seed Ships, how a few hundred were sent out. We at least have a vague picture now. Humanity encountered the Gauna. It was nearly two centuries later when they arrived on Earth. This would indicate a long war where Humanity was ceding ground, and why seed ships as big as the Sidonia (though the infographic shows, Sidonia is actually a SMALL seed ship) were ready for departure.
This coincides with Hoshijiro saying she thinks the Gauna are trying to be friendly, it’s why they mimic Human form. This goes back to the first Gauna that landed on Earth.
Again, a 90 second segment at the start of each episode where we SEE these events would not hurt us, would it? I guess it’s a budget thing.
Either way this reinforces the “Gauna cannot be negotiated with” theme which will undoubtedly come up eventually.
Oh, yeah, Tanikaze drinks her piss. I know, I know, filtration. Doesn’t change the fact we wanted to appeal to that crowd. Not that there’s anything wrong with that if that gets you off. It just feels weird seeing it so lovingly focused on HERE.
Well before any more of that can happen, they’re saved! The entire defensive squad mutinied, apparently, heading out to save the Chosen One. Well, Kobayashi says there just isn’t enough room to imprison all of them, guess they have to get off without a court martial. It’s nice that Kobayashi has a sense of humanity left, it’s something we don’t see a lot from her. I mean, not to say it was implied she was ruthless, it just hasn’t had a chance to shine through since her “adoption” of Tanikaze like it has here, where she essentially is thanking them for doing what she, as a commander who needs to put the colony’s safety and needs first, could not order them to do.
I know I winced at the idea of the characters trying to hold an episode on their own, but they did manage to do it. The cast is slowly, and collectively, coming more into focus and, I hope, after this the show is really gonna take off. We’ve established some tensions, with the fucking BEAR of all people, and see that while Sidonia’s implied-police state might be cold, it is not entirely heartless yet. But how far will those good graces be pushed in the long term? I would say I’m looking forward to it, but we’ve seen how that praise turns out this season, haven’t we?