Knights of Sidonia: Episode 8

Hoshijiro is love.

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If your exposure to Sidonia has been primarily through reviews such as this one, this is the part where I tell you to go watch the show already. This week was excellent and lost none of the momentum, in fact, doubling down on us with awesomeness of basically answering those lingering questions at once.  There are still a few things that remain unclear. but at this point they exist to drive the action now, because the answers are bound to be so big they will lead to new threads.

In short, Knights of Sidonia snuck up on us with the tapestry it was weaving and now it’s starting to look damn awesome, but we know it’s only 2/3 finished. Even if the ending is trite and WTF, hey, since when have we really held Evangelion anime to account for that kind of thing?

Of course this all comes as no surprise to the manga enthusiasts who assure us it’s even more amazing in print.  Perhaps, but this week was very visual and the cell-shade style has really done wonders for the choreography here.

Recalling last time, there are three Gauna alive still, and all in the form of Hoshijiro’s frame.

Oh, it gets better.

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Midorikawa splits the squads, each one taking on its own opponent, Kunato, Samari, and some squad that all wears the same red shirt.

And our main heroes are pisssssssed. They know Gauna copy images of that which they devour from time to time.  The action is pretty good, and tension runs high.  It’s an excellent fight sequence already and we haven’t even gotten to the real heavy action yet.

Two of the…uh…dodectuplets…will be lasering the Gauna while Kunato and Tanikaze attack the core.  It’s rather nice to see Kunato behaving normally for a change. We don’t even have time for them to share a grudging “against the common enemy” stare into their comms.

Until a staticy voice comes over that comm in a meek helpless, “It hurts…”

Yes, there is a piece of the Gauna that is a copy of Hoshijiro.

…One of them.

Another of the Gauna-frames is just obliterating the redshirt squad. And after each kill we get Hoshijiro’s voice communicating as much, with this…very off-putting giggle. Although, to my ears, it doesn’t have the same filter on it as the rest of her speech, with the static and intonation.  Not the way it sounds cut and paste, that I’m sure is intentional.  But it’s like…all of her words are taken from an old, grainy VHS, but the giggle is off a freshly released DVD, you know?  But in the sense of being completely sexy creepy how she always laughs the exact same way? Oh yes.

Kunato cracks under the pressure, he hangs onto his compousre long enough to kill the frame they’re after, after a prompting from his squadmates.  Tanikaze, meanwhile, has managed to sever the Hoshijiro portion from the Gauna before its disintegration.  Samari’s squad destroys her target, and they all converge on the redshirt squad, which is destroyed JUUUUST as they arrive to help. Kunato cracks and runs, and the Gauna kills one of the twins.  Damn, 5 and 0.  But as Tanikaze and Samari arrive, the Gauna realizes it’s up against protagonists, and bolts. Tanikaze manages to recover the detached Hoshijiro, bringing it back to the council of immortal wiggling jackasses for study.

The second half of the episode is mostly backstory, but no less exciting.  Other than the fact we will be seeing the past from…sigh…the Bear’s point of view.

She’s having an argument with Kobayashi over why she constantly puts Tanikaze on the front lines.  She says the council wants it that way, as the only way to kill Tanikaze is probably with a Gauna.  Hmm.   Apparently, they both joined said immortal council of wiggling jackasses.  Whether or not that loyalty is still there is certainly up for debate, and they both seem to have interpretted their commitment different.  The Bear says their duty is to Sidonia’s mission, while Kobayashi says her oath is to serve Sidonia itself. Subtle difference, but it’s there.

I figured it out! Lala (that’s the Bear) mostly gets a pass from me because she reminds of the Redwall Badger mothers! Sneaky.

Flashing back 100 years,  in the immediate aftermath of the Fourth War, where some 400 survivors exist.

…Sidenote, this is probably why so many people in Sidonia seem identical.  It’s certainly not the smallest bottleneck in Human history (some calculate as small as 40-200 breeding females about 600,000 years ago), but pretty damn small.

Along with this fellow chained up and sedated, Ochiai.  He apparently ditched the Kabizashi spears of his own authority (he seems to have been one of the wiggling jackasses).  The survivors are all questioning why he’s being kept alive.  Well we can piece it together from what we’re told, but it’s tricky, so allow me to string it together here, because it’s spread in about four disjointed pieces.

For whatever reason, Ochiai here seems to be considered a traitor, probably for leaving Sidonia defenseless against the two Gauna who attacked during the Fourth War.  His motivations are unclear, but we do learn he wiped most of Sidonia’s database.  Ancient history and technology are mostly gone.  There is ONE copy of the database left, however.  And this goes back to Lala and Kobayashi’s fight.  Kobayashi is going to be activating something called “Ochiai’s Brain”.  She says they need it to acquire the terraforming technology, which, as Kobayashi points out, makes the idea of a colony ship pretty fucking silly if you can’t terraform your objective (that is, make it Earth-like instead a giant rock).  One of Izana’s ancestors has figured out how to bypass Ochiai’s conscious brain to access the data, whereas his personality will be pushed to the side in an evil clone.

…Because that will never backfire.

We also meet Hiro, Tanikaze’s grandfather.  He’s mostly been on the side during this backstory so far, but when he disappears (and subsequently returns 80 years later), he takes center stage.  Judging from the reactions of both Lala and Kobayashi at news of his abandoning Sidonia society (which is probably fucking easy with 400 people left on the ship), it’s probably safe to say they both have a thing for him.  Where his feelings go is unclear, as we only really see him interacting with Lala, having had his falling out with Kobayashi already. But we do see this is the reason she wears her mask.

So, the immortality bestowed on these council servants is medical.

…I’ve seen the science. You harvest the blood of infants for this, don’t you?

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We see Kobayashi and Izana’s grandmother (I guess?) in front of a tank. With a fetus. It’s a clone of Hiro, and it’s going to be genetically immortal, not medically like the rest of them.  Seems this is standard practice for council members as, even though they slow down aging quite a bit, every now and then they do need a fresh body and transfer their brain.

…Oh crap.

Yes, after beating seven kinds of shit out the guards, even as an old man, Hiro takes the child (after he’s grown out of being a fetus, of course) and escapes into the Sidonia catacombs, of sorts.

And we end on possibly the most adorable thing ever. A floating Hoshijiro Gauna, trying to speak. Though her mouth isn’t moving, she’s just making the sounds.  About her mother. And Tanikaze.

Oh my god I’m in love.

So, minor question, probably nothing…but if Kobayashi altered Tanikaze without anyone’s knowing (and as Izana talked about her Grandmother in the past-tense, did she kill the only other person who knew?), is he related somehow (help us all, is he gen2) of the evil clone of Ochiai? Probably not, but I’m throwing it out there for completeness.

But looking back on a lot of the questions we’ve asked over the past seven episodes, we did get a lot of answers here, even if only passively, such as the twintuplets and how small the number of survivors was, which explains how they managed to endure without their Monsanto technologies.

Ah but, if the episode is to be believed, they DO have access to most of their tech.  Is there some tech buried so deep in Ochiai’s brain that it cannot be safely accessed without him asserting will? Or is this a genuine search for terraforming tech (as the alien cheese 600 years ago that gave us the kabizashi) and Ochiai has some kind of alien call that draws in Gauna? After all, Hoshijiro proved there are something you’d call “Human sympathizers” towards the Gauna, even though she did fight them for her friends safety.  Unless she literally thinks Tanikaze WAS space-jesus, being Ochiai’s bastard child with Hiro clones, and protected him as part of some deep seated cult ritual…

But even I think I’m starting to stretch things. Just a bit.

Still, lots of possibilities have opened up, and that’s what’s making Sidonia so engaging.  Excellence in motion tends to stay in motion.

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