Knights of Sidonia: Episode 9

I will protect Izana’s frog face!

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Opening this week’s recap, I have to say the recap does something good. Right? But the way the sequence is fitted together, it establishes the Benisizume (the elite Gauna Hoshijiro that killed six people) as Tanikaze’s opposite and equal, a rather elegant framing of this dynamic, to be sure. And looking at it that way, it just might be the reason this fight happened. Benisizume retreats after making a statement, and this was a good recap that didn’t just feel like rehash.

Tanikaze has been summoned.  The specimen portion of the Hoshijiro frame he killed has been calling his name, unfortunately their first session is terminated after she strikes at the glass separating them. But, as Numi, the scientist studying her, points out, they still don’t actually know enough about the Gauna to be sure it was her trying to attack, and not trying to satisfy curiosity.   But in the bar, Tanikaze is despondent, not really getting into the chat the other pilots are holding, saying they’ll need to redress their tactics if the Gauna can fight like Humans now.

Kunato is taking a leave of absence, probably after wetting his pants at his dead squadmate tormenting him. And wouldn’t you know it Ochiai’s brain is housed beneath his family’s manor. The captain’s entourage is here.

And, oh snap, Ochiai’s brain isn’t being stored somewhere safe, his body is actually allowed to walk around.  They just strap him in and blast him with this device that looks like a Rube Goldberg Tesla coil.

Speaking of things begging to end in tears, the Emigration movement was successful, some 100,000 people wish to embark Sidonia and take their chances.  Apparently, despite the fact they all know they are in a region of heavy Gauna activity, the Emigrants think that if they forego the Kabizashi that the Gauna won’t attack them.

Sure. Because that’s totally why they destroyed Humanity in the first place, right? No, wait, we didn’t find the Kabi substance until 400 years after that.

I can certainly understand the theory of “safer”.  But planting an immobile colony on the Gauna’s doorstep? There must be a better alternative to this nonsense. I just see this going down like the Crystalline Entity in Star Trek, Gauna just swallowing a defenseless planet of farmers and nothing anyone can do about it.

But like it or not, it IS Sidonia law that any request greater than 50,000 people must be accommodated. And I do like that there’s SOME democratic process on the Sidonia.  It may be martial law most of the time, but they still have their principles.

But Tanikaze doesn’t give a fuck. Not about current events, not about training, not even about FOOD. Holy shit, anime protagonist not caring about food? We’re off the edge of the map here, people. Anything could happen.

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He excuses himself from being pinned between Midorikawa and Izana, getting called away by the lab.

But before long, Gauna alert. And here is the first hint of Tanikaze’s obsession taking hold, as he is completely caught off guard that his frame is carrying the Kabizashi. He’s been promoted to squad leader in Kunato’s absence, but even I don’t think Sidonia’s military is so incompetent as to have not sent him a briefing or comm message about this. Or maybe they are. Wouldn’t shock me.

We see a montage of Tanikaze leading his squad to victory after victory over the Gauna…to then go straight to sitting and chatting with the Hoshijiro Gauna. I say chatting, because I presume he’s doing more than sitting there, staring at it for hours, but hey, who knows?  She isn’t the most talkative doppelganger exactly.

And a very interesting scene that I love because it says so much about Sidonian society and Human nature.  At the conclusion of this montage, Izana is chatting with Midorikawa about how Tanikaze never hangs out with them anymore. Midorikawa says that ONLY Izana can get through to him! This makes Izana blush.  Which Midorikawa follows up with “you being a man and all”, which makes Izana glare at her.

Now, we don’t know how prolific this third, adaptable gender is.  Might be in the manga but we’ve never really gotten hard numbers in the anime.  But, as Izana treats it as a natural development of the past 100 years, we have to assume at least a sizable portion, either a noticeable minority, say, 5% (put another way, the approximate gay population) to anywhere as high as full even distribution, around 33%.  If it’s completely functional, from the purely scientific standpoint, the closer we get to that 33% mark the more sense it makes, as at equal distribution, your given potential partners in a breeding population rise from 50% to 66%, a boon to overall species survival.

But as this exchange shows us…it’s not all scientific, there are still sociological considerations to be had.  And, to our knowledge, Izana is the only third-gendered character we are exposed to with any real frequency, making it likely this is on the small end of the scale.

Now Midorikawa isn’t exactly wrong…but she’s not right either.  Particularly because there is something emotional to this “adaptability” component, I’d wager.  And right now Izana is attracted to Tanikaze, so she is probably feeling more on the feminine side.

But remember when Tanikaze was in school. The students shoved food in his locker, mocked him for not being photosynthetic, also an unnatural change to occur in the past 100 years.  That is universal, it is everywhere, and everyone treats it as just another thing that Humans are supposed to be.

Now we get to Izana’s gender, and there is still this holding to the old way of perception.  Midorikawa fits Izana into a gender binary because that’s just what Humans are.  There are either not enough of them to be ubiquitous, and thus clear up these kind of accidental insults, or it is a statement to how if it is different, even on something as “close” as the experience of gender, it is not worth understanding…something we can also apply to the Gauna.

I just love this exchange as it encapsulates so much about this theme in Sidonia about what it is to be Human. And it barely lasts seven seconds.

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Cutting to Tanikaze in the lab, we get to the heart of this matter, for him. He asks Numi what if a Gauna could copy Human personality and emotions, and not just her form?  This is basically our confirmation that Tanikaze is using the Gauna copy of Hoshijro to absolve himself of his guilt at being partially responsible for her death.

And Numi answers…sigh…”As a scientist, I’d have to answer they are the same core person”.  No…no that’s the OPPOSITE of what you should be saying.  Philosophers can say it is the same person, but a scientist needs to acknowledge that, at the least, you don’t yet know enough about how the Gauna think or communicate or express thought to make that judgment call.

Numi is anthropomorphizing the Gauna to such a degree you’d think she was a complete amateur.  I mean…sure maybe the author is, but you’ve been soooo good about this shut, Sidonia!  There is no way for us, with no real data, to ever know if an alien life form…hell…even if an AI, or even an ANIMAL that ALSO evolved on Earth…process thought and emotions the way we do.

For example. Prisons. Prisons are a very Human concept. A logical approach…well, first off, a logical approach would probably re-evaluate how a prison operates and if it’s even a worthwhile investment in the first place.  And that’s without getting into the American Prison Industrial Complex, I just mean as they exist in MOST regions of the world, where they still exist to separate those who cannot co-habit with the rest of society.

As far as life imprisonment goes…just kill them all.  They waste resources, and even if you let them have a fair amount of freedom to write, or study mathematics, or whatever they are going to do inside those walls for the next 40 years, the output will almost never justify the input. So just terminate them all.

But as Human beings, we don’t do that, because we have ethics and a moral code that looks at more than the resources a person is (usually…sometimes…when it’s an election year).

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But how do we KNOW that other sapient life would hold similar thoughts?  Perhaps that’s what the Gauna are doing, joining organic matter to themselves, because that’s what Gauna do, and all organic matter that THEY have encountered LOVES joining together, so why would these little pink things in the metal shells complain? You can’t be sapient without wanting to merge your organic matter with other organic matter, being incapable of that oneness is a plant thing.

It’s a silly bit of hyperbole, but you see the problem? We have no frame of reference for how this Hoshijiro experiences emotions.  And while I think it’s definitely true that the Gauna have been displaying sentience, even sapience, as of late, and certainly in this newest incarnation, we still don’t know the FORM of it.

And the fact Numi is just feeding Tanikaze this crap about how it’s “scientific” that this is the same person as Hoshijiro if she possesses all of her memories is madness.  If she were Human? Maybe. MAYBE we could argue that (and indeed, Sidonia society has this concept as its cornerstone).  But seeing as she is a Gauna, all bets are off.  At this point it would make MORE sense if Numi was only telling Tanikaze what he wanted to hear because she was afraid of interrupting the experiment.

But, when Tanikaze leaves, Numi has discovered something interesting. Hoshijiro’s eyes, they seem to always go back to the same direction, no matter the orientation of her body.  Following the trace, she sees that they’re zeroing in on the kabizashi spears. And pulling back, we see the Benisizume monitoring the Sidonia.

Another solid episode, and I have to say the Hoshijiro Gauna is adorable. I just can’t be terrified of you.

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4 thoughts on “Knights of Sidonia: Episode 9

  1. For a moment there near the end of the episode, I was sure the camera would cut back to the lab and we would see Numi’s blood spattered all over the walls or some such. There’s no doubt Gauna!Hoshijiro is adorable, but I really do not see this ending well…

    • It would serve her dumb face right >.< Not that her face itself is dumb…I find her quite cute… =P But you gotta question the intelligence and ethics of someone who says "Well, they might be identical to a Human…but we're at war, and can't bring up they might have rights."

  2. Pingback: Series Recap: Knights of Sidonia | Dataport Doll's Anime Reviews

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