Home > Episode by Episode > Knights of Sidonia eps 3 & 4: painting the walls with the feelings of children

Knights of Sidonia eps 3 & 4: painting the walls with the feelings of children


Knights of Sidonia

Episode 3

My first response to this episode is what a complete group of f*ck ups Akai’s squad turned out to be. Harsh as it may seem, if not for their leader’s mistake, the team would not have fallen apart and been annihilated. Then again, I guess I could also blame the romance between Akai and Momose. With this failure, things will surely get messy in the next episode.

I’ll pull things back a bit though, as I have to talk about the entire episode and not just its disastrous conclusion.

This episode had the tone of celebration before the actual victory. The Gravity Festival, coupled with the laid back attitudes of Akai’s squad gave the impression that everything would be alright. And anime veterans would be keenly aware that that would very much not be the case.

The Gravity Festival isn’t a bad thing at all though. It looks like this very practical space colony at least has competitive sport to keep its citizens entertained. though I can’t give it much for creativity since they’re just using training mechs and equipment for the game. I’d pick a good football or basketball game over this stale stuff any day. The last impression I get from this event though is that Norio is a colossal jackass and entitled sore loser. Despite all the hype around him and his talent, he still loses to the veteran Akai for the overall singles win, and takes out his frustration on a passing by Izana. It’s not bad enough that he bumps into Izana, but he manages to strike Izana too on its way down. Coincidentally, Nagate and his crush Shizuka are around to see the aftermath, which leads to a fight between Nagate and Norio.

Things don’t turn out all bad for Nagate though. Akai shows up afterward to invite him and Izana to come with them to the water reservoir, a privilege that only a select few get to have.  Going back to my love of the science of this show, I really wish I could have gotten to see more of the aquatic life in this scene.  I only got to see a basking shark from what I noticed, so hopefully we’ll get to revisit this very important place.  For now, it appears that it only served as a spot to point out that Akai and Momose were indeed lovers.

For now, this episode merely strikes me as an OK one that served more to move things along than to enlighten.  With the death of Akai’s elite team, it’s clear that things have become much more dire, and that Nagate’s group of trainees will likely be seeing the battlefield in earnest soon.

Episode 4

Welcome to the land of hope, it’s not exactly all it’s cracked up to be.  The failure to stop the Gauna last episode cost Sidonia dearly as the maneuver to evade the Gauna sent a lot of the its citizens to a violent death.  The gore was almost comical in how totally violent it was.  The maneuver practically turned those that died into bugs on the windshield of a car!

It’s quite the coincidence that I was watching one of my my favorite Youtube shows: Game Theory, when MattPat was talking about the question of whether Bullet Bills in Mario games are actually deadly.  And this subject of course brings about a talk on physics.  The point that stuck with me was that when you fall, it’s not the fall exactly that kills or hurts you.  What actually kills you is your body’s inability to cope with massive and violent change of speed that comes from falling too far, and being almost instantly stopped by whatever it is that you fall upon.  And I can’t think of a better illustration of this than the scene in this episode where the Sidonia unevenly accelerates to dodge the encroaching Gauna.  It was clear example of what happens when you speed up a human body and then stop it too fast.  A gross, bloody splat on the surface they come in contact with, separating the layers of human tissue only to have them mix together again as the body spreads out the force of the impact.  Those nifty little gravity belts sure seem to be worth their weight in gold now, huh?

There’s little time for recovery, let alone mourning though, as the backups and trainees are all told to scramble and get to whatever available machines they have for defense, and the recovery of the machines formerly piloted by the now dead Akai squadron.  It’s important to note this set priority.  It’s not on the recovery of the bodies of those that are lost, but of the machines that will be salvaged, repaired and used by another pilot to shield the Sidonia.  It’s just another example of how highly pure survival is prioritized in this space colony.  It also seems to be another example to me of just how sparse and cold this society is.  It’s not a bad thing objectively, survival should be the highest priority of a species that has had its protective and ancestral home destroyed, only to be forever set a drift in space with only its own recycled resources to rely upon.  I just find it sad how you can find so little in the way of religion or culture taking place in this series.  To me, it almost seems like science takes too high a priority, the spice of life is very bland indeed for this show.

The situation is again shot to hell though, as the Gauna just keeps throwing new kinks into the situation.  Its taken a very aggressive new course, and for some strange reason is going after the trainees tasked with the recovery of Akai’s machines.  It nearly stops everything cold when it reveals that is has a powerful laser cannon itself, and almost wipes out Nagate’s squad in one blow.  The squad is left in a very scary predicament as two of the squad members (one happening to be Norio – ugh) are alive, but completely “dead in the water” so to speak.  Nagate’s machine works, but is stuck rebooting to recover from the shock of the nearby blast.  Worst of all, the fourth machine, Shizuka’s, goes haywire and just shoots off on its own in some random direction, with her only barely ejecting in time to keep from being blown to dust.  Sidonia’s command wants Nagate to take his machine once its back up and running, and tow the two remaining machines back to Sidonia, but Nagate opts to take on the Gauna head-on, fueled by the hunch that he’ll be able to exploit the Gauna’s newly evolved cannon.  Despite some strong discouragement by command, Nagate actually is able to best the Gauna alone, and head-on!

The situation would be a perfect victory for Nagate if he would just get his comrades and return to base, but he can’t stop playing the hero.  Knowing that his crush Shizuka is still adrift, and again fueled by knowledge that he knows her trajectory and speed, he heads off to save her.  And just like that, our hero seems to have chosen a painful and lonely death in space with Shizuka, over returning safely to base.  It seems we’re in for one of those awkwardly sexually tense stranded episodes with a male and a female.  Though unfortunately, unlike being stuck on a beach, in space you can’t take off your clothes to have sex.  You’re gonna need all that energy to survive.  That is if anyone actually comes to save you.

I believe the lasting impression most people will have of this episode will involve the massive number of casualties from the Sidonia’s attempts to evade the Gauna.  And that’s fair.  There’s a lot of blood and teens splattered across this episode; it’s not something you quickly forget.  For me, the last impression from this episode is just how rapidly that Gauna was evolving, and just how much more deadly they could become with the slightest mistakes and human contact.  Hell, the Gauna itself was starting to look more and more like the Eiko girl that it ate.  But it was doing so in a very weird, almost zombie-like fashion.  It’s easily the creepiest aspect of this show so far.  I won’t say it disturbed and intrigued me quite like the Angels did when I first saw each of them in Evangelion, but that’s a high bar to meet.

Overall, I wouldn’t say this was episode of the year material, even though I haven’t had a chance to watch that much anime so far in 2014.  But it is a good and memorable one.  There are other things I want to think and talk about, like how Norio is as talented as he is devoid of character.  But I’ll save that discussion for such things become the main focus in an episode.  As of this moment, I’m just glad that this show isn’t completely devoid of hope.

Further Reading:

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  1. LGM
    May 19, 2014 at 01:00

    “I’m just glad that this show isn’t completely devoid of hope.”

    Wow man, wow. You just HAD to raise that death flag.

    • June 1, 2014 at 22:28

      Dude! This show is full of death flags! These people can’t even begin to stop triggering those things.

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