Knights of Sidonia ep8: there will come a day when you will have to make this same decision
Is it a trend this week for show’s to give me what I want. I’ve already read the manga up to this point and way beyond, but a lot of material is still fuzzy to me. I don’t remember this information at all. The names Benisuzume, Ochiai and placenta Hoshijiro definitely ring a bell. In my head, it signals that the show has already headed down a dark(er) path.
This episode is basically two distinct halves, with some on ship interactions gluing everything together. First there’s the disasterous battle in space with the three Gauna that are mimicking the Guardians. It’s not only creepy how these things appear like bloody ghosts before them, but they all seem to have the deceased Shizuka Hoshijiro’s voice as well. In combat, her clones giggle, and act like they’re still part of the colony, even while killing its defenders. The placenta masked Guardians appear to be superior machines, overpowering, maneuvering and outclassing the Sidonia’s pilots and machines in every way. Even worse, Norio is cowering in fear, probably because he of his guilt of being responsible for Shizuka’s death, or maybe he’s just creeped out by having a dead teammate come after him. I knew he wasn’t gonna die here, and I always thought that part was bullshit. He just floats there doing practically nothing, yet he’s not touched or antagonized at all, while a half dozen other pilots are murdered. You could say that that may have something to do with the way the Gauna are, but I don’t think that can be confirmed for better or worse. So I’m calling bullsh*t on this part. Norio should be dead. The results for this disaster aren’t all bad, though I’m not very keen on them. In the end, one Gauna escapes, one is destroyed and has its placenta-made pilot captured alive for scientific study. Great! This opens up the story to a whole new level of obsessive and creepy behavior, and the same goes for the cinematography, too. I shudder to think of the crap I’m gonna see in the near future.
The other half of this episode really dove into the relatively recent past of the Sidonia. Touching on things mere moments after the defeat of the Gauna 1oo years ago. In this flashback, we can see Kobayashi, Nagato’s “grandfather” and even Hiyama, still in her bear body. There’s a lot of hate for the scientist Ochiai. And from what little testimony gathered, it seems like it’s justified. He threw away Sidonia’s only defense against the Gauna, and it was only after someone retrieved a new batch just in time, that anyone on the ship survived. A mere two dozen people on the “immortal” council and less than four hundred of the main population. What a massacre! To make matters worse, Ochiai for some reason destroyed all the archives on the ship, technology and knowledge lost forever. I can think of no worse crime against a society apart from genocide. There is a saving grace however, as a clever young scientist named Yure (why does she looks so familiar) figures out a way to extract the one last remaining archive on the ship. For some reason, it’s in Ochiai’s brain. There plan is to block the memories and place the brain in a genetically different clone body, so they can still access the info from a living brain. It’s clever, ruthless, queer and a miracle all at the same time. It also explains why there’s someone with that exact same name running around the ship. What catches everyone’s attention though, is that the hero who stood out the most during that war, Hiroki disappeared soon after. He didn’t reappear for about another 80 years, rejecting the Sidonia in a way. It appears that he was also one of the immortals like the council and Kobayashi. His return shows us a few things, that the “immortals” aren’t exactly immortal at all. Though it does appear that they can live indefinitely with the technology of the ship. It also explains all the use of clones. Whatever is going on medically and genetically happening on this ship, it allows the brain of a person to not degrade, and also slows or stops the aging process of those people. It’s top science, but it begs the question of why only tiny portion of the population has access to it? Regardless, what happens next is a real crisis. Kobayashi commissions here genius scientist to make a clone body of Hiroki, claiming that she can’t allow his talent to go without it passing on to someone. But for some reason, Hiroki has been vehemently against the commissioning of a clone to extend his life, and he’s just as against having the immortal council having control of the infant now being grown. The idea of his “son” being grown in that vat until adulthood infuriates him. What ends up happening is that he steals the baby and fights through Kobayashi’s guards to get to safety with the help of Hiyama. And all that leads us back to present day, where we’re left with the “lovely” image of this placenta created Shizuka floating around in a zero gravity clean room, slowly forming the words Tanikaze. Nagato’s family name, of course.
For me, this episode is a huge step towards what the show is really about. This series is less of a mecha show, than it is a psychological sci-fi thriller. Here we see those aspects coming forth more and more. We have the horrific sights and sounds the Gauna mimicking human will and engineering. Then there’s the personal horror the main characters feel having what appears one of their comrades going around slaughtering their teammates. Ochiai’s presence will get more and more important and complicated in time. And Shizuka’s presence only gets more unnerving to me with each and every moment. Though there is the very distinct possibility that Shizuka may be the first and only way humanity can communicate with the Gauna, if that’s even possible at all. And Ochiai may have brilliant ideas for dealing with humanities situation, too. But right now, they’re both huge threats to everyone on the Sidonia. The time will likely come more than once, when the residence of Sidonia will have to make a choice between their safety and the scientific breakthroughs that may secure their future and a homeland for themselves.
Taking a moment before I go to ponder the nuances of this episode; we learned a lot in this episode and it leads me to believe that perhaps man’s calamity was brought upon itself. I’m beginning to believe that his immortality that a few humans possess is their reward for stealing from the Gauna. I don’t have enough information to point at the source specifically, but it seems those little “rice buds” that humanity retrieved from the Gauna’s homes is what allows this. Or perhaps there was something else found in there that allowed for this breakthrough. It seems petty at the moment though, given the price humanity had to pay. With the entire solar system gone and humanity potentially set to drift through space for an eternity, or until extinction at the hands (or tentacles) of the Gauna, I’m sure that the general populace would gladly throw those immortals into the sun to have their peace and their ancestral home back. Perhaps Hiroki knew or figured it out eventually, and that’s why he was so adverse to the techniques and science they were using to extend lives? So many questions, and all my hypotheses seem to point towards a dirty, elitist human initiative.