Knights of Sidonia S2 ep3 & 4: read the tea leaves
It seems clear that the Gauna and the humans are headed in the same direction, even as they fight each other for survival. Ochiai’s reseach is leading the humans towards a symbiotic relationship with the Gauna chimeras he’s beginning to create. He’s impregnated the Gauna clone of Shizuka with human sperm (ew, I hope he used a turkey baster) and is now in the opening stages of mass producing chimera parts, and soon chimera themselves. If Ochiai’s goal isn’t to subvert the human population of Sidonia with perfected chimera, then I’ll be shocked.
Another worrying aspect is just how aggressive Kobayashi has become since the murder of the Immortal (now ironically named) Council. She’s diving in full bore into a war with the Gauna, with utter extermination as the only end game. And while the populace is slowly showing more and more concern over this aggressive campaign of extermination of Gauna and integration of chimera, they don’t have an official voice for their concerns anymore. Just as the people above her are now dead, the ones supposed to represent the people now can’t speak against her as she’s abolished the parliament. It all feels very much that Sidonia is being lulled to sleep just before a big disaster. The only positive aspect to this is a new unified initiative towards the Gauna, prompting a swift and aggressive response to their ever powerful, ever evolving foe.
In contrast to the major political events of the story, Nagate is still struggling with personal life in the colony. En, a character I completely forgot existed, has re-entered the story after awakening from her coma. And the relationship between those two is off to a rocky start. I forgot how awkward the comedy for this show could be, until I see scenes like the one where he accidentally gets caught peaking at En and Hou (or is it Ren) and gets his face destroyed by their embarrassed retaliation. Geez. This kind of violence would be much less awkward without all the blood splatter.
Overall, this was a transitionary episode that gave us some information and filled me with more dread. It seems the more that is known about the Gauna, the creepier they seem. Their recent interest with mimicking humanity, along with the usual absorbtion of it gets more intimate and intimidating each time. And now with us clearly doing the same thing, it feels like the walls are closing in on Sidonia, even as it gains more and more power.
Man, that power almost wasn’t enough. While in many a show, the battle showcased here would be an end of season or series affair, this is just another day at the office for Sidonia. And it shows that despite all the advances made, they’re still just barely keeping their heads above water. Even as the Sidonia armada closed in on what they thought was a victory, we still see the Gauna adapt and almost force a checkmate on their enemies. Twice in this battle, Sidonia was outmaneuvered for a near loss.
The first mistake was Shirai’s fault, as the young chimera and Ochiai arrogantly flew into the center of a Gauna trap. By the time anyone realized the obvious ruse, it was already to late to avoid. Luckily, the chimera was able to escape just on raw power. But the brutal fight did have an effect on her, sending her into a mad rage against the Gauna that was more hurtful than helpful. What it ended up doing was getting Izana hurt, as Izana rushed to bring her to her senses. Once Shirai gained her senses back, she had to retreat due to battle damage, fatigue and to get Izana’s broken mech out of there.
The second near failure came when the Gauna on the verge of defeat combined themselves into one massive core to fire off an energy salvo at the Sidonia itself. If not for another near suicidal maneuver by Nagate to spear the core open, the Gauna cluster would have been able to blow Sidonia into nothing. It was only after that, the remaining forces firing frantically into the exposed core, and the chimera deflecting the first of two shots that they survived and won. It was an impressive win, because it combined the efforts of the upgraded Gardes mechs with some help from the chimera. But it wasn’t a total success, because the chimera didn’t really work with the Gardes squads. Instead, they seemed to take turns fighting the Gauna swarm, while Shirai at times got in the way. Teamwork is a long way off. And it seems Ochiai is quite capable of controlling Shirai, yet. Instead, it appears that Nagate has the real influence over her, and always has. The war is far from over, but this was a well fought battle.
I don’t have much commentary for the episode outside of the battle, because this episode was just one giant battle. I will say I’m impressed at the humans being able to handle the battle without much in the way of miracles. And I’m equally disappointed, but not surprised at how the chimera is still displaying some spastic quirks. And while I do know what Izana’s immediate fate is, I will say that I’m still quite concerned for Izana. Also, I can’t wait to know what Izana’s sex (I already know and you may be able to guess) will finaly be. That way I can stop calling Izana by Izana, as if I’m naming some sort of flora or fauna.