Knights of Sidonia S2 ep8: lovingly preserved culture and crushes
If not for how much I’ve started liking the characters that actually survive in this show, I’d have a real problem with the slow down in pace here. This series started as hard sci-fi horror, but has been heavily invested in harem comedy territory lately. You’d never know they were at war with god-like alien monsters with all the jostling for penis that’s been going on.
I suppose that I should be grateful that a series that tends to be heavily focused on action and death takes time to build on culture and relationships. And there are some really nice moments sprinkled through this episode. We see Nagate, Izana, Shiranui and Yuhata sitting down to enjoy some edgy action movie for a night. We see even more focus on Izana than in last episode. As the show seems to focus on her perspective more than anyone else’s. Nagate seems like almost a side character sometimes. As we get more personal time and views from Izana, Yuhata, Shiraui and Izana’s grandma, Yure.
Probably my favorite moment was seeing Yure and Izana put on actual dresses and go out for a quick meal at a cafe. It was short, but it was also nice to see characters in something besides space suits and cadet gear. Both of them filled out those dresses pretty nicely, I’d enjoy seeing someone cosplay in those outfits. God knows I could do without another slave Leia cosplay. And that moment did allow some important questions, or at least circumstances to be brought up. One of those is Yure’s seemingly infinite youth. Izana is her grandmother, but Yure looks middle-aged at worst. It’s not just lifespans, but youth that are preserved in spectacular fashion in this world. But that only seems to apply to certain people. I desperately would like to know why and how that has come to be.
Unfortunately, because of Ochiai’s disaster from over a century ago we may never know what really went on in the past. I don’t doubt that the Gauna are the key, and that really disturbs me. It makes me feel that I may not like what the truth behind this seeming immortality truly is. But it also saddens me that we may never know, unless one day Ochiai decides to give us an info dump at some point. Though right now I’m leaning towards those worms that Ochiai used to preserve his personality and consciousness are also what the Kobayashi, the Immortal Council and other seeming immortals use to gain that ability. It may be a simple matter of producing clones (which this society seems to make without issue), and then implanting those worms with their “souls” in them into the host. It may be the reason Nagate’s predecessor rebelled the way he did. Seeing the “souls” of the youth bearing his face snuffed out because of his desire to carry on forever.
This still doesn’t exactly explain the constant, evolving attacks by Gauna against the Sidonia. But if I’m going to be playing with theory, then I’ll go with the human quest to milk them for their own immortality is what starts and continues this war. In essence, we have stolen from and angered a god, and now it wrathfully hunts humanity down in search for its lost gem.
Getting back to my positive talk about the characters and culture from this episode; the harem aspect of this show is doing a surprisingly good job of covering for one of the shows early and worst weaknesses. The cast of this show for awhile wasn’t terribly memorable. The combination of all the murdered youths, the clones, and the masked people made a large cast feel very small and disconnected. It’s no wonder that what remains is a bunch of freaks for the main cast of buddies. Nagate is basically a caveman from the past who still is a type of social outcast because of his lack of social skills and his great piloting skills. Yet strangely, you’d almost assume he’s the only eligible male on the colony given the ever growing and intensifying harem that surrounds him. Izana was once a gender-less nothing, forever overshadowed by most any other character on-screen. Though most of those other characters are now dead, Izana has now become female, started growing out of her shell and developing a real personality. Yuhata is a little genius strategist who is secretly a giant gunpla nerd with a large and passionate crush on Nagate. And Shiraui is just… she’s just a freak out and out. I’ve already covered how weird her existence is. And with these characters now living as well as working together, we’re starting to see a real dynamic set of relationships. It’s a wonderful contrast from all the seemingly random encounters that seemed to happen for most of the show.
Now on the downside, there wasn’t much action to this episode. Just some fumbling about in space really, but there was no attempt to build on the terror at the end of the previous episode. There we see colonists die a horrible and unknown death just as they’re gloating about finding paradise and avoiding the Gauna. It’s clear the Gauna killed them all, but we don’t know why or exactly how. Even more frighteningly, it seems as though they discovered the Gauna on that planet. It was as if they were just there, waiting. And yet this episode doesn’t address that at all! We don’t even get to see a short aftermath shot, or the terrified face on a dead body post massacre. Instead, it’s just a thread left dangling before us as the show tells us to enjoy these nice relaxing character development scenes. It’s a bit frustrating.
Sidonia has shown at times that it has a knack for pointing out a goal, while still appearing aimless. This is what I felt this episode. There were some nice personal character moments in this episode, but it still feels inexcusable to just give the tiniest teases about what’s happening next. We know the massive hive cluster will have to be dealt with, and the colonists’ fates have to be discovered and addressed, too. So give us something to even remind us that those things are a priority. Even in the most light-hearted romcom type of moments, we should never forget the sci-fi horror that this show can dish out.
Note: the thousand year village looked amazing! It really strikes home how much this is the last piece of Japan in this universe, a most precious piece of their history and culture most lovingly preserved. Also, the technology of this world is really is awesome, but I probably would have been like Shiraui and been soaking in the joy of having a kotatsu.