Possibly my favourite anime of the week, Sidonia no Kishi did not disappoint with its second episode, as many shows are wont to do. This was a very dark, disturbing and introspective episode and some parts of it left a bad taste in the mouth but in the best way possible that only a poignant show like this can do. I’m extremely impressed with the way things are going and considering this show is right up my alley and only 13 episodes long, I’d say I’m in it for the long haul and there is a promising degree of absolute epicality coming our way.
This was, in many ways, one of those informative episodes but it was not done in a way that made things boring or like an entire flood of highly important information regarding technicalities and facts were thrown one’s way. Everything was written quite seamlessly into the plot of the episode and concisely so I did not end up feeling overwhelmed by anything. We learn that the gauna had invaded the solar system and forced Earth’s citizens to leave via ships, one of which is the Sidonia. Where the other ships are, we don’t know, but we can assume that the Sidonia is the only ship left and that the rest of them have either been destroyed by the gauna or managed to fly as far away as possible from any gauna-infested area in space. We kicked off with a flashback to the hours just before the team of young recruits zipped off in their crafts and even further back to the way that Yamano Eiko first became a pilot. If you remember, she was the very uptight female character in the previous episode and it’s implied that she came from a pretty poor area and worked hard in order to be accepted into the academy on the pilot program. There’s a sadistic sort of irony that her first real encounter with a gauna goes wrong, and her final moments of screaming before being eaten by the gauna was as disturbing as it was tragic, especially when the gauna began taking on Yamano’s dead form. In some ways it’s reminiscent of the first episode of Shingeki no Kyojin, when Eren’s mother gets eaten by that grotesque-looking titan and there’s that similar mixed emotion of sadness and disgust. Just an interesting fact, though, in case people do start comparing these two shows and claiming plagiarism or anything of that ilk, Sidonia was, in fact, written before Shingeki. Also the settings are completely different and there have been countless anime plots similar to both (thought not written half as well) but I’ve already seen some nasty comments regarding the similarities to both shows floating around the internet and there will be none of that here. Ahem.
Back onto the plot, however, we learn more about the school lives of Nagate, Izana and Hoshijiro Shizuka, after the tragedy of the mission. The rest of the students treat Nagate as some sort of jinx, but in a maliciously amused way, which suggests they care less for the fact that a fellow student is dead, and are more concerned with making fun of and bullying their new recruit. They make fun of him for not being able to photosynthesise and fill his locker with deodorant, saying that he stinks because of the food he has to eat every day, when the ret of them can survive on one meal a weak. It’s typical middle and high school life all over again and really makes me feel for the socially awkward Nagate. He’s just one of those characters I can’t help but root for because once you’ve seen him in action, you’re left thoroughly impressed by his quick movements and sharp attacks, coupled with the fact that he’s a completely different person when in combat. He’s definitely one of the coolest main characters I’ve had the pleasure of watching this season. Izana’s another character I’m beginning to really like because of his/her compassion and easy-going personality, but there does appear to be something of a tension between Izana and Shizuka, when s/he sees Shizuka helping Nagate and the two appear to be having a fun conversation. I’m not sure whether it’s jealousy over Shizuka (and the inevitable romance I see developing between her and Nagate) or whether it’s the fact that maybe Izana has some sort of school rivalry between her or doesn’t want to lose Nagate’s friendship to her. There’s definitely an interesting dynamic between the two of them and I’m looking forward to the way it’s going to be explored in the following episodes. As for Shizuka herself, well, we don’t really know too much about her at this point so I’m saving my judgment for later episodes.
Finally, towards the end, we meet four of the supposedly best guardian pilots who are charged with the task of eliminating the remains of the gauna that’s heading towards Sidonia, the same gauna that the new recruits fought against and barely escaped from because they can only be killed using a Kabizashi blade in close contact – why that is so, we’re yet to be told. The four new characters are Aoki Kashiwade, Akai Mochikuni, Midorikawa Izumo and Momose Hinata, all of whom are interested in Nagate and turn up at the school to meet him, thus snubbing an angry and offended Kunato. I have a feeling that things between Kunato and Nagate are going to come to a head in the next couple of episodes and I’m intrigued to see where Kunato’s going to fall on the protagonist-antagonist spectrum. There are a lot of ways this show can go and I’m really looking forward to next week’s episode. It feels like they can’t come quickly enough!
All in all this was another awesome episode and I love how they mixed action and fairly quickly segued into the more mundane aspects of school life for these kids, many of whom I think, by the end of it, aren’t going to be alive anymore. I feel like we’ve gathered most of the characters who are going to be crucial to the plot and I’m really excited to seeing them develop over the course of the show and to see where this awesome plotline takes us.