With everybody reeling from the loss of Akai’s magnificent squad in the last episode, there was little doubt that this episode was going to be chock-full of action and intensity and wow, but did it deliver. This is just one of those shows one can’t help but look forward to week after week as it hasn’t failed to impress so far and I’m still on such a high of excitement with all that’s happened so far.
It’s all hands on deck as this episode kicks off with the gauna heading towards Sidonia after Akai’s team failed to kill it on their mission. But there’s no time to mourn their loss as Kobayashi-kancho orders an emergency mass acceleration out of the gauna’s path. While we don’t really know much about the gauna at this point, even the crew of the Sidonia are shocked and terrified by this particular gauna’s ability to quickly alter its path while zooming towards them so it seems that this alien race is every bit as mysterious and unknown to them as it is to us. Everyone on Sidonia is called to use their safety harnesses and attach themselves to the various bars that span the length of Sidonia and a ship-wide panic to secure themselves ensues. What was truly incredible to watch, though, was as one thruster came online and began to move the entire mass of Sidonia out of the path of the gauna. You really get to appreciate the sheer size of the ship and the immense power needed to move it through space. Of course, with such a huge move, the gravity is all out of whack and Sidonia sustains heavy damage and a huge number of casualties as people are thrown off their feet and literally splattered across the face of buildings and walls. While Sidonia manages to move out of the gauna’s flight-path, there’s little time to rejoice of bury the dead as the gauna alters its course once more and intends to swing back towards them.
Another crazily impressive scene this episode was as hundreds of garde pilots set up a line of defence around Sidonia in order to receive the oncoming gauna head on and it really was such a sight and really lets you appreciate the awesome CGI of such a show. Nagate, Kunato, Hoshijiro and En, one of the Honoka sisters, are sent on a mission to retrieve one of the Kabizashi blades that were floating about where Akai’s team were KIA. Kunato shows his impressive lying and leadership skills when Nagate spots the blade on his monitor but Kunato goes to retrieve it, telling HQ that he’s found it and I really enjoyed the subtle rivalry that seems to stem only from Kunato’s side. There doesn’t seem to be any room for friendship or even companionship or respect between the two so I’m not exactly holding my breath for it but more verbal interaction between them would be interesting to see.
The gauna continues to surprise this episode, however, as it begins to transform itself its own Hyggs Particle Cannon, which was probably from when it consumed Akai last episode. We saw that it could change its form so it’s no surprise that includes weapons. With the squad trying to get back to Sidonia, they frantically have to disperse when the gauna shoots the cannon towards them, effectively frying their systems and forcing Hoshijiro to eject from her garde suit – all save for Nagate’s who has only sustained moderate damage. And this was the moment we’d all been waiting for since first meeting him; when he finally goes head to head with a gauna. Despite HQ yelling at him not to, he grabs the Kabizashi blade and aims right for the gauna, showing incredible tactical prowess as he waits for an opening after it fires the cannon a second time, and then swoops in to damage its placenta, exposing its core. A moment later he thrusts the blade into the gauna‘s core, effectively killing it. That essentially makes him the first cadet to kill a gauna in over a century, not to mention the fact that he was a one-man team while doing it. I was amazed and excited all throughout this scene because it isn’t often that I root for the main character yet I can’t help but support him, partially because he just seems to unassuming all the time. This was an incredibly suspenseful scene and so well done. Very impressive indeed!
Of course Nagate can’t leave it at that, as he tells HQ that he’s going after Hoshijiro, who’s floating adrift past the so-called ‘line of no return,’ where it would be nearly impossible for them to return to Sidonia. They don’t really explain why, but I’m assuming it has something to do with the amount of fuel they’ve got? Not too sure on that point. What I am sure of, though, is that this was an amazing episode full of such sharp action and delightful destruction, as well as putting the spotlight on Nagate, where he finally got to show us his true self in battle. Stellar episode, stellar graphics, stellar plot; I’m so excited for the rest of this series.