Sidonia no Kishi Ep. 3: Never be confident

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Whenever a minor character is ever confident about an upcoming battle, it always spells death.

Episode Summary
In the first half of the episode, Nagate gets to know his classmates a bit better, especially Shizuku and Norio. It’s not exactly love and peace with the latter, however. Meanwhile, Izana continues to be jealous of the fact that Shizuku keeps hanging out with the hero.

In the second half of the episode, the Gauna draws near too near for comfort. Sidonia then launches Akai squad to subjugate the alien threat. Unfortunately, Momose gets caught by one of the Gauna’s arms, forcing Mochikuni to abandon his duties in an attempt to save her. It’s all downhill from there was the Gauna eventually overwhelms the rest of the four-man squad.

• I guess even in a dystopian space society, you would have gladiatorial space combat. In fact, it’s taking place during this thing called a Gravity Festival. If resources are truly this limited, then space sports with mechas seem like a waste to me, but perhaps the people need something to entertain them as they aimlessly drift through space. Or maybe resources aren’t that limited — who really knows outside of Sidonia’s upper echelon.

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• Anime characters are so dramatic. I’m not sure why Izana instantly leaps to the conclusion that there’s already something developing between Nagate and Shizuku. In fact, constantly avoiding the guy is just one surefire way to push him towards the other girl. Having said that, I don’t think this anime will be breaking any boundaries or anything, so even if hermaphrodites in Sidonia can change their sex to suit their relationship needs, I don’t think there’s much of a future between Izana and the main character.

• Koichi Tsuruuchi: “If I win this, will you photosynthesize together with me?” That’s rich. I don’t understand why the girl has to punch him though… must be another one of the show’s odd attempts at humor.

• Really? Even in some dystopian space society set a thousand odd years into the future, girls still still dress up in yukatas for a festival? Plus, who wants to bet when she gets there, she’ll just run into Nagate hanging out with Shizuku and have her heart broken?

• Yuhata seems oddly obsessed with Nagate’s Gardes-piloting skills. She then wonders how our hero might fare against Norio in a one-on-one battle. You’d almost expect him to do well, since he’s the hero and everything, but actually, I don’t think he would. After all, hasn’t he only been trained to battle Gauna and not other Gardes pilots? In fact, there isn’t really any need to learn how to battle another Gardes. This would probably be one of the reasons why this event is a spectator sport.

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• Years and years of simulation training have more than prepared Nagate for battling Gauna, but what’s peculiar is how that same simulation didn’t bother to prepare him for the fact that the Gauna can shape-shift. Then again, none of the other Gardes pilots are suffering from the same PTSD symptoms so maybe those in power simply never felt the need to worry about the pilots’ mental health. Perhaps Nagate is just unfortunately unique in this way.

• And oh look, Shizuku’s in her own yukata and what a coincidence that she should stumble into our hero at the festival. Yep, things aren’t looking good for Izana. On a related note — since Shizuku paid for Nagate’s food and all — you’d almost expect food to be cheaper in Sidonia since it’s in such low demand. Who needs to eat very often when you can just “photosynthesize?”

• Shocker: Izana’s storming off again.

• Norio’s behavior seems a bit… extreme. He doesn’t even care that his actions causes Izana to puncture herself in the thigh with a dowel. I know he’s the son of some important family in Sidonia and all that jazz, but it’s not like the anime has shown us that the elites in this society can get away with this sort of thing. As such, Norio’s blatant disregard for other people’s safety — even if they’re beneath him — kind of comes out of left field. Being arrogant doesn’t have to mean that a character is also stupid enough to think he can get away with assault.

• Akai then shows up to Nagate’s room to invite him to the sea. I wouldn’t have imagined that Sidonia would have a sea…

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• But no, there really is a “sea,” and it’s Sidonia’s water reservoir. Alright, that makes sense. Still somewhat surprising that they’d make an attraction out of a water reservoir though, but oh well.

• Interesting to hear the pilots sort of joke about their own mortality. I like it; this makes them seem more human. The more confident Mochikuni appears, however, I can’t but feel as though the more likely he will die in the upcoming encounter against the “class H2 Gauna.” Or maybe Momose will. What’s certain is that this relationship is doomed.

• Only four Gardes to subjugate the Gauna? Feels a bit low for such a serious threat, but perhaps this is intended. It’s hard to read Captain Kobayashi.

• Seems a bit odd that this entire battle is being broadcasted to the students. What if it ends in complete failure? And if it does, what if ends up traumatizing the trainees? After all, they’re trainees and not battle-hardened veterans.

• Where does the Gauna get enough “fuel” to continually regenerate itself?

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• The action isn’t bad, but I feel as though the debris surrounding the Gauna causes the scene to appear far too busy. More specifically, the debris is too distracting, and it makes it difficult for the audience to focus on the important elements of the battle. In manga form, I’m sure all the debris isn’t a big deal whatsoever, but when they are moving all at once on the screen, it becomes another thing entirely. This is why I don’t feel as though adaptations should ever be a true 100% conversion. What works in one medium won’t necessarily work in another.

• Yep, Mochikuni eats it when he tries to save Momose. Or rather, the Gauna eats him.

• And the broadcast continues long enough for everyone to see the Gauna assimilate the ace pilot. Geez…

• In fact, despite the Akai squadron being the best in Sidonia, they seem ill-prepared for battle. The entire operation is falling apart simply because Momose got caught. Yeah, it’s easy to say we’d react the same way if one of our loved ones is dying in the heat of battle, but perhaps that’s the problem: we’re civilians, and deep down, these kids are civilians too. They might have trained to become soldiers since they were born, but they’re far from being ready to do whatever it takes to get the job done, especially Mochikuni and Momose. No, I’m not faulting these kids for reacting to the dire situation in such a human way. Rather, I’m questioning whether or not Sidonia is training their soldiers properly, and it doesn’t appear as though it is. You’d almost expect the squad leader to be someone a little older and a little more grizzled. At the end of the day, these are ill-prepared kids being forced to go to war. Is Sidonia simply lacking of adults?

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• Looks like shit’s about to go down in next week’s episode.

Closing Thoughts
I think the story is a tad bit predictable at the moment. Nevertheless, the Gauna threat feels real enough — by this, I mean that anyone can die — that for now, the anime fulfills its job as a thriller. Speaking of which, the battle against the Gauna is hardly perfect in terms of its visual composition, but honestly, I’m hard-pressed to think of any other show this season with fight scenes that are actually exciting to watch.


15 Replies to “Sidonia no Kishi Ep. 3: Never be confident”

  1. You are wrong about the manga. Battle scenes in the manga are even more confusing and chaotic which can be a real problem in such a battle heavy manga. It is one reason I am glad there is an anime adaptation. While I love the manga it has many flaws that an adaptation could fix and combat was one of them. I actually didn’t fully understand this battle in the manga but it was a lot clearer in the anime. Characterization was another manga problem. The anime is clearing up character motivations. Which is great because a lot of characters seemed to suddenly do things for no properly explained reason in the manga whereas the anime is making an attempt to give some context and foreshadowing to their decisions, of course YMMV.

      1. Guess i suck at reading battle manga then. Wouldn’t be the first time I suck at something I love doing. I love playing spider solitaire but I rarely win.

        1. I didn’t mean to offend. That certainly didn’t come out well. I meant to say that if you didn’t find the battle scenes to be obviously confusing then they weren’t as messy as I thought. That’s all. I didn’t mean to accuse you of anything, all you said was that you disagreed with me. I wasn’t being sarcastic. Unfortunately I haven’t found a not sarcastic smiley yet.

          1. I meant to say that if you didn’t find the battle scenes to be obviously confusing then they weren’t as messy as I thought.

            Not really. If they’re messy to you, they’re messy to you. No need to change that. But when I read a manga, I’m not looking for “kinetic comprehension,” if that makes sense. After all, a manga is just still images within panels. Rather, I’m looking for dramatic clarity in those static images. My point is that I can see the Gardes and the Gauna clearly in the manga. On the other hand, the constantly moving debris in the anime adaptation makes it difficult for me to admire the details in the major players of the battle. The screenshot I took is supposed to illustrate how busy I find the battle in the adaptation. I honestly feel that there’s too much debris in this scene. Sure, the adaptation is easier to understand from an action standpoint, but I figure that this is a given. A medium based around motion will naturally be superior in conveying motion compared to a static medium.

        2. I see where you are coming from.

          A medium based around motion will naturally be superior in conveying motion compared to a static medium.

          I so badly wish this was a universal truth but given the number of times I have seen this not happen I have come to the conclusion that it takes a skillful director to bring out what should be natural to the medium.

  2. I’m a bit worried about one thing: In the manga,m rather than the submarine bubbles, the four aces uinvite our unlikely pair to a sort of beach house, complete with fishing and stuff. Reason they didn’t do it was probably to avoid having to model the environment.

    What worries me isn’t the lack of fish-eating jokes on Nagate nor his missing faceplant in Izana’s crotch, but the fact that, having seen the submarine tour now, it won’t have as much of an impact on us (nor, more importantly, in Nagate) on the scene when it was originally introduced in the manga (and which a bit of the OP suggests is still inctact in the adaptation).

    Also, in the manga Kunoto or whatshispride totally broke Nagate’s arm. It also showed whe he didn’t come to the infarmry to pick up Nagate on the first episode (he was, hum, syntetizing with a girl, and one different than the one he was walking with on the festival in the manga too).

  3. Nagate would have beat Akai, Akai won by copying his movements from the Guana attack video.footage. Do you really think this series is not going to later give a explanation for Nagate’s skills aside from useing a V.R. simulator. Actually your missing a few points already the type 18 has a crap tone of useless auto pilot features,The type 17 he was trained to use and still uses does not have any auto pilot features.The type 18 is a poor mans type 17 pretty much,They skipped saying this in the anime for some weird reason but humans eat the regular 3 meals a human would eat every saturday.If you have not noticed there actually is a shortage of adults everyone is either old as dirt,has a position they can not be replaced in like the commander who wants to find a replacement so he can battle again,engineers,repair crew etc Just give the story time I read the manga it is void of plot holes and asspulls everything in it gets a proper satisfying explanation. Nagate has become the embodiment of Norio’s hatred. He took the considered sacred type 17 from him, Pretty sure the girl he liked got killed first ep he probably blames that on him, Nagate is constantly getting praised. The ace squad would have done good if not for the whole lets all save the girl instead of fighting thing. The commanders are at fault for not having a back up squad ready and keeping their squad in check and less so to do with not being prepared to fight Guana. Btw don’t if you noticed but Nagate would have kicked Norio’s ass if not for the cast he didn’t need still being on to cover up his healing ability.The anime did a great job of showing how the cast subtly messed up his balance.

    1. Nagate would have beat Akai, Akai won by copying his movements from the Guana attack video.footage.

      Copying his movements doesn’t necessarily mean Nagate is better. In sports, great players copy other players’ moves all the time. It doesn’t mean they’re inferior to the person they’re copying. Sure, since you’ve read the manga, you already know that Nagate is the best at piloting because you’ve seen more plot and character development. Fine, but I’m working with what I’ve seen in the adaptation, and the adaptation at the moment does not tell me that Nagate is necessarily the clear-cut best.

      Just give the story time

      I dislike this mentality. These are observations based on what the anime adaptation has given me. I will change my observations as I get more information. If I’m not allowed to comment on anything until I give it time, I may as well just wait until the entire series has aired.

      1. Fair enough points. Never even thought of the fact that athletes do sometimes copy each other especially in combat sports.

  4. I’m actually a little surprised at how good of an adaptation this is. A lot of anime are essentially glorified ads, so they neglect making the anime stand on its own, but they really seem to be trying here (though its still essentially an ad). There’s a lot of expositional and character bits that they’re introducing earlier or more naturally than the manga, which helps the anime immensely, and they aren’t afraid to shift around and compress things, which was a huge issue with the Attack on Titan adaptation. Even with ~24 episodes that one didn’t get very far, but here if they continue at the 2 chapters per episode pace I could see them making some serious headway, though I think this anime may be only ~12 episodes.

    I do gotta agree with the other guy in that the manga battle scenes are sometimes totally incomprehensible and look like monochrome Pollock paintings. As far as I’m concerned the anime is nothing but an improvement there, as well as an in being able to tell characters apart. I’m particularly curious how they’ll handle some plot crucial segments that left many readers confused.

    1. like monochrome Pollock paintings

      That’s a bit hyperbolic. Plus, I’d love to watch an anime version of a Pollock painting.

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