Sidonia no Kishi Ep. 7: Pariah

Knights of Sidonia 0701

Before I get to Norio’s betrayal, I’ll just mention two quick thoughts. First, there isn’t anything new for me to say about the latest Gauna. I like the action scenes overall, but the same criticisms from before carry over. The number one problem for me is still the fact that the ridiculous amount of debris surrounding the Gauna is distracting. Second, I still don’t see how putting the events out of order adds to my enjoyment or understanding of the story. After all, the sudden announcement of Shizuka’s death at the end of last week’s episode didn’t really shock in me in a “Wow, I can’t believe that happened” sort of way. It surprised me more in a “You put all that work into developing her character just to kill her offscreen” way. Now that I get to see the actual battle, there’s less tension because I already know she’s going to die. There’s also less tension because I know our hero will screw up (technically, he didn’t but everyone believes he did). Granted, I don’t know how she dies nor how Nagate screws up until I watch this week’s episode, but I still think the impact of the tragedy itself is lessened because I already know the outcome. Putting the events out of order doesn’t end up being clever or anything; it just seems pointless.

Anyway, I guess Norio fucking up the mission just to make Nagate look bad is supposed to be the big twist. After all, this is like the bomb squad leader telling one of his squad members to cut the wrong wire simply because he hates the guy. Yeah, you sure showed him. Now everyone hates him! And now you’re probably dead too. So yeah, Norio’s sick in the head. We kind of always knew he was bitter about Nagate’s success, but to put everyone — including his own home — at risk is, well, that’s some moustache-twirling level of villainy. To be honest, I don’t know how much I like this development. Yeah, yeah, Norio is ridiculously evil, and it seems a bit much. But the main thing I’m apprehensive about is that Nagate’s reputation is still spotless to the audience. Let’s be honest, what we, the viewers, think of the main character is ultimately what counts. We know he didn’t fuck up. We know Norio had set him up to fail. But still, what this tells me is that the only way Nagate can ever screw up is when someone else makes him screw up. He’s still perfect. I guess I’m always looking for flawed heroes. I just think they’re more interesting. I’m not looking for antiheroes necessarily, nor do I want a Byronic hero. I just wish one of these anime would actually have the balls to tell a story in which the hero actually fucks up so that he can grow from it. But there’s no real lesson to learn here other than to never trust any silver-haired asshole.

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One more thing bothers me about our latest tragedy: is there no such thing as a black box in the future? Is there no sort of investigative body to determine what had truly gone wrong during the mission? If you don’t know what a black box is, in aviation, there’s this device that records as much information as possible during any flight. This would likely include the communications between the various pilots. Why is this necessary? Well, plane crashes are relatively rare compared to other vehicular accidents, but it’s almost always tragic when a plane crashes. As a result, you want to know exactly why the plane had crashed to hopefully prevent such a thing from happening again. Alright, Nagate’s “plane” didn’t crash in our anime. Nevertheless, he supposedly fucked up majorly. In fact, he fucked up uncharacteristically. Even if you don’t grant this, however, some investigative body would still want to determine just exactly what had happened during that crucial moment in the mission. Why did Nagate detonate his charges too early? Did he fuck up or did the Gardes malfunction? The investigators would then take a look at the black box–… lo and behold! The recording of the communications here shows that Norio had given our hero the wrong orders! Sure, Norio had opened up a private channel to Nagate’s Gardes, but so what? It’s private to the other pilots, but it wouldn’t be private to a black box. But ah well, we wouldn’t have the entirety of Sidonia hating on Nagate if something so convenient as a black box actually existed in this universe.

Izana and Lala do their best to support our now melancholic protagonist, but there isn’t much you can do when people throw rocks at the guy and call him a war criminal. Despite almost everyone now turning on Nagate, however, Kobayashi is unphased by public opinion: “The people are a nonissue.” You’ll find out later that many are threatening to depart from Sidonia as a result of the recent conflicts with the Gauna, but Kobayashi still doesn’t care. As far as she’s concerned, they can all leave if they want. After all, she’s on a mission to exterminate the Gauna, and nothing will get in her way. Not only that, she insists that our hero will remain a pilot. It’s one thing to believe in the guy. It’s another thing to make him sortie when he obviously isn’t in the mindset to do so. What exactly is Kobayashi trying to accomplish here? Is this some sort of trial by fire that will harden Nagate’s heart and forge him into Sidonia’s ultimate warrior? It would be incredibly fucked up if it turns out Nagate is still hooked up to some simulation, and none of the recent events are real. Now, I don’t think this is actually the case, but it’s fun to think about.

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Elsewhere, the protests against Sidonia’s leadership continues, but it strikes me as an incredibly dumb protest: “The Gauna will leave us alone if we disarm!” Really? How on Earth would you know that? In fact, you don’t have an Earth anymore for a very specific reason. But seriously though, this protest is so ridiculous, I almost feel as though the story’s doing itself a disservice. After all, the anti-military demonstrations aren’t this stupid by accident. The writer is portraying them in a very certain way that makes it easy for the audience to dismiss the protesters as whackjobs. Sure, there are anti-military people in Sidonia, but they have no idea what they’re talking about! Not only does this make for a weaker story since the protesters are portrayed with such little nuance, but it also reinforces a rather dangerous mindset in that war dissenters are all just weirdo hippies with no grasp on reality. Considering how military protests are still seen in Japan these days, what you see here has to certainly raise an eyebrow.

A bunch of information comes to us in a flurry. Ichiro will now become a pilot, and Yuhata will replace him as the new executive officer. I already knew she had an interest in military strategy from a previous episode, but I didn’t know she was that qualified already. Then again, it doesn’t seem as though there are very many people in Sidonia — a fact which has yet to be explained — so I suppose there weren’t any qualified individuals to compete with the girl for the position. Still, she herself didn’t really want the job. She wanted to follow in her late brother’s footsteps and become a pilot. Nevertheless, her becoming the executive officer is Kobayashi’s orders, and Kobayashi is turning out to be quite the undying dictator of Sidonia. This makes me curious, though. What sort of power that Kobayashi wield anyway? It seems as though no one can really keep her in check, but why? What is she capable of if you dare to cross her path?

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Anyway, we also learn that the previous Gauna had retreated to a gas planet. Yuhata warns Kobayashi that the planet may contain even more Gauna within it. For Kobayashi, however, it doesn’t matter as she issues an order to just blow the planet up. Granted, our story is set a thousand years into the future, but the amount of firepower you would need to destroy a planet — much less a gas planet — is pretty damn huge. Furthermore, how does Sidonia replenish its arsenal? Recycling dead people is one thing. Replacing warheads that can blow up an entire planet is another. Plus, that warhead has to be made of some super special stuff. First, it has to avoid burning up as it passes through the planet’s atmosphere at such high speeds, which is also aided by the planet’s gravitational pull. I mean, it’s not like we’re attaching a parachute to the damn thing. Not only that, the pressure and temperature near a gas planet’s core are insane. Maybe one to two million bars and around a few thousand kelvins? But hey, like I’ve said, it’s 1000 years into the future. Maybe Lockheed Martin will made a breakthrough by then.

But yeah, they can blow up the gas planet, but only the Kabizashi spears can damage a Gauna. As a result, pilots must now sortie once again to deal with the Gaunas that have been forced out of hiding. Those pilots include Nagate as well. Despite Izana’s protestations, however, the guy is determined to get the job done. It’s a bit odd though that Izana doesn’t once doubt our hero one bit. He never really explained it to her that Norio had betrayed him, did he? Is she not naturally curious that Nagate may have fucked up? Oh well, I guess she’s too in love with the guy to see him in a negative light. Oh well, our characters have bigger fishes to fry. Namely, the trio of Gaunas that has emerged from the gas planet resemble Shizuka’s Gardes in appearance. If Nagate had suffered from PTSD episodes before, how will he cope now?

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34 thoughts on “Sidonia no Kishi Ep. 7: Pariah

  1. Mr. Mister

    Remember it was Kunato’s family that developed the the Type 18 (with him even being a test pilot), so he probably knows of a few secret bypass features. As for how he dealt with Tsugumori’s records, well, you can think that either they were damaged in battle, or that he discretely took care of it while Nagate was unconscious with some conacts.

    Reply
      1. lesterf1020

        I understand what you are saying but where exactly do you fit info like that in? A scene of him hacking the records with him thinking to himself that he was a test pilot and his family built the thing? I don’t know if it would be the best use of screen time just to plug one plothole that most people wont notice. Quite a bit of Kunato’s backstory is missing which is probably due to time and pacing constraints. I just see it as a casualty of adaptation.

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          My questions are more rhetorical than anything. I just dislike what often happens whenever anyone raises a question. People start to “write” the story for the creators as a way to make up for these questions. It’s not my job to fill in the gaps for the creators. Look, it’s fine by me if this is what actually happens in the manga. I’m just saying I don’t see it nor any sign of it in the adaptation, so I obviously can’t consider it if I’m judging the adaptation by itself. If this is an acknowledged casualty of adaptation, oh well, why are people so defensive if I criticize the adaptation then?

        2. Naota

          I simply don’t agree.

          Yes, you do have to be careful when conveying this kind of information for the flow, impact, and brevity of the story to hold up. It’s still a perfectly reasonable expectation that the audience would wonder why nobody thought to ask why or how Nagate suddenly failed in a suspicious and unexpected way, right at the crucial moment. It’s an action that put their entire society at risk! People would want to know – it would be the question. It’s stranger to see nobody ask it than to see it answered. It’s not an obscure plothole when half the comments on this episode I’ve seen on the internet repeat it.

          It would not be difficult to compose a short scene that both showed an investigation into what happened taking place and explained why they didn’t find anything damning, while building up the idea that the betrayal was premeditated. It makes Sidonia’s administration seem competent and portrays Kunato as more than a blithering idiot. If that’s not worth a minute of air time, I don’t know what is.

        3. lesterf1020

          If no one launched an investigation into why the four elite pilots failed in their mission against the gauna necessitating an uneven acceleration, many deaths and severe damage to the residential areas I don’t see why they would launch an investigation into why one pilot detonated his charges early when the mission was an overall success resulting in them successfully killing over 20 gauna.

          If you successfully manage to land your forces on the beach in Normandy I don’t see why central command would launch an investigation into why one of the hotshot ace pilots screwed up his mission and ended up in a coma.

        4. E Minor Post author

          If no one launched an investigation into why the four elite pilots failed in their mission against the gauna necessitating an uneven acceleration,

          Maybe they should have. I don’t see how two wrongs necessarily make a right.

          If you successfully manage to land your forces on the beach in Normandy I don’t see why central command would launch an investigation into why one of the hotshot ace pilots screwed up his mission and ended up in a coma.

          You’re comparing apples to oranges. This was not a large-scale invasion involving over a hundred thousand troops, in which case a single hotshot pilot screwing up is not a big deal. By comparison, the operation in the anime is so much smaller that one hotshot pilot screwing up is a big deal, and should warrant an investigation. One person screwing up on D-Day won’t fuck over the entire operation. On the other hand, Nagate’s screw-up here definitely could’ve screwed up the entire operation. The fact that it didn’t doesn’t change the gravity of his screw-up.

          Besides, who cares why nobody’s investigating the screw-up? The problem is that the story doesn’t even address it. That’s a flaw in the narrative no matter how you want to spin it.

        5. lesterf1020

          Maybe there is a flaw in the narrative but if I were on the sidonia and I wasn’t Tanikaze, Kunato or Kobayashi I wouldn’t be interested in an investigation. You are looking at the situation from an audience perspective, you and I know what actually happened and that is why you want an investigation.

          Kunato is the golden boy of Sidonia. He is a first rate pilot and has, from Sidonia’s perspective, done well as a commander. He always follows orders and he is the heir of the Kunato Enterprises which built the Type 18’s. Tanikaze is a rogue element who went wild in his first encounter with the gauna in which it took a while for him to follow orders. He then went wild again in his second encounter with the gauna by ignoring orders and charging the gauna and then after that disobeyed orders and went after Hoshijiro. While that made him a hero it also established him as someone who doesn’t follow orders and takes reckless risks without authorization.

          In this mission they successfully repelled nearly 30 gauna and Kunato personally killed 4 of them making him a hero with more kills than Tanikaze. As far as Sidonia is concerned he followed orders and asked permission before doing anything. Tanikaze fired his explosives early and a team mate was killed trying to rescue him when he spaced out. He then ended up unconscious and never complained about anything but instead holed up in his room. If I were a normal person on Sidonia I would assume the imperfect Tanikaze scenario that you wanted. That Tanikaze’s recklessness finally caught up with him and he did something that endangered the mission and got people killed.

          The last thing I would think is that something went horribly wrong when even Tanikaze hasn’t said anything or worse yet that the golden boy hero commander might have been involved.

        6. E Minor Post author

          You are looking at the situation from an audience perspective, you and I know what actually happened and that is why you want an investigation.

          That’s not true at all. How do you know I haven’t thought about it from the perspective of someone in Sidonia? Actually, I have, and I would still want an investigation. I think anyone in the position of power should. It’s the only responsible thing to do. I don’t care how reckless Nagate has been previously or how much of a golden boy Norio is, everything warrants an investigation when the stakes are so high. You should always want to know exactly what had happened during such a significant portion of such a significant operation. I feel as though you’re just jumping through so many hoops to defend this show at all costs. But whatever, you’re not changing my mind and I’m not changing yours so this is pointless.

        7. Naota

          A more apt comparison: during the landing at Normandy an entire company of troops arrives two miles from where they should and two hours late, leaving a gaping hole in the allied lines. The soldiers in the company notice nothing out of the ordinary while this was happening, and only follow their orders as given. Fortunately the gap isn’t noticed by the enemy until an hour in, and at significant cost the other troops are able to spread out to hold it, resulting in a tenuous victory after several close calls which could have cost the entire operation.

          Also, in this situation if the Allies fail to take the beach, their nations, land, and people are completely and utterly destroyed.

          As any kind of authority figure, I think you’re going to want to know every detail of why that missing company nearly cost your side its very existence by making a totally implausible and suspicious mistake out of nowhere.

        8. Naota

          Similarly:
          -If I was Nagate I would immediately look for answers the moment I recovered. I know I followed my orders just as they were given, so why did everything go so wrong? Everyone’s say it’s my fault – if so, where did I go wrong? Kunato sure seems jumpy about it – every time I ask he’s like “Shut up! Don’t even think of blaming me! Don’t you dare say anything!”

          -If I was Kobayashi I would trust Nagate when he said he followed his orders to the letter. He has no reason to lie and it just makes sense to look into what could have caused such a catastrophic breakdown of the command structure. Even if things are as they appear, I’d want to know all the details so I could make adjustments to the training program. Clearly interpersonal drama and lack of discipline are hamstringing the effectiveness of Sidonia’s military!

          -If I was Kunato I wouldn’t do this. If I was dumb enough to sabotage an operation where the survival of my species hangs in the balance just to settle a grudge fueled by my inadequacy, I wouldn’t be smart or charismatic enough to have risen to a position of power and prestige in the first place. If I wanted to shut down Nagate I’d sabotage his mech so he crashes like a doofus before the operation begins and can’t participate, or I’d pay someone to break his kneecaps while I enjoyed my time in the spotlight, or I’d use my political pull to frame him for some awful crime. Something that doesn’t have the potential to doom the human race as collateral damage.

          Just calling it as I see it. Kunato’s such an unrealistic character that it rankles.

        9. lesterf1020

          Pointless indeed. How unfortunate. I wasn’t interested in changing your mind nor am I invested in defending this anime. I was interested in having a discussion with someone who saw things differently from me. My sincere apologies for inconveniencing you. This will not happen again.

        1. E Minor Post author

          Cool, but that’s not what I was referring to. I already know his family background.

  2. PTS

    The private call thing was one of those moments in the manga a lot of people found confusing. The panel where he set the signal was a little small, and a lot of people got the impression that it was actually a technical error or something. The whole lack of a black box issue becomes much more glaring when it’s in a TV episode that airs once a week vs. a short manga chapter where you’ll probably go to the next one immediately without dwelling on it much, or having misinterpreted what happened. I’m noticing most anime commentators are questioning why there isn’t some kind of investigation into the failure, while I don’t think I’ve seen this scene comes up in manga discussions, other than in confusion about what happened. Even with nothing changed narratively, the medium changes the response of readers, due to their different patterns of attention.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      I pretty sure if I had read the manga, I would have made the same complaints. What other people do has no bearing on what I do.

      Reply
      1. PTS

        Obviously it’s a plot weakness in either medium, I just find it interesting how it’s more noticeable in one medium vs. another.

        Reply
  3. Boytitan

    The war distractors where presented fine and actually bought up good points. You can maybe say that the old guy is a wack job but so far he knows a lot. He bought up the other immortals aside from Kobayashi last tme we saw him the guys in the robot heads if you forgot. Anyways Kobayashi is a very benevolent dictator which is what sidonia needs right now there are the other immortals but well she is the most humane of them main reason the writer decided to give her a human body out of all of them probably.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      What good points have they made? I don’t see how disarming yourself against an alien race that you cannot communicate with and have been battling for a thousand years is a good point. Maybe it can develop into a good point, but that’s not what I currently see in the adaptation.

      Reply
  4. Boytitan

    Simple not enough manpower to do a investigation or even have the people to teach such a thing and work in a field like that. Really wish the series would give us a estimate on sindonia population.They don’t even have over 200 prison cells for crying out loud.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Again, you guys are not addressing the problem. The main problem is not specifically about the lack of an investigation. It’s that the story doesn’t even address it. Not enough manpower? Fine, but where do we see this addressed in the adaptation? Norio fucked with the Gardes? Fine, but where do we see this addressed in the adaptation? There’s a narrative gap, and there’s no point if the viewers have to fill it in for the anime.

      Reply
      1. Boytitan

        It was never addressed in any source. Also there is the fact that they still had a enemy to take care of.

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          Also there is the fact that they still had a enemy to take care of.

          They can’t have different people do two different things at once?

  5. runoverpebble

    So… debris is normally something space combat uses after a battle, to signify chaos of the aftermath and lack of organisation. I think a pretty solid argument can be made for the debris in the fights being used to good effect to evoke something similar; if its chaotically composed and confusing to watch, its easier to buy that Gauna combat is chaotic and confusing as well.
    Its also what Gardes turn into after getting skewered, so the aura of debris around Gauna is also an aura of death, or undeath, depending on where they take this Gauna concept.

    I think the protesters would work much better if they were calling for some kind of accountability and not disarmament. That fits in much more naturally with the show’s undercurrents of a lack of understanding of humanity’s current condition, and dissatisfaction with the controlled and sterile nature of life in Sidonia in general.

    Reply
    1. runoverpebble

      Also, I don’t see why viewers filling ‘gaps’ in a story is a bad thing per se, if the story has built itself to accommodate, or preferably encourage explanations that fill the gaps, because narrative gaps are something all stories have and will have. We could ask, for example, what standards were used to judge Midorikawa’s talent, or why the bathyspheres were made, or what the underground is and why it exists, all of which are things the show has not explicitly explained, but has paved the way for explanations of.
      Its really just Sidonia’s roundabout style of storytelling, and I personally find it refreshing.

      Sidonia’s fault here lies less in the fact that it never explains why there was no blackbox/investigation than in how it clashes with the way Sidonia’s administration has been presented as scientific, controlling, rationalized, thorough, and so on.

      Reply
      1. E Minor Post author

        Also, I don’t see why viewers filling ‘gaps’ in a story is a bad thing per se, if the story has built itself to accommodate, or preferably encourage explanations that fill the gaps, because narrative gaps

        This is just fanfiction.

        Its really just Sidonia’s roundabout style of storytelling, and I personally find it refreshing.

        Of course…

        Reply
    2. E Minor Post author

      if its chaotically composed and confusing to watch,

      It’s not confusing to watch. It’s just ugly.

      Reply
      1. runoverpebble

        >This is just fanfiction.
        This is not a valid criticism.
        Ain’t a story out there, save maybe the dumbest of shounen sports shows, that doesn’t require fans to fill in their own blanks.

        >Its just ugly.
        Of course…

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          This is just asinine. There’s a difference between making inferences based on the information we’ve been given and writing fanfiction. I’m trying to judge the story on its own merits, and you want me to consider shit you’ve made up because you have to defend your beloved show at all costs. Yeah, it’s really the fan’s job to cover up the plotholes. Great fucking criticism there. Well, I know I don’t have to take your comments seriously anymore.

  6. Naota

    I’ll put it like this: I think people have every right to head-canon their own explanations into a story if that’s what helps them enjoy it. If you need to or like to, go for it.

    But this doesn’t hold up as a defense of the story’s writing in the face of criticism.

    If you can invent literally anything that might have happened to explain a baffling and confusing plot event, nobody would ever be able to criticize anything. Darth Vader isn’t a bad guy – he was just possessed by the spirits of the Sith! Commander Shepard is alive because he was actually a clone all along! Mahouka’s Tatsuya isn’t an insufferable Gary Stu… he’s a great character in the riveting epic that could possibly have happened between this episode and the last! His name could mean “dragon” so that makes him a satan allegory so that makes your criticism invalid!

    The point is that there is no information where there should be, and that constitutes a flaw in the narrative. You can leave deliberate gaps in a story to let the audience’s speculation run wild (ie. mysteries, in medias res), but this isn’t the same thing.

    You can’t ask your audience to fix your story for you in their heads. We judge what’s there – not the best case scenario of what could possibly be there if only the author would have written it.

    Reply
  7. noolgle

    and…. i still have no idea what is happening, why wasnt there any investigation of any sort, after all, this IS an important operation after all, Nagate screwing up that badly isnt something that could just be explained as pff, he is that type of guy, after all, he didnt follow orders previously, so i dont expect him to do that now.

    No… it doesnt matter if it is due to this mindset or whatever excuse, a scew up had occur, so it is up to the higher up to carry on an investigation, it is what happened in our own military, if someone screw up an operation, we wish to find out why, i dont believe that in the future, military will be that carefree about this..

    I do hope that next 2 episode would address this… but somehow i doubt it..

    Reply
  8. John Barnes

    Random fun fact: Norio’s CV is the same CV as Bizon’s from Buddy Complex. So, that guy’s been spending most of his mecha time this past year playing silver-haired assholes. The only exception is Nobunaga the Fool, where he plays a noble guy.

    Reply

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