Sidonia no Kishi Ep. 10: Trying to make amends

Knights of Sidonia 1003

When a Gauna conveniently attacks the pioneer ship, I wonder for a second if the emigrants had been personally set up to fail. If Sidonia’s leadership had really wanted to, they could have easily snuck a kabizashi spear aboard the pioneer ship. Doing so would lure a Gauna to the defenseless emigrants, but no one would know that they had been sabotaged. As a result, this would delegitimize the entire demilitarization movement. Of course, that’s perhaps too moustache-twirlingly evil even for the blackest of hearts in Sidonia’s Immortal Council. Instead, I’m glad that Kobayashi’s morality comes in shades of grey. Nagate has to convince her to allow him to sortie in the new experimental weapon. Otherwise, she would’ve allowed the emigrants die without risking any of her pilots. It’s not that she has malicious intent. The pioneer ship is already too far away. Normal Gardes wouldn’t have caught up to it in time anyway, and existence of the experimental weapon probably isn’t public knowledge. By not sortieing any of her pilots, Kobayashi would be killing two birds with one stone: conserve resources and make an example of of the demilitarization movement all at the same time: “Leaving the emigrants to fend for themselves would have more effectively demonstrated the folly of demilitarization…” Best of all, no one would be able to blame Kobayashi.

With each passing week, however, the enigma behind Kobayashi’s mask unravels little by little. She isn’t just concealing her identity as an immortal. She seems to be hiding her true feelings as well. Of all the characters in the show, Kobayashi displays the least amount of emotions. The only times she ever seems to betray her icy facade are when she’ll smile from time to time around Nagate. Obviously, the fact that he’s a dead ringer for an old friend plays a large part in this. In this week’s episode, however, she wonders about Nagate, “Will the day come when you rebel against my command? I shall try to change my ways before it is too late again.” Hiroki was Sidonia’s greatest champion, but a he ended up abandoning his duty to the ship near the end of his life. Kobayashi likely regrets how she couldn’t have prevented this from happening. She obviously doesn’t want Nagate to abandon Sidonia’s as well. Our young protagonist represents Sidonia’s greatest hope against the Gauna. Still, you have to wonder if perhaps there’s something deeper to Kobayashi’s true feelings. How much did Hiroki really mean to Kobayashi, and as a result, how much did his rebellion hurt her? As a captain, she probably can’t afford to display too many emotions. People might see it as a sign of weakness. You thus have to wonder if Kobayashi wants to have with Nagate what she failed to have with Hiroki.

Knights of Sidonia 1004

This same theme of regret especially after death continues on Nagate and his perhaps unhealthy obsession with the placenta specimen. Immediately after another successful sortie, he rushes to see the Shizuku-lookalike, which has apparently taught itself to write Nagate’s name onto the glass that separates her from her observers. I’m still not quite convinced that the placenta specimen displays human intelligence, but of course, my quibble now is more of a philosophical sort than anything else. For practical story purposes, we can easily assume that the placenta specimen resembles a child, albeit a rapidly maturing one. It seems almost proud to show off its new talent to Nagate only to then follow this up with clear disappointment when her marker breaks. Still, what makes the placenta specimen’s relationship with Nagate unhealthy has nothing to do with the fact that she’s a product of a Gauna. Rather, it’s what she represents to to our hero that is potentially problematic. I briefly brought this up last week: there’s a good chance Nagate still feels guilty for Shizuku’s death. We know he can’t ultimately be blamed (it was Norio’s fault, after all), but human emotions are not so simple. As a result, there’s a possibility that he’s using the placenta specimen as a way to assuage his guilt.

In doing so, however, he prevents himself from moving on and accepting the fact that Shizuku is no longer alive. Even though the Shizuku-lookalike had ultimately failed to write his name completely, our protagonist runs down a hallway with glee. If she was nothing more than a placenta specimen to him, would he react this way? She obviously means a lot to him. She’s obviously a stand-in for Shizuku, but this is not right. Shizuku is dead, and he needs to accept that. Plus, whatever this placenta specimen is — especially if it is ultimately a benevolent creature — it isn’t fair to use her in such a way. This Shizuku-lookalike is its own creature. When Izana asks Nagate if he had gone to see the placenta specimen, he denies it. If he’s doing nothing wrong, why lie? Deep down inside, he might suspect that his relationship with the Shizuku-lookalike isn’t quite right, but the heart desires otherwise. He can’t resist it. For the moment, he has to see her. I bring this up because I see parallels between this situation and the one involving Kobayashi and our protagonist. Kobayashi doesn’t want to screw up the relationship between her and Nagate because she sees him as a stand in for Hiroki. First, this means she hasn’t gotten over Hiroki even though he had died a long time ago. Secondly, this is unfair to Nagate as this does not allow Nagate to become his own person. He’s just following in his grandfather’s footsteps.

Stray observations:

Knights of Sidonia 1001

— So we learn this week that Ochiai’s ghoulish-looking creation is still around. Although Kobayashi and Yure both assure Nagate that the Gauna-Human hybrid in front of him is long dead, it casts a long, ghastly shadow nonetheless. In fact, the way the whole thing goes down is rather peculiar too. Kobayashi seems to have known ahead of time that Yuhata would be sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong. As a result, Kobayashi beats the kids to the punch by showing up at Gravity Hall as Tanaka, the establishment’s supposed owner. Then as Nagate and his girls explore a high-security isolation ward, Kobayashi must have had her people follow them. I can understand tranqing the two girls, but if they intend to tell Nagate everything about the Gauna-Human hybrid, why knock him out too? Oh well…

— Still, it’s funny how poorly-kept Sidonia’s secrets are. First, a bunch of kids gain access to a highly-classified area. Not only that, we see Norio and his sister learn some very crucial bits of information as well. Yes, Kobayashi probably intends all along to let Nagate in on the truth, but why risk allowing the girls to come along with the hero? Why not just take Nagate to see the Gauna-Human hybrid by himself? And yes, I know Norio is from a family with lots of connections and what not. Still, you’d think the more sordid aspects of Sidonia’s history would be under better lock and key.

— Sidonia’s leadership keeps the dead Gauna-Human hybrid around in order to produce man-made kabi. Kobayashi even admits that both the long dead hybrid and the kabizashi spears produce radiation which draws the Gauna to Sidonia. So again, I must wonder why the pioneer ship had come under attack. A representative of the demilitarization movement claims that the Gauna was really headed for Sidonia instead, but how much of this is just wishful thinking on their part? In any case, it’s clear that Kobayashi doesn’t simply want to defend her people against the Gauna. She wants to wage all-out war against them: “We now have the power to exterminate the Gauna.” I wonder if this mindset will ultimately prove to be Kobayashi’s undoing. Rarely is it a good thing in stories for a character to advocate aggression.

Knights of Sidonia 1002

— Izana is beginning to despair. The effort she has put into her relationship with Nagate has not borne fruit. Not only that, she has officially been made a pilot, and therefore, she feels as though her days are numbered. For a while now, her character has been a bit one-dimensional. I’m interested to see how she’ll develop from here on out. This would distinguish her from Yuhata, anyway. After all, Yuhata’s character development has seemingly stalled ever since she became an executive officer.

— Does it seem as though Nagate is perhaps too unquestioning? He never seems to have any doubts about the things happening around him. Yes, anime protagonists are typically naive, but Nagate puts up absolutely no resistance. Doe she have this much faith in the captain?

— At the end of the episode, Sidonia encounters a Gauna so big, it is 8,000 times bigger than the ship itself. So is it the size of a small planet? Does it have a molten core? Do you think it might have its own magnetic field? I don’t know, I’m just trying to fathom what a creature of such enough proportions must be like. I don’t think these questions are unreasonable. This is science fiction, after all, as opposed to science fantasy.

— With the end of the season coming hard and fast, I thus have to wonder if this is the pivotal battle to end this season’s adaptation of Knights of Sidonia. Not only that, will we see a second season? Has the show done well enough to warrant it?

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6 thoughts on “Sidonia no Kishi Ep. 10: Trying to make amends

  1. Nick

    Basically they need a second season, because they have yet to introduce the Best Member of Tanikaze’s Harem and we are all the poorer for it.

    Reply
    1. Naota

      Lies. Clearly the imperfect Hoshijiro Gauna clone is the best member, and will doubtlessly show us an amazing character arc of learning life lessons, crossing boundaries between species, reaching maturity at an accelerated pace, and exercising newfound self-determination.

      …rather than dying in some really creepy fashion or mutating into a horrible abomination any episode now, or being killed in cold blood by one of the series’ villains in order to manipulate us into hating them.

      Well, one can dream.

      Reply
  2. A_teo

    It should be difficult to overcome the lost of a beloved one if you see another person/entity with the similar characteristics as him/her. I am not sure if Nagate feels guilty about Shizuku’s death but I think that at least he can evoque nice memories by seeing the placenta’s resemblance to a person that he cared (and still cares) a lot and also he can hope to make things right this time, it is a second chance that is hard to have in life. It is still unhealty since you are not accepting the fact that a person close to you has died.

    About, Izana’s melancholy, it is interesting to me how she thought about endless oceans and plains. Being here in hearth one can dream about traveling in space and meeting new worlds and stars but I guess living in space is not something expected for the human’s psyche and a human can wish to return to her origins. Wishing to live in a place with bouderies and where nothing is endless could feel better than living in space where boundaries are inexistent but just doesn’t feel like the right place.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      With Izana, I find it weird. What knowledge can she have of oceans and plains? They must come only from images and videos, no? And they’ve been in space for a thousand years. You can say that it isn’t in our psyche in space as we are now, but how has the human race not adapted in a thousand years?

      Reply
      1. A_teo

        I agree, it seems weird due to current setting in Sidonia’s world. Nevertheless, we still keep some fear to snakes (or spiders) after thousands of years, maybe we could still feel some kind of nostalgic for some natural environment event if humanity has been in an artificial one for a thousand years.

        Reply

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