Sidonia no Kishi Ep. 11: Inescapable

Knights of Sidonia 1102

G542, the latest Gauna threat, apparently gets its size from wrapping its placenta around a dwarf planet. Even so, the amount of energy required to move that much mass around at “high speeds” is mind-boggling, isn’t it? Naturally, Sidonia tries to change its course to avoid collision with G542, but somehow, the Gauna 8,000 times larger in volume than our spacefaring ship is at least just as agile, if not more. The command center quickly learns that no matter which direction it takes, it won’t be able to outrun the living planet. Sidonia thus has no choice but to fight back and defend itself. But how do you even begin to fight back against what is practically a sentient planet? Can you even wrap your mind around such an idea? Can you imagine what it would feel like if our moon suddenly comes alive and intends to ram itself into us? Oh wait, I’ve played Majora’s Mask… But joking aside, humanity at least has one thing going for it: G542 is mostly hollow.

Seriously though, I really wish the anime would take the time to explain something like the G542 is even remotely possible. How is it that any organic, sentient creature is capable of such a thing? On the other hand, the characters themselves don’t even understand what they’re up against, so what chance does the audience have of comprehending this madness? Plus, we ourselves know very little about the universe. Who knows what really lurks out there? Still, you can’t help but have some concerns for the narrative if this pattern continues to hold true. With each passing episode, the Gauna threat continues to increase by leaps and bounds. What’s next? A Gauna the size of a star system? Will we eventually be flinging spiral galaxies at each other? Considering the Gauna’s incomprehensible nature, however, the alien threat is more like a force of nature than anything else. Hell, maybe they are the manifestations of the Old Gods themselves. Seriously, though, how can the story keep it up at this rate? It can’t keep escalating the threat forever, can it?

Also, how does a Gauna that large go undetected until Sidonia is literally on a collision course with it? As previously stated, the amount of energy required to move a dwarf planet around at that speed must be immense. As a result, the amount of energy G542 gives off must also be immense. I’d expect our civilization a thousand years in the future to have means to detect such an apparent anomaly. After all, space itself is empty and cold. It shouldn’t be this difficult… unless magic is somehow involved. Of course, the story could always hand-wave these questions away and claim that the planet-sized Gauna is capable of concealing everything about itself until it is too close for comfort. Nevertheless, even a weak explanation is at least an explanation, which is more than what we can say at the moment. The truth is, Knights of Sidonia only touches on its science. It never bothers to go too in-depth on that front.

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When the mission to destroy G542 is finally underway, the Gardes with their long, needle-like cannons end up looking like mosquitoes. It doesn’t help either that the surface of the Gauna looks like highly-magnified skin tissue and hair. I doubt the imagery here is accidental. To the alien, Sidonia’s knights must feel like nothing more than meddlesome bugs. Perhaps humanity can no better understand the Gauna the same way a mosquito will never understand us. If the Gauna has the capabilities to move planets at will, it is silly to assume it has anything less than human intelligence. Who’s to say their intelligence isn’t so much greater that we can’t even begin to fathom it? In fact, perhaps the Shizuka-lookalike is the best way the Gauna can even hope to communicate with the human race, but this is akin to us creating a mosquito simulacrum in an attempt to communicate with actual mosquitos. Surely, we are infinitely smarter than a mosquito, but at the same time, it doesn’t mean we have any means to communicate with one. At best, we would only be able to mimic a mosquito’s actions…

Eventually, casualties begin to mount. Sidonia sends two entire platoons to carry out the mission, but when Benisuzume reappears, platoon two is completely wiped out. Kobayashi, with Yuhata as her mouthpiece, is forced yet again to make another risky gambit: Sidonia will attempt to open up a hole in the placenta, which will allow the remaining Gardes to penetrate the surface in an attempt to finish off the Master Gauna lurking beneath. By firing its Higgs cannons, however, Sidonia will no longer be able to change its course in the short-term. Then again, it’s not like the ship would be able to escape G542 if the mission fails anyway. And like before, Sidonia must put significant portions of itself at risk in order to pull this gambit off; the ship will have to cut power and gravity to its residential areas. But nothing has changed. Sidonia will still protect itself at all costs even if this means incurring some self-inflicted damage.

We nevertheless see the Immortal Ship Committee sit there and put all the blame on Kobayashi for the latest developments, but what would they have done in her place? We have no clue. We barely know anything about these shadowy figures. We know that they are immortal, and that they rather dislike Nagate. We also know that they are prepared to depart from Sidonia should our heroes fail to save Sidonia from G542. I find their false sense of calmness rather funny, actually. Should Sidonia’s destruction come to pass, what would these “people” even do? Their identities, after all, is supposed to be a secret. How would they get by without Sidonia? And where would they go? Who would take them in? How far could the their departure ship even get before it runs out of fuel and resources? You can’t help but think that the Immortal Ship Committee are just full of clowns who have no idea what they’re talking about.

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Throughout the episode, we also get brief glimpses at Norio and his newfound embrace of nihilism. He seems to have resigned himself to death, not even bothering to affix his safety harness at the behest of Sidonia’s emergency broadcast system. I wonder what Norio is really thinking. He continues to believe that he should’ve been the one to pilot the Tsugumori, and yet, he’s sitting comfortably in his own home as the rest of his colleagues fly off to face almost certain death. Surely, a person who shirks his duties is not honorable enough to pilot the Tsugumori. Surely, Norio is smart enough to realize that by hiding away like this, he is only bringing shame upon himself and his family. How, then, is he failing to recognize the obvious truth that is staring him right in the face? Needless to say, depression has done a number on the once-proud antagonist. He’s now just a pitiful character.

Anyway, if I had to guess, I’d say that this episode is nearly 95% action. The action is not bad, but there isn’t much for me to say about it. I’m not the type of blogger to go into copious details about that sort of thing. For what it’s worth, I find the episode rather enjoyable, actually. Nevertheless, I think I’ve commented on as much as I reasonably could, so I’ll call it a week here and wait for next week’s conclusion. I’ll then give my final thoughts on what is hopefully Knights of Sidonia‘s first season, i.e. not its only season. I mean, I wouldn’t give the show an A grade or anything like that, but I’m interested in seeing more of the story.

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6 thoughts on “Sidonia no Kishi Ep. 11: Inescapable”

  1. It’s a pleasure to see Izana deal with her fear and discomfort, also the other newcomers who have been squished. Nagate himself is a character who acts without thinking, so we didn’t even see his expression change in the slightest, while being faced with such imminent doom.

  2. I’ve been pretty bored with the past few episodes. The replication of consciousness is an sf idea that’s old as all hell and I’ve rather have it treated in PKD novels than here. The only exceptional thing is the scientist woman saying she’d have to disregard her beliefs about a replicated person’s consciousness for what she considers the sake of sidonia. Most of what I consider the most interesting material related to the attempts of the gauna and sidonia to relate to each other comes much later, and most of my favourite characters have gotten very little screentime (Yure) or haven’t been introduced yet. I’m pessimistic about any kind of second season as even the runaway successes take years to get second seasons, and Sidonia seems to be doing merely pretty good.

  3. I have read some chapters of the manga here and there and I think that the anime has put some effort to add details to the story. For instance, I like how they are addressing Norio’s character during these events something that is not explored in the manga at all.

    Speaking of him, he seems to be stuck in a dead-end. If Sidonia wins over Gauna, it mostly means a victory for Nagate from Norio’s point of view and that would depress him more. If Sodonia loses, well it is the end for everything including him. So, no scape for him. Sidonia really needs to have psychologies to deal with pilots’ state of mind after a traumatic experience in battle.

    1. I still feel like Norio isn’t as developed as he should be. These brief interludes with him don’t seem to be going anywhere.

      1. Norio’s a strange case. He’s meant to be sort of a “sympathetic” villain, not for what he does, but what’s wrong with the guy. He seems to suffer from glory envy, in which he wanted to be the big hero responsible for helping his people defeat the Gauna, and hates the fact that somebody else, somebody “lesser”, is responsible for helping give Sidonia a fighting chance, while he is responsible for getting many pilots killed out of pure jealousy. The problem, though, is that because of that, you don’t want to feel bad for him. You basically want him to blow his brains out because he’s pathetic (kinda like the Frank Weathers situation from Fallout: New Vegas… it’s wrong, but you’d rather see him shoot himself than clean his act up). Of course, if you are familiar with the manga… Norio’s in for a much, much worse fate.

        I did make mention as a random “fun fact”, that his CV is the same guy who voices Bizon (both yandere and near-death versions) from Buddy Complex. So, this guy has played two silver-haired assholes this year.

  4. “I’ll then give my final thoughts on what is hopefully Knights of Sidonia‘s first season, i.e. not its only season. I mean, I wouldn’t give the show an A grade or anything like that, but I’m interested in seeing more of the story.”

    Thankfully, this is the 1st season. All is well, season 2 confirmed.

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