Knights of Sidonia finishes up with another great battle, and some denouement before the announcement of another season. Hooray!
There’s a lot of reasons to like Sidonia, and a couple not to like it, but I’ll get to those later. The main reason for me were the battles. This one might have been the best yet, but I was a little confused. First, the plan was going to zap a hole in the planetoid-sized gauna and for everyone to fly in and destroy the placenta. But then Nagate announces he’s going in alone, and Ren even gives him a bomb of great sentimental value to her. But HQ thinks they’re all going in, hell, we see them approaching the gauna until the Benisuzume shows up and screws up their plans. It may me that when Nagate talked about going in alone he was talking about his own little squad, but it wasn’t clear to me. Not that it really matters.
So now Nagate’s got a new opponent and the others gaily enter without him. It’s an odd scene made incredibly exciting by the direction, art, music, three of the show’s greatest strengths. Nagate and the spookily giggling Benesusume duel it out as sort of a side dish to the battle, since with the placenta sealed again they can’t interfere with the main action. But it’s a great scene anyway. They wing through the debris in a sort of dance, neither side able to deliver the death blow, Nagate knocked unconscious at one point, but Izana rescues him … until Nagate remembers that little bomb he’s been holding, and Ren’s sister is avenged. Only then to we turn our attention to the real battle, ironically anticlimactic except for the rush to escape. And then maybe the best scene of the lot, almost silent, as Ren and Izana and Sidonia wait to hear the status of the pilots who went inside the gauna. The fact that we’ve seen good pilots die before means we don’t really know how it will turn out.
After that it’s time to tidy up. Nagate tries to bring armchair-pilot Kunato back to the fold, Ren manages to make Izana put on her cute pouting look again, and that’s it. We don’t know when season two will be, but they’ll show two episodes in November, so I assume the winter season. It can’t be too soon for me. To say that Knights of Sidonia was my third favorite show of the season doesn’t sound all that impressive, but #1 and #2 were Ping Pong and Mushishi. A few things held it back: in spite of its look it was basically a traditional boy-pilot story, and like many viewers out there, I was often thrown out of the story by the poor CG effects. It was worst during quiet, talky scenes, but, happily, didn’t matter when the gauna was involved. The gauna was a great alien, hideous to look at but fascinating in how it did things, like absorb people and take on their crude form, or inventing organic versions weapons the good guys had. Also beautifully alien was the outstanding musical score. Sometimes it sounded like machine or computer noise, other times like a traditional orchestra, and often they threw it together so you didn’t know what it was, except alien. And that was maybe the show’s greatest triumph: everything in it, apart from Nagate, our hero and point-person for the viewer, everything on Sidonia felt different, off, almost alien, as it should be considering we’re thousands of years in the future. Excellent work. Now, guys, clean up the effects a bit and I’ll see you in season two.