Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Knights Of Sidonia S1 Ep3: Glory

The story of our Knights Of Sidonia continues with Knights Of Sidonia, Season One, Episode 3, Glory.

Nagata Tanikaze is on the mend following the events of Oblivion here. Tanikaze beat back a Gauna using his high vibration blade and a significant portion of his Gatling Gun ammunition. But, at the very least, he lives to fight another day.

Glory offers a glimpse of precisely how the pilots of the Gardes perform live training. Combat is available on the outer hull of the ship Sidonia herself in particular on the surface of the asteroid within which the ship is ensconced. This is how actual Garde combat is practiced beyond the virtual training consoles.

These live games are performed at what is referred to as the Gravity Cup Festival.

Elsewhere, Yuhata Midorikawa accesses top secret files on the condition of Garde units and knows the truth about Tanikaze's skills in the Tsugumori 17. If not for Tanikaze's efforts the entire squad would have been lost to the attacking Gauna. Yuhata is quite enamored with the young pilot.

One of the key differences between the Mark 17 and the Mark 18 is technological complexity and advancements. The Mark 18 is superior as a technological weapon, but those successful within the Mark 17 proved their abilities as it was incumbent upon a pilot to truly shine reliant upon their own particular skills within the Mark 17.

The midway break.
100 Sights Of Sidonia: Gravity Gate District.
100 Sights Of Sidonia: Inside Trainee Hostels.

So often in anime, the midway break of any episode is marked by an image or something written in Japanese. Sometimes the images are entirely meaningless, but with Knights Of Sidonia these simple images offer us windows and doors into the universe that is ship Sidonia. We are able to glimpse moments and places within the ship that the story may or may not have ample opportunity to explore. These beautifully drawn images genuinely sketch out a stunning inner world that exists for humanity in deep space. Each image offers us additional details in assembling the complex inner world of Sidonia.

Unable to photosynthesize like most, and thus self-nourish, Tanikaze is famished and runs into Shikuza Hoshijiro who buys him a meal. Tanikaze often lights up around Hoshijiro. He delights in their connection. There is indeed a chemistry about the two.

Izana Shinatose happens upon Hoshijiro and Tanikaze once again sadly envious of their relationship.

Tanikaze and Hoshijiro witness an unkind, physical exchange between Shinatose and Norio Kunato who looks down upon Tanikaze scornfully and dubs him an "underdweller." Kunato is a jealous and unworthy Garde pilot incapable of true leadership.

Some of the older pilots invite Tanikaze to the "Sea," Heigus Guided Underwater Floating Tanks, high above Sidonia and exclusive to "official" pilots. The Sea makes up one quarter of Sidonia. The opposite holds true for Earth where the ocean covers nearly three quarters of the Earth's surface.

In an aquarium-like exploration the pilots launch into the Sea via submarine pods as a pre-celebratory affair. This is to rally the group prior to strike team Akai's battle against the H2 level Gauna that is heading toward Sidonia. This is a hubris-like act. In Greek tragedy such premature displays do not end well despite the obviously good intentions of these fine pilots who are clearly decent people.

The suggestion in the sequence is that the Gauna take on a number of different classes, like earthquakes register on a Richter scale.

Knights Of Sidonia remains much more than your standard anime fare because it so exceptional in taking simple character moments and reflecting on the fragility of their situation and their environment as a result of the enemy they face as they do here in the Sea. It also pays attention to the details and builds on suspense.

The final minutes of Glory find the Gauna 487 strike team launch. Akai Squad, consisting of Mochikuni Akai, Hinata Momose, Kashiwade Aoki and Izumo Morikawa (brother of Yuhata) assemble in clasp formation. Again, clasp formation allows for tremendous flight speed acceleration at record distances within seconds. The rest of Sidonia listens and awaits on edge for word of the team's success. Pilots on Sidonia are informed of their progress via audio link.

The strike team engages the enemy with Heigus Particle Cannons.

Momose, Akai's girlfriend, is captured by a Gauna tentacle but rescued by Akai. As a result of the rescue Akai is killed. The action goes silent. Blood droplets float through the gravity-less space of Akai's cockpit. It is a disturbing moment. Knights Of Sidonia expertly handles the action and dramatic components of its story with every frame.

Knights Of Sidonia works wonders in creating a real sense of jeopardy and life and death even when it comes to characters we know little about. We are only briefly introduced to Akai Squad yet we are immediately pulling for them and concerned for their well-being.

Captain Kobayashi readies the Heavy Mass Cannons of Sidonia aware the mission is not going according to plan.

Overcome with grief Momose diverts from the mission attacking the Gauna, getting too close and jeopardizing herself and the team. The end result is cardio pulmonary arrest for Momose and the death of her two comrades in Kashiwade and Yuhata's brother Izumo. The mission goes completely awry. It is an unmitigated disaster as everything than can go wrong indeed does go wrong. How can a couple so invested in one another emotionally be allowed to pilot together on the same team? That is perhaps an ill-advised assignment as the team completely implodes as a result of Akai's death and Momose's reaction to his death. The pilots react emotionally under duress and it is their undoing.

Where does the time go for Knights of Sidonia? Each twenty-two minute installment is so damn good, so incredibly riveting it blows by in a breeze.

The action sequences are so incredibly well-executed the viewer can actually enjoy the animation. The intense Glory furthers the story. The entry also takes the world-building within Sidonia to new heights. So much information is packed into its briskly paced episodes yet I am overcome with disappointment when they are over.

With fantastic animation and sequences filled with such dramatic power and suspenseful intensity there is much at stake for the Knights Of Sidonia. How about that glory? There may be glory in combat with colleagues, but ironically there is only oblivion as evidence by the death here of Akia Squad. With the strike team wiped out what is next for Sidonia?

It is stunning how much dramatic power is jam-packed into these intense installments. This is a series of immense quality.

Up Next: Sacrifices.


El Vox said...

Good review, I've been enjoying these too.

Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Tku. Yes, just a great science fiction anime. Love it.