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Sidonia no Kishi: Dai-kyou Wakusei Seneki
(All episodes watched):|
This is a show to which I had looked forward to such a degree that if I had to have chosen between watching just this anime or every other anime of the same season, this one would have been the definite winner, even before I had seen episode one and knew for certain if the quality would match the original series. Once I had watched the episode, I must admit that I was a bit uncomfortable with a sudden turn which the plot takes. In little more than the blink of an eye, three significant characters are 'possessed' by a tiny parasite that is either an escaped laboratory specimen of Gauna or a man-made offshoot of one—I wish it had been made clear which case it was. Why was such a thing allowed to go unguarded aboard Sidonia? Didn't anybody know about it? I felt that three interesting characters have effectively been killed (temporarily, I hope) and replaced by relatively uninteresting imposters. I was eager to see how Tanikaze would get along with the guy who double-crossed him in season one, but that issue seemed to have been abruptly shoved aside. The plot seemed to be taking off on a completely new arc instead of answering questions that were left from season one, which was what I had been hoping would happen. And what exactly is going on with this new arc was unclear and confusing. Still, I felt safe to say that Sidonia S2 would be my favorite series of the season.
In episode two a remarkable new weapon is unveiled; on the one hand, this was intriguing and I couldn't help wondering what link, if any, there was to the character Hoshijiro from season one. What exactly had become of her was never fully explained and would turn out to be a problem at several points in season two. On the other hand, we know now that Kunato is compromised and anything he has created cannot be trusted. It might have been a better move to have not revealed what happened to him right away and instead drop various hints (odd behavior, for instance) that would allow the viewer to gradually figure out for his/herself what has happened. The group of 'immortals' who have been running things from behind the scenes didn't turn out to be all that immortal after all. This was another example of something which I wish had been explained better; after watching the entire season, I still wonder why this particular event was included at all, since it didn't lead directly to anything else happening. I wish I understood better what's going on with Captain Kobayashi. What does she know and what is she up to? Has she been completely fooled by Kunato or does she have nefarious plans of her own for Sidonia (or something else)? Is she one of the good guys or the bad ones? It sort of seems like there are two conspiracies at work, and it's up to good people like Tanikaze and green-hair girl to figure them out and save things. As time goes by, you get the feeling that Kobayashi is determined to force a major battle with the Gauna 'hive'--is she crazy, or is she gambling on a 'finish them off once and for all' approach? But in spite of the problems I remained intrigued with Sidonia and eager to find out how the story would end. Most shows would just have a simplistic plotline and there would be no confusion because they never tried to be complex and intriguing.
Sidonia as a whole is an awesome show; the excitement of the battle in episode four reminded me of that. Whatever Kunato is up to, the 'Chimera' thing he created seems to have nothing but good intentions--though she can go a little berserk in battle. The confusion I felt about what everybody is up to was shoved aside by the imminent threat of the Gauna in this episode--they are clearly the enemy and must be defeated. Though Tanikaze certainly won't get killed, I was anxious about Azuna, who just might be. The story moves along nicely, and I was enjoying it--but what about the 'possessions' that took place back in episode one? Have they been forgotten? Did I misunderstand what happened then? Kunato hasn't done anything particularly evil; indeed, he helped repulse a Gauna attack, when you would think that he would be secretly sabotaging Sidonia's defenses so that it would succeed. We haven't heard anything from the woman who supervises Hoshijiro, so there's no telling what effect the incident had on her. It seemed like a big deal at the time, but nothing much has come of it. Speaking of Hoshijiro, I was glad to see that she hadn't been forgotten--at least she appears in a dream that Tanikaze has in episode five.
Where would both seasons of Sidonia be if they didn't have this unique, almost primitive, digital animation style? It definitely sets them apart from other shows; it's kind of hard to imagine Sidonia without it. Does it do more good or more harm? I think it's kind of neat; and the action scenes are animated very well. I think this story would be perfectly engrossing without it, and the animation style also calls attention to it somehow.
I guess those things that got into Kunato, his sister, and the technician woman weren't out-and-out Guana, but rather some sort of mutant Gauna-like stuff which the long dead Ochiai (but a clone of his is still around) had created at some point. That makes much more sense. Otherwise, this remains a fun, engaging show which I save for last on my weekly viewing schedule because it's my favorite of the season. There is some comedy here, like Asuna misunderstanding why Tanikaze wants to stay at his/her place tonight. The friendship the two of them have developed with the Chimera, known as 'Tsurugi' is kind of sweet. Well, the joking around with Tsurugi had been amusing, but I suddenly realized that it was already episode nine and Sidonia is just now approaching the critical Planet Nine. There's something very important about this planet, but we don't know what. I guess the biggest Gauna vessel yet, the 'Hive', is coming and it will be a fight-to-the-death between it and Sidonia. Surely Tsurugi will play an important part. I wish just what is happening and what is at stake had been explained better. The pace of season one seemed to move faster, make more sense, and be more fun than season two. But in episode ten things heat up again, with Asuna in trouble and Tanikaze and Tsurugi getting into trouble as well while trying to rescue her ('her' seems appropriate at this point). This is the sort of intense, exciting, nail-biting stuff which I had been waiting for impatiently. The series gets back to doing what it does best in episode 11, which is chock-full of wild and exciting action. One reason why it's exciting is because it is unpredictable: for example, when a previously unknown Garde pilot turns up with Azuna in a dangerous situation, the first thought to cross your mind is that this guy is dead meat and will come to a horrible fate in order to emphasize the danger to Asuna. But no, he's still alive and uninjured at the end of the episode. I appreciate the writer(s) treating me like a mature person by not indulging in too many stereotypical clichés. He also plays a part in the discovery of yet another problem which Tanikaze and his fellow Knights will have to deal with in the next (and presumably last) episode. But the story of Sidonia as a whole seemed nowhere near completion, and I prayed that the last episode would end with the announcement of a third season.
The climax was not as good as the one at the end of the first season. In fact, it comes in the first half of episode twelve and I was left wondering if it was really the climax or if something even bigger would come after the station break (it didn't). That was because tension and excitement hadn't built to the point where I could call myself truly thrilled, like I had been at the climax of season one. An element from season one is brought back as the principal problem which must be overcome here, but it was an element which I had never fully understood even then, and still don't understand now (is Hoshijiro alive or dead?). In the end, the episode seemed somewhat anti-climactic; there is half an episode's worth of tying up minor plot strands afterwards, but the story as a whole is clearly nowhere near finished. Kunato's 'possession' (or whatever) has yet to be exposed, likewise the Captain's power grab, and Tanikaze and Azuna's romance remains unresolved. Planet Nine wasn't the climax of Sidonia as a whole, no, it was actually a relatively minor arc. And, most unnerving of all, there was no promise of a third season at the end. But I didn't hate anything about this climax, I just wish it had been as slam-bang fun as the last one. I am still dying to see how this all works out. Sidonia remains a premise which intrigues me to such an extent that I would be willing to read the rest of the story in manga, if that's the only way to get it.
Last updated Thursday, July 02 2015. Created Tuesday, April 14 2015.