Knights of Sidonia
Episode 4 – Choice
Gravity is a harsh mistress and I have to commend Knights of Sidonia for finally bringing it to our attention when so many other anime featuring space colonies didn’t. When something goes wrong on a gigantic floating city in space, gravity (aside from oxygen) is the first thing that could go haywire. Who knew that a few G’s of force could be so catastrophic?
The fourth episode kicks into gear from where we were left off. Akai’s crack team of ace pilots is all but obliterated and the Gauna is heading straight for Sidonia. The brass at HQ waste no time in preparing the Heavy Mass Driver to fire again and at this distance the creature has no way of dodging a round the size of several kilometres travelling at near light speed. It wouldn’t be a very entertaining if it was that easy and naturally the Gauna dodges the shot and doesn’t deviate from its path.
Here’s where it gets interesting. The captain orders the unusual command of activating Sidonia’s engines at full blast, one after the other, in a dangerous evasive maneuver. The inhabitants are ordered to attach the harnesses that are worn at all times to metal bars placed throughout the vessel. There isn’t enough and in the scramble many people don’t make it to a safe point.
Once those massive engines kick in the result is as devastating as flipping a monopoly board full of people, but the board happens to be an immense space colony. Hundreds die as the gravity is inverted and the captain doesn’t give ground, ordering the second engine to activate. More than ever, this scene shows how grim this anime really is.
It seems to pay off, however, as Sidonia narrowly avoids the Gauna’s trajectory. With the alien flying thousands of kilometres in the opposite directions, this gives the ship time to consolidate its position.
Hundreds of Gardes are mobilised to form a defensive line between Sidonia and the Gauna. A retrieval squad is deployed consiting of Nagate, Kunato, En and Shizuka to fetch two precious Kabizashi spears that team Akai left behind. One of which is right on the outer rim of Sidonia’s communication reach.
After a tense journey the team manage to grab the spears and head back, just when the Gauna shifts its focus to Sidonia once again. While we’re wondering if they’ll make it back in time, we’re thrown a curveball as the Gauna mutates to fire a Higgs laser cannon, much like the ones mounted on the Garde frames, only much much bigger.
Our team narrowly avoids the fate of Akai’s, but three of the Gardes are disabled leaving only Nagate with his manual Type 17.Shizuka’s frame spirals out of control as its engine goes haywire and risks exploding. She ejects but is still at risk of flying endlessly into space.
Although Nagate is ordered to evacuate his team mates and retreat to Sidonia, he ignores the order and charges at the Gauna with a Kabizashi spear. Dodging the enormous beam once again he actually manages to destroy the Gauna’s core with his spear pretty easily but with pinpoint accuracy. Such a huge threat gone in seconds.
Now they have another problem. Shizuka is flying out into space in her escape pod while Nagate is ordered to forget about her. Unable to follow this order, he goes after her in his ailing frame knowing full well he won’t be able to return to Sidonia in his condition and that no help will come.
I say this a lot but Sidonia has so much going for it. It puts space simulators and the idea of an alien hive fleet (Tyranids from Warhammer 40k?) with anime together. It doesn’t beat around the bush. It looks like the next episode takes a page out of the recent Gravity movie too. Here’s hoping our two lost souls find their way back.
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