Knights of Sidonia Eps 3-5 (Anime Review)

Being a fan of mecha space opera anime, when I watched Knights of Sidonia back in May, I got really excited, more so because the first two episodes set a good tone for the series and while a bit flawed, showed a lot of promise as well. I discovered the show thanks to SFF author and friend Django Wexler, and I can’t thank him enough for introducing this anime to me, for it captures a part of the same sense of wonder and excitement that I’ve seen in Gundam SEED and Gundam 00 among other mecha anime. The future of Knights of Sidonia, or Shidonia no Kishi as it is called in Japanese, is a bleak one but there is some indeed.

I fairly enjoyed the first two episodes, and expected the next few episodes to continue along the same route while also addressing some of the flaws I found in the show. And you know what? Episodes 3-5 have totally blown me away. The story has only gotten better and along with it the characters. The world of Knights of Sidonia is greatly expanded on in these episodes and I loved every moment. I was hooked with these episodes in a way that I hadn’t been with the first two. What’s better than that, really? I can’t think of anything, to be fully honest here.

Knights of Sidonia Logo 0001In episodes 3, 4 and 5, we see the world of this setting expanded, as I mentioned before. Some more characters are introduced and everyone is expanded on quite a bit. The best thing is that the flaws from the previous episodes seem to have mostly been corrected to a great degree, although the primary problem of the Gardes mecha frames being individualised and more distinct or even the fact that a lot of the characters appear similar, especially the girls, remain. But that’s not all that big a deal really. And the animators do seem to make a concerted effort to distinguish the girls through hair-styles and what not, so that’s something. And maybe I am growing more used to the characters too.

The main running arc through these episodes is that a second Gauna is spotted and a strike team of four veteran pilots is dispatched. Sidonia’s military command has every bit of confidence in these pilots for they are four of the best among the Knights of Sidonia, especially the strike team’s leader Akai who is even a champion of the Knight duels. Towards the end of episode 2 we saw the veteran pilots approached the protagonist Tanikaze, wanting to know about his fight with the Gauna in the first episode. Turns out that they all end up becoming friends in some of the most heartfelt moments of the series up until this point. There are attempts at genuine friendship here and I loved how it all played out between them, how Tanikaze finally found some friends among the Knights and that there just weren’t more jerks than his unsought-for-rival Kunato around him.

However, we know that things don’t always go according to plan in action anime like this, and that is exactly what happens at the end of episode 3, when everything goes to hell pretty much because this new Gauna is unlike other Gauna that the Sidonia has faced over the centuries, six to be somewhat precise.

And into this moment steps Tanikaze Nagate as a hero yet again. I found it interesting how the story transitioned from Tanikaze’s to Akai and his team’s and then back again to Tanikaze. Coming full circle, you could say. Till this point, I had thought that the series would progress as slowly as the first two episodes did and that the action would always be muted. But then the end of episode 3 surprised me a great deal and episode 4 maintained that surprise because a lot began happening at the same time. It was as if the scriptwriters wanted to tell me not to take anything in the series for granted, and that no one was safe, and anything could happen.

I can certainly say now that I am not going to underestimate this series again. It has plenty of shock value at just the right time, shocking the viewer out of a certain mild despondency, and has an ability to switch things up really quick. After all, we go from a trip through Sidonia’s water reservoir to a fight against a Gauna that happens in three separate stages and then in episode 5 we are with Tanikaze and Hoshijiro adrift in the void, far away from any help. Lots of different things happening at the same time.

Best of all among all of this, the characters were fantastic, all of them. Even Kunato the jerk got in a few good scenes though there was one negative scene in particular that made me want to punch him again and again because of his rudeness and his uncaring attitude. Man, that guy is pretentious and arrogant as hell.

Knights of Sidonia Stills 0001In terms of the animation, I really don’t have much of a criticism at this point. These three episodes give the animators lots of imagination room to do something wonderful and they do deliver on that trust and that promise as well. Like the reservoir scene in episode 3 is a beautifully-shot sequence, and the same goes for the action scenes in episodes 3 and 4. And the action isn’t limited to the void battle itself, but also takes place on Sidonia itself since some hard maneuveres are executed here, and the massive ship takes a fair bit of damage. The way the animators manage to capture the bleakness and clinicality of it all was impressive. And the visceral nature as well, let’s not forget that, shall we?

While episodes 3 and 4 give the animators a ton of things to do, episode 5 is very limited in scope since much of it is spent with Tanikaze and Hoshijiro in and around the former’s Gardes mecha frame. We get some scenes set on Sidonia itself, but they are few in number sadly. Still, I won’t complain because the focus on these two characters brought out some of the animators’ best work, which is all I wanted really, in the final count.

These three episodes, “Glory“, “Sacrifices” and “Adrift” are really, really good episodes. They are paced much better, by far, than the first two episodes, and therein lies the secret of them. Plus the character interactions are off the charts really. These are all characters that I am beginning to like more and more, which is something I expected and was rewarded with. Plus, we get a build-up of some more mysteries, each of which is compelling and intriguing in and of itself. Can’t wait to see how things progress next!

More Knights of Sidonia: Eps 1-2.

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Posted on August 24, 2014, in Anime, Knights of Sidonia, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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