「栄光」 (Eiko)

If there’s one thing this episode demonstrated, it’s the fact that after three episodes, Sidonia’s given us one of the best introductory segments of any series this season. It’s no small task considering how good the season’s been so far, but it goes to show what kind of quality Sidonia brings to the table. Then again, when you have a series where the animation and soundtrack improve week after week, the world building blends seamlessly with story progression, and the original creator and director clearly know what they’re doing, I guess it’s to be expected.

That said, it’s really is a treat to see how things are tied together in this series. Each week, there’s a clear thematic or developmental focus that drives the entire episode—the first episode focused exclusively on Tanikaze’s introduction and rise to Guardian Pilot and the second episode tied together Yamano’s flashbacks with her death and various developments that came from it—and it’s absolutely superb how each episode maintains an individual identity while also clearly being only a piece of the overall Sidonia puzzle.

Suffice to say, the third episode continues this in spectacular fashion, and it was great to see how they tied together the Gravity Festival and its “friendly” competition with the Elite Four’s actual combat with the Guana at the end of the episode. Each part essentially sets up for the next, and there’s something to be said about how the fight at the beginning (between fellow pilots) of the episode sets up the atmosphere for the skirmish that occurs between Kunato and Tanikaze in the middle of the episode, and the final flight of the Elite Four at the end as well. At the same time, it set the foundations for letting us see how strong the Elite Four were both individually and as a team, which serves the purpose of showing just how strong the Guana are, the difficulties the people within the Sidonia universe had to deal with a hundred years ago, and ironically the exact reason why our elite pilots don’t end up surviving their sortie. Granted, it’s quite possible the Elite Four would not have succeeded regardless, but it’s quite clear their teamwork and their closeness—particularly that of Akai and Momose—played at least some part in their defeat, and the Sidonia universe is not without its fair share of cruel irony.

The great thing about it all though, is just how detailed the Sidonia universe actually is, and each episode demonstrates the great care that was taken to develop it, and properly incorporate it within the story in a way that info-dumps isn’t necessary. Suffice to say, this is how writing and world-building should be—a few shows this season could learn a lot in this respect—and I can’t sing enough praises about how natural the interactions between the characters and the world are. It might be a world quite different from what we know, but you wouldn’t be able to tell that from how the characters react to their everyday lives—a notion that makes their interactions and the setting much more compelling than it already is. The “if I win, will you photosynthesize with me?” pick-up line… the little luxuries of seeing the “sea”… the nervous jitters some of our Elite Four had before the fight… these are the little things that get emphasized in series like this, and these are the kind of elements that power a show to great heights if executed correctly—which is something Sidonia does.

On that note, an element that’s really gone under the radar for me is the occasional quip by Tanikaze about his injuries—which seem to grow by the week—and how they’ve “already” healed despite a small amount of time passing between episodes. Whether it’s a red herring or not remains to be seen, but its quite suspicious how quickly that healing does occur, and there’s much to be said about how Tanikaze’s different from the rest in terms of his VR simulator influenced personality too. Midorikawa Yuhata’s added involvement only brings the focus even harder on Tanikaze and his above norm abilities and virtually blank past, and there’s just a lot here in this story. It’s just too bad ts first season’s only running a measly 12 episodes…

Author’s Note: Please refrain from discussing content the manga past this point, ESPECIALLY if it’s not in response to a query of some sort. If you must, use a spoiler tag and indicate what spoiler is within.




  1. Finally, with the full introduction of Samari Ittan (who was first seen in the female changing room) we can now explore the most profound question posed by this gripping hard core sci-fi: Who has the best ponytail?

    Kobayashi: The captain sports an almost Takao Class ponytail but she is a shady character.

    Sasaki: A hard as nails wrench wench sporting a perky, athletic ponytail. Yummy.

    Samari: The warrior woman with a practical ponytail befitting an amazon. Love Spoiler Show Spoiler ▼

      1. Wait…is that “dicks”, Plural?

        After that, it reminds me of a certain moe character…not all of her body is a dick…but Plural?

        So yeah, I’m not sure what are we talking about…

  2. I was rather surprised at the addition and relocation of a few scenes, in particular, THIS little joke of photosynthesizing with Samari dropped by rather early. (I’m not spoiling the other one since it was manga only, you can look for it yourself, the timeframe is still correct for the most part, just the location *cough*budget-issue*cough*)

    ANYWAY, the “gorious part” ‘s here and more still coming. Loving it all.

    1. Another thing I realized after writing my first impression: there’s more focus on Izana’s crush on Nagate than I had remembered at this point in the timeframe…

      …why the rush?

      1. yes, only 12 Eps to pack a interesting Story for non-Manga readers. And dont forget the Animations needs Preproduction. So the storyboard is set in stone about 1-2 weeks before airing to draw all the necessary Animations.. Yes, even it is now CGI. There are still Humans that draw the lines

      2. @Germanguy REAlly? only 12 eps?! wow wtf there’s SO MUCH content in this manga that definately could at LEAST make for two seasons when it catches up. . .gah I wish the anime industry would bring more showslike this at a full length rather than the that moe blob, otaku-incest-pedo-pandering-bait that’s pretty much 99.9% of every fucking series every fucking season. Stupid anime industry.

  3. Wow, so many death flags from Akai’s squad throughout this episode. That “Your father scares me more than the Gauna” line… why didn’t he just say, “After we win this battle, let’s get married!”?

    Still, this series is Gripping As Hell. I’m over my issues with the animation, because it’s too full of damn fine story and intriguing characters.

    I blink, 23 minutes have raced by, and I’m all, “Wait, what happened to the video I was watchi– oh, it’s over. Damn. Gotta wait another week.”

    1. yeah. i saw the death flags, too. But this time they killed the “lover”, too. Normally the lover would survive, then she can give birth to their child. So they dont step to much away from the “usually story-drive” engine so far

    1. If Kunato change after his first “real battle”, then it is all good. Right now he is just an half-strong asshole, that are full of himself. He needs the reality to open his eyes. Or they let him fight against the new pilot even in battle and Kunato will get killed or get “fired” of the ship’s captain. Lets see what they have in scripts for him. changing or still be a half-strong wannabe Ace pilot

      1. Kunato came from higher classes, he is classy, not the type to show his emotions and anger open in the wind. Compared to himself from manga, he is another character.
        Nihei is not the type to do heavy exposition, Sinodia is subtle, especially at the beginning.

  4. This already has major kudos for giving us not one, but five deaths in the span of 3 episodes; the no holds barred, realistic mood of Sidonia already sets it as the sci-fi show of the season.

    Only irritant for me is the top four pilots. There is a reason military leadership refuses to send lovers out together on the same mission, and the result of this episode is the example why. Ironic really that some still have tried to bring up the Damsel in Distress trope regarding this episode when the result is the natural occurrence of when a pair of battle untested personnel intimately involved are ordered into a life and death situation. War never changes, no matter who becomes involved.

    1. I´m not questioning their ability but if that was Sidonia´s best squad then they´re in some serios trouble. Doesn´t matter if each individual is a star pilot because lack of discipline kills you in seconds, this the cruel reality and result of the peace Sidonia enjoyed for a hundred years, they are not ready for war, not even close.

    2. I think they can be the best in term of fighting skills, but then again, I doubt they have much experience in a real battle (given that peace had been kept for 100 years). It makes me wonder whether it is better to fight alone, than to fight in a team and end up being killed because you are too concerned of your teammates.

  5. It’s rather ironic that Akai’s teammated basically told audience that intimate relationship among pilots is highly discouraged, yet they didn’t seem troubled by their captain’s lovey dovey situation. Got to see the girlfriend being wrapped in tentacles, Akai loses his shit, and the mission gets fucked up as the result. Romance is sweet, but if it clouds your judgement, you’re a goner.

    Anyway, the last 7 minutes or so literally had me on the edge of my seat till the credit roll. That was simply too engaging

    1. that’s the main reason why I find the design for the Guana to be great. I wouldn’t be half as horrified if the tried to make it look like some sort of badass monster. a bizarre Lovecraftian abomination is by far more terrifying!

      a box like Hippo
  6. Why all the negative comments on team Akai? They are experience rookies, lots of training and no actual combat against gauna. It was that lack of combat time that made the team approach Nagate.

    As for the breakdown in the team in mid fight: a. they are not the main characters, b. I can’t imagine it’s easy to watch a team mate die (I say this even though I have only a few years military experience and no combat experience).

  7. This episode has Knights of Sidonia as one of my top favorites this season. The world building is really well done, and I’m actually really intrigued in the world and the characters. As you mentioned, no info dumps needed when the character’s actions help explain the world seamlessly.

    Also, the BGM and the animation style really helps to create that gritty, tense atmosphere. In other sci-fi shows, I usually love the visuals, but here, I feel fully immersed into it. In plain words, I’m loving it.

    The only problem I have with this show is that it’s only going to be 12 episodes for the first season..it’s clear to me already this show deserves more!

  8. As much as I have always loved this particular work this event always seemed a tad forced. Although it is still brilliant writing and excellent use of characters to drive plot, I simply expected a more realistic response from this series because of the incredibly high standards it sets for itself. what I think is so gripping about the series is how gritty and realistic it feels and I simply felt that this got away from that a tad.

    Sending 4 brilliant, inexperienced rookies at an enemy no one has seen in two generations was suicidal. You have a whole school of pilots and a 100 years of backlogged full-Gardes pilots, why them by themselves? even if you were to lose dozens of pilots by sending them out there as fodder to keep the prime team safe it would be worth it to save the BILLIONS of future births of the race. your priority isn’t preserving the lives of your military its preventing the extinction of your race… send ALL the pilots, organize the formation do your best to keep them alive, but don’t leave the burden to your BEST pilots to shoulder alone.

    Well that is the reaction I was sort of expecting from one faced with this particular problem. The scene did serve its purpose of highlighting the strength of Gauna and really this is a nit-pick at best, but I was expecting a more decisive response to this serious problem.

    1. A valid point – I get what you’re striving at.

      Three counterpoints, though [food for thought]:
      1. Where does on draw the line for “acceptable losses”?
      2. How fast can they produce the mechas and weapons they’re fighting with?
      3. How many Gauna are floating around the galaxies?

      Especially concerning the third point, they seem to be in a “fog of war” scenario, and thus are vry cautious. On the second point, they just lost 4 of the legendary spears, which come in a limited supply. Why limited? Also, if the Gauna is killed, can anything be recovered from it?

      Atalla Wanderer
      1. I kind of had the impression that they couldn’t build any more mecha because of how they said they couldn’t rebuild most of the food production (hence the photosynthesis). But then it turned out that they had been building a newer version, but given it’s been 100 years (I guess 14 years of win XP doesn’t seem so bad in comparison) and non of the features mentioned seemed to be combat related I wonder if it’s actually much of an improvement. (and now I realise the inevitable Vista comparison)
        In fact the whole society seems to be pretty static and that worries me, in case they switch the storyline from fighting the Guana to social revolution or something.

      2. All valid points in a traditional war, but if your encountering your enemy only once in a century fully committing your whole military to ensure the (potential losses) to (success operation)ratio is as favorable as possible is would be the most logical.

        If they are fighting a guana on a monthly bases sure conserve your forces as much as possible, however fighting them once every several decades, especially given how dangerous each one is and how few spears you have available to commit to botched operations. Now they are down pilots and more importantly down a spear with no gain. An absolutely devastating defeat.

      3. Only two Spears are adrift.

        Units 1 and 3 had them. Akai and Aoki IIRC. You can see in the Tactical display there is a spear in a circle to the left of their name by the location icon.

        When they go into Quad formation after launch you can see both spears attached to their boosters, on the bottom left and top right frames. Akai’s Top Right so you get a better view of Aoki’s.

    2. Well, they can’t go all out for one Gauna only, they need to conserve Gardes and pilots if others may come. At the pilot school, they said two Guana past the defense line were enought to almost destroy Sidonia, so I understand they’re cautious. Send their best team to test the water and destroy the one Gauna didn’t seem like a bad idea at the time. But, as they said, the best plans of mice and men…

      1. Just to make it clear how much of a threat the gauna are, the only TWO gauna that managed to make it through to Sidonia managed to devour 99% of the population in a matter minutes.

  9. Explain Everthing with the scientific wonder of the day Part II:
    Higgs Powered Mechs.
    Higgs Particle Cannon.
    Higgs Powered Gauna.
    Higgs Illumination System.

    …and how is “Higgs Guided Bathyscape” supposed to work?

  10. I was expecting we’ll get the usual beach episode when Akai and his squad invited Tanikaze and Izana to see the “sea”. Glad to see I was wrong.

    And… Their water reserve is seawater?

    1. Not sure if this counts as a spoiler, since it pretty much CAN’T happen now, but… Show Spoiler ▼

  11. A Small Detail: To Decelerate and entering Interception Course, The Clasped Guardian Team have to reverse their heading and Retrofire using their main backpack engine – They didn’t bank to turn. When The Gauna passes them, the team already headed in the same direction as the Gauna.

    1. Yep, a spiral interception course would’ve retained their acceleration vector better instead of a direct to and turn around… but we don’t know the actual scale of these maps. Could’ve been done just not onscreen in a candy cane fashion.

  12. It was clear as hell, that these 4 would die. they need a reason to bring in the “newbie” pilots that they took time to give them screentime so far. Not knowing the Manga, this is a logical conclusion so far. Old aces are all dead, now the new ones must protect

    1. and this is an opportunity to “lost” some of the staff on the way. Because they all still unexperienced.

      I saw many time this “Story-drive engine”. But looks like it still works good

    2. No it wasn’t clear at all, in Attack on Titan the newbies are the ones who suffer very heavy losses and the ones who are left are our characters who then join under the wings of the few elites .. here in Sidonia it did the opposite .. the elites got wiped out and the newbies are plenty and will have to step-up and carry the burden on their own.

      Long story short .. it could have gone both ways .. i expected at least one of the elites to die on the mission .. i didn’t expect them all to die and also fail at killing the Gauna.

  13. The biggest strength of the show for me is how natural world building is to it. With Mahouka I can’t tell if it’s trying too hard to be “deep” and/or infodumping because of the amount of crap it’s trying to cover.

  14. groarrrr…
    So much for ELITE. I dont even want to see average cadets sent against Gauna. Tentacle fodder, anyone?
    Apart from main character who apparently is either clone or reincarnation of some historical uber-ace, everyone else just got a big (shiny?) death flag…

  15. And this is why in the real world we have military regulations against fraternization, especially for frontline units. Well the elite team didn’t really live up to the hype, but given that there hasn’t been an attack in anyone’s lifetime it makes sense discipline and experience are low, I expect that to change

    1. I hope the cadets are fast learners, because we have only 9 episodes left and the Gauna are harsh teachers…
      But, it could be worse. Imagine the army was really disbanded as pacifist demanded.

  16. The worldbuilding is excellent and I really regret it’ll be only 12 episodes. I’m reading the corresponding manga chapters after each episode, and I much prefer anime’s pacing. Oh, and the Show Spoiler ▼

    would disrupt the flow in narration here, so I’m glad we got something cooler and more unique.

    What bugs me is the exaggerated behavior of Momose (those screams, ugh…) and use of classic Damsel in Distress trope. Why can’t a guy panic for once? Akai performed a heroic sacrifice and died with a smile, while Momose’s irrational hysterics doomed the rest of the team. I understand mock battles didn’t prepare her for real loss, but still…
    Hope we see some girls kicking ass (or whatever Gauna have) soon. Hoshijiro is the second best trainee, followed by Honoka sisters, if I recall correctly. Don’t waste them, anime.

    1. Well, it was a little cliche in that the female panics & the male protects her in violation of the mission protocols. Yet Akai’s actions are just as bad as Momose’s (or maybe worse) – just because he died for someone else (given the opening this might be a recurring theme!) doesn’t mean he wasn’t responsible for the failure of the squad.

      It also seemed ludicrous to only send 4 mechs after this thing. But then a biological space monster that can only be killed in 1 spot already jumps this out of sci fi into space opera/fantasy. It’s just a little odd that they put so much attention into making other parts closer to hard sci fi, besides this.

      Far Horizon
      1. Yeah, I know they all had their part in squad’s demise (maybe except Aoki), but Akai is portrayed as more heroic, while Momose is an useless wreck. The others at least tried to act more or less reasonable.
        And yes, the whole strategy is weak and not believable, but maybe we’ll get an explanation later? Or at least they send a backup squad of sorts.

    1. Heretic. Your location has been recorded and an inquisitor has been dispatched. 🙂

      I think the anime is clearer than the manga but that isn’t necessarily better. And Nihei’s art style has been cleaned up in the CG which is a loss for me.

  17. So the Academy just teaches them to pilot a mech, not train you to become a soldier. Gets all emotional and stuff, and then jeopardizing the whole strategy and tactics. “OMG my lover died, imma rush in with my emotion to save him, whilst the rest of my teammates follow me together to our deaths!”

    1. Well, 100 Years only of Simulation Fights and Old tales from the Granny’s. Team fight against VR Enemys or Arena Fights for boosting the Ego.

      It is no wonder, that they lack on real Experience. That’s was a reason why the 4 Aces visit him in the School. To get some Advices of real battlers

      1. Yeah the ineffectualness of the Gardes squad was pretty well explained. When you have 100 years of peace with no visible threat maintaining military discipline would be difficult. In the 1st ep I recall there was a huge crowd advocating the disbandment of the “useless” military.

        Their simulator data is also 100 years out of date. Akai’s squad was commenting about how fast the Guana was and how it’s regeneration rate was higher than they expected.

        Also it’s notable that they had mock mech vs mech arena battles as part of the training. I think in the manga someone made a comment about how mech vs mech battles do nothing for anti Guana skills.

  18. OK, so aftwer watching and rewatching combat footage I think THE crucial moment that sealed the defeat was when Momose went berserk charging at the Gauna, and promply went out of action. Leaving strike team half-strength and moreover sending yet another team member in attempt to rescue her and exposing his back to Gauna.
    As for the future encounters I think Yuhata’s plan of using at least 3 squads to attack the Gauna from different directions was right. Even if it would have not lessened the casualties, it would deal with the Gauna decisively.

    Something bugged me when I was watching, but I could just not nail it, until I’ve realised: if they have reliable comms with the teams, e.g. streaming continous datastreams of the pilots status, why don’t they just make the mecha remotely-piloted? This would save priceless pilots, who are much ahrder to find and educate than mass-produced mecha are to replace…

    1. Really people have different opinions and tastes??

      Get of your high horse please, don’t act like your opinion is the only right one.

      On topic. I find the pacing to fast, that and the fact it’s only one cour does not do the manga/ln any justice 🙁

    2. I like the presentation a lot. To me it blends styles from some of my favourite series, a sort of macross frontier, last exile, ergo proxy, shingeki appearance.
      The soundtrack is great too, give or take a few odd moments, which I think might be more due to my dodgy wifi connection!

  19. Ok, after 3 quite engaging episodes i have to say the following:

    I do not know the source material. Yet i have to call some things here: Tanikaze must be either a full blown GAUNA with a heart or some sort of hypbrid experiment/accident. The first episode already established that he is supposed to have the colelctive something something of that old dead guy. And he has super regen and can self revive. He can’t do that if he is mere enhanced future human, because so far those people seem to be dumb as shit so i doubt they would turn up with a super ace just like that in a random cellar….. eherm.

    I will activeley avoid seeking out the source material on this one becuase it got me interested and i would like to watch it before reading up.

    Do this series gets props for me for actually being interesting. Unlike that other series about some boring gary stu with a borderline yandere sister that wants him to shag her…. Ok i mean Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei i forgot that we are i nanimu land and this stuff is not uncommon. o.o

    Thumbs up for the anime about stupid pilots getting their arses murdered by a space woobie destroyer of worlds monster that properly just wants a real hug.

    Thumbs down for the anime about….. one guy out keanuing keanu.

    His Hollow Mind
    1. Adendum:

      The captain clearly wanted the elite four to get killed. And she clearly wanted everyone to see. T owhat end? Who knows at this point. To galvanize the future pilots? To kill the thought of knight like combat thats clean and pretty? The Mech on mech duel clearly showed that these people have forgotten that they are going to fight space mosnters.
      In a video game, this battle was the wipe at the wake up call boss, but without the phoinix down or quickload to save the pilots.

      The populace properly also needed a knock back to reality.

      The Side effect might be that the loss of the elite 4 will enable her to break with old customs, traditions and powerbalances in the current military/industry establishment. Its an anime so i suppose there will be at least 2 to 3 weird fcks in some closets hatching their own plans.

      So yeah. Lets continue to watch.

      His Hollow Mind
  20. Ok, bear with me, I’m not going to be getting the names right…

    In the area battle between the 18th-generation mechs, Akai using Tanikaze’s previous recorded actions against the Gauna on the mining asteroid as a new move to defeat all opponents, including Kunato the “highest ranked underclassman”. Then Kunato used that very move, and a new countermove, against Tanikaze himself, because he still thinks he’s the best pilot of his class, and the new guy is upsetting his arrogance.

    Some senior officer needs to step in and harshly correct Kunato before he ends up killing the rest of his team on a Gauna mission. The Elite Four fell to the Damsel in Distress problem, so what makes Kunato think he is predestined to be an elite? Plus his personal arrogance is going to backfire at some point. The Japanese culture of “let the talented succeed at everything until they foul up, at which point we either pigeonhole him or cover it up” is not going to work with the Gauna.

    A self-regenerating, nearly immortal enemy who can only be destroyed with a special singular attack means a 99% kill rate. Sidonia no longer has the population/resources to do such attacks. A slower-than-light asteroid worldship low on resources has very few options available to it. If the new Gauna is destroyed, the degradation of the ship continues. If the Guana kills and destroys enough to warrant more war spending and research, the human cost may be too high.

  21. well the Elite Four’s fate couldn’t have been more predictable with all the the death flags being raised as everyone has mentioned. they might as well have been in underwater pods named Live-4-Ever. then again, they didn’t seem so elite once the shit started hitting the proverbial fan.

    The Guana to me was the highlight of the episode. the design is creepy and grotesque. it doesn’t have a form that is familiar which makes it more bizarre and horrifying. Having tentacles certainly makes it more terrifying and really gives it a feel like they’re fighting a unknown sea monster in the dark ocean depths.

    a box like Hippo
    1. I wouldn’t say the final outcome was so predictable. Of course the lovers were as good as dead but I expected Momose to live on with eternal grief or something. Never expected the whole squad to get wiped in just a few minutes.

      But it makes sense – you don’t just magically regain your discipline in a few second once it’s lost (or not existing at all from the start).

  22. Ouch. You’d think that when humanity is on the brink of extinction, living on nomadic, asteroid ships with limited resources, they’d be more prudent with drilling in discipline before sending soldiers into live combat for the first time. In fact, they not only allowed romantic relationships between members of the same squad, but they actually sent deployed both lovers into the same mission.

    Well, there goes 4 Guardians and 4 technically-talented, young soldiers. But it’s okay. It’s only war. There’s always a next time. Limited resources is just a trivial problem. Humanity’s endangered population number is simply another trivial problem.

    1. Sidonia has not seen Gauna in over 100 years, lack of real combat and years of ritualised mock exercise did not serve the military well…
      It could be worse, Sidonia could go along the pacifist faction demands and abolish military altogether…

      1. The trouble is Nagate runs opposite to that idea. He has spent most of his life in a simulator, no combat experience, lots of mock exercise.
        If anything the other pilots have the advantage. They not only have simulator time but also have actually piloted a real Gardes, thus are used to the motion of the machines. So although Nagate started training in the sim at an earlier age (probably), the other pilots have more practical experience. Yet Nagate is going to show them all a thing or two.

        Personally I think actual combat training is in the sims, the Gardes dueling is just a spectator sport for esprit de corps.

      2. celebrinen

        The gardes dueling being just a spectator sport is my view as well.

        Overall, the ship’s gotten sloppy having no war for 100 years, and the sacrifice of talented rookies exemplified that.

        Technically, while others piloted real gardes, they have no combat experience either. As of the first few episodes, Nagate was the only one with actual experience and the rookies only had simulator experience and got cocky and discipline broke down.

        In terms of simulator experience, Nagate probably has them outdone since that’s the only thing he’s been doing. No frills like ‘having a life’ outside of his sims. That is life, and the hundreds of thousands of hours accumulate into perfecting his abilities on top of his natural talents.

        I can’t wait for the next post on Sidonia 04.

  23. Ep 04:

    I say it very Short, Good 🙂

    But for my ears the Main Engine Sounds of Sidona is nearly the same as the Mechas. Try to bring the “Bass” more down. To give the Ears the Very Heavy Mass, that this Engines propel


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