Oh my God. Where do you even start with an episode like this? I thought the subjugation squad getting annihilated was bad enough, but as it turns out, it was just the first of a series of unfortunate events. Tanikaze does ends up swooping in to save the day—overcoming his fear of the Gauna psychological attack while he’s at it—but even though the threat’s been dealt with, there’s much to be said about where exactly this fight leaves not only him, but the people of Sidonia in general.
Because if there’s one thing made abundantly clear here, it’s that the Gauna aren’t going to sit back and stick with their usual “tactics,” and if this Gauna’s any indication, the heavy mass driver might not even be effective from this point forward. To top things off, they seem to be attracted by either the Kabizashi (or Tanikaze himself) for one reason or another, are now perfectly willing to fling on back for additional attacks instead of just cruising on by, and even seem capable of adapting parts from the Gardes (at least that’s what I assume happened) to create their own Hyggs Particle Cannons to boot. What’s more is that there’s one less Kabizashi to use, the Sidonia itself suffered catastrophic damage, and they lost god knows how many trainees and pilots (all that blood splatter) during the stage five acceleration… and things really just don’t get any easier here.
That said, it’s great how they’re developing Tanikaze as the centerpiece of the series here, and this episode really highlights the kind of potential he has as a pilot. Of course, it’s not exactly surprising given all the hints we’ve been given and his simulator training, but that doesn’t change the fact he’s pretty darn good and he’s got a great personality to boot. Not only does he know exactly when to disobey orders, he goes back for comrades against all warnings, and he does it all without being arrogant about it at all. There’s a lot that could be said about how Kunato (among others) could learn from his example and how many shows in general could learn from this series in regards to proper character development. Because despite it being obvious that Tanikaze’s likely above and beyond any other pilot in terms of ability, it’s not to such a point where he overpowers the rest of what the show wants us to see (he’s so inconspicuous he even pales compared to some of the side characters), and he’s demonstrated plenty of weaknesses from which to speak of.
Looking forward, it’s interesting to note that it’s that same personality that ultimately leads him to cross the line of no return in order to reclaim Hoshijiro (WHAT A BOSS), and all you can really do is tip your hat at him for voluntarily doing this without hesitation or any desire for fame. There’s no fancy line or any proclamations of love, he does it just because he wants to do it, and that’s just how a main character should roll (even if a pilot of his skill shouldn’t be risking his life like that). Needless to say though, he’s clearly going to find a way back at some point (the preview seems to show him finding an abandoned Gardes or something of the sort), and I guess all we can do is sit back and enjoy what should be a quality character development episode next week (is that a blush I see?). Makes you wonder though… if he doesn’t return with the Tsugumori but manages to find another one of the same model, would Kunato still be pissed? Hm…
Author’s Note: As per the usual, please put tags on any and all spoilers and try to write a quick blurb indicating what’s being spoiled.