“The Gauna core is exposed!” – Mochikuni Akai
When even your best isn’t good enough, you know you’re screwed…
Episode 3 begins with the Gravity Festival, the Gravity Cup being its main appeal (other than the food, according to Nagate). At first the Gravity Cup focuses on Kunato’s many victories, no one seemingly being able to defeat him and some even claiming that Kunato might win. Naturally, they were wrong. Mochikuni Akai, the leader of the Akai Squad (introduced last episode as one of Sidonia’s top four Gardes pilots) defeats Kunato with ease using skills he learnt by watching Nagate’s battle with the Gauna last episode, therefore setting his and his team’s precedent as Sidonia’s strongest and their best. This is important because of what happened later because it shows just how bad a situation Sidonia is now in. Sure Sidonia has Nagate, but can one man do what even an entire squad of elites couldn’t? Episode 3 seemed at first to be emphasizing the importance of teamwork, Akai’s Squad tending to always be seen together and their interpersonal relationships seemingly having developed beyond simple friendship, however, as the events of the episode’s latter half proved, team work isn’t everything (but I’ll get back to that).
The Gravity Festival also confirmed something alluded to for the last two episodes prior to this: Kunato is a grumpy bitch. Slowly but surely we’re seeing Kunato isolate himself as his position as Sidonia’s number one trainee slips away and also as his feelings of animosity towards Nagate, a trainee who is seemingly taking everything from him, develops into hatred. And, as Kunato isolates himself, the amount of people around Nagate seems to grow – Izana taking notice of the fact that Nagate seems to find himself in Hoshijiro’s company quite often and making it known to the viewer that she is not best pleased. It’s clear to see from the blushing and the general circumstances that Hishijiro is going to be Nagate’s love interest and that Izana is going to be the jealous best friend, a cliche that I neither welcome nor disapprove of – it’s an action anime, what can you expect? But the reason I bring these two points up is that, with Akai’s Squad now gone, it’s highly likely that Nagate and Kunato are going to be working together as Sidonia’s new ace’s, and, if this episode’s events are anything to go by, they’re going to need to get along if they want to actually defeat a Gauna. This is also the case for Izana and Hoshijiro if they’re placed on this team (although there are many other characters who could just as easy take their place), but I don’t think Izana is petty enough to take out her frustrations on the battlefield – it’s simply not characteristic of her. Kunato on the other hand…he almost broke Nagate’s arm…
Yuhata Midorikawa, strategic prodigy in the making, is another interesting aspect of episode 3. She’s perceptive and she wants to learn more about Nagate, but that’s about all we know about her. I thought they might focus more on her in this episode, but it would appear she’s going to have her time to shine later on, probably because she’ll act as the ‘Nagate Squad’ (as I hereby dub this hypothetical team) tactician, the squad probably needing a personal touch to their tactics from someone whose able to gauge as much detail as Yuhata can from Nagate. It’s also interesting to think about how Yuhata will react now that her brother is dead. She designed the tactical approach used by Akai’s Squard, no (please, correct me if I’ve misunderstood)? Is it not therefore likely that she might be feeling a tiny bit guilty? Who knows. I suppose we’ll find out in episode 4.
“The subjugation squad has been annihilated“… If I’ve learnt anything from episode 3 of Sidonia no Kishi its that you shouldn’t attempt to subjugate your enemies alongside your lover. Put simply, the Akai Squad wasn’t ready. They were inexperienced, as evidenced by their ability to still learn things from Nagate, a ‘rookie’, and, ultimately, they weren’t ready to take on an actual Gauna. What was it Akai told Momose during the bathysphere trip? “It’s a class H2 Gauna. We won’t lose.” If this Gauna was so weak, how is it possible that they lost? The answer is that they were too close, to be quite frank. Akai loved Momose and so, the moment she was caught, the battle was lost. Akai had a clear path to the Gauna’s core! All he had to do was strike and the Gauna would have perished. But he chose instead to sacrifice his own life for Momose, causing her to lose perspective, leaving only two members to finish the mission, then leaving only Aoki to perish when Midorikawa sacrificed his life for the already dead (unbeknownst to him) Momose. It was a tragedy. And it was also pretty epic too! Episode 3 struck a perfect balance between action and interpersonal relationships and the two played off one another perfectly in the battle to subjugate the Gauna.
In the end, episode 3 was great. Everything that I’ve loved about Sidonia no Kishi came into effect in this episode – the characters, the interpersonal relationships, the actions, the OP(!) – and, as we move into episode 4, I can’t wait to see what the series has in store for us viewers. Is it going to be a slaughter fest? Or was the death of Akai’s Squad simply there to set the tone for the series moving on?