Knights of Sidonia S2: Episodes 2 and 3

Hey, good subs for this came out earlier than expected, so I downloaded SVP for 60fps viewing and fired up the latest 2 episodes of Sidonia, and it was… certainly something.

[Underwater] Knights of Sidonia S2 - The Ninth Planet Crusade - 03v2 (720p) [A07674AE].mkv_snapshot_21.57_[2015.04.27_10.20.39]

The thing that fascinates me most about this season is how heavily it seems to be leaning into both extremes of what the first season was. There, the power-fantasy-harem-of-sidonia stuff felt like it was totally out of place in what was ostensibly a more serious and subdued sci-fi setting (okay, well we did have Mama-bear, but apart from that). However, this season has clearly tipped its hand in a way that suggests I might end up enjoying it a whole lot more than season one.

[Underwater] Knights of Sidonia S2 - The Ninth Planet Crusade - 03v2 (720p) [A07674AE].mkv_snapshot_04.56_[2015.04.27_10.12.06]
I’ll never not find amusement in a bear ruminating on such matters.
Really now, these two episodes of Sidonia were flat-out bonkers when you think about it. The first way this manifests is with our “new character”, Shiraui Tsugumi: in essence yet another shadow of Hoshijiro, alongside Benisuzume and the moe-placenta-thing (that is technically this thing’s mother). In various forms since her death, Hoshijiro has been the object of Nagate’s obsession, much to the ire of the ever present and always by his side Izana. Tsugumi is playing a similar role, as somewhat of a romantic interest, but her infantile personality contrasted with her threatening alien appearance and huge size make for an extremely unreal setup, to me it feels like the show is continually highlighting just how farcical things have really gotten.

[Underwater] Knights of Sidonia S2 - The Ninth Planet Crusade - 02 (720p) [16383B2D].mkv_snapshot_16.17_[2015.04.27_10.43.24]
The chimera looks like a monstrosity to the denizens of Sidonia, but Tsugumi is basically just an embarrassed little schoolgirl, so excited to see Tanikaze that she even causes tremors by wagging her “tail” excitedly.
I mean, regardless of whether this is being played straight or whether it’s all some elaborate setup for a darker twist down the line, this makes for a super interesting conceit. This isn’t just more of the indulgent harem stuff, it ties into the overarching mysteries of the setting, and the themes of the story as a whole, mankind’s advanced scientific progression in the far-flung future of the space-age has resulted in the creation of a hybrid species. At this point it seems all but inevitable that when the murky history of humanity is finally revealed, it will be discovered that their connections to the Gauna are indelible, which may give way for the talks of co-existence Nagate brings up.

[Underwater] Knights of Sidonia S2 - The Ninth Planet Crusade - 02 (720p) [16383B2D].mkv_snapshot_18.54_[2015.04.27_10.50.00]
If this isn’t true love, I don’t know what is.
The other change for the better this season is that of Kunato. Before he played a very illogical, overplayed and hokey rival to Tanikaze, which made for some of the worst moments in the show. However now that his personality has been entirely replaced by the parasite from Ochiai’s lab, he is better put to use playing a more sinister and ambiguous role that surpasses the silly bully he was before. But remember, this season is full-on crazy, so in addition to being able to infect, possess and control anyone he pleases, he is also in full command of Tsugumi. The placenta also seems to be pregnant with multiple chimera children, so the threat of Kunato as a villain is reaching absurd levels.

[Underwater] Knights of Sidonia S2 - The Ninth Planet Crusade - 03v2 (720p) [A07674AE].mkv_snapshot_08.24_[2015.04.27_11.32.38]
So, not only did he NTR Nagate with the placenta, but he is also Tsugumi’s father, making Nagate’s new love interest actually the “daughter” of the original girl he fell in love with. This is all so trashy and fucked up. But oh boy does it make for a riveting watch.
On the other end of the spectrum, even the serious background plot and world-building elements of the show (which felt needlessly overcomplicated before) have been given a new (still insane) breath of life. The Ergo Proxy-reminiscent council that presides over Sidonia is outraged that Kobayashi is allowing the chimera research, and plan to remove her from standing. In response she responds with a coup, sending the clone of Ochiai to dispatch them all. This scene is portrayed in an absolutely gleeful way, not only is the music perfect for it (in general, I’ve found the OST quite awesome), but the smugness of the whole thing is driven in even more by the nonchalant way the council member quips before him and his conspirators are decimated in a gloriously violent mess.

[Underwater] Knights of Sidonia S2 - The Ninth Planet Crusade - 02 (720p) [16383B2D].mkv_snapshot_21.48_[2015.04.27_12.00.48]
This scene pretty much encapsulates the entire new tone this season has taken.
It doesn’t stop there, though. Even the dumb gags have been turned up to eleven. The “walking in on girls changing” thing is an utterly banal ‘anime’ joke that even the first season had, but here in Sidonia S2 it was executed in a way I had never seen done so well. After the accidental entrance to the room, the door abruptly shuts, and for a good moment we are left to believe the situation has been defused, but BAM, with slow motion effects and all, the door itself slams into Tanikaze’s face, making for an incredibly satisfying onetwo punch delivery of what might have otherwise felt like a tired and requisite fanservice scene.

Closing Message

Overall, I did not expect to be having this much fun with Sidonia, even outside the examples of great moments I talked about above, I was thoroughly entertained by these two episodes. It goes as far as even the oh-so-awful OP song growing on me, just because of how it fits with how completely garish the entire show has become.

I am greatly looking forward to next week, but for now I leave you with more Tsugumi moments:

[Underwater] Knights of Sidonia S2 - The Ninth Planet Crusade - 02 (720p) [16383B2D].mkv_snapshot_19.57_[2015.04.27_10.51.29]
A child playing with her dolls.
[Underwater] Knights of Sidonia S2 - The Ninth Planet Crusade - 02 (720p) [16383B2D].mkv_snapshot_20.04_[2015.04.27_10.51.38]
Izana you are too good for this shit.
[Underwater] Knights of Sidonia S2 - The Ninth Planet Crusade - 03v2 (720p) [A07674AE].mkv_snapshot_11.15_[2015.04.27_11.00.46]
Oh wait, it turns out they make good friends.

This bit had me grinning at its meekness.
This bit had me grinning at its meekness.
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