In the time I’ve been blogging, no show has ever survived “On the Respirator” status in the season check-in post. But Sidonia no Kishi might just be the first one, if the last two episodes are any indication. I can’t say whether the series has found its stride or simply benefited from a shift in focus to its obvious strengths, only to return to mediocrity once it shifts back. But for now, things are definitely on the uptick.
Without a question, this is a serious science-fiction storyline with some serious thought behind it. Stuff like the deployment of the Hyggs-collection sail system and the filtration of the Gardes’ lubricant for drinking water (not to mention urine – that’s one hell of an indirect kiss) is pure nerdgasm material, and I’m enough of a lifelong sci-fi geek that it floats my boat. There’s nothing like a classic “marooned in space” story (except for the endless castaway tales that inspired them) and this one was executed very nicely. This is the kind of material CGI can handle just fine, and Sidonia’s does here.
I confess I’m not entirely clear on just why the Sidonia couldn’t stop and wait for the castaways Tanikaze and Hoshijiro – with the Gauna defeated, what was the rush? Fortunately for the two of them the colony’s defense forces refuse to follow orders, apparently, and go off on their own in search – eventually finding the lost cadets just as the food and water have run out, though Tanikaze has managed to jury-rig the lubrication system and filter water from it. The roughly eleven days they spent together were awkward both in the narrative and execution sense, but somehow it worked better for me this time – it was so hackneyed and full of a kind of Andy Griffith Show innocence that it managed a certain charm.
What I wasn’t so crazy about it the rather forced exposition – the teacher lecturing the students is really a lazy way to bring the audience up to speed. In any event we now know that about 500 seed ships escaped Earth, and that the last one the Sidonia had contact with was called the Aposimz, and that the Kabizashi uses technology sourced from a mysterious alien construction that looks like a wedge of Swiss cheese. It’s a classic premise, and one which seems way too big for 12 episodes. But on the bright side, the early evidence is that Knights of Sidonia might do decently on Blu-ray, and if that happens maybe we’ll get a second season somewhere down the line.