Weekly Digest 6/15/14 – Sidonia no Kishi, Captain Earth

Sidonia - 10 -6 Sidonia - 10 -19 Captain Earth - 11 -12 Captain Earth - 11 -17

A squirrel or a bust – which would you choose, Akari?

Sidonia no Kishi – 10

Sidonia - 10 -1 Sidonia - 10 -2 Sidonia - 10 -3
Sidonia - 10 -4 Sidonia - 10 -5 Sidonia - 10 -7
Sidonia - 10 -8 Sidonia - 10 -9 Sidonia - 10 -10
Sidonia - 10 -11 Sidonia - 10 -12 Sidonia - 10 -13
Sidonia - 10 -14 Sidonia - 10 -15 Sidonia - 10 -16
Sidonia - 10 -17 Sidonia - 10 -18 Sidonia - 10 -20
Sidonia - 10 -21 Sidonia - 10 -22 Sidonia - 10 -23

I’m quite stumped as to where Sidonia no Kishi is headed with only three episodes left.  The story is definitely still in the expansion phase with no signs of that reversing soon, and the confusion over a possible second season (for now it all appears to have been a false rumor, but the pre-sales do look good) doesn’t act to clarify things at all.  I guess there’s nothing for it but to just go with the flow and hope Polygon doesn’t screw up the ending too badly.

There was a troubling recurrence of the weaker side of Knights of Sidonia in this episode.  Invariably when the zoom is engaged Sidonia struggles, especially when it tries to be funny.  I still find the three-way interaction between Nagate, Izana and Yuhata borderline painful (though her constant strategic referral to Izana as “-kun” is a bit amusing), and their trip to the “Gravity Hall” ryokan had all the earmarks of a bad beach episode (just the thought of this show doing a beach or onsen ep terrifies me more than any Gauna).  Fortunately it ended up being a segue into some actual plot, and once the three teens were underground things took a turn for the better.

The first big development here is that “Toha Heavy Industries” (which I believe is a reference to mangaka Nihei Tsutomu’s Blame, though it’s been so long I wouldn’t swear to it) is making man-made Kabizashi out of the human-gauna core Ochiai developed.  We know this because Yuhata led Izana and Nagate into their secret underground lab on a kind of Scooby Gang mission, and the hybrid looking eerily like Lilith does nothing to make the Gauna less Angel-like in my mind’s eye.  The scientist in charge is Sasaki (Honda Takako, who’s pretty much always a blast and actually played Lady Lilith in Hoozuki no Reitetsu), and naturally she and Izana’s grandma plan to have Nagate test-pilot the new super-accelerator ship they’re developing to deploy the weapon.

This is an interesting setup, because it’s clear technology has been backsliding on Sidonia – Nagate has been simulating stuff like this with Hiroki underground, in a simulator from 100 years earlier than Toha is only now able to replicate.  Also of note is the fact that the Gauna attacked the colony ship (Nihei earns some scf-fi geek cred by naming the planetary system the emigrants are headed towards after Stanislaw Lem) despite the fact that they have no Kabizashi (unless the Captain sneaked one on-board their ship).  Nagate saves them using the experimental equipment, but now a Gauna “8000 times the size of Sidonia” is headed towards them and Izana has just been promoted to pilot (talk about bad timing).  And the kawaii placenta is getting more and more human, having learned to write Nagate’s name (though only in Hiragana) and he seems way, way too happy about it.  Bad time to be Izana it seems.

As to where we’re headed with the story as a whole, again I really have no clue, but as long as the story focuses on the big picture it seems to do very well indeed.  Hopefully we’re in for an interesting final three episodes.

Captain Earth – 11

Captain Earth - 11 -1 Captain Earth - 11 -2 Captain Earth - 11 -3
Captain Earth - 11 -4 Captain Earth - 11 -5 Captain Earth - 11 -6
Captain Earth - 11 -7 Captain Earth - 11 -8 Captain Earth - 11 -9
Captain Earth - 11 -10 Captain Earth - 11 -11 Captain Earth - 11 -13
Captain Earth - 11 -14 Captain Earth - 11 -15 Captain Earth - 11 -16
Captain Earth - 11 -18 Captain Earth - 11 -19 Captain Earth - 11 -20
Captain Earth - 11 -21 Captain Earth - 11 -22 Captain Earth - 11 -23
Captain Earth - 11 -24 Captain Earth - 11 -25 Captain Earth - 11 -26

It’s definitely a crucial time for Captain Earth.  We’re coming up on the end of the first cour, and that’s the moment when assessments have to be made – what have we seen so far, and how worthwhile is it to continue blogging?  The last few episodes have been fairly repetitive to be honest, and the series was in a bit of a drift.

Happily, this was the best ep we’ve seen for quite a while, maybe a month or more.  Yes, there was the matter of a Designer Child of the week, but in every sense this was quite a different episode than the last few.  I felt some of the same sense of intrigue I did in the first several episodes and both the humor (“How can I be the heroine when I’m the only girl that doesn’t have a squirrel?”) and the drama was substantially sharper than it’s been of late.  And it could hardly have come at a better time.

For starters, we’d met this D.C., Setsuna, already.  And she seems quite different than the others of her breed – she seems to actually be a power source of Orgone energy that’s being used to power the machine goodfellows.  And of course there’s her association with Dr. Mao (Kobayashi Sanae) and her assistant Ban (Okamoto Nobuhiko), and the research they’re conduction on behalf of MacBeth industries.  Unlike the others she clearly knows she’s special, if not exactly why, and that makes a major difference in the amount of control she has over her own fate.

We also get some well-executed backstory on MacBeth, courtesy of a visit by Rita to a bar being tended by an ex-police detective (the unmistakable Tachiki Fumihiko) who sheds some light on the much-referred to Kanda incident.  Kanda was the old CEO of MacBeth, and the company was secretly experimenting on children, supposedly as power sources for weapons.  The children had serial numbers, 3-8 (presumably Amara and Moco are 1 and 2) and eventually Kanda committed suicide after being set up as a fall guy when things went sour.  Kube, whose family started the company, was installed as the new CEO, leading to the current situation.

And just what is that situation?  Well, it now appears as if the D.C. were actually created as vessels to house someone’s consciousness.  Dr. Mao has taken it on herself to use this as a means to immortality via Setsuna (P.G. name Siren-sama) but there are bigger fish in these waters, and Ban is working for one of them.  He kills her (Setsuna flees on her own now that she’s discovered the truth) and takes the “dream machine” she’s been working on (it’s obvious why there are two) to his boss, “Robin” – and of course we know Puck’s other name in A Midsummer Night’s Dream is Robin Goodfellow.  So add the A.I. wanting a physical body to the mix, making it increasingly clear that Puck is behind much of what we’ve seen in the first cour, and that the others are mostly dancing to his tune.  I wonder, now, whether we might just see Moco and Amara ending up teamed with the Midsummer’s Knights against a common enemy.  For now there’s one more D.C. to check off the list next week (which looks like a peachfuzz version of Fight Club) and then presumably the crescendo that will end the first cour.



  1. I

    Sidonia's always great, and while I was about to give up on Cap. Earth, they revitalized me with this episode. I knew Puck was behind a lot, I've been getting a "VIKI from I. Robot" vibe from him since the beginning, however, to know that his name is also "Robin" in the play, you realize just how much he's behind everything. I just came up with the same theory you did regarding Puck wanting to use the machine to place himself in a human body.

    If I was Kube, I would back away from this. The guy is obviously in over his head.

  2. Yes, Kube is boxed in…

    Revitalized is a good word – that's how I felt, too. CE had gotten a bit stale but there was a lot in this episode that played as very fresh, even if it's largely familiar sci-fi grist for the mill. As for Kube, he's interesting – the sense is that he's actually not somebody looking to do evil but a dupe, someone being used by both Puck and the real human powers at MacBeth and the Ark Faction.

  3. R

    Honestly, my appreciation for Captain Earth is starting to diminish by the halfway mark. While I am a fan of building up the antagonists, the way the series is doing it is not something that I would call good. It just feels too cluttered. the infodump in here feels like it should have been done several episodes ago.

    And Daichi and company has become pretty much bit players in this arc. Which would have been fine if they were already well built, but they aren't. Only Teppei has gotten what you can consider as character development, while Hana has nothing.

  4. w

    I think CE felt a little more 'Midsummer Nights' than normal this week – and not just because of Robin. I can't really point out a part that exemplifies why though. I might finally just be connecting the characters to their play equivalents (e.g the designer children being the actors- don't know how I didn't notice that!). Overall I agree with your assessment so far, my interest was greatly renewed this week.

  5. m

    I was glad to see CE get away from the "battle against the DC of the week" format it has been following. The time saved from watching long transformations and fights was well spent building up the characters and plot. I can even live with half of next week introducing the last DC, as long as the story starts progressing from there. There's a lot of stories floating out there, and not enough time to waste on pointless regurgitated fight scenes. Hopefully this is a sign that it has gotten back on the right path.

  6. H

    I don't think CE is going to have a big dramatic thing happen in episode 13 actually, I think the show is pacing itself more like Star Driver where it's going to have three, 8 episode arcs instead of splitting itself more or less in half (also, aren't plays traditionally three acts? Since I feel like that would also give some weight to this theory)

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