12 CommentsKnights of Sidonia / By Inushinde /

Knights of Sidonia Episode 11: I Liked Constant Character Death Before Everybody Did It

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The first deaths in a show are almost always the most impactful. Hell, even the ones that involve inconsequential background characters, so long as they happen early, leave at least enough of an impression that they won’t be immediately forgotten after the episode finishes. There either has to be an emotional connection between the soon-to-be-departed and the audience, or the narrative has to be advanced for the characters’ deaths. Now that Knights of Sidonia is murdering its background characters with reckless abandon, the stakes feel much lower. There’s less reason to care. Death is less fashionable now that everyone’s doing it.

I definitely see what the series is going for. The more that the gauna have murdered everyone of talent on Sidonia, the more that Sidonia’s had to rely on the less experienced/talented to fill the ranks, who in turn are easier to kill. The status of pilot, once a coveted symbol of rank, is now a designation of dread. Chances are that newly designated pilots will have one mission, maybe two if they’re lucky, before they’re diced to bits by pieces of sentient, tentacled hamburger. Hell, there doesn’t even seem to be much of an academy left, with most students having been drafted and subsequently diced to bits.

This should be a depressing, affecting situation to watch, but the constant off-screen elimination of bit characters, after the deaths of previous key players, makes it feel staid, especially since the bit characters only exist for the sake of soaking up damage. At this point, Knights of Sidonia is offing people in large numbers almost out of obligation, rather than an understanding of how to make the deaths hit home. I’m not sure if it’s because of Original Anime Ending Syndrome or because of genuine shortcomings with the plot, but Knights of Sidonia is attempting to ramp up the stakes, without the results keeping pace. The halfhearted conspiracy/cover-up business doesn’t help either.

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It’s still mostly a fine show, but Knights of Sidonia is showing signs of wearing thin as it attempts to conjure a climax from the ether, while painfully underutilizing Izana and other potentially interesting characters. That, and Hiyama hasn’t ridden a frame into battle, which is the biggest disappointment of the season by far.

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12 Comments

  1. Praestlin
    Posted June 25, 2014 at 4:45 am | Permalink

    “This should be a depressing, affecting situation to watch, but the constant off-screen elimination of bit characters, after the deaths of previous key players, makes it feel staid, especially since the bit characters only exist for the sake of soaking up damage.”

    For you, maybe. For me seeing the names flick off on the screen was way more affecting than any action-cam shot or stock footage of a frame getting pierced by tentacles. Sidonia manages the “watching cannon fodder die in droves from remote screen” trope better than any anime since LoGH, where watching a red blob slowly be reduced by a blue blob is a thing of horror.

    Clearly, you must play more DEFCON.

  2. Golos
    Posted June 25, 2014 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    “while painfully underutilizing Izana and other potentially interesting characters. That, and Hiyama hasn’t ridden a frame into battle”

    And that’s why you should read the Sidonia manga.
    The anime is a watered-down version of it.

  3. ANON
    Posted June 25, 2014 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    and here I thought all 3 of you stopped watching anime.

    • Inushinde
      Posted June 27, 2014 at 12:31 am | Permalink

      Nope, though Shinmaru’s the only diligent one.

  4. Flanfy
    Posted June 25, 2014 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    >attempts to conjure a climax from the ether, while painfully underutilizing Izana and other potentially interesting characters.
    No wonder, the show skipped a lot including the second major battle and is combining the third and forth ones into an anime original fight that is nowhere as good as either. Your problem with the off-screen deaths comes from Polygon being too poor to animate exploding robots.
    >That, and Hiyama hasn’t ridden a frame into battle
    Read the manga. It kinda happens.

    • Inushinde
      Posted June 27, 2014 at 12:33 am | Permalink

      So it WAS Anime Original Ending Syndrome. Whatevs, still a good show.

  5. Nagisa33
    Posted June 25, 2014 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Really, besides a few parts that are slightly changed I think the anime is doing a good job. Though I’m not following every episode but I’m popping in to check out some major scenes. In any case I suggest checking out the manga. Once a certain character appears and a big event with another character happens it gets more interesting. There’s more focus on hidden agendas and the grey area of using technology that’s not fully understood.

  6. Jaysus
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 2:50 am | Permalink

    The anime is kind of in a weird spot of the manga. It’s rushing through to get to one of the major “holy shit” moments of the manga. However, the “holy shit” moment is totally pointless if there’s no second season.

    • Inushinde
      Posted June 27, 2014 at 12:34 am | Permalink

      S2 confirmed! Hopefully it’ll follow up well.

  7. FBC
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    I agree… I WANT BEAR PILOTING ROBOT!!!

  8. Mormegil
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    If Izana dies, I’m going to be so pissed.

    Also, Season 2 confirmed!

  9. Shadow
    Posted June 28, 2014 at 3:28 am | Permalink

    I feel that you were wrong when you judged the series creating a death fest and by doing that losing value. I disagree with you.

    Because technically speaking these are still the early episodes *or chapters based on the manga* we are still around chapter 24 right now.

    Also, all these deaths will have a pretty huge purpose in the future. We wont see the consequences this season. But things will change a lot due to the lots of deaths. In fact despite humanity losing so much, it is at this moment when they take and edge on the Gauna War *wont spoil though.*

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