03 – Glory
…in which there are festivals and space battles.
You’d think that an anime set in what is essentially a fortified rock harbouring all of humanity inside won’t have festivals in it. You’d be wrong.
This episode begins with a tournament where Gardis pilots battle each other. It’s part of the ‘gravity festival’. Nagate doesn’t compete because he’s still all beat up. White Hair (actual name Kunato) is on a winning streak but is beaten by Akai, one of the four elite pilots.
Meanwhile, Nagate is lured to the festival by the promise of food. He lacks the money to buy any but is saved by Shizuka who buys it for him. Izana comes looking for Nagate and they end up seeing him enjoy his food with Shizuka. As they storm off, they run into Kunato who demonstrates that he’s an utter ass. That’s pretty much the purpose of the whole thing.
Later, Nagate and Izana are randomly invited by the four elite pilots – Akai, Aoki, Midorikawa and Momose – to the ‘sea’, a large water reservoir that takes up a fourth of Sidonia. It’s a rare privilege for trainees to see the sea. Nagate and Izana are suitably awed and also get friendly with the four. We’re even treated to Akai and Momose having a nice, romantic moment.
That’s when I knew they were all going to die.
Sure enough, the elite team gets dispatched to get rid of the gauna that’s now heading towards Sidonia. They seem to be doing well but then Momose gets caught, Akai sacrifices himself to save her, she rushes it in a blind rage and the rest all die. The gauna continues to chill and make its way towards Sidonia.
This wasn’t really a bad episode but I am disappointed about something – the way the elite team was handled. The pattern from the second episode, where we see some nice moments in the life of an inconsequential character right before they’re killed off repeats itself.
The whole trip to the sea is clearly meant to cultivate some kind of attachment to the four. It failed as far as I’m concerned but your mileage might vary. I was just incredulous about the way they invite a couple of trainees on what might be their last trip (or date in case of Momose and Akai) ever. It feels abrupt and forced. It was also an obvious clue that they were going to die horribly. Unfortunately, I didn’t care enough about them to be all that interested.
But hey, maybe I’m wrong and rather than a transparent attempt at emotional manipulation, the writers just wanted to show that these dying pilots are also people with their own lives and shit. It’s possible.
Either way, I continue to like the setting while being mildly entertained by the story and not caring a whit about the people.
Also,“Will you photosynthesize together with me?” is the worst pick up line ever and nothing will convince me otherwise.