Sidonia no Kishi: Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki 07-08

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(That, that) Dude looks like a lady! (That, that) Dude looks like a lady!

spring15-irenesAh, so our little he/she has finally grown up and made her choice (or at least she did unconsciously and her body did the hard part), but we’ll get to more with Izana later. First, we have a couple of megalomaniacs to talk about first. Continuing on from last episode, the test of the new super weapon does show that the Sidonians have created something with phenomenal power. It plain cut a hole through a planet, which is quite a feat when you think about it on single terms. However, having gone back and reviewed Season One a week ago with a sibling who had yet to check out the series, many things were brought back to my memory. Including the fact that Sidonia already had weapons capable of destroying a planet. And not just some small dwarf, but they could completely obliterate a gas giant with no problem. So why do they need this new cannon?

Well, as far as I can tell, they stated that the weapons they possessed, while able to cause planetary destruction, had no effect on a Gauna. I can only guess that they hope by employing a Gauna’s placenta into the workings of their new WMD, that “only self can destroy self” clause that seems to pop up all over the sci-fi genre can be put into use here. However, the only problem is, that like a vaccine or antibiotic, because you’re using “like” to kill “like”, it’s very easy for something like that to backfire.

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Oh, that doesn’t look good.

And backfire it does. As we saw from before, Gauna tentacles decided to infest the inner workings of the energy control cables to the hull of Sidonia itself. The weapon quickly goes out of control and begins to overtake the testing site, its placenta growing exponentially and causing complete and utter chaos as Sidonia quickly finds its controls unresponsive and the hull breached. The scene is done in harsh, alarming shades of red, with spotlights glowing ominously as Kobayashi’s weapon of war goes nuts. The danger is real, and I think that because we see the entire scene mostly from the inside of Sidonia as people are exposed to the great vacuum of space and regular people are being pulled out into its cold, unforgiving clutches, this one incident compared to all the other battles against Gauna, was one of the most chilling.

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Eventually the weapon becomes so unstable that it literally blinks out of existence after imploding on itself, leaving a gaping hole in Sidonia and several people floating in space, dead. It is the sight of all this devastation and how wrong this test actually went that begins to give the well-intentioned doctor an idea that she might just be in over her head. And this especially becomes apparent when the captain, despite the disaster that just occurred and the fact that Yure declared the experiment a failure and that it would be best to start back at the drawing board, still orders her to continue testing and perfecting the weapon. It seems that the temptation of power is too much to ignore for Kobayashi and her desire to destroy the Gauna too great. I’ve already talked about the good captain’s growing and dangerous obsession, and it seems that finally there are others who are beginning to notice as well. Yure has decided that she can no longer keep going forward on blind faith or scientific interest, and she decides to secretly go against the captain and seek help from an outside source in weapons and technical engineer, Sasaki.

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Yeah, definitely in the “not good” category.

However, things could get dangerous for Yure if she doesn’t watch her back, as she’s risking more than just Kobayashi’s wrath. Our other megalomaniac, Ochiai, is even less concerned with the loss of human lives as the captain was. His only concern being that his calculations were off and that the weapon wasn’t stable enough to avoid implosion. He states that “it wasn’t enough”, but enough of what? Energy? Matter? You can guarantee that he will continue to try to perfect the process in order get what he wants, which is still not quite clear either. Again going back to the first season, Ochiai originally caused the deaths of most of Sidonia as well as the entire 4th Gauna War which happened when two Gauna actually got into the ship, decimating everything. He threw away much of the Kabi weapons at the time, stating that they drew the Gauna to the ship, leading to the knights of Sidonia only having the 28 left to use that we see at the start of the series. They have since been able to create artificial kabi that they can attach or be manipulated into, practically any weapon from bullets to swords. However, you have to link the madman from then to the one we see today, and wonder what exactly he’s thinking and how much will his actions cost Sidonia this time?

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Well, despite all that dangerous stuff going on, about half of episode 7 and all of episode 8 were mostly devoted to slice-of-life hijinks of our main characters. This isn’t my forte really since I’ve never been really invested or interested in the “normal” sections of this show, but there are some important elements that are happening with our group of guy and gals and we probably should look at least into some of those.

WOAH! What happened to the animation?! It’s actually–good?

Firstly, it is nice to see these fighter pilots on their down time. just hanging around and watching TV. I do have to wonder why the heck the animation for the movie they happened to be watching was better than the animation of the show itself? It actually had me in shock looking at it, wondering if they had decided in the middle of the season to somehow increase the animation budget and do some major improvements. Did they just put all their money into that one part or did they turn it over to another studio that couldn’t stand not to touch it up a lot? I don’t know what it was, but now that I’ve seen they can do better, it makes me wonder if it’s only the money that keeps the show looking as it does?

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How will Killy get out of this one? Tune in next time. Same Bat-time! Same Bat-channel! 

And also, if it wasn’t apparent before, it’s egregiously obvious now, that Nagate has, through no effort on his part, literally formed his own harem. As of last episode, Yuhata has decided to move into his house too, now leading to him living in close quarters with three females that he also happens to work with on a daily basis. And on top of that, there are the other ladies like the Honoka girls and Samari that seem to have taken a liking to him as well.

Being an ace pilot who has phenomenal skills but is still quite the clumsy and humble “schoolboy” can be quite an attractive mix. I can see why he does have so many admirers. However, I do wonder if he’s still as ignorant of all these girls’ affections as he gives the appearance of being? Or is he just pretending not to notice out of embarrassment?

If the first, I have to wonder how dense this poor kid is and if all those years underground has permanently done him mental harm? And if the second (which I think is more likely), than that just makes him even more charming and cute. However, I have to warn you girls. Remember that whatever girl he chooses, if Nagate procreates, he will become the progenitor to an entirely new set of people (I’m not yet sure if it would be a new species altogether or just a new subspecies of humanity). The woman he chooses will become the mother of a new immortal race of beings. Talk about large responsibility, but no pressure.

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Yet, of all these lovely ladies that have found (and pushed) their way into Nagate’s life, one has decided to take a pretty large focal point.

As I mentioned way back in the beginning, the “third gender” Izana, has finally, officially, become a young woman!

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The most skillfully placed rubber ducky in all of Sidonia history. 

I mentioned a few episodes ago that I had long ago considered Izana to be a girl, both the fact that her role and her personality both screamed feminine, and the fact that there is no suitable English unisex pronoun, gave way to me just referring to her as “she” not long after she was introduced. However, it seems the show has finally decided to formally agree with me, and has had Izana go through what equates to “puberty” as a bigender, and physically (and I’m guessing genetically) become a female.

If you’re wondering how this happened, if you remember back to the first season, a piece of exposition stated that a bigender person will change into one of the other two main sexes when they have chosen their preferred mate. Basically, if they become attracted to a female, they become male, and if they become interested in a male, they transform into a female. Considering Izana’s obvious attraction to Nagate for quite some time now, her body responded in kind (I’m guessing it was some kind of hormonal signal) and began to change her body physically into that of a woman.

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They are making clothing so cheaply nowadays, they practically come apart at the seams.

I can only imagine the weirdness that Izana must be experiencing. I, of course, went through my own time of puberty, and even though I knew what was happening and had been prepared for it by my mom and others, it was still quite a weird and uncomfortable time for a young girl. It must be even doubly weird for your body to suddenly start rapidly changing without your knowledge and with no preparation at all or an older person to help guide you through it. The hormonal and emotional changes are already showing to be wreaking havoc as we observe Izana start to have sharp mood swings, with fits of anger, jealousy, embarrassment, and neediness.  I don’t know what she’ll do when she actually experiences her first cycle.

Physical changes, such as the development of breasts and hips shouldn’t be too uncomfortable, but considering how this process seems to only take a periods of days to weeks, as a scientist, I’m really fascinated in how the body was able to accomplish so much. The process of creating female reproductive organs, the changes in the bone structure, and then the change to the very DNA itself, I would be absolutely fascinated in how the body was able to accomplish such a feat on its own, in such a short amount of time in an already adolescent being.

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But a woman she is, and it’s causing Izana problems all over the place, from her flight suit rejecting her because it’s confused by the transformations of her body, to having strange emotional shifts that are making her both get closer and strike out at Nagate. However, her grandmother Yure, now assured as to which way her grandchild has intended to go, has decided to give the girl a little help in entering the world of womankind. She starts by getting the girl to dress in more feminine (and revealing) clothing, much to the girl’s chagrin, and also setting Izana up with in impromptu date with the man who incited all these changes in the first place.

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Nagate’s a little lost on how his life has suddenly become a lot more busy and crowded all of sudden. And now to find that his best friend has become a woman in what feels like overnight, can be a little strange. He can’t seem to understand the underlying issues of all the girls around him, least of all Izana. And so, Yure has to use words that he can understand, in order to get the boy to take her granddaughter out. Basically giving him an assignment and an ultimatum to take Izana out to a posh vacation spot ( a “cultural inspection”) under pain of decapitation if he messes this up.

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And POP goes the Nagate!

Poor Nagate doesn’t understand what’s going on, but he knows how to obey orders, and after a bit of finagling with an upset and discontented Izana, they visit one of the top tourist sites on Sidonia: the Thousand Year Village. The place is aptly named as it seems like a cultural snapshot of the past, even for our present day, with a grove that’s fitted with several traditional Japanese garden style architecture, and packed to the brim with breathtaking sakura trees. It’s the perfect romantic atmosphere, and it looks like our cute couple might have just taken the bait.

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Meanwhile, across millions of kilometers of space, in the Lem System, a research station from the colony sent by Sidonia last season, are doing observations of a nearby planet that might just be a candidate for human habitation. The day starts off normal enough, with the checking of data and communication with the exploration team, the team leader will toss a joke out to which the rest of the members will extend a laugh. Everything is normal, nothing out of the ordinary…

Until the Gauna arrive that is…

Cue the Independence Day soundtrack!


Peace is short-lived in a series like this, you never know when danger and chaos will strike. I don’t know how long the placid slice-of-life for our pilots will last, but looking at the preview, it won’t be for much longer. Between the dangers aboard the ship and from afar, it can be quite a hard life for our young teenagers. However, life it is, and life goes on, whether on a planet or on a space-faring galactic ship.

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A Chicagoan biochemist, teacher, and an aspiring virologist, with a love for science only rivaled by my love for movies, animation, and anime. Both a lover of action/adventure and romance, I'm a girl who walks the entire spectrum. Mecha, Sci-Fi, Psychological Thriller, Romantic Period Piece, if it's has a good story, I'm there.
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24 Responses to “Sidonia no Kishi: Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki 07-08”

  1. skylion says:

    I’m on the creative fence when it comes to the super-weapon. It just blinks out of existence. Sure it takes a chunk of valuable stuff and people with it, but it just feels like the writer was like, “I don’t know what to do with it now….well, I suppose I can get rid of it, yeah? Oh, better make it flashy” then they cut to the Slice of Life segment of the show, which is much more fleshed out and entertaining. Which feels like the real story the writer wanted to work on.

    Blame! The Ancient City Terminal is the “TV program” they were watching. It’s based on Sidonia’s mangaka other well known, previous work.

    Well, I love Izana, and have since the previous series, so I’m happy to see her get some proper development. I was laughing my ass off when they “briefed” Nagate on his new “mission”. It fit so oddly with the rampant paranoia of the previous scenes.

    I somehow get the feeling that Yure might be giving us the “sound bite” easy explanation for why she is changing. It sounds more magical or fairy tale than biological….but then, you’re the biochemist, what do I know. I was in sociology, all I could do is poll the bi-gender on how happy or sad they are with the changes…

    • IreneSharda says:

      Oh, thank you. I had no idea that the show they were watching was based on anything. I might have to check that out, it seemed interesting.

      And honestly, I’m stumped on the body did all that to change bigenders into males or females. Hormones can give you breasts and emotional shifts. But it’s the inside work that’s the real miracle here. At that age of being a young adult, your body suddenly is doing major developmental work on it’s own, and in so little time?

      And now you have to learn how to move differently because of female hips, and you’ll have to get used to having a womb and eggs, and all that comes with that. That’s a lot of complex changes. The only thing I can think of is that perhaps a bigender is more like a hermaphrodite and starts of with a set of both sex organs that are majorly underdeveloped, and when they make their choice through some kind of hormonal single exchange of some kind, one set of organs develop completely and the other set get absorbed and disappear?

      But then you have to somehow adjust all of your DNA to be genetically female as well, but that maybe possible in the “future”?

      • skylion says:

        …well the whole vertebrate thing, ala in the womb all vertabrates are basically female, ala why dudes have nipples. Then you add the frog changing gender thing from Jurassic Park, and boom….you got your thing. Then you play with things like hips and swelling when it fits into a story, either for a bit of comedy or some drama.

  2. Highway says:

    From what you say, that’s about exactly what I thought they’d do with the supposed ‘third gender’ when they first mentioned it in the first episode of the first series. So it’s actually not a third, just an undecided. And to have it be an unconscious decision seems even weaker. How does your body know if the person you like likes guys or girls? Or maybe that guy liked you as pettanko, and now you’ve got boobs and he’s not as interested. Far from exploring gender, the show just shoves everyone into the box of existing genders and looks.

    I mean, I expect something like that from Sekirei, which had a similar character arc, with it’s wish-fulfillment plot and virginal signalling. But even that was less wishy-washy and culturally straitjacketed, because Homura self-identified as male and was disappointed and almost horrified at his body changing against his will. And that even ended with Minato saying that Homura should be however he wants to be (of course, that was also Minato’s 6th harem member…).

    • BlackBriar says:

      From what you say, that’s about exactly what I thought they’d do with the supposed ‘third gender’ when they first mentioned it in the first episode of the first series. So it’s actually not a third, just an undecided.

      In other words, the supposed “third gender” is just a blank slate with a reprieve until they decide. Seeing that Izana took so long, when you think about it, until they make a choice, are those like that even considered a person? How is their DNA even defined until they come to terms with their selection? That’s one of my lingering inquiries with the show. I mean, by comparison, from the moment Tsumugi’s existence began, she was considered a girl.

      • Di Gi Kazune says:

        Here we call it: Indeterminate.

      • IreneSharda says:

        How would the DNA be defined?

        I’m assuming since everyone looks human, they at least have a single X gene. However, that would just make 3rd genders female (Turner Syndrome). If there was any form of Y there, they would be considered male, even with multiple Xs (Klinefelter Syndrome).

        So, the only thing I can guess is maybe the scientists were able to create a third sex chromosome that is indeterminate and can be paired with an X chromosome. That “Z chromosome” has the ability to transform itself into one of the other two when some kind of signal is given?

        That’s the best I can come up with.

        • BlackBriar says:

          Sounds like their process even has you rattled. And science is your forte. Do you accept this show challenging your knowledge? 😉

          • IreneSharda says:

            It’s sci-fi, and pretty well done sci-fi. It isn’t so unobtrusive, nor does it take away from the rest of plot, that it takes me out of the story.

            Not all sci-fi can do that though. I remember that that whole scene of Tony Stark making a new element in his basement took me completely out of the movie for Iron Man 2. I was never able to enjoy after that because my mind kept going over the reasons that what he was doing wouldn’t work. And the movie was so lackluster anyway, that nothing was able to make me forget that and come back into the story. It’s the hazards of being a scientist I’m afraid. It’s like knowing the magicians tricks and then watching a very boring magic show. You know how it should be done and now nothing can really make you interested in what you’re seeing. At least that’s how it is for me, and from what I’ve heard from my professors, they do the same. I remember that my anthropologist professor spoke of how he and hos colleagues used to have long debates about all the stuff Jurassic Park did wrong.

    • IreneSharda says:

      It does sort of take away from the idea of an actual “third gender”. Honestly, considering how they are basically what would happen if you took a babe from the womb extremely early and didn’t allow it access to the hormones that physically gave the child its gender, and then had it grow up like that. However, today, we still would consider that child a female, and that all babe start out physically female until the hormone is release that begins to change the body into that of a male.

      So, really all these bigenders are all just undeveloped females, that when they meet their mate will change physically, like they should have in the womb in the first place.

      I don’t know how they did this genetically though, since sex at that level is determined at conception. Even if you say that Bigenders had a single X chromosome, and that when they change they gain either another X or a Y to complete the set, having a single X would still classify you as female.

      Maybe they have some sort of artificial sex chromosome that is somewhere between the two (a Z chromosome?) that will take the places of the second one in the pair, and that “Z chromosome” will become one of the other two when the choice is made?

      And like you said, I have no idea how a body can figure out whether it is attracted to males or females other than the fact that there is some kind of emotional a hormonal response when in the presence of that particular sex, and then perhaps the body can somehow detect the sex of the person(s) you have an attraction to (again, I’m going to go with hormones, or perhaps even pheromones at this point) and using all of that, triggers the start of the body changing.
      That’s my hypothesis.

      • Highway says:

        I find I’m far less interested in the biological parts of it, because as you present it here, it’s completely mechanistic. But people aren’t like that. If they wanna be with someone, then it doesn’t really matter what that person is. Expanding on what I was going for, not only are they saying “Well, you are a male, you have to want to be with a female” they’re adding “And you have to have one that looks like this.” That’s what really feels like the big cop-out. They didn’t even bother getting to a question of ‘A can go with either B or C’. It’s just “A becomes B or C, shut up and take it.”

        From your comment below about Tsumugi, that’s far more like a ‘third gender’, and to be honest, what is ‘physically compatible’? I think that our society now is in the process of rejecting the idea that a monogamic couple must allow for the possibility of procreation, and I think that’s just fine. In that vein, ‘physically compatible’ becomes simply “I like the way that person looks and feels to be with. They make me feel good.”

        • IreneSharda says:

          I think a lot of the genetic choices they made in regards to 3rd genders and photosythesis and all that, all came up after the 4th Gauna war, when the populace on Sidonia was nearly wiped out and there was a food shortage, etc.

          They probably were thinking more so on the idea of procreation than anything else at that point, thus physical male with a physical female and such. Since scientists were who came up with all this, they probably didn’t think much in terms of the social aspects that you’re bringing up. It would be good if they did consider some of these issues too, but I guess the show didn’t feel it had the wherewithal to go there.

          • IreneSharda says:

            But then again, if they can just make and clone people in a lab all willy-nilly, then would a population shortage really be that big of a problem? You wouldn’t have to rely on natural procreation at all.
            And even then, how would a 3rd gender help?
            Wouldn’t it be easier to consider just making more of whatever gender happened to be in shortage?

            • Highway says:

              Actually, it’s exceedingly likely that natural procreation is an enemy of such a society. A closed loop ecosystem is extraordinarily sensitive to resource drain. Heck, they’ve even addressed that with the “people can photosynthesize to reduce energy and food consumption.” Therefore, the idea of procreation being a major factor in their gender and biophysical research kind of falls apart. I can see having flexibility, but even that is something that isn’t particularly important.

              It’s something that’s explored in Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War, a story about a war fought through interstellar distances and relativistic times. At one point, the protagonist returns to Earth to find that everyone on earth is now encouraged to be homosexual in response to population pressures.

  3. BlackBriar says:

    Megalomaniacs indeed. Suffice to say Kobayashi was hardly by what unraveled. It’s safe to assume she’s become a lost cause and liability. All the easier for Ochiai to manipulate her and she can’t even see that past her own self-loathing. Call it blind luck the placenta’s reach was limited and didn’t take over 25 or even 50% of Sidonia before imploding. An impending coup d’état lead by Yure is the most plausible hypothetical situation to proceed with in my mind right now.

    Well, Izana made a choice and it’s one I can work with. But with the unwanted addition of Yuhata whereas Tsumugi wasn’t seen as a hindrance at all, all her hopes for quality time with Nagate are out the window. Based on her ancestry, she’ll have good looks for a long time because of her hot looking grandmother (Is it possible for those words to be used together in a sentence like that?). That black dress…! It’s fierce! *wolf whistle*

    Episode 7 was good with its tense action and ominous developments but preference goes to 8 for giving focus on our 4 roommates who had me pleased the entire run no matter where they were. And more Tsumugi as a plus. She has such a cute personality for a non-human and I love watching how she carries herself. I dare say this this season got twice as good as the last simply because she joined in.

    • IreneSharda says:

      I find Tsumugi adorable. She’s in the harem, but I really never consider her a serious member. As along with her considerable non-humanoid appearance (I’m all for inter-species relationships, but I think that at least both sides should be physically compatible with each other), she also isn’t really that mature (and considering how old she is, that’s understandable). She acts a lot like a little kid, constantly in wonder of the world and people. I loved the scene where she was playing under the table, which while cute, was something more a little girl would be doing rather than a mature female. As to her liking of Nagate, I equate that to a girlhood crush.

      However, just for enjoyment value, I’m loving Tsumugi. 🙂

      • BlackBriar says:

        (I’m all for inter-species relationships, but I think that at least both sides should be physically compatible with each other)

        Hahaha! Yeah, I bet you already have a couple of those in mind. 😛 It works better when the other species has a humanoid form.

        Adorable is right. I find Tsumugi placed in a little sister fashion, only that she’s curious and isn’t clingly. The 8th episode was equally divided between her, Izana and Yuhata.

        • Highway says:

          Questioning both of you: Why? Why does form matter? If Elbar the Rock Creature and Swoosho the Sentient Fog love being with each other, why should that be anyone else’s concern?

          • skylion says:

            Well, it’s like you say above, we are built the way we are. With most, and this is a developing sets of ideals, the “traditional” binary set is the “it”. For some, it’s more flexible, and for other’s it goes to tastes and levels “acceptability” i.e. It’s alright to be bi-sexual, so long as you favor the opposite gender, lesbians are sexy but not out queer women, and queer men are just plain out of the picture. It’s very harsh, but people are made up of their cultural biases just as much as genetic information.

            In the context of the show, they are trying to present Izana’s case as the “proper” way to go. It might or might not have impact on the character. But it does make us think.

            • Highway says:

              As you probably realize, I’m mostly trying to push back against the idea that “ought” can be justified by squick.

            • skylion says:

              Oh, yes. I’m on that side as well. Just rounding out the enemy…

          • IreneSharda says:

            Actually, now that I think about it, I really don’t think it would be much of a problem. I’m a trekkie, and Star Trek is full of inter-species relationships, and some of them are really sweet and interesting. I remember that in Ponyo, the relationship between Ponyo’s parents to be the most interesting,and they weren’t what would be considered “physically compatible”.

            I love non-human relationships too (Wall-e being one of the best romances I’ve seen in a while), so I guess I really wouldn’t care much if Tsumugi and Nagate really loved each other. I had absolutely no problem with Nagate and placental Shizuka.

            I think my biggest issue with Tsumugi and Nagate was probably Tsumugi’s maturity factor and that she’s more like a little girl with a crush to me than anything.

            • Highway says:

              I was thinking of Star Trek when coming up with Elbar the Rock Creature (the Horta) and Swoosho the Sentient Fog (multiple creatures that generally elicited the ‘action’ music cue). Plus, I just like the name Swoosho the Sentient Fog. It reminds me of Pooshfa the Green Bean (a character from the comic strip Jeff Kinney drew at University of Maryland when I was there).

              And I’m glad I got you to think about it. 🙂

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