The episode title is “Glory”, and this episode is exactly about that, or more accurately about how futile the concept of glory actually is.
There’s a contest, where the mech pilots compete against each other to find out, who’s the best of the best (but we all know it’s Eric Roberts, right?). Akai, leader of the elite squad introduced in the previous episode is the one who’s expected to remain the champion, but the academy douchebag Kunato has his mind set on winning. Kunato loses to Akai after Akai uses a move learned from our lead character Nagate. This gets Kunato even more miffed at Nagate which evolves into a fistfight between them.
Although Nagate loses the fight (for now at least), he is still catmint to the ladies. I’ve calculated that at least three girls have developed feelings to the awkward underdweller. He has also raised interest in Akai, who has spotted his talent behind a mech. Akai invites Nagate to join him and his team in a submarine ride in an artificial sea of Sidonia. Nagate takes his hermaphrodite friend / future love interest Izana along, and they get to take a breather before shit goes down again.
And it does soon enough, because there’s a Gauna approaching Sidonia. It’s actually the same Gauna that Nagate fought earlier. Akai’s team is assigned to intercept and destroy the damn creature. Admired by all, Akai and his team gear up and fly into space.
Akai’s team fights valiantly, but unlike the earlier duel matches between the mechs, the Gauna battle is not about honor, but survival. All the glory in the world can’t help Akai when the Gauna wipes them out, one by one. The patrons of Sidonia watches horrified how their best of the best is destroyed in the matter of minutes. Glory matters not when extinction inches in.
The message is solid in the episode, but the execution however is lacking. Akai’s death doesn’t shock as much the makers are clearly hoping, and that’s because they only introduced the guy in the previous episode. His team was really under-developed for me to give any shits about their demise. The Gauna feels like an unstoppable force, and I’m getting a little bit worried by that. There were similar monsters in the Final Fantasy movie (the one where Alec Baldwin played Ben Affleck) and the indestructible nature of the monsters made all the action in the film seem redundant. Same thing applies here. It’s really boring to see space battles, where the action leads to a conclusion that the monsters can’t be killed. I really hope that is not the case here.
Not much else happens that have any real substance in this episode. Nagate sort of dates one of his lady friends, and the hermaphrodite gets jealous. Normal day at the world of Japanese animation, I could say.
This episode loses some steam after the two energetic episode, but I’m hoping the show picks up the slack in the next one.
Best scene: The demise of Akai’s team. Well, bye, Akai. We hardly even knew you or your group.
Most memorable bit: Enchantment under the sea. Beautiful artwork there.