Knights of Sidonia was a 12-episode sci-fi/ action series animated by Polygon Pictures that aired on Japanese TV from April 11 to June 27 of 2014. The series is based on the ongoing seinen manga series written by Tsutomu Nihei since April 2009. The anime series is currently licensed by Sentai Filmworks, who released the series to home video just last month and it is available for viral streaming via Netflix. A second season of the series premiered earlier this year for the Spring 2015 anime season in Japan, that has also been licensed by Sentai Filmworks.
In the year 3394, humanity had fled from the planet Earth after it was destroyed by monstrous alien beings known as the Guana. With the possible final remnants of humanity aboard the space colony called Sidonia, humans underwent varying degrees of genetic engineering to raise its population and adapt to the space environment it has now entered. To combat the Guana threat, humans pilot giant mecha called Gardes and a young man named Nagate Tanizaki becomes Sidonia's ace pilot in combating the Guana.
Nagate Tanizaki- A young man coming from the underground parts of Sidonia with the unique ability of having accelerated regeneration from serious injuries. He becomes an ace Gardes pilot in Sidonia's battle against the Guana.
Shizuka Hoshijiro- A teenage girl among the top Gardes pilots who becomes a love interest to Nagate.
Izana Shinatose- A Gardes pilot notable for being a third gender created as a result of genetic engineering that allows him to take on both male and female physical characteristics.
Norio Kunato- A Gardes pilot who is also the heir of Kunato Developments, the company responsible for creating the Gardes mecha used by Sidonia. Having a haughty personality, he looks down upon other pilots and develops a fierce rivalry against Nagate for his piloting skills.
Lala Hiyama- A talking bear who tends to the living quarters of the Gardes pilots.
The Review Knights of Sidonia is an anime that pushes a hard sci-fi storyline mixed with elements of "real robot" mecha in exploring the Sidonia fleet's struggles against a mysterious alien threat in space that has nearly driven humanity to the brink of extinction. The major element of Sidonia that sticks out prominently is the meticulous detail it provides to showing off the world of the Sidonia space colony. The series devotes a great amount of effort in detailing varying elements to the civilization of the series as humans aboard Sidonia have undergone genetic engineering that provide them with differing abilities to adapt to the space colony environment they live in that include utilizing cloning to increase population size and giving humans the ability to perform photosynthesis to reserve on food supplies. This meticulous detail also went into the mecha and technologies of the series as limitations of their capabilities, the zero gravity of space, potential for casualties and ammo/ energy reserves are factored into missions and battle tactics seen throughout the series a la past "real robot" titles like Gasaraki and Patlabor.
The other prominent element to Sidonia that sticks out is its high quality visuals. Milking use of 3DCG animation, the use of the technology helps to give more realistic detail to its character and scenery designs with subdued color tones to compliment the title's serious storytelling. Movement is very fluid throughout the series, best highlighted in showing off the realistic effects that gravity has on the human pilots and the intense action scenes that take place between the Sidonia mecha and the alien threat they are dealing with. The only setbacks with the use of 3DCG with Sidonia are that its use give character designs a somewhat plastic feel that can be rather noticeable in some camera angles and facial designs are poorly animated with limited range of expression.
When it comes to the story and characters of Knights of Sidonia as a whole, the series is a bit on the generic side in these areas. Sidonia mostly relies on story elements and character archetypes typical of sci-fi titles to carry along the series and it doesn't really offer anything new for the genre that I might have already seen before. The gifted teenage pilot and uptight, jealous rival seen in the form of Nagate and Norio's chemistry has been a recurring character dynamic of past titles and this dynamic is rather shallow since both characters don't get much in the way of dimension or depth. This issue also applies to the majority of other characters seen throughout the series as they mostly exist to fill specific tropes found in sci-fi anime, from the doomed love interest (which the Gundam franchise milked enough for many of its titles) to the secret group of superiors having ulterior motives hidden from the majority of those within their ranks. The whole "post-apocalyptic future where humanity struggles against an alien threat" premise is also nothing new and Sidonia offers nothing new to let it stick out from other titles milking similar plots.
There were also some noticeable issues I took notice of with the anime's plotting. Due to the limited depth given to much of the cast, the character deaths seen lack any impact and Sidonia makes a half-assed attempt to force viewers into caring for them by having characters aboard the Sidonia bond with Nagate on the episode they die in. One particular incident that happens during the middle of the series is a bit dumbfounding in how the perpetrator behind it can get off scot-free without any repercussions nor suspicion of it thoroughly investigated by the military, leading to a pointless case where Nagate is reduced to a depressed state and lashed out against by the Sidonia populace. I also have to wonder where in a series that is as meticulously realistic with its sci-fi depiction as Sidonia is, why it has a talking bear with a robotic arm in the form of Lala Hiyama as there is nothing revealed over why she appears as she is while everyone else aboard the Sidonia is human in appearance. In addition, the series ends inconclusively as there are lingering mysteries unresolved with several plot elements within Sidonia.
While Sidonia is pleasing enough with its animation and implementation of realistic elements for its sci-fi, the series doesn't offer much new to the sci-fi and mecha genres that have been seen from similar titles of its ilk, which made it hard for me to care much for the story and characters it had to offer up. Action and sci-fi fans may enjoy this if they overlook this problem. But Sidonia had me feeling like I seen the stuff it offered up too many times at this point in my 13 years of anime fandom.
The mangaka, Tsutomu Nihei, had studied architecture which influenced his works. The eyecatches capture some of the cool sights of Sidonia: i4.minus.com/jvkUEBq3vr7X4.jpg
The odd pacing and how fast characters kill off didn't make enough time for folks to be attach to characters and grieve for them. Season 2, I think, had better pacing and CG facial expressions. I know the show had the concept of how people are cloned. It was personally hard for me to distinguish characters.
As for the talking bear, that's a frequent element in Nihei's works. I heard there was a talking bear in each of his works.
Great review, Dream! Thought the series would be enjoyable for you since you were on your day off.
HungryWorld: Sorry for taking so long for the things i have to do, have been suffering from some health issues (including mental health deterioration). Anyways hope i can be a bit more active here soon enough once i am properly patched up again.
Apr 27, 2021 17:45:38 GMT
Taka: No worries, health, family, school, and work take priorities first.
Apr 28, 2021 7:41:52 GMT