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The Heavy Atmosphere of Knights of Sidonia

Posted on the 15 April 2014 by Kaminomi @OrganizationASG

Knights of Sidonia

vlcsnap-2014-04-12-10h43m54s92Manjiorin: 1000 years ago, humanity was attacked by an alien race known as Guana, and some were lucky enough to escape on ships now adrift in space. Tanizake Nagate has spent his entire life underground on one such ship, the Sidonia. Now Nagate finds himself above ground and drafted as mecha pilot in an effort to fight the Guana.

So, I’ve been looking forward to Knights of Sidonia, as a collector of Vertical’s English manga release. While I initially put off by the CGI in the PV previews, Sidonia is… pretty enjoyable.

It’s been a while since I’ve read the first volume of the manga, but it does feel like the anime captures the vast, isolated feeling of the Sidonia and space. There’s an awkward feeling of sameness and difference: many of the people look the same — almost robotic even — but Nagate quickly finds out there’s now a third gender that “adapts” appropriately according to partner. Apparently he missed that memo while living underground.


It’s through Nagate’s eyes that we learn about the Sidonia universe — the Guana, the war, the pilots, and the special mecha Tsugumori. There’s also the war protests, and the bear with a mechanical hand that runs Nagate’s dorm. Despite the unsettling isolated feel, Knights of Sidonia does have a sense of humor; unfortunately I actually think it translated better in the manga. People are generally warm to Nagate though, and he quickly makes a third gender friend named Shinatose Izana and then is out on his first mission.

There’s a lot to like about Sidonia; beyond the actual story itself I definitely liked the really OP/ED and the music. I also appreciated the eyecatches, which looked to me like some of the chapter break images in the manga. The CGI and animation I’m on the fence about though; while it does fit the space setting of the show, it can also be mildly distracting. I suppose I can live with the CGI being mildly distracting instead of glaringly so though, and Sidonia is definitely a series I’ll watch weekly this season.

tanikaze nagata sidonia no kishi

Kuuki: Oops. You found me~

Knights of Sidonia is a story about people living and fighting for their country named Sidonia. You didn’t expect that did you? Except that war against the Gauna, big bad aliens, hasn’t happened for a hundred years or so. Obviously, on the very day our hero Tanikaze Nagate shows up, joins the school for pilots and actually gets to pilot a legendary unit (yeah, all at once), the Gauna appears again and engages the students in combat.

I honestly don’t know what to think of this.

I liked the atmosphere, it was heavy from start to finish. It has the same kind of atmosphere Ergo Proxy had and it definitely lacked the cheery tone of many other anime featuring schools for future pilots. That, is one thing I liked.

Actually, it’s been a while I have been this conflicted about something. On one hand it is exactly the kind of thing I usually like, I’m never a huge fan but I usually at least appreciate the anime. In Knights of Sidonia, there definitely is something that doesn’t work and I just can’t find what it is.

At the very least I can tell you the first episode did a bad job at properly introducing things. Sure it did introduce a few characters, did explain a few things but somehow it felt like it wasn’t enough. It also felt like it was rushed. I mean, seriously, who can go from growing up in the slums, trying to steal rice because they were hungry to get into an elite piloting school and actually pilot a legendary unit (we don’t know how or why it is legendary though …) in a few days? Even if Nagate is protecting by that mysterious ship captain this is a pushing it a little bit.

mysterious captain sidonia no kishi

Talking about Nagate, I don’t get him. It makes him interesting, this isn’t something I can deny, but it also makes him hard to relate to. I can’t decide if he’s arrogant or just shy. That’s actually quite a good move in terms of writing, it makes for a lot of room for character development later on. But it makes him hard to relate to.

The girl we saw for a good part of the episode was bland, the mysterious captain is a bit more interesting and I think I already got a crush on the mandatory rich boy.

Knights of Sidonia has a lot of problems but it made me curious which I guess is a good thing, it means I’ll keep watching however reluctant I might be.

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