Knights of Sidonia (Sidonia) is originally written by Tsutomu Nihei, famous for his other works such as Blame!, NOiSE and Biomega and is currently being adapted into an anime by Polygon Pictures, most well-known from their works such as Tron: Uprising and Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Set in a distant future where thousands of years after humans have fled from Earth due to its destruction by alien monsters called the Gauna, they live aboard massive spaceships. One of the ships is Sidonia, which has developed its own human culture where various human engineering are commonplace and also said to be the last human settlement remaining.
Each Gauna has a core protected by a material known as the ‘placenta’ and when the core is damaged heavily, it disintegrates. Sidonia is defended by huge weapons called the Guardians which are powered by “Hyggs particles”. They are armed with a high output cannon for long range combat and a special blade called the “Kabizashi” for close combat, made of an unknown material able to cut through the Gauna’s placenta.
The story follows Nagate Tanikaze, a resident of the underground layer of Sidonia since birth raised by his grandfather. He trains himself in an old Guardian pilot simulator, eventually mastering it. After his grandfather’s death he is found by the population and selected as a pilot.
Our protagonist is suffering from hunger as his food supply ran out. He goes up to the surface to look for sustenance but things goes horribly wrong and Nagate goes through a sequence of hilarious yet painful events which ends up with him being a Guardian pilot. He is soon led to his first mission where he unfortunately encounters a Gauna, the first any humans have in 100 years. Due to his simulator training, he does manage to get out alive but is scarred due to a psychological attack.
He then sees a festival on TV where a competition between Guardian pilots is taking place, and it also has delicious food. The winning team heard of his accomplishments and decided to meet. At the end up the third episode, we are made known that no matter how good the pilots are in the competition, it is nothing compared to an actual Gauna.
The plot is similar to last year’s extremely popular Attack on Titan. You have a haven for mankind to reside in after a huge struggle against a powerful enemy. After a hundred years of peace, the humans encounter the Gauna once again!
Unlike Attack on Titan however, Sidonia seems to be LAST remaining human population so it kinda makes Eren’s struggle feel miniscule as compared to Tanikaze’s. There also seem to be a mystery surrounding Captain Kobayashi and the group of people she normally interact with, as well as her reason for wearing the mask.
I have to mention the soundtrack as it really got to me.
The first thing I felt was that it felt atmospheric. Special note to the BGM they use during the battle preparation situations and the next episode preview theme, the violin really strikes a chord! I also do like how there is a sense of emptiness during the space scenes, as if you could feel the vacuum. Same goes for the opening sung by Angela. I generally do like most of Angela’s work and this is probably my favorite of them all though. The song feels like those old Super Robot songs with its anthem like feel, with a current era vibe to it.
The environments are simply gorgeous to look at. Everything from the little details of each surface to the sprawling scenery of Sidonia is beautifully replicated in 3D. The massive landscape feels almost realistic to look at I sometimes just enjoy staring at them. Watching Sidonia in HD will allow you to truly appreciate the effort the animators put into these intricate models.
However, the character models feels a little off compared to everything else. They feel a little stiff and take away from the masterpiece Polygon has created. The mouth of each character feels like it was made separately and plastered on though. To be fair, it’s understandable seeing everything else is in 3D which makes it easier to integrate everything together.
I feel that the pacing is pretty alright, except for the first episode where Tanikaze abruptly ends up being on his first mission shortly after becoming a pilot. It is explained away as the higher-ups wanting to test out if Tanikaze has some special ability. We are introduced to quite a number of characters at the first episode which I feel might be a bit too much since I kinda got lost on who’s who at the beginning but the show fleshes most of them out within the following 2 episodes. Aside from that, Sidonia is also a current running manga so I hope that the show does not end on a cliffhanger. Did I mention there’s a humanoid bear?!
My biggest gripe with Sidonia is the frame rate of the show. It feels pretty choppy at times when there’s a lot of action going on which disappoints somewhat. Anime is normally streamed at 24 frames but due to the CG it drops quite a bit from time to time to what I feel is around 15fps. It is a little jarring to see it move almost like a slideshow sometimes. Thankfully the Guardians move very fluidly as compared to the characters. . I do hope Polygon would fix the issue as the episodes goes by.
Sidonia seems to be one of those mecha anime that strays from the norm as compared to other mecha titles this year. I’m really excited to see how Tanikaze grows as a pilot, the motivations of Kobayashi as well as the fate of Sidonia as a whole in the upcoming episodes. Definitely a must watch for Mecha fans and Sci-Fi fans as well as anyone who wants an interesting show to watch this season that gets your attention, if you’re willing to look past the frame-rate issues.
Knight of Sidonia is now ongoing on ANIPLUS HD (Available on Toggle and Singtel MioTV CH 340 in Singapore, and various platforms in Thailand and Indonesia) every Wednesday at 9:30PM with repeat telecast at 8:30 PM on Saturday in Chinese Subtitles.
Missed the first 3 Episodes? Well it will be good to know that at the end of the season, the show will be available on it’s Video ON-DEMAND menu with English subtitles.
Editor note: Lastly did we mentioned?
Screen Captures and images provided by ANIPLUS HD
Knight Of Sidonia © TSUTOMU NIHEI・KODANSHA／KOS PRODUCT COMMITTEE