Anime Reporter takes to the stars now to bring you the word on Knights of Sidonia, the anime adaptation of the manga of the same name.
Set in the 34th century, Knights of Sidonia is centred around the remaining humans aboard one of the ships to flee Earth centuries earlier, when the planet was destroyed by the gargantuan alien beings known as the Gauna. While the Gauna are certainly destructive and lethal, there isn’t much understanding as to why they have it out for humans since the two species have never had any real luck communicating with each other. All that’s certain is that the Gauna are gigantic and incredibly difficult to damage and have a real knack for adapting to different attacks and creating entirely new forms for themselves.
When our story kicks off, humanity, or at least the isolated bunch aboard the good ship Sidonia, haven’t actually encountered a Gauna in about a century and they’re stagnating a little bit. So it’s big news when a boy called Nagate appears who’s nowhere on the Sidonian public records. What’s more, this lad, who was brought up by his grandfather in the tunnels beneath the city, is incredibly adept at piloting the robot like ships used to fight and explore in space. After blowing many people’s minds in training exercises, he’s allowed to join the ranks of the pilots.
What follows is a lot of action involving some freshly reappearing Gauna, a whole lot of conspiracy and mystery and, for some reason, a rather maternal talking bear. Nagate is given the Harry Potter- Boy Who Lived level of attention from a lot of the people around him and, really regardless of what drama is going on around him, he’s usually also obliviously fending off the attractions of more than one supporting character.
While there’s undeniably a lot of action and some truly beautiful imagery and effects, this series is mostly about survival and about how far humanity is willing to go to save themselves. With the exception of Nagate, most of the people aboard Sidonia have been genetically altered to photosynthesise so they don’t have to eat as often and there’s a secretive council calling all the shots behind the scenes that seems to have unlocked the secret of immortality. The animation in this series is truly beautiful. Environments and battles are wonderfully rendered with a digital feel and characters, although a little mechanical in their movement, look exquisite.
It’s a big premise and the overall feeling is reminiscent of something nestled snugly between Attack on Titan, Starship Troopers and Battestar Galactica. The highest praise for this series has to go to the small character moments and the subtle interactions throughout. Series 01 is 12 episodes long and tells a sombre story of isolation and fading hope in a cold universe.
Needless to say Knights of Sidonia isn’t a whimsical barrel of laughs, but it is a damn well told piece of suspense and the occasional robot-explosion.
Official recommendation: Watch this series.
Knights of Sidonia is available in the UK and Ireland on DVD and Bluray from Animatsu Entertainment from Monday 7th September 2015 (That’s tomorrow!).