Anime Review: Knights of Sidonia Season 1 (2014)
Director: Kobun Shizuno
Distributor: Streaming exclusively on Netflix, distributed on home video by Sentai Filmworks
Runtime: 300 minutes
Released: June 9th, 2015
Availability: on DVD and Blu-Ray, buy on Amazon and RightStufAnime, steaming exclusively on Netflix
Aboard a lone spaceship, humanities last survivors search for a new planet to call home while constantly evading dangerous creatures known as Gauna. A young teenager named Nagate Tanikaze ventures out from deep below the ship to steal food. After he is caught he is asked to become a Garde pilot and protect the ship Sidonia from the Gauna.
Knights Of Sidonia | Official Trailer - Only on Netflix 4 July | Netflix
This is a Unique Science Fiction story that intrigued Me:
I’m a huge science fiction fan and even though I don’t watch a lot of it, I always enjoy the genre. I liked this anime because it reminded me of The Walking Dead except it was in space, or for anime fans, you might be reminded of Attack on Titan (2014).
I love when the trope the “used future” is used well in science fiction thanks to the Star Wars movies. Many science fiction stories have clean and pristine settings where technology makes life better for everyone.
What’s interesting about Knights of Sidonia Season 1 (2014) is that while the technology is advanced compared to technology we have now, in the anime, access to the technology is very limited and doesn’t necessarily make life better for everyone onboard the giant seed ship.
I liked how doing something as simple as turning the ship to avoid a Gauna, which wouldn’t seem like a big deal in other science fiction story, turning a ship is no big deal, but since there is an entire civilization living on the sip with buildings inside, it makes it dangerous to even speed up the ship because people fly into walls or fall out of buildings and die.
I do think the ideas in the story and it’s interesting and keeps me wanting to watch more.
The Animation is Very Odd because of the 3D:
Polygon Pictures is an interesting animation studio as they mainly do a mixture of 2D and 3D animation and it’s mainly 3D animation that is made to look like 2D. Sometimes it looks good, sometimes it looks bad, but it’s very jarring.
Because the 3D looks very jarring and it can be very distracting to the audience and it can be visually unappealing because it does look kind of ugly. And because some aspects of the art style looks ugly you might not like how the anime looks.
I enjoy the story enough that I can put up with the ugly art style but if you don’t like it, don’t feel you have to keep watching it if you find it distracting
Audio and Subtitles:
English (Closed Captioned)
The English Dub is Great!
Johnny Yong Bosch does a great job in his role as Nagate Tanikaze. He always brings out his character’s personality when he voices them. He’s playing a character that is different from some of his other voice roles and I like that this isn’t the type of role he’s usually pigeon-holed into.
Stephanie Sheh did an excellent job voicing Shizuka Hoshijiro. I know she used an alias but her voice is distinctive and I can recognize it instantly because I’ve watched anime she’s been in. She was a nice choice for this character and she gave a great vocal performance.
Mellissa Fahn voices Izana Shinatose and she also uses an alias, but I recognize her voice anywhere, despite having only seen her in Cowboy Bebop (1998) and Digimon Tamers (2003) and I’m always happy when I hear her in English dubs because I usually don’t hear her in the anime I watch. She did a great job voicing her character too.
Even though her character is supposed not be a girl, because in the anime people can choose which gender they want to be because of experiments and stuff, so her character doesn’t call herself a girl because Izana wants to be able to pick her partner, because a bodies will change according to which gender the person is attracted to, so even though she sounds like a girl, she doesn’t refer to herself as being a girl.
Todd Haberkorn did a great job too as Norio Kunato. I liked his performance in the anime and his character was interesting as someone that is jealous that he is not the hero of the story, and that Kunato feels he should be the one out there protecting everyone. It’s not a normal role he usually plays so I liked it a lot.
Wendee Lee voices Captain Kobayashi and I really enjoyed her performance, since this type of role isn’t one that I usually hear her in. She did a great job and her character was a lot of fun, mainly because she’s so serious most of the time, and then you see her do something that doesn’t seem like it’s in her character.
Overall, the English dub is great and helps you enjoy the anime even if you aren’t impressed by the animation or the art style. The English dub is great and it’s worth watching the anime for the English dub.
Sidonia (Knights of Sidonia Theme Song):
The Soundtrack Is Good:
Noriyuki Asakura’s soundtrack is good. It’s not outstanding but it still fits the anime very well. It suits the anime and it fits the scenes it’s used in, but it’s not amazing. I wish the music was more memorable, because it wasn’t bad, it was just good.
The opening song is "Sidonia" by Angela; it’s very catchy and gets stuck in your head. It was written specifically for the anime and that’s a nice touch.
The ending is "Tenohira -Show-" by Eri Kitamura. I didn’t get to hear the ending because Netflix kept skipping it.
Overall the soundtrack is good but not memorable. It’s still a decent soundtrack for the anime.
The Story Can Feel Depressing:
Knights of Sidonia (2014) is certainly not a lighthearted anime. Bad things happen in the story constantly. It’s very rare for good things to occur, and if they do, it’s usually a red flag that something will go wrong very soon.
The depressing setting and constant tragedy throughout the story put it on par with Fate/Zero (2011) in terms of how depressing it can feel. With a constant string of horrifying events either you’ll be sad watching this or you’ll have Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy and the audience won’t care.
If you want something that’s grim and dark then this is the anime for you.
This is A Fantastic Science Fiction Anime Held Back by the Weird 3D Animation:
The story is definitely an interesting spin on science fiction story. It has an interesting story, setting, and unique world-building and great characters. It is held back by the polarizing use of 3D animation made to look like 2D annihilation, mainly because it’s very jarring, ugly and distracting at times.
It is a story that is worth watching if you can tolerate the visual art style and be able to ignore when it looks jarring and ugly. If you don’t like the visuals you don’t have to feel bad about skipping it, it’s very much a love-it-or-hate-it reaction when it comes to the animation in this anime.
Overall, I did enjoy Knights of Sidionia Season 1 (2014) a lot.
Will you watch "Knights of Sidionia (2014) Season 1"?
What Doesn't Work:
Great story, characters, and world-building
3D animation can be very jarring and ugly
Has a unique take on science fiction
The constantly depressing tone can drag down the audience
Excellent English dub
My Grade: B
I enjoyed Knights of Sidionia Season 1 (2014) once I got used to the visual art style of the anime. This art and animation can be polarizing because it does look ugly. This might bring down the audience enjoyment if you don’t like jarring, weird-looking 3D. If you love good science fiction stories you might be able to overlook the visuals, but if you don’t like it don’t feel bad if you drop knights of Sidiona.
The anime is held back from me giving it a higher grade because of the visuals, while I do think the story is the most important thing, there is a difference between Knights of Sidonia and Fate/Stay Night (2006) and Fate/Stay Night wasn’t animated in 3D all the time and it only had one instance of bad 3D and Knights of Sidonia has 3D that looks good in some parts and bad in others.
It’s not a perfect anime by any stretch but as a big fan of science fiction I had a lot of fun watching it and I recommend it to any fan of the genre, but if you don’t like the animation and art style you won’t enjoy the anime as much as I did.
I won’t be buying this for my anime collection despite the fact that I really enjoyed it because the animation is too jarring for me, and I don’t intend to cancel my Netflix subscription soon since I am reviewing their exclusive anime and will be reviewing season 2 once I finish it.
It is worth trying out on Netflix to see if you like it, it is polarizing because of the animation but Polygon Pictures has improved a lot over the years and if you watch the Godzilla movies on Netflix you can see how much better that looks compared to this.
You should only buy this if it’s one of your favorite anime. I can’t recommend a blind buy because it is polarizing when it comes to the animation.
It is worth your time, but not necessarily your money. You should definitely give it a try if you already have a Netflix subscription.
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