Knights of Sidonia (2014) Anime Review
Knights of Sidonia (in Japanese: Sidonia no Kishi) is a science-fiction anime based off the manga comics by Tsutomu Nihei, released in 2014. The second series is currently in production. The first series consisted of twelve 30-minute episodes.
As someone who doesn't watch a lot of anime, I wasn't sure if I would enjoy Knights of Sidonia or not - the few animes that I have watched have usually been in the fantasy or romance genres. However, I decided to give it a go. This article examines the anime's world setting, characters, storyline, action and excitement and music. This article does NOT contain spoilers.
The anime is based a thousand years in the future, after alien monsters called Gauna split the earth in two and humans were forced to flee to space. Sidonia is a huge spaceship carrying the last of human civilisation, where cloning and human engineering such as photosynthesis contributes towards survival. Sidonia is protected by guardes; robotic weapons piloted by Sidonia's youth that weild weapons called Kabizashi, which are used to fight the Gauna.
I thought this was an incredibly original idea, and the fact that 'earth was split in two' was a powerful and poignant image. Sidonia itself is a giant ship made from materials left over from earth; inside, the residents created artificial sunlight, water and gravity. The idea of an entire world on one ship was amazing to me; Sidonia was just like a normal city, but it was all inside this ship in space. It was fascinating.
The plotline throughout the series also suggested that there's an 'underground', where the main character grew up with his grandfather. There were also suggestions of secret areas such as labratories. This gave a sense that Sidonia was even more huge than first thought.
The main character was a young man called Nagate Tanikaze who grew up in the underground parts of Sidonia (this is revealed in the first episode, and explained why later). Other characters included parts of what I think are fairly typical of anime - the jealous rich kid, the secret admirer, the oblivious male, the cute female and the mysterious authority figure. The cliché was there, but it was nevertheless interesting.
A lot of female characters of similar ages were introduced early in the series, and at first it was confusing as to who was who. However, it got easier to work it out as the series went on and the characters developed their own smaller plotlines.
One of the characters, the middle-aged, feisty cook, was, inexplicably, a bear. Perhaps this will be explained in later seasons. She was likeable, and turned out to have an interesting past which was revealed in later episodes.
The "bad guys" were effectively the Gauna, but Sidonia also had dark characters within the city, who were useful to the plotline and colourful enough to be remembered and feared. All in all, the characters were interesting, and were a twist on a cliche.
Without giving too much away, Knights of Sidonia's basic storyline is protecting the city spaceship from the Gauna, which are becoming more powerful and attacking more often. Not much is known about the Gauna, except that they have a core which can be destroyed by special spears, Kabizashi. The storyline follows Nagate's emergence from the underground and career as a guarde pilot, where he and his co-pilots and friends fight off Gauna, to sometimes devestating consequences.
The storyline was entertaining and the action scenes were very exciting - with thrilling fight scenes, built up tension and plot twists, it was rare that one episode was enough. We'd finished the entire season in less than a week and were hungry for more.
The last episode was what a last episode should be - full of excitement and satisfying, but also leaving cliffhangers to suggest another series. Knights of Sidonia was an etremely enjoyable series that isn't too long, that I would deinitely recommend to people who enjoy anime, even if you don't usually go for the science-fiction genre.
This anime was in Japanese with English subtitles, which many people argue is better than dubbed anime. However, if you prefer dubbed, the English version of Knights of Sidonia is being released soon.
I believe that music is very important for any TV show or movie - those with great music tend to be remembered more (just take a look at Lord of the Rings, Pokémon, Harry Potter and The Last Samurai, to name a few). To me, the theme song of Knights of Sidonia wasn't anything particularly special - it was catchy, with a futuristic dance beat accompanied with female vocals, but not 'epic'. I'd give it a 7/10, though. Click on the YouTube video to watch the trailer for this show.
The music in the episodes themselves was a violin tune that I'd describe as 'determined' and 'strong'. The music went very well with the story and captured the desperation of the fighter pilots. Overall, I rate this anime four stars out of five.