After destroying Earth many years ago, the alien race Gauna has been pursuing the remnants of humanity—which, having narrowly escaped, fled across the galaxy in a number of giant seed ships. In the year 3394, Nagate Tanikaze surfaces from his lifelong seclusion deep beneath the seed ship Sidonia in search of food on the upper levels, only to find himself dragged into events unfolding without his knowledge.
When the Gauna begin their assault on Sidonia, it's up to Tanikaze—with the help of his fellow soldiers and friends Shizuka Hoshijiro, Izana Shinatose, and Yuhata Midorikawa—to defend humanity's last hope for survival, and defeat their alien foes. Sidonia no Kishi follows Tanikaze as he discovers the world that has been above him his entire life, and becomes the hero Sidonia needs.
Sidonia no Kishi was nominated for the Animation of the Year Award in the Television category at the 2015 Tokyo Anime Award Festival. The anime's opening song, "Sidonia" by Angela, won the 19th Animation Kobe Theme Song Award in 2014.
Sidonia no Kishi is truly a marvel. When I began the first episode and laid my eyes on the CGI, I felt a bit underwhelmed and my opinion began to waver on the show; However, SnK soon made me realize that I could have never been so wrong and I'm glad for that. Sidonia no Kishi is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi anime where everyday mankind lives in fear of being decimated, but continues to survive on an enormous ship known as Sidonia. There struggle is against an alien-species known as the Gauna which have brought humanity to its knees before and the only thing between
them and Sidonia are the pilots of the Gardes(mechs) whom protect Sidonia. This setting is not necessarily new, but the way it is handled and presented can only be said to be top-notch.
The story sets itself for excitement, thrills and edge of your seat action which is all done masterfully in SnK. Considering humanity could be on the brink of being destroyed on a daily basis there should really never be a dull moment and there never was. Even at times when the scene was supposed to ease the tension or be a bit more heart-warming not once did it lose my interest. The sci-fi played a huge role when showing off technological advancements and it's thanks to this and the anime's emphasis on it which made it only that much more interesting. Every single moment had its intensity, the plot would constantly mesmerize you with excitement, but evens it out superbly with some comedy and scenes to ease the tension before throwing you back in the action again. The story has been done many times over, but not a lot could match up with what Sidonia no Kishi brought to the table.
The world is brought to life using CGI which is what gave me the first impression that it would be underwhelming. In-fact, I felt rather unsettled seeing the CGI, but moving forward giving the anime a chance I realized there would be no Sidonia no Kishi without it. The CGI is used masterfully for every scene and whenever it was time to buckle up and fly into the heat of battle the action was on a completely different level from anything else thanks to it. While it did take some getting used to for when we were simply watching our characters walking around, it became no problem soon enough and well worth it to just see the Gardes in action.
The sound completely exceeded my expectations. I highly recommend if you have a pair of fantastic headphones, use them. The quality of the sound during the encounters versus the Gauna were some of the best I have ever heard. Once I put on my headset and listened, I was completely immersed. The engines roaring, weapons firing and so-on, you could tell the studio payed especially close attention to the details and it was phenomenal.
The characters in SnK were very interesting. While I cannot say they were completely original they each had unique characteristics to separate themselves from most other characters. Each character evolved in his or her own way and it was fantastic to see some of the interactions between them after the course of some events had taken place. It's really thanks to the sci-fi setting that allows for such diversity among them and while you may not appreciate every character; Each character we're introduced to have their own role in the story and I cannot deny that it's thanks to what can be created within the sci-fi setting which makes each of them only that more intriguing.
Sidonia no Kishi had done everything completely right in my eyes when it came to entertainment. Every episode had a huge significance and would leave you with an aching appetite for more. Every time the Gardes had flown off into battle I was completely overjoyed with excitement and even in the more relaxing scenes I was still just taken aback by all the twists the plot had taken along with the progression. For an anime to be able to succeed in capturing the audiences attention every single episode is a grand feat.
Sidonia no Kishi is an amazing anime that should not simply be overlooked. The CGI, while may take some getting used to for some, is an integral part of the anime and those whom give it a chance will see why. Even for those with a dislike of mecha I'd recommend this to as the major focus on character interactions, fantastic sound and breath-taking action all put into one package makes this one of the greater Sci-fi mecha anime out there to look out for. Out of all 12 episodes there was not one that was uneventful and it continued strong from start to finish.
So what are you waiting for pilot? Suit up, it's time for the Knights of Sidonia to move out.
Before beginning, I'd like to say that this review will focus largely on the sound. As important as the other aspects of a show are, I simply do not care because the sound is astonishing and I believe it needs to be covered in more detail than anything else.
Story (9/10): I thoroughly enjoy the whole "last of the human race" idea. In saying that, I am aware that Sidonia no Kishi is basically a rehash of Shingeki no Kyojin but in space which I gave a 7 (other reasons (although Sidonia no Kishi's manga did begin before Shingeki no Kyojin, so really, it's Shingeki no
Kyojin that is the rehash)). I am saying this before anybody decides to check my list and put the squeeze on me for contradicting myself. Moving on. With a story very similar to Shingeki no Kyojin, many aspects are to be expected such as: large amounts of deaths, large hideous monsters that threaten the last humans, military, great weaponry etc. One of the best points about the story is the realism. Now, I'm not too knowledgeable about space, gravity, mass, and all that, but I can see that there is a great attention to detail in the physics. For example: when travelling long distances in space, Gardes link arms in groups of four or more to cover a greater distance much faster without wasting energy. [Spoiler warning] When the first Gauna attacked and Sidonia moved out of its trajectory, the Gauna didn't just stop mid-flight, turn around and try again. It had to take a large turn to face Sidonia while travelling at its speed. Another good point would be when Sidonia had to kill the first Gauna, they didn't use some ridiculous laser beam or a huge explosion; it was just a massive pillar. You don't need lasers, you just need an object and speed. There's a lot more about it but I'm not the person to be explaining it. Moushiwakearimasen.
Art (9/10): Many people are put off by the use of CGI, then to drop the series instantly. I for one adore full CGI works (I haven't seen many, although I want to). However, some episodes saw fairly sloppy framerates. All I can say is don't judge it by the CGI alone. Apart from the CGI, there are a lot of lovely flare effects used on the Gardes, the structures inside Sidonia are breathtaking, the pilot uniforms are dirty and damaged, neutral colours are used thoroughly which makes the occasional vibrant colours stand out more, the Gauna designs are brilliantly horrific, and the design style used inside of frame 702 gives off a DanganRonpa death scene art style feeling; it's almost comic book-like (which is brilliant by the way).
Sound (10/10): In my opinion, this is where Sidonia no Kishi shines at its brightest. The opening and ending are brilliantly done; the opening using a sort of orchestral feeling that switches to a trance vibe, and the ending is a metal theme (the use of the double kicks was what got me). The voice acting seems to do quite well, although the only complaint would be Lala's voice doesn't necessarily match her bear appearance. Now that we've moved past the basics, let's move to the absolute highlight of Sidonia no Kishi, the sound effects. Now I listen to Sidonia no Kishi through studio headphones, so I get the absolute smallest sound effects, however, I believe regular speakers/headphones/earphones etc still get a noticeably higher attention to detail in sound than any other anime. Firstly, every effect feels as though it is completely original. I have a) never heard many of Sidonia no Kishi's sounds in other anime, and b) have not heard a re-used effect. Even if the action had been repeated, the sound used in those repeated actions sound slightly different every time. Secondly, the sound effects are absolutely spot on when matched to the action being used. I took particular notice to this when Tanikaze grabbed the Kabizashi in episode four. The action was a giant metal hand quickly grabbing a large metal pole. The sound used sounded like a huge metal object colliding with a pole (I even took away the video just to listen to the sound and see how well it matched). Another good point for spot on sound effects would be the very quiet background noise in various scenes. For example: when the Gardes are idle, a very quiet noise is made when the current scene is inside the Garde. This noise almost gives the viewer the illusion that they are sitting in that Garde themselves. Another example would be the extremely quiet noise that almost sounds like a really quiet plane when we get a moving shot of Sidonia from the outside. There are also many small noises such as background alerts and beeps that continue to play and don't fade out after a while. Thirdly, Sidonia no Kishi goes that extra mile and has background characters that actually make noise. For example: when we get a shot in the main control section, the background characters working the computers and whatnot actually keep speaking (although quietly to give more attention to other dialogues) to one-another or to report the current situation. Fourthly, the BGM used matches so well with the industrial setting inside of Sidonia. The BGM also gives off a very eerie feeling as you hit a point of suspense, which obviously adds to that suspense very well. Fifth and lastly, the sound of a Garde flying past the camera or taking off from zero acceleration in space is just the most amazing noise I've ever heard. If you don't decide to watch the show, please find time to YouTube one of the scenes of a Garde flying past the screen.
Character (8/10): In my opinion, the characters are not the best part about Sidonia no Kishi. The characters used are not so original. You've got your seemingly overpowered male lead, your "villain" of sorts that threatens everybody's lives because he's not the centre of attention, love interests, etc. And with that "love interests" point, I'd like to add that I was slightly disappointed to see that they chose to create this borderline harem. Although, the harem can be overlooked in a sense that a) the love interests are of no specific gender. b) There is no ecchi whatsoever, and when there is what you might consider ecchi, it's done through photosynthesis where one who is photosynthesizing must be naked to do so. c) The generic harem traits such as getting accidental tit in the face and whatnot do not exist. And on that "villain" point, I'd like to add that Kunato's development seems really well done. I feel like it captures the emotions of humans really well and how they develop over time; over confidence, jealousy, regret, depression, etc.
Enjoyment (10/10): Every week I prepared a cup of tea and my headphones in excitement for Sidonia no Kishi. Every week I looked forward to hearing the brilliant sounds that come out of this show. Every week of the twelve, my enjoyment level had not moved a millimetre. You know that weird butterfly in your stomach feeling? Or the feeling you get when you discover your favourite song and a wind of goosebumps travel up to your neck? Well, the sound effects in this are the equivalent of those things for me and that sound is precisely why Sidonia no Kishi is number one favourite material for me.
Overall (9/10): I cannot make you love this show and its amazing sound effects as much as I do, but please do not drop it instantly because of the CGI. It is a very small price to pay for something so wonderful.
When certain premises in anime are overused without variation they're quickly labeled as "run of the mill".. Like dystopian with mecha. Because of that many anime try to change minute details regarding the setting or premise to stand apart. However, if something normally considered "run of the mill" is executed with proper care it can be seen as rather refreshing. Knights of Sidonia is a rare case, not quite falling towards being called mediocre nor does it fall towards refreshing. Rather it all depends on the individual to make the judgement call.
Set in the distant future, the story takes place upon a spaceship
where the lone surviving civilization of humanity live in a stagnant state of unrest due to the attacks of giant ominous creatures known only as "Gauna". These creatures are rather interesting as they seem to have the ability to mimic the action and appearance of things they encounter, giving them an eerie presence as the series progresses.
Due to these frequent attacks by the Gauna the story never feel bogged down to a slow paced narrative. This makes for good binge watching material as your curiosity pushes you to one episode after the next. Despite the pace being powered by propane the tone of the series is all over the place. The story goes from "Shingeki no Kyojin in space" to " let's build a harem" at a drop of a hat . This can be very off putting at times but it's slowly resolved back to an even tone towards the show's midpoint.
it's hard to judge the art for this anime. It's a mixture of both CGI and cell shaded animation. The CGI is rather jarring upon 1st encounter but quickly becomes tolerable as you become immersed in the show's setting. On normal occasions if someone were to tell me to watch a show composed entirely of CGI, I would probably think "well this is gonna be some ugly shit" but in this case it works. In fact I think it's safe to say that the CGI gives Knights of Sidonia it's special signature. This is especially true for the fight sequences. However when the focus are on the characters, their movements feel artificial and stiff. It's also obvious that recycled footage were used during the launch sequences and team formation. The flaws are too noticeable to ignore and ultimately impedes on the score from being higher.
The music score is virtually nonexistent. It's all muddled together with very little difference separating them. Only standout were the ones played during Gauna encounters.. The opening song however is one worth noting. I has an orchestral tone while still being rather tranquil, making it one that you simply can't skip. Voice actors all perform their roles with no hiccups but there wasn't any standouts that come to mind. The only other standout being the sound affects pertaining to the lasers (heigus cannon), thrusters and other devices used.
The characters are all a dismal mess. None of them receive any decent characterization. Our main character is basically another "self insert" protagonist with little personality to speak of and is good at everything he does. Basically he's the vanilla of most MCs coming out today and can easily be replaced by one of many other series with no difference noticed.
the antagonist Kunato, upon 1st introduction seemed 1 note. Before he even muttered a word you already know he was going to be the 'arrogant, rich, short tempered douche '.. But surprisingly he becomes the only character with decent characterization. As the show progresses it also becomes easier to sympathize with him.
And finally a plethora of females! Because what's a harem without some right? But seriously there's only two female characters worth mentioning and that's Izana & Hoshijiro (Izana being non gender but I digress). Both of which have no real characterization beyond being 1 dimensional archetypes but they do get a more screentime than the rest.
OH YEAH! there's also a talking bear with a robot hand that we never get a proper explanation for but we'll ignore that lol
despite this show's numerous flaws it's an enjoyable watch for those looking for a sci-fi popcorn flick. The characters were nothing special but the story carried it.
This anime is made to be enjoyed by the casual viewing masses and is an easy watch. However seasonal anime fans will notice the overused tropes and archetypes in a heartbeat and that might be the deciding factor on whether they like it or think it's mediocre. Either way the series to the very least was entertaining with little down time to speak of and can be easily finished in one sitting. With that in mind I recommend giving this one a go.
So when I first found out that there was not only a manga but also an anime with the same title (yet spelled differently) as my favorite song by Muse, I felt the need to check out what it was. So of course when I first started watching the show I was pretty pumped to find the same kind of popcorn action that I would get while watching a film like the Star Wars saga or reading a novel like Ender's Game. I did get the show that provided me with that kind of action, but that's just it; I got EXACTLY what I expected
and I wasn't blown away in any way. Knights of Sidonia is definitely that kind of blockbuster spaceships and explosions fun you would want in an anime, but it doesn't bring anything new to the table and ends up being a steaming mishmash of vapid and under cooked sci-fi tropes that were cool to watch but didn't light me up in any way along with a plot that moves to fast to fit everything in. However I am willing to overlook some of the production values that I consider subjectively bad if I get around to watching the recently planned season 2 or find copies of the manga.
The first aspect of the show that I was rather taken aback by was the use of 3D animation instead of traditionally drawn shows. I was really turned off by the stale looking world and characters at first, but I think it honestly grew on me and most reminded me of the corridors of the video game Dead Space (minus all the bone-cracking gore and alien enemies that experience provided) and the seed ship Sidonia, all its inhabitants, and the overall look of the set pieces has an interesting, pristine feel to them and it almost felt like it could be the real interior of a space vessel. In addition to that, the space battles were not only the best aspect of the show, but they looked really cool too, and I as the viewer really got the feel that the Gardes, pilots and commanders were not only fighting the Gauna, but the massive size of Sidonia and space itself. An area where the animation took somewhat of a nose dive would be in the case of the characters; they all look eerily the same, and it was highly jarring dealing with several characters that looked the same at first. Granted I could tell who Tanikaze was (but that was mostly because of JYB's voice), but until the characters were singled out and focused upon more, Yuhata and Norio were simply Green-Haired Girl and Sephiroth Wannabe. Then Hoshijiro got introduced with Izana to quickly follow, and there was a moment where I thought they were the same person, and so seeing them both on the screen at the same time was more jarring than it should have been.
So while the animation was here and there and the fight scenes were awesome, many elements of the plot and characters suffer from being cardboard cutouts and aforementioned sci-fi staple tropes that didn't make Knights of Sidonia stand out as much as I had hoped it would. But first lets talk about the good. Whenever the characters get lost or they encounter a Gauna, they need to make the trek through space using just the right strategy to get back or they won't survive, and they made up for some pretty intense moments in the show that weren't the amazing fight sequences. The other interesting aspect that the show expressed was how much pressure the humans were under in order to squelch and survive such as photosynthesizing instead of eating and putting on gravity belts whenever the ship turned were both useful and interesting elements to the show.
However, most of the plot and character personalities I feel were overused and have been done better in other places. Tanikaze is a very staple main character, and the fact that he's this 'chosen one' pilot that can use the 'best garde' really has no purpose other than the fact that he's the underdog and we as the audience were supposed to root for his struggle, I guess. The other thing that bothered me about his character is that he got in trouble trying to steal food and got caught meddling in top secret government stuff and didn't get prosecuted for either. This is why the 'chosen one' trope that is Tanikaze is didn't make the drive of the show interesting; he's boring, rigid and doesn't develop much at all. As for most of the other characters are those kinds that only have one personality trait or motive: Yuhata is smart, sweet, and likes Tanikaze. Hoshijiro: same, Izana: Same. Then there's the endless stream of Red Shirts that like Tanikaze because he's Tanikaze, and the immortal council members who are mysterious and cold for the sake of being mysterious and cold, and Norio is the cranky bitter guy. I'm listing them as such because I feel like that's really all there is to them. When they die there's no weight. When there's love, it's forced. When there's action, they just support Tanikaze.
And of course while I adore sci-fi and the bright flashy robot and alien fights were the point of no return where the analytic part of my brain goes to die, the rest of what makes sci-fi interesting; cloning, ship building, prosthetic robot stuff, talking animals and human preservation technology, it's all cool, but it has to have a point. I ended up having more questions than I had answers about stuff the show made up itself, and for the use of sci-fi tropes that I had seen before, I had seen them being used in a better way. Some of the new stuff that was brought to the table was the aforementioned (and well done) photosynthesis vs. food idea, and the giant talking bear. Why? Why is it here? Why is the immortal council so cold? Why are they trying to hide the Gauna-human hybrid from Tanikaze even though they told him what it was when they asked? I had far too many questions left unanswered, and it put a damper on the enjoyment of the show as good writing to me is all about what to write and when. Of course all of this can be overlooked if the manga or season 2 will fill in some of these blanks for me.
Even if had a lot of complaints resulting in my opinion on Knights of Sidonia being average to good, it was still an enjoyable watch if you do like sci-fi. Sure a lot of the show can be criticized but if you're there to watch it for fun and not for analysis, I would highly recommend it to you. However if you're looking for something more that robot and alien flashy colors and lasergun fights with a pinch of melodrama and scifi cliches inbetween, I'd stay away.
The knight is your traditional hero, fighting against monsters and wicked men to save kingdoms from evil. Legends of these heroes have persisted over the centuries and we continue to make new ones today.
We all enjoy looking up at the night sky, and watching the stars. And quite often we wonder what exactly is going on...out there in deep space. Fortunately, there's a ton of excellent space anime which will clue us in and make our imaginations run wild!