Sidonia no Kishi has always been one of the most underrated anime series ever in my mind. Actually I'm genuinely confused as to why it isn't higher rated than it is because I swear I almost never see anyone say anything negative about it. It's an anime which is not afraid to kill off characters, has a storyline on an epic scale, excellent usage of battle CGI and probably the best sound directing I have ever heard. Overall it's an incredibly joyride from start to finish and I really wish more people would give it a shot.
--Story & Characters--
Continuing from where the first season left
off, we once again delve into Sidonia's epic struggle for survival against the ever so frightening and mysterious Gauna. The theme and overall plot progression is generally just more of the same as the first season, but there are some differences.
For one, we have a new main character in the form of Shiraui Tsumugi, a human/Gauna hybrid called a Chimaera who joins Sidonia's side as their new trump card. She's basically a child put inside an infinitely powerful body, and the interaction between her and the other characters is very interesting to watch. Most of the people of Sidonia are afraid of her and fears that she'll turn on them, whereas Nagate and Izana try their best to make friends with her and teach her about the world.
The scale is also ramped up even more. Some of the battles of this anime, be it in space or inside a planet's atmosphere are simply epic. The guns and mechs are bigger but so are the Gauna. You can really feel the power behind every strike and just how dangerous everything truly is. As a result, Sidonia no Kishi provides the viewer with an incredible sense of urgency and sometimes also makes you feel like you're actually there yourself. There is also a lot more going on behind the scenes in this season as the Gauna have successfully infiltrated Sidonia in secrecy and are causing all sorts of havoc on the inside while the fighting is going on outside.
In contrast though, there are also a lot more slice of life-esque elements in this season in-between its momentary peaks of hyperactivity. This is partially because of the addition of Tsumugi of course since quite a lot of the time is spent on her character development, but also this season has a lot more romantic progression between Nagate and Izana. There are even some stereotypical romcom clichés used a few times over the course of the anime (just a little bit though) which arguably felt somewhat out of place but I didn't particularly mind too much.
--Animation & Sound--
Like I said before, I almost never see anyone say anything negative about Sidonia, but if there is one complaint I do in fact see every so often, it's about the CGI. Case in point, Sidonia's animation uses lots and lots of CGI. That much is a fact. Many people don't like this at all, and in fact I generally don't like CGI either but in this particular case... I don't really mind at all. First of all, the CGI is *way* better in this season than in the first one, and it honestly feels like it just keeps getting better and better the longer the season goes on. And in terms of the fight scenes, it looks simply amazing. Truly. It just feels like it fits the tone of the series like a glove.
And then... there's the audio. Oh boy...
I'm not even sure how to best put this, but I want to give sound director Iwanami Yoshikazu some sort of award for his contribution to this anime. Simply put, Sidonia's second season has without a doubt the absolute best sound directing I have ever heard in my anime career. It sounds *amazing*. I have gone back and rewatched certain scenes from this anime for the sole reason of listening to some of the battles' sound effects one more time. I have *never* done that before for any other show. Every punch, every blast, every crash into a solid object makes me feel like I'm having an eargasm. The amount of intensity and just pure power is enough to give you goosebumps. Ironic given that space is supposed be the one location where sound doesn't exist to begin with, but let's ignore that part.
And as the cherry on top, believe it or not but the soundtrack itself is just as epic. The opening theme alone is by far the best OP of 2015 thus far in my opinion, but also the usage of music throughout the anime is close to perfect. When the show wants to appear creepy, then the music is incredibly creepy. When the show wants to appear epic, then the music is incredibly epic. It always compliments the atmosphere of the visuals more or less perfectly, and thus it enriches the overall impression and experience tremendously. The timing of the music is also spot on, and as a result it makes every scene transition feel so much more intense, energizing and dramatic.
--Enjoyment & Overall--
Sidonia no Kishi: Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki is without a doubt one of the best anime of the year thus far, and one I find almost impossible to dislike unless you have some serious issues with the excessive CGI usage. I find it very reminiscent of Shingeki no Kyojin except that it's sci-fi instead of fantasy, which only makes it even stranger to me that so few people have tried watching Sidonia given how popular Shingeki no Kyojin is. Anyway, the point is that Sidonia is one of the most captivating and just plain impressive series I've seen in a long time and I have almost nothing negative to say about it at all. Yes, the pacing is a bit uneven and yes, the CGI will turn off a lot of people but other than that... it's truly an excellent anime from start to finish. Especially episode 11 is probably the best episode of the year thus far.
Sidonia is a true space opera with an epic scale and outstanding directing. It draws you in, captivates you and never ceases to impress you with what it can do. The only problem is that now we have to impatiently roll our thumbs while we're waiting for the fateful day when season three finally comes around...
It's truly perplexing to see how Sidonia no Kishi (Knights of Sidonia) is constantly overlooked by many anime fans. It's a show that has a formula for mainstream success, with a dense bishounen protagonist that catches the fancy of all the female cast, a premise that warrants lots of over-the-top carnage and shock factor moments, and an easy to consume setup that requires very little thought to buy into, and even lesser thought to grasp. It's easy to watch, easy to merchandise and easily made for mass consumption. But for reasons beyond comprehension, it's only viewed by a few stragglers that come upon it by
happenstance. While I'm not promoting this as anything you need to rush out to watch on a fly, since it isn't anything noteworthy quality-wise, I do think it registers high on the pulpy side of "turn your brain off" entertainment.
Well, that's at least what I think when discussing the 1st season, as for this follow-up, there's a lot to be desired. Where the first season played up the suspense of imposing figures lurking out in the vast vacuum of space, season 2 temporarily abandons that, for what I can only describe as a harem... IN SPACE!
Picking up from where we left off, we follow Tanikaze as he continues the arduous battle with his comrades against the ever-present amalgamation of creatures known as the Gauna. As is common practice with Sidonia, everything is again flipped on its head when they introduced a new character into the mix. For a show that's always trying to up the ante, this isn't much of a surprise since the artcover photo is a dead giveaway. The crew is now joined by a chimera named Tsumugi, who is a gauna/human hybrid made for the sole purpose of aiding the soldiers in battle. Similar in appearance and structure to the malevolent Red Gauna from last season that was named Benisuzume, what separates Tsumugi from the Red Gauna and other Gaunas of previous installments is her humanistic tendencies. She has the intellect and behavioral capabilities of a prepubescent child and a sense of empathy to that of humans. She's essentially a girl in a Gauna's body. Half of the intrigue of this season comes from the implications of including a species that, until now, were humanity's greatest threat. Something like a not-so-ironic twist on the matter. Unfortunately, the effects of such a situation were quickly glossed over, and for what you may ask? So that we can follow our protagonist in his tale of unfortunate events with every female crew member onboard.
The biggest issue with this season comes from the fact that about 8 of the 12 episodes were used to focus heavily on clichéd rom-com shenanigans. For a show that promised "Battle for Planet Nine" from its title, no such thing ever happens. All we get is a small-scale skirmish towards the end. No "battle," no epic full out assault, just a damsel in distress mission. While the show's notorious cliffhangers did happen, the meat of the story felt like unneeded slice-of-life pulp. Every episode shows another one of the female cast members fawning over our protagonist. This would be fine if it led to something but that never happens. It tried to progress the romance by following up on the sub-plot line of Tanikaze and Izana as a love interest but it just panned out to teens blushing and going through silly misunderstandings. It's one of those cock-tease rom-coms that never comes into fruition.
Thankfully, the last handful of episodes brought the focus back to the core conflict, which was the attack against the Guana. Despite the shift back to the main focus, it still yielded no full on battle. The season felt like a huge buildup without the promised resolution that the name would have you believe. While it was enjoyable at times and contained those same edge-of-your-seat moments found in part 1, the overall payout was less than stellar in this follow-up.
For anyone that still followed this past season 1, the mixture of CGI and cell-shaded animation shouldn't need much elaboration. At this point, it's become the trademark that Sidonia is known for. While it's the same for the most part, it should be noted that the downtime moments showed better fluidity in the character's movements than season 1. They don't feel as robust and stiff as they did before. Still nothing on par to most series but for the standards of the show, it was a step up. Where Sidonia truly shines is the CGI fights against the Gauna themselves. Because everything is presented in CGI, this allows the animators to go all out, creating eye-catching spectacles that really gets the blood boiling.
The character designs all give off that uncanny valley effect for obvious reasons. This worked particularly well with the Gauna, as it gave them a more ominous feel, with a flaky yet malleable look about them that draws your attention, it's grotesque in a good way. Unfortunately, the characters weren't so lucky, as the best look they could pull off is looking like mannequins.
Where Sidonia demonstrates its strength is in its keen ear for sound.
When it comes to this department, this show has it covered. From the haunting screeching vocals of the background tracks to the effects used to heighten the viewing experience. The grainy gargle of the thrusters, singe echo of the laser weaponry or the billowing explosions on impact. Every moment is brought to life, placing you in the middle of the action. Like last season, the voice actors were all fine, with the biggest standout this season being Aya Suzaki's voice acting role for Tsumugi, as she added a certain bubbly childlike charm to the imposing figure. Her interaction with the other characters also meshed quite well. And speaking of the cast, 2nd season carries over the same problems that plagued season 1.
There's really only one character, Tanikaze. All of the supporting female characters are just treated as Tanikaze's potential concubines with Tanikaze himself being an innocent Gary Stu that could never do wrong. The only real difference in the lineup is the addition of the chimera, Tsumugi, but even she is reduced to being another love drunk female infatuated with our protagonist. That's right, even the gauna/human hybrid wants some of dat D.
Tanikaze's harem game is strong as fuck. If Kirito is the king of harems then Tanikaze is the undisputed God. Nothing with a vagina can resist his awkward shounen-esc charm. From chimeras to full-fledged Guanas, they all want to drop that coochie on him. He even made nonsexual people change to female just for a chance to be with him. He's FantasyEmpowerment-sama and he's coming fo yo bitch!
While our protagonist is swamped with potential love interests, the story at least has the decency to keep its focus on that of the centerfold Izuna and the protagonist's growing relationship with her. While there wasn't any actual advancement between them, they still became a more believable pair than what season 1 would have you believe.
With a healthy dose of violence and harem misadventures, season 2 was never dull, if only totally brain dead.
The thrill of season 1 wasn't readily available in this sequel but I still had fun following it from beginning to end. It was easy to watch and when it worked, it kept me anchored to the action on screen. All I wanted was something enjoyable and that's what I got, which is good enough for me.
While not up to snuff with the 1st installment, season 2 of Sidonia no Kishi still had its moments. It may not have been as consistent or properly planned out but it's still a nice attachment to the franchise and one I recommend to those that were followers of the 1st.
Finally, the second season becomes available on Netflix as of July 3rd, and honestly I just plowed through all 12 episodes like a junkie with a drug addiction.
Picking up where the last season ended it seemed to focus more on Nagate's personal life and his personal Heram, which brings up something I consider to be a flaw. For me, to have the full female cast fall for Nagate pulls away from the series plot, which is a shame since we only get 12 episodes with the possibility of not getting another season. We get it, he's a bad ass. 7/10
a major strong suit for the series, as it is very beautiful to look at. It may confuse some and it seems like the CGI is alienating and unattractive. Ignore this! It is done this way for a reason, and flows perfectly. The battle scenes was art by itself, and I was on the edge of my seat trying to take in as much as possible. 9/10
Wow. This should be the standard for all anime! Everything sounded realistic, explosions, metal on metal contact, footsteps(Occasionally had to look over my shoulder to see if someone was there haha), etc.. 10/10
We need more anime like this! I've made it a habit to not binge watch a series as I want to get every ounce of enjoyment, but with this anime I had no self control. Each episode ended with a cliff hanger almost forcing you to the watch episode after episode. Was it perfect? No, but its flaws were apart of the show and was thoroughly enjoyable and addicting. 9/10
This series is entirely underrated, even I am guilty of thinking it was MEH(My Eyes Hurt) and dropped it after the first couple episodes when it came out last year. This was a mistake, and I'm glad I gave it a second chance it deserved.
Note: This is a SEQUEL and will include spoilers for the first season.
The story takes place shortly after the ending of the first season. The Hoshiijiro ena has been "moved" and early on a lot of backalley type set up goes around to make the viewer question the motives of certain characters. Besides all this the other main focal point of the story is a big one, and quite literally at that since it's the hybrid, Tsumugi.
By itself the story is not anything special, but it has set itself up to have some pretty stunning resolutions and encounters down the road. Watching
the internal conflicts unfold within the show is almost as interesting as watching the huge space battles. The show does a really good job at keeping you surprised. It does also telegraph some short term things like a part where Nagate is fighting a group of Guana and he runs out of ammo and you just know what's going to happen, but it doesn't make it happening any less awesome.
Most of the main cast has not changed much from the first season and maintain their stock personalities. Tsumugi is obvious addition and is essentially a little girl with the body of a super monster. Her actions are clearly driven by her instinct to protect those around her and because of her curiosity. The show goes out of its way to really paint a full picture about Tsumugi and it does a good job, although at the expensive of the other characters.
Again the majority of the cast does not change much, this includes Nagate, who is still "the good guy" and Kunato who is still "The Schemer". However, this does not mean what they do is not entertaining. Kunato, who I found to be a glaring issue in the first season has brought a lot of intrigue to the second.
One of the real draws of the show are the battles. They are massive. It's rare for an anime to do something and make me think "wow, that's cool." The animation and art work during these sequences measures up to some of the best there is. However, some of the issues with the CG from the last season remains, especially awkward sluggish movement that makes no sense at all. It makes it very difficult to suspend your disbelief when there is sometimes sudden shifts in animation quality almost instantaneously.
There is a good balance between the tense action scenes and the more simply relaxing parts. I'm glad it didn't try to really be melodramatic about things and it tends to resolve smaller issues that arise within an episode quickly, while using them to build the major plot points they established for a better climax.
Speaking of those relaxing scenes. There is probably debate over whether those comedy segments with Tsumugi and friends really belong in a show like this where they are in constant danger of being wiped out and are humanities last hope and all that. However, I say that these segments are where most of your character development and the viewers connection to said characters happens. Again not like there is a lot of development in the first place, but it's those simple parts that make characters real.
The sound production and direction is the best I've ever heard in an anime and I can say this without a doubt in my mind. All the sound effects are crisp and not only fit what they represent but also the mood the scene is portraying as well. The music is also stellar as it fits whatever scale the show is currently running at. I know I often tout that good sound is sound you don't notice (because that means nothing is wrong with it), but great sound is sound you remember. You remember this.
Knights of Sidonia S2 is a huge surprise for me especially after what I considered a middling first season. However, the production value, overall chemistry of the cast, and just plain enjoyability has skyrocketed. This is clearly worth the cost of admission (seeing the first season) to get the full impact.
It was just announced that your favourite manga, be it Ajin or Berserk, is getting animated! There's one catch: it's going to be CG. But don't worry, we're here to help you feel better about this traumatic news and guide you through the steps to recovery and acceptance.