Recently, I’ve gotten back into anime, as a means of improving my Japanese vocabulary. Without realizing it, I’ve fallen down a rabbit-hole of Shoujo, space travel and spiky hair.
With the rise in popularity in titles like Attack on Titan and the soon to be cult-cancelled, Legend of Korra some great titles are coming out of the woodwork and bringing anime back into the media mainstream for the first time since Spirited Away picked up an Academy Award.
One title in particular, that shows just how far anime has risen in the West is Netflix exclusive, Knights of Sidonia.
Based on the Tsutomu Nihei, Knights of Sidonia is a story of friendship, perseverance and salvation. It tells the story of a boy who, after spending his entire life underground, playing a flight simulator and emerges into a dystopian After-Earth space colony called Sidonia to be selected as one of its guardians.
Sidonia itself is one of the last bastions of human existence and the artwork in creating a surviving, futuristic, but still melancholic setting is something to be applauded. They clearly know this too, and the series is regularly cut up with brief, frozen art-cards, showing the many sides of Sidonia and its residents.
The series combines all of the core elements of a good Seinen manga; combining mecha, sci-fi, deadly parasites and the occasional dose of avant-garde to create a thoughtful and moving series that dispatches monsters, asks philosophical questions and cheers for an underdog.
Artistically, it covers all of the modern bases, with lens-flares and shaking “cameras” galore; granting an almost documentary-like feel to the animation. In addition, it would appear that for some scenes, particularly those in space, the 2D characters have been drawn over 3D models, which makes for some breathtaking pans and immersive battle scenes.
I’ve been out of the scene for a while and I’m only just warming to it again, but can really see KoS becoming a favorite of mine. It’s paced well and, despite all of the action, maintains a relaxed approach to storytelling, meaning it can be watched over and over, quite casually, without feeling too beaten down by it.
Whether you’re new to anime or so deep into it that you need to take a break, Knights of Sidonia is a great entryway. It’s not overly deep, but likewise provides more than enough to let you create an investment with each character.
I’m yet to check out the Manga, but already get a feeling that there’s much more to see in Sidonia than what lies on the surface.
The second series is currently under production, following a warm reception of the debut, so hopefully we wont have to wait too long before seeing Nagate piloting another Guardian.