A nice addition to the sci-fi/mecha action genre, “Knights of Sidonia” stands apart from the plethora of similar titles for a number of reasons, both technical and in terms of script and general presentation.
The year is 3994, when the Earth has already been destroyed by a race of aliens called Gauna. Sidonia is one of the ships that has managed to escape the destruction along with a population of 500,000 people. Due to the lack of resources, the people inside have turned to cloning, asexual reproduction and genetic engineering that allows them to photosynthesize, in order to survive in deep space. The Gauna however, are still hunting them, and thus, they have created mechas to defend them, called Gardes. A council of elders, who seem to have achieved immortality, governs the colony.
In this setting, the story revolves around Nagate Tanikaze, a Garde pilot who has been living hidden, deep inside the spaceship, with his grandfather, who forced him to spend uncountable hours in a Garde simulator. As he is discovered by the people of the surface while searching for food, he becomes the fleet’s top pilot and an object of admiration for many women.
The story moves along these axes: the fighting with the Gauna and the survival of the humankind, Tanikaze’s awkward relationship with various girls, and a number of conspiracies and plot twists, which unveil as the story progresses and actually give a thriller essence to the title. In that last fashion, the story becomes quite intricate as the anime progresses, answering all the questions that are created during the somewhat abrupt first episodes. The sole flaw I found in terms of script is some 2 or 3 episodes in the second season, where the script focuses almost exclusively on Tanikaze’s relationship, which seem a bit out of place and are actually postponing the main story. Apart from those episodes, though, the story is amazing, even reminiscent of “Ergo Proxy” at some points, and the ending of the second season definitely compensates. Some fanservice could not be avoided I guess, altghough it’s tasteful and not extreme by any standards.
Technically, “Knights of Sidonia” is an audiovisual masterpiece, in all of its aspects. The characters and their movement have a distinct video-game essence, which I found original and invigorating, in comparison with the regular tendencies in this aspect. At first, a lot of the characters look similar, but as the story progresses, one realizes that this was the actual purpose, in order to emphasize the cloning and the asexuality of many of the characters, particularly the “female.” Furthermore, the drawing of the Gardes, the Gauna and the spaceship, both its exterior and the various facilities in its interior are works of art, both in conception and in the amount of detail they feature. This artistry, along with the elaborate animation is even more exemplified in the various battles, whose every aspect is great, including the speed and the fluidity of the movements, the surroundings, and even the moment when the Gauna are dissolving into dust.
“Knights of Sidonia” is a great title, a must-see for all the fans of sci-fi, action and thriller.