Knights of Sidonia Anime Review

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic

A review of the anime series Knights of Sidonia created by Polygon Pictures, Written by Tsutomu Nihei, and licensed by Sentai Filmworks.

Knights of Sidonia Anime Review

Written By: Joshua Lundquest

There exists within anime today an unfortunate trend. This trend is an oversaturation of the integration of CGI in anime. CGI started in anime as a way to easily animate certain things when the staff working on a particular anime would suddenly be taxed by things such as deadlines or maybe a lack in staff which may or may not coincide with a lack of budget. The unfortunate part of this is now a lot of animation studios use CGI as a crutch.

The problem here, while mostly opinion based is the idea that CGI is ugly for lack of a more in depth description on the stigma of why CGI is hated. Well how do you fix this “problem” that CGI is bad. Well you could reduce the amount of CGI in your product to a minimum or maybe not use it at all. Or you are Polygon Pictures and say “Screw it!” and throw together a product that is more or less all CGI.

And Knights of Sidonia was born! Now I ragged on CGI mostly in the beginning but this doesn’t mean I am going to give Knights of Sidonia a bad score in the animation department. Far from it, I think Knights of Sidonia was an earnest attempt at trying to make CGI look as much like traditional 2D animation as possible. And much like the 5pb. anime film known as Expelled From Paradise they kind of succeed. Now don’t worry I won’t be talking just about the animation throughout this review but I think it is understandable if it centers as the focus.

It seems as though they achieve this process of 3D animation with a 2D feel by using mostly 2D static backgrounds and by trying to take as much detail out the facial features and body features of characters as possible. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that the smooth skin the characters seem to have help in tricking our minds into thinking it is 2D and not 3D. Unfortunately every time you see certain things like the Gauna (the enemy presence in the show), or the mecha, or even this painfully ugly looking bear character in the series then it breaks that feeling that you were watching a “real” anime. It was an earnest attempt but still fell flat in a lot of regards.

Now on to the meat of the show, the story and characters. It’s a weird thing to describe just how good/awkward this show is. A lot of people call it Attack on Titan in space and for good reason. The Gauna are basically the Titans from Attack on Titan. Though considering the fact that Knights of Sidonia’s Manga came not one, not two but five months about before Attack on Titan came out it really is an injustice to call Knights of Sidonia that. You should really say Attack on Titan is like Knights of Sidonia not in space. Which kind of makes Attack on Titan seem less original but I never really thought it was all that original to begin with.

I really like this show because it has a world with really interesting lore. I mean it must, because when you look at all the residence this sort of space colony known as Sidonia it is full of your average folk then topple onto that a new 3rd gender who can switch genders to suit a mate, clones, immortals, a gauna/human hybrid, and what I can only describe as a cyborg mama bear… A CYBORG MAMA BEAR. And this isn’t all. It is also neat to see all the different technologies and systems being integrated into Sidonia.

You get all these cool things to faun over if you love science fiction. Everything from the obvious mecha in the show all the way to things like zero gravity baths to space suits with automatic catheters. And is the weird yet unique science fiction elements that keep you invested for the most part with the characters and premise helping a little bit. And that is another thing to talk about, the characters.

The characters are odd. There is something very endearing about them that just makes you like them a whole bunch. At least I did. The protagonist for example on the offset can seem like an OP cookie cutter badass but he extends further than that. Unlike boring protagonists like Kirito from Sword Art Online, Tanikaze, the main character of Knights of Sidonia is so very lovable. He has the offset appearance of what I can most easily describe as the nice guy look. Toppling this with the fact that he is actually a nice guy.

He is so nice, and loveably gullible while also being a heroic badass so it isn’t hard to understand why a lot of female characters start showing signs of having romantic feelings towards Tanikaze. On top of that I mentioned Kirito from SAO earlier. To show how Tanikaze is a badass the show itself informs us that he is in fact a clone of a legendary pilot who taught throughout his entire childhood how to be a good pilot. This is a reasonable excuse for a character to be a badass rather than a “badass” who plays a lot of video games and is a lone wolf by choice (Which doesn’t even work in MMO’s).

On top of that the rest of the cast is usually very likeable or easily despised depending on how you were supposed to feel about them. With big praise on Izana Shinatose, who by the end of it wasn’t just some stereotypical love interest but had depth to her also. She was strong willed yet still scared and you really felt like she came to her own by the end of the series. And the last character of note would be Kunato.

He is the one character that I have a hard time getting a grasp on. Is he a good guy or a bad guy? I don’t really know. At least with the character often referred to as the Captain, she deals in some shady activity but it is ultimately for the betterment of Sidonia. Kunato you just don’t know. He starts as a selfish, jealous pilot for humanity who resents Tanikaze for becoming the pilot of the legendary mecha known as the Tsugumori. Then later in the series he names the human/gauna hybrid he creates Tsumugi. I don’t think the coincidences are just coincidences as far as that name goes.

This can also be tied to the fact that Kunato may have had feelings for a character named Hoshijiro who may have had feelings for Tanikaze. And this Human/gauna hybrid has a connection to this character that I won’t spoil. Just know certain plot points get very interesting throughout the show.

Now this wouldn’t be a review if I didn’t point out the shows faults apart from the weird animation style and integration of CGI. The show has a cluster of characters who remain unresolved though this can be fixed by a season 3 which I am sure it will get. On top of that there are several unanswered questions like something very questionable that happened to Kunato and a couple other characters that has yet to be explained. And lastly the awesome opening from season 1 was replaced, a minor gripe but whatever.

Now is time for my final thoughts on Knights of Sidonia. It was a good show with good characters and lore. There is a list of nitpicks I have but this small list is really the only semblance of a problem I could see other than it being an unfinished. It was a fun show, and I was even surprised by how good the CG animation was despite the few problems I had with it.

I definitely recommend streaming it, for it is available on Netflix in English, Japanese, and oddly enough Spanish dubs. If you are a collector I do recommend buying it but only the standard release and not the expensive collector’s edition that Sentai Filmworks released. Overall I award this show with a 7.7/10.

Story: 7

Characters: 8

Animation: 7

Soundtrack: 7.5 and an 8 for my overall enjoyment leading to a score of 7.7/10 overall.


Submitted: September 16, 2015

© Copyright 2022 Joshua Lundquest. All rights reserved.

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