Knights of Sidonia first arrived on western shores almost a year ago, dubbed a 'Netflix Original Series' localised with English subtitles and dubbed versions to much acclaim. Now it finally arrives on DVD and Blu-ray. Based on the acclaimed manga series by Tsutomu Nihei, the series was produced by Polygon Pictures and loosely follows the manga.
Knights of Sidonia follows the story of Nagate Tanikaze, who at the start of the series lives underground alone. Eventually he is forced to the surface and encounters Sidonia – an awe-inspiring spaceship city that holds one of the largest human colonies left in the universe. The Guana laid waste to Earth and beyond but have been dormant for over 100 years at the start of the series, but something tells you they are ready for a comeback. The monstrous and faceless enemy, the Guana play an integral role in Knights of Sidonia. They can't be bargained or reasoned with and are just an instrument of destruction that Sidonia has to come to terms with. Sidonia is in a constant state of preparation for war.
While the set-up might not be original, the beautiful animation, setting and characters bring Knights of Sidonia to life. Every frame is incredible to look at and you'll find yourself invested quickly in the struggle of Sidonia against the faceless and fearsome Guana. The Knights pilot Guardians (mechs) and they are pretty similar to what you've seen before in, say, Robotech or Gundam, but it's the approach of Knights of Sidonia that makes it unique.
Knights of Sidonia has many layers; on the surface it appears to be a ‘rise through the pilot ranks’ mech drama, yet bubbling under the surface there is musings on war, peace, sex, reproduction, politics and even religion. These undercurrents are the things that invest you in Sidonia and its characters. Everyone from Nagate to Lala (she's a bear, and it's never really explained...) to the Immortal Council, who are shrouded in secrecy, play an integral part in the plot and world building.
Noriyuki Asakura, who also worked on Robotech delivers a stunning score that brims with emotion. The soundscape also matches the visuals really well, with the quiet moments offering sombreness and reflection while the massive mechs vs. Gauna battles pop and explode at just the right moments. Of course, no anime would be complete without an awesome title song, and Knights of Sidonia delivers. You should really go listen to it now, and it will make you want to watch the show.
Knights of Sidonia offers a complex, rich and dynamic take on a mecha genre. While it does have some clumsy storytelling at times, it can be forgiven because it offers emotional investment, amazing animation and a killer soundtrack. This is a must watch for any fan of sci-fi.
KNIGHTS OF SIDONIA / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: KOBUN SHIZUNO / SCREENPLAY: SADAYUKI MURAI / STARRING: RYOTA OHSAKA, AKI TOYOSAKI, ATSUKO TANAKA, AYA SUZAKI, AYANE SAKURA / RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 7TH