Sidonia no Kishi: Episode 01

“First Battle”

Sidonia 1a Sidonia 1b Sidonia 1c Sidonia 1d Sidonia 1e Sidonia 1f Sidonia 1k Sidonia 1l Sidonia 1m

It’s been high time for a really good, predominantly mecha anime for a really long time, and I’m so thrilled and excited to have been completely blown away by the first episode of Sidonia no Kishi. Of all the first episodes of Spring 2014 anime that I’ve seen so far, Sidonia takes the cake and if the rest of the show is as impressive as the first episode, then it’s definitely a show to watch out for this season.

Sidonia 1gIn terms of plot, the story revolves around a “mole man” called Tanikaze Nagate (Osaka Ryouta) who had been living underground with his grandfather since he was born. The implication is that he’s had no contact with the outside world at all, yet with his supplies running out he takes it upon himself to journey skyward in search of food, where he’s caught stealing rice and apprehended. While underground, however, he’s been training himself with flight and mission simulators and has therefore been selected to train amongst the elites to become a garde pilot. Sidonia itself is a city contained within a manmade structure and floating in space. At some point in history, the humans encountered a space-dwelling species, the Gauna, and have been waging war against them ever since. Despite this, they haven’t encountered a Gauna in over a century, leading many of the students to become quite lax in their efforts and training. Predictably, however, it is on a sortie mission that Tanikaze and the rest of the students are attacked by a Gauna and the century of peace is shattered. If that sounds familiar in any way, I suppose we could liken it in some ways to the incredible Shingeki no Kyojin, which bears similar themes and developments from the threat to humankind to the determined, natural soldier, to the suggested rivalry with another soldier. However there are a number of similarities to other iconic shows, such as Evangelion, where young soldiers and a surprising hero battle to save a world heading towards the apocalypse. We might also find some elements from Gundam 00, just without the political developments and inter-character drama. The conspiracies and internal conflicts are quite evident from the get go, however, but I think Sidonia has already carved itself out a niche of its own and could do extremely well for a long time to come if the writers and animators plan it well.

It’s difficult to separate the plot from the characters because everything is so intertwined and woven together quite intricately. ISidonia 1i suppose Tanikaze is the easiest because he’s a newcomer into modern society and snapped up really quickly by the military. On the other hand his body hasn’t been genetically engineered to photosynthesise and go through long periods of not eating, unlike the rest of the recruits. He’s woken up to a very alien and futuristic world, the implication being that he’s possibly the only true human around. Cloning has clearly been going on for a long time as we see through the pink-haired Honoka sisters, all voiced by Kitamura Eri. There’s also a character whom I’m particularly interested in and who has taken an interest in Tanikaze. Shinatose Izana (Toyosaki Aki) is a hermaphrodite, belong to a new genetically created third gender. I think Toyosaki did an incredible job on Izana’s voice, as his/her voice could totally pass for either gender, which is quite reminiscent of Ciel’s voice from Kuroshitsuji, done by the amazing Sakamoto Maaya. I’ve already invested myself in seeing the way Izana and Tanikaze’s relationship grows throughout the course of the series. Another intriguing character, though, is the arrogant, hot-headed Kunato Norio (Sakurai Takahiro), whose role of protagonist/antagonist is yet to be decided and he could honestly go either way. Not only is he extremely ambitious and proud, but he’s got little respect for the rest of his recruits and seems to just be in it for himself. It’s suggested that he’s sleeping with Hoshijiro Shizuka on the pretence that it’ll help her in her position as a pilot due to his high status, yet she seems to timid to break it off. Still, I think there’s something more than mere ambition; there’s a goal to pilot the Tsugumori, an older but powerful model that Tanikaze gets assigned, much to his delight and Kunato’s jealousy. Although, that might just be my wishful thinking for a cruel character’s chance at redemption.

Sidonia 1hI didn’t come into the show with any expectations but having seen the first episode, I’ve come out with a multitude of hopes for the rest of the show. There’s so much potential for this to go amazingly but a fairly big chance for it to fall short. On the positive side, though, the graphics are incredible, sharp and precise – just what you’d want for an action-heavy, mecha show such as this. The music is another plus for me, with a stunning opening sequence and an appropriately punk rock ending. The soundtrack itself has, so far, been quite typical of a mecha anime but we should be in store for some great tracks, composed by Asakura Noriyaki, who featured heavily in the Rurouni Kenshin soundtrack.

This has been a very impressive first episode, regardless of the rehashing of a familiar plotline, but there’s enough originality, suspense and intriguing characters that could potentially make this a blast to watch. 9/10 for a great start.

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3 thoughts on “Sidonia no Kishi: Episode 01

    It reminds me more of Ergo Proxy just from the character designs and the overall feel of things but wow, the CGI used for this sci-fi show just makes everything look that much more amazing and sci-fi-y and awesome. Very little can be original nowadays but the script and execution just propelled Sidonia to the top of my list this season. The soundtrack is also so so good!
    I didn’t realise Kitamura Eri was voicing all 3 sisters! Wow! And Sakurai’s being yet another jealous protagonist/antagonist character – I’ve not followed up with Nobunagun but history says his character there ends up rebelling or something right? Is Kunato sleeping with Hoshijiro?! I thought he meant to bring her home to socialise/fraternise with his father or something? Gasp this show is so up my alley, I’m such a sucker for sci-fi! Thanks for choosing to cover it! ^_^

    • ME TOO! It’s so up my alley as well. And yes, you’re so right! The art is pretty reminiscent of Ergo Proxy and the two main characters are pretty similar in their socially awkward way, haha! Yeah the CGI in this show is so apparent but it just really suits the whole theme and atmosphere so well! I really like how the colours are all so monochrome and muted throughout the whole show.

      I’m not sure whether he’s sleeping with her but there did seem to be something weird going on between them and that was the first conclusion I jumped to, haha. Sakurai’s character in Nobunaga doesn’t really rebel, per se, but he’s so devoted to Nobunaga that he does something really awful just to further Nobunaga’s cause. He’s one of those morally ambiguous characters, but I think Kunato’s character just has a chip on his shoulder!

      I hope the show continues to exceed my expectations! :D

  2. the first half of the episode made me feel so empty for some reason. ah, but the suspense at the end of the episode.. am so intrigued! the art fits the tone of the show perfectly. the gritty detailing just makes it so real, so raw. it’s amazing. great lineup of female seiyuus in this one – toyosaki aki, kitamura eri, oohara sayaka ^^ music is so apt for the show as well. angela does yet another lovely anime OP and yes the ED is rather punk rock. tis the season for mecha~~

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