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Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet Nine (anime review)

knights-of-sidonia-season-2Title: Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet Nine

Director: Kobun Shizuno

Creator: Tsutomu Nihei

Studio: Polygon Pictures

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: November 29th, 2016

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes & Feature Film/ 442 Minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Mecha, Drama, Action, Seinen

Age Rating: TV MA

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis:

Knights of Sidonia Battle for Planet Nine (Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki) contains episodes 1-12 of the second season of Knights of Sidonia plus a movie, a chipboard box, art cards, and a poster.

Discovering the nature of one’s individual identity is a question every sentient being confronts. Do you only count if you’re entirely human? What does it mean to be a person?

In a war with the alien Gauna, capable of absorbing and re-purposing human DNA, these are no longer abstract questions In these uncertain conditions, pilot Nagate Tanikaze finds himself developing an obsession with the Gauna clone of his deceased beloved, Hoshijiro.

Meanwhile, his close friend, Izana, a manufactured non-binary human, goes through an alarming change as their feelings for Nagate grow. Existential and romantic problems will have to wait though, as the Guana step up their attacks and a virtual coup d’état threatens to throw Sidonia’s leadership into chaos, while even darker forces stir within.

The very definition of what it means to be human is about to be questioned as the battle to survive continues in KNIGHTS OF SIDONIA SEASON 2: BATTLE FOR PLANET NINE!

Commentary:

Being a major fan of Knights of Sidonia I was thrilled to see the second season finally release. I have heard plenty of disappointment regarding the heavy Computer Graphics use, but I’m not too sure it doesn’t end up adding to the overall feel of the animation. Add Nihei’s gritty imagery to the hard edge of CG and you end up with a true dystopian future that has a look of tired worn-out existence.

The plot continues with mush intrigue and mystery as to what is going on. We are introduced to plenty of new strange aspects to the story and of course there is  Tanikaze who manages to provide plenty of wonder as to what he really is.

Overall Grade: A-

If my only grade for Knights of Sidonia was based on the story it would be an A, but because there is simple failure to wrap the series up I ended up feeling left with a great start and no finish.

The animation may put some people off and in some ways it does get a little tiresome. I still think the hard CG helps create that aged future where humanity is at it’s final battle. Now if we can just see that battle and discover what the outcome will be.

I know that Netflix has had plenty of opportunity to show this series and that a lot of people may not like the English dub, I feel as though it should be a top pick of those mecha lovers who are looking for something more original than Gundam or EVA. Of course, there are plenty of Mecha series out there and it should be noted that Knights of Sidonia is not finished. You should give it a try and if you haven’t seen season one you should watch the movie before you watch Battle for Planet Nine.

Knights of Sidonia (anime review)

Knights of SidoniaTitle: Knights of Sidonia 

Director: Kobun Shizuno

Creator: Tsutomu Nihei

Studio: Polygon Pictures

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: June 9th, 2015

Format: DVD / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Mecha, Drama, Action, Seinen

Age Rating: TV MA

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis:

A thousand years after the alien Gauna destroyed the Earth, a small remnant of humanity still fights on to survive, fleeing on the gargantuan asteroid-based spaceship Sidonia. But centuries of flight and warfare have changed mankind in incredible ways: genetic engineering has allowed humans to photosynthesize like plants, reproduction occurs through cloning, and a third gender has been created to balance the population.

Even though it’s been a century since the last encounter with the Gauna, military service is mandatory, with all those able enough enlisted to pilot the Garde robots that stand as Sidonia’s front line of defense. For Nagate Tanikaze, whose grandfather secretly hid him in the forgotten bowels of the asteroid, it’s a strange new world as he’s forced to come to the surface and join the ranks of defenders.

Yet his recruitment comes just in time, for the Gauna have suddenly reappeared, and what could be man’s last battle will require every resource humanity has left. And what no one knows, yet, is that Nagate is not exactly what he seems, and a secret buried in his past may change the fate of all mankind!

Commentary:

This is the season for fine Mecha Anime and Knights of Sidonia leads the pack. The essence of the series is depicted in both its visual appeal and the continual slow development of the plot. It is not like this a new idea in the world of Sci Fi, but Tsutomu Nihei has a very defined vision of the future and it is both dark and somewhat reassuring. With the success of the manga it was easy to get this series picked up as an anime and with the incredible way that Nihei manages to tell the story and the fine adaptation that is complete it is easy to watch and even easier to get sucked into.

Looking at a dystopian future that has both its wonders and drawbacks is a speciality of Nihei. It was seen in both Blame and Biomega but Knights of Sidonia does it in a way that makes the world much more accessible and thus entertaining.

Overall Grade: A-

Knights of Sidonia takes you to a future that I wanted to be a part of and still never want to see happen. Their world is full of far reaching ideas like human photosynthesis and having limits on a individuals longevity along with protecting the human right to speak your mind and the freedom to protest. Their lives may be bleak, but they all appear to be in some form of symbiosis with the life that they have to lead and the struggles in keeping the human race alive.

The one thing that I was disappointed in is the quality of computer generated animation. The CG comes across a little blocky and awkward. With the visual aesthetic that Nihei created I feel like the GC let it down in ways that it should have been uplifted. The hard edge to the decaying world made the series look a little forced when it should have come across with ease and grace. I guess the budget for the series just wasn’t there. Maybe the movie and second season will prove to be worthy of Nihei’s vision.

If you are looking for a solid Sci Fi that takes a slightly different angle to the future then you should be at your anime store right now picking this future classic up. Knights of Sidonia is a genuine hit in my opinion.