Knights Of Sidonia – Season 1, Episode 1: Commencement Review

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Netflix is really serious about their ”Original Programming”, aren’t they? First they made the classy Kevin Spacey vehicle House of Cards and the entertaining women in prison show Orange is The New Black. And now they did an anime sci-fi series. And judging by the first episode, they REALLY went on their way to keep the show as hardcore anime sci-fi as they could. Let’s take a closer look.

UPDATE: I just heard that this show isn’t actually a part of Netflix’s original programming, but rather they just bought the airing rights from Japan…you should be careful about that ”Original Programming” text at the beginning, Netflix.

"That wasn't the men's room."

”That wasn’t the men’s room.”

So, Sidonia is this architectual nightmare of a city that floats in space. Our lead character, Nagate Tanikaze is a timid man/boy, who lives under the city, spending his days in a training simulator. The simulator trains him to fight giant space monsters (called Gauna) using a space ship/mecha that wields a space-spear, among other artillery. Nagate’s hunger forces him to crawl up to the city level, where he is soon apprehended and recruited to the pilot program. He meets two hermafrodites (I’ll explain that a little bit later), a douchebag long-haired supermodel trainee, who’s envious of his ship and a female captain of the city, who hangs out with the council  of the immortals and dons a mask from Eyes Wide Shut. The captain hugs Nagate and asks him to pilot a space mech and join their amazing team of Top gun in space. Nagate is awarded with a crummy apartment, which is maintained by a talking bear with a prosthetic blender hand…

I’ll let that sink in for a while.

And then he’s off to his first mission in space, where their mining operation is interrupted by a Gauna, a first one in hundred years. Nagata’s first battle is cut short, when the Gauna bitch slaps his mech down and Nagate hurts himself. And we’re done with the first episode!

"I've played enough Zone of Enders. I got this!"

”I’ve played enough Zone of Enders. I got this!”

Well, this show is very traditional anime. Even though Netflix is paying the bills, the show isn’t shying away from its roots, which lie deep in Asian form of storytelling. The show moves awfully fast, so pay attention at all times, or you might lose all comprehension of the show. The sci-fi aspects are highly interesting, especially the introduction of a third gender. See, in this world there are these hermafrodites, that remain gender neutral until they choose a mate. After that they develop the…”proper parts”, if you catch my drift. This gives huge potential to the story, so I am intrigued, where they take the show. Also other heavy ideas are incorporated, like human cloning and photosynthesis. Again, I have no idea, what the show is going to do with them, but I’ll keep watching.

Something tells me that this show is generally aimed at boys.

Something tells me that this show is generally aimed at boys.

The show seems to have a decent budget and it looks amazing. The production values are high and the design and animation are top notch. I still have issues with Nagate as a lead character, him being a blank slate, who moans and gasps way too much, but I’ll give the show some slack, this being the first episode. Also, the guy can take helluva lot of physical trauma, so he at least has that going for him.

So yeah, I’m up for more.

Rating: +++½

Best scene: Nagate’s escape from the underworld.

Most memorable bit: That goddamn bear.

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