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DVD Review

DVD cover

Knights of Sidonia
Complete Series One Collection


Starring (voice): Ryota Ohsaka, Aki Toyosaki, Atsuko Tanaka and Aya Suzaki
Distributor: Animatsu
RRP: £29.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 07 September 2015

It has been a thousand years since the first alien Gauna drove humanity off the earth in giant generation ships. The only known survivor of the exodus, the Sidonia, continues her lonely journey through the void...

Knights of Sidonia: Complete Series One Collection (2014. 300 mins) is a twelve episode science fiction Mecha show, directed by Kōbun Shizuno. The show was adapted by Sadayuki Murai from Tsutomu Nihei 2009 manga.

The story follows Nagate Tanikaze, a young man who has grown up in the underbelly of the giant ship. With only his grandfather for company he spends his spare time practising on a simulation of the Gardes, the giant mecha which defend the ship.

Following the death of his grandfather Tanikaze ventures high up into the main level of the ship where he is knocked unconscious when he tries to steal rice. There is a peculiarity of some Japanese show which skips over logic in order to forward the plot. So, without so much as a test of ID check Tanikaze finds himself enrolled as a pilot.

For the plot this is lucky, humanity hasn’t encountered a Gauna in such a long time that even some of the citizens think that the Gardes are a form of military dictatorship enforced by the near immortal captains.

Tanikaze encounters a world stranger than he could imagine, where humanity is able to alter its fundamental genetic makeup to enable them to photosynthesis as well as the ability to choose their sex or no sex at all. Obviously, as this is a mecha show, a Gauna shows up just in time for Tanikazi to be assigned an older model Garde and commence his career of saving the day.

I’m being a bit unfair to the show as Tanikaze’s swift elevation to Garde pilot, and the fact that captain Kobayashi takes him under her wing, are all connected. Taikaze has a secret even he is unaware of, a secret for which other captains want him killed before it is revealed. The story can be a little confusing as some of the concepts originated in an earlier manga and the visual style of the Gauna I deliberately bizarre, meaning it can be difficult to visualise them.

In general this is a good show, the production values are high as is the quality of the animation. You get a range of audio options, including an English or Spanish dub track as well as the original Japanese with options for either English, Spanish or French subtitles.

The show is presented over a two disc DVD set. The picture is sharp and the set contains a number of extras. Behind the Scenes Part 1 (8 min, 36 sec) which has a pretty comprehensive look at the show from concept art to finished product, interesting if you want to peek behind the curtains. There is a Press Conference (17 min, 25 sec) where the creators and voice artists take questions from the audience, delivering both information and praise for the show. Sound of Sidonia (10 min, 32 sec) shows us the show's score being recorded, with comment from the musical director.

Behind the Scene Part 2 (6 min, 33 sec) shows how the fight scenes are planned and executed and the Advance Screening (25 min, 34 sec) has the cast and crew reunited once again, this time in a cinema, answering question from the audience prior to watching the show. The first disc also contains the clean opening and closing sequences as well as ads for other shows.

I liked the show, in look and tone it reminded me of Ghost in the Shell and being a war story, the show is not afraid to kill off characters which lend the story a real edge. With the above average extras it a set well worth picking up.


Charles Packer

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