Knights of Sidonia

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Knights of Sidonia

Post by K on Mon May 12, 2014 8:29 pm

Oh, where do i start.

A good few years back (maybe more like a decade+, come to think of it), i was roaming about this bookstore when my eyes laid upon this comic about Wolverine, called "SNIKT!". I wasn't a big comic book reader then, but there was something about this one that really got my attention, and since it seemed like a self-contained volume, and not too expensive, i thought i'd take it home. So i did.

Now, in my greener days (as well as now, a little still) i would make the mistake of underestimating western artists in favor of whatever came out of Japan (internet velocity wasn't what it is now, and the Anime industry hadn't yet bloated into the moe-tarded abomination it now has become), but even taking that into account against my judgement, there was something about the art in this book that was unlike anything i'd seen before, at least from Marvel. So i read the artist's name, one Mr. Tsutomu Nihei - who i'd later find out used to study architecture before he decided Manga was his thing, a name that would lay dormant in the back of my mind for a few years until one day i decide i want to see what else the man has done. So there was this one name of something associated with him, this Manga called "BLAME!" (arguably a mistranslation of the gunfire onomatopoeia "BLAM!", yay for some localization genius out there) that, long story short, blew my hair back and my socks off.

Now, i'm not a guy who has favorite things. I mean, there are things i like A LOT in a certain category - a top tier, if you will, but having to pick my favorite anything and say all other things in that category are inferior to me than the thing i picked... yeah, that's not me. That said, i can and do often say BLAME! to be my favorite manga. That does not necessarily mean i find all other comic books inferior to it or that i like them less, but that one resonates with me on a level no other really does, by far. And that's Nihei in a nutshell: might not be the most accessible author out there, but at what he does, he is a master. I read BLAME!, ate it up, and loved every second of it to the very end, at which point i only wanted more. Then, among what little expanded universe he got off the press now and then, he starts a new series called Biomega, which i proceed to devour and drool over. Without going into much detail (cause you know this is gonna be a big read, if you're actually reading this), the man's art and craft was better than ever, and if you like action stories, that one is a feast for the eyes, and only gets better...

Until one day, i notice something - and the credit isn't really mine, as i'd read people's posts on forums complaining about it too, and then i'd pay attention and go "huh". The man's style was getting... well, different. I guess you could say he was trying something new, but to me it just started feeling rushed. And it didn't get any better as the story progressed, suddenly feeling like the plot was becoming more crammed as well, until one day it just ends. I mean, it didn't feature some glittery hologram kid popping out of nowhere all of a sudden, but you can tell a rushed ending when you see one. And i know i'll never be able to prove this, but the reek of executive bullshit stank so high about the way that otherwise awesome manga just ground down to a stop, in an industry that's trying so hard to saturate itself with the same formulaic crap over and over, that the little cynical voice in me that tells me it's all greed and evil and stupidity that runs this world (we'll call it Bob) suddenly felt very validated.

Why did i bother talking about all that, you ask? Well, i can get verbose like that, but mostly because a few weeks ago i saw that Sidonia no Kishi (or the title of this thread, if you MUST have the english translation for everything in this life) was among the list of broadcast Anime for this season. That name being that of Nihei's new Manga after Biomega got the axe.

Knights of Sidonia is quite a bit more mainstream than anything he's ever done before, so much so that i can almost imagine that talk he must have had with the editor after Biomega got killed, going somewhere along the lines of "conform or crumble". It was still not the kind of thing that would get optioned in the recent climate, but i guess the smash hit that Attack on Titan was got those executives scratching their monkey brains looking for something similar like a pack of Zombies, and thought Mecha in Space was a pretty safe bet.

Cynicism aside, though, i like this show. It follows a lot of those mainstream conventions to a degree, but Nihei seems to have not lost his spirit yet, and you can see his own spin throughout the work, always making those would-be-cute moments into something more interesting than you'd normally expect, and the art direction has his signature all over, which TV-tropes so lovingly classifies as Scenery Porn (mostly not icky).

All in all, i have hopes for this Anime. It just sucks that the man had to downgrade in order to finally be vindicated, but heck, if this becomes a trend, i might almost dare hope i'll one day see an animated Biomega.

...yeah, right
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Re: Knights of Sidonia

Post by Essoje on Tue May 13, 2014 12:59 am

You like the chills, it's cool man. Good for you. I'll stay here on this side, where it's warm and I don't have to think about how utterly a downer Sidonia's universe is, so much it feels like what the characters are doing doesn't matter.

It's one of the 3 anime I'm watching this season, and on the bottom of that list.
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Re: Knights of Sidonia

Post by K on Tue May 13, 2014 6:18 am

I genuinely don't understand why people call it dark and grimm and all that. No, really, i don't. But then, Sidonia is kinda fluffy when you compare it with BLAME!, and i don't find that all that dark either. I mean, it's a little dark, i guess, but it's not oppressive dark. The lights are just a bit dimmed.

Btw, i should add a TLDR to my post above: There's a new anime out there. It's cool, but could be cooler, but it's not really the author's fault. Long story.
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Re: Knights of Sidonia

Post by Essoje on Tue May 13, 2014 7:47 am

Why is it dark and grim?
1. OP Theme.
2. Background story tells us Sidonia is basically a considerably small mothership/rock considering it is supposed to be humanity's last hope in surviving world-scale annihilation by the hands of nigh-invincible monsters from outer space. And that has happened a long time ago.
3. The only way to kill these monsters is using giant robots AND specialized equipment in form of spears in close combat, that range giving these monsters superiority due to their physic, and that's when the things are not evolving in middle of a battle. There's also limited number of those spears because the material they are made of is unique and Sidonia cannot hope to replicate them.
4. Sidonia as a whole looks old, and everything looks battered, specially things like the giant robots and pilot suits.
5. Sidonia is feels like it's traveling at speeds close to what we currently have here on Earth for rocket propulsion. Meaning that from a spacefaring perspective, this is slow as hell.
6. Humanity added photosynthesis to their body, and there has been recently added a third gender, which sounds cool and unique at first, but the lowdown of it is that food upkeep was pushed to the limit before in Sidonia, and birthrates might be a problem.

It's one of those "the more you think about it..." scenarios for me, and once which I can't totally turn off while watching the show, so even though the main character is kicking ass (because protagonist), girl a is being cute, and girboy b is being sad, and there's drama and secrets and undead rulers and 100+ years old landlady talking bears with prosthetic arms, it all feels like it doesn't matter in the greater scheme of things.
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Re: Knights of Sidonia

Post by K on Tue May 13, 2014 9:06 am

Well, when you put it like THAT... not gonna lie, it's still kinda fluffy.

I mean, the atmosphere takes all that into account and reflects it to a degree, which is good (because otherwise, all that content would just be empty background and meaningless), but you have so much release form that all the while, it evens out pretty well. And yeah, whatever personality quirks individuals have doesn't usually matter in the grand scheme of anything, i think some other anime did that. Or maybe it's real life, not too sure.

And you know, i think that just led me to my big point on the subject: what other people call dark, at least in this case, i just call being well grounded. Ship is old, and traveling through space for a millennia, things are tough, because that's how they'd be. Ship makes a 5G evasive turn in space, residential area gets trashed, because that's how it'd be. Genetic engineering is rampant and the ship is ruled by some shady form of government, because some bad things happened in the past, and the lack of a Star-Trek reset button or space-magic makes it so that bad things have dire consequences, because they would. And that's why i can take this story seriously, even in the face of all the damn slapstick and romantic comedy. Because i know things actually matter, and i don't dare take the cute girl that likes the guy for granted, because i know she can be taken away in the blink of an eye, because guess what, that's what happens when you constantly send people into high-casualty combat situations. Plot armor isn't always there for you.

And dude, what's your grievance with the frigging OP?
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Re: Knights of Sidonia

Post by Essoje on Tue May 13, 2014 11:44 am

"Because that's how it's supposed to be" works fine to define "well grounded", but does not stop it from being dark. Because it can be both, and it is.

And about the OP, it's not a grievance. It's a song of sacrifice for a greater purpose, and the classic japanese in it adds to the tone. The lyrics are haunting, the kind of stuff you'd hear soldiers singing before going into a battle they know they can't win. Aaaand it sets the tone for the rest of the anime.
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Re: Knights of Sidonia

Post by K on Tue May 13, 2014 11:53 am

Well, i guess you can see it that way.

I guess grievance was a wrong word. I'm not trying to beat my view into you or anything. Just, being a Nihei fan for a long time, when i compare it to his earlier awesomeness, i still see it as fluffy. I mean, there's nothing wrong with fluffy. Azumanga Daioh is fluffy, and i love it. But then you have stuff that's really dark, and i almost feel bad for even mentioning it, for fear of giving anyone nighmares if they so much as touch The Enigma of Amigara Fault, or the like, it puts things into perspective for me, you know.
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Re: Knights of Sidonia

Post by Essoje on Tue May 13, 2014 1:36 pm

Meh, forget about fluffyness, Sidonia is darker than the Amigara fault, imnsho. Amigara fault is a psychological horror about a bunch of people and holes. Sidonia is basically "Earth is gone bitch, you have no chance to survive make your time", and exactly because it's not trying to be an horror anime makes it even more fucked up.

Also, https://images.encyclopediadramatica.es/d/d0/Hole2.jpg
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Re: Knights of Sidonia

Post by K on Tue May 13, 2014 3:33 pm

Hehe, if only.

Btw, Javan, what are the other 2?
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Re: Knights of Sidonia

Post by Zeiss on Wed May 14, 2014 1:31 am

Ah, the sweet hope that your favorite author/company makes a better book/movie/tv series than the previous one. I perfectly understand that.

Damn you Bioware. Dragon Age Inquisition better be good.
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Re: Knights of Sidonia

Post by Essoje on Wed May 14, 2014 12:53 pm

Would be Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei, because of the setting, and No Game No Life, because of it's setting AND randomness.
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Re: Knights of Sidonia

Post by K on Wed May 14, 2014 1:03 pm

Zeiss, mah man, if BLAME! ever came to film properly (there've been a few crappy attempts), there would have to be a world holiday to commemorate.
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Re: Knights of Sidonia

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