Home > Manga Reviews, Reviews > Knights of Sidonia, Vols. 5 + 6

Knights of Sidonia, Vols. 5 + 6

It’s Wednesday, which means it must be time for another review! With the recent release of Knights of Sidonia on Netflix, I figured now would be a good time to revisit the series with a look at Knights of Sidonia, Vols. 5 + 6. Before we get to the review though, there’s a ton of manga news out of Anime Expo from this past weekend. Below are a few manga highlights from the con.

 

 

    • DMP also has some announcements to make, including the fact that Osamu Tezuka’s Captain Ken Kickstarter has reached its goal of $13k. In addition they’ll be releasing Tezukua’s Mr. Cactus through their Digital Manga Guild program.

 

 

That’s just a taste of the news that came out of the convention, if you want more I highly recommend swinging by Anime News Network and checking out their full coverage. Before you go running off to do that though, stay and take a look at this week’s featured review of Knights of Sidonia, Vols. 5 + 6!

Knights of Sidonia, Vol. 6Knights of Sidonia, Vols. 5 + 6
By Tsutomu Nihei
Vertical
Rating: T + (Older Teens)

Set in the distant future when mankind has been forced to the stars in massive ships like the Sidonia as they battle for their very existence against the biological nightmare knows as the Gauna, Knights of Sidonia is a sci-fi/horror series from the brilliant Tsutomu Nihei, creator of Blame! and Biomega. As a meteor controlled by the alien Gauna threatens the Sidonia, Tanikaze and the other young pilots of the mecha’s known as Garde’s find themselves facing off against a veritable army of Gauna’s, and even if they can survive the initial wave of Gauna guarding the meteor, can any of them stand against the enigmatic and unique Gauna dubbed the Hawk Moth? All this and looming threat from within awaits in Knights of Sidonia, Vols. 5 + 6.

These two volumes are heavily split between dealing with the Gauna’s external threat and establishing an internal one amongst the crew of the Sidonia. Nihei bounces back and forth between sorties with the Garde’s and the slow arrival and machinations of a threat from Sidonia’s past, one that was introduced in the previous two volumes massive backstory dump. In between the exciting space battles and creepy body horror, Nihei also takes time to further develop the various would be relationships that surround our main character, Nagate. It’s in these quieter moments that we get to see another side of Tsutomu Nihei, namely his playful sense of comedy. Admittedly this usually involves Nagate being beat up, bounced off walls and the like, but I have to admit that it’s pretty damn entertaining. It’s also something that helps give readers a breather from the non stop doom and gloom that would otherwise dominate the story, and also shines a light on humanity and shows how, despite thousands of years worth of genetic engineering and cybernetic implants, people are still prone to the same petty jealousies and desire for love that we encounter in our everyday contemporary life. That said, there’s still no brilliant or shining character work present within the series. Like almost everything Nihei’s done to date, you’re not here for well developed, three dimensional characters, you’re here for the fantastic sci-fi spectacle and the huge, insane ideas that he’s able to churn out. The fact that Nagate’s harem and accident prone nature help to make him likable and a bit more flawed than Nihei’s normal inhumanely perfect and slick protagonists is just a fun little bonus.

Tsutomu Nihei continues to use that stripped down style he’s been using from the start of the series, but his style shifts a bit in volume 6. It’s mostly minor and involves background characters and random personal, but it’s noticeable just the same. Essentially, what happens is that during a battle scene the random background people in the war room and at the computers don’t seem quite as clean and solid as they had in previous volumes. There’s a slightly lighter and looser look to their lines. There also seems to be a slight spike in the use of toning, but that could really just be situational due to certain scenes in volume 6. Even with these minor changes Nihei’s artwork is solid and his penchant for grandiose scale is on display throughout both volumes. Likewise his action scenes continue to improve, though they still never quite reach the insanity of some of his previous works. His handling of the physical humor and is fantastic and unlike many other artists, he never dips into chibified over reactions, letting the slap stick elements share the same art style he reserves for the more intense and serious moments. It really lends the book a nice sense of continuity and keeps you in the story. His rendition of Sidonia continues to be lovely, with the interiors looking warn down and lived in, railings that are barely hanging together, massive open spaces filled with aged looking industrial hardware, miles of piping and cables and more. Given his architectural background, perhaps it’s not terribly shocking that it’s often his settings that are most striking. His tendency to not populate his world too heavily with crowds or random passerby’s also helps create a sense of loneliness and isolation that works well with the plot, reinforcing the notion that you’re witnessing the twilight of humanity.

Knights of Sidonia, Vols. 5 + 6 continue to expand upon the events of the previous volumes, which really got me hooked into the series, and plays with them in exciting and entering ways. Nihei’s sense of humor is a treat, and despite all the action and horror, he still manages to cram in enough humanity to make the characters likable, while peppering the text and his world with enough “hard science” or things that feel like “hard science” to develop a sci-fi world that feels unique amongst it’s manga counterparts due to feeling rooted in real world physics and science. The series continues to grow on me and I’m glad I’ll be able to get in two forms now thanks to its debut on Netflix. So check out the anime, and then pick up the manga, or vice versa. The point is, check out Knights of Sidonia!

Knights of Sidonia, Vols. 5 + 6 are available now from Vertical.

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  1. July 11, 2014 at 12:31 pm

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