Home > Manga Reviews, Reviews > Knights of Sidonia, Vol. 12

Knights of Sidonia, Vol. 12

Knights of Sidonia, Vol. 12Knights of Sidonia, Vol. 12
By Tsutomu Nihei
Vertical Comics, 212 pp
Rating: Teen (13 +)

Tsutomu Nihei’s bizarre sci-fi/mecha/harem series trucks ever onwards to it’s weird biological horror field future with Knights of Sidonia, Vol. 12! Nagate and his companions in the Garde squads are assigned to the newly created defense cruiser, Mizuki, as it launches from the Sidonia to undertake a scientific mission involving a nearby sun. As one would expect this hardly goes off without a hitch and soon the Mizuki, Nagate and the rest of the Garde pilots find themselves up against a horde of the biological nightmares known as the Gauna.

This volume highlights just how odd Knights of Sidonia can be. The basic premise would lead you to believe that it’s going to be a dark series with little humor to it, but Tsutomu Nihei constantly works in visual gags and humor by contrasting this grim dark future of humanity with seemingly normal human interactions. In past volumes this has often come from harem aspects surrounding Nagate and his relationships with the various women he comes across, in volume twelve the humor comes courtesy of a popularity contest. If the sheer weirdness of mechs pilots engaging in such a thing doesn’t strike you as odd enough, it’s further compounded by the fact that entrants include Kunato’s Gauna engineered Garde unit, and the Honoka clones being treated as a single entity. Don’t worry though, Nihei also continues the series long standing tradition of kicking the crap out of Nagate for slapstick purposes and frankly, I wouldn’t it any other way. While I may have focused on the humor, make no mistake, Nihei keeps the horror associated with the Gauna’s and gives us several disturbing and emotional sequences thanks to them.

Sidonia12pg I was pretty surprised by Tsutomu Nihei’s artwork in this volume as it’s quite the change from volume six. The line work seems a lot thinner and there seem to be far less blacks. Everything has a slightly more organic feel to it, which makes sense in some cases but it’s quite a startling change from what the series looked like when it first started. Nihei’s done this before though, in Biomega his artwork underwent a drastic change in style about halfway through and became something of an early version of what he was using when Knights of Sidonia kicked off. Thankfully every one in the book is still recognizable and the action is still as solid and enjoyable as it’s always been. The new style seems like it’s a nice fit with some of the new designs, like the sentient organic Garde created by Kunato and now bearing the name of Tsumugu. This volume also features some of the most explicit sexual imagery I’ve seen from a comic or manga which never explicitly shows any sex scenes. It’s actually part of one of the more chilling sequences from the series, dealing with Gauna and their penchant for attempting to duplicate the human form. The softer, more organic style Tsutomu Nihei’s adopted worked nicely with such imagery.

It took me a little while to warm up to Knights of Sidonia in the early days of the series, but once it hooked me it hooked me good. Volume twelve has done absolutely nothing but reinforce my enjoyment for this unique mecha series. If you’ve seen the anime series on Netflix or elsewhere, you owe it to yourself to pick this up. If you happen to like sci-fi series, you should already be reading this, and hey, if you’re into quirky harem comedies where one of the harem members is a giant fleshy mecha, then what are you waiting for?

Knights of Sidonia, Vol. 12 is available now from Vertical Comics. Review copy provided by the publisher.

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  1. February 26, 2015 at 11:57 am

    I thought volume one was decent. Good to hear that it improves as it goes along.

    • February 26, 2015 at 6:41 pm

      I definitely think it picks up as it goes on. The first volume was ok but didn’t really hook me like I had hoped. I decided to stick with it since I’ve enjoyed a few other things by Nihei, but yeah.. for me it definitely picked up around vol. 3 or 4.

  1. January 26, 2015 at 9:15 pm

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