Knights of Sidonia (Japanese: シドニアの騎士, Hepburn: Shidonia no Kishi) is a space opera and mecha manga series by Tsutomu Nihei, serialized by Kodansha in their magazine Monthly Afternoon between April 2009 and September 2015, localized in English by Vertical. The series tells the story of Nagate Tanikaze, an "under-dweller" destined to become a Garde pilot, whose mission is to defend the massive starship Sidonia from a hostile alien species called Gauna.
|Knights of Sidonia|
(Shidonia no Kishi)
|Genre||Mecha, space opera|
|Written by||Tsutomu Nihei|
|Original run||April 25, 2009 – September 25, 2015|
|Anime television series|
|Written by||Sadayuki Murai|
|Music by||Noriyuki Asakura|
|Original network||MBS, TBS, CBC, BS-TBS, AT-X|
|Original run||April 11, 2014 – June 26, 2015|
|Directed by||Kōbun Shizuno|
|Written by||Sadayuki Murai|
|Music by||Noriyuki Asakura|
|Released||March 6, 2015|
|Knights of Sidonia: Love Woven in the Stars|
|Written by||Sadayuki Murai |
|Music by||Shūji Katayama|
|Released||June 4, 2021|
An anime television series adaptation was produced by Polygon Pictures. The first season aired from April to June 2014; the second between April and June 2015. An anime film sequel titled Knights of Sidonia: Love Woven in the Stars premiered on June 4, 2021.
The story is set in the year 3394, a thousand years after mankind flees from Earth after it was destroyed by a race of shapeshifting aliens, the Gauna (奇居子), aboard hundreds of colossal spacecraft created from the remains of the planet. One such ship is the Sidonia, which has developed its own human culture closely based on that of Japan where human cloning, asexual reproduction, and human genetic engineering, such as granting humans photosynthesis, are commonplace. It is also revealed that the top echelons of this society have secretly been granted immortality. With a population of over 500,000 people, Sidonia is possibly the last human settlement remaining as the fates of the other ships are unknown.
Little is known about the true nature of the Gauna or their motivation for attacking humanity. At any given time, a Gauna consists of a nearly impenetrable core protected by a dense layer of malleable flesh known as "placenta" (胞衣, ena). Once the ena is shed away and the core is destroyed, the Gauna's body disintegrates.
Sidonia is defended by large mechanized weapons called Gardes (衛人, Morito) whose weaponry and mobility is powered by "Higgs particles" (ヘイグス粒子, Heigusu Ryūshi), armed with a high-output cannon for long range assaults and a special spear known as "Kabizashi" for close combat. The tip of the kabizashi is made of a rare and little-understood material which has the unique property of being able to destroy a Gauna's core. Later the Gardes are also equipped with firearms whose ammunition have the same material of the Kabizashi after a means to artificially mass-produce it is discovered. Most people in the surviving human population are screened and drafted as Garde pilots at a young age, if they are shown to be capable of piloting them.
The story follows the adventures of Garde pilot Nagate Tanikaze, who lived in the underground layer of Sidonia since birth and was raised by his grandfather. Never having met anyone else, he trains himself in an old Guardian pilot simulator every day, eventually mastering it. After his grandfather's death, he emerges to the surface and is selected as a Garde pilot, just as Sidonia is once again threatened by the Gauna.
The manga is written and illustrated by Tsutomu Nihei. It debuted in Kodansha magazine Monthly Afternoon's June issue on April 25, 2009 and ended on September 25, 2015. It was compiled into fifteen tankōbon volumes. The manga has been licensed in North America by Vertical, who released all fifteen volumes in English between February 5, 2013, and April 26, 2016.
An anime television series adaptation, produced by Polygon Pictures, premiered on April 10, 2014 and ended its first season on June 26, 2014, on MBS and later on TBS, CBC and BS-TBS. The series was directed by Kobun Shizuno, assisted by Hiroyuki Seshita, with scripts by Sadayuki Murai and character designs by Yuki Moriyama. The series has also been localized and streamed by Netflix in all of its territories since July 4, 2014, becoming the service's first original anime, as well as the first anime series on Netflix available in Dolby Vision/HDR (High Dynamic Range). The first season has been licensed for home video release by Sentai Filmworks. The opening song is "Sidonia" by Angela and the ending song is "Show" (掌) by Eri Kitamura. A second season aired from April 10, 2015 to June 26, 2015, with Kishi Kōshinkyoku (騎士行進曲, Knight March) by Angela as the opening song and "Requiem" by CustomiZ as the ending song. The second season was released on Netflix on July 3, 2015, and has been licensed by Sentai Filmworks for home video distribution. On June 16, 2017, a third season for the series was confirmed to be in development by director Hiroyuki Seshita. In July 2021, Funimation announced they acquired the streaming rights from Netflix to both seasons.
A compilation film of the first season with additional scenes and re-edited sound effects was released on March 6, 2015.
A new anime film, titled Knights of Sidonia: Love Woven in the Stars was announced on July 3, 2020. Hiroyuki Seshita served as chief director, while Tadahiro Yoshihira served as director for the new film, with Polygon Pictures returning for production. Sadayuki Murai and Tetsuya Yamada returned to write scripts, while Shūji Katayama composed the music. The rest of the staff and cast returned to reprise their roles. The first four minutes of the film were shown on YouTube on April 28, 2021. The film was set to premiere on May 14, 2021, but was delayed to June 4, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Funimation screened the film in international theaters starting on September 13, 2021.
The manga was ranked #47 in Oricon Charts on October 30, 2013 with an estimate of 20,934 copies sold. Carlo Santos gave the first manga volume a B stating, "It's got a young man piloting a giant robot against alien enemies, but Knight of Sidonia is no Evangelion. Yet it's not as bleak or incomprehensible as Tsutomu Nihei works like Blame! or Biomega, either—rather, it's the best of both worlds, bringing Nihei's hard sci-fi mentality into a more conventional space-adventure environment." The Young Adult Library Services Association listed Knights of Sidonia in its 2014 list of Top 10 Graphic Novels for Teens.
The anime series received positive reviews, even from famous members of the Japanese anime/game industry, like Hideo Kojima, creator of the Metal Gear series, who claims that "It's a kind of anime that we haven't seen for a while that has that sci-fi spirit. Using digital technology cultivated through games, it creates animation that encapsulates Japan's cultural assets like manga, cel animation, kanji, giant robots, etc. What's born is a unique made-in-Japan work that could never be cooked up in Hollywood. Japanese culture has lost its 'cool', and Knights of Sidonia will be the white knight that saves it". Other industry pros left acknowledgements as well, including Akiko Higashimura, Digitarou and Yoshinao Dao.
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- It's different from Higgs Boson (ヒッグス粒子, Higgusu Ryūshi) in Japanese
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