Knights of Sidonia

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Knights of Sidonia
Cover art of the first volume of the manga
Original Manga Tsutomu Nihei
Director Kōbun Shizuno
Format Anime (TV), Manga
Magazine Monthly Afternoon
Made By Polygon Pictures
Episode Length 24 minutes
# of Episodes 12
# of Manga Volumes 12 (ongoing)


Action, Sci-Fi, Mecha, Horror, Mystery

Sum it up in a Sentence:

Refugees from destroyed earth defend their generation ship from shape-shifting alien monsters, with mecha.

Main Description

A thousand years ago, Earth was destroyed and the human race nearly exterminated by shape-shifting gigantic alien monsters known as Gauna. Humanity survives aboard massive spaceships created from the rubble of the planet. One such ship is the Sidonia, where human cloning, asexual reproduction and genetic engineering such as human photosynthesis are common and even necessary for the survival of its population. Sidonia has not been in contact with any other humans for some time and it's population of 500,000 may be the last of the human race.

The Guana and their reasons for attacking Earth are a mystery. All attempts to communicate with the Guana have failed and the aliens do not seem to have a motive beyond annihilating mankind. Each Guana is composed of a core surrounded by a protective mass of organic tissue known as the "placenta" and referred to as the "Ena". Guana seem to can reshape and move this tissue at will, thickening it for defense or using to lash out in attack. Only by stripping away the protective placenta and piercing the core will kill a Guana, causing it to rapidly dissolve away.

Sidonia defends itself from the Guana through the use of mecha called Guardes which are powered by "Heiges Particles". These particles serve as a method of propulsion as well as fired from cannons mounted on the Guardes. In addition the units are armed with spears known as "Kabizashi" the tips of which are made of a rare material that is the only thing capable of piercing a Guana's core.

The story follows Nagate Tanikaze who was raised by his grandfather in the bowels of Sidonia. Here he trained on and mastered an old Guardes pilot simulation. After his grandfather's death Nagate encounters the rest of Sidonia's population and is eventually selected as a Guardes pilot.


Nagate Tanikaze

The protagonist of the series. Raised by his grandfather Hiroki Saitō deep inside Sidonia he did not receive the treatments to allow him to photosynthesize. A skilled pilot due to his training in the Guardes simulator.

Shizuka Hoshijiro

A female Guardes pilot, ranked second amongst the trainees, who Nagate meets and befriends.

Izana Shinatose

A hermaphrodite third gender who is neither male nor female until choosing a partner. Izana is also a Guardes pilot and eventually becomes Nagtate's best friend and roomate.

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Personal Opinions


Just the right mix of believable sci-fi and horrible space monsters. While in no way hard sci-fi the author treats things like acceleration, deceleration and mass with enough care and internal consistency to keep things firmly in the science end of the spectrum. The unraveling back story surrounding the Guana and humanity's first encounters with them along with the workings of Sidonia's internal politics serve as a strong foundation on-top of which is laid incredible mecha on fleshy alien monstrosities combat. About the only low point in an overall great manga is its over-reliance on cheap slapstick and fan-service based gags. While this is by no means a comedy manga, and the occasional moment of levity is appreciated, the constant reoccurring jokes involving photosynthesis and its nudity requirement crop up a bit too often. An additional note should be made to the anime adaptation, which does a very good job despite its use of 3d CG for everything, character and mecha alike. While the fights are visually stunning and easier to follow than in the manga, the animation on the characters can be a bit rough at times and takes getting used to.


You could almost call it a weird fusion between Battlestar Galactica and Attack on Titan, this is a solid sci-fi series with amazing action setpieces. Unfortunately the anime is entirely CG animated, with humans and the monsters moving quite robotic and stiff, but the pilot's mechs, combat displays and Sidonia itself have benefited, looking great in motion. Should be seen as supplemental to the manga, the real organic feeling of the monsters just does not come across like on paper, which I view as quite important.