OP Sequence

OP: 「シドニア」 (Sidonia) by angela

「初陣」 (Uijin)
“First Battle”

This series is packed full of many interesting ideas realized in a gritty, realistic fashion. If you like sci-fi, watch this. If you want to see some of the pathways science may take us, watch this.

Fish out of Water

It’s an ancient problem with heavy sci-fi, fantasy, or any situation or setting that is radically different from one your readers would instantly recognize: How do you explain everything to the audience without having the characters spout exposition unnaturally? The fish out of water (trope!) is a classic example, and I quite like how it was used here.

Starting out in the simulator was a nice touch, because it gave us a glimpse of the action to come – and revealed that protagonist Tanikaze Nagate (Ohsaka Ryota) is going to be a badass by showing it instead of telling us – but it preserved his fish out of water status. Him being familiar with the setting but not – not being able to perform photosynthesis, not knowing about the third gender, etc. – allowed them to explain things to us without the characters spouting off things they would normally all know (except for the mention of the 28 special spears that can kill Gauna, the Kabizashi, but I’ll give them one). I called the first episode of No Game No Life one of the smoothest first episodes I’ve seen in a while, but this one matches, if not beats it, in smoothly introducing details about a very complex world. Compared to the first episode of Mahouka, I never felt confused.

Interesting Ideas

Though this is more Zephy’s schtick than me, I find sci-fi like Sidonia fascinating because it explores the possibilities of the future. Good sci-fi can do that with a single idea – Steins;Gate did that with time travel – but Sidonia is doing that with a lot of them. Humanity in this series is radically different from the one we all know and belong to, but it’s both interesting and somehow realistic. They’re not wearing super-futuristic leotards, they’re wearing spacesuits, the idea of splicing photosynthesis into humans is a very believable one that’s been explored before, and building a ship out of/into an asteroid is something I can see humanity doing. Sleek and elegant aren’t hallmarks of our species, at least not when we’re on the cutting edge. Rough and utilitarian are more our speed.

Three Sexes

Another thing I can easily see humanity meddling with is sex, what with how obsessed we are with it (hur hur hur). Note that I deliberately said sex – depending on your view, we already have far more than two genders now, that being a social construct rather than a biological one. Sex though, we Earth humans only have the two, whereas Sidonia’s humans have come up with one more – intersex, or neither/both. What I find fascinating is that intersex characters like Shinatose Izana (Toyosaki Aki) apparently are not both sexes, they’re neither until they decide to be one. (I hope I got that right.) I don’t have a clue what’s in Izana’s shorts right now – or what pronouns to use for him and/or her, though I look forward to watching Zephy write around that language snarl – but it’s probably not crowded at the moment, because apparently her and/or his body adapts whenever he and/or she picks a mate. Gods, this language is not equipped to deal with Izana! Which is kind of fun in it’s own right.

Bonus points: Pants = male, skirt = female, shorts = neither/both. Convenient!

CGI Fantastic

Thank you Arpeggio for getting me over my bias against CGI, because here it works. The piloting sections work especially well because it really feels like you’re in the cockpit with Nagate and the others, because once you get used to the CGI characters they’re no more obtrusive to one’s suspension of disbelief than traditionally animated characters. As I’ve long said, it’s only in the switching between the two that immersion is lost, so if we never switch, all good right? Apparently so, because it’s working here so far.

It did get a touch slapstick at time, such as when Nagate fell into the rice thresher. Movement is cheaper with CGI, so sometimes they’re more willing to indulge in it, which is great for combat but not so much when heavily telegraphed comedic slapstick interferes with the tone. It wasn’t bad though, a minor quibble really. Keep that down and focus on the mech spaceship vs Gauna action and I’ll be a happy camper.

Looking Ahead

I hope you’ve enjoyed this introductory post. The good news is you won’t have to put up with me yakking about this series for long, because once Zephyr is back from saving starving children or whatever-the-hell he’s doing this weekend (Edit: PAX East, that was it! Oh well, saving starving children sounds better) he’ll be covering this week to week! Yes, Zephy has picked up Sidonia no Kishi, so look forward to posts from the Sci-Fi master from next week onwards. Enjoy!

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Photosynthesis, three sexes, & colony carved into an asteroid. That’s the rough & gritty space future I can believe in #sidonia_anime 01

Random thoughts:

  • Catch all that about the mummified Saitou Hiroki? That was also the name on the board that told Nagate to not go out of the basements. Though I have to wonder if the timing of when Nagate ran out of food was a coincidence or not…
  • Ruled by the undead, iiiinteresting…
  • Arai Satomi as a bear who runs the dorms! I don’t think it’s possible for her to get a serious role…and I’m okay with this!
  • The contact boots were another good example of using the fish out of water to deftly add a bit of color to the world. Very well done.

Check out my blog about storytelling and the novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: I’ll allow it; Useful lies; Missing the point; and You don’t get credit for the words you don’t write.


ED Sequence

ED: 「掌 -show-」 (Tenohira -show-) by 喜多村英梨 (Kitamura Eri)



  1. Outstanding introduction to the universe of the series imo. As you said Stilts, lots of sci-fi elements were actually believable, such as Nagate’s familiarization with the mecha. For example, the only thing I didn’t like about Captain Earth (and lot’s of other mecha series) is the fact that we get protagonists who are suddenly thrown into a cockpit of a mecha and somehow manage to either win or at least survive their first encounter with zero previous experience (your favorite Rinne no Lagrange included Stilts!).

    CGI looks fantastic, the ship itself looks terrific – the worn out parts of it remind me of Portal 2 to be honest – which adds to the whole atmosphere, bear is lol. I think we are off to a good start. Thanks for the intro Stilts!

      1. Hmm, I will go check the episode again; I might have misunderstood that. Lot’s of other mecha anime do throw their protagonist in the cockpit out of nowhere, however…

      2. I can accept the automated transformation sequence, but there is a thing that completely destroys my suspension of disbelief, and this is Daichi’s behavior in the cockpit. Why isn’t he freaking out? Why is he suddenly certain that he and only he has to fight now? Why isn’t he… I don’t know, even a little bit scared or unsure? It’s just not believable to me.
        I think Sidonia handled the “boy falls into the cockpit” aspect much better.

    1. For the record, I don’t really consider Rinne no Lagrange a favorite. Its failure to (or decision not to) up the ante at the end and give us a real climax killed it memorability for me.

    2. Actually, I ALSO hate that “main character get thrown into a mecha and is the ace pilot” trope. BUT this series hadles that VERY well, The first scene hints at that actually if you pay enouh attention, and later on (probably wont get to it this cour) it explains it rediculously well. So I props the writer of this series, since he actaully knows what he’s doing. Unlike say . . .”Captain Earth” where he was suddenly “CHOSEN” to be the pilot. . .-.- This made me drop that series and latch on here (to be fair I’ve already know about the source material for some time so I know it’s going to be awesome.)

  2. This show reminded me of Texhnolyze with its designs and synopsis. Everything looks very cold and the world is similarly one closed off from the rest of humanity, if there still is a rest of humanity.

    Then I read who created this show: the original manga happens to be from the same guy who wrote Blame! That made a lot of sense, these two are often compared after all.

    Fortunately, unlike texhnolyze, this first episode was a really good watch. I’m interested where the story will take us. The only thing that did let me down is that neither the opening or the ending is knights of Cydonia 🙂

  3. The only thing i complain right now, is the colors. But perhaps this is extra made, to give it a special touch

    well lets see, how it turns out. looks like every episode tell a little bit more of the story. so this looks like a OVA in Anime time slots

    1. Perhaps this Astorid was first, they build the Ship around it from the materials. Perhaps it was original an Mining Station, and the Prey was this Big Asteroid. But then with War, they took what they could, and ran for it. The Asteroid, is perhaps the Live Section with Gravity and while he is “empty” they now need to farm outside in the space

      Well, that whould be my background from thin air

  4. Pretty good first episode!
    I’ve read a bit a head in the manga while looking at what’s what this season and I gotta say the body count rises pretty quickly and pretty highly in this one (like, SnK levels ><). Even in the few chapters I've read.
    Liking the OST so far. Really fits the spacey setting.
    Also, surprisingly, not much to complain about the CGI as the background art and the mechs looks great and it preserves the …well, minimalistic drawing style of the characters form the manga.
    But Man, Nagate is one unlucky dude, getting his ass kicked all the time 😀
    Shame they didn't animate the Show Spoiler ▼

      1. Well, I’ll agree that the episode was better off without it since it would add too much slapstick to an overall serious episode but it doesn’t change the fact that I’d still enjoy seeing it. And probably laugh heartily too 😉

    1. Agreed, it better not animated. I like that the director rearrange, smoothen out, show important points, and fix inconsistencies of the manga.

      The Urinary Catheter was not animated too…

  5. Finally another good piece of sci-fi anime with believable elements (i.e. genetic engineering). The only annoying bit is the CG, but it’s largely constrained to character movement and expressions. Once you get past that it’s actually amazing how well it works here.

    Definitely going to keep watching this to see where it goes, I’m a sucker for anything dystopic and bleak (now back to rereading the Draka trilogy).

    1. YES! A-la Matrix. At least that’s what I’m assuming it’s like in this show. It really makes sense too. When you get too old your mind goes, but if your body is kept alive it can be a good source of energy.

  6. If there was one thing that stood out for me personally, it was the audio. Dear lord the audio effects were amazing. I was using my studio headphones thinking it was going to be like every other anime, but the bass and some of the soundfx were just stunning. I got goosebumps towards the end… And then the credits kicked in, I shall spare my monitor this time! >_<;

    The CGI is good, but can be improved in certain areas like the character's talking sometimes looks weird since their lips don't match up. I do agree with Germanguy though that the colors also seem off (in some cases).

    There was also what feels like a few skips, lots of questions being piled up and they have an amazing ship/people, so I'm hoping for some juicy lore.

    Overall, I REALLY enjoyed the episode regardless. If they can keep up/improve the quality of the CGI that would awesome, but I am looking forward to more Type 17 action.

  7. Solid, old-school creditable sci-fi that don’t have moe or lolis (at least, for now) to pander the spoon-fed idiots? I truly like it. While not as good as Arpeggio’s (may be for the darker setting), the CGI works with the character designs, but is with the Guardians and the Gaunas where it shows all it’s potential.

    BTW, Satomi Arai as Fa Yuiri in Z Gundam: A New Translation is her only serious role, ever.

    1. There is a moe character – Tsumugi, but it won’t appear in the anime, at least not in this season (first appearance in Ch30). Great character and extremely lovable.
      There are also a few ‘loli’ characters and they have already appeared and spoken. It’s scary what advanced bio-engineering and medical science can do.

      1. Hahahahahha omfg you’re calling Tsumugi the “moe” character! It’s hilarious because it’s true… in a sense. Hahahahahahahaha moe indeed. I can’t wait until they introduce her. Unfortunately it’ll probably be a long ways off.

      2. Tsumugi is the proof that Moe-ness does not require Big Puppy Eyes, Loli-esque pint-sized stature, or even resemblance to Humans…

        She’s The Best Girl of the series, Hands Down. After all, she’s
        Show Spoiler ▼

  8. I was happy with the CG in Ars Nova, but for some reason, the CG in this rubbed me really wrong.
    I was very turned off by the animation, to the point that I’m not sure if I can tolerate watching another ep (I may instead just go find the books).

    1. Yeah, the “Human alike” movements/animations was sometimes not good. as if the FPS broke down while rendering the scenes.. Remember the 25 FPS or better 30 FPS from the Animes, for the Human eyes to fake “human” movements

  9. Completely 3DCGI rendered eh? This isn’t a big problem since i loved Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio but here it really just bugged me. The characters movements aren’t very fluid most of the time and the design makes everyone look a little TOO realistic with very little detail put into how each individual looks to top it off. As a person who spazzes out over animation (as good as Ping Pong the animation is the art style is just to much for me) this kind of hurts my enjoyment of it because everything just looks so awkward and takes me right out of the immersion. Arpeggio at least made the characters look more appealing which allowed me to overlook the 3DCGI but here it’s all i can think about. It doesn’t really feel like i’m watching an anime anymore it feels like i’m watching some really choppy rotoscoped movie.

    Everything else is ok for the most part but really until japan can improve on the smoothness of the characters movements and facial expressions i can’t see myself welcoming this approach to anime.

  10. Ok, i’m sold. While i’ve got to admit that the character’s movements looked incredibly awkward due to being CG, i can easily overlook that since the premiere was absolutely fantastic. It has done a great job at establishing the premise, worldbuilding, and characters. Nothing yet to blow my mind, but this one looks very promising and i’ll definitely watch it till the end.

  11. This was a nice surprise. The CG bugged me a bit (Arpeggio’s was way better, in my opinion) but the premise and the setup of the actual world itself? Top notch. Sidonia’s manages to create quite an interesting setting for itself, one that feels suitably futuristic while looking quite realistic at the same time. The protagonists’s situation helps us ease into this world, there’s already hints at the bigger plot behind the alien fights and the aliens themselves look delightfully creepy.

    So far, this is the mech show that impressed me the most so far this season (and it might be the only one I stick with if Captain Planet doesn’t pan out). Let’s hope the rest of the show will live up to this potential.

  12. Nagate falling into the rice thrasher was part of the source materials and Bear characters in Nihei’s manga aren’t just for fun, they do play a serious role.

    The anime made a corrected some of the inconsistency in the early chapters and reshuffled materials from later chapters to produce a more comprehensive introduction. There are still a lot of world building to do, Sidonia’s settings is more complex than most Sci-fi series. Physics still applies (most of the time), especially Newton’s law of motion. Most things are either believable (such as genetic engineering) or well explained (e.g. why they need to kill Gauna with a spear and not just shoot them).

    The sound effect is great, though much of it is lost in the highly compressed fansubs floating around. Why can’t Netflix simulcast it like others.

  13. Sidonia’s creator is mangaka Nihei Tsutomu, known for his dystopian/transhumanist story themes.
    Nihei: http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20130418190235/marveldatabase/images/6/65/Tsutomu_Nihei.jpg

    Giant, sprawling building constructs are a trademark in Nihei’s works, a carryover from his architectural studies.

    The source manga is ongoing at 12 volumes.

    1. You wanna say, that this is the “holy mother” or in Sekirei this is Nr.00? She is one of the Original Crew Members and all others are Offsprings or Clones in different Generations?

  14. Sidonia is unusual for a mecha series in its lack of mechs variations. Type 17 and Type 18 looks almost identical. Every pilot get the same mech. No fancy custom kit, fancy paint scheme, or fancy specialized close quarter/fire support variants.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    This is what one would expect from a serious military unit. The multiple custom models seen in other shows would be a logistical nightmare. However, having only one (or two) model means they won’t sell many gunpla, so well done to the author for not bowing to the commercial pressure.

    1. There’s a funny anecdote on how the design of the mechs occurred. The author was going to learn how to use 3D design software but after having attempted to make a simple biplane he realized that it was a huge timesuck just to learn how to use the software! So, he grabbed a whole pile of model kitsets and spent time assembling different pieces from different kits together before he finally came up with his design.

    1. Well, at last they looks like they are all independent. And not sharing all the same Mind and thougts… Also we have here not Evagelion. Where clone bodys only life with 1 Soul

  15. Hrm. I LOVE the story.

    I’ll keep watching in spite of the at-times awkward and *really* unnatural CG. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it was a mess. (I kept waiting for characters to pull off their rubber masks… oh, those are meant to be their faces, huh?) At times the CG was good, at times it was terribad.

    CG worked for Ars Nova and Straight Title Robot Anime. For this? I dunno. I hope they can convince me in later episodes with better work.

    The rest of the art direction, like the backgrounds, is great. I love how everything looks a little worn-out and beat-up, right down to the space suits.

  16. I think they skipped like a smidgeon of the intro regarding Hiroki, but everything else was flawless! 9/10 AOT Certified!

    I am so glad that they were at least mostly faithful. The CGI isn’t bad, I just gotta get used to it, Blue Steel was the only other anime I saw where the CGI was so blatant.

    https://randomc.net/image/Sidonia%20no%20Kishi/Sidonia%20no%20Kishi%20-%2001%20-%2023.jpg Hiyama is hands down my third favorite character after Izana and Nagate.

    So much hype after watching this episode, all aboard, choo choo motherfuckers, choo choo!

  17. They smoothed and sped up Tanikaze’s integration into Sidonia’s Guardian corps to fit into one episode but other than that it has been quite faithful to the source. As a reader of the manga and a huge Nihei fan this is my most anticipated show of this season.

    The CG works for me, it is a type of animation that suits Nihei’s style. If anything the characters in the show are more distinct than in the manga since expressiveness and facial variety is not Nihei’s greatest strength.

    And I got a kick out of the fact the OP is a patriotic Sidonian war song. Nice touch.

  18. Oh, notice the Intermission? The Pictures are from “100 Sights of Sidonia” basically a Guide Book about interesting sites around the Generation Ship. In the Manga, It’s used on the Chapter Title. You can imagine how the series would have looked if its not CG…

    1. That would make an almost dialogueless anime of Killy walking, walking, and walking, wandering through endless maze for episodes, interspersed with Killy blasting Graviton Beam Emmiter through 70 miles of solid whatever material that constitute a Dyson Sphere…

      Its like a Perpetual Texhnolyze Ep 1 for many episodes, and would end with most viewers having no clue whatsoever what actually happened (me included, when I read the Manga).

    2. x2.
      There have been anime shorts of Blame! but I’ve wondered why no one wants to tackle the whole series. So long as Killy has a sidekick like Cibo or the guy stuck in the data device there was plenty of dialogue. Come to think about it, who need dialogue when you can let your GBE do the talking?

  19. The 3rd sex… Did they splice flatworm genome into humans? Because by default… Flatworms are both male/female. They only become gender specific if one of them wins and the other looses the penis fencing.

    1. Could be any number of things, but considering we have only seen “females” so far represented as this third “sex”, best bet is protogynious species like wrasses which are born female, but can convert their reproductive system to that of a male’s. Otherwise looking at purely bidirectional hermaphrodites that possess both sets of reproductive organs, but uses only the one required, often determined through a social hierarchy (which conveniently fits with Kishi’s world as well).

      Never knew those physiology classes would come in handy one of these days 😛

      1. Speaking of that, I do recall one lizard that is a hermaphrodite. The entire population is female and if I recall correctly, the oldest (or was it the dominant one), could change it’s sex to male.

        When that dies, the next in line replaces as the male.

    2. Guys, you never saw “Simoun”? Where Peoples until reach a certain Age, they then chose what Gender they want? Female or Male? But then, there was War too

      So, this 3rd Sex, is not that new.

  20. I’ll force myself to watch this because this was a good story… But Cripes, the CGI. It takes a lot of fun out of watching the show because it’s such an eye sore.

  21. can someone explain me these Kanjis under the Pictures?

    Blood pressure? Brainwaves? and Pulse? but the “37” what is that?

    Yes, i think this are the Vital signs of Human. But i want to be sure. because i am just guessing

    Why? the Red one is in Fear or Shock, and her Blood pressure is high because of the Fear and Hurting (i guess)

  22. oh, and a Tip from me. Be careful with the Numbers of the Pilots.

    Because your spoiling in the OP that Nr. 291 will at last survive this first attack, or she/he would not live that long to appear in the OP

    But then, with the Numbers, you give us the Fans a easier way to remember the “Hero”. Just remember his/her Number…

  23. Wow, this episode impressed me a lot. The way they were able to integrate so many sci-fi elements so seamlessly without actually directly explaining it was great. There’s a lot of interesting material here to be explored, and I actually like the CGI here. It looks gritty and it seems a lot more immersive. Definitely watching this from now on.

  24. When I imagine Tsutomu’s work, it must look at least depressing and kinda raw. But Sidonia isn’t like that, it has gags! I can’t remember a gag in BLAME or Biomega… but KoS have lots of it. The CGI was well done, though I don’t see that many series using it (I tried the new Appleseed, dropped in 10 minutes, dunno why though. Arpeggio is ok!). Nice job so far. Let’s hope it can keep up with the weird story that Sidonia is :D.

    And, of course, Tsutomu Nihei’s work must have a talking bear. It is also something I imagine in his own work desk, talking to him while he’s drawing some dark stuff…

    1. The only thing that I thought of as funny in Blame was when Killy kills the silicon creature observer in the giant room even though the creature wasn’t a threat then his companion goes “Wth dude?”.

  25. My problem with the show is the clunkiness of the facial CGI and some of the figure motion. Not even close to state of the art (and I don’t mean cutting edge), by that I mean standard available capabilities. Given the rest of the animation is very good IMO, it’s rather disapointing.

  26. Ep 02:

    This OVA Feeling is gone. Now you feel like an Anime.
    The Flashbacks to cover some on the missing Parts the Fans posted here, was well played. See, right played it can Help to build background.

    And our MC is not an Super hero right from the Start. Good, but dont make him to much helpless

    Oh, like all predict the Death Flag, you where right. But with help of Flashbacks they give her more background. They gave her more deep as just to be a cannon fodder or a number in this War.

    So, my suggestion for a “subplot”. Why did the MC must go into Hiding in the underground, and what forbidden to get on the “surface”? That’s a nice little secret we have here. But you should focus on the Action. This reeks of old “power Play company” plot, and is not interesting Right now

    This Enemy’s… Well… I just wait more Episodes, until i begin. I have a good idea, what truly they are…


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