I love Nihei Tsutomi’s work, as strange and raw as it is – he’s a rare talent with a unique style and vision. In Knights of Sidonia he depicts a setting with many characters interacting with each other – new ground, as his previous work typically depicts lone wanders through bleak landscapes.
The Sidonia is a huge ship carrying the remnants of humanity on a multigenerational voyage away from an Earth attacked and ruined by the nigh-indestructible Gauna, bizarre alien beings. The main character Tanikaze is a rare non-photosynthesising non-clone raised by his grandfather in a closed section of the ship, discovering the wider world for the first time.
There are a huge mass of interesting little details about the society and technology of Sidonia that distinguish it from other “adrift in space” shows. There’s also plenty of mysterious backstory, many characters with their own strange agendas, and the threatening Gauna whom the Sidonia is running into again.
Nihei’s drawing style contains a lot of sketching lines, but the anime is 100% CGI, an unusual decision that I think works, particularly with the weird Gauna.
The story covers a number of significant events, including betrayals, deaths, discoveries, and technological advancement, and the first season finishes with a bang. The second season is currently airing and so far it’s just as fascinating.