Knights of Sidonia
|Knights of Sidonia|
(Shidonia no Kishi)
|Genre||Adventure, Mecha, Space Opera, Real Robot, Military Science Fiction, Romance|
|Written by||Tsutomu Nihei|
|Original run||April 25, 2009 – ongoing|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Kobun Shizuno, Hiroyuki Seshita|
|Written by||Sadayuki Murai|
|Music by||Noriyuki Asakura|
|Original run||Spring 2014 – Scheduled|
Knights of Sidonia (シドニアの騎士 Shidonia no Kishi?) is a manga series by Tsutomu Nihei, published by Kodansha in their magazine Afternoon. The manga series has been published in English in North America by Vertical. An anime adaptation has been announced.
The story is set in a distant future, a thousand years after humans flee from Earth, which was supposedly destroyed by shapeshifting gigantic alien monsters called Gauna (奇居子?), aboard massive spaceships created from the remains of the planet. One of said ships is Sidonia, which has developed its own human culture closely based on that of Japan where human cloning, asexual reproduction, human engineering such as controlled hybrid human/animal mutations and human photosynthesis are commonplace, and is arguably the last human settlement remaining as the fate of the other ships is unknown. Little is known about the true nature of the Gauna or the huge ship they board to pursue Sidonia. Each Gauna has its core protected by a huge mass of seemingly impenetrable material known as the "placenta", and once the placenta is shed away and the core is wounded beyond repair, the Gauna's body disintegrates.
Sidonia is defended by large mechanized weapons called Guardians (衛人 Morito?) whose weaponry and mobility is powered by "Higgs particles", armed with a high output cannon for long range assaults and a special blade known as "Kabizashi" for close combat, which is made of the same material that forms the Gauna's placenta. Most people in the surviving human population are screened and drafted as Guardian pilots at a young age, if they are shown to be capable of piloting them.
The story follows the exploits of Nagate Tanikaze, who lived in the underground layer of Sidonia since birth, 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 is found by the rest of the population and after being tested in a new simulator he is selected as a Guardian pilot, in hopes of defending Sidonia from the Gauna's attack using his incredible combat skills.
- Nagate Tanikaze (谷風 長道 Tanikaze Nagate?)
- Voiced by: Ryōta Ōsaka
- The series main protagonist who was raised by his grandfather deep inside Sidonia, thus he did not underwent the special genetic treatment to develop the ability to sustain himself through photosynthesis and must eat on a daily basis like a regular human for nutrition. Despite having a hard time adapting to Sidonia's way of life and gaining the trust of his peers, he eventually becomes famous for being the first to fight and first to kill a gauna during the current conflict and for rescue of Hoshijiro. He was appointed to full pilot status after the Kabizashi recovery mission along with Kunato, En, and Hoshijiro. However, his appointment contain a unique clause that required him to take part in every combat mission, which can be consider a death sentence for most pilots. Tanikaze became squad leader for the asteroid mission, his squad included Izana and Ren.
- Tanikaze and Hoshijiro began a relationship shortly before her death and was deeply affected by it. He had a special relationship with Hoshijiro derived gaunas such as G490 (Hawk Moth), G491(Pilot placenta captured and stored in ETL), and Tsumugi. Hoshijiro also often appears in his dream.
- Initially, Nagate piloted an older but capable Series 17 Guardian mecha called "Tsugumori" (継衛?) instead of the standard issued Series 18. He later became a test pilot for new weapons built by Toha Heavy Industries. Nagate was one of the test pilots for Series 19 (the other being Samari). He currently pilots the only Series 20.
- It was revealed that Nagate's grandfather was in fact the war hero Hiroki Saito and Nagate was a clone of his designed to be a replacement for his aged body. However, Hiroki decided to have a natural death and raised Nagate by himself instead. Nagate's personal history is classified and only known to a few, such as Captain Kobayashi, Hiyama, and Yure Shinatose. This information was not known even to Nagate himself. Saito started training Tanikaze since an early age using old simulators built for the Tsugumori. The simulators contained simulations for many advanced weapons that was subsequently cancelled. Tanikaze was able to instantly recognised some of 'new' Toha weapons due to his training in the underground simulator. He also had simulator training for some systems that has yet to be completed. He said he had beaten Saito in the simulator since he was six and was shown to have maxed out the simulator's score counter. However, his ranking was 'outside range' when he trained with the series 18's simulator. Tanikaze piloted Unit No. 704.
- Izana Shinatose (科戸瀬 イザナ Shinatose Izana?)
- Voiced by: Aki Toyosaki
- Belonging to a new, hermaphrodite third gender that originated during the hundred of years of human emigration into space, Shinatose is also a Guardian pilot and quickly becomes Nagate's best friend, constantly following him and eventually moving to his house. Later it is revealed that she can switch her body to become fully male or female according to her chosen partner and considers becoming a female out of feelings for Nagate. She has lost an arm and a leg in combat and had them replaced with two automated, prosthetic limbs. She piloted unit 723
- Shizuka Hoshijiro (星白 閑 Hoshijiro Shizuka?)
- Voiced by: Aya Suzaki
- A fellow Guardian Pilot who Nagate meets and becomes his love interest. Ranked number two among the trainee, she is one of the first to befriend Tanikaze. She helped him escape the Sidonia heavy mass cannon attack during the first mission and supported him in the infirmary. When she was set a drift in space after her Guardian's engine malfunctioned, Tanikaze went to rescue her despite knowing he doesn't have enough fuel to return. They spent two weeks in his guardian before being rescued by a massive 256 gardes claps array.
- She was killed during the demolition mission and absorbed by the Gauna. Her consciousness is replicated inside a Guardian-like entity called Hawk Moth. She piloted unit 702
- Hawk Moth (紅天蛾 Benisuzume?)
- After Hoshijiro was killed in the demolition mission, she was absorbed by gauna. This created three guardian-like gauna, numbered G489, G490, and G491. G489 and G491 was quickly destroyed, but G490 was very powerful and can wipe out entire platoon of series 18 single handedly. It fought Tanikaze on multiple occasions. Like other Hoshijiro derived gauna, G490 had a special attachment to Tanikaze. Normally, the pilot is quickly killed when placenta invade Guadian cockpit, but G490 formed a Hoshijiro placenta in Tanikaze's cockpit and attemped it kiss him before G490's core was destroyed.
- Yuhata Midorikawa (緑川 纈 Midorikawa Yuhata?)
- Friend, classmate and rival of Izana. She served as assistant commander in guardian operation onboard Sidonia (vol.4) and eventually captain of the tactical frigate Mizuki. Yuhata is the sister of Midorikawa of the elite Akai Mochikuni squad. She transferred into 628th pilot trainee group and met Tanikaze to thank him for avenging her brother. Unlike her classmates, she went on to work as bridge staff and eventually becoming assistant commander. Yuhata has an interest in building gunpla, and has a large collection of model guardians in her room. She lives with Izana, Nagate and Tsumugi.
- Tsumugi Shiraui (白羽衣 つむぎ Shiraui Tsumugi?)
- A gauna/human hybrid created by Kunato Heavy Industries for fighting against the Gauna. Similar in size and appearance to a guardian, but having a gauna-like appearance, her prowess in combat is rivaled only by Nagate's. She becomes friends with Nagate and Izana, usually interacting with them at their house by a tentacle she sneaks by the vent system while her main body stays at her hangar. Later it is revealed that Tsumugi was created from a sample of a Gauna with Shizuka's DNA.
- Norio Kunato (岐神 海苔夫 Kunato Norio?)
- Voiced by: Takahiro Sakurai
- A fellow male Guardian pilot with long white hair, and the primary human antagonist. Norio ranked first during pilot training and had little respect for other trainee. Norio became extremely jealous of Nagate after Nagate was given the Tsugumori unit and then gained fame for being the first to fight and kill a gauna in recent years and for his rescue of Hoshijiro. During the demolition mission, he switched his guardian communication from one-to-all to one-to-one with Tanikaze unit, and issued the detonation command. Tanikaze obeyed and thus detonated his charges prematurely as the other units did not receive the command. His action caused the death of Hoshijiro and series injury to En, but succeed in framing Tanikaze for it. He also tried to dig up Tanikaze personal history, but failed to find anything interesting.
- When he planned to quit piloting, Tanikaze went to meet him. Tanikaze admitted he can never forgive Norio, but Norio is part of the Sidonia he loved and he wanted Norio to stay. Norio was shown to be in tears after Tanikaze left. He was killed soon after, when he entered the forbidden labs left by Ochiai. His body was taken over by Ochiai. Norio piloted unit 701.
- Eiko Yamano (山野 栄子 Yamano Eiko?)
- Voiced by: Nanako Mori
- A female Guardian pilot with brown hair who supports Nagate in his first mission outside Sidonia.
- Numi Tahiro (田寛 ヌミ Tahiro Numi?)
- A female scientist with glasses who befriends both Nagate and Shinatose later in the series and gives them important information regarding the Gauna.
- En Honoka (仄 焔 Honoka En?)
- Voiced by: Eri Kitamura
- Oldest of the Honoka sisters. En graduated from pilot training with Tanikaze, Hoshijiro and Kunato. She sustained serious injury during the demolition mission, in which Hoshijiro was killed, and was unconscious for a extended period of time. She is more aggressive toward Tanikaze and beaten him up multiple times. She is often seen with Ren. Pilot unit 703
- Ren Honoka (仄 煉 Honoka Ren?)
- Voiced by: Eri Kitamura
- One of the Honoka sisters. She is often seen with En. She acts more friendly towards Tanikaze than En. She believed Tanikaze premature detonation during the demolition mission was caused by a comm malfunction. She and Hou replaced En and Hoshijiro in the Kunato squad after the demolition mission. Of all the Honaka sisters, Ren has the most interaction with Tanikaze and often fly with him on missions, and even saving him on a few occasions. Ren piloted unit 706
- Ro Honoka (仄 炉 Honoka Ro?) , Hō Honoka (仄 烽 Honoka Hō?)
- Voiced by: Eri Kitamura
- Two of the four named Honoka sisters out of eleven. Honoka sisters are all Guardian pilots. They are long haired albino females who appear identical due to being human clones. Ro ranked fourth in the simulator training, just behind her sister En. Hou piloted unit 705 and was killed by one of the Hoshijiro guardian gauna.
- Shou Honoka (仄 炒 Honoka Shou?)
- Introduced as the 22nd Honoka sister. She's from the second batch of eleven. She was killed and absorbed by gauna. Her gauna form is a 17m tall humanoid that looks almost identical to her human form except for size. Unlike Hoshijiro's gauna, Shou gauna remained fully concious and retained Shou's memory. It was unaware of herself being a gauna until meeting another gauna based on a guardian. Her gauna form was destroyed by Ren.
- Captain Kobayashi (小林艦長 Kobayashi-kanchō?)
- Voiced by: Sayaka Ohara
- The mysterious female captain of the Sidonia spaceship who commands the Guardians against the Gauna's attacks. Known to most just as "The 28th Generation Captain", her face appears concealed behind a Japanese Kabuki mask most of the time and so far only a few people (including Nagate) had seen it. Six centuries before the start of the series, Kobayashi was a guardian pilot who took part in the mission that discovered Kabi, the grain like object that forms the tip of Kabizashi spear and the only mean to piece Gauna core until invention of the synthetic kabi GCPDS rounds. Her group became the first destroyed a Gauna core and was haled as heroes. She started researching immortality after she became captain. She has a hobby of dressing up and pretending to be ordinary crew member, such as a nurse and inn proprietress.
- Yure Shinatose (科戸瀬 ユレ Shinatose Yure?)
- Izana's grandmother and a immortal crew member. Dr Shinatose was the scientist who devised the plan to repopulate Sidonia after its population was devastated in the Fourth Defensive War. The goal was to repopulated Sidonia with a population to 500,000 in six generations. This plan included genetic engineering that allowed new generations to photosynthesis, thereby reducing demand on food resource. She also created Saito's immortal clone based on instruction from Kobayashi. She wears a helmet with two long antenna when she is performing her duties as immortal crew. Izana, her grandchild, does not know he true identity.
- Lala Hiyama (ヒ山 ララァ Hiyama Rarā?)
- Voiced by: Satomi Arai
- A female human/bear hybrid who serves as "dorm mother" taking care of Nagate's living quarters and making his food until he starts living by himself. Former guardian pilot, security chief, and member of the immortal crew. She lost her right arm six century ago during the mission that discovered the Kabi. Lalah helped Saito escape with the new born Tanikaze. She hated being called by her first name and turn savage if anyone called her Lalah. The only exception is Saito (and Tanikaze due to his resemblance with his grandfather).
- It's reviewed in Ch.50 that her bear skin is a life support suit that support her real body inside, and she will die if she is taken out of the bear suit. The end of Vol.6 Ch.29 contain a drawing of a human female pilot with a name badge that read Lalah Hiyama.
- Hiroki Saito (斎藤 ヒロキ Saito Hiroki?)
- Tanikaze's grandfather who taught Tanikaze how to pilot guardians. Saito was Sidonia's former ace pilot and member of the ship's immortal crew. He took part in the mission that discovered Kabi six centuries before the start of the series and saved Sidonia from complete destruction during the closing days of the Fourth Defensive War. He was not seen for 80 years before Captain Koyabashi found him severely aged. Saito was said to be tired of fighting and has stopped taking anti-ageing medication. Since his experience was deemed too valuable to the ship, a new immortal clone body was created for him for a brain transplant. However, before the clone has matured enough for transplant, he took Dr Shinatose hostage and forced her to take the clone out of the amniotic tank prematurely. He escaped deep inside Sidonia with his clone, where he bought up it as his grandson.
- Professor Ochiai (科学者落合 Kagakusha Ochiai?)
- Voiced by: Takehito Koyasu
- A scientist who lived decades before and was a researcher on the gaunas behavior and biology. He once tried to create a gauna/human hybrid which almost caused the destruction of all Sidonia. Later his mind is transferred to Kunato's body and he resumes his research, leading to the advent of Tsumugi and Kanata.
- Mochikuni Akai (赤井 持国 Akai Mochikuni?)
- Leader of the Akai squad. He was the youngest Gravity Cup winner and held it for 13 successive cups. The other squad members are Momose, Aoki and Midorikowa. Akai squad was known as the strongest on Sidonia. Akai squad Gaurdians and space suit were the only ones shown to be painted in colours other than white. Akai's Unit 01 was red, Momose Unit 02 was pink, Aoki's unit 03 was red, and Midorikowa's unit 04 was green. The pilots worn matching space suit.
- Unlike the snobbish Kunato, Akai and his squad were kind to Tanikaze, and invited him and Izana to dinner before setting off to the gauna suppression mission.
- The Akai squad were wiped out during the suppression mission and left two Kabizashi spear adrift in space. One of which was recovered by the Kunato trainee squad. Tanikaze on the recover squad destroyed the gauna using the recovered Kabizashi, and became the first to destroyed a gauna core in the current conflict.
- Samari (サマリ イッタン Samari ittan?)
- Leader of the Samari squad. The original Samari squad was the second strongest squad on Sidonia after the Akai squad. A senior pilot and one of the test pilot for Series 19. She suffered PTSD after the asteroid mission leaving her unable to sortie. Tanikaze had to pilot her Series 19 prototype for Series 19's first combat mission. Samari's Series 19 was automated beyond Series 18 making it unsuitable for Tanikaze. Samari piloted Unit 005.
- Tonami (土浪?)
- Member of the original Samari squad. He claimed he was the best on Sidonia after the Akai squad was KIA. We was killed by his Higgs particle canon after it was reflected by a gauna. Tonami piloted unit 006
- Tsuruchi (弦打?)
- Leader of the Tsuruchi squad and former member of the Samari squad. He is a comic relief character. He is a pervert and often make perverted comments. Nevertheless he is a skilled pilot. Tsuruchi piloted unit 007.
- Seii (勢威 一郎 Seii Ichirō?)
- Leader of the Seii squad. He was the former assistant commander before passing his post to Midorikowa. One of the more serious pilot. Seii piloted unit 026
- Chief Sasaki (佐々木 Sasaki?)
- Head of Toha Heavy Industries R&D. A tall woman with a pony tail. She has a fearsome reputation and often annoyed with Tanikaze for bring back his guardian damaged. She proceeded to strangle Tanikaze with a wrench when he wrecked the Tsugumori during the asteroid mission. She also beat up Tsuruchi after he made comments about her.
- Shinsuki Tanaba (丹波 新輔 Tanba shinsuke?)
- A Toha mechanics. He was made redundant after Kunato began production of Series 18 as there were no need for hand-crafted parts. Sasaki brought him back to Toha when it was restarted 10 year ago. He commented before the series 19's first sortie that Samari's unit isn't suitable for Tanikaze, because it was automated beyond a Series 18, while Tanikaze needed a unit that feels like an extension of his body.
- Kanata (かなた?)
- A second gauna/human hybrid far more powerful than Tsumugi, but mentally unstable, thus her body is fully restrained until further notice.
The manga is written and illustrated by Tsutomu Nihei. It debuted in Kodansha magazine Afternoon's June issue in 2009. Since then, 11 tankōbon have been released. The manga has been licensed in North America by Vertical, who released the first seven volumes in English volume between February 5, 2013, and February 11, 2014.
An anime television series adaptation, produced by Polygon Pictures, has been announced. The series will be directed by Kobun Shizuno and Hiroyuki Seshita, with scripts by Sadayuki Murai and character design by Yuki Moriyama. The series will also be localized and streamed by Netflix at all its territories in Summer 2014.
The manga was ranked #47 in Oricon Charts on October 30, 2013 with an estimate of 20,934 copies sold. Carlos 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 its 2014 list of Top 10 Graphic Novels for Teens.
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- Nihei, Tsutomu. Knight of Sidonia Vol. 4. Vertical Inc, New York. ISBN 9781935654896.
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