Nagate Tanikaze lives in a world very different from our own. For a long time he’s lived with his grandfather and believes they’re the last humans in existence. But when his grandfather dies and Nagate goes exploring, trying to find something to eat, he soon discovers other humans. He thinks the other humans will hurt him (well, specifically he thinks they’ll turn him into manure), but he doesn’t have to worry. The humans have much bigger concerns than a weird man like Nagate.
Because these humans are in danger. Our solar system has been destroyed by freaky, tentacle-wielding aliens called Gauna. Gauna are difficult to kill, very mysterious and seem to be bent on nothing more than finishing off the remnants of humanity.
Nagate is on a spaceship called Sidonia and soon joins the battle against the Gauna. He meets a few other people onboard the ship, and while he does interact with them, the concentration is on the action much more than on character quirks or development. There are multiple outer space battles and backgrounds of starry vastness. It’d be interesting to get to know the Gauna as more than just monsters, and one scene has the musing idea that maybe Gauna don’t want to hurt us and just aren’t able to communicate. All the destruction seems to imply otherwise, yet that possibility is still thrown out there. The end of the first volume teases that more clues might be just around the corner.
Knights of Sidonia comes from mangaka Tsutomu Nihei, who is also behind the very successful manga BLAME! (also from Vertical), which was recently turned into an anime via Netflix. Knights of Sidonia was Netflix’s very first original anime (though it doesn’t count as a “full” original from Netflix), and it can also be obtained through Sentai Filmworks. Vertical is releasing a new Master Edition of the manga, and it’s impressive packaging. (This is not the first time the manga has been available through Vertical, but the deluxe style is brand-new.) Coming in at 400 pages, more than ten inches in length and including multiple pages in color, there’s a reason it’s called the “master” edition. This would be great for fans of the anime, and can also be of interest to fans of action-filled science fiction manga, particularly if readers like the space opera genre.
Story & Art: Tsutomu Nihei
Danica Davidson, along with Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya, is the author of Manga Art for Intermediates. In addition to showing how to draw manga character types in detail, the book describes how professional Japanese manga creators work, including common techniques and what drawing utensils they use.