Mamiko NotoAya SuzakiOsamu SakaKnights of Sidonia
Knights of Sidonia: Love Woven in the Stars
Also known as: Sidonia no Kishi: Ai Tsumugu Hoshi
Medium: film
Year: 2021
Director: Hiroyuki Seshita, Tadahiro Yoshihira
Writer: Sadayuki Murai, Tetsuya Yamada
Original creator: Noriyuki Asakura
Actor: Aki Toyosaki, Atsuko Tanaka, Aya Suzaki, Ayane Sakura, Eri Kitamura, Hisako Kanemoto, Inori Minase, Kosuke Toriumi, Mamiko Noto, Miho Okasaki, Osamu Saka, Rina Sato, Ryota Ohsaka, Satomi Arai, Sayaka Ohara, Takahiro Sakurai, Takako Honda, Takehito Koyasu, Tomohiro Tsuboi, Yuma Uchida, Yuto Uemura
Keywords: Knights of Sidonia, SF, anime, mecha
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 109 minutes
Website category: Anime 2021
Review date: 30 May 2024
Sidonia no Kishi 2021 movie
Knights of Sidonia? They made more of it? Wow. And this is its conclusion?
Manga fans say it's almost exactly the same as the manga's ending, but more rushed. They should probably have made a third season, but a movie's better than nothing. Here's all the Sidonia-related anime I've been able to dig up:
1. Season One (2014, twelve episodes) = has a classic theme song by "angela" and CGI animation by Polygon Pictures so bad that I assumed the humans were meant to be aliens. They're in a spaceship, after all. This rationalisation turned the show's uncanny valley into a feature and made it my favourite CGI anime by Polygon Pictures.
2. Compilation film of the first season, except with additional scenes and re-edited sound effects (2015). I don't think I've seen this. Can't remember offhand. Maybe I have.
3. Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet Nine, i.e. Season Two (2015, twelve episodes). I loved it because of Tsumugi.
4. This film (2021), which concludes the story. It's not another compilation movie, but instead effectively Season Three.
5. If you think this counts... there's a set-in-the-same-universe manga called Blame! (probably better transliterated as BLAM!) by the same chap, which got six short OVAs in 2003, some even shorter net animations in 2007 and a full Polygon Pictures CGI movie in 2017. I haven't seen any of these and I don't plan to. Apparently, the CGI-rendered setting is amazing and the storyline is formulaic.
Anyway, the 2021 film's core is the Tsumugi-Tanikaze love story, with everything else being space fighter worldship alien space gubbins. There's nothing wrong with that and it's all very serious and impressive, but it's all what you'd think... but it lacks resolution. The Gauna exterminated mankind on Earth and the survivors fled into space. Okay. The Gauna are still chasing them. Why? Who are they? No idea. What do they want? Don't ask me. Are they even sentient? That's a tough question. Do the humans wipe out their enemies? Not as far as I can tell. This film's happy ending is simply "we've settled on a planet", which we know is no protection against Gauna.
Similarly, Ochiai's an underwhelming villain. The film had an opportunity to explore the science, origins and psychology of the Gauna and do something interesting with Ochiai's nature as a scientist... but ultimately he's just another baddie.
I don't mind, though. They got the important thing right. Tanikaze is the protagonist and the humans' best space pilot. Tsumugi is a 15 metre tall death machine and half-Gauna, half-schoolgirl. She can blast through an enemy fleet, then put one of her phallic tentacles into a kimono and send it on a date with Tanikaze at a festival. She can blush, although anyone nearby will need a heat suit. I love her. She's wonderful. Some fans dislike the Tanikaze-Tsumugi pairing because they'd been cheering for Tanikaze-Izana... well, I disagree and I'm delighted with this film's choices. Tsumugi is the best, funniest and most distinctive thing in this series and you'll probably remember her long after you've forgotten that the rest of it even existed.
The CGI animation is much better, despite being theoretically unchanged. Polygon Pictures had kept their old computer models, after all. It's just data on a hard drive. Why not? It's so much better rendered and animated, though, that the cast seem like people. The brief fanservice shots are sexy, for instance, instead of looking like posed plastic dolls.
I still like the worldbuilding. These people believe in cloning, gender-bending, etc. The ship's captain is over 700 years old. Ultimately, though, what's cool here is the whimsical, weird love story, e.g. Tsumugi playing in water like a schoolgirl at the beach and creating a torrential downpour. I'll probably do a big Sidonia rewatch one day. It's the Polygon Pictures series I like.