The Infinite Zenith

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Tag Archives: Sidonia no Kishi

Spring 2015 Anime

“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.” —Albert Einstein

They say that time flies when one is having fun, and two months into the winter academic term, I’ve finally gotten into the swing of things for the term’s schedule, which features far more evenings on campus than the previous term. Now that we’re onto the last week of February, we’re alsopast the halfway point for the Winter 2015 season. With the Vernal Equinox in less than a month, it’s would seem prudent to begin looking at what Spring 2015 has to offer with respect to anime. As noted in earlier posts, I’m barely managing to keep up with the Winter 2015 season, partly owing to my schedule and partly because there are several good anime, with ShirobakoIdolM@ster: Cinderella Girls, Kantai CollectionSaekano A,and Aldnoah.Zero amongst the list of things I’m watching. With the exception of IdolM@ster, I’m reasonably on top of all the shows and anticipate being able to get the final reflections out for each before April. This will be beneficial, since a cursory glance at the chart below suggests that Spring is going to be a busy season, with several interesting shows that catch my eye. However, before we go on to talk about the Spring 2015 anime, there is one special that released during the Winter 2015 block that I’ve yet to get around to watching: the Bokura Wa Minna Kawaisou OVA is something I’ve picked up and will be watching and discussing quite soon. There’s also the second Strike Witches Operation Victory Arrow OVA: dubbed Aege Kai no Megami (Goddess in the Aegean Sea), it’s set for release on March 13, and I will, as usual, have the internet’s first, best review for it.

  • My post streak continues with the Spring 2015 anime preview. This chart is not a complete version, but it does cover most of the anime projected for the Spring 2015 season. Just click on it to bring up a full-resolution copy. As per usual, I will be picking up and dropping shows as time and interests demand, although one thing should be obvious: I’m going to watch Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu in full without fail.

Such shows include Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu (The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki), Hello! Kiniro MosaicHibike! Emporium, Urawa no Usagi-chan, Sidonia no Kishi: Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki (Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet Nine) and Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru Zoku (Oregairu Season 2). Right on the table, we have a show that I’ve long foreseen and have been greatly anticipating, this season’s go-to show for iyashikei, another Kyoto Animation anime that looks fun, and a science-fiction anime I watched last year. As well, anime’s Dark Knight makes a return as well, and with the second season speculated to be more romance-heavy, I’m curious to see which direction things will take. In addition, Tamayura ~Sotsugyou shashin~ will be airing as a movie on April 4. There are definitely several major titles in there, reflecting on the solid offerings of Spring 2015, and with six anime that I plan on following, one thing should be abundantly clear: given that this blog is a one-man show, attempting to blog six shows would be remarkably difficult nay impossible. Practicality dictates that I choose a handful of shows to blog. So…which anime should I talk about? I offer my assessments below: of the shows listed, these are the ones I’m presently looking to follow (and a brief justification of my choice). If there are specific shows that you, the readers, are looking for me to blog, just drop a comment below, and I will take that into consideration as to whether or not it makes the list of shows that will end up being written about here.

Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu

This is the long-awaited spin-off of The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, featuring Yuki as the main heroine. The story follows Yuki and Kyon, depicting their school life, club activities, colourful schoolmates, and the gradual beginnings of the romantic times that the two share together.

Disappearance of Nagato Yuki

  • The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan is something that I’ve read all the mangas to, and I’ve been waiting for quite some time to see this anime become a reality, well before any other anime fan expressed similar thoughts. According to the cast listings, the series’ original voice actors will make a return, and the studio Satelight will be animating the adaptation, rather than Kyoto Animation. This matters not: Satelight has a reasonably good record, and I’m sure the animation and artwork will be fine. I’m hoping that the soundtrack will take after the Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi in terms of quality, although given that this is probably to be a comedy, it’s likely that the music will be more conventional in terms of style. I will blog this series in the same manner as I have for Kantai Collection: there will be a talk after the first episode, and subsequently, after every five episodes (once episode five has aired) until the finale airs.

Hello! Kiniro Mosaic

In the first season of Kiniro Moasic, Alice Cartalet transferred into a Japanese high school to be with Shinobu Omiya after the two met during a home-stay visit. The two love everything about their friends’ respective cultures, with Shinobu being enamoured by all things English, and Alice is infatuated with the Japanese culture.

  • I’m within an episode of finishing the first season of Kiniro Mosaic, and this was a series that I greatly enjoyed. It’s quite similar to GochiUsa in terms of atmosphere, and relies more on cultural and linguistic intricacies to convey humour, as opposed to GochiUsa, which capitalised in the unique setting to present a lighthearted slice-of-life story that stood out from the others. This series will get two posts: one reflection after the three episode mark has passed, and one after the finale has aired. Both posts will be slightly larger than usual, featuring thirty images rather than twenty: I imagine that large anime blogs out there won’t be covering this, so I will step up to the plate, providing screenshots and interesting discussion on this anime that is exactly what readers deserve.

Hibike! Euphonium

The story follows of the Kitauji Music club, which used to always advance to national competitions. Ever since the adviser changed, though, it hasn’t advanced past the Kansai tournament. However, thanks to the newly appointed adviser’s strict instruction, the students are steadily improving. The club members’ daily lives are full of ups and downs including fights over solos and the decision resign club activities to focus on studies.

  • Kyoto Animation returns to the world of music with Hibike! Euphonium, featuring a brass band in place of a light music club. From the sounds of things, Hibike! Euphonium will be more focussed than K-On! was as far as music and directionality goes; this could wind up being a fun anime to follow, and with Kyoto Animation behind the wheel, things will look and sound nice for sure. Hibike! Euphonium will follow my standard posting schema of two posts: one reflection after the three episode mark has passed, and one after the finale has aired.

Sidonia no Kishi- Final Reflection

Humanity created vast space-faring vessels to escape a world consumed by alien monstrosities known only as the Guana, whose motives for assaulting humanity remain unknown. A millennium after Earth was destroyed, Nagate Tanikaze exhausts the last of his food supplies, Nagate Tanikaze ventures outside home to look for food when he is spotted and captured by the local security while trying to steal some rice. Interrogated by Sidonia’s military, it turns out that Nagate is a highly skilled pilot, having trained every day while living underground in Sidonia. He is soon drafted to be a Guardian Pilot to defend Sidonia from the Guana menace. Thus is the core premise of one of the more exciting science fiction offerings for the Spring 2014 season, and with its first season now over, I’m left looking forwards to a second season that will continue the story.

  • Despite being a seemingly nobody, Nagate is in fact Hiroki Saitō’s clone, inheriting the latter’s proficiency with the Guardians and an accelerated healing factor. He lacks the ability to photosynthesise and must eat as a means of sustenance, and in fact, only encounters the rest of Sidonia after his food supplies are depleted.

  • Sidonia is a vast 28-kilometer long space vessel not dissimilar to that of the colony cylinders from the Universal Century, featuring diverse areas, including the military complex, a Japanese town area (where a festival is held), and the Norio manor.

  • There’s an artificial ocean in Sidonia; this is a place only fully-qualified pilots are allowed to visit, and holds much of Sidonia’s water supply. I was considering skipping this review, despite being quite willing to recommend it, because I did not initially feel that I had too much to say about it. However, over its twelve episode run, Sidonia no Kishi touches on some topics, including the ethics of research that aims to aid humanity’s survival, and whether or not a military presence is justified in a given society.

  • The Guana are shape-shifting aliens that are composed of two major components: the core, and the placenta, an impregnable, regenerating mass that surrounds the core. As grotesque as the Flood, their origins and objectives are completely unknown, but they present an active threat to humanity.

  • The Guardians are mechanised platforms capable of wielding the “Kabizashi” spears, which are tipped with a unique material that can destroy a Guana’s core. Guardians are also equipped with a variety of weapons, such as the Hyggs Particle beams and missiles; these can damage the placenta, but only the Kibizashi are capable of finishing a Guana for good. The last time I heard about cores and a rapidly regenerating, durable super-structure, I was watching the Strike Witches movie, and the aliens in question were the Neuroi.

  • After his first successful kill, Nagate becomes stranded in space after he goes out of the Type-17’s operational range to save Shizuka Hoshijiro. The two become closer to one another during the process, and as supplies dwindle, a squad of Guardian pilots, against orders, are deployed to retrieve the two.

  • Izana Shinatose is another fellow trainee who becomes fast friends with Nagate. Being of the new third gender, Izana eventually falls in love with Nagate in the manga, and in the anime, is seen getting jealous whenever she sees another girl with Nagate.

  • Lala Hiyama is a human/bear hybrid who acts as the dormitory keeper and is an excellent cook. She was a former Guardian pilot, alongside Captain Kobayashi and Nagate’s grandfather. Lala’s design is a callback to Nihei’s manga, Biomega; Kozlov, a supporting character, is also a bear and lost his hand.

  • After Nagate’s efforts lead to the first Guana being slain, the Kunato squad is promoted to full-time pilot status. Kunato Norio, to the left, is one of the top-seeded trainees but despises Nagate for surpassing him and being made the Type-17’s pilot. His jealousy leads him to give deliberate orders that eventually lead to Shizuka’s assimilation and death. To the right is Captain Kobayashi, who commands Sidonia and wears a mask most of the time.

  • I am tempted to say that Sidonia no Kishi is quite short on more exposition because it is trying to paint a picture of the current world, and status quo, before delving into any further details. Thus, as a viewer, though there are things that I’m uncertain of, I am also pulled towards any sort of continuation to see what awaits Sidonia, and also, how their world came to be.

It becomes immediately apparent that Sidonia no Kishi was not meant to be condensed into one season: the first season excels in the world-building and setting up some of the history behind how things came to be, but like reality, the further back in time one looks, the less reliable and consistent records become. No one knows why the Guana are attacking humanity, or what their objectives are; instead, what’s clear is that the Guana’s existence threatens Sidonia, and efforts are fully dedicated towards annihilating any that threaten Sidonia. While the pilots are not locked in combat with the Guana, they are training, or dealing with various things. From the surface, this is quite formulaic, and one might even go so far as to compare the setup to Strike Witches, where the 501st defeat any Neuroi that threaten European Locales, and are otherwise training or relaxing in their downtime. As with Strike Witches, Sidonia no Kishi presents bits and pieces of the history in flashbacks and through character interactions. However, there is a marked change in the atmospherics, with Knights of Sidonia having a significantly darker approach towards fighting an alien enemy: whereas Strike Witches is more about the dynamics between the different 501st operators, Sidonia no Kishi is focussed on the implications of the conflict. Whether it be Ochiai’s unethical research on the Guana (and the results it produces), the anti-militarization’s beliefs that the Kabizashi (dedicated anti-Guana weapons) are causing the war or the pilots’ constant risks of dying/losing loved ones, it is apparent that the war between humanity and the Guana are taking a toll on Sidonia and its populace.

  • Despite being a little rough around the edges in places, Sidonia no Kishi looks and feels good. It’s one of those anime that are completely done in CGI: Sidonia no Kishi was done by Polygon Pictures, who also lent their talents towards making Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Quite personally, the characters look a little minimalist, but the details in the environment, Guardian cockpits and battle sequences all look polished.

  • Shizuka’s death allows one of the Guardians to fall into Guana hands, leading to a squad of Guana-Guardians, including the Benisuzume, which displays a frightening level of combat capability. Most of these Guana are destroyed, save one, and Nagate eventually isolates a piece of its placenta for study.

  • Nagate’s experience with a Type-17 simulator makes him particularly suited for piloting the Tsugumori, but his experience means that Sidonia’s military allow him to equip experimental weapons, including a next-generation rifle firing rounds that can destroy a Guana’s core.

  • Despite its more serious nature, Sidonia no Kishdoes allow its characters to share moments of triumph together, and outside of combat, the anime explores the different aspects of life on Sidonia. Living under the constant threat of extinction is grim, but people manage to find a way to make the most of their lives nonetheless.

  • A Guana placenta is able to replicate Shizuka, including a limited number of her memories. While it is only mentioned and seen briefly, Sidonia is home to some questionable research on captured Guana specimens: Ochiai is a researcher who created Guana-human hybrids and developed a means of procuring the materials that line the Kabizashi.

  • Judging from what is said, Sidonia has seen numerous wars with the Guana and internal strife, which caused the near-annihilation of Sidonia on at least one occasion. With a millennium of history, much of Sidonia’s past is shrouded in an engima, and on occasion, Sidonia’s scientists continue to make discoveries that were actively fielded in the past centuries.

  • Nagate’s skill is demonstrated time and time again: even when an uncalibrated rifle throws his Guardian around, he manages to stabilise it and single-handedly destroy a Guana. Following Shizuka’s death, Nagate becomes despondent, but is shaken out of his stupor and soon returns to the battlefield with a renewed resolve to protect Sidonia. Conversely, haunted by guilt, Kunato resigns from his post and sulks around in his manor.

  • I imagine that the 200-suit formations would have been a pain to animate by hand: since everything in Sidonia no Kishi was done using CGI, the battles are characterised by exaggerated scales, whether it be the number of Guardians on screen at any given time, their actions, or the Guana’s movements.

  • The final battle is against a planet-sized Guana. Two squads are sent out to eliminate enough of the placenta and propulsion so that the planetoid the Guana has enveloped can be destroyed. While both squads face considerable trouble, eventually, the Guana is defeated, allowing Sidonia to fire a missile into the planetoid, destroying it. To keep his squad safe, Nagate spends much of the final two episodes engaging the Benisuzume and uses Ren’s last bullet to destroy it.

  • Thus ends Sidonia no Kishi, or more appropriately, the first season of Sidonia no Kishi. The news that there would be a continuation turns my opinion around: initially, I felt that Sidonia no Kishi, though intriguing to watch, seemed a little deficient with respect to world-building. However, with a continuation in mind, the first season ends up being composed as to capture a viewer’s interest as to what daily life in present-day Sidonia, and gives an idea of what Nagate aims to defend, lending weight to humanity’s fight against the Guana.

Folks need heroes, and Nagate Tanikaze fulfils this role to Sidonia. His innate piloting skills allow him to rapidly rise through the ranks, and although sabotage from Norio Kunato occasionally drags down Nagate, his experiences and resolve eventually lead him to accept his duty as a pilot to protect Sidonia. Ultimately, watching him adapt quickly to his environment and lay down everything to fulfil his role, as well as earning the trust of those around him, wound up being the most enjoyable part of the show. All of this development on Nagate’s end, however, means that despite the world-building seen, there are still far too many mysteries surrounding the Guana and Sidonia itself. This would have easily been a weaker point in Sidonia no Kishi, but the presence of a second season means that some of these questions could be answered, and I find myself looking forwards to a second season for further exposition: there is simply so much detail in this world that it would be a shame not to explore more of it. I also wonder how romance is going to turn out in the second season, but this is the part where I will exercise some patience and await things.

Spring 2014 Anime

It’s been nearly three weeks into the Winter 2014 season, which I’m presently enjoying. Nonetheless, eyes always turn towards the future’s offerings, and this season, it’s no different. I recall that in 2012, I completely passed over the Spring offerings, as nothing had caught my interest at the time. Since then, I’ve picked up Hyouka and Upotte!, as those series later caught my eye. Being the procrastinator I am, I’ve still yet to actually start those, but Spring 2014 might be a good time to do so. Of course, I may also pick up more anime from Spring 2014 in the future, as time permits.

A cursory glance shows that there is are two anime that I’m likely to follow right now for the Spring 2014 session as far as regular programming goes. These shows are Sidonia no Kishi and Broken Blade; given that I will only be planning on following this one series at present, I should be able to catch up with Hyouka and Upotte! quite soon. On the OVA and Blu-Ray movie side, things look a little busier. Girls und Panzer: Kore ga Hontou no Anzio-sen desu!Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn: Over the Rainbow and the AnoHana movie are set for releases in the spring, alongside Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Rebellion, which means that once April and May roll around, this blog is going to light up like a Christmas tree with all the new content. I resolve to get my reflections (and their high-resolution images) out for those as quickly as possible, perhaps faster than any other blog out there. As for the Tamako Love Story movie, while I am looking forward to it, the only practical way for me to see it at present is to await a Blu-Ray release, meaning that it’s so far into the future that I will set it aside for the present.

Broken Blade

Broken Blade needs no introduction: it’s about a young man named Rygart Arrow, an ‘un-sorcerer’ born into a world where people can use ‘magic’. This magic is the ability to control and empower quartz, doing many things from creating light to operating machinery to riding giant mecha called ‘Golems’. Rygart, however, is one of the few exceptions; he cannot utilize quartz, making many aspects of life difficult as well as being looked down upon by the rest of society. Despite this ‘limitation’, in his youth he managed to befriend Hodr and Sigyn, the future King and Queen of the Krisna Kingdom and Zess, the younger brother of the Secretary of War of the Athens Commonwealth. Years later, Rygart is reunited with Hodr and Sigyn where he learns the Athens Commonwealth has begun an invasion of Krisna. Rygart is also shocked to learn that their old friend, Zess, is leading one of the strike forces. While at the capital, Rygart discovers that he has the ability to pilot a recently discovered ancient golem which cannot be piloted by magic users. Despite its ancient origins, the golem possesses capabilities and systems far more advanced than any modern golem, and could be key to turning the tide of battle. While hesitant at first, Rygart soon gets involved in the war between Krisna and Athens, in an attempt to save Hodr and Sigyn, and Zess.

  • The last time I watched this, it was 2011, and I had just passed my driving exam. This show thus associated my early driving experiences with Rygert’s gradual familiarisation with the Delphine, an ancient Golem. I found the movie to be quite entertaining, and I am quite curious to see how the series will fit into an episodic format.

Sidonia no Kishi

A portion of humanity managed to escape using enormous “seed ships” like the Sidonia after the Gauna, a strange alien race with no known method of communication, destroyed the solar system. This evacuation allowed humanity to maintain their population while drifting through space for a millenium. Nagate Tanikaze is a young man who has been raised deep in the bowels of the ship. When he goes into training to pilot the huge robotic weapons known as Gardes, Nagate is entrusted with piloting the legendary unit known as Tsugumori. Nagate and his fellow pilots put their lives on the line against the Gauna, in the ultimate battle for the survival of humanity.

  • In English, this show is The Knights of Sidonia, and the premise is very interesting: I haven’t seen any good space-type science fiction anime for a while, and this one looks promising. There are a handful of good mecha shows in Spring, although the Summer 2014 season looks very solid: of all the shows listed, Kantai Collection (Kan Colle), Glasslip, Aldnoah Zero and Sword Art Online II are the shows I’ve got my eye on. For the present, I’ll follow two shows for now and use the additional time to play catch up with some other series I’ve got backlogged…