Move over, Ars Nova.
Well here it is, the CG anime of the season. It’s honestly not bad, though the whole CG thing still takes a bit getting used to.
Cool, shiny mecha.
If you’ve sworn off all anime CG, I don’t know why you’re here reading this post about Knights of Sidonia. But if you’re like me and you’re open minded about a different style of animation, then read on. Seeing as it is obviously the big deal, let me get it out of the way right now and say that the CG is actually pretty good here. As far as our brief glimpse of the mecha goes, it was some of the better CG that I’ve seen. But of course, that’s not what we’re concerned about. Applying it to the characters (and everything else) is the novelty, and in this case I didn’t find it very off-putting. The movements and expressions of the characters do appear a bit stiff at times as usual, but it wasn’t anything so bad as to make the show unwatchable.
A few weird moments here and there.
The fact of the matter is that the fundamental problem lies with the CG character designs approaching reality enough that we start expecting the detailed human mannerisms that we might not expect from more traditional animation. I think you’ll find if you watch any other typical anime that the characters are technically no more expressive and move no more realistically than the CG ones in Knights of Sidonia. But in any case, this isn’t an excuse for CG animation to rest on its laurels at this semi-comfortable spot. I think that if animators can continue to develop this method and better nail down the little minute details of realistic human movement and expressiveness, there is a great deal of potential for CG anime in the near future.
Somebody get this man some chloroplasts.
And now on to the show itself. In terms of plot, Knights of Sidonia has the typical dark horse protagonist who rises (in this case literally) from obscurity to fame overnight. In this show, the trope is applied in the context of mecha pilots in the far, dystopian, space-venturing future. Pretty standard fare, but a good story nonetheless. I’m a big fan of the sci-fi genre, and mecha space combat aside, I find the biological engineering talk quite fascinating. There’s mention of humans being capable of photosynthesis, which might sound like a great idea to a rather niche crowd (myself included). Overall though, I doubt such a thing would ever be accepted because I’m sure the majority of people are not willing to sacrifice the experience of cutting a juicy piece of steak and putting it in their mouth. Think of all the world hunger problems that could be solved if photosynthesis were made available to mankind though. If you’re ever hungry, all you have to do is walk out into the sun (or really any visible light source). That’s amazing!
I think there are enough of them.
Continuing on the sci-fi frenzy, there’s the apparent development of cloning into a seemingly viable procedure. I highly doubt all of those pink-haired girls are just a large family of x-tuplets. Though clearly not everyone is or has a clone, so perhaps there are still some kinks with health or longevity to be worked out. Finally, there’s this weird thing about a third gender, which suggests further biological manipulation beyond the splicing of photosynthesis into the human genome. Makes you wonder if children are born naturally any more in Knights of Sidonia or if they’re all “grown in test tubes.”
The song Detachable Penis comes to mind.
The only reason I can see for making everyone capable of reproduction with each other in an isolated colony is to get rid of gender ratio issues and thereby prevent decreasing birth rates (I would expect overpopulation to be the real issue given their limited resources). I can’t see this really working in principle though. Most problems with birth rates stem from behavioral issues and not from the availability of partners of the opposite gender. The only example I know of gender ratio being a real problem for birth rate is a story I once read about China coming dangerously close to being vastly male overpopulated, but I’ve not followed up on that story and China still exists and pumps out babies so I digress. You don’t see any others like Izana (though it is implied she isn’t alone) so I can only surmise that the third gender, like the pink-haired clones, is an experiment.
So yeah, as you can tell from my post there’s not too much to talk about plot-wise so far, but certainly plenty to talk about in the geeky sci-fi department. And aside from these matters, I’ve said all I want to and care to say about the CG, so I guess I’ll leave it at that for this premiere.
Come back for more Arai Satomi bears!