Whatever you say mrs bear.

Our setting is the distant future, where humanity no longer seems to live on earth – instead inhabiting some kind of giant orbiting space-ship. The reason for this apparent evacuation from earth is the Gauna, nasty and incomprehensible alien creatures which students are trained diligently to eventually do battle with. The thing is, no one has actually encountered a Gauna for over fifty years now.
Because this is an anime, the space battles naturally take place in giant humanoid mechas. The newest recruit to be a pilot of these mechas is a young man named Nagate Tanikaze, who lived all his life deep in the bowels of the ship. Never seeing the surface until his grandfather dies and compelled to search for food, he runs into trouble when he is captured trying to steal some rice. Mysteriously, he is recruited under apparent orders from the mysterious military leaders. He quickly learns how different things are on the surface – humanity have evolved to the point of being able to photosynthesize and having recognized third sexes. Some of the other recruits want to be his friend, others resent him on sight – especially one long-haired toff who gets even more angry when Nagate is given his own beloved mecha, ‘Tsugumori’.

Well at least the sameface is intentional here.

Sidonia has a relatively unique visual style amongst the new shows this season – a 2.5D look reminiscent of games like Fire Emblem Awakening. It’s not the first time I’ve seen it done in an anime – I was actually meant to do a first impression review Arpeggio of Blue Steel the season before last, but was strapped for time as well as having almost nothing else to say about it. (There are times when I don’t actually review everything I watch for First Impressions, and that was one of them). I’ve got mixed feelings about the look itself – it can be done well, but it also runs the risk of looking clunky or uncanny-valley. So far, Sidonia seems to be pulling it off, animation-wise at least. It’s main visual drawback is actually the blatant sameface that nearly every female (or female-presenting) character has. It’s honestly only their hair that I can tell them apart from. Everyone is also rather non-expressive, and I’m still trying to figure out if this is intentional or not. It certainly gives a rather eerie feeling, but even Nagate’s facial expressions seem to consist only of ‘dull shock’ and ‘dull awe’.
It’s hard for me to get excited about a ‘teenagers fight aliens in mechas in space’ anime, but there’s some rather interesting things going on in Sidonia. The whole thing about photosynthesis and third sexes, the angry protests picketing the military office, what exactly these Gauna are – and then there’s the group of identical pink-haired girls that are currently unexplained, not to mention the dorm mistress being an actual bear. It’s just a shame that the rather bland characters (besides I guess the bear)are holding it back so much. I actually went and read a few chapters of the manga and I’ve really got to say that the anime has improved several things – the manga art is fairly dull with scenes that are difficult to interpret and the writing is a lot more sloppy. However, it had narration by Nagate which has been entirely removed in the anime – which is odd, because this narration gave him a little more personality than the blank-faced wonder the anime has. (To be honest, it’s not a personality I particularly enjoy, and he’s sometimes unnecessarily snarky, but it’s something.)
The manga is still ongoing at around ten or so volumes, so I’m not sure if the anime’s going to be faithful to it or wrap up with its own ending after 13 episodes. There’s a chance I might stick around for a few more episodes, but in the end this show just isn’t really for me.

Nagate’s face is a lot cuter in the anime than he was in the manga, I must admit.

Out of 5,

And so, I finished my First Impression reviews, with literally no shows getting 4 melonpan. Usually it’ll be a 4 or 5 melonpan show I take on to blog for the duration of the season but I was honestly pretty unimpressed with everything for the most part. I’m down to a choice between Kamigami no Asobi, Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou, Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii, Gokukoku no Brynhildr and Mekaku City Actors, although if none of these have second episodes better than their first I really don’t know what I’ll do.