What’s it about ?
Adaptation of a S-F/mecha manga.
Nagate, our protagonist and point-of-view character. He’s spent most of his life scrounging for subsistence in the dark maintenance tunnels in the underground of the Sidonia space colony ; out of desperation, he’s ventured outside and got caught stealing rice.
Amazingly, the authorities not only treat him well (after some initial confusion), but immediately invite him to the military upper class : they want him to be a mecha pilot. You see, his father figure had him train for hours each day in an old simulator, and even after his death he kept at it. They’re aware of this (who was this guy, really ?), and want him on board. He’s not too good on his first try, as the software has evolved a bit by then, but he can manage. Especially on that older machine which has the right control scheme for him.
Notionally, Sidonia is at war with some squid-like aliens. Protesters see this diffuse menace as a way for the rulers to stay in control forever (genetic engineering may have been involved to keep them alive), as it’s been decades since the last sight of the enemy. Of course, that’s the kind of talk I heard last in Attack on Titan, so yeah. No way that routine ice-mining mission would have gone fine.
The other mecha-piloting students have various reactions to Nagate’s arrival : some are snobbish of the upstart newbie, some are curious, some don’t care. Presumably we’ll get to know them better in further episodes.
This is a fully CG-animated series, and maybe the first time I’ve seen it work on a TV budget. The characters move and act like human beings, and their faces emote properly. The action sequences are well-directed and enthralling, and can even manage slapstick.
The one problem here is that, with everyone in similar uniforms, and designs that aren’t big on facial details, it’s a bit hard to tell all the characters apart. I’m pretty sure that’s intentional for the multitude of pink-haired clones all voiced by Eri Kitamura, but it’s still an issue for a good chunk of the cast.
There’s some minor fanservice at a few points, which falls a bit flat with that artstyle.
Oh, nice, a proper S-F show. There’s clearly a lot of SCIENCE! weirdness going on in the background here (a functional third gender ? WTF ?), and it’s already hinted the show is willing to deal with the social impact of it all. Sidonia certainly feels well thought-out as a setting, and still the heavy exposition manages to give enough room for the characters to breathe.
This has the potential to be spectacular.