Knights of Sidonia, Vol. 2

Knights of Sidonia, Volume 2 by Tsutomu Nihei

As I was reading the second volume of Knights of Sidonia, it occurred to me that Nihei ably manages a narrative balancing act of giving the reader just a little bit more information in each volume, but not so much that everything feels completely filled in. My curiosity about the history of Sidonia was fulfilled with a bit of backstory about why the massive ship seems to be moving through space alone, isolated except for occasional attacks by the Guana. I’m still intrigued to learn more about Nagate Tanikaze and why he happens to be so good (in a somewhat bumbling way) at piloting the Tsugumori. He also seems to be continually singled out by those in command.

I enjoy the general sense of scale expressed with the illustrations of interior of the giant spaceship – it does really seem massive. The human cost that occurs when it has to maneuver itself suddenly makes it clear that even safely inside a spaceship death can come at any instant. Reading this manga, I get the sense that Nihei plans out all the details of his worlds very meticulously. One negative thing is that generally the characters in this manga suffer a bit from samefaceitius, making it sometimes difficult to sort out who is who absent any extreme differences in hairstyle. However, this is a minor quibble next to the general awesomeness of seeing the Guarde units fly through space in their ringed locked arm formation.

This is not a happy manga about giant space robots fighting aliens. The evolutionary capabilities of the Guana give some scenes a horror comic vibe, and bad things certainly happen to good people. But there’s enough humor in the strained interpersonal interactions of the people aboard the Sidonia that when finishing up a volume of this manga, I’m not feeling oppressed by tragedy but very interested to see what happens next.

Also, for those of you reading this manga solely for talking bear appearances, there is some talking bear in this volume!

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