Some 1,000 years after the solar system was destroyed — wait, that happened? — young Nagate emerges from the “underground” portion of the interstellar spaceship Sidonia to steal some rice, because a guy’s gotta eat. His grandfather, now deceased, is the only human he’s ever seen.
Humans have changed, however. There are “new genders” who can reproduce with either males or females, and give birth to their own clones. What this has to do with Nagate being recruited to pilot the Shogun Warriors-esque fighters — all spikes and spires — I don’t know.
And maybe it’s not important. It’s too early to tell from Vertical Inc.’s first English-translation volume of KNIGHTS OF SIDONIA, a sci-fi manga from writer/illustrator Tsutomu Nihei. This initial book should be all about setup, and it is, except that the world is not established with utmost clarity. For me at least, events moved too quickly without the necessary calibrating details being shared.
To complement his expert art, Nihei gives his story some welcome strange touches, such as the spacesuits having a built-in catheter than automatically inserts itself into the wearer — and we see the panels of Nagate shuddering as he experiences this for the first time.
The Sidonia residents face the wrath of a tentacled (of course) monster that would give H.P. Lovecraft a boner, and the stakes are very real. There’s also a talking bear, and no one blinks. VOLUME 2 is right around the corner, aka April. —Rod Lott