The Series (5/5)
I had known for some time that Netflix had been tapping into the Japanese market for original content. A movie that we reviewed on this site probably in 2010 called Fish Story, one of my favorite films from that year actually was acquired by Netflix for distribution, still I was surprised to find the company had moved into acquiring full anime series.
One of these anime series that Netflix has picked up for streaming, and which has now been acquired by those fine folks at Section 23 for Blu-ray distribution is the sci-fi anime series Knight of Sidonia. Knights of Sidonia follows in the narrative tradition of Battlestar Galactica. 1000 years before the series begins a monstrous alien race known as the Gauna drive humans from Earth, and destroy the planet. The survivors of Earth's destruction turn the remnants of the planet into asteroid based spaceships, and begin to travel the galaxy in them. They also learn how to become a photosynthetic, asexual reproducing society. This makes certain higher members near immortal, and also creates a third sex. Into this world comes Nagate Tanikaze, a boy who lived in the asteroid Sidonia's core with his Grandfather, and trained on a simulator to be a pilot. After his Grandfather died, he emerges, now of age to be a pilot for the Sidonia asteroid, and just in time to experience the reemergence of the Gauna.
I've been watching a lot of anime for ECAV recently, and this is one of the finest series I've seen in a while. It is a series that starts out slow, but builds up to something fantastic. It creates characters that are fairly three dimensional, and the setting is well fleshed out with it's own history. Like a show like HBO's Game of Thrones it's not a show that's afraid to kill off characters in service of it's plot, and these aren't simple body count deaths when these happen they will make an impact. The way things are set up in Knights of Sidonia everything matters, and that coupled with the stellar action sequences, and driving story, and amazing animation making it one of the finest anime series I’ve seen in 2015.
Section 23 presents the Blu-ray of Knights of Sidonia in a decent 1:78:1 1080 MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer preserving the film's original aspect ratio. The transfer has stable colors, detail, and solid blacks. There is some softness inherent in the show, and thus the transfer, but overall it's quite pleasing to the eye.
Section 23 presents the audio in both English and Japanese 5.1 DTS-HD MA tracks, both tracks are suitable, but since I loathe dubbing, I primarily stuck to the Japanese track. However, I will say both tracks were excellent with score and effects giving things a nice workout, and dialogue coming through nicely.
Not to be too surprised, but I am excited to have a Section 23 discs that has actual extras on it. The company releases quite excellent anime, but the extras are usually lacking. Of course, this could be due to the Netflix affiliation. That being said, We are given 4 featuttes one taking place at a Q&A at an advance screening, an interview with the composer, a behind the scenes piece, and more. We also get trailers, and clean opening and closing animation.
One of the finest sci-fi anime series I've seen in quite some time. The Blu-ray from Section 23 looks excellent, and offers some fine extra features. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.