For those of you just now joining us… uh, what are you thinking? You’ve got 12 volumes of Knights of Sidonia to read, and if you start at 13 you’re going to have a really tough time parsing sentences like, “Success! The Semi-Autonomous Conversion Organ has been inserted.” For the rest of us it’s business as usual aboard and surrounding the Sidonia, and volume 13 of Tsutomu Nihei’s saga has plenty of deep space action to keep us coming back for more.
Nihei’s art seems to get looser with each volume, and the thirteenth is no exception. I like it. It manages to be simultaneously open, with plenty of white space, and full of minute details. The mix of sterile environments and objects (Sidonia, Gardes, etc.) and organic creatures (Gauna, Hybrids) is one of Knights of Sidonia‘s chief visual strengths.
Nihei hits the real high notes in this volume when Nagate Tanikaze takes Guana Hybrid Tsumugi Shiraui on a soaring “date” through some unpopulated sectors of the Sidonia. Full-page environmental spreads are just as thrilling and crucial to the series as the big action splash pages on display just a few chapters prior. Nihei’s shading and architectural work brings French artists like Boulet and the late Moebius to mind.
If it’s not clear already, this is another volume with a nice mix of peaks and valleys. The second it seems like everyone’s about to get some time off, another serious combat situation arises. Tanikaze gets a chance to show off his exemplary skills, such that he’s even referred to as a “real veteran” and compared to “an old ace.” On the other side we have Tanikaze’s date with Tsumugi, which, despite the circumstances, manages to be oddly sweet and, as mentioned, gorgeously illustrated.
Yep, we’re moving along nicely here once again. The last chapter sets up volume 14 as a must-read, and the only downside to it is the fact that it will make us more or less current with the Japanese releases, further extending the wait for future volumes.
Story & Art: Tsutomu Nihei
Publisher: Vertical Comics
© 2015 Tsutomu Nihei
– Manga Review: Knights of Sidonia vol. 12
– Anime Review: Knights of Sidonia
– Knights of Sidonia Creator’s First Manga Becomes Anime
– Knights of Sidonia Gets Compilation Film
– Knights of Sidonia vol. 1 Review
– Knights of Sidonia vol. 2 Review