-Tsutomu Nihei, Anime News Network-
Artist/author Tsutomu Nihei suggests he prefers his alien landscapes over human drama, but to be clear he is deft at weaving both with precision and looking at real world emotion through a complex landscape and alien lens built from his own imagination.
Knights Of Sidonia, Season One, Episode 8, Immortality demonstrates yet again Nihei has crafted a story that is immersive in both world building and emotional subtext and the drama surrounding the human condition.
The politics. The safety belt rails. The photosynthesizing humans. The structures and locations within the epic seed ship. All of these details. It's all about creating a universe. This massive microcosm called Sidonia is indeed an extension of Nihei’s extensive world building. It’s a stunning work of imagination.
The story continues as the Sidonia military take offense against three Garde-shaped Gauna creatures. Thanks to the loss of Garde pilots and units in previous missions including the loss of Hoshijiro the Gauna lifeform has mimicked and evolved.
Two of the three units are destroyed, but a fast-moving, third, projecting the voice of Hoshijiro, escapes. The Sidonia pilots abort the mission rather than give pursuit, but not before Nagate manages to secure a Gauna specimen in the shape and form of the late Hoshijiro. Whilst some of the command center is against Nagate's effort to retrieve the specimen in the heat of battle, commander Kobayashi overrules and orders the specimen secured. But why? There are indeed questions surrounding the shadowy ruling body that leads the microcosmic world of Sidonia.
Additional mythology weaving is handled throughout the story entitled Immortality. Captain Kobayashi and the bear, Lala Hiyama, are crew Immortals that chose to lead Sidonia to one day populate a new planet.
A series of flashbacks throughout the episode's second half reveal the historical timeline on the strange origins of Nagate Tanikaze as well as the Immortal Council and some of the players involved in Sidonia including Kobayashi, the bear and Hiroki Saito, Nagate's grandfather.
The final shot of the Gauna specimen, a life form in the image of the late Hoshijiro is at once unsettling and beautiful. In containment the final words uttered by the creature are "Tanikaze."
Immortality is a great entry in the series mythology and world-building with swirling questions of immortality abound. Propelling the tale forward the entry continues to build upon this already original, strong and fascinating science fiction. Knights Of Sidonia too should stand the test of time in anime for those who like their animation intelligent. It succeeds so completely where so much of anime just fails with shortcomings too many to count.