My instincts turned out to be right and here we are with the penultimate volume of this series. Scientist Ochiai has successfully managed to transplant his consciousness into the other hybrid, Kanata, and is all set to destroy the Sidonia. Only some quick thinking from the now-promoted Vice Commander Midorikawa manages to avert this crisis. So now everyone can go back to stressing out over the three-pronged assault on the Gauna’s greater cluster ship. This turns into an actual crisis when one of the attack fleets is destroyed by a massive amount of Gauna, who then make their presence known to one of the other fleets, as well as Sidonia itself. Tanikaze is shuffled around through all these events before he’s sent out on his final mission. I’m pretty sure he’s going to save the day, but not after a good portion of the supporting cast has given their lives to stop the menace of the Gauna.
If you detect a noticeable lack of excitement in that summary of events, you’re not mistaken. This fourteenth volume of “Sidonia” finds the series at its most conventional as mangaka Tsutomu Nihei ticks off a lot of the required boxes for this type of story as it heads towards its climax. Surprise reveal of the main bad guy? Check. New threat posed by the alien menace? Check. Intimate encounter before the final battle? Check. (Ugh. I thought you were better than that, Tanikaze. Hopefully it’s just misdirection.) Former antagonist has a change of heart? Check. Hero gets a brand-new ship to fly out for the occasion? Check. I could keep going on, but you get the idea. The delightful weirdness that has distinguished this series is left by the wayside here and its absence is missed. Still, Nihei has done a good enough job of building up his cast and their plight to make this volume quite readable even as it hews mightily towards convention. Now the real question is whether or not the final volume will wind up as one more “checked box” or something wonderfully strange as much of the series has been up to this point.