Comic Picks By The Glick

Knights of Sidonia vol. 6

December 24, 2013

In the previous volume for this series…  Actually, that was the first one I didn’t talk about here.  It wasn’t that it was bad or even disappointing, just that it continued on from what had come before in fairly seamless fashion.  Yes, we got the start of an extended arc about the Gauna sending an asteroid on a collision course with the Sidonia and an interesting twist with the mind of Ochiai the scientist finding its way into Kunato’s, but there wasn’t a whole lot that stood out as being particularly noteworthy from a stylistic sense.  A large part of the appeal of this series, for me at least, is seeing how someone like mangaka Tsutomu Nihei is adapting his very distinct sensibilities to a fairly conventional story.  Now that the initial shock of seeing him do this and the growing pains of the first few volumes are out of the way, we find the title settling into a nice groove as it were.

Though the story is unfolding at a nice pace, the most notable thing about this volume is how real violence factors into the ostensible slapstick moments.  We’ve all seen the moment where a guy walks in on some girls changing -- or about to engage in “photosynthesis” as it is here -- and have them clean his clock for it.  However, to see one of them kick the door out, have it slam into protagonist Tanikaze’s face, crush him up against the wall in a bloody mess, then crash on his head as he reaches for a rice ball; well, that’s something special, particularly when it’s done in an ultra-decompressed style over four pages.  Tropes like these would normally be grating, yet Nihei goes overboard into showing how the characters react in these situations and I find myself looking forward to seeing what new violence is inflicted upon Tanikaze next.

… Why are you looking at me like that?

Jason Glick

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