Netflix’s First Original Anime Series Knights of Sidonia Is Mechas in Space

Netflix is upping the ante on its original programming, going from beloved cult shows of yesteryear (Arrested Development) and new cult darlings (Orange Is the New Black) to anime—specifically, a mecha space opera set on a generation ship. Yep, Netflix is exploring all sorts of new territory with Knights of Sidonia, premiering this summer.

Following Knights of Sidonia’s broadcast on Japanese TV this past April, Netflix will premiere the first 12 episodes of the series for U.S. audiences on July 4. Here’s the synopsis:

The first Netflix original anime series, Knights of Sidonia, based on the popular manga series of the same name, follows Nagate, a low-born youth in a society of genetically engineered refugees who escaped the destruction of Earth one thousand years earlier and now occupy the massive ship Sidonia. When Nagate’s talent as a pilot is revealed he becomes one of Sidonia’s elite defenders against the Gauna, shapeshifting aliens bent on eliminating humans from existence.

Other fun factoids from the manga’s Wikipedia page: Sidonia is built from pieces of Earth, and might be the last human outpost. Its inhabitants have been developing human clones, asexual reproduction, and human/animal hybrids. But with the Gauna hot on their tails, the crew must rely on anyone—including the precocious Nagate—to pilot their Guardian mechas against their alien foes.

Here’s the trailer:

“Netflix has a huge base of anime fans and we are thrilled to be bringing exclusively for the first time them a first-run anime series, especially one as well-plotted, humorous, and beautifully animated as Knights of Sidonia,” Erik Barmack, VP, Independent Content at Netflix, said in a press release. (And anyone trying to find their way back to their personal queue through Netflix’s menus can probably attest to the sheer amount of anime one must swim through.)

This is a big move for a major subscription service to be broadcasting anime exclusively and internationally. In addition to the usual English dub and subtitled versions, Netflix will offer other language dubs for each of the regions in which it operates. But it’s also a first attempt at anime streaming, so it will be interesting to see how Netflix handles things like adding new episodes after their Japanese airdates, and drumming up support among the small core fanbase.

Still, it’s a great step forward! As a rocket ship, we support all representations of ships and mechas in pop culture. Except for that one evil one. It knows who it is.

Photo: Polygon Pictures

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