Fans of Tsutomu Nihei — the creator of manga and anime sequence like Blame! and Knights of Sidonia — typically know what to anticipate from his works. There’s often a sliver of humanity dwelling perilously in some darkish future, an alien or technological drive they’ve to beat, and all types of unimaginable ships, weapons, and structure for design nerds to ogle over. They’re the sorts of bleak sci-fi tales that may make you’re feeling small and insignificant. But his newest, known as Kaina of the Great Snow Sea, softens issues up just a little bit.

The sequence, which is on Crunchyroll, as soon as once more sees Nihei crew up with Polygon Pictures, the animation studio that labored on the Knights of Sidonia sequence and Blame! movie (together with my private favourite episode of Love, Death, and Robots). It takes place in a world dotted with towering bushes that assist a sprawling membrane-like cover. Below them, on the floor, is a seemingly infinite sea coated in snow. Kaina lives in what often is the solely surviving village left within the cover; he’s additionally the one younger individual left, and the growing old villagers fear about what is going to occur to him after they inevitably die. Water is operating low, and Kaina hunts large bugs so everybody can survive on their meat and eggs.

What they don’t know is that, method down on the floor, small international locations nonetheless exist, dwelling remoted from one another on the base of the bushes. Unfortunately, water is operating low there, too, and one nation, armed with a fleet of warships, is ransacking the remainder for his or her provides. But a legend of a sage within the skies has endured, and one princess decides to hitch a experience to the cover in the hunt for it, inevitably pulling the sheltered Kaina into a worldwide battle.

I’ve watched the primary 4 episodes thus far, and whereas the story is attention-grabbing, as with most Nihei creations, the true spotlight is the world. Kaina of the Great Snow Sea is form of like a mashup of the aquatic postapocalypse of Waterworld and the environmental takeover from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, all rendered with Nihei’s very specific model of exhausting science fiction. That means numerous cool survival devices, some very intimidating warships and armor, and a way of scale that reduces folks to tiny dots in an enormous panorama.

What’s completely different is the give attention to nature. Gone is the self-replicating metropolis of Blame! or the self-contained area arks from Knights of Sidonia. They’re changed by a world the place vegetation and animals are on the forefront. Humans are solely in a position to survive due to the bushes, which home a complete ecosystem of largely insect life, forcing a pure synergy between folks and the world round them. (Well, aside from the nation terrorizing everybody else.) There are even lovable “snow horses” that individuals experience throughout the good sea.

I’m curious the place issues go, however I’m largely excited to see extra of this world in future episodes: there’s nonetheless a giant thriller underneath the snow that I can’t wait to discover.

Kaina of the Great Snow Sea premieres on Crunchyroll on January eleventh.

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